BLOG

Well Deserved

Today on the site:

Reaching way back to 1992, here’s a vintage Daniel Clowes interview, in anticipation of his Complete Eightball.

GROTH: Eightball is so completely different from Lloyd, because first of all you have the “Velvet Glove” serial, then you have these short strips that range all over a number of subjects, but there’s a consistent tone throughout the entire book. Was this a carefully calculated strategy?

CLOWES: [laughs] Yes, it was a carefully calculated strategy to sucker the masses into buying my comics, into swallowing my destructive philosophy … No, not at all. I wanted to basically do a title like Humbug or Help!, or Mad or something, but it would all be done by one person. It was like I wanted to do an anthology — it’d be more like a Weirdo — I wanted to do an anthology comic, but it’s all by me. I’ve always felt that I had all these different, very unrelated parts of my personality, and I wanted to be able to do stories with each of these different parts of my personality in the same book, and then have somebody else look at it and go, “OK, I sort of understand what this guy is all about.” But I was really worried that people would see the first issue and think that there was just no consistency at all and say, “This is just all over the place, and I have no idea what this guy is going for.” So I guess there is more cohesion to my thinking than I realized.

GROTH: The “Velvet Glove Cast In Iron” title, although it’s mentioned in Russ Meyer’s Faster Pussycat, actually appeared earlier as a phrase in a hard-boiled detective novel?

CLOWES: Yeah, I’ve seen it a couple places actually, and it’s in a couple of slang dictionaries. Because when I heard it in the Russ Meyer film, I thought, “What the fuck does that mean?” I still really don’t understand what it means. There’s another phrase, “like an iron fist in a velvet glove,” or something like that. It basically means it’s something that’s couched in femininity, but it’s actually very tough and masculine, that kind of thing. But I just thought it was a very evocative phrase.

Elsewhere:

Congrats to the great Roz Chast on her Heinz award. Chast’s recent immense success gives me faith in humanity.

Great Geoff Darrow interview here, including the welcome news that Bourbon Thret will be released in English.

This amazing discovery of outsider-ish drawings is, well, really cool.

Finally, Jonathan Winters: Cartoonist!

 

 

That Tune

Today on the site:

Frank Santoro does some Spring cleaning.

Elsewhere:

The Eisner Award nominations were released yesterday. Congrats to my pal Tim on our own nomination. Oh yes, and the rest of you, too.

Critic Ta-Nehisi Coates on the mass culture entertainment domination of superhero comics. If I hadn’t been down this road a million times before, I’d try the comics he recommends. But every time someone recommends some “no, really, it’s great” Marvel comic to me I’m disappointed, mostly because they are so much like “quality” TV. I’d rather watch Justified, you know? It’s free and the acting is better. How much can one person consume?

Hey, Jim Woodring’s house is for sale and it looks pretty awesome.

Alex Dueben interviews comics vet Tom DeFalco.

 

Looking Out

Today on the site, Mike Dawson talks to Katie Skelly about Tezuka’s the Book of Human Insects. 

Elsewhere:

Lauren Weinstein is chronicling her spinal condition in picture-story form on Tumblr. Lauren, aside for being kind enough to marry Tim, is one of our finest cartoonists.

Juxtapoz has a rather lengthy feature on Chris Ware.

This is some fine Ken Reid 1970s underground work.

Dan Clowes interviewed at The New Yorker.

Hey, treat yourself right today and gaze at these Joost Swarte prints. 

 

Ready? Ready

Today on the site, Joe McCulloch talks tough about comics.

Elsewhere:

Jet-lag got the better of me yesterday and I didn’t mention Jaime Hernandez’s well-deserved win of a Los Angeles Times Book Prize for his stunning graphic novel The Love Bunglers.

Trina Robbins talks about her new book about female comic heroes during WWII.

The NYT reviews Fun Home the musical. 

I had no idea that a Hugo Pratt exhibition had opened at the Society of Illustrators. Looks good.

And finally, Bill Schelly talks Harvey Kurtzman, this subject of his new and definitive biography.

 

 

New Record

Today on the site, Hazel Cills interviews Jillian Tamaki about the cartoonist/illustrator’s new book, SuperMutant Magic Academy.

You started SuperMutant Magic Academy as a web-comic back in 2010. What initially inspired you to create this comic?

There were a few things. I had actually done the Marvel Strange Tales comic, which is where they got indie cartoonists to do Spider-Man or characters in the Marvel Universe. And I don’t really know anything about that world but I asked them if there was a female superhero that everyone hates and everyone said, oh, Dazzler! She was totally a marketing tie-in with super lame powers, so I thought I’d do something with her. I did a comic with that and it was fine but it was my first foray into a superhero genre. She does end up beating up some villain but I was more interested in the fact that she had an older lover, you know what I mean? I was more interested in her day job than the fact that she had superpowers.

I think at that point Harry Potter was also winding down as well. I also think I had just finished Skim, which had been a big book, and I just wanted a project that was fast and immediate. So much of my work as an illustrator and someone who makes graphic novels it’s making it look nice and making it look perfect and publishable. I just wanted to give myself a project that could allow myself to practice writing and developing characters that didn’t have to look nice or pretty or anything like that.

Elsewhere:

The American Book Review has a comics-focused issue with fine writing by TCJ-contributors like Nicole Rudick and Matthew Thurber.

The Paris Review has a selection of illustrations by the recently passed author Gunter Grass.

Artist and teacher Micol Hebron has been tallying the male/female ratio on Artforum covers and it’s as one might expect.

And hey, Gary Panter and I will be talking about all things Hairy Who following the NYC premier of the truly excellent documentary Hairy Who & the Chicago Imagists. 7:30 pm at the Nitehawk in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This is really a phenomenal piece of scholarship and documentary filmmaking. Even a die-hard like me was blown away by the footage. Also, given the incredible important  to comics of Jim Nutt, Gladys Nilsson, Karl Wirsum and the rest of the gang, really I think the TCJ-readership will be fascinated.

nitehawk-square

 

High Adventure

Steven Ringgenberg has written our obituary for the well-loved artist Herb Trimpe. Here is how he begins:

Herbert W. (or “Happy Herb” as he was frequently identified in comic book credits) Trimpe died suddenly this week at the age of 75 from a heart attack while he was out jogging. Trimpe had not been ill, and his death was a shock to his family and army of fans. Trimpe, a long-time Marvel Comics artist began working for Marvel in the production department in the mid-’60s, and began drawing comics in 1967. He eventually found lasting fame as the penciller of <em>The Incredible Hulk</em> in an almost unbroken string of issues from #106-142, and #145-193, as well as drawing issues 204, 355, 393, and annuals #6, #12, (which he both penciled and inked), and #16. He earned latter-day fame (and became a much sought-after convention guest as a result) as the first artist to draw the Wolverine, a character who debuted in <em>Incredible Hulk</em> #180 as a villain and has since gone on to become one of the best-known and most popular Marvel Comics characters after being added to cast of the new X-Men during the Byrne-Claremont era, appearing in numerous miniseries, and becoming one of the stars of the many X-Men films, and even several solo film adventures.

 

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Reviews & Commentary. Sean Kleefeld also writes about Trimpe, focusing on how ageism may have affected his later career.

Paul Gravett looks at Dell Comics.

Sean T. Collins has a longish piece at the Observer on the “four worst kinds of television critics.” TV and comics are different games, obviously, but there’s enough overlap that his piece should be of interest to anyone who spends too much time reading about comics on the internet.

—News. According to posts on Tony Millionaire’s Facebook page, his Maakies strip has been dropped from the Baltimore City Paper, apparently due to a joke deemed offensive in his most recent strip.

—Interviews. Grace Bello conducted a solid, career-spanning interview with Françoise Mouly for Guernica.

—The Funnies. Dash Shaw’s “remastered” BodyWorld is now online in full.

Leela Corman has contributed a strong, affecting piece on the effects of PTSD to Nautilus.

—Not Comics. Splitsider looks at Ben Jones’s latest television project, Stone Quackers.

 

Hole in the Ground

Rob Clough’s latest High-Low column finds him exploring the relatively new publisher, Centrala:

Centrala is an interesting new publishing concern that’s part and parcel of the growing expansion of Baltic and Eastern European comics into English-speaking markets. Indeed, even though most of its artists are Polish, Centrala itself has an office in London and publishes books in both Polish and English. It’s also a key player in Ligatura, the annual art-comics festival in Poland. This edition of High-Low will survey Centrala’s early and recent output, which ranges from all-ages material to autobio to stuff that’s far stranger. While there’s a provincial quality to many of these books, they also frequently hit notes that will be familiar to fans of American and other European art comics.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Reviews & Commentary. Rob’s had a busy week in general, putting up two posts on his own blog about student work from Duke University, and the latest Jacques Tardi Jean-Patrick Manchette adaptation, Run Like Crazy, Run Like Hell.

Bart Beaty is also having a busy week. The Walrus has published an excerpt from his latest book, Twelve-Cent Archie. It’s titled “Betty Cooper Is a Psychopath”. He has also published another long post on his new group project, What Were Comics?, looking at an unusual paneling choice in an old issue of Jungle Stories.

Ken White has issues with Garry Trudeau’s recent speech on satire and Charlie Hebdo.

I almost never link to articles about superhero movies or TV shows, but Jeet Heer’s talking about the anti-gentrification subtext of Daredevil at The New Republic, and I miss the days when he was a more regular presence on this site.

Those of you who do Facebook might be interested in this discussion started by Stephen Bissette about cartoonists who feel excluded by conventions.

—Interviews & Profiles. Sean Nelson at The Stranger has a nice talk with Daniel Clowes on the 25th anniversary of Eightball, and the upcoming publication of its complete collection.

Paul Mavrides guests on Inkstuds.

Zainab Akhtar has asked Jesse Moynihan to give a guided photographic tour of his bookshelves.

 

Don’t You Understand—You’re Me!

Ken Parille is here today with another installment of his close-reading column. This time, he examines the work of Ivan Brunetti and Charles Schulz, in terms of “sentimental romance” and how time is indicated through backgrounds. Here’s a sample:

The over-sized head of Brunetti’s heroine recalls the art of one of his heroes: Charles Schulz, the creator of Peanuts. Both artists frequently return to images of solitude, examining the value (and danger) of self-reflection and self-absorption. The following Schulz strip belongs to a curious — to me at least — subset of Peanuts strips. While many feature a single location (a stone wall, living room, baseball diamond), others, like this one, portray a solitary character in a different setting in each of the comic’s panels. cb
This creates an interpretive quandary. Typically, we determine the approximate duration of a comics sequence by comparing it to reality: roughly how long, for example, would a given cartoon monologue or conversation last if it occurred in the real world? The flow of the dialogue in the above strip suggests a short passage of time, maybe less than ten seconds. Yet the shifting locations may complicate this approach. As Charlie Brown moves to a new location, he takes — off the page in the comic’s gutter — an invisible, undefined pause between each line of dialogue. Or perhaps Schulz leaves some of the character’s monologue un-narrated. Though we never hear it, as Charlie Brown walks from place to place — from panel to panel — he meditates aloud on ideas about punishment, adult-child relationships, and the inevitability of his own disciplining. (In many Peanuts strips, the only actions are walking and/or talking — and the walking here is off the page, until the final panel.)


Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. The well-liked artist Herb Trimpe, probably best known for his work for Marvel drawing the Hulk and co-creating Wolverine, passed away Monday night. We will have more here on the site soon. In the meantime, you should read the moving journal-like Times piece he wrote in 2000, about his attempt to reenter the real world after being fired by Marvel at 56. Tom Spurgeon has posted several of his representative Hulk covers and Bob Heer has chosen some less well-known personal work. Sean Howe has posted a photograph of Trimpe from the Marvel bullpen in 1970, and an excerpt from an interview with Trimpe, conducted in 2001, about his experiences at Ground Zero after the WTC attack.

—Interviews & Profiles. Bart Croonenborghs talks to Bastien Vivès about his new Last Man series.

Michael Cavna interviewed Raina Telgemeier and CBLDF exec director Charles Brownstein about the ALA list of most-challenged books. Cavna also asked 15 editorial cartoonists to respond to Garry Trudeau’s recent speech calling for “red lines” in satire.