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Break

Eleanor Davis is here with the final entry of her very strong week of Cartoonist’s Diaries. IF you haven’t been reading them, I highly recommend doing so. Thanks, Eleanor!

We also have a review from Sean T. Collins of Renee French’s Baby Bjornstrand, which sounds typically atypical. Here’s a sample of Sean’s review:

A thing comes into three lives, without warning or explanation. A thing leaves those lives in much the same way. The time between: Baby Bjornstrand, the new Renee French graphic novel completing and collecting the webcomic of the same name. In the past, I’ve written that the hazy, watery wasteland inhabited by Baby Bjornstrand‘s masked, hooded protagonists and monstrous fauna evokes a post-apocalypticism that is, if not belied, then at least transfigured by the comic tone of the proceedings. Now that the series is finished, that’s only true to a point. As the uniform proscenium staging of its panels suggests, Bjornstrand remains much closer to Samuel Beckett than Stephen King, despite French’s astonishing proficiency with painstakingly penciled menace. Yet its morose ending has a bite that doesn’t require the jaws of a monster.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

It may not be quite as necessary or useful as Adaline Glasheen’s Census of Finnegans Wake, but Robert Boyd’s who’s who of characters from Jesse Moynihan’s Forming is still pretty fun.

Hannah Means Shannon reports from the Seth Kushner benefit earlier this week.

And yesterday was Jack Kirby’s 97th birthday. This being a three-day weekend, I suggest making a whole Jack Kirby holiday of it. Hand of Fire author and TCJ columnist Charles Hatfield posted an essay called “Kirby’s Second Act”. Tom Spurgeon posted his traditional overwhelming gallery of Kirby images. You might want to visit the Kirby family’s Kirby 4 Heroes page.

 

Richest Poor Guy

Today on the site: Mike Dawson talks to Caitlin McGurk and Jim Rugg about Ghost World and The Death Ray.

And Eleanor Davis brings us Day 4 of her excellent cartoon diary.

Elsewhere:

Gary Panter is opening a new painting show next week. It’s a really remarkable body of work, linked together by a new approach to his paint handling and an ongoing preoccupation with the idea of water. I’ve watched this work develop over the past two years and I’m just blown away by seeing it all together. In other Gary news, he’s written this fine appreciation of Ray Johnson for The Paris Review.

inviteF1

In other art news, here’s a review of the very excellent Chicago Imagists documentary, which includes Gary and yours truly.

Back in comics, here’s a funny interview with Johnny Ryan. And a San Diego rundown by Michael Dooley; also: a nice look at a manga-in-America footnote.

In swipe file news, somewhere Kate Beaton is thinking: “Ripped off again?!”

 

Generational Divide

Eleanor Davis is back again today, with the third entry in her Cartoonist’s Diary series. If you haven’t been reading along, catch up now.

Also, Rob Clough is here with a review of a NSFW collaboration between Brontez Purnell and Janelle Hessig, The Cruising Diaries. Here’s a sample of what to expect:

The format of the book is text from Purnell on the left-hand pages and an illustration (sometimes in comics form) from Hessig on the right-hand pages. Each anecdote concerns young Purnell’s anonymous sexual exploits “told in the style of anti-erotica.” Each encounter has a title; the first is called “Sweet Talker”, and it ends with the following three sentences: “I went to his house where he had pictures of his wife and kids everywhere and every solo-male jerk-off film ever. We spent three hours in the shower pissing on each other and he bought me a burrito later. PERFECT DATE.” This gives the reader a pretty good idea of what they’re in for: total honesty and a heaping of irreverence.


Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. Mimi Pond won a PEN Center Literary Award.

—Interviews. Berkeley Breathed talks to Comics Alliance.

—Reviews & Commentary. Ng Suat Tong has kind words for Isabel Greenberg’s Encyclopedia of Early Earth. ARTnews on Dan Nadel’s What Nerve. Prompted by Joe McCulloch’s excellent post on this site, Abhay Khosla has more thoughts on Grant Morrison’s Multiversity. Noah Van Sciver explains his periodic superhero binges.

 

Whozat?

Today on the site:

Joe McCulloch’s week in comics plus a much-needed digression.

Eleanor Davis brings us day 2 of her diary.

Elsewhere:

Jules Feiffer’s Kill My Mother has one of the oddest back cover blurb-fests ever. At this time in graphic novel publishing we can pretty much expect most of these usual suspects, but rarely all in one place. Stan Lee AND Chris Ware? But best of all Legion of Superheroes writer Paul Levitz, who continues his remarkable transformation from corporate comics apologist and perennial punchline to grand old man of comics. That aside, does anyone outside the superhero comic book industry even know who Paul Levitz is? Fascinating times we live in.

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Still further into space:

I love no comedian more than I love Gilbert Gottfried. Drew Friedman shares my love, and writes about him here on the occasion of his appearance on Gilbert’s podcast. Also very much worth your time: An amazing article on the comedian by the great Jay Ruttenberg, who has interviewed Friedman for TCJ. See how it all goes round and round?

And one of the only reasons I look at Facebook is that sometimes something like this happens: Robert Boyd’s impromptu story of working for Roger Corman’s comic book line.

Amazon is buying another thing. This time a live streaming video game service. It’s always wise to track what Amazon buys.

 

You Lot Won’t Know What to Do

Today is Jules Feiffer day here at the Journal, starting with a new interview with the legendary cartoonist by Greg Hunter, in which they discuss crime fiction, long-form storytelling, politics, and background-drawing. Here is a sample:

Did drawing Kill My Mother force you to do anything as a cartoonist you hadn’t done before

It was a complete revolution for me, in my way of thinking, in my way of approaching art and toying with it. I spent over forty years doing Village Voice strips, almost never doing backgrounds, because the characters were the prominent thing and the conversation was the prominent thing. I thought backgrounds would be distracting, and in addition, I didn’t know what anything looked like that wasn’t a human figure.

I’ve never had an eye for the inanimate. And so I never drew cars or planes—all the things that boys generally love to do. They were totally foreign to me, alien to me. Buildings, bridges, all of that stuff. And noir, if you take a look at any of the movies—Double Indemnity [1944], Maltese Falcon [1941], any of them—they’re full of atmosphere. And atmosphere is backgrounds, reflected light, shading. All that stuff that I had perfectly no experience in drawing or in thinking about. So I had to completely rethink my entire approach to drawing, at the age of eighty.

And Dash Shaw was written a review of Feiffer’s new book for us:

Feiffer has frequently voiced his envy for the drawing abilities of noir guys like Eisner and Milton Caniff. Personally, I love Feiffer’s drawings. Eisner and Caniff draw like they’re looking at film stills, while Feiffer draws like he’s sketching from the front row of a play. He draws dancers and his drawings themselves are live performances. They only move forward. It would be difficult to retake or remove a single stroke. If you follow the line of a Feiffer leg down, it flies from the front of the thigh to the back of the calf. It travels through the body like muscles, or fabric. Think of artists comparable to Feiffer. Quentin Blake might look like Feiffer on first glance, but Blake’s legs and arms are more tube- or stick-like. They don’t have a gesture sweeping through them. Another comparable post-Steinberg smart drawer is Tomi Ungerer, but Feiffer acts faster and freer. Feiffer’s women dance; Ungerer’s are tied up. If you copy a Feiffer drawing, at some point you’ll think, “This is like a scribbly Al Hirschfeld drawing!” Al Hirschfeld, of course, has a deep love of the theatrical that Feiffer shares.

And we’ve excited about the latest artist who has agreed to contribute a Cartoonist’s Diary to the site, Eleanor Davis. Don’t miss it; this is going to be a good one.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Feiffer. If you want more Feiffer, he’s also been interviewed by Carolyn Kellogg at the L.A. Times, by Michael Mechanic at Mother Jones, and reviewed by Maureen Corrigan on NPR.

—Other Interviews & Profiles. Charles Burns is interviewed at Boing Boing. UK political cartoonist Phil Evans gets an obituary from Kent Worcester. Butt Magazine talks to Gengoroh Tagame (and Anne Ishii). Vulture talks to Frank Miller. Semiotic Bushmiller. And at Fumetto Logica, Milo Manara has responded to The Great Spider-Woman Controversy of 2014.

—Reviews & Commentary. Derf Backderf defends Steve Gerber’s Howard the Duck. Rob Clough kicks off a week of reviewing Chicago-related comics. Abraham Riesman chooses his 25 favorite moments from the Sin City comics.

—Misc. Medium posts some of Joseph Lambert’s sketchbooks. And if you’ve never watched this:

 

What’d I Say

Today on the site:

Ahead of next week’s publication of Kill My Mother, we have Jules Feiffer’s introduction and afterword to his landmark book The Great Comic Book Heroes.

And:

Self promotion alert: I curated this show opening September 18th at the RISD Museum of Art. Also, there’s a 368-page catalog I put together with texts from faves Nicole Rudick, Naomi Fry, among others. The show attempts to create an alternate lineage from 1960 to the present and includes comics people Jack Kirby, Gary Panter, Mat Brinkman (and Forcefield) alongside the Hairy Who, Christina Ramberg, Elizabeth Murray, Destroy All Monsters, Joan Brown, Peter Saul and others. You’ll hear more about it as it goes. 10 points if you can name both objects on the cover of the book.

Still elsewhere:

Speaking of Rudick, Tim and I tried to draw her into a contentious email discussion about whether or not Santa Claus is a super hero, as so named in this article. To my dismay she refused to respond!

Great deep dive into history with a spotlight on workaday early cartoonist C.H. Wellington.

Hilarious Milo Manara swipe file here. I would maybe feel bad about people making fun of Manara if he was still a hippie. As it is: Eh.

Jason Miles recommends Eroyn Franklin.

Nice review of Brecht Vandenbroucke’s .

I got this Multiversity comic book thing in the mail and tried to read some of it this morning because I am a masochist, but was baffled. This annotated guide may help me, but I may also never read it or the comic itself.

Have a good weekend!

 

Wring Your Hands All You Want

Sean T. Collins is bringing back the column in which he investigates the work of up-and-coming artists, and today he’s introducing the Brooklyn painter turned cartoonist Meghan Turbitt. Here’s a sample:

You were doing fine art back then.

I was doing large-scale oil paintings of geishas incorporated with Catholic imagery—prayer cards and rosaries. I was also using the image of the Virgin Mary and other female saints as inspiration for making large-scale geisha prayer card portraits. I also painted directly onto Catholic prayer cards, turning the saints into geishas. I became obsessed and made over one hundred of them. I incorporated Japanese culture into my work. In school I also became interested in Jenna Jameson, started listening to Howard Stern, and really was exploring my sexuality. I painted myself as Jenna Jameson and did collages of myself using porno mags and birth control pills. Lol.

What was the connection you saw between the saints and geishas? Did the cultural familiarity of saints give you an entry point into a less familiar culture?

I was rejecting my upbringing and culture, and wishing I was anything else — and, probably, being a bit disrespectful. I think I even told my mother and grandmother that I wished I was Japanese at one point, which is something a ten-year-old would do. I remember being intrigued by the fact that the geishas and the female saints were wearing very similar outfits, even though they were such different ladies.

And now that you’re making comics rather than fine art, have your underlying ideas about this changed along with your medium of choice?

In Lady Turbo and the Terrible Cox Sucker, my sidekick is a geisha named Brent, a friend in real life, so I guess I’m still using geisha imagery now. I’m just more interested in making work that’s funny and a commentary on how ridiculous my life is right now, and I think I’m less angry at my family, so I’m making work that’s less an “F U” to them.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Profiles & Interviews. Sean Howe has a nice, long profile of Frank Miller for Wired, and it’s easily the best, most thorough one I’ve seen in this latest round of media for the artist.

Amazon interviews editor Chris Duffy about his recent anthology of comics based on WWI poetry.

Harper Harris talks to Farel Dalrymple about The Wrenchies, which I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about.

—Reviews & Commentary.
Aaron Noble has an in-depth analysis of Jack Kirby art, comparing a 1950s Boys Ranch spread with a similar 1970s spread from Mister Miracle.

—Misc. I think it’s kind of hilarious that iO9 thinks it’s necessary to repeatedly inform its readers that Michael DeForge’s “Canadian Royalty” story is “fake.”

Ralph Steadman letters.

The Comic Book Attic has released a new Basil Wolverton e-book.

 

Neenja!

Hi there,

Today on the site we have more coverage of Brian Evenson’s book on Ed the Happy Clown, this time via an excellent conversation with our own Mike Dawson. Why? Because there can never be enough discussion of great comics. And great comics is Chester Brown. Or Chester Brown is great comics. Whatever. You know what I mean. Every cartoonist I respect is intimidated by Chester’s work. That’s a good thing.

Elsewhere:

Gabrielle Bell, another amazing cartoonist, is selling her journal comics day-by-day on eBay.

Here’s an interview with Annie Koyama by Anne Ishii about Koyama Press.

In other sale news: I am intrigued by this Joe Sinnott book currently being Kickstarted. Why? Because I like to know what a longtime workhorse cartoonist dreams of towards the end of his career.

Here’s another Frank Miller piece, this time an interview with Playboy in which Miller sounds exactly like the guy who draws Sin City should sound. That’s not a good thing. But! Miller’s work was inventive and interesting for many years… I still like that DK2 book. Or at least I like my memory of it.

Speaking of macho men, here’s the story of the ill-fated first Nick Fury TV movie.

I can’t remember if I linked to this already, but who cares! Here’s an excellent article by Gabriel Winslow-Yost on Tardi’s war comics. There is not nearly enough written about those incredible comics.