Today in his column, Frank Santoro follows up on his recent trip to Colombia by spotlighting a South American cartoonist named Berliac and his graphic novel, Playground:
This is a comic about John Cassavetes. It strikes a chord with me because it is very similar to another favorite comic of mine that is also about Cassavetes: John Pham’s Substitute Life: My John Cassavetes and Chris Ware diary from a 2002 sketchbook zine. Both use the comics form to study the process and output of the great film director. They also critique the dominant forms of comics and the comics industry by using Cassavetes’ struggles with Hollywood as an example and metaphor. The authors’ own reactions to Cassavetes and their notes about these reactions/thoughts are used within the comic book narrative to tell Cassavetes’ story—and the authors’ projection that they are living and participating in their own Cassavetes movie.
And then George Elkind is here with a review of Antoine Cossé’s intriguing J.1137. Here’s a sample of that:
Does it ever feel like you’re in a movie? That odd sense of constant performance, and constant dislocation, is exactly what this comic trades in. Throughout J.1137 a “voice-over” of sorts continues over all its parts and frames, an ongoing string of not-quite-narrative caption, muddling its many layers.
For example: the title character (“J” for short) is an actor—and an android, believable and animated as an imitation of life. He’s in a movie currently in production, and is famous for roles in others—we even spot a billboard for one, though we never learn any titles. Through all this the comic acquires a rounded sense of a world with more layers to it than a fancy cake, most of its parts smoothed together with equalizing assurances of their shared falseness. That voice-over stitching this all together acts as the prime catalyst; even after the word “Cut” it continues, seeming to shift between characters, roles, and sources. At times it even appears omniscient.
—News. Prosecutors in Turkey are trying to send cartoonist Musa Kart to prison for nine years for the caricature he drew of the former Prime Minister. [UPDATED TO ADD: This morning, Kart was acquitted.]
—Interviews. Martin Dupuis speaks to Chris Wright about his bizarre pirate comic, Blacklung.
Paul Constant profiles and interviews Gary Groth after his Stranger Genius Award win.
—TCJ. Last week, Fantagraphics posted an excerpt from the upcoming volume of TCJ interviews with Zap artists.
Alex Buchet picked out some of his favorite TCJ covers over the years.
—Misc. I usually admire Abraham Riesman’s writing on comics for Vulture, and it’s very possible (even probably) that he didn’t write the headline for this, but “tragic and disappointing” seem like astonishingly hyperbolic words to connect to Marvel’s cancellation of The Fantastic Four.
This massive 31-book Osamu Tezuka Kickstarter is a little nuts, and apparently aimed at manga fans with very deep pockets. (If I’m reading it right, you have to kick in 150 bucks before you even get a single book!)
And in an outlier review for the New York Daily News, Eydie Cubarrubia is slightly baffled by Scott McCloud’s Best American Comics volume.