Today on the site, Greg Hunter reviews Rebekka Dunlap’s Dream Tube.
A determined reader could attempt a game of spot-the-influence on every page of Dream Tube, not because the stories read as derivative but because Dunlap appears to have synthesized work from so many different places. A piece like “Brooklyn Witch Tweets” offers up some applied ligne claire work, character designs and reaction shots that recall manga, and the occasional use of a severe, page-flattening perspective popular within contemporary indie comics. There’s enough happening, and enough elements cohering, to certify Dunlap as a globally-attuned cartoonist, even if “Brooklyn Witch Tweets” finds its satirical targets close to the artist’s doorstep.
—News. First, the nominations for the Harvey Awards were announced, and bizarre doesn’t begin to cover it. The Harveys have suffered from obvious ballot-stuffing for years. If they don’t fix their nomination process soon, the award’s reputation may become tainted beyond possibility of repair—if that’s not already happened.
Rick Friday, the Farm News cartoonist controversially fired earlier this year for drawing a cartoon criticizing Monsanto and other agricultural companies, has gotten his job back.
Friday said at first, he did not want to go back to Farm News but decided to return to show his supporters truth cannot be censored.
“I am doing the right thing, because if I wouldn’t have went back, then those people that tried to censor me, they would basically have been successful in what they tried to do in the beginning,” Friday said. “I’m not going to change. I have no need to change.”
—Interviews & Profiles. Adam Popescu at Playboy profiles Dan Clowes. This is probably the first time he’s been compared to Dennis Rodman.
On the second floor of a green craftsman house in the East Bay city of Piedmont, Daniel Clowes’s work space is a study in organized chaos. Pencils, erasers, pens, T squares, tape, scissors, ink, virgin paper. The blinds are closed. A desk supporting an old Apple sits on one side of the room, a drafting table on the other. Clowes kicks up his feet. A flyswatter hangs an arm’s length away.
“There’s nothing worse than trying to draw and having bugs flying around,” he explains, his voice cracking an octave, a raspy cough erupting. “Sorry, I’m just getting over a cold. Jesus, I sound like a chain-smoker.”
Rachel Davies interviews Julia Gfrörer.
The way I make comics is influenced a lot by the effect of cheap photocopies, and I don’t really obstruct the artifacts of that process – if you compare, for example, this image from Dark Age that was scanned from the original drawing with the same image as it appears in the zine, you can see how blotchy all the fine lines have become. I think that’s beautiful. You can see how it struggled to exist. To me there’s a sense of urgency in handmade things. I make zines because I believe in the Cheap Art Manifesto – I believe part of my calling is to make artwork that is more than an object of commerce.
The latest guest on Virtual Memories is underground veteran Paul Mavrides.
My parents thought comics lowered your intelligence and ruined your chances in life. They were absolutely right, as it turned out.
Comics Alternative talks to Rich Tommaso.
—Reviews & Commentary. At LARB, Tahneer Oksman reviews the latest Julie Doucet, in the process recounting her career to date.
Each Doucet collection is full of surprises, reflecting the artist’s investment in materiality, language, and experimenting with media and form in unexpected ways. Lady Pep, which was published in 2004 by Drawn & Quarterly’s Petits Livres imprint, is built, as Doucet’s notes explain, upon a “movement for the promotion of slowness.” The book includes a fold-out mail order catalog for “pack-O-fun” scrap projects; prints of photographed handmade objects, such as a “Big nose” box; and sketches of anonymous individuals inked in Doucet’s expressively lissome hand.
At The Smart Set, Chris Mautner writes about the recent Captain America and DC Rebirth controversies.
DC/Warner Bros. has doubled down on this effrontery in recent years by releasing first the tone-deaf Zack Snyder film adaptation [of Watchmen] and then a series of staggeringly awful and utterly unnecessary prequels bearing the Before Watchmen sobriquet. And now there’s Rebirth. Having Watchmen integrated with the DC universe might be an attempt by the creators to make some sort of statement on the series’s influence — good and ill — on modern comics. Or it might be a cynical attempt by the publisher to squeeze every last ounce of interest and goodwill from that particular stone. Either way it’s a gross disregard for both the original work and the people that made it, a reminder that everything in this industry comes down to feeding the fleeting thrill and grasping for the short-term dollar.
In a widely shared Tumblr post, Ronald Wimberly argues that cartoonists should no longer draw test pages for DC, Marvel, etc., without getting paid fr their labor.
If you’re Marvel or DC or a company, like BOOM, that profits off large licenses, you should pay for samples from prospective contractors. The hours that an artist spends making a sample are bankable hours; it’s work. By not paying for that sample art, these corporations are offsetting the cost of their R&D on labor. Artists shouldn’t have to shoulder the burden of a corporation’s R&D.
—Misc. It’s time again for Gabrielle Bell’s annual July Diary.
This year I’ve set the parameter for myself of no penciling, no erasing, no revising, no redrawing, no editing. It still isn’t exactly a diary though. If it were really a diary, I’d be exposing all my ugly secrets, my inappropriate crushes, the people I hate and all kinds of incriminating and compromising information about everyone I know. I’d love to do that but it took me so long to get the friends I’ve got and I’d like to keep them. You could call this a journal but I don’t like that word either…it sounds too much like “journaling.” At this point it’s an experiment and I’ll figure out what it is in the future hindsight.