Today, we have Cynthia Rose’s report from “Comics Unmasked: Art & Anarchy in the UK”, Paul Gravett and John Harris Dunning’s exhibition on British comics. I believe they call this counter-programming. Here’s a taste:
Britain was the home not only of Hogarth and Gillray, but also Punch and Judy, Charles Dickens and Cruikshank. In terms of narrative satire and storytelling, work by figures like these has profoundly shaped British perceptions. Maybe critic Thierry Smolderen is right that comics are all anarchic. But Comics Unmasked confirms that the British comics tradition, at least, has structural roots in rebellion.
From mischief-making in kiddie strips to chronic debunking of order and class; from satire about the opposite sex to mockeries of manners and style, the British definition of “anarchy” asks that its viewer question everything. This is illustrated over and over throughout the show – from The Magic Beano Book‘s Snitch and Snatch in ’49 to Tank Girl in the ’90s or 2010’s Kick-Ass. But nowhere is it more intriguing than in the forgotten characters Gravett and Dunning have brought out of the UK’s past.
—Eisner Awards. The winners were announced this weekend, and Rutu Modan took the top new graphic novel prize. Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez both won their first Eisners. On the other hand, The Oatmeal won best webcomic, so The Balance between Order and Chaos has been maintained.
—SDCC. It’s harder to avoid San Diego coverage than it is to avoid it, so I’ll keep links selective. I enjoyed Philip Nel’s reports, and Abhay Khosla and Brian Nicholson independently raise some good questions about coverage from the more excitable members of the comics press.
—Reviews & Commentary. Gary Panter honors Jesse Marsh. Jared Gardner pans Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Seconds. Paul Buhle looks at World War 3 Illustrated: 1979-2014. And Rob Clough reviews Jacques Tardi’s Goddamn This War!