Riff Raff Riff Raff

Inside Baseball

I'm not on Twitter. Not on Facebook. Too much talking. I like tumblr. It's like channel surfing. The key is to follow your followers. Girls hangout on tumblr. Just sayin'. Not so many girls in the comments section of blog posts. Even in the good old days of 3 years ago at ComicsComics. As Jonny Negron said "I used to hangout on Flickr but no one uses that anymore. Tumblr's cool. It's just another channel. It's like the channels change every couple years." All these channels. Pick a channel. Is anyone watching this channel?

I started a new channel called Comics Workbook. Check it out. Trying to post original content. Sort of a digital anthology. Trying to post more comics by ladydrawers. I'm particularly fond of comics by Alyssa Berg. She's made some comics that walk the delicate line between painting and comics without being too illustrative. I usually hate painted comics - but these are perfect.

My most recent Correspondence Course is winding down and I am starting up the Fall Course. Deadline for application is September 7th. Please email for application guidelines and an invite to the demo course. capneasyATgmailDOTcom Thanks.

And don't forget to tell your NYC friends about my comic book back issue sale! I'm gonna turn this into a Lollapalooza type of thing. I just need to get a tour bus. Until then join me, Lala Albert, Ben Marra, and Jonny Negron this Saturday August 11th for another one of our comic book conventions. It's like performance art. A magic act. A circus. An illusion. I have turned my art studio into a comic book convention. Last time I did this I thought, "this is my favorite comics convention." So, I guess the illusion works. For me at least.


Frank's current comic book obsessions
-Puma Blues covers - really like the black box around the image.

-Savage Henry covers - all Matt Howarth covers are good

-any comics published by Innovation. Great colors - usually hand painted.

-handmade fantasy comics from the 70s - some have handcolored covers

-anything by Klaus Janson - color master. Anything he colors is genius. Also, he is more responsible for the look of Daredevil during Miller's run than we all tend to remember. He was inking and coloring the book before Miller signed on and so already had a hand in the tone and feel of the book - and shaped it too with Miller of course and then stayed on after Miller's run - look at his coloring on the issues in the 190s. Look at his colors on anything - but especially the Dardevils he did after Miller left - incredible layered colors done on multiple plates all hand separations - mid eighties - amazing, amazing stuff - purely on a technical level and cuz of how it is executed. Klaus Janson is a master colorist. Unsung hero of comics in my book.

-graphic design of comics in early home computer days - mid 80s - to early 90s - lots of really weird fonts and layouts of filler pages, letters pages, etc.

- mid to late 90s letter columns where creators write about things they read on the "World Wide Web" about their book.

- currently obsessed with old issues of Optic Nerve. They look really really good and the stories hold up. The graphic design of the individual comics is great. And I really like Adrian's "stage blocking" when he composes scenes. There is a very real sense of space in his comics. People in the landscape, in chairs, cars - all feel real and drawn and observed. Very hard to do without relying on photo refs. Tomine has a super developed sense of timing. I also like how he uses the "set" of the room or landscape to show physical as well as emotional distance from each other. Like a good cinematographer.

- It was nice to see Tucker write about Debbie Dreschler's late 90s comic book Nowhere - I agree that "it's difficult not to wax nostalgic for the 90’s when you’re looking at something like this." Indeed. I have obsessively been comparing the comic book version of Nowhere against the soft cover graphic novel edition. There's a famous story that I won't re-hash here of the printing of the collection being a nightmare. But if you look at the original comics next to the collection the collection doesn't look too bad. Without the original comic next to it the colors of the collection look like a 3D comic. The original comic is muted but not bright enough. The collection is too bright - no middle tones. Super esoteric comics trivia.

- if you make comic book sized comics they go into the river of history along with all the other comics from North America. If you only make off size minis and oversize things you never go into the "comics" box. I've found a ton of really intersting hand made xeroxed comics from the eighties in along with other "professionally" printed comics. They are like Folk Art. But the off sized minis all go into a different box with zines and other crap that isn't easily sort-able or present-able by collectors, junk stores, whatever - so they slip through cracks of comics history. Make regular sized comics in addition to digest size zines and other typical mini sizes. Comics that are comics size - regardless of quality - get preserved thru history. The minis go off to die somewhere. It is super rare to find old minis from the last 20 years in comics shops across the US and Canada - even though tons of minis are out there - I never see them on my buying tours.


New Talent Showcase will return soon.

23 Responses to Inside Baseball

  1. Marc Sobel says:

    Howarth is vastly under-appreciated.

  2. Nate A. says:

    By the end of Miller’s run on DD he was just doing thumbnails on eight-and-a-half by eleven inch typing paper and handing them over to Janson. Janson would blow them up and draw the issue. This is fairly common knowledge among original art collectors, but I’m not sure how well known it is to fans of the series.
    Janson’s “Punisher” issues were what made me want to draw comics when I was 12. You can really see the human hand in them, and the artist’s point of view is right there on the page. And yeah, those colors are amazing. The greens and purples are all but burned into my retinas.

  3. Brandon Graham says:

    I’m with you on the Howarth covers, all of his 70’s and 80’s work pushed comics in directions I’m still trying to reverse engineer and figure out.

    I think that issue even has some bizarre photos photocopied in as panel backgrounds. It’s a trick that should wreck a comic but Howarth managed to make it add to the book.

  4. inkstuds says:

    It’s hell finding old mini’s. I have been hunting hard for Canadian goodies for and have had to depend on buds for crazy content like this

  5. Grant Joon says:

    I picked up several Post Bros. and Savage Henrys for a quarter apiece at a dealer’s show last weekend. When I handed them to the seller he exclaimed “Post Bros. for 25 cents! Now *that’s* a bargain!”

    I agreed.

  6. At San Diego, there was a guy who was selling old minis, I couldn’t believe it. Picked up an old Yummy Fur mini collection among others, but just about everything else was something unfamiliar and interesting!

  7. Ian Harker says:

    Why hasn’t some made a mini-comic sized long box yet?!

    Interesting point about comic book sized comic books. Haven’t made one in years, maybe it’s time to give it a whirl?

    Cold Heat is one of my favorite comic books of all time.

    Frank, bring your traveling circus to Philly. We’ll set you up and pack the place.

  8. Frank Santoro says:

    Ok, yes, as long as no Flyers fans attend. We would need a penalty box. Phillies fans ok. Flyers? No way.

  9. Derik Badman says:

    Great idea. Maybe Frank could do his comics layout talk too. I could put up some funding to help out (train tickets?). (I’m not a Flyers fan.)

  10. klaus janson says:

    Frank-Thanks for the kind words, I really appreciate it. Having the opportunity to pencil, ink and color any project results in a much more organized and unified representation of the “artists vision”, if I could be so pompous, and therefore has an automatic advantage over work that often tries to bring together disparate points of view among its participants. I had lunch with an ex-student of mine recently and he brought an old 30 page or so King Kull that I inked and colored over John Buscema. I was amused at the stuff that Marvel let me get away with at the time! I always hoped that the coloring would emphasize storytelling over surface glitz. And you are right about the technical challenges at the time, too. It was a complicated process to say the least. One of the things on my to do list: do a job that allows me the time to color it, too. I miss it a lot. Thanks again for the compliments!!

  11. Frank Santoro says:

    I was explaining printing comics in the 80s to a friend of mine recently and then gave up when he asked what “offset” was…! When I look at much of your coloring work I am very taken with the number of color overlays – drawings of figures, landscapes on a separate layer from the line art that all came together nicely on the page – in an age when there was no “preview” – you just hoped it worked! Great stuff, Klaus.

  12. Alexandre Buchet says:

    Well, you certainly deserve them, Mr Janson.

    One quality your art has…one can really identify with the people , with their emotions. And your kids come across as real children, not mini-adults: this is rare even among top illustrators.

    Just one whine, though, Mr Janson:

    Enough with the “now-you-see-’em-now-you don’t” moustaches!


  13. TimR says:

    Re: Mini-comics disappearing

    I usually go for a magazine size (8.5 x 11) when I put together photocopied comics. I guess those would bother comic collectors too.

    But what about the magazine collectors? Where do they fit in? And why won’t they share their old CRACKED and CARtoons magazines with the world? I never see that stuff anywhere.

  14. R. Fiore says:

    Don’t web comics make mini-comics obsolete, period? I would think in this one particular instance the exposure would trump any money you could make.

  15. Frank Santoro says:

    no, just like downloads of songs do not make original LP less valuable to collectors. There will always be folks who want the original.

  16. Briany Najar says:

    5 inch width printed @ 600 d.p.i. = 3,000 dots,
    width of a typical webcomic = 800 dots… What line drawing?

    That’s the stat I’d play if it was Top Trumps, me holding mini-comics.

  17. R. Fiore says:

    I’m speaking solely in terms of a young cartoonist getting his or her work in front of an audience. I presume if a cartoonist is successful in reaching an audience the work will be reprinted in a more permanent format. As far as collectability goes I would assume mini-comics are analogous to chapbooks in literature, with the difference that mini-comics tend to be as cheaply produced as possible, whereas chapbooks can be quite lavishly produced on a small scale (letterpress on cotton paper & c.).

    Collectors are sharing their ephemera collections all over the place online. It’s one of the most salutary effects of the Internet.

  18. Daniel C. Parmenter says:

    Mini-comics can be collectible as a kind of “rookie card” too, it that’s where a particular creator first got noticed. For example, I’ve got a stack of Chrome Fetus minis that might be of interest to a Hans Rickheit fan who discovered his stuff through later, more lavishly-printed editions.

  19. Daniel C. Parmenter says:

    Also, some mini comics are/were beautifully made. I remember seeing eighties minis with one- and two-color printing, acetate covers, even a few attempts at 3D.

  20. Daniel C. Parmenter says:

    Er, I meant to say two- and three-color printing. Dang, no edit function.

  21. Beyla says:

    There isn’t really a standard mini-comic size, is there? You’ve got 8 1/2 by 11 sheets folded in half, you’ve got things like Jack Chick tracts, narrow vertical comics, comics made to fit in old cassette cases, comics that look like decks of cards, bigass posters that reveal larger pages as you unfold them until the big finale is one panel that actually is the reverse side of the poster.

    Minicomics aren’t bound to a formal size or material the way the classic floppies are. I’ve always thought of that as a big part of their charm.

  22. Ian Harker says:

    Minis come in all shapes and sizes for sure, but most of them are probably 5.5″ x 8.5″ or 4.25″ x 5.5″. I really just want a mini longbox because it would be so rad looking. Maybe i can figure out to make one?

    As far a magazine sized comics, etc. I’ve always had a big soft spot for these misfits. I’ve ever met a “Marvel Comics Graphic Novel” that i didn’t buy! Dazzler the fucking Movie.

  23. mateor says:

    I got the complete set of those Kull books at the house.

    Those books are great.

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