Though it is Tuesday, Joe McCulloch is not here. We understand that he is trapped somewhere in America without internet. This is every man’s nightmare.
Luckily we instead have Kristy Valenti’s Women and Autobio Comics Roundtable with Raina Telgemeier, Megan Kelso and Ellen Forney.
VALENTI: One thing I’d like to talk about — and this is a word you’ve all used — accessibility, and style. Do you think, in general, women cartoon more accessibly?
KELSO: Well, I don’t know if I can answer that fully, but one thing that I think about is that, when you see little kids with drawing and writing, it does seem like young girls are far more concerned with what their handwriting looks like than little boys. And, young boys that grow up to be cartoonists may be the exception to that. [Laughter.] In elementary school, it was almost like there was this competition to have the most beautiful, perfect, girly handwriting. And I’ve often wondered if that is connected somehow to the sort of comics and the approach to comics that women take as they become cartoonists. I think you could argue, women’s or girls’ fine motor skills often tend to develop more quickly than boys’, and so they are able to form, you know, uniform, attractive letters faster. And often — just what I’ve observed with my daughter too — a lot of girls seem a lot more interested in drawing early on than boys. But then, another generalization that I’m willing to hazard is that guys tend to be more interested in virtuosity, often, than communication.
I wonder if the stereotype of the male cartoonist with the absolutely diamond, precise style — like Charles Burns is the perfect example, clearly he developed this virtuosic approach to comics that is really separate from the drive to communicate. Because, as we’ve all established, comics work as a form of communication in a variety of drawing styles. And that you don’t have to draw in this almost machine-made perfection of the Hernandez brothers, or Charles Burns, or Chris Ware, in order to communicate, and I do wonder if that accounts to some degree to differences you see in the way men and women draw. This is a generalization, but women just being a little less concerned with virtuosity.
FORNEY: One thing that that makes me think of is Phoebe Gloeckner, because her comics work is kind of rough, you know? Bodies are distorted. And then you see her medical illustrations, or the pieces of art that she does that are kind of … just that she does in that style, are like really precise.
TELGEMEIER: Yeah, they’re totally virtuosic.
FORNEY: Exactly. And so, I imagine that that’s a choice that either comes intuitively, or she made a conscious decision to have that difference in the presentation of her narratives.
TCJ-contributor Dominic Umile on Gabrielle Bell’s upcoming book.
A nice local profile of Jason Lutes.
The Guardian published a weekend comics supplement. It’s reviewed here.
Not comics: A reminder — Robert Weaver was a wonderful and now mostly forgotten illustrator. His lines are casually electric, and very few other illustrators were as adept at blending realist figuration with abstract areas of space. Check him out. We ran a piece about him last year.
Not comics: Remember index magazine? Here’s a little refresher. I still can’t decide if I liked it or not.