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Nice Beard, Creep

Today at The Comics Journal, we're pleased to welcome Ardo Omer back. In her latest interview, Ardo spoke with cartoonist Ming Doyle, who recently took on the unusual gig of stepping into Batman's shoes. 

First of all, I have to give complete credit to S.D. Perry and Matthew Manning who wrote and pitched it completely to Insight Editions. I was brought on after the fact and I agree, it’s a really interesting concept. It’s so fun to think—perhaps fun is the wrong word—but it makes a certain amount of sense to think that Bruce Wayne would be the kind of nerd who would just go so overboard on the idea of wanting to know all about his friends and their innards. That he would go to the lengths of keeping a hard copy of a Leonardo Da Vinci-esque art journal and even develop his skill of drawing to this point where he could illustrate it so intensely which I believe is the conceit of the entire endeavor. 

Personally, I was never necessarily interested in the anatomy of metahumans or superheroes per se because it hadn’t occurred to me. And again, that’s why the concept of the book is so striking to people. But in terms of just general anatomy, I went to art school and I think most artists struggle with anatomy at some point in their careers which is why when I took this job on, I was like, “challenge finally accepted.” I will do nothing but try and draw anatomy, and whether or not it’s bounded in reality, it has to look good or make sense. [Laughter] It was daunting but that’s what made me want to sign on to the book in the first place. I had absolutely never seen a project like this represented in the comics sphere before, you know?

Today's review comes to us from Jake Murel, and it's of Santiago García and David Rubin's take on Beowulf, which was brought to English readers via Image Comics. While Jake has kind words for much of the book, he was definitely stuck on one particular segment.

The sexual addition is not a problem in itself. The problem is that this addition is never made a part of the story in any way. If García and Rubin want to add this sexual nuance to the Grendel-Beowulf battle, that’s all well and good. But in taking creative liberties with an adaptation, any alteration should be justified, meaning it should be significant to the adaptation in some way. As it stands, Grendel climaxes onto Beowulf and the story moves on. Beowulf shares no similar sexual encounter with either monster or human, and the sexual occurrence never develops into any larger motif or theme. Grendel’s sexuality could be removed, and the story would not change. It’s an irrelevant addition.

And while that's all for us today, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out the unusual connection to anatomy and penis drawings in another comic book related story, which you can find out more about at Bleeding Cool. Basically, they decided that yesterday, Wednesday July 19th in the year 2018, was the date when the world should see Bruce Wayne's penis, and see it they have, in multiple panels. As the comic is written by Brian Azzarello and features Batman, and these are two subjects that I've extensively written about in this thing that I now have to call a career, I feel that I should probably express more of a position on Batman's penis than my immediate reaction, which was to say "uhhh" and then go ask the guy in the office who likes Star Wars if he'd heard the news, and what did he think? He hadn't though. I was going to ask my wife what she thought but it didn't seem like proper Yom Kippur conversation. So--i'll report back. 

Over at Vogue--that's the first time I've linked to them, I believe--there's an extensive profile of Liana Finck, a cartoonist whose popularity has risen almost as exponentially as her talent over the last few years. We'll be speaking with her soon too, as part of the Passing For Human internet takeover.

If any of this seems strange, you're probably not among Finck's nearly 200,000 followers on Instagram, where a couple times a day she posts drawings that raise a magnifying glass to a culture roiling with toxic masculinity, misogynistic microaggressions, and boorish self-regard, all filtered through her own churning self-doubt and anxiety. Her style is spare beyond sketchy: naive stick figures that illustrate sharp social observations in just a few wiggly lines, simplistic charts and graphs that map out complex emotional states (she has a knack for seeing words and concepts in two-dimensional space, a byproduct, she says, of her synesthesia). If something is happening in Finck's life, there's a good chance she's working it out via cartoon—scroll through her feed and you'll notice a recent obsession with the politics of public seating areas—and doing so while parked at a cafe like the one where we've set up shop. (Why? "I really, really like people, and I'm also stressed out by people, so I think being around people who aren't talking to me is just ideal.") Her work trades less on humor—though sometimes she's very funny—than on a sort of existential gothic terror. Take, for example, one of my favorite posts, captioned "A Man Who Walked Around Me in a Circle," and depicting just that: in four slides, a menacing male stick figure circumrotates a wide-eyed, frozen female one, her unease escalating, until finally he barks: "Relax!"

And finally, here's a phenomenally art packed odyssey through drawings of machines by Jack Kirby and Geof Darrow. You can keep your Gerhard Richter in that fancy museum all to yourself. I got my huckleberry right here.


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