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Puffs of Smoke

Today Jeet Heer is back again with a new column, using examples from Seth’s latest release, The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists, to make the case that the cartoonist has been largely misunderstood. An excerpt:

I’ve written in the past about the process whereby cartoonists invent their ancestors. I meant by that something very banal and literal: the cultural recuperation of Frank King by Chris Ware and Doug Wright by Seth, both cases where the cartoonist being recovered can now be seen as a predecessor of their later-day champion. But Seth has been engaged in the task of inventing ancestors in a more imaginative way as well. In both A Good Life and in The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists (or The G.N.B. Double C) Seth very convincingly makes up cartoonists who serve as role-models for the type of work he wants to do.

And Sean T. Collins has a review of Gabriella Giandelli’s recent graphic novel Interiorae. An excerpt:

Using a mystical cartoon white rabbit as a sort of spirit-slash-tour guide — half Virgil, half Harvey — Interiorae depicts the discrete, discreet lives of various residents in an apartment building, whose dreams fuel a big, whiny black blob called the Great Dark One that lives in the basement and serves as the building’s heart and soul. The patina of magic realism enlivens the slice-of-lifey material: an old woman dreams of making a grand exit with the help of her immigrant caretaker, a bored housewife makes a big show of cheating on her workaholic husband where everyone can see, a teenager dreams of running off to meet a rock star, a misanthropic horticulturalist alternately accepts and rejects the advances of a promiscuous and attractive neighbor, a boy whose parents are freshly and unpleasantly separated escapes into superheroes and visions of the rabbit himself. It’s familiar material.

Elsewhere, there be links:

—Speaking of Jeet, he has a new review of Alison Bechdel’s Are You My Mother? at the Globe & Mail, and recommends another one of Chester Brown’s Ed the Happy Clown at Maclean’s.

—The always-worth-reading Christopher Butcher reacts to the disconcerting new trend of professional publishers resorting to online fundraisers such as Kickstarter. [Argh. I forgot that Dan mentioned this yesterday. But two can play at this game, because yesterday, he stole my Sendak/NYRB link from Friday. So... I guess that's twice as bad, actually. Anyway, the Butcher post is still definitely worth a look.]

—Salon has reprinted a Steven Heller article chronicling the history of Italian comics, with a particular emphasis on photo-comics.

—John Adcock digs up another valuable find, this time from a dusty 1917 issue of Cartoons magazine: “How the Comickers Regard Their Characters”.

—Matt Seneca, whose enthusiasm is never set lower than 11, praises the genuinely underappreciated Greg Irons, and his Light.

—Missed it/not comics: Terry Gilliam has listed his ten favorite animated films.


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