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The Mund

Today:

Brad Mckay speaks to Joe Ollman about The Abominable Mr. Seabrook, and related matters.

And now we have The Abominable Mr. Seabrook, a long-form graphic novel biography that focuses on a very complex and tragically human character that you sort of pulled from the dustbin of history, really. It seems like you’re playing outside of your sandbox here a little bit. Can you explain how you came to this project? 

It was just a thing I was researching in the background for years. Seabrook had this really weird, interesting life—he knew all these famous artists and writers—and I was surprised that I’d never heard of him before. So I just started researching him, then bought all his books and I thought he was a very good writer.

When did this happen?

I looked at my notes recently and the first ones I had about him were from 2006. So that’s 10 years that I had it kind of in the background, five years of those being committed to writing and drawing this thing nearly full-time. But it wasn’t much of a conscious decision. I toyed with the idea of doing it, and then I had a script written, and then all the research was done, so I was like “I guess there’s no excuse not to do it.” It was daunting though, because it was big. 300 pages, y’know. I discovered Seabrook in an anthology of zombie stories edited by Peter Haining called Zombie. The story was “Dead Men Working in a Cane Field”, a famous Seabrook story that’s an ostensibly true story of these zombies working cutting cane—it’s great. But what really interested me the bio of Seabrook in the book which gave me a glimpse of this guy; all the people that he knew and his life, plus he was an alcoholic, a cannibal, a bondage freak, and all this stuff.

Elsewhere:

Chris Mautner writes really nicely about Demon Vol. 1, a great book from one my favorite cartoonists, Jason Shiga. I think, as far as I can tell, that Shiga has nicely escaped the comic world orbit into some kind of regular world success, which is awesome for the world.

Marty Two Bulls Sr. talks to Alex Dueben about his editorial cartooning, his other projects, and journalism. He’s the finalist for the Herblock which is this week.

More on the only important comics-related event this weekend. Seriously  — I got an email listing comics events this weekend and I nearly threw myself in front of a bus just to stop the agonizing boredom it brought on. Wegman and Thurber, take me away! Make me laugh. Make me feel. Feel me up! Anything to distract me from endless panel discussions about anthologies, librarians, and dead people. Maybe comic book conventions should go back to showing old video tapes of anime and 1970s Marvel TV shows. Also, can we go back to calling them comic book conventions? I keep writing and deleting thoughts in this space — mostly questions I have about various people and ideas… and the longer Tim stays on paternity leave the less restraint I’ll have. That kid better grow up fast! Anyhow, here’s the good news:

William Wegman, 2017, after a drawing by Matthew Thurber.


“No Maine Is An Island”
William Wegman & Matthew Thurber
Opening April 1, 7 to 10pm
 

William Wegman and James Thurber, together at last. What’s that? A filing clerk sent the invitation to the wrong Thurber. Too late to retract the invitation now. But when Wegman met Thurber he was crestfallen. That is, he dropped a tube of toothpaste into the toilet. I don’t know why they decided to meet in the bathroom. Maybe it seemed like gender-neutral territory. Foolish Thurber left some Wegmans too close to a scented candle and…whoops.

It seems they’ve started to copy each other’s drawings. To become the other’s ‘evil twin’…but let’s not be naive here!…a ‘good’ drawing? an ‘evil drawing’? No such thing exists…we all know that. We…did you close the chimney flue? You fool, don’t you know bad drawings can crawl down the chimney like bats, like leopards, like Wegmans and Thurbers???? There is however, possibly at this moment in your unattended studio washroom a witch, laughing at you in the mirror. Come on now…enough is enough. Are you being serious? Or are you just halving Fun?

 
“No Maine Is An Island” includes new call-and-response drawings by William Wegman (b.1943) and Matthew Thurber (b.1977), as well as a selection of Wegman drawings from the ’70s and ’80s. The exhibition remains on view, by appointment, through May 7.
 
Teen Party is located at 874 Greene Avenue, Apt 2A, in Brooklyn.  
 
 
 

12 Responses to The Mund

  1. Frank Santoro says:

    The first time I saw Videodrome it was just playing on a tv Bill Boichel set up at a comic book convention in a hotel in 1985

  2. You don’t want to hear Sammy Harkham (“a national treasure”—Dan Nadel) talk about anthologies?

  3. Dan Nadel says:

    No. He’s staying at my house this weekend. I’ll hear enough outta him.

  4. Dan Nadel says:

    Generally speaking, I just don’t like panel discussions. I guess. I like staying home.

  5. David Kerwin says:

    Thurber is a smart cartoonist but not a pleasing one. He’s like head music, not body music. The best and most lasting art generally combines the two. Just a thought.

    But Wegman? He’s a canine Anne Geddes. Okay: Dogs. We get it. Anything else? Don’t tell me his “other work” is what really counts.

    Also, digressing like Peter David (stroke out!,) it’s pretty obvious Nadel has been phoning in this blogging job for several years now. His posts are often late (or days missed entirely) and short and nepotistic, while Hodler’s are lengthy and broad. Every time one of the cartoonists he formerly published so much as break wind, they get a write up here, while often other relatively important comics news is nary mentioned.

    I get it, everyone has their interests. And you’ve got another full time gig, and a family. But stop kidding yourself and us. Just write an editorial or review once a week, rather than continue a position of supposed authority or knowledge of the field. Hey man, I agree with your take 90% of the time, the bit about No-Time Comics was great (but would have been better expanded to withering length.) It’s just, who wants to see another link to CF’s latest one-man jug-band fart chamber installation, or another Karl Wirsum joint?

  6. Dan Nadel says:

    David,
    Well said. I happen to like Wegman a lot — all of Wegman, really. Dogs, paintings, drawings, films, the whole thing. And you may not be wrong about Thurber, but I take what I can, when I can get it. I don’t disagree with you about my blogging. I try to catch the big stories and yes, I do enjoy supporting my little buddies, but perhaps it’s too much, and so I’ll curtail it. Blogging is not what I’m into doing, and we’ve tried to figure out other avenues… much of the work of this site is just getting all the content up and running day after day, and blogging falls by the wayside (that said, I’m rarely late, and have only dropped a few days) for me. Tim is definitely better at it! However, I don’t think, given the response by the field to TCJ, anyone thinks we are authorities! Seriously. Anyhow, I appreciate the feedback, and I’ll put some thought into it.

  7. Ian Harker says:

    “Whoa whoa whoa, stop the clock”

  8. Henry Joseph Nasiff Jr. says:

    Ian Harker–
    This is Fantagraphics. You should have said “FBI, everybody down on the ground, get down!”

  9. Jones, one of the Jones boys says:

    Giving a calm and thoughtful response to negative criticism is itself a sign that you’re doing the internet wrong, Dan. That’s not how you’re supposed to do it.

  10. Brad Brooks says:

    Keep on keeping on Dan. I enjoy your writing and the frequency of your postings is neither here nor there.

  11. RBronstein says:

    Dan’s response sounds more like a case of stockholm syndrome to me.

    I love this site. And when the daily posts are just links, fugget, they still more than justify their thankless function. And I happen to PREFER Nadel’s posts to Holder’s. They’re spikier, less congenial, more myopic. Who the fuck goes to the journal looking for range and objectivity anyway?

    Dan, do yourself a favor and do not “put some thought into it”.

  12. Dan Nadel says:

    @RBronstein: I respect that. I was feeling sensitive!
    @Austin English: You have a point, sort of, but I kinda think that Bayer’s previous work, which I also never really liked, is just a DIY version of what he’s doing now. Like Bernie Wrightson’s fanzine work before Swamp Thing or something. It’s the same junk. Nothing personal. Just not my thing.

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