It’s great to have Frank Santoro back, writing his Riff Raff column. This week, he writes about Chris Ware’s Building Stories in his inimitably specific style:
I appreciate the way Ware is using the center of the page and sometimes the spread to focus the eye. Again, this is something that he’s been doing forever — it’s just that he is expanding his use of it and because of the assembly of Building Stories, the contrasting use of the center in each format really came through. The “all at once” reading of the spread feels more approachable within the framework of the whole. Meaning some issues of Acme start with “all at once” reading or start with “traditional” reading; there have always been different approaches to reading in his work. Yet with the structure of Building Stories I often found myself starting in the center of the spread or page, depending on where my eye took me, and would just go with it instead of stopping myself and starting in the upper left hand corner. Even if I was fast forwarding the story it didn’t feel “wrong” like I was reading the last lines of a novel first & spoiling the ending.
One sequence that comes to mind is when our hero is drawing the landscape out her window. …
—Comics & Politics. I missed it, but Matt Bors was interviewed about the state of political cartooning on CNN:
Derf Backderf, who isn’t precisely a political cartoonist but often tackles politics in his work, announced via Twitter that he’s been laid off from the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
And Hayao Miyazaki has been criticized in Japan because his new film has been deemed by some to be insufficiently patriotic.
—Reviews. Gabriel Winslow-Yost writes about CF’s new Mere for the New York Review of Books. Nicky Tiso writes about Lisa Pearson’s It Is Almost That> at HTMLGiant.
—Conventions. The New York Times came back from Comic-Con with a report on the rise of digital publishing companies like comiXology. Rob Salkowitz, who wrote a book on Comic-Con, comes back from this year’s show believing its cultural impact may have plateaued. Gabe Fowler’s Desert Island Tumblr page is hosting an announcement.
—Interviews. Michael Cavna at the Washington Post interviewed Joe Sinnott after he entered the Eisner Hall of Fame. Marc Singer reports on a Grant Morrison public appearance in Scotland he helped host.
—Culture. Domingos Isabelinho writes about a special comics-focused 1971 issue of the Journal of Popular Culture. Scott Esposito writes about the recent rediscovery of John Williams’s novel Stoner in a way that will likely resonate to many comics fans.