Blue Rooms

Today Julia Gfrorer, who just released an excellent and terrifying new comic with fellow TCJ-contributor Sean T. Collins, brings us a column about Aidan Koch's recent work, first serialized over at Comics Workbook. Aidan has also just released a new book I'm quite fond of entitled Impressions.

Some languages depend more heavily than others on sequence to convey meaning. Word order in Latin is fungible because each word in a sentence is inflected to denote its role: “Agricolam amat puella” and “puella amat agricolam” are the same, since the accusative “-am” ending indicates the recipient of the verb’s action. In English, word order is more important: “the girl loves the farmer” and “the farmer loves the girl” describe different matters entirely. The syntax of comics is expressed through order, proximity, and repetition: we learn what an image is doing on the page almost entirely by examining its position among its neighbors. Not all cartoonists draw attention to this–in fact many labor to make the psychological interval between each panel as unobtrusive as possible. In Aidan Koch’s “Configurations”the interval is central, impossible for the reader to ignore, and in a sense that’s what this comic is actually about: the struggle to glean narrative significance amid disparate objects and incidents, the search for a meaningful story arc within seemingly random events.

Ok, what else?

If you're in NYC tonight, come see me and Norman Hathaway at 7 pm at The Strand. We will chat about our new book Dorothy and Otis: Designing the American Dream, in which we document the life stories of two fantastic modernist designers responsible for everything from The Cubs uniforms to Wrigley's Gum packaging to Catalina Island. Dorothy Shepard was the first major female modernist designer in North America. Experience the love! Need more convincing? Here's the best piece I've read about what we were trying to do with the book, courtesy of our pals over at The Paris Review.

More Paris Review: TCJ-contributor Nicole Rudick on Megahex.

Nice interview and article on Zap over at the Chicago Tribune.

I like this series on digital lettering by lettering maestro Todd Klein.

And here's a fine interview by Tom Spurgeon with the perennially underrated cartoonist Eric Haven, who has a new book out from Adhouse.