Today we have the first installment of Matthias Wivel's new column, Common Currency, which will focus on European comics. Matthias looks at the latest volume of Fabrice Neaud's diary comics, which uses American superheroes in an unusual fashion:
What we have here, then, is something almost unthinkable in American comics, at least until recently: an artist working at the most personal level, taking reality-based comics as far as anyone, and in doing so invoking the power of Galactus. And not the palatable original version from the work of the character’s creators, Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, but rather the one made by Byrne, an artist almost uniformly (if unfairly) reviled in American alternative comics. (Neaud also brings in Jim Starlin’s ’90s work, which is held in even lower esteem.) “Denis” goes on to tease out the meaning of the blank, white panel backgrounds used as often by Byrne as almost to constitute an auteurial signature. He describes this “plane of manifestations,” in which the celestial entities of the Marvel Universe occasionally appear, as a space “before creation”—a potent metaphor for pre-conceptual reality that Neaud, as explained, attempts subtly to harness in how he writes his life in comics.
Congrats to Lowlife cartoonist Ed Brubaker on selling a couple of TV pilots. Kidding aside, I really enjoy his comics writing and it'll be nice to see his sensibility in a different medium.
And odd news: Stan Lee Media, which the man himself is no longer involved with, is suing Marvel for ownership of various characters. Good times, everyone!
Here are some beautiful costume and period studies by classic illustrator E.F. Ward.
Steve Bissette shows us what's been on his drawing board.
And it's old pal Jon Vermilyea showing his stuff on the Juxtapoz site.