This week I asked Angie Wang and Charles Forsman for reports.
Angie just self published a mini-comic called Girl Apocalypse - which totally made my head spin - and is an all around great drawer. You might know her work from Thickness #2. I met her one year at APE and her original art was just beautiful to behold. Super thin lines. Great stuff.
Charles has been busy with his new publishing aggregation - Oily Comics. I just ordered all of the issues of his mini comic, The End Of The Fucking World from Oily. It's a fun read. Very direct. Superbly paced and sequenced. Great simple format. He is publishing works from other artists in the same format - I look forward to checking them out.
ANGIE WANG: I just put out Girl Apocalypse, which was an experiment in combining a 6 panel grid structure with the decompressed pacing of shoujo/horror manga. I saw that comics that used a 6-panel structure tended to also use straightforward theater-like staging (like Jason) or information-dense panels (like Joann Sfar), and I wanted to see how it would work with the black text-only panels and the subjective, sensory impressions of scenery/objects common in manga.
I drew each figure/object individually, straight to ink, then scanned them all in and placed them in the panels digitally, which allowed me to ink five pages' worth of content in a day at peak speed. This method made using mixed media (charcoal, etc) easier, and it facilitated some compositional choices that don't come naturally to me within the frame of a panel.
You can read all of Girl Apocalypse online here: http://www.okchickadee.com/comics/girl-apocalypse/ by clicking "Next" to flip the pages.
And right now I'm working on two things: my Nutcracker and the Mouse King graphic novel adaptation for First Second, and a 12-page comic for a GARO tribute anthology that I'm really excited about. Both of them use pacing techniques inspired by my two favorite manga artists, Susumu Katsumata and Shimura Takako, along with other tricks I picked up from horror manga.
Below is a page from the 12-pager for the Garo tribute. It's still a work in progress but I'm going to try to have it finished by July 25th. Oh, and it's a tribute to Susumu Katsumata, which is why it has an irregular panel structure and it reads right to left--not that it matters much since I haven't placed the text yet.
Snake Oil>Snake Oily>Oily>Oily Comics
CHUCK FORSMAN: Hello. Frank asked me to take a turn here and talk about Oily Comics and some of its artists. Oily Comics is a tiny “publishing company” that I started this year. It grew out of a seed planted in me by my friend Max de Radigués, whom I will talk more about later. I started doing this mini-comic called The End of the Fucking World in September 2011 inspired by Max’s comic Moose. A 12 page black and white mini-comic may not be a very new or novel format but for whatever reason I could suddenly see clearly what a mini-comic could provide. It took a lot of self imposed pressure off of my shoulders and brought back that disposable feeling in my mind. In a roundabout way, the format gave me permission to draw a comic for no one but myself. Yeah, this kind of thinking is clichéd but there is a real reason for that...it’s true. Soon I convinced my partner in life and comics, Melissa Mendes, to start her series Lou using this format. And then I asked Max if I could print and sell Moose in America for him. And that is basically how Oily came to be. Since then I’ve invited more artists to make mini-comics and let me print and sell them.
I met Aaron during my time at The Center for Cartoon Studies. He was in the class just after mine. I immediately pegged Aaron as a smart guy who had a wide knowledge of comics. He has come to develop a language in his cartooning that I sometimes for the life of me cannot figure out. Rob Clough has done wonderful reviews of Aaron’s past work and has dissected Aaron’s comics much better than I ever could. For Oily, Aaron is starting a series called Word & Voice which will run for 4 issues. The first issue is probably the most straightforward storytelling that I’ve seen Cockle do. It’s a quick introduction to a deserted city with a masked main character who does not speak until the last page. Aaron is working with lots of black and stiff lines on the page. But there is something new I see creeping into the way he draws his characters in motion. There is almost an animator’s touch present that I also get when I read Damien Jay’s comics.
Some may recognize Jessica’s name. She has been an employee at Drawn & Quarterly for many years. She probably sold you a book at a convention. But I am here to tell you that Jessica is also an interesting artist and I’ll just say it, she’s really fucking funny. Somehow I convinced Jessica to let me print a zine called My Sincerest Apologies. It’s got a cat on the cover and might make your grandmother blush. Inside there are 8 hand written apologies accompanied by painterly ink wash drawings. If someone really said these things to you it could only be followed by an awkward pause.
Max de Radigués
Max is a Belgian cartoonist that I also met at CCS. He was brought in for a fellowship and during the year he became a kind of mentor to me. I don’t think I have ever told him as such but he is very dear to me and has helped me become the cartoonist I am now in ways that I didn’t recognize until much later. It’s like when your parents yell at you when you are a teenager about the world and you just aren’t hearing them at the time, and then years later you finally get it. It’s kind of like that. Max’s steady work ethic is something that I still think about when I am lying around watching Miami Vice. He is also a believer in getting pages done and not being a perfectionist. That was a big lesson for me: to be able to just cartoon without getting caught in the details. And the belief that the next page will be better than the last and to not look back too much. Max has done a bunch of comics but the one that Oily puts out in America is Moose. Moose is about a teenager in high school dealing with a bully. Max has a very clear line but to me it doesn’t have that slick european clear-line thing. If it does but it is much more rough. You can tell Max has worked hard to be able to tell a story with clarity and he is the first to tell you that he was not born with a talent to draw. A quality that I find frequently in my favorite cartoonists.
I’ve been writing back and forth with Andy recently getting ready for his comic called Background. In one email he pointed out that I had spelled his name “Any Burkholder” on the Oily webstore. But he said it didn’t matter because “any Burkholder will do.” This made me laugh in the kind of way my father made me laugh. Burkholder is the artist on this list I probably know the least about. I have only met him once in real life and it was brief. Dane Martin first brought Andy to my attention and described him as someone who was trained to draw like an architect but chooses to draw like a retard. I think it is clear when you look at his work that he knows what he is doing. Burkholders comics can be a visual challenge at times. An aspect that usually causes me to put something down but in this case I want to solve the puzzle. Andy also does this great thing where he shifts from abstracted to detailed and ugly from panel to panel.