Slob Story

Today on the site, Ryan Holmberg is here with another of his excellent manga analyses, this time, an examination of the work of Yuichi Yokoyama and his use of audiovisual abstraction.

When composed in a certain way, a comic book is something like a Walkman. Of course, comic books (by which I mean any bound volume in the comics medium) lack electronics, and there is no drawn and printed software independent of the paper hardware. You’d be hard-pressed to pick up actual sound waves from its drawn images. Nor will you find a jack to plug in headphones and pipe a soundscape into your ears. Yet no one can deny sound’s place in comics, with their BIF BAM BOOM, pulverizing crashes, and blood-curdling screeches. You, the reader, are the hardware. The speakers are lodged in your throat. Leakage may occur from your mouth, though most of us are capable of keeping the sounds to ourselves, or at least to a soft lip murmur.

Since dialogue, vocal outbursts, and sound effects are represented only visually in comic books – that is, through writing or emanata – it is not the ears but the eyes that are the comic book readers’ audio tape heads. In that sense, the Walkman is the wrong technology. We need something with a moving image or simulation thereof. Old portable handheld televisions once were the best analogues, or perhaps the Game Boy and its spinoffs, though now we have smartphones and thus the entire audiovisual universe in the palm of our hands. Maybe comic books are precocious in that sense: They were our first portable audiovisual entertainments. They were the first medium to allow us to transport a conjunction of sound and movement (albeit virtual) from one room to the other, from indoors to outdoors, from home to coffee shop or train seat.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. After 62 years, The Village Voice is ending its print edition. Among many other things, the Voice has historically been known for its association with many prominent cartoonists, from Jules Feiffer to Lynda Barry to Tom Tomorrow to, currently, Lauren Weinstein. Apparently, it will continue to publish online. Esquire has gathered short statements from various prominent former Voice staffers, including the aforementioned Tomorrow:

It's incredibly trite to say it, but it really does feel like the end of an era. But the Voice is a symbol. The Voice is huge. I don't live in New York anymore, so I don't read it regularly, but it feels like I just got the news somebody I used to be involved with passed away.

—Interviews & Profiles. Speaking of Lauren Weinstein, she is the subject of a good but short and very clickbaity-titled interview at Kveller.

How do you balance working, having a family, and creating art without going crazy?

I am crazy! I have no balance. I work on art like a maniac but I do it because i truly love it. I am also a slob. The best times are when I’m really present doing one thing or another. Like going on a walk with my daughters and really being there and not checking my phone.

Also, I have learned the fine art of phoning it in… that just forcing yourself to finish something and get it out into the world is often enough.

—Misc. Gilbert Hernandez has found an old cache of the original self-published first issue of Love & Rockets, and is selling them for $200 apiece.

Finally, Mike Lynch has gathered a bunch of old Jerry Lewis-related comic book covers.