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Archive for ‘Cartoonists’


I Didn’t Even Know this Guy Existed

Over at Jordan Crane’s What Things Do, they’ve been running a ton of old art by Abner Dean, a mid-20th Century illustrator. (I’m assuming it’s in the public domain or they have permission, it’s clearly not in print anymore).

Pretty crazy stuff, but definitely worth a look—and worth a buy if you can find a used copy of the original.

Here’s the big page. Long load times and probably NSFW, but a real mindbender.

It reminded me of William Steig’s brilliant About People. Also recommended and similarly obscure now, despite its author’s popular kids’ books.

Great imaginations get forgotten far too often.

Anyone know of other largely forgotten artists whose works you loved?


Cartoonists: You Can Do This!

If you can write and draw comics, you can give a great presentation.

Presentation software is incredibly easy to learn. Pick good pictures and some stories to go with them and you’re set. If you’re a little shy, just read one of your comics; maybe one or two panels per slide.

Dave McKean isn’t Steve Jobs or anything in the above video. But compared to 99% of all presenters, he’s mesmerizing. Why? Because his work speaks for itself. And Dave has lots and lots of cool pictures and stories to share.

Pictures blow bulleted lists out of the water, and cartoonist know pictures. Why don’t more of us do this?


London’s Hypercomics Home

If you love creative, cutting edge comics and can be in London anytime from today until September 26, don’t miss the Hypercomics exhibit The Shapes of Comics to Come at the Pump House Gallery in London’s Battersea Park. It sounds (and looks) like a fascinating, site-specific exploration of comics’ outer boundaries. Admission is Free.

Curated by “The Man at the Crossroads” himself, Paul Gravett, and featuring the prodigious brains of artists like Dave McKean and Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, this is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

(And one that I’ll miss, dammit, so somebody take lots of pictures if you can!)

The exhibit is part of the Comica Festival. I stopped by and caught a bit of last year’s and had a great time. Check out their main site for more details on upcoming events.


Now That’s an Experimental Comic

You know you’re entering strange territory when the first line in the “About” paragraph is an Apollinaire quote.

For that matter, you know you’re in strange territory when the artist in question is veteran DIY avante garde comics artist Warren Craghead.

From the Download page at Diffusion.uk:

A Sort of Autobiography is a possible story of Warren Craghead’s life projected both back to his birth in 1970 and forward to his death in 2060. Each decade of his life is represented by a storycube as a rough self-portrait. Drawn in various styles and encoded in different ways, the cubes tell a story of transformations – of mark-making, of physical appearance and of a life seen through drawing.

Via Matthew Brady who has some smart observations on the project.


Small “d”

Whoops. Kind of overdid it in the comments section for Thursday’s post (see my long comment near the bottom for an explanation).

Ah, democracy…

Ivy always liked Jackson best in the Hall of Presidents. What a wiseguy.


Congratulations…

…to Dylan Meconis on the recent release of her gorgeous Family Man collection. (Buy here).

…to Larry Marder on becoming the new president of the CBLDF. (Donate here).

…to California on at least temporarily overturning Prop 8. (Marry here).


Are there Any Comics Left that Haven’t Become Movies?

Well, okay, there are lots left I suppose (including Zot!, for that matter, though that’s just ’cause I’ve been picky).

Funny thing is, Tamara Drewe by Posy Simmonds, while it may seem like it came out of left field, is actually a perfect choice for the screen.

Simmonds’ graphic novel (originally serialized in the Guardian) is a sheer delight, and with a terrific cast and crew on board, I wouldn’t be surprised if the movie is just as much fun.

If you haven’t read the book, get it now. Then you can pretend that you read it long before you even heard about the movie, and brag about it at cocktail parties.

Though, you may have to insist more than once that “Yes. Yes it really was a comic first!


Athens, Georgia and Mr. Weing

One of the comics I read on my way home was Drew Weing’s Set to Sea. I’d been seeing pages of it on Drew’s website for awhile but reading it in book form was a delight. Highly recommended.

If you’re in Athens, Georgia tonight (Friday), you can get a copy from the author himself at the release party from 5-8pm.

Funny thing is, when I thought to make a remark on how Athens is landlocked and checked Google maps to see if Athens was indeed landlocked, I discovered that there is no label in Google Maps for Athens!

See for yourself.

WTF, Google Maps??

[UPDATE: There actually is an explanation—and it's not what you might expect.]


What Things Do

Jordan Crane has a new website up filled with great comics called What Things Do.

It includes stories by Crane himself, as well as art by USS Catastrophe alumni like Kevin Huizenga, Ted May, and Dan Zettwoch.

Crane’s recent Vicissitude (above) is a good place to start. Cool storytelling and a zillion well-placed spot blacks.

[Thanks to Alec Longstreth for catching this morning's crazy typo, "Justin" Crane. Oy. Senior moment there.]


The House that Patience Built

Back home from Comic-Con!

It felt like a very forward-looking Con to me, despite all the worries about impending doom in various markets.

Both Sky and Winter were among the thousand or so led by Edgar Wright out of Hall H on Thursday to see one of the first public screenings of you-know-what. Have yet to meet anyone who didn’t love it.

The four panels I was on went off without a hitch. After the fourth on Saturday, I talked for a long time to two teams of iPad comics creators about the challenges of that new platform, and was reminded of how young the mobile space still is.

Speaking of young, Ivy and I got to meet Juni Kibuishi for the first time (above—and yes, Ivy’s hair is purple again!). I watched his eyes watching everything and was reminded how unpredictable each generation of creative minds can be.

Raina Telgemeier’s terrific all-ages Smile sold out at the show. We talked at the First Second dinner about the dozen other subjects that deserved the comics treatment and what a difference Raina’s personal touch and wise storytelling choices made.

Of the hundred thousand plus who descended on San Diego last week, maybe a few hundred were aspiring young artists or writers making the journey for the first time.

It’s easy for a dedicated young artist to believe that if their work is good enough, it’ll rise and rise until they’re the ones at the Hall H microphones (or at least Ballroom 20) and it’s their characters being painted on the side of the Bayfront Hilton.

It’s also easy, after a few years of frustration, for even the best young cartoonists to believe that the system is rigged, and no matter how hard they work, there’ll be enormous obstacles put in their way that have nothing to do with the quality of their stories and art.

Both are true, of course. Good work will rise to its level AND the system is rigged. Which is why, if you want to find a common denominator among the success stories at San Diego, it’s patience.

For example, bookstore buyers don’t always understand Telgemeier’s Smile. The children’s comics market in bookstores is still immature and the obstacles for new authors are numerous and frustrating. But as soon as kids actually got their hands on the book (often through book fairs), it became a big hit. The book itself made all the difference.

One of the iPad hopefuls I talked to was Robert Berry whose Ulysses adaptation was originally rejected by Apple for nudity. It’s a smart, well-designed work that was nearly killed in the cradle, but its future actually looks pretty bright now that Apple was embarrassed into reversing their decision. Joyce’s legacy may deserve part credit for the reversal, but the quality of the work will carry it from here on.

And Scott Pilgrim for YEARS couldn’t get shelved in one of the biggest book chains in America. The “system” was truly rigged against it. Yet here we are.

Will Eisner insisted again and again that CONTENT would always drive the industry and the art form. No matter what happened at the retail, publishing, or distribution levels; it was what happened on the page and in the panels that would make all the difference.

I believe it more every year.