Thursday, August 20, 2009

Gern Blanston

(From Daniel Clowes' Ice Haven. Enlarge!)

Both justifications and mock-justifications for comics are by now de rigueur, pro forma, old hat, a dime a dozen. They go hand-in-hand with comics creation like parsley and sage. It's good to see Clowes take a piss out of the old thing. And on the next page is the name he settles on:

Monday, August 17, 2009

Paid The Cost To Be The Boss

(From that Twain book. Art by Daniel Carter Beard.)

The step-like bottom tempts me to read this illustration from left to right (or southeasterly): from sky effect to explosion to audience reaction to caption.

Stretch your comic imagination.

Friday, August 14, 2009


(From Ex Machina #6 by Vaughan and Harris.)

Mayor Hundred can't envision old New York's cause for alarm over the issue of gay marriage: "So?" This full page takes place before that response and bizarrely repeats the same image in each panel, albeit with digital modifications: zooms, crops, the third panel's de-centering. Since Harris is not drawing discernible facial shifts and bodily tics, we're not reading Hundred for any new signs of thought beyond what he's already given us: locked hands, narrowed eyes, slightly furrowed brow. Nothing changes on his face during the sequence; zero physical closure is required. The modifications in the other panels corroborate our perceptions of iconography: yup, he's biting his lip he's so deep in thought. The duplication is for drama: to simulate the attention on Hundred and the tension he's causing. (We have to flip the page to get his answer.) But the sequence also gives us the illusion that time is passing and that Hundred is taking this time to formulate a response, to wonder why he has to deal with smallmindedness, etc. Mental closure could take us ages.

The wheels are turning. The wheels are not turning. (Apologies to Samuel Beckett.)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


(From Kevin Huizenga's Curses. Click to.)

Suspense is a well duh for silence. Drop talk, drop music. Body language time. A creeping pace. Observation meets motion. Close inspection prompts revelation of the thing. I get a laugh at the whimsical aspects of all this darkness: the petite question mark in panel one, the jumping hat in panel two, and the only thing that could be said to be revealed (on this page anyways) is the reverend's single eye!


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Herpes Not So Simplex

(From Matt Groening's Love is Hell.) Most of Groening's strips are lists spread across panels going for the ever-reliable cumulative effect. In this single panel -- this cartoon -- you'll probably read the "mmm nice" last. It's less of a restriction than the others but still banal as hell. There's just no hope.

Poor Kordax

(From Aquaman #25 by Peter David and Marty Egeland.)

File under: woof.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

You Said It

(From Seth's George Sprott, 1894-1975: A Picture Novella.)

I prefer this one:
It's the wry expression staggered over two panels. It's the withdrawal from George in panel two. It's the shut door that either confirms the silence or confirms our distance. It's the smudge on the glass of backwards lettering. It's the cigarette doing the speaking. It's the act of smoking. It's the satisfied loneliness.


(From Northlanders #3 by Brian Wood and Davide Gianfelice.)

Sven searches, strikes! He fishes. Water splashes. The loosed water has pretty layers and colors. There is a look on Sven's face. Two looks because there are two Svens: hovering Sven and jabbing Sven. Sven performs a task over the course of both panels, not simply in one. Fishing is the sum of actions.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

August Hobbyhorses

I think a good portion of this month's posts will be about Comedy or Silence. Already begun the first, after a fashion, but would like to look at: lightheartedness, bait and switch, Mutt and Jeff. We'll also see if I can avoid resorting to Michael Kupperman. And silence: the no-words type and others.

Let's start with both.
(Attributed to Rolf Pielke from The World on Sunday collection.)