Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Best of 2010: special mention

Daytripper by Ba and Moon. To be honest, I could have used a lot more humor. That aside, it struck me as a sort of Little Nemo in Slumberland homage. McCay's single page structure is dilated over the course of an issue: a pattern of ever-increasing nearness (to a goal, a girl, a revelation) followed by spectacular/mundane catastrophe at the end (imagine if every Nemo or Rarebit Fiend strip ended with an obituary). The series plays out way more optimistically than McCay's haunted pattern. Above is only the first page of issue two and is the easiest formal echo of McCay: bottom right wake up, orders to go and find the dream girl.

For kicks, here's the bottom of a 1906 Nemo strip, which I got from the great Comic Strip Library. Mundane catastrophe and wake up. But, daddy, I wanna be the princess' new playmate!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Best of 2010: finds, part three

From Pascal Doury's "Paul" from RAW volume 2 issue 1 from Rust Belt Books in Buffalo. Certainly the most hectic thing.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Best of 2010: finds, part two

R. O. Blechman, more Blechman, his Book of Jonah.
Just before the whale.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Best of 2010: finds

Ethyl Corporation ad from The Saturday Evening Post, May 22, 1944. O, "oceans of gasoline," you are lackadaisical poetry and environmental degradation rolled into one. You could learn a little something, CAPP ads.

Bought outside Humboldt University in Berlin this summer: U-Comix Sonderband 28 von Rick Geary from 1980. Looks like it's one of Geary's earliest collections of comics, reprinted and translated (I assume translated -- he's from Missouri). A forty page meditation called "Television" mixes ornate and grotesque studies of tv's architecture, attractiveness, culture, and solitude. Way better than Batman Forever's mid-nineties brain suction tv parody thing.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Best of 2010: misc

Kate Beaton, "Great Gatsbys": rest of the series here.

Gabrielle Bell, "How I Make My Comics": full strip here.

Dan Zettwoch, "Gets Cute!" (among others).

Best of 2010

Jim Woodring, Weathercraft: at last, comics free of bland words.

Brendan McCarthy, Spider-Man: Fever: could have been another Weathercraft.

Naoki Urasawa, Pluto volumes 1-8: the simple question of robot or human? robot or human or robot or human orobotorhumanorobotor...

James Sturm, Market Day: best two pages all year.

Grant Morrison, Batman & Robin 13-16, Return of Bruce Wayne 5-6, and Batman, Inc 1: Morrison as Descartes, breaking down all that's false and building up what's clear and distinct.

Monday, August 16, 2010

What's That?!

(The Book of Mr. Natural. Crumb's.) Clearly I'm sabotaging this enterprise. One a month. But there is hope on the horizon. Unspecified hope!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Cards

R.I.P. (Art by Ty Templeton.)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Self-P, part eight

Self-P, part seven

Black hole: artistperson uses two mirrors to see herself. Artistperson blocks herself (the black -- well, black to us -- back of the hand mirror) and triangulates herself (panel three -- but also in panel five when the hand mirror is put down and artistperson's friend Marci is the third -- but, wait a second, artistBurns is also there...). Artistperson has to spread herself thin to get at herself: "It was too much. Everything was suddenly too much."

Monday, May 24, 2010

Self-P, part six

Charles Burns. Black Hole. Charles Burns.

Friday, May 21, 2010


CF's Powr Mastrs Vol 1 reads like nothing else. High praise.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


More on the year 1988 soon. (Image from Arlen Schumer.)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Self-P, part five

Plump ironies: John Stanley's Judy Junior bosses herself into a self-portrait after she fails to compose a self-portrait of Jimmy Fuzzi.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Relevant Page

Can't believe I'm stooping to this intro. In a tweet from April 3, I wrote, "Unbelievable: reading a comic that doesn't have sex, tits, drugs, swears, ennui, violence, or superheroes. No, wait, there's a fuck."

I was kidding about the disruptive fuck; that's just a punchline fuck.

My archival tweet refers to my elated discovery of Dan Zettwoch's "Spirit Duplicator" comics in The Best American Comics 2009.
Simply by virtue of his choice of subject matter -- fictional church bulletins across decades -- Zettwoch ensures that the precious and predictable litany of North American comic virtues goes untouched.

Thank God.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Relevant Panels

The Best American Comics 2009: Tim Hensley, Gary Panter, Kevin Huizenga, Kaz.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Self-P, part four

Case in point: Dan Clowes' self-portrait is the second-to-last component of his new book Wilson. Meta-Clowes writes, "He finds it uncomfortable to hand-letter information about himself in the third person but feels the need to fill this space with a block of text for design purposes." Exactly: need and design.

Douglas Wolk notes, "Paul Gravett observed that 'Wilson' is a partial anagram of Daniel Clowes (like 'Enid Coleslaw' from Ghost World)--maybe this is some kind of nastily refracted self-portrait, and in fact the final images we see of Wilson are very close to Clowes' actual self-portrait a few pages later" (via Techland). The image above teases loose continuity with the comic vignettes (he's like his character) and subsequently teases loose correspondence with real life Clowes (his character's like him).

This publishing necessity, however, makes me wary of both because the bio becomes a new focal point for sabotaging sincerity. Even though it's jokey, it does exactly what it needs to do: dates, location, family, works, this work. The midsection of humor attests to the fact that we the audience love Clowes' sensibility, that we will follow Clowes anywhere, and more importantly that peevish Wilson, however Clowesian he may be, is but a temporary manifestation of our beloved clown Clowes. Long live the string-puller, no matter how short-lived the pulled was.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Self-P, part three

From the copy to Omar Calabrese's Artists' Self-Portraits:

"At first a self-portrait was hidden in a narrative painting: an artist would paint his image as part of a crowd scene, for example, or as a mythological figure. On the other extreme, once the genre was accepted, it was practiced by some artists—Rembrandt, van Gogh, Munch, and Dali, for instance—as almost an obsession."
For these comic book book jackets, hiding is not an option. These artists, no matter what measure of control they assert in their portraits, are winners in the publishing world: a-mythological, unflayed, nowhere near a crowd. The book precedes the self-portrait; the self-portrait is the book's penultimate manifestation. Joe Schmoe gets no. Zinesters give only the ghostly fingers of their email addresses. Drawing obsessive autobiography is perhaps the compromise, the build-up, but the surrogate self as a narrative subject opposes the typical self-portrait. Crumb and Spiegelman have the obsession, and have achieved both surrogate and self. Joe Sacco's obsession, however, netted him a real life photo to bolster his real life reporter credentials.
--Ho ho: Norman Rockwell's Triple Self-Portrait (from Autoritratti).

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Self-P, part two

-artist with tools (David B. at drawing table)

-artist with accoutrements (Lynda Barry with some animals and her own creation Beat Poodle Fred Milton; Lynda Barry in Eden)

-artist descriptive, r-e-a-l-i-s-t-i-c, non-ironic (Crumb); yet, also artist iconic (older Crumb still recognizably Crumb)

-artist styled as character, brought into characterworld (doglike Jason and Renaissance Sikoryak, but also Barry and B.)

-artist all of the above (Spiegelman on the Maus flap)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Self-Portrait in a Comicvex Mirror

Author self-portraits from Epileptic, The Greatest of Marlys, The Book of Genesis, I Killed Adolf Hitler, and Masterpiece Comics, respectively.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Quiet Part Loud and the Loud Part Quiet

Head over to Comics Comics to read Joe McCulloch's fine piece about captions, thought balloons, and the inchoate nature of Thought Itself! It begins quite innocently with a riff on a Stephen King interview...

(Above: The Problem of Nothing by Michael Morris, which I got here.)

A Little Splash

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Walks Amongst Us

Another Roz Chast that's also about Google. March 22nd issue.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Postcard of Shanghai Manhua, 1936.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Found on the Abstract Comics blog: this wicked set by Michael Crowe.

Friday, March 12, 2010

That Feeling

By Christoffer Zieler in From Wonderland With Love: Danish Comics in the Third Millennium.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Poor Leonidas

From Sparta, USA #1 by David Lapham and Johnny Timmons. For the hilariously thick black outline of poor Leonidas there.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Read Up

Can I do this? Can I read up from the bottom of this panel to the top? Look at the actions described in the caption: flung, laughed, saying. Read and digest the caption as you would any old caption. Then read the image from the bottom up: there's Abraham on the ground, the white aura is his laughter, and then comes the thought balloon -- just as the caption ordered. I am uncertain about the aura as laughter equation simply because Crumb is so promiscuous with his auras in The Book of Genesis. Could be a run of the mill aura. You never know.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Poor/Broke Richard

Bright almanac: from The Many Lives of Benjamin Franklin by Aliki.

Sad catalogue: Ruben Bolling in Harper's June 2009.