1. Very proud to announce I will moderating a panel at SPX this year, speaking with the cartoonists Molly O’Connell, Noel Freibert, Conor Stechschulte, and Ryan Cecil Smith.

    (Source: spx)

     
  2. Osamu Tezuka, 1970. Human Metamorphosis. Released in English by Vertical as The Book Of Human Insects.

    (this image found via Ryan Cecil Smith, on the old Closed Caption Comics blog archives, which I am trawling for research.)

     
  3.  
  4. That’s me in the corner/spotlight

    (not the left hand corner, the right hand corner)

    I’m reading fiction at this thing happening this weekend in the suburbs of Maryland. Videos by the likes of Jessica Ciocci, Xander Morro, and Robert Beatty will be screened, although I have no idea if they’ll be there in person. If you are coming say hello, I think I will be working the door Friday night.

    Tickets for the weekend are $65 if you get them on the internet in the next couple days and $85 at the door. I’ve done the math and $65 is not actually a bad price, the musical line-up is rife with people I have paid $5 to see individually.

    (Source: jciocci2000)

     
  5. Jaime Hernandez

     
  6. Matthew Thurber, Hong Kong Bong, included as liner notes to the Soiled Mattress And The Springs record Honk Honk Bonk!

     
  7. Gary Panter, 1978. Taken from this interview.

     

  8. The Wrenchies

    As I’ve said before and didn’t elaborate on, Farel Dalyrmple’s The Wrenchies is a real weird comic book.  It deserves an evaluation that talks about it, but it is tricky to know where to begin: How about the beginning? It unfolds cryptically, a series of pages with characters that aren’t in most of the rest of the book, that moves into a weird impossible physics. And then there’s the ending, a series of epilogues, following a scene which is basically an anti-climax.

    The emphasis in every scene is always off-kilter, a result, I think, of trying to do a couple of things at once, rather than just pursuing a single effect for multiple pages. For instance, there are frequently big splash pages that are meant to be big and impressive, maps of spaces, but in these there are characters saying little asides to one another. These aren’t even necessarily main characters. It’s like, comics are words and pictures. When there is a picture that is carrying a lot of narrative weight, there will be a line of dialogue that is superfluous, decorative.

    The action is forever elsewhere. There are multiple planes of reality, travel between them, magic spells that make comic characters real, children being sent into a future. There is a sense of darkness, of palpable evil, that is defining one doomed world, but also mentioned as being present in the world of the child who travels into that world. Characters are frequently nonplussed. One child is explicitly religious, no one makes fun of him. Other kids are constantly doing drugs. These are just coping mechanisms, or fun, or a part of someone’s character, not really worth judging. The comic sort of seems like a kid’s comic, in terms of the youth of its characters, and the fact that it’s published by First Second points to maybe it being marketed in that direction. It also feels unmarketable, in the sense that any attempt at a plot summary is basically lying, or at least going into it expecting: A kid is transported into a weird dystopian future, (that is not necessarily his reality) where he is capable of being a savior by bringing characters from a comic book to life- knowing that’s what the book ends up being about doesn’t prepare you for an introduction that features exactly none of those characters.

    It’s a comic to read, and reread, and maybe obsess over. To function something as a puzzle. The comic, in talking about another comic, and this obsessive quality a child can bring to something, is its way of teaching you how to read it: You, an adult reader, need to read it like a little kid reads comics. Multiple times, trying to make sense of something, that maybe resists making sense. It’s a “graphic novel” in that there are a lot of pages, but all it does is insist on itself as being something the reader contend with: That they keep reading, to make sense of it, and then it doesn’t really resolve in the way of a traditional narrative. You need to accept its eccentricities the same way the children, who are basically around each other arbitrarily, despite a lack of things in common, accept each other.

    -Brian Nicholson

     
  9. beouija:

    I have a book! I’ve been working on it for a really long time. It’s a collection of short stories. It’s from Fantagraphics Books. It’s called How To Be Happy. I am very proud of it. I hope you will check it out!

    Eleanor should feel proud, because this book is great. I just read about half of it, but am stopping myself from reading the entire thing in one setting. I have learned from my reading of prose short story collections that while it is very easy to read one after another in a single sitting to read an entire book in under a day feels afterwards like I just ate a bag of Skittles or something, not a full meal, and certainly not a full day’s worth of meals. I’ve done this with books like Amelia Gray’s Museum Of The Weird and Donald Barthelme’s Forty Stories.

    Reading this book I was reminded of a prose short story collection for a very specific reason. Eleanor is able to use pages and spreads really effectively, as individual units, but in ways that work out to short story lengths. Like, four pages of Eleanor’s comics is equivalent of a story of equivalent length in prose. A two-page story of hers is like reading Lydia Davis or something. A longer story can work the same sort of effects as George Saunders or a science fiction writher. This is all done with a minimum of prose dialogue. Image is emphasized, and color and texture. Page turns work to continually re-engage the reader with the image, to feel like something is being revealed as it sears itself anew. The first story, In Our Eden, conveys the passage of time by using black to emphasize nights, incredibly casually, but in ways that make a panel feel like a paragraph. Imagery works to make clear what would be difficult to convey with prose alone, that all male characters have been assigned the name Adam and all females the name Eve. Meanwhile, the revelation of tone shifts from page to page, to feel allegorical at first, then deconstructive, then like a straightforward story is being told.

    Immediately before reading this book, I was reading an interview with the writer Kate Bernheimer, about fairy tales. The story “Seven Sacks” of Eleanor’s would fit well in one of Bernheimer’s anthologies, for the way it engages with the fable. Davis’ concerns as a storyteller seem similar in some ways to Joy Williams, one of my favorite novelists, in that both are environmentalists, and in their awareness of human culpability in environmental destruction are likewise aware that airing out these opinions seems teenage and obnoxious. There’s a sense of moral righteousness that does not get in the way of characterization but lends a sense of scale. I was reading an interview with Williams in the newest issue of The Paris Review today, where it appears alongside a portfolio of drawings of dogs by Raymond Pettibon done throughout the years. On my walk away, I imagined a comics collaboration between Williams the writer and Pettibon the artist, and then went and picked up this book, which demonstrates in its sense of color and dynamism something akin to years of a gallery artist’s shifting of approaches.  Olivier Schrauwen’s The Man Who Grew His Beard is a comparable book but Schrauwen’s work seems most likely to appeal to comics formalists whereas Eleanor’s book seems richer, more human, more about the strangeness of being alive than the beauty of the imagination.

     
  10. butterstory:

    I’ll be at RIPE this weekend (Aug 2 & 3) with some books, including this new Elsa comic. :o

    ELSA:
    b&w, 
    46 pp,
    8.5” x 5.5”,
    hand drawn covers.