Wednesday 26 September 2007

colour me purply black

Here's a detail from another one of my comic book outings. This is from a story Neil Gaiman wrote for DC titled The Flame is Green. I think it may have been the first thing he wrote for them but it was shelved for twelve years until 2000. I drew the three page prologue, pencil and ink, which had a haunting romantic quality about it. A character who is not identified but is obviously intended to be Blackhawk steps down into the wreckage of a bunker in Berlin. A serious battle took place here. Among the deathly remains we see a skeletal Sandman (the original with the fedora and gasmask) and battered wings that could only be the remains of a Hawkman who did not survive his golden age. Blackhawk is obviously a little tipsy, and wants to get back to his barstool. I'm not sure how Neil swung that, as I was once catogorically told that DC heroes never touch the stuff.

I forgot to check the colorist when I made the scan, but I believe it was Matt Hollingsworth, one of the few colorists I've encountered who knew exactly what he was doing. The lettering looks good too.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I was once catogorically told that DC heroes never touch the stuff."

Given all the goings-on in Howard Chaykin's take on Blackhawk, perhaps the Powers-That-Be decided that Blackhawk was the one DC character that could touch any stuff going.

26 September 2007 at 02:01:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The lettering looks good too."
My guess would be Todd Klein.

26 September 2007 at 03:49:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Colman G said...


Nothing to do with today's post, but: I've just begun reading Robert Bringhurst's The Elements of Typographic Style, and in the first chapter there's a phrase I quite like:

...and the text becomes its own illustration.

Here it is in context: "In the works of other artists such as Guillaume Apollinaire and Guy Davenport, boundaries between author and designer sometimes vanish. Writing merges with typography, and the text becomes its own illustration."

It made me think of you. (You could swap those two round, and have illustration becoming its own text—doesn't quite make sense but perhaps more accurately describes your road into that same "no-man's-land"?)

Here's a bit I found at the end of Guy Davenport's Wikipedia entry:

Many of Davenport's earlier stories are combinations of pictures and text, especially Tatlin! and Apples and Pears...

"It was my intention, when I began writing fiction several years ago, to construct texts that were both written and drawn. [ . . . ] I continued this method right through Apples and Pears [ . . . ]. The designer [of A+P] understood [my] collages to be gratuitous illustrations having nothing to do with anything, reduced them all to burnt toast, framed them with nonsensical lines, and sabotaged my whole enterprise. I took this as final defeat, and haven't tried to combine drawing and writing in any later work of fiction."

Another cranky old bastard of the second type! I suspect you to be more persevering than Davenport, though.


From Brisbane District Court:

Lacey's defence barrister, Shaun Gordon, argued there was no proof his client had used the vacuum cleaner as a sex aid, but Judge Tony Rafter said it was unlikely it had been used for cleaning.

Full story here.


Am in the middle of The King Canute Crowd at the mo. It's a lovely book. I keep thinking of Krazy Kat, bizarrely.

26 September 2007 at 08:46:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

thanks. that fits in so many ways. I mean the first part, not the vacuum cleaner, which makes me nostalgic for my days sketching in the law courts.

It's funny, as a special drop in plate for a French bookstore signed edition of King Canute, I drew Alec stopping in his tipsy ramble homeward to look down at a cat, which just happens to be Krazy kat. Since KK is mentioned nowhere in the text, this is indeed a coincidence. I may show it here some day, but for the mo I guess the bookstore should enjoy the uniqueness of it.

26 September 2007 at 17:02:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Zoë Sadokierski said...

Hi Colman,
The idea of text becoming its own illustration was really popular with concrete poets and book artist at the beginning of modernism. Here's something that I cut from a paper I wrote touching on this that gives a couple of references relating to your comments:
El Lissitzky predicted the birth of a new kind of writer. In a 1923 manifesto, Lissitzky stated: “The book finds its way into the reader's brain through the eye, not through the ear … The new book requires a new writer”. Design theorist Rick Poyner references this proposition 80 years later in an article for Eye magazine in 2003. He claims that despite a recent renewed interest in the idea of a new kind of writer producing ‘visual prose’, there are 3 reasons he believes this new school of writers have not emerged (in print):

"First, because most writers have no desire to give up any aspect of their autonomy and no interest in extending the designer’s role. Second, because most designers don’t possess the degree of writing talent or commitment that ambitious writing requires ... Third, because without works produced in sufficient number … there can be no viable market for books of this kind."

I think the presence of the kind of books Eddie is calling 'new books' counters Poyner's argument. I think there is a viable market, and it's growing.

27 September 2007 at 19:58:00 GMT-5  

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