Monday 27 April 2009

wee hayley campbell is away back to london (she emails to say that somebody broke the weather while she was away) and I'm trying to get back to work. What's on the internet, i thinks to myself...

In the New Straits Times, a great review of a retrospective book of Lat's cartoons, the earliest and least known works.
“The paper gave me a space in the editorial section, but I didn’t know how to do editorial cartoons. So I drew whatever came to my mind at the time. You’ll see that most of these are stories about everyday Malaysian life.” As far as style goes, readers will see how Lat’s style evolved from early in his career. For example, the story of Yap Ah Loy in modern-day Kuala Lumpur looks too neat, almost like what you would find in school textbooks — definitely not the Lat we are familiar with.
Keen eyes will also notice unerased pencil lines in some of the pages, indicating that the cartoons were reproduced from the original. But this lends a certain charm to the book.
But there’s more to the book than cartoon works. It also contains pictures of the legendary cartoonist that I think most people have never seen.
We get to see Lat as a schoolboy, Lat as a young man with scruffy hair (yes, like that character in his books) and Lat as a singer and musician in a band. (picture above left)

Dan Nadel is insightful in his review of Brush with Passion: The Art & Life of Dave Stevens.
"It's a deeply sad autobiography, left unfinished upon Stevens' death and wrapped in the cloak of a "celebration" of his artwork...
Stevens was the ultimate professional fan artist—pulled into comics and popular entertainment because of his love for both, and a rock star in a hermetically sealed world where San Diego Comic-Con is the nexus of the universe, Frazetta is considered one of the great artists of the 20th century...
He was a nostalgist with nowhere to channel his fannish obsessions and no interest in transcending them.
His career never moved beyond the comfortable boundaries of mainstream fantasy fandom. And throughout his book he constantly seems trapped or burdened by his chosen professions...
What the book puts across is a world in which success is partly based on just getting close to... film, TV, “famous” actors or models. Success is getting do some throwaway storyboards for Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Stevens struggled with depression throughout his last two decades, and, he writes, “By the late 90s I’d become wholly dissatisfied with the caliber of work that I was producing. 'style' seemed nothing more than a vague pastiche of others whose works I admired and had tried to emulate throughout my developing years.”
A veteran editor in the comic book business once told me that of all the artists receiving high rates for drawing just covers for comic books, Stevens' name was the only one that could automatically guarantee extra sales.


Blogger Matthew Adams said...

I really enjoy Lat's work. I think it was another post of your's that made me aware of him.

Not being a comic geek, I had no idea who Dave Stevens was. But that review seems to have ruffled a few greasy feathers. There is is no rage like fanboy rage.

28 April 2009 at 20:41:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Bill Peschel said...

It's such a shame Dave felt that way. What he was as derivative I saw as beautiful, nostalgic, sexy and magical.

Such is the effect of depression, I'm afraid.

30 April 2009 at 13:39:00 GMT-5  

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