Friday 22 July 2011

This should be out on September 1st. I have my advance copy. Charlie Kochman at Abrams Arts commissioned me to write an intro and I barged in and wrote an 'overview' and made all the selections too. So I'm rather proud of it. It's the best of Will Eisner's PS magazine. 272 pages on coated stock, all in full colour. This is what Eisner was doing after the Spirit and before A Contract With God. Previous attempts to publish selections of the material have failed to properly address the style and art in the manner that I, as a felllow artist, would have liked. So I've tried to put things right with this one. (amazon)


Thursday 21 July 2011

Assorted links sent by my dear friends:
British artist Lucian Freud dies aged 88.
British painter Lucian Freud, whose uncompromising portraits made him one of the world's most revered and coveted artists, has died aged 88.
His long-time New York art dealer William Acquavella said the grandson of Sigmund Freud and brother of British radio and television personality Clement Freud had died at his home in London on Wednesday night (local time) after an unspecified illness.
Okay, you lazy bitch
Hayley campbell said this reminded her of the letters I used to write to publishers who owed me money (I'd always read them aloud theatrically before popping them in an envelope.)
On January 22, 2001, Hunter S. Thompson sent the following expletive-filled fax to Holly Sorensen, then 'Production Executive' at indie movie studio The Shooting Gallery. The furious written rant concerned the movie adaptation of Thompson's novel, The Rum Diary, to which Sorensen's studio had acquired the rights. Progress had been slow and confused on their part; so slow in fact that Thompson had reached boiling point.
"Dear Holly,
Okay, you lazy bitch, I'm getting tired of this waterhead fuckaround that you're doing with The Rum Diary..."
Teddy Boys, Christmas Humphreys and the murder of John Beckley on Clapham Common in 1953 Every post at Another nickel in the machine is intriguing social history.

Ostrich pillow allows workers to sleep on the job
The user puts their head and hands into the three holes whenever they’re in need of a power nap.
Pablo Carrascal, of designers Kawamura Ganjavian, said it was created by accident.
He said: ‘We had an old sweater lying on a table in the studio and someone put his head through the neck of the sweater from the outside and his arms through the sleeves. It was so comfortable we decided to produce a prototype.’

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Argentina dictatorship officers get life in prison
(from UK Telegraph)
Former general Hector Gamen, 84, and ex-colonel Hugo Pascarelli, 81, were sentenced on a series of abuse charges including kidnapping, torture and rape, for their roles at the infamous El Vesubio (Vesuvius) concentration camp.
The commander of El Vesubio, Army Colonel Pedro Duran Saenz, died in June while the trial was ongoing.
Some 2,500 prisoners went through the camp between 1976 and 1978, when the centre, located in south-western Buenos Aires, was razed ahead of the arrival of a team from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).
Personalities who went through the camp include author Haroldo Conti, graphic novelist Hector Oesterheld, film director Raimundo Gleyzer, German sociologist Elisabeth Kasemann, and French nationals Francoise Dauthier and Juan Soler.
Oesterheld's four adult daughters also went missing during the dictatorship years and are presumed dead.

Plataforma Argentina, in Spanish
(We were talking about Oesterheld in comments on Sunday 10 July)

Tuesday 19 July 2011

I came across this while looking for something else (I can no longer remember what) and I puzzled for a couple of minutes wondering who could have made this drawing that set my heart aflutter. A good drawing of Zatanna is not easy to pull off. Google image search and you'll see a great number of drawings that cheapen the character. It occurred to me that there's only one artist who could have done it. Alex Ross.

A further google search with his name attached confirmed it.
It's one of those pictures where if I try to analyze it, it begins to fall apart in my hand. Those proportions can't be right, it seems to be a combination of conflicting planes, etc. Then I catch a glimpse of it half an hour later still on my screen, and I swoon all over again.

Zatanna at DC Wikia (found here)

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Monday 18 July 2011

A big Spread-4

I was writing here on Saturday about the outward signs of a literalness that prevails in comic books. I regard it as a bad thing, in case that isn't clear. Today I'm delving deeper.

I've just found out that there's a wikipedia entry for Death in Comics that looks as though it's as important as the scientific one for Life on Mars. Death in comics, as you probably know, is completely bogus. It is hardly ever 'permanent or meaningful.' You would expect any artist of integrity to say 'Well I certainly won't be contributing to this dishonesty' and sure enough, there's Geoff Johns up near the top saying, 'death doesn't exist in comics the same way it does in our world. I wish death existed in our world as it does in comics.'

Comics operate like soap opera, where every effect is caused and every price must be paid, and what comes next is all that matters. Everything is literal. A death is literally a death. We can't just say, 'oh well, it's only comic books' and resume business as if nothing has happened. The character must be returned for further commercial exploitation, and so the death must be explained away. Comic books being very limited in their range of invention, there are only four ways of getting out of the difficulty. A death must in due course be dealt with by means of a retcon, (the wiki entry gives these instructions believe it or not) a bad dream, mistaken identity or the character is simply replaced by a doppleganger who in every possible respect is the same as the person who is supposedly gone.

Why do characters have to be killed if they are going to be needed again? (you may innocently ask). Cheap fiction demands that the reader should, in the words of Oscar Wilde, 'experience a feeling without having to pay for it.' Thus the reader may wallow in the sentimental excess of suffering a loss without ever losing anything, even a character that didn't exist in any tangible sense in the first place.

Can a fictional death be non-literal? Yes, Kenny's death every week in South Park, not counting the famous thirteenth episode of the fifth season. And of course the author's death, or 'The death of the author' in Eddie Campbell's The Fate of The Artist, in which he is found double-bagged and filed in the permanent collection of the State Library under the number newly allotted to the graphic novel by the Dewey Decimal System. I mean, you knew I wasn't literally dead, didn't you?

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Sunday 17 July 2011

T hird and final volume of From Hell out in the Netherlands. I think. I'm getting it in Googledutch: "Campbell is a master in depicting architectural details that are of great importance, while his characters show little emotion as the Victorian data shaving."


A big Spread-3

S till on the subject of that big spread, here's a photo of Pete Mullins beside the original art, taken in 1996.

Next door to that in my files I have this better photo of Pete posing as Luke Skywalker for a Dark Horse Star Wars cover from around the same time. That was for our brother of the brush and fellow Brisbane artist, Hugh Fleming. The pictures were in an interview with Hugh in a Star Wars magazine. The Pete image was very small and I've enlarged it and put it side by side with the painted figure.

I have no idea what Hugh's doing these days. Maybe he's still as busy as we all appear to have been back then
Pete's always busy doing design work for tv.

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