Some Favourites

Hello,

Thought I’d continue Kat’s method and post up a list of interesting comic related stuff. Maybe we could all put up some favourites?

A Lesson is Learned, but the Damage is Irreversible  / Sadly on hiatus ever since I found out about it, but really good artwork combined with bizarre and sad storylines. Some personal favourites are; “Alcoholic Rabbit tears it up”, “Tiny, Almost Managable” and “Getting Over Women.”

The Monologuist  /  Is a blog of mostly sketchbook work and other odds and ends by Anders Nilson, who wrote an amazing comic book called Big Questions. Which is about a group of finches wondering how to think about the world as their tree gets cut down and a plane falls out the sky.

Godard’s Comic Strip Mise-en-Scene  /  An interesting article about how Jean Luc Godard used comic strips in films like la Chinoise, Made in USA and Tout Va Bien.

Jochen Gerner  /  Is a French illustrator who makes a lot of good work, some of which involves inking out sections of comics books to create other stories. He made a book called TNT in America out of a copy of Tin Tin in America by deleting everything except references to speed, violence and consumerism.

Bob hates Andy  /  Is Bob Dylan and Andy Warhol talking about art and hating one another.

Cat and Girl  /  Cat and Girl talk about things.

Dinosaur Comics  /  T-Rex, Dromiceiomimus and Utahraptor talk about things.

The Angriest Dog in the World  /  David Lynch’s comic, “so angry he cannot move. He cannot eat. He cannot sleep. He can just barely growl. Bound so tightly with tension and anger, he approaches the state of rigor mortis.”

Links from Last Year

Passing on some more link love from last year, here’s an amalgamation of info on a bunch of different topics. Hopefully some of this will spark some interesting ideas and discussions.

4 Color Process is a blog that pulls out small details from comic books and celebrates the beauty in the dots that made up comics, especially the cheaply produced comics of the past. They put together their missions statement, so to speak here: In Defense of Dots: The lost art of comic books. (They also get credit as where I found all the images for the banners. Thanks 4CP!)

We’ve already mentioned Chris Ware in class. His book, Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth won the Guardian First Book Award in 2001, marking the first time a comic won a major UK literary award. Here’s an interview he did at the International Copenhagen Comics Festival: http://www.tcj.com/alternative/interview-with-chris-ware-part-1-of-2/. He discusses his approach to pacing and whether he feels applying filmic structural techniques are appropriate for comics.

Scott McCloud, author of Understanding Comics, Making Comics and Reinventing Comics, gave a TED talk on comics in 2005: http://www.ted.com/talks/scott_mccloud_on_comics.html

Last year, the local comic team of Metaphrog did a workshop in association with the GSA Library and a number of us attended. Here’s a video of the workshop: http://vimeo.com/21636444. And if you’re interested in learning more about them, here’s an interview with metaphrog: http://www.tcj.com/the-metaphrog-interview/

Grant Morrison has written any number of groundbreaking comics, among them Arkham Asylum, The Invisibles, Animal Man, We3, All-Star Superman and recently, on Batman and Robin,  and Batman Incorporated. He just published a non-fiction work about superheroes called Supergods. Here’s an AV Club interview with him from 2010: http://www.avclub.com/articles/grant-morrison,41311/

I feel like Alan Moore and Grant Morrison are different sides of the same coin. Both of them write the craziest, tripiest comics you will ever read. But one is obsessed with futurism and the other with pagan roots in the past. Alan Moore broke into the US consciousness with his run on Swamp Thing, and has been responsible for seminal works like V for Vendetta, The League of Extrodinary Gentlemen, From Hell, and Watchmen. Here’s an interview with him: Hipster Priest: A Quietus Interview With Alan Moore

Mike Mignola is probably most famous for creating Hellboy. If you’re only familiar with the movie, it’s worth seeing out the comic, if just to get a sense of his very stylized drawing style. It’s a bit reminiscent of Frank Miller’s use of deep blacks and highly contrasted edges, but the tone feels different to Miller. Bldgblog interviewed Mignola about the worlds he’s created for his characters: RUIN, SPACE, AND SHADOW: AN INTERVIEW WITH MIKE MIGNOLA

Artists like Chris Ware emphasize how important layout and design can be to comics, but he’s not the only one who blurs the line between illustrator and designer. This article talks about a number of artists whose comic work can be seen in terms of graphic design as well as fine art: Portraits of Comic Book Artists as Graphic Designers. And there are graphic designers who are involved in the publication, marketing and branding side of comic book distribution. Tom Muller has worked in comics, as well as other mediums. Here’s a piece by him on the subject: Tom Muller on the “Rise & Fall” of Design in Comic Books

Glyn’s given us a great list of comics to start out with, but here are a couple of other taken on the *must read* comics list:
100 Comics to Read Before You Die
Reading list for Art of the Graphic Novel: A Visual Bibliography (at Mississippi State’s College of Architecture and Design)

How comics can promote social consciousness: http://www.un-eu.org/cartooning-for-peace.html and http://www.cartooningforpeace.org/?lang=en

From a fine artist, Mark Newport creates full-size superhero costumes that are hand knitted. “They push the image of the hero by highlighting knitting materials, textures, and traditions (cables and the use of “ends” to make a sweater) in the form of the costume.”

50 creators, 43 years, 1 narrative. Nelson is a very different take on an anthology. By asking artists to each take 1 year of a person’s life, the finished book is a patchwork quit, each piece could stand alone, but together creates something far richer than if it had been crafted out of a single fabric.

Here are a couple video pieces:

Animated work based on Michael Kupperman: http://www.veoh.com/browse/videos/category/animation/watch/v18919734H2s3xwHm

Quimby Mouse and Andrew Bird:

And some funny bits to top it all off:

How not to write a comic book. Deconstructing the Complete and Utter Insanity of ‘Batman: Odyssey’.

A brief history of Lex Luthor’s cake-stealing antics.

The Misadventures of Moore and Morrison

Dress for the Job You Want, Not The One You Have

Links for Specific Topics

Hey guys! I’ve got some links that we passed around last year that you might find of use. Some of them were more general, but there were a few that specifically related to discussions within the class. Those links I’ve posted below, noting which class they related to. I’ll post the rest of the general links soon, but thought these might be handy to have separately.

Week 1—Introduction to Course: The Language of Comics

Since we looked a little bit at what could be considered the precursors to comics, this article posits that the very first comic might have come from right here in Scotland. http://www.bleedingcool.com/2011/02/20/did-scotland-invent-the-comic-book/ 

Speaking of Scotland and comic books, last year BBC2 Scotland produced Scotland’s Amazing Comic Book Heroes. Info on the show and some clips are here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b012c5n2. I know the BBC is going to expand the iPlayer archives soon, so it would be worth keeping an eye out for it. The production value is a bit on the cheesy side, but there are some good interviews in it regardless.

Week 2—Workshop

Not being a trained artist or illustrator, I found this really useful. It talks about facial expressions, which is something I know myself and a number of other people found a bit daunting: http://lackadaisy.foxprints.com/exhibit.php?exhibitid=333.

Another useful tutorial, albeit one that’s been kicking around for far longer is, 22 Panels That Always Work (direct link to image: http://joeljohnson.com/images2/wallywood22panel1600.jpg)

Week 5—Superheroes and funny animals: character design

We got talking about the cultural cache superheroes have and what place they have within our society.

Reality takes a bit of a Kick-Ass turn when someone decides that they’re going to become a vigilante on the streets of Seattle: Seattle Superhero ‘Phoenix Jones’ Patrols Streets, Fights Crime.

While others use the archetype to find strength within themselves. One child’s Make-a-Wish was to spend a day as a super hero: Local boy with cancer turns into a superhero for a day.

Week 7—Seduction of the Innocent: Wertham, EC, and the ‘value’ of comics

The Comics Code, which is discussed in this class, was finally put to rest last year. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund then went out and bought the rights to the logo, in a wonderfully tongue-in-cheek move to raise money: The CBLDF Gets The Rights To The Comics Code Seal. Heads Explode.

Week 8—Adaptation and appropriation: comic books and other cultural forms

These two links came up during a discussion after an exhibition about comics in the Market Gallery, but they certainly have relevance to the topic:
Brian Bolland Takes On Erró… And Wins!
Swipe File: Gardar Eide Einarsson and Mike McMahon

Week 10—Comics and autobiography

I’ll be posting a blog with links to webcomics in the next few days and there’s a sub-category of autobiographical and diary comics within that list that would be handy to refer to.

Week 11—Forms of distribution

The internet can open up lots of new distribution channels, as well as many new ways of creating comics.

One person who harnessed Twitter to crowd-source a comic: Stewart K. Moore sends word of a new experiment, via Twitter, to create 100 parallel interpretations of the same story. http://scottmccloud.com/2011/05/16/atwomic-a-twitter-comic/. Which is a bit like the online version of Exercises in Style.

Solipsistic Pop, an anthology of indie UK artists, funded their last comic via IndieGoGo.

We Are Words and Pictures, another indie UK-based venture, distributes their anthology, Paper Science, via Newspaper Club.

Additional Starting Links

Hello comics pals! Here are a few links to add to the collection of links Glyn passed out. (All links open in a new window)

Glyn mentioned www.bleedingcool.com as a good general comics website. Other good blogs I’d point you in the direction of would be http://www.inkstuds.org/ and http://www.avoidthefuture.com/. Thedailycrosshatch.com was good, but they’re currently on hiatus, and http://comicscomicsmag.com is another page that’s been closed to new content, but has some good things in the archives which may be of interest/use.

www.warrenellis.com is a personal favourite. This is the website of comic book writer Warren Ellis, not to be confused with the member of Nick Cave’s band. He always has really interesting links, both comic-related and not. If you’re just interested in his comics chat, that’s here: http://www.warrenellis.com/?cat=20.

One topic he has discussed at length, which has particular relevance to this class, is the future of comics consumption and distribution. A couple good posts to start with: The Broadcast Of Comics, A Collection Of Rambling On The Subject Of Digital Comics, DC And Digital Comics Strategies, and A Few Notes On Marvel Comics’ Digital Strategy.

With Avatar Press, Warren worked on a web series called Freakangels. Avatar really wanted to engage the readers of the series, so they set up a message board, WhiteChappel, that would be curated and moderated by those involved in the writing, art and design of the comic. Topics weren’t restricted to the comic, and often the talk was about comics in general, as well as art, culture, politics, etc. A regular feature was something called “Remake/Remodel”, where Ellis took an established character, boiled their essence down to a line or two, and then asked people to re-imagine them solely on the description he gave. Three of my favourites were: Fantastic 4, Dr. Who and Black Orchid. When Freakangels ended, Avatar started a new web series, written by Si Spurrier, and the reigns of WhiteChappel were handed to him.

I’m sure there are many more sites we’re both missing, so if there are any you can think of or want me to add, drop a link in the comments and I’ll add them in! I’ve got some more links coming your way soon that I hope you’ll like and find useful.