It never ceases to amaze me how much an artist can learn about cartooning from a single volume of our Dennis series . I can smell that shop. Ketcham didn't have to make readers smell the shop but he did it so naturally, so easily, it was like he drew with scented inks. He definitely didn't draw that shop from life--it's not believable in that way-- he just knew the smell, knew the way it FELT to be there.
And the way he manages these subtle perspectives. You're not exactly viewing it from any standard angle, but it's like God's perspective-- sympathetic to the experience of both adult and child. Flipping through two years worth of "static" single panel Ketcham gags is liable to give you whiplash the way he shifts 'camera' angles every single day, instinctually shaping the view to fit the situation. Most every comic in history has relied on one or two perspectives but Ketcham seems to be relentlessly challenging himself to portray intimacy and distance, chaos and discipline, etc.
Frequently there's a sketch quality to his work that amazes me. Even here, if I overanalyze the composition I wonder why the shop just ends on the left, but it works. Looking at day after day of his work, I admire the odd framing he'll often utilize, as if his brush developed in kind with range-finding cameras of his own childhood.
I keep meaning to gather together a more-than-impetuous posting about this beautiful strip (and one that's not entirely glowing--overall, Ketcham's humor is too mean-spirited for me) but this will have to do for now. I have work to do.
(Seriously. All their backs are to the viewer and the main characters are nowhere to be seen. Can you feel yourself crammed in the corner, brushing up on that guy's tweed jacket? Nice.)
Krazy and Ignatz 1943-1944: "He Nods in Quiescent Siesta" covers the last two years of Herriman’s masterpiece. With this volume, Fantagraphics and its precursor Eclipse have reprinted the entire 29-year run of the Krazy Kat Sundays! Like Charles Schulz, George Herriman was a cartoonist to the very end. Aside from collecting the last masterful year and a half of Krazy Kat, this new volume offers a retrospective look at Herriman’s life at the drawing table, offering many never before seen samples of his original art (which the cartoonist often lovingly hand-colored for friends). Gathered from many scattered collections, these pages testify to Herriman’s invererate passion for drawing. Rounding out the volume are scores of Krazy Kat daily strips also from Herriman’s last years, further testament to the cartoonists vitality. Series editor and veteran comics historian, Bill Blackbeard, also provides a concluding, wide-ranging essay on the life and art of Herriman. More than a simple reprint collection, Krazy and Ignatz 1943-1944 portrays the full range of a cartoonist who remained an artist all his life.
The heretofore black-and-white Sunday Krazy Kat returned in full spectacular color in June 1935, collected here from then through 1936, with a flood of rare color extras and a revelatory essay by Jeet Heer.
After the wallet-busting deluge last week, you might be relieved to know that we have exactly nothing arriving in comics shops today. (We just didn't want to have to go up against Barb Wire Omnibus Vol. 1.)
We do have a couple of new books in stock today for direct orders, though... sit tight...
Stop by at 6 for a beer and an autographed book. Performance starts at 8.
Who: Leah Hayes / Scary Mansion What: Musical performance and book signing When: Friday August 29th 6-9 p.m. (music at 8) Where: Desert Island, 540 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn NY 11211 Why: If you need to ask this question then maybe you shouldn't come.
Cartoonist Ethan Persoff has created a Tijuana Bible, presented as a replica of a prophetic 1934 comic from Lieberman's Lil' Squeezer Books, starring Bush & Cheney for the Democratic National Convention. All we can say is, right on.
Cartoonist Nate Neal is serializing new pages from his caveman graphic novel, "The Sanctuary," on a newly dedicated Sanctuary blog. New pages will be posted every Sunday. These new pages pick right up after the third print issue of the series, which was originally self-published by Neal and will be available as a pack through Fantagraphics in the Diamond PREVIEWS catalog for January 2009 products. Order yours today!
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