Mome 22 has graduated, and is leaving home. I guess they all have to grow up sometimes.
As the swan song volume rolls out into stores and mailboxes, we're shining the spotlight on Mome newbies... who will now never appear in Mome again ever!
Today, we take a look at the work of Joseph Lambert... who was just recently nominated for two (TWO!) Ignatz awards! One for Outstanding Artist, and one for Outstanding Anthology or Collection (for I Will Bite You! and Other Stories). Find out at SPX if he wins 'em!
Here's a panel from a comic he'll have in the upcoming NoBrow 6. As Joseph notes on his blog, it may not be yellow in the final printing.
This interview was conducted by Fantagraphics intern Sam Chattin. Thanks to Sam and Kevin!
Ganges 4 hits stores in October, or get your mitts on an early copy at SPX, September 10th & 11th in Betheseda, Maryland! Kevin will be signing at the Fantagraphics table from 1:00-3:00 PM on Saturday, and 3:00-4:30 PM on Sunday. -- janice
NOTE: THERE ARE SOME SPOILERS IN THIS INTERVIEW [esp. #8]. READ THE COMIC FIRST IF YOU DON’T WANT SOME STUFF RUINED FOR YOU. -- Kevin H.
SAM CHATTIN: Your stories are marked by this deep comprehension of the various sciences (everything from zoology to physics). Why do you choose to include those expository elements in your stories (which often take up multiple pages)?
KEVIN HUIZENGA: That’s nice of you to say, but I feel like my knowledge of these subjects is still pretty superficial. Laying out things and looking at things is more interesting to me than dramatic storytelling. That’s not a value judgment; it’s how my brain is wired. Other writers I know can effortlessly think up dramatic situations —characters who want things and have conflicts — but my story ideas tend to be more like “what is chlorophyll?” or “walking around/oxytocin” or “terrifying TV commercial,” which are the kinds of things that reveal how solitary and lonely a life I live. I’m terrified that if I really indulged myself and my instincts I would just make comics that are diagrams of how things fit together, like complicated diagrams or giant flowcharts, and become a completely hopeless case.
CHATTIN: The often anti-climatic endings and rambling narratives add a sense of realism to your stories. It feels as though we’re peeping at not only the life but also the working mind of some stranger. What made you go this particular route?
HUIZENGA: I wish I had a more interesting answer, but really it’s just as simple as writing in a way that seems least gross to me. I feel pretty good about how things turn out, for the most part, but at the same time there’s little voices saying “what are you doing?” and “you thought this was a good idea why?” But you have to ignore these voices and start another one and keep moving. Judging by the kinds of ideas I start out with, I maybe could be writing essays or poems, but I got mixed up in comics. I thought it would be a good idea to draw comics and build upon and around Glenn Ganges as a blank character, and now it’s too late. I’m only being half-serious here. Because there are limitations to writing prose without pictures that would be very frustrating to me. I want to see what things look like and I want to see things diagrammed. When I read pictureless prose I’m often imagining illustrations or emblems or diagrams of whatever I’m reading about, and part of me is frustrated that those don’t exist.
HUIZENGA: I write notes, I think about a story, I get irritable and crabby, I eventually start drawing it, etc. I don’t think I go very deep into my subconscious. I’d like to try doing that more in the future. It’s a way of thinking and trusting your gut that’s not my usual method, I guess. In this issue “the Wanderer” was improvised in an attempt to, I don’t know, go from panel to panel with a different kind of story logic than usual.
There’s an interview where Dan Clowes says (this is pre-Ice Haven days, I think) something about how he thought he’d get faster over time as his skills improved but that he found himself getting slower because he kept trying out complicated effects and tricks in each panel. That really fits my experience drawing this issue. It took me a long time. There was a lot of trying something, then changing my mind, then going back and forth, etc.
CHATTIN:How heavily do the misadventures of your characters (specifically Glenn Ganges) reflect your own personal experiences?
HUIZENGA: It’s not autobiographical. I take things from my life, like any writer does, and I try to make a new thing out of it that others can identify with and hopefully enjoy.
CHATTIN:How do you choose which experiences will work best in the comic medium?
HUIZENGA: You just sort of know. Or sometimes you think it won’t work, and the trick is in finding a way to make it work. The point isn’t really the ostensible subject, the point is figuring out how to package the ideas in an interesting form. It’s like a puzzle. I like puzzles when there’s no pressure, and no one cares about how you perform. I think that explains a lot about my career and my personality.
CHATTIN: Glenn Ganges’ latest adventure concerns a restless night. What is your preferred method for combating these moments of temporary insomnia?
HUIZENGA: A bowl of cereal (low sugar) and a book that is kind of boring and/or hard to read.
CHATTIN: How would describe the structure ofGanges #4?
HUIZENGA: An infinite grid of panels, only some of which you can see and read, but occasionally you catch a glimpse of it fading off into infinity, and also the grid contains itself nested within itself at different levels.
CHATTIN: Was it an aesthetic or symbolic choice — or neither — to break up the panels on the bottom of pages 10-13?
HUIZENGA: I’m not sure what you’re asking, but I probably wouldn’t want to answer anyhow, since this seems like the kind of thing where I’m being tempted into explaining the thinking behind a story. Obviously I have to do some of that in an interview, but I try to keep it to a minimum. As a reader I often want a writer to explain their thinking behind a short story or a poem, but at the same time I really don’t want to know, either. And the same thing holds for writers too, I think—they often want to know what readers think, but at the same time they don’t, really.
CHATTIN: How did you tackle, visually, working with so much moonlight and shadow inGanges #4?
HUIZENGA: Experimenting with tones and shadows in Photoshop, making a mess of it, and settling for the least gross-looking version of the panel. I wanted to try to draw Glenn walking around the house at night, and it took some experimentation to get something interesting that worked. I’m still not satisfied with it, but I think I know how to fix it for the collection.
CHATTIN: What are some of the challenges of depicting Death, who appears in your latest work?
HUIZENGA: It didn’t feel like it was a challenge at all. As I understand it, it’s been pretty well established that Death is a skeleton in a cloak with a scythe. I’d like to think that death appears in many of my comics so far.
CHATTIN: I found the connection with Earth’s calendar and Glenn’s calendar amusing. What kind of thought process goes into making these connections?
HUIZENGA: I don’t think it gives anything away to say that Ganges is largely about time, and different ways representing and thinking about it. The Earth’s calendar thing is a pretty common illustration in popular geology books and natural histories, and since Glenn is reading Basin and Range in the story, it was an obvious way to go.
After a few delays (hence the past date on the poster above, which was gorgeously designed by Marc Bell), CartoonInk! runs this Saturday, September 10th through October 15th at the Betty Rymer Gallery at SAIC. And on Friday, September 9th, there will be an opening reception from 4:30 – 7:00 PM!
Anders reports he'll have a full wall painting there (see pics up on his blog), and Lilli says she'll have some original pages and animation frames on display!
The Betty Rymer Gallery is located at 280 South Columbus Drive, between Jackson Dr & Monroe St. in Chicago.
The Friars' Club is the very one, infamous for all those celebrity roasts, and on that note... please excuse their use of "comic sans" in the flyer up there! OOOH! I did a roast!
I kid, I kid! We love The Friars Club for hosting this event. They helped us celebrate the release of More Old Jewish Comediansback in 2008 , and an estimated 400 people were there! And this time around, the event is open to the public! That's right, you do not have to be a friar to attend, and you do not have to RSVP. Just get yourself to The Friars Club from 6:00-8:00 PM... Why so early? Oh, right, 'cause it's the OLD Jewish Comedians trilogy! Ha, ha, ha! I'm gettin' a hang of this "roasting" thing!
Okay, no, I'm not, but you can meet some real comedians at this event who could easily show me a thing or two, and roast me to the ground: Friars comedians Freddie Roman and Stewie Stone (the cover "model" on the new book) will host the event, with special guests Larry Storch, "Professor" Irwin Corey, Bobby Ramsen, Joe Franklin, and our own MAD legend Al Jaffee! Plus, special surprise guests to be announced, and a tribute to the late Mickey Freeman.
So, come buy a book, get it signed by Drew, and meet some of the legends depicted in his books in person! The Friars Club is located at 57 East 55th Street, in New York City.
Prison Pit blends Angry Youth Comix creator Johnny Ryan’s fascination with WWE wrestling, grindhouse cinema, first person action video games, Gary Panter’s “Jimbo” comics, and Kentaro Miura’s “Berserk” Manga into a brutal and often hilarious showcase of violence like no other comic book ever created. Even the lead character’s name, which is only one letter away from “Cannibal Duckface” (hint: “Cannibal” is correct) is unprintable.
Prison Pit is so deranged and twisted that even the author’s plot description, while admirably reflecting the spirit of the book, has to be edited into a sea of asterisks in order to be bearable to normal human beings: “A mysterious new a**hole has descended into the Prison Pit. He’s looking for Cannibal F***face and he wants revenge. Revenge for what? Probably for some f***ed up evil s***. But before he can get his hands on the CanMan he’s got to battle his way through some pretty vicious motherf***ers. S***’s about to get real.”
Well, yes, exactly.
"Hey are you doing any more scary guys made out of tar ripping each other's dicks off? You know why I like those? Because you don't have to read all them stupid words and stuff. Right? Haa ha, hey Johnny wanna come over and play? Ha Ha!" – Tony Millionaire
"Here Mister Kupperman," he said, thrusting a manuscript into my hands. "Publish this, and let the world read of my adventures."
My name is Mark Twain, and I write these words to you in the good old days of August 2010. "What's that," you say? "Didn't you die a hundred years ago, you old coot?"... The truth is I never died, but the same old rumors got exaggerated and then a bunch of other stuff happened, so people forgot I was still alive.
And with that preface, the celebrated man of letters — thought to be dead for a hundred years but actually surviving due to a wizard's spell — returns with a sequel to his best-selling autobiography, aided and abetted by humorist and cartoonist Michael Kupperman. From WWI to the Great Depression, WWII to Woodstock, and through the present, Twain details his careers as an ad man, astronaut, hypnotist, Yeti hunter, porn star, drifter, grifter and more, rubbing shoulders and having never-before-told adventures with many major figures of the 20th Century.
Michael Kupperman describes the book further:
"A mix of illustrated writing and comics, this volume follows Twain as he navigates the Twentieth Century and makes his way into the Twenty-First. His adventures are tense, scary, sexy, mischievous, and sometimes embarrassing. Twain spills the dirt on his secret love affairs with Marilyn Monroe and Mame Eisenhower, tells about his spying and private detective work, and dishes about his involvement in film, TV and advertising. The time he took LSD, the day he tried to hypnotize a donut clerk. Where he first met Einstein and how they travelled through time together. How to build your own raft and the life of a hobo. And who really killed JFK…? All this and much, much more."
The Man Who Grew His Beard is Belgian cartoonist Olivier Schrauwen’s first American book after having staked a reputation over the last decade as one of Europe’s most talented storytellers. It collects seven short stories, each a head-spinning display of craft and storytelling that mixes early twentieth-century comics influences like Winsor McCay with a thoroughly contemporary voice that provokes and entertains with subversively surreal humor and subtle criticism of twentieth-century tropes and images. The stories themselves, though each stands alone, are intertwined thematically, offering peeks into the minds of semi-autistic, achingly isolated men and their feverish inner worlds and how they interact and contrast with their real environment. Though Schrauwen taps "surrealist" or "absurdist" impulses in his work, you will not read a more careful and precise collection of stories this year.
The stories included are: “Hair Types,” a hilarious piece that on the surface explores the pseudoscientific classification of personality as a function of hair but becomes something more akin to a fable about self-fulfilling prophecy; “Chromo Congo,” a silent story about two men on safari who meet a corpulent and obnoxious hunter; as well as “The Task,” “The Man Who Grew His Beard,” “The Lock,” “The Cave,” and “The Imaginist.”
Though this is Schrauwen’s first U.S. edition of comics, he has wowed American fans with his appearances in the anthology MOME over the last few years, and one of his MOME stories was one of three comics selected for the 2009 edition of Dave Eggers's influential Best American Nonrequired Reading.
“I don’t know much about Olivier Schrauwen, [but I] know that he’s some sort of postmodern comics genius.” — Eisner Award-winning comics critic Tom Spurgeon
Joe Kubert is one of the great comic book artists. His career literally traverses the history of comics, beginning in 1938 when he became a professional at age 12, to today as one of the greatest draftsmen working in the field. Kubert is known and respected as much for his sinewy, passionate drawing as he is for his consummate storytelling skills. Over his 70-year career in comics, he has worked as an artist, an editor, a publisher, an entrepreneur, and a cartooning auteur. The Art of Joe Kubert is a deluxe, full-color coffee table book that honors this legendary creator with beautifully reproduced artwork from every phase of his career as well as critical commentary by the book’s editor, comics historian and Kubert biographer Bill Schelly.
Schelly’s text parallels the visual evolution of the artist’s work, tracing his life and career from his early days drawing Hawkman in the Golden Age, to his creation of Tor, his involvement in creating 3-D comics in the 1950s, his tour de force stints on DC’s war comics — Sgt. Rock, The Unknown Soldier and the groundbreaking Enemy Ace — in the 1960s, to illustrating the adventures of Tarzan in the 1970s. And before finding a creative safe haven at DC Comics in the ’50s, Kubert drew for many smaller and more obscure companies, including Holyoke, Quality, Fiction House, Harvey, St. John, and others — all of which are represented, including a 50-page section of comic-book stories in the horror, crime, and SF genres from the pre-Comics Code era, reprinted in full color for the first time.
Although Kubert is known for his contributions to pop culture icons such as Tarzan and Sgt. Rock, he has also invested his creative energy in more personal projects over the last 20 years, including journalistic and historical graphic novels such as his Eisner Award-winning Fax from Sarajevo and Yossel: April 19, 1943, all of which are illustrated along with Schelly’s insightful analysis that places these later, more mature works in the context of Kubert’s career.
David B., the creator of the acclaimed Epileptic, gives full rein to his fascination with history, magic and gods, not to mention grand battles, in this literate, witty, and absorbing collection of stories — all based on historical fact, or at least historical legend, and delineated in a striking stylized two-color format.
“The Veiled Prophet”: During the 8th century (the time of Harun al-Rashid, the Caliph of 1001 Nights fame), Hakim al-Muqanna, the lowly Persian fabric dyer, is assaulted and enveloped by a piece of white cloth come from the sky. When a bystander recognizes in the folds of the cloth the visage of Abu-Muslim, defender of the oppressed, al-Muqanna becomes a prophet and great leader — and within a year his followers have defeated seven armies sent to stop him!
“The Armed Garden,” set in the 15th century, tells the story of the bloody quest for a Paradise on Earth. Rohan, a humble Prague blacksmith, is visited by Adam and Eve, who urge him lead his fol- lowers, soon dubbed “Adamites,” on this mission. They soon must contend, bloodily, with the rival Paradise-seekers the “Taborites,” led by John Zizka.
“The Drum Who Fell in Love,” a sequel of sorts, begins with Zizka’s death: His people have him skinned and his skin stripped onto a drum, and the drum, speaking in Zizka’s voice, leads the Taborites into battle anew. But the touch of a beautiful girl softens Zizka’s spirit, and the unlikely couple begin a journey together…
Special Offer: Order The Armed Garden and Other Stories and add David B.'s Babel #2 to your order for half price! Make your selection when placing your order.
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