Jason T Miles pointed this out to me. I am sincerely honored to be part of the Comic Book Database but I'm way, waayyy more thrilled to have my lifelong dream realized of being cover artist for Tony Millionaire's Billy Hazelnuts!
Which isn't to take away from the fact that I was a cover artist for Peter Bagge's legendary Hate comics before I ever learned to drive, nor that I lettered the entirety of the Beasts! anthology (I bet you thought those were typefaces, didn't ya???). Internet: I love you and your, shall we say, Facts!!
* [Note to CB Database people: Please don't take this "inaccurate" information off your site. In fact, I'd really appreciate you mentioning my stint as editor of Raw magazine and co-creator of Maus.]
** [Why am I not on Wikipedia? I'm very, very important! (See CB Database).]
In Barcelona, Spain, there lives a man who seems to be a fountain of creative energy. Possibly a horse. A man or a horse who compulsively creates art with a diversity of style and intent. I find him hugely inspiring-- one of these men or horses that imbues every little scrap of paper he touches with honest-to-god life. Some of it very polished and commercial, much of it feeling dashed off in an intuitive dervish.
Sometimes it's like someone who speaks only in semaphore trying to speak braille. But my view is biased since I can't speak Spanish and his prolific art and music sites (he has five or six sites of work going at once) carry all the more mystique for their foreign language and different cultural influences. Likewise, his work is best taken as an oeuvre. Immersion tells you more than you get from trying to pick up the language piecemeal.
It's all fun. It all has a sense of humor. But there's a seriousness, a somber universe of characters with depth that underlies the work. (Right down to his weirdly anachronistic name that seems so annoyingly uncool that you're almost set up to be unamused.) I have no idea why that Black Cat series is so disturbingly funny to me but it's hilarious. Why that house collage feels so complete in its story but it does. Or why that comic page tells me so much when I'm unable to put together the linear story but it does. Mr. Ed gives comfort in understanding, not knowing.
Adam Grano is upset with me being too blanket-statement-y in my post on scanners. I'm like that. I just wanted people to be aware of what to look at in their scans. Adam has a better idea of what to look for in a scanner brand. Here's his scholarly response:
"I don't deny that some cheap scanners are shitty. I was just arguing that the pinup scans look more affected by jpeg compression than JUST a shitty scanner. I'd wager that if he upped the resolution a bit and sent you an LZW compressed tiff, it'd look a lot better. Maybe still not flawless, but better. At home we have a $150 Epson and it's great. Epson is the only brand of cheap scanner I would recommend to anyone. HPs are shit. Canons, even though (or possibly because) they're thin and you can stand them up on your desk, are shit. And even some Epson all-in-ones are shit. Cheap Epsons are acceptable. Not great. I understand you're emboldened by your experience with your scanner at home, but just like any product (especially at an entry-level price point) you just need to do the research to find out who is going to provide the best product at the best price.
In conclusion, the blanket statement that cheap scanners are "the devil's work" is misleading."
So sayeth the savvy Grano, grumbling in the corner refusing to post anything for you, our beloved Flog readers, but still hostile towards kindly me.
Mike Baehr pointed out Tim Hensley using ComicLife in the links roundup a couple of weeks ago but he failed to mention how Fantagraphics' Righthand Man, Eric Reynolds, has even stopped drawing and now makes all his comics in the Macintosh program.
Such a convert, he even got his mom into it. Seriously. I've seen her comics but I won't post those. It wouldn't be right-- and you probably don't even know who Mr. Blackwell is anyway.
Well, in spite of his flaws, I recommend all fans of comicdom check out Eric's massive Flickr archive of His Life in the Comics World. Lots of con and comic life photos, original art he's amassed, and baby pics. Mike Baehr is on Flickr too, with his photography and Yoda fetish.
But Flickr also has something for the manga fans: Tatsuro Kiuchi's very strange Japanese comics. Note to the Editors: Tatsuro's work is great and should be in Mome, untranslated. Also, his piece in the upcoming Beasts2 was acknowledged with a prestigious illustration accolade. I forget which accolade. One of the good ones. Tatsuro is awesome.
Speaking of manga, I'm not clear who does Spermanga but I love his/her work. I guess it's "Bolino." I need to research this.
Speaking of things I have a reputation for hating, if you don't generally like web comics then you might want to check out this great French site, Grandpapier, that hosts over 100 comic artists. Technically billed as web comics, it's more like scans of indie books that you aren't likely to see in the States. Unfortunatly you kind of need to read French to fully enjoy the work.
But as long as we're just hanging out, shooting the shit, maybe you'd like to get away from comics: How about Mexican pulp covers featuring things like creepy space monsters with rayguns? Or dinosaurs fighting UFOs? Can anyone paint like this anymore? Can you? Contact me if you can. People should know about your work if it looks like this.
I e-met this guy Pierre Richardson a while back and, speaking as someone who did pretty well doing rock photography in a past life, Richardson's multiple exposure work (done all in-camera) is badass. Really. Also see his blog, with interviews of artists who have a scrawly, scratchy bent.
Concerning my earlier post about Scanner Quality: Here is a photograph scanned with a $100 home scanner I bought because it sat up vertically on the desktop, taking up less space. It is worthless. Above is a 1.5 inch section of photograph I scanned at 300 dpi and saved uncompressed, showing all the same jagginess and lack of nuance that I talked about below.
Somebody at Fantagraphics doubted that cheap scanners had anything to do with this binary phenomenon but, yes, they do. They are the devil's work. As I said.
I should make time for posts like this more often but here's a little rundown on why people shouldn't use cheap scanners to archive material.
Take a look at this scan of an original old pin-up page that was sent to me this week, compressed as a jpg. At a glance it looks great with the watercolor paper really showing its tooth. (Technically the page has also not been laid down flat enough and we're getting an uneven light but let's overlook that.) Above shows the full art which was scanned large--about 11" tall at 300dpi.
Looking closer you can see that the mottling (modelling? now I'm not sure which.) is actually quite inconsistent, made up more of a kind of binary than a continuous tone. Her skin looks blemished. The wall just looks awful. Cheap scanners tend to blow out the highlights and sink the shadows. It's like getting the box of 8 crayons instead of 64, so the scanner relies more on contrast to form the image and you lose detail.
If you then compress that file as a jpg, it makes those tones crumple into jaggy pixelation. Everyone should know this by now but it's amazing how few people do: Jpg files are for the web. It makes your file size small so windows load more quickly. Most of the time there's no good reason for large files to be saved as jpgs. You want .tif (or .psd) for your precious artwork. If you save it as a .jpg you better have a reason. If you don't have a reason I hope you get stuck in an elevator with Jordan Crane, who will tear you apart without pity. (Go NOW to download his Reproguide at the bottom of this page .)
This last detail really showcases what makes cheap scanners the devil's work. The artwork is technically high resolution enough for print but if it were run at actual size you would see how awful the shading really looks. You would see how the highlight shading is a bunch of tiny gray boxes. The jpg compression is also making for all the little noise that's going on along the edges of lines.
As it is I'm probably going to use this file for print but run about a third of the size of the original. For the purposes of a non-archival project such as the Pin-Up series I simply don't have the luxury of controlling the work as much I'd like, besides the fact that most of the material will be scanned from old pulp digests.
It helps to explore compensatory tricks-- I originally planned the pin-up series to be embellished with a second spot color not just because it looked cool and mirrored the coloring of the digest covers but specifically to draw the eye away from the generational loss of scanning continuous tone artwork off of crummy, 50 year old pulp.
Throughout the late midcentury, Dan DeCarlo was simultaneously defining the look of tight-sweatered Riverdale girls in Archie comics for little Billy while drawing titillating Riverdale-esque women losing their sweaters in Humorama magazines for Bill senior. Like Playboy being produced by Disney, the utter American-ness of it resonates deeply and rather disturbingly. It's the ultimate subversion to see these Archie girls squeaky-clean and wide-eyed in a slick, crass, Man's World of viral virile impotence. And I can't stop admiring DeCarlo because of and in spite of it...
[Ha. I misspelled 'virile.' And, no, I'm not going to explain myself.]
If you're anywhere near Brooklyn you would be crazy to miss a yard sale that includes Mark Newgarden (creator of the Garbage Pail Kids, etc.):
COLOSSAL Multi-Family GARAGE SALE! So big, it's practically an entire Flea Market! This weekend! Saturday, October 4 & Sunday, October 5, 10am - ?
A MOUNTAIN OF TREASURE INCLUDES: Collectibles, Antiques, Art Books, Kid’s Books, Vintage Paperbacks, All kinds of Books, Old Magazines, Advertising, Comics, Paper Ephemera, Posters, Maps, Records, Record Players, CDs, Vintage Toys, Old Squeak Toys, Vintage Games, Projectors, Vintage Film Boxes, Old Cameras, Electronics, Vintage Women's Clothes, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's & 70's Kitchenware, Assorted Vintage Trays, Housewares, Antique Linens, Fabric, Tables, Chairs, Homemade Stools, Shelves, Lamps, Clocks, Mirrors, Waste Baskets, Old Office Supplies, Old School Chairs, School Coat Rack, Old Wooden Sled, Primitive Ladder, Old Watering Cans, Christmas Paraphernalia, Kitschy Paintings, rude Vintage Gags, Mesquite Mexican Shrine, Antique Brooklyn Soda Bottles, like-new 70's TWA Flight Bags, Religious Statuettes, Vintage Wooden Butler, Mannequins, and too many Oddities to list!
Cheap prices for excellent stuff. No earlybirds please!
Williamsburg, Brooklyn @ corner of North 8th & Havemeyer Streets
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