|Things to See: 6/27/11 Roundup|
|Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Tim Lane, Things to see, Steven Weissman, Steve Brodner, Sergio Ponchione, Richard Sala, Renee French, Noah Van Sciver, Mome, Mark Newgarden, Lorenzo Mattotti, Lilli Carré, Leslie Stein, Jason, Eleanor Davis, Drew Friedman, animation, Anders Nilsen, Al Floogleman||27 Jun 2011 10:53 PM|
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Category >> Anders Nilsen
Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:
• List: Castle Waiting Vols. 1 & 2 take two spots on Nancy Pearl's "10 Terrific Summer Reads" list at NPR.org: "The black-and-white drawings are precisely crafted, with small, endearing touches that render each character entirely unique. The dialogue is clever and filled with subtle grace notes of drollness and humor. The set will be especially appealing to readers of all ages who enjoy seeing and reading traditional fairy tale tropes teased and played with, all with a sense of good-humored fun."
• Review: "...Congress of the Animals finds twisted fabulist Woodring at the top of his darkly delightful game: Open the book at random and the odds are very good that your gaze will alight upon something that stings, bites, drips, oozes or squelches. Tentacled plant-beasts threaten the unwary, factories powered by crushed blackbirds produce who-knows-what, slimy amphibians enact bizarre rituals and a tribe of naked, faceless men whom the jacket copy refers to as "blind gut-worshippers" — easily the most potent nightmare fuel Woodring has ever produced — drug passersby for mysterious purposes of their own. You certainly won't want to live inside the covers of Congress of the Animals, but it's a fascinating and thrilling feat of imagination, and one hell of a place to visit." – Glen Weldon, NPR.org
• Review: "This book does something I love. It takes me inside a world I’ve never known.... Shimura’s writing does a good job of exposing the readers to the realities of being transgender. Wandering Son ignited my imagination and got me trying to relate to and understand these characters as deeply as possible.... Shimura has crafted an excellent opening volume.... The quiet pace and subject matter make this series a perfect read for the alternative comics crowd. Fans of shoujo and josei manga will enjoy it too. I’d love for everyone to at least give the first volume of Wandering Son a try. It’s a rare gem of emotional honesty and complexity that rewards those willing to take the risk and move outside their typical reading habits." – Ed Sizemore, Comics Worth Reading
• Review: "Monologues for Calculating the Density of Black Holes by Anders Nilsen... touched a special spot that I strive towards in my reading; it created atmosphere. There’s a weight to the unhinged timeline and nonsensical dialogue. It feels calculated, even as it touches on topics such as 'Godzilla vs. Richard Simmons.' The drawings are simple, yet they effortlessly convey time and feel appropriate for the content. It was a quick read, but one that I’ll be revisiting. Check it out." – Au Yeah!
• Interview: Newsarama's Michael Lorah talks to Wilfred Santiago about the creation of 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente: "A baseball sequence is all about interpretation; there are cold, unchangeable facts. If the batter hits a home run to left field in the second inning, etc., then those are unchangeable facts about that scene. So it’s about the reading of the particulars. I mean, if you are saying sad things while laughing maniacally, it’s different than if you are saying them while sobbing and in tears. Therefore, it’s all about what role that particular game sequence plays in the story as a whole. It’s not a book about baseball, even though there’s baseball in it."
• Interview (Audio): Inkstuds host Robin McConnell rang up Dave McKean (on Skype presumably) for a conversation about his latest book: "Celluloid, fresh out from Fantagraphics, is a remarkable work exploring pornography through a very particular lens. Needless to say, it is fantastic."
• Lore: Kim Deitch continues his new column over at TCJ.com, "Mad About Music: My Life in Records," featuring (among other things) a few of his dad Gene's jazz illustrations (as seen in our book Cat on a Hot Thin Groove)
And more Things to See from the past week:
• Surely you're already following Jason's Cats Without Dogs blog where he posts artwork old and new (like his 1989 Elvis Costello illustration above), as well as concise and often very funny film reviews; now he's also posting his juvenilia at The Old Cat and the Dog where you can see his teenage takes on the Punisher, Lucky Luke, the Silver Surfer, Spidey etc.
• Richard Sala gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the cover artwork for The Grave Robber's Daughter and posts a bunch of fantastic full-color concept art for as-yet unrealized story ideas
And more Things to See from the past week:
It's been a while since I had a chance to do one of these...
• While recently in Chicago, Josh Simmons got his pals Anders Nilsen and Jeffrey Brown to draw some Quackers; Anders also has a bunch of new self-portraits and has put out an expanded fold-out edition of his Kramer's Ergot 7 strip
And more Things to See from the past... jeez, 3 weeks:
• Buy Dame Darcy's mermaid print to help send her to the annual Mermaid Parade on her 40th birthday! She's also now an ordained Wiccan minister! Good luck and congrats! All this and more in her latest blog update
Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:
• List: Joe McCabe of FEARnet names "Five Horror Graphic Novels You Need to Read," including:
"The black-and-white scratchboard art of German comics creator Thomas Ott is without peer among today's comics artists. That Ott can also tell one helluva fun horror short story is almost icing on the cake.... This omnibus volume [R.I.P.: Best of 1985-2004] collects his three out-of-print albums... I've never read a Thomas Ott tale that was anything less than fantastic. Highly recommended."
"...[Richard Sala] has carved his own niche as perhaps the most twisted but brilliant cartoonist working in comics today.... Labyrinthine in its complexity and endlessly imaginative in its designs and characterizations, [The Chuckling Whatsit] tells the story of Broom, an unemployed writer who gets mixed up in a murder plot and the Ghoul Appreciation Society Headquarters (GASH), whose membership boasts more creepy eccentrics than the collected works of Edward Gorey."
[Gazin:] The main feeling that the comic left me with was a crushing sense of hopelessness. With the exception of the cover art, the girls usually seem unhappy.
[Bagge:] Why?!? Well, I gave them troubled backstories, but they sure have a lot of fun at the same time.
[Gazin:] I guess I feel like Krazy, Honey, and Woo Woo don't usually look like they're having fun. They look troubled, upset, or angry in almost every panel. They go to other planets, but they usually don't enjoy it. Even when Woo Woo gets to date her rockstar crush, Hobo Cappiletto, she's too racked with guilt to be able to enjoy it. It seems like they're only having fun on the front and back cover.
[Bagge:] Good point! I guess I simply enjoy their misery. I'm a monster!
• Interview: At Comic Book Resources, Shaun Manning talks to Jason and Fabien Vehlmann about collaborating on their new graphic novel Isle of 100,000 Graves. Says Vehlmann: "I love his incredible and unusual style, and I didn't want to change it totally... So even if I created the entire story and the characters of Isle of 100,000 Graves, I also did kind of a 'forger-job,' trying to write as if I was Jason but also bringing my own private topics (death, childhood, etc...), which was a very exciting challenge." Manning says of the book, "Displaying all of the keen wit, sharp twists and disarming sincerity readers have come to love in books like Werewolves of Montpellier, I Killed Adolf Hitler and others, Isle of 100,000 Graves teams the artist known as Jason with writer Fabien Vehlmann for a wholly original adventure tale that pushes both creators in an intriguing new direction."
• Plug: "Get ready, because if you like comics in which monsters and barbarian wrestlers beat the living shit out of each other (and who doesn’t?), [Prison Pit Book Three] is probably going to be the best book you’ve read since Prison Pit Book Two." – Ben Spencer, Nerd City
Two weeks to catch up on!
• Percy Gloom changed his Facebook profile picture to this portrait I hadn't seen before
• Kevin Huizenga's jaw-dropping comic from Kramer's Ergot 7 is now up at the newly-revived What Things Do; Kevin offers some notes and commentary on it at his New Construction blog; also, a possibly new Glenn Ganges glimpse
And more Things to See from the past week:
• New Trubble Club!
Comics fans, film aficionados, lovers of merch, rejoice! The Cinefamily in L.A. often has posters for their film programming illustrated by top-notch cartoonists (thanks to the involvement of Sammy Harkham) and now they're all available for purchase online. Clockwise from top left: Slacker by Gabrielle Bell, "Leprethon" by Johnny Ryan, Cassavetes by John Pham, and Dennis Hopper by Anders Nilsen. Below, Yasujiro Ozu by Chris Ware. You can also buy t-shirts with the sharp Cinefamily logo designed by Jordan Crane.
Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:
• Profile: At the ABC News website, the AP's Matt Moore talks to Robert Crumb during his recent visit to New York City for his Society of Illustrators exhibit opening: "'It was never intended for that purpose, so it's always odd to see it on a wall, or under glass; it was intended for printing and books. It wasn't made as a wall hanging piece,' Crumb said in an interview with The Associated Press. 'For me, the printed copy is the magic moment. When I see it in print — that was the whole purpose of it.'" (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
• Interview: At Previews, a must-read chat with Gary Groth about our classic strip reprints: "The only criterion is that it’s great cartooning. We wouldn’t waste our time devoting this much time and energy to anything less. Our mission has been to publish the best cartooning — not only in comic strips, but in every 'branch' of the cartooning art — that we can."
• Interview: At Robot 6, Chris Mautner talks to Wilfred Santiago about 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente: "I was trying not to make it … biographies to me have a static feel to them. I was trying to avoid [that] and I feel like cartooning helps you in expressing the story and what you’re trying to convey thtorugh the story. It was difficult too because I wanted it to be cartoony and realistic at the same time. I wanted it to be fun. What’s important was that it was exciting; that it could almost speak. That you could read the book in a very sort of sharp-paced way but you could also take the time and read through it at your leisure."
• Interview: Matthew Baker of Vanderbilt University's Nashville Review has an epic chat with Anders Nilsen: "Really I feel like comics is just the most useful category to drop me into. I don’t feel like I’m wedded to comics as a medium. I draw, and I usually sort of tell stories, but I do make standalone drawings and paintings, and I do make stuff that is probably closer to poetry than comics. I’ve made books before that aren’t really comics — just a series of pictures, or diagrams, or whatever."
• Review: "Stunning and evocative and rendered in a cacophony of swirling miasmic lines, this fearsome modern parable is a fierce interrogation of faith and destiny which asks uncompromising and uncomfortable questions about the price of Grace and the value of belief. [...] Emotive, shocking and utterly compelling, Stigmata is a grotesque and beautiful metaphysical rollercoaster with existential angst and blind faith gripping each other’s philosophical throats and squeezing really hard. No rational reader or mature comics fan can afford to miss this dark shining delight." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
• Review: "This book beautifully captures the phantasmagoric flow of images that occurs in dreams. Mattotti's art is incredible. There are panels that are so intricate that I wonder how he had the time to draw so many of them. At 32 mostly wordless pages it's a very short book, but the imagery, like the panels of a child throwing a toy at a giant, or the panels showing a huge black bird carrying off a rabbit in a rainstorm, will stay with you long after you finish reading. If you like the intense, emotional, sometimes dreamlike artwork Mattotti did for Stigmata, you will love Chimera." – Jon Anderson, The Beguiling
[Editor/Marketeer's Note: You can get Chimera for half price when you order Stigmata!]
Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:
• Review/Interview: It's baseball's opening day, and The Comics Reporter's Tom Spurgeon notes the occasion with his look at 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente and chat with the book's creator, Wilfred Santiago.
Spurgeon's comments on the book: "Santiago brings the same playful complexity to the story of the Puerto Rican baseball slugger and humanitarian that he's put on thrilling display in previous comics. Many of the pages are to die-for gorgeous, and Santiago routinely finds compelling visual solutions to communicating the physicality and grace of a player whose heyday was long enough ago we have more stories than film to go by. The insights into the man's personal life are perhaps even more engagingly portrayed. As biography, 21 is admirably restrained and leaves a lot to the reader's interpretation of what they're seeing on the page. It is a book bristling with intelligence that will bear re-reading in the same way that Roberto Clemente continues to invite our regard and admiration for his accomplishments on and off the field."
From Wilfred: "To an extent, that's Clemente. Clemente didn't waste much time. Everything was urgent to him. The pace of the book tried to capture that sort of non-pause, that sort of way of going forward without slowing down. He does have what you just said -- exuberance -- and that's such an important part of his life. So you approach it the same way. When you think about it, that's exactly the way he died, too. He could have slowed down."
• Plug: "A shooting star that brightened the game in the '70s, Roberto Clemente broke cultural divides and game records and grasps on just what a baseball athlete could accomplish inside a long-storied sport. Writer and cartoonist Wilfred Santiago brings a graphic novel  that details the bio of a beloved player still, decades after his abrupt death." – Mark Ruffin, Examiner.com
• Feature: At the Drawing Words & Writing Pictures blog, Best American Comics series co-editor Jessica Abel spotlights Anders Nilsen's Monologues for Calculating the Density of Black Holes as a 2010 Notable Comic: "Characters drift in and out, talking to the reader, beating each other up, and discussing philosophy in a way that makes you think Nilsen both believes and doesn’t believe this stuff. Really, it’s one of a kind. Except for Monologues for the Coming Plague, of course. But it’s funnier than that one."
• Plug: "In his comics, the Swiss illustrator [Thomas Ott], 44, usually begins with a pencil drawing, then copies it with tracing paper. Then transfers the image to black paper and scrapes with the aid of a stylus. Too much work? Yes, but the technique, known as scratchboard, impresses. Check out... a small sample of the new album [R.I.P.: Best of 1985-2004] — a selection of nearly 20 years of work by the author — and dare to disagree. The images are disturbing, but beautiful." – Telio Navega, O Globo (translated from Portuguese)
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