Your Online Commentary & Diversions-style goodies for today:
• Review: "...[F]or fans of off-beat crime..., I give you Jacques Tardi’s no-shit brilliant adaptation of Jean-Patrick Manchette’s West Coast Blues. ... [W]hat starts out as something straight out of a Hitchcock classic like North by Northwest soon escalates into something more savage, more profound, and utterly wonderful... It succeeds brilliantly in good old-fashioned crime thrills, for sure. The violence is brutal, the story exciting and surprising, and the characters are brilliantly rendered. But then there’s that extra little layer, those subtle themes, those strange details, the lyrical narration passages — let’s just stop and cut to the fucking chase: you should just pick this shit up and be floored. This is about as good as comics get, dear readers." – BSCreview
• Review: "The rape of the innocent. The callousness of the machine. The girth of the profiteers. The threat of the bomb. The hollowness of the victories. [Craig] Yoe has collected more than 220 of those anti-war cartoons in [The Great Anti-War Cartoons,] a book of indelible images that remind us those confrontations aren't what they used to be." – Steve Duin, The Oregonian
• Plug: "[Zak] Sally's one of those artists who can convey a sense of dread or horror out of seeming thin air, and he's really been on the periphery for far too long now. Hopefully [Like a Dog] will thrust him into the limelight." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
• Interview: At Marvel.com, Sean T. Collins talks to Paul Hornschemeier about his Strange Tales contribution: "I think this story is far more cerebral than the typical mainstream comics, for better or worse. But it will be brightly colored, so hopefully that will get everyone though the awful philosophical ranting I'm about to unleash. Get ready for more shots from my boredom gun." (Paul offers a couple of corrections at his blog)
• Interview: Lauren McKinley of [^]LAND talks to Fantagraphics art director Jacob Covey: "I'd say my style is heavily influenced by where I first learned how to design — making photocopied black and white flyers for rock shows. I feel like that, far more than anything else, taught me most of what I've learned about how to make type and image work."
• Analysis: More commentary on the future of The Comics Journal, this time from CBR's Augie De Blieck Jr.
There are a few artists who I've been wanting to post about before I get swamped with fatherly duties. I'll be trying to do that over the next week or so. Up first...
Meg Hunt is still a young illustrator but one whose details you can look at and see that she works hard to flesh out her images for her own development as an artist-- her clients probably wouldn't notice if she spent half the time she does on her work. Which is exactly why I enjoy watching her evolve and why she's someone who will be working for more of the clients who DO notice the details.
She's also one of the few design-conscious illustrators that I enjoy. I can't really define what I mean by that (and there's probably an actual term for this), but all of her illustrations are very designed, have a smart color palette and textures, and emphasize shapes more than, say, a fully-formed setting. Most illustrators who do this do so at the expense of a soul to the work but Meg maintains life and a personal vision in what she does-- the backgrounds still matter and evoke relevant setting.
Check out her Flickr page to see more process, including details on the handcut rubyliths that make up that screenprint above. I was happy to learn that she never composes her images in the computer, still preferring to plan it all out by hand, including her sophisticated, overlapping coloring.
Meg would be great for the children's book market. Are you reading this, children's book market? Call her.
MEANWHILE, that print will be in an art show here in Seattle that opens Friday at the Suite 100 Gallery.
The Magik Show opens this Thursday (April 3) at the Pony Club Gallery in Portland, OR. This show is the first to be curated by Zack Soto and it's a pretty great line-up of mostly comics folks. "Stereotopfer" (his gocco prints above) has conveniently listed and linked all the artists on his Flickr page.
No sooner has our own Matt Silvie posted Flickr photos of Ruth Bellthomaz's house than the city has won out on forcing her to beautify her property. Anyone who's ever visited the Fantagraphics Books, Inc., headquarters surely remembers her house, brimming with chaotic art and a constantly evolving landscape.
My desk here at the office looks out on Ruth's property. I've frequently seen her out there securing the wall of window frames that she has nailed to her house. The squirrels and stray cats love climbing on the scaffolding-like structure, but Matt tells me that she has all those seemingly useless windows there to keep the FBI from monitoring inside her home. Which is at least a little less crazy sounding when you realize that those are the initials for our company and I AM staring at her.
Anyway, she's over there today with an industrial-size dumpster and a hammer dismantling and trashing. I just hope we don't lose all of her handpainted signs (see above).
This has nothing to do with Ray's phenomenal work, which I greatly covet and admire, but looking at Etsy, I am struck by how 'crafting' has seemingly become the new D.I.Y. medium of choice. I wonder if it's because all the zinesters of the '80s and '90s are now in their 30s and 40s and knitting onesies instead of xeroxing Gen X (or L) manifestos? I'm not sure what to make of it. I do like pretty things, but can only get so excited when in boutique potholder form. I'll shut up now, I'm treading on very thin ice with many of my dear friends and coworkers. Not to mention my wife. Did I mention that Jacob Covey hates Manga? He really does. He told me he would rather read a potholder. What's up with that?
UPDATE: I am just being a smart-ass. I don't really mean any of this.
Congratulations and thank you to Jennifer Tong, who captured this charming and unsettling glimpse into the life of Nymphs. This piece was submitted to the Open Call slot I posted about last month and will be appearing in "BEASTS! Book Two."
Thanks a lot to everyone who took time to send in work-- more details on the Beasts Blog.
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