|The Iconography of Conor O'Keefe|
|Written by Eric Reynolds | Filed under Mome, Conor OKeefe||5 Jul 2011 9:13 AM|
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Category >> Mome
Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:
• Review: "Of all the comics libraries I've seen, this one has by far the most complete and diverse collection of ancillary material. The intrigue of reading the earliest (1930-1931) Mickey Mouse strips (including a number written by Walt Disney himself) in restored and remastered form would have been reason enough to pick this book up, but the essays, commentaries, character sketches, and archival features all add immeasurably to one's appreciation of Gottfredson, the creator who invented the funny-animal adventure genre." – Chris Barat
• Interview: The Daily Cross Hatch's Brian Heater talks to our own Eric Reynolds about Mome, with part 1 focusing on the anthology's beginnings: "We wanted to publish more people that we weren’t really able to do, in terms of giving them book deals. Oddly enough, it seems like our production on that front really took off along with Mome, as far as publishing new people like Josh Simmons or Paul Hornschemeier, you name it. But that was essentially the reason. I was seeing more and more newer cartoonists coming out that I was interested in, but maybe didn’t have a book in them, yet. And it was really means to an end, as far as working with people that I had been admiring from afar."
My old pal, Stevie Knight a.k.a. "Ribs" Weissman, seemed a bit sheepish when he first suggested contributing a series of Guns 'n' Roses-related strips to MOME 22. I would have liked to think he knew me better than that. I mean, c'mon, Steven, you had me at "Appetite for Delicatessen."
What's particularly odd is that Weissman is one of two MOME regulars who independently decided that Vol. 22 would be the right time to get their Axl Rose on. More on that later...
With only one issue left to put together, I knew going into MOME 22 that I had to make a last-ditch effort to fit in a few cartoonists that I'd been meaning to reach out to for while. Count Chuck Forsman on that list. I've been enjoying Chuck's Snake Oil comics and others for a few years now, and as such was thrilled when he jumped at the chance to do something for the final hurrah. His story, "Francis," highlights one of Forsman's unique talents: a pitch-perfect ear and eye for the 1980s. Which is a bit weird for someone who wasn't even born until 1982.
At Comic-Con in July, we'll be debuting the 22nd and final volume of MOME (that's one-half of Zak Sally's beautifully elegant wraparound cover of the issue, above). It's a bittersweet thing for me, but I couldn't be happier about how the last issue -- at 240 pages, about twice as long as any previous issue -- turned out, so when Mike Baehr suggested I do something for Flog about it, it seemed like a no-brainer. And when I decided the best way to do so would be to post some teaser images from the issue, it took me about half a second to realize where to start: Kurt Wolfgang.
Kurt has been essentially the one constant in MOME from the very first issue (along with myself, I guess), and his main contribution, the ongoing "Nothing Eve," is pretty much the standard-bearer of the kind of work that MOME was specifically designed to midwife into the world, and one of the things I'm most proud to have published in its pages. The simple, dramatic idea behind it -- If you knew the world was ending tomorrow, how would you spend your last night? -- is really just a launching point for what is essentially a charmingly funny and character-driven piece about the way people relate to each other. Kurt resists melodrama every step of the way, and the work is so much better for it.
Also, more than just about any other serial I can ever remember reading in an anthology, "Nothing Eve" functioned perfectly as a serial. In addition to crafting a completely hilarious and compelling graphic novel, Kurt has an innate knack for breaking his story down into compelling chapters that function on their own. You could easily enjoy any chapter of "Nothing Eve" without ever having read another. That's not an easy feat, and regular MOME readers were given a better experience for it.
The bad news is that MOME is ending before "Nothing Eve" ends. The good news, however, is that when "Nothing Eve" is eventually published, it will be that much more satisfying a read.
The best news is that Kurt prepared an alternative, "final" chapter for MOME 22 that is just about my favorite thing I've ever published in MOME. So for those of you who've been following "Nothing Eve" since the beginning, you're going to be rewarded with something truly special that won't end up in the eventual collection.
I'm very reluctant to tip my hand any further, but let's just say, it's right about with this four-panel sequence that shit starts to get unreal:
You can't even begin to guess where things go from here, but trust me in that I promise you won't be disappointed.
Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:
• Review: "More than anything, ...21 is a book of huge ambition and formal daring. The storytelling is kaleidoscopic, leaping from Clemente’s final game in 1972 to his childhood to his 1960s heyday and back again, with time out for portraits of both the steel city and the Caribbean island that he loved so much. But for all his overt displays of (admittedly dazzling) technique, Santiago never loses track of his story. Though it’s not an ideal starting point for readers unfamiliar with Clemente’s life and significance — the treatment is far too idiosyncratic and personal for that, though newcomers will find the extensive bibliography useful — it hangs on strong narrative threads. [...] 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente is a mammoth achievement..." – Jack Feerick, Kirkus Reviews
• Interview: Comic Book Resources' Shaun Manning talks to Jim Woodring about the Nibbus Maximus and his new graphic novel: "'The story Congress of the Animals is one I've wanted to tell for a long time. In a lot of ways it's the most personal of the Frank stories and it breaks some aspects of the Frank mold,' Woodring said. 'There's a lot going on that may not be apparent, but I operate on the theory that is, there is something there people will pick up on it even if they don't see it directly. And that if they are sufficiently interested in puzzling it out, the meaning will become apparent.'"
• Interview: The Daily Cross Hatch continues serializing the transcript of Brian Heater's MoCCA panel conversation with Peter Bagge: "I still have ideas for [Buddy] and Lisa. I always have ideas for them. But what I also told myself is that I never want to just do the same character forever. You’re fortunate if you wind up doing something that’s popular. It’s rare for a cartoonist to land on something that’s popular enough that you could do it forever. Maybe I’m projecting, but I always felt sorry for daily strip cartoonists, who — you think up the Lockhorns, and you have to do the Lockhorns forever. They must always be on the verge of suicide."
• Commentary: Robot 6's Chris Mautner takes you to "Comics College" with a reader's guide to the work of Joe Sacco: "The novelty of Sacco’s particular niche tends to obscure some of his rather significant qualities as an artist and storyteller. He’s an endlessly inventive cartoonist, capable of creating incredible detailed vistas that give readers a definitive sense of place and time. He’s capable of moving from near-photo-like realism to a Basil Wolverton-ish exaggeration that can perfectly capture, say, a sweaty, crowded night club. In short, he’s an amazingly gifted craftsman, one of the best people making comics out there today."
• Analysis: "...Prince Valiant is so lush, so rich on a panel by panel basis that I often find a nine-grid of it is just enough for the day, something that unfolds and unfolds in your head long after you've set it aside. Foster makes a world with his artwork, layering in meticulous details that are never arbitrary or belabored, always enhancing the impact of the pictures' content." – Matt Seneca, Death to the Universe
• Tribute: Margalit Fox pens the New York Times obituary of Bill Blackbeard
Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:
• Interview: The L.A. Times Hero Complex blog's Noelene Clark talks to Jim Woodring about his L.A. Times Book Prize-nominated Weathercraft: "Art is always so reductive, and what I have going on in my comics is so simple and relatively easy to understand compared to real life, which is infinitely complex. So it might relate to real life in the same way that a chessboard would relate to a chessboard with an infinite number of squares on it. It’s sort of similar in some ways, but it’s much, much, much, much, much simpler and reductive and easier to understand."
• Review: "The strips themselves are great. In fact, it’s a crime these aren’t more well known. These daily strips are part of why Mickey Mouse became a popular character and world famous icon. The serialized adventures are exciting and fun, establishing a real personality for Mickey beyond what was possible in the animated shorts. The book has lovingly restored these strips from the original negatives and proof sheets – each one crystal clear and absolutely beautiful. If that were all there was to this book, I’d recommend it highly. But that’s not all. Co-Editor David Gerstein has... loaded this book with over 60 pages of supplementary articles and features that are a MUST for all Disney history buffs. [...] I cannot praise this volume highly enough." – Jerry Beck, Cartoon Brew
• Review: "I had high expectations for Castle Waiting, given that the first volume was outstanding, and I wasn’t disappointed. I found Volume 2 so strong, in fact, that it was my best graphic novel of 2010. [...] I normally am not a big fan of fantasy, but here, the characters are so strong in personality, so interesting and likable, that I want to spend more time with them. [...] The true strength of Castle Waiting, though, is Medley’s gorgeous art. The characters are perfect, distinctive and expressive, and the storytelling so strong you don’t even notice it. Instead, you’re visiting with this self-created family for a while — and it’s never long enough. When I close the cover, it’s always a melancholy action, because I want more time with these people, more adventures, more humor and good-heartedness." – Johanna Draper Carlson, Comics Worth Reading
• Review: "Mome 21 bats a good average, with many stories hitting their mark and a few clearing the fences. [...] Mome plays a unique role in the world of North American alternative comics. It’s one of the only long-form, regularly published comics anthologies out there, providing a vision of novelty and variety for the future of literary comics. When the series concludes later this year, a chapter in comics history will have closed." – Ao Meng, The Daily Texan
• Plug: Gillian G. Gaar works a nice mention of Taking Punk to the Masses: From Nowhere to Nevermind into her article on Nirvana history and mythology for Blurt
Today's Online Commentary & Diversions, continued:
• Review: "Hernandez of Love and Rockets continues his obsessive study of faux Z-movies featuring L&R character Fritz, a lisping, freakishly large-chested post-ingenue. This latest offering [Love from the Shadows] is imaginatively staged, beautifully drawn and deftly dialogued, with odd discordant undertones and psychosexual notes that include incest and insanity." – Richard Pachter, The Miami Herald
• Review: "More stoner/fantasy silliness from Daly. There seems to be more of a focus on plot and creating lengthy action sequences than in previous. The jokes don’t seem as frequent, or at least are more subtle this time around. [...] Dungeon Quest Book Two is still a fun romp, especially if you’re at all familiar with the fantasy genre or role-playing games in particular." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
• Review: "Crane's drawings are clear, simple, rounded. They combine perfectly with the primary colors used in printing newspapers. His characters were drawn more cartoonish than realistic, with free and lightweight lines, without much concern for details. In layout, Crane was able to explore the space of the entire page of the Captain Easy strip, alternating horizontal and vertical panels to get a more dynamic effect. The author also used horizontal panels to show beautiful panoramic images of fights and persecution." – Gustavo Guimaraes, Ambrosia (translated from Portuguese)
• Interview: At The Rumpus, Ted Wilson has a fun chat with Jim Woodring: "People sometimes avoid me but not because I am or am not a garbageman. I really have no idea what you are asking. Do people avoid garbagemen? Not in my experience. In fact I learned that some women simply cannot resist a man in any kind of a uniform. I’m not kidding."
• Interview: Paul Gravett presents a transcription of the Comica-sponsored conversation between Dave McKean and Lorenzo Mattotti which took place in London last month: "I had read Piersanti’s novels, When he was buying a portfolio of mine, we were introduced. A French publisher wanted a short comic for an anthology about religion, so I asked Claudio because I knew he was interested in philosophy and spiritual problems. He had the idea of a man who finds he has stigmata wounds on his hands and doesn’t know what to do." (via The Comics Reporter)
• Interview: At The Comics Journal, Ken Parille talks to Ivan Brunetti about teaching comics: "To me, art is not about talent, it’s about hard work. It’s about developing one’s intelligence, thoughtfulness, and sensitivity. To some degree, the potential for these things seems to vary, implying they are perhaps innate, but I think anything can be nurtured (or neglected). Something might not come easy, but it can be learned. It’s matter of will, desire, determination, and hard work."
• Feature: At the Drawing Words & Writing Pictures blog, Best American Comics series co-editor Matt Madden spotlights Alexey Sokolin's "Life, Interwoven" from the Abstract Comics anthology as a 2010 Notable Comic: "The comic is made entirely of hatching lines, scribbles, swooping lines, and, way down beneath it all, hints of representative imagery. It almost looks like what began as a conventional comic mutated as the marks and lines broke free of the images. It’s also interesting the way the comic can read either as a six page comic, a series of six drawings (a sextich?), or six iterations of the same page being increasingly overwhelmed with line."
Today's Online Commentary & Diversions:
• Review: At Comix Cube Kevin Czap praises Steven Weissman's "Barack Hussein Obama" (seen here on our website and in Mome Vol. 21): "It actually reminds me of Wally Gropius in terms of the structure, which is not surprising given its appearance in MOME. One can only hope that the whole thing will get collected, at which point I predict it to be one of my favorite comics ever." (Via The Comics Reporter)
• Review: We almost missed this cartoon review by Casey Scieszka and Steven Weinberg at Unshelved Book Club: "…The Last Musketeer… is the epitome of everything we love about Jason: stunning color palette, insane and absurd plot, humor that sneaks up on you, his signature anthropomorphized animals, and surprisingly serious themes of authority, humanity, death, love, jealousy…"
• Interview (Audio): On yesterday's episode of Albany, NY public radio station WAMC's program The Roundtable, Ian Pickus talked to editor/EMP curator Jacob McMurray about Taking Punk to the Masses: From Nowhere to Nevermind — listen to the archived show at the link
• Profile: At Examiner.com, Gillian Gaar talks to editor/EMP curator Jacob McMurray about Taking Punk to the Masses: From Nowhere to Nevermind: "The book, as its title suggests, views Nirvana’s success as the culmination of the alternative rock scene that blossomed in America during the 1980s. 'That’s the bigger context in the exhibition as well,' McMurray explains. 'It is the story of Nirvana, but it's couched within what was happening throughout the Northwest, and throughout the US, from the rise of punk rock on. It’s the idea that there needs to be a sort of infrastructure in place for a band like Nirvana to even exist; that without all of these advances that had been happening in the underground by a dozen different bands, Nirvana would have never happened.'"
• Interview: Comic Book Resources' Chris Mautner talks to Gilbert Hernandez about Love from the Shadows and the other "Fritz B-Movie" books: "The Fritz series frees me of any obligation to be a do-gooder cartoonist, something most regular L&R readers probably don't want to hear. I felt straight jacketed with 'Palomar' and the like after a while, really. I have a lot more going on in my imagination than I'm expected to utilize." Further reading: at CBR's Robot 6 blog, Sean T. Collins comments on the interview
• Interview (Audio): The Gentlemen's Guide to Midnite Cinema podcast correspondent Rupert Pupkin talks to Destroy All Movies!!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film co-editor Bryan Connolly
• Feature: At the Drawing Words & Writing Pictures blog, Best American Comics series co-editors Jessica Abel & Matt Madden spotlight two stories from Mome Vol. 13 as 2010 Notable Comics: Abel picks Dash Shaw's "Satellite CMYK" — "Dash Shaw just keeps popping up in our 'can’t miss' pile. [...] Beyond being a good story, the formal element of using color (and black and white) as a storytelling tool is very unusual and makes this work a standout." — and Madden picks Josh Simmons's "Jesus Christ": "The storytelling is fluid and dynamic, and Simmons’s ability to convey the enormity of the monster is bracing. Simmons deliberately mixes elements from different mythologies to defy any obvious reading. In the end, all we have before us is this escstatic Kali-Godzilla-Centaur with a halo of fire and a title to provoke us."
• Coming Attractions: Anime News Network reports that Wandering Son creator Shimura Takako begins a new serial titled Awashima Hyakkei in the online manga magazine Pocopoco soon. We'll keep an eye out and try to add it to our webcomics roundups if possible
Join us at the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE), June 15-16, 2013, in Chicago, IL. Click here for details!
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