This quote from a childhood friend of Barack Obama's jumped out at me in this great Guardian profile of people who knew Barack Obama growing up:
"Grandpa bought me all the DC Comics books, and I was the only one who had them, so [Obama] and Yanto would borrow the books and copy pictures of Batman and Spider-Man out and ask me to judge which was better. [Obama] was always better than Yanto. Even Yanto always agreed with that. [Obama] had a great eye."
Yes, we are gaining a president, but we have lost a cartoonist.
I just put a bunch of scans online from the ridiculous book idea I haven't had the money/energy/dimwittedness to pursue: Bears Versus Horses culls together myriad illustrations from vintage sources which depict animals in conflict with each other.
Apologies and thanks to the sources on the web from which I've garnered much of this imagery. These are mostly taken from Ebay auction listings I can't afford to "win."
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.
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.
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