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Window, from sketchbook
gg: At one point the girl is asked,
"Are you a filmmaker, too?" And she
says, "No. I'm just his girlfriend."
gb: Yeah. I'm kind of laying it on
thick there. But the thing is that I have this other story where there's
a hole in the bathroom wall and
this couple are always fighting
about it because the girl — well,
it's me — never gets around to
getting the hole fixed. And the
boyfriend is always nagging at
her to get it fixed. And then they
get closer and closer to the hole
and the man gets sucked into the
hole and gets swallowed up by the
hole in the bathroom. And then
eventually the girl gets swallowed
into the hole as well. But that was
actually my boyfriend's idea. It
was this flight of fancy that came
from this conversation we had.
Because we were arguing about
the hole. And he said, "What if it
just swallowed us up?"
gg: Has this appeared yet?
gb: It's in the Alternative Comics
Presents Free Comic Book Day
2005 anthology. I did it quite a
long time ago but I feel like that
and those chairs are the major
examples of my fantasy comics.
And I find that it usually comes
from other people. They come
from conversations with other
people. I myself... I'm much
more into the psychology and the
cause and effect of normal every
day things. I would just like to
have a good solid story... things
that really could happen.
gg: You never had any ambition
to just draw your average,
entertaining, mass-market comic
book, it sounds like...
gb: But I do.
From Lucky number 3
gg: You do?
gb: Ultimately, I...
gg: Do you want to draw a
Catwoman or something?
gb: What I want is to draw a story
that people are interested in and
they want to know what's going
to happen next. Which I think is
sort of the same thing. So I guess
I don't want to draw mainstream
comics, if that's what you mean.
But I think mainstream comics
and alternative comics... Their
goal is to tell a story. If it's about
fighting crime or if it's about inner
demons it's kind of... That's just
the subject matter in a way.
gg: True, they can have that in
common, but it's how the story
is being told that differentiates
the two, between literary work
and mass-market crap, between a
Philip Roth and a Tom Clancy, say.
And you always seemed to have the
ambition for the one rather than
the other. Is that true?
gb: True, but I think I would... I mean, it's true but... The
most important thing is to tell a
compelling and engaging story.
And if it's really obscure and
like some kind of art film or very
difficult art film, I mean... I'm
just sort of in the middle in a
way. Ultimately I think the point
of doing comics and of telling
stories is to — I don't want to say entertain — but it is kind of
entertainment. It's to tell a story,
which Tom Clancy is doing as well
as [Marcel] Proust. They're all
telling a story, it's just how much
meaning or... But ultimately I'm
into the plot and character change
and character development, that
kind of thing.
gg: You're more traditional as
distinct from the experimental?
gb: It's all experimental for
me because I didn't study it
formally. So everything I do is an
experiment. But the main goal is
not just to be experimental but
to learn how to tell a good story.
I mean, I want to write things
that people will like and enjoy
gg: No artist would admit to
wanting to do something that
people don't want to read.
gb: Yeah, but some artists are
more interested in, I guess,
experimenting with the form or
gg: Which you are not?
gb: Well, I guess I'm not. I'm more
into the story itself rather than the
panels or the way that the story is
gg: In a way, most underground
comics were very traditional:
[Robert] Crumb or [Gilbert]
Shelton or Spain or... [Art]
Spiegelman wasn't. But most of
the underground cartoonists were
actually conservative storytellers.
The story was the main goal. Most
of them didn't really play with the
form as radically as a lot of artists
in the last 10 years or so have.
gb: Then why are they playing
with the form now? I mean, not
that it's wrong, but why? I guess
it's because these comics are
growing more and there's more
room for experimentation.
gg: I think there's always that
natural evolution. I mean, you
saw it in the novel. I guess you saw
it as far back as Laurence Stern.
But then you had [James] Joyce
and [Alain] Robbe-Grillet, and so
many novelists wanting to push the
definition of what a novel could be.
And you're always going to have
that sort of R and D...
gb: What do you mean R and D?
gg: Research and development...
gb: Oh, OK.
gg: ...aspect of an artform where
certain artists are moving in that
direction and playing with just how
far you can push the boundaries of
a particular art.
gb: Yeah. In the '80s there was
a lot of that experimentation
in RAW, it seems to me. I really
enjoyed RAW. I think I liked
reading RAW a lot. But I think I'm
more interested in the storytelling
More books featuring Gabrielle Bell (click covers for complete product details)
Mome Vol. 1 - Summer 2005
Mome Vol. 2 - Fall 2005
Mome Vol. 3 - Winter 2006 [Sold Out]
Mome Vol. 4 - Spring/Summer 2006
All books featuring Gabrielle Bell