The comics burrito
Saturday, February 28, 2004
  Interviews and news and blah blah blah
Here is an interesting interview with Jay Hosler. He talks about his influences and what his areas of study are.
My next project will focus on the life of Santiago Ramon y Cajal. Cajal was Spain's greatest scientist and the father of modern neurobiology. He won the Nobel prize for his work as a histologist. For those that don't know, a histologist stains slices of animal and plant tissue to examine the microanatomy of a particular organ or tissue. Cajal's research provided some of the first concrete evidence that the nervous system was composed of individual cells (that we now know as neurons) and not a network of phyically linked cells acting as a sort of nerve net. Now, to me that is pretty interesting, but what makes Cajal's story particularly compelling (I think) is that as a small child he wanted desperately to be an artist. Unfortunately, his parents viewed art as a sinful diversion and constantly discouraged his passion. Unfortunately for them, Santiago was a strong willed young man and pursued his art mania (as he called it) despite parental protest. Cajal's father was a strict, practical physician who dismissed the humanities as a waste of mental time and effort, so there is a pretty interetsing father/son conflict here. Now, I don't want to give too much away, but obviously something happened along the way and Cajal became a scientist. However, he did so in such a way that he still was an artist. He was just working on a very small canvas.


A report on Christian comics that doesn't mentio Chick Tracts once. I am disapointed. Click of you want to read Bible superheroes and stuff.

Exclaim! ("Canada's Music Authority") has a piece on the ends of both Cerebus and Bone.
Cerebus connected not just to fans — at the height of the book’s popularity, it was selling 16,000 copies a month, making it one of the five best-selling independently published comics — but to admiring artists as well. Sim proved that one didn’t have to sell out to DC or Marvel to make a living. Spawn’s Todd McFarlane was one artist inspired by Sim to start his own company. He was a hero to many, particularly in the underground comic scene.

Only sixteen thousand? I figured it would've been more at the series' height, but I guess most people always followed it through the collections.

And finally, for my thirty thousand Indonesian readers, there's an exhibit of French comic strips coming to Subaraya on March 3rd. 
Friday, February 27, 2004
  New candidate for worst comic ever (18+ only)
Don't click on this if you're at work, or if you know what's good for you. Or if you don't hate comics and don't want to start now. I know I shouldn't have expected anything intelligent from a comic with 'bukkake' in the title, or from anything from artbomb.net but this managed to still surprise me in how truly awful it is.

Why, you ask?

Maybe because the narration

goes

like

this.

Everything is
spaced
out
"because that makes it important"

That's only a bit of why this is so bad. It's a great deal of pretense combined with an even larger amount stupidity, which isn't a very good combination. The comic consists of mostly white text on a black background with posterized images of hands, faces or bottoms scattered about. All the captions are self-absorbed and vapid. You don't understand me, I'm so troubled, here's a new Photoshop filter I haven't tried yet. Stuff like that. One of them, that wraps around a panel to form a neat little rectangle reads "This guy was the most interesting guy there to the for some reason but I'm not sure why." Did she add the extra 'to the' in there as a mistake, or to make the sentence long enough to form a rectangle? The writing in the others, even if grammatical, isn't any better.
As for what the comics about, it's about bukkake, I guess. Sticking any deeper meaning to it isn't deserved. Yes, there is the scene where the Bible quotes are juxtaposed with the action, but for some odd reason I wasn't impressed with it. Maybe because it was the stupidest scene in any comic I have ever read. Not an exaggeration. The site describes it as "...a deeply moving account of personal loss set amidst the tapestry of sexual taboo." I'm guessing Pete Rose-Siegel wrote that, since it's dumb. Except for the phrases 'personal loss' and 'sexual taboo', it's a false statement. This isn't even a matter of opinion, in cases as extreme as this I can say as a fact that it's dead, ugly art and empty-headed story isn't deeply moving (except in the bowels, maybe), and it isn't set against any sort of 'tapestry', as that implies complexity far beyond Breslin's skill level.
Everything about this comic is bad. It's similar in its anserine and needy tone to Laurenn McCubbin's work, which is also on the site, but with McCubbin you at least get the feeling that she's trying. Plus, she has some basic art skills and a sense of layout.
I don't expect anything out of artbomb, but is it too much to ask that they don't go out of their way to present awful comics? Nominally, they're a site meant to attract new readers to comics. How does this accomplish that? If someone new to comics were to read this the only impression they could come away with is that comics are a home for the juvenile arrogant bellyachings of people who think too little of their medium of choice to bother with drawing well or writing anything cogent or insightful, or even competent. Better to run nothing at all than this. 
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
  Announcement + news
Announcement: Unless one of the other two names on that 'contact' section decides to take over, and that doesn't look likely, this blog will end in June when I leave the country for the summer. As of right now, I have no intention of restarting it when I come back. Until then , I plan to finally make this blog awesome. Please stay tuned.

News:

Africana.com has an interview with Octavia Butler. Her quote on prejudices about science fiction could apply equally well to comics:

"I used to say science fiction and black people are judged by their worst elements. And it's sadly enough still true. People think, "Oh, science fiction, Star Wars. I don't like that." And they don't want to read what I've written because they don't like Star Wars. Then again, you get the other kind who do want to read what I've written because they like Star Wars and they think that must be what I'm doing. In both cases they're going to be disappointed. That's the worst thing about verbal shorthand. All too often, it's an excuse not to do something, more often than it's a reason for doing something."


...and just to relate this to comics more concretely, Ms. Butler owns a copy of Fantastic Four #1 and she doesn't bag it or mummify it in any way, she just reads it. That's neat.

Silverbulletcomics, never known for being the leaders in intellectual discussion ask the world's stupidest question: Do Bad Comics Really Exist? The argument being that the forces of nostalgia are more powerful than the forces of skill and vision, and all you need is the first to make any comic good, eventually. The professionals in the panel obviously disagree, while the 'professionals' are actually even more lenient in their tastes than that.

Wired was at APE, and they report on why webcomics get no respect.

Matt Madden has his Exercises in Style back online, in which he draws one sequence over and over, using different constraints each time.

RockRage Online is reporting that Alex Ross will be doing the art for the upcoming Anthrax DVD, so there's less comic art from him. Hooray! 
***
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