franc reyes man

another Filipino comix artist that worked for Marvel/DC that nobody ever told me about til now:

Franc Reyes, Conan the Barbarian Annual #7 (1982)

Franc Reyes, pin-up from Conan th Barbarian Annual #7 -- a v. good example of that same Filipino line quality that Francisco Coching and Alex Niño have, brutish & refined all @ once

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one of the world's best people

Things Xaime Hernandez talks about to Frank Santoro in this panel that I missed @ SPX 2012:

  • how the long-term passage of time in Xaime's comix is so satisfying, and how this might result from a certain nostalgic leaning in Xaime's personality

  • how the passage of time in comix is unique in a formal sense, in that when we read from one panel to the next, the previous panel is still there (built-in nostalgia?)

  • the ending sequence of the film The Eddy Duchin Story and how it relates to "The Death of Speedy", and how that part always makes Xaime cry when he watches it (He starts to tear up just from talking about it in the panel)

  • why fantastic elements continue to appear in Locas even though the story has evolved away from adventure and into the close documentation of adult relationships (Hint: it's fun)

  • how there's no way he woulda been able to tell this story for 30 years if he'd had grand concepts or epic stories in mind, and how he's had to rely on characters who write themselves

  • how he and Gilbert had to invent their jobs for themselves because there was no infrastructure for novelistic comix when they first started

  • the possibility that his characters and Gilbert's inhabit one world in which a distant cousin of one of Xaime's characters is a distant cousin of one of Gilbert's characters

  • how MTV once approached Xaime about doing an animated promo in which Xaime's protagonists spraypaint the MTV logo on a wall, and Xaime answered, "Maggie and Hopey don't watch MTV ......"

Love this guy:


bros of summer

According to the Fantagraphics blogue, L&R: New Stories #5 will debut this July @ SDCC -- I like the golfers:

can't hardlywait

-- and the appearance of Vicenté on the back cover probably means Gilbert's taking us back to Palomar this time ...... hmm hmm ... Google says ... yup

E-book tech has a ways to go to catch up w/ paper, but here's some comix art that looks decent on Kindle:

Michael Deforge's "Sculpture Garden" (2007)

Stay sweet

reblog yr idols

last week-end @ the University of Chicago, 17 American comix giants got together for Comics: Philosophy & Practice, to talk about what they do and where comix might be going. I'm waiting for the conference's website to post video, but in the meantime, Phoebe Gloeckner put a few pictures up on her Flickr:

burns clowes seth ware
L-R: Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Seth, Chris Ware
(photograph by Phoebe Gloeckner)

kominsky gloeckner tyler sacco crumb
L-R: Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Phoebe Gloeckner, Carol Tyler, Joe Sacco, Robert Crumb
(photograph by Phoebe Gloeckner)

And once more, zoomed outside the panel:

panels w/in panels w/in panels
(photograph by Carol Tyler)

You ever suddenly, irrationally feel like the world's in good hands?
trowin' da horns dog

sara pichelli and her invisible pen

anyhow, the following two vids constitute everything I know about Sara Pichelli, who co-created the black Latino Spider-Man. This is sped up, not recorded in real time, but even so, it's obvious: if you want to be a pro you'd better draw damn fast:

Drawing black Latino Spider-Man for a living appears to make some people not stop smiling:

Sara Pichelli Says Hello at NYCC 2011 from The Comic Archive on Vimeo.

Another reality of working for the Big Two: you have to learn how to draw porn stars well. For a female cartoonist, this might feel like Uncle-Tomming, but the target audience for caped escapism will never stop loving you for it:

sara pichelli emma frost

Speaking of porn, I watched The Avengers last week-end, but as a secret protest against Marvel's long-standing indifference to its artists' well-being, I did so by sneaking in after buying a ticket to a different movie


"I like being bad and then going home and being good."

What I learned drawing one page of King Cat #49

(cross posted from my persolj)

The other day I read an awesome post on John Porcellino's blog (the author of one of my favorite favorite comics, King Cat, for my non-comics friends) about what he learned copying page 11 of issue 49 of The Fantastic Four.

I've been out of any kind of artistic practice for the last 6 months or so, with being insanely hectic at work, traveling to the West Bank, recovering from traveling to the West Bank, conferences, and getting the hell married, and it's been a halting difficult time trying to get back in the swing. This copying thing seemed like a good idea, just to get ink moving from pen to page, to sit working at my desk, and to make something without constant disappointment at how out of shape I am. So I went to see what page 11 of King Cat 49 is, and copy that. Alas, we only have issue 49 in an anthology without the original page numbering, but there was this great one page comic that I like to imagine would be page 11. So I copied it yesterday.

Here's the original:

King Cat 49 - Heat lightning original

And here's my copy:

King Cat 49 - Heat Lightning my copy

Here's what I learned in the process:

*it almost doesn't matter at all whether I'm making a copy or building your own comic from scratch - the satisfaction of the finished page is just about the same.

*my copy is much more literal - I tried to do it "verbatim" to really get a feel for his style. it would be an interesting and different exercise to try to adapt a comic into my own idiom, insofar as I even have one.

*not to be like the 80 millionth person to notice that Porcellino's comics are deceptively simple, but I *really* began to appreciate that fact after drawing this whole thing out. There is so much care in what he chooses to omit (like in the last panel, there are no cars on the street - unnecessary clutter.) I also noticed how he uses the edges of people's bodies to stand in for edges in the environment, like in panel 4, Mom's arm is also the edge of the door. Why have two lines when you can have one?

*the way he draws people is so anatomically clunky but captures so much of what's important. In copying panel 1 I realized how much you could tell about all three of the people, who at first glance might be 3 friends of the same age. But looking more closely at the body positions I really start to distinguish between a Mom, a big sister, and a little kid. Pretty awesome. Just in the subtle cross of mom's legs at the ankles, or the flailing awkwardness of the little boy's body.

*also look - I didn't capture this very well in my copy, but in the original it's there - at how the weird angles of the people create this tension, with the family in their waiting all leaning out towards the street, where the dad's coming from, and the dad leaning improbably forward toward the house. Just a neat little detail, maybe inadvertent, that gives the last panel so much melancholy oomph.

*the last thing that really struck me is how much a comic comes together when you color it in. i went back with a sharpie at the end and did all the big black areas, and though it looked kind of cool before hand, it really settled into place then. this should give one hope for any comic in progress - wait to get the major dark-light balance in at the end to see what it actually looks like. or do other people do this as they go? i don't know nothin.

Giraffes in My Hair -- Bruce Paley & Carol Swain

Giraffes in My Hair: a Rock'n'Roll Life
by Bruce Paley & Carol Swain
Fantagraphics, Hardcover, 132 pages, October 2009

got its moments. Bruce Paley's spare narrations of nomadic hedonism ranging from his teen years to his early 30s are totally precedented, but as filtered through Carol Swain's distinctive stubbly pencil textures, nine-panel grid, and supernatural quietude, the stories threaten to loose themselves from gravity and witness America from a satellite's eye. Her grid's steady beat and the collision of rough and soft pencil marks have the same hypnotic effect as holding your hand out a moving car's window as it alternates hail and snow. In her own personal comix, which tend to more pastoral narratives, this hypnotism often overwhelms anything that happens in the stories. Her universe's cast of punk rockers, all of whom seem to share the same face, are ultimately subservient to the rolling hills and empty roads that swallow them.

Future Business Leaders of America

Here, though, Paley's accounts of scoring drugs, hitching rides, sexing chicks, getting busted, and finding places to sleep provide dirty counterweight to Swain's ambient flying saucer ride. It's a peaceful, easy read -- chapters average five or six pages and have punchlines -- but I wonder about everything that the skeletal story structures omit -- what did Bruce and his wife fight about? How did he convince the girl in the bar to go home with him? How did he save up enough money to move to London and open a comix shop? When he quit drugs, what did he do with all that surplus time/energy? But they'll keep me wanting. In a rock'n'roll life, it's important to keep the stage banter short and funny, and jump straight into the next song.

yeah.  It makes sense

Rating: ★★★★☆

-- reviewed by MZA.

The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book -- Joe Daly

The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book
by Joe Daly
Fantagraphics, Hardcover, 120 pages, July 2009

my first time reading a South African cartoonist, I think. His nationality is relevant to the stories in this book in that they take place in Cape Town, whose geography/landscape figure prominently in the art. The beautiful way Daly draws this city, as the two main characters, Dave & Paul, drive a vintage automobile around in it, turns out to be Red Monkey's main attraction, much more so than the wordy stoner dialogue and the self-consciously twisted stoner plotlines.

nice vacation

Daly's effortful writing voice might irritate at first, but it's harmless and I grew to think of it as a friend who's well-meaning but not that funny but who makes you laugh once every ten jokes. There are two stories here, and the first one, "The Leaking Cello Case", is shitty, but it introduces the cast and the location. The second, "John Wesley Harding", must have been done much later -- Daly has streamlined his art a lot and abandoned the ugly contoured colouring he used in the first story; the change is jarring and welcome. His storytelling has added depth, too -- Dave & Paul's friendship starts to make sense, and a conservationist plot angle betrays a possible motivation for Daly's loving depictions of roadside scenery. This is the kind of comix whose sophisticated cartooning and relatively clumsy writing make me jealous in a way I'm not sure I can completely account for.


Rating: ★★★☆☆

-- reviewed by MZA.