Thought Balloonists discusses the current climate in the world of comics studies. This is a really thorough article, and has some really well-informed comments.
I’m a fan myself, and expect always to be one. But academics have professional needs and priorities that are peculiar to the profession, and it’s my belief that comics studies in the academy must grapple more deliberately with those needs and priorities. Frankly, I think we’re going to have separate out our fandom connections from what we need and what we hope to accomplish as academics.
A one day conference, ‘Women in Comics’ will take place on the 25th October 2009. With its unique collection of 20th Century Women’s Art, The New Hall Art Collection provides the perfect venue for a gathering of practitioners, academics, curators and enthusiasts. Women comic artists will speak about their work, and broader discussion will include the representation of women in comics. The event will run as part of The Cambridge Festival of Ideas week and is supported by The University of Glasgow.
Speakers include; Dominique Goblet and Paul Gravett, Woodrow Phoenix and Corinne Pearlman, Kate Evans, Dr Mel Gibson, Sarah McIntyre, Dr Ann Miller, Asia Alfasi and many more. For more details see
Sarah Lightman will also be exhibiting ‘In Memoriam’, diary drawings from her on-going autobiographical graphic novel in The New Hall Exhibition Space, 19th October- 14th November 2009.
I’ve posted briefly about Rory Hayes and the Mark Beyer connection before. I recently got ‘Where Demented Wented: The Art & Comics of Rory Hayes‘ from Nostalgia & Comics in Birmingham.
This is a real insight into Hayes’ work. It isn’t a simple collection of Hayes’ art & comics, but includes articles and interviews that open up your understanding of an artist whose work is largely disturbing and unappealing. It seems that while many of his contemporaries were producing work that rebelled against the comics code or explored taboos, Hayes’ early work embraced the comics that sparked the code and produced comics that emulated the storytelling conventions of the pre-code EC Horror comics such as Bogeyman Comics, sadly not reprinted in their entirety in this book.
The book also features a strip about Hayes by Bill Griffith (of Zippy fame). Griffith had this to say about Hayes;
Rory Hayes was the real thing; a genuine ‘outsider’ artist working alongside his more self-aware compatriots in the heady days of the San Francisco Underground Comix scene of the 1960s and ’70s. His work retains its raw, primitive power to this day, teetering precariously between chaos and control, madness and oddly endearing teddy bears.
Hayes has what you might generously call ‘limited appeal’ to the general public. You have been warned – these stories aren’t for everyone.
An introduction and 19-page excerpt are available from the Fantagraphics site.
This is great news, as decent shops that are welcoming to, and actually engaging with small press and indy creators are not only rare, but can have a hugely beneficial effect on the scene and artform. One word of encouragement, one extra comic sold, can make all the difference to someone who is just testing the waters… or to seasoned self-publishers for that matter.
I was in Nostalgia & Comics just the other day and picked up a bunch of cool new books, and a very pleasant experience it was too.
Derik Badman takes apart translates an article originally written in French in which David Turgeon takes apart Gilbert Hernandez’s Poison River and sees what makes it tick for French site du9.org.
The density of narration, the abundance of situations in a limited space, and the compressed representation of time all participate together to give the story a schematic impression. In other words, Hernandez tells his stories in broad strokes, showing details only when necessary. Among other things, this allows him to age his characters significantly in only a few pages or to show the type of large-scale social or political evolutions that would be difficult to notice were the story told “step by step.” On the other hand, these characteristics seems to prevent a certain degree of fluidity in the story.
I decided that while I’m very happy for this book to get published—because that means money will finally go to Marvelman’s creator, Mick Anglo, and to his wife. Mick is very, very old, and his wife, I believe, is suffering from Alzheimer’s. The actual Marvelman story is such a grim and ugly one that I would probably rather that the work was published without my name on it, and that all of the money went to Mick. The decision about my name was largely based upon my history with Marvel—my desire to really have nothing to do with them, and my increasing desire to have nothing to do with the American comics industry.