This week I’ve been crazy about comics, cartoonists and eBay shopping.
Got “Murder by Remote Control” in the previous week’s book splurge. My shopping cart contained more Kirchner comics, but Amazon wouldn’t ship them up here. Went on eBay instead, turns out Kirchner’s selling books there himself – signed and with doodles on the title pages. He’s a super nice guy, he even threw in a few signed prints and wrote me a greeting card with my favorite bird on it. (How did he know?)
“Awaiting the Collapse” is a beautiful collection of “Dope Rider” stories in full color, porno covers from Screw magazine, and a few other pieces. Love the autobiography and behind-the-scenes insights, too.
I am now in my sixties and drawing comics again has rejuvenated me. It is not only that I am doing the kind of work I did in my youth, but that I am directing my mind to think along the same lines that it did back then. [...] To do creative work is good for the soul. As long as you have an enthusiasm, you have happiness.
“The Bus” originally ran in “Heavy Metal” from 1979–85. “Inspired by the renewed interest” after the first Tanubis collection in 2012, Kirchner drew a bunch of new strips over the next years, published as “The Bus #2”. Great example of Kirchners funny surrealism and brilliant visual gags. M.C. Escher meets “Airplane!”.
I like telling a story without dialog. It forces the reader to fill in what’s happening, and as long as the narrative is clear I think the reader gets satisfaction from that. I’ve heard it said that a humorous story always leaves out a key element that the audience must fill in, and the satisfaction of making that connection – “getting it” – provokes the laugh. Omitting dialog is one way to force the reader to fill in the blanks.
“Hieronymus & Bosch” is a collection of one-pagers about “a shameless ne’er-do-well named Hieronymus”, his (stolen) toy duck and an afterlife full of rascally demons, torture, and cunning, backfiring plans.
The Modern Cartoonist
Also, when on eBay, went looking for issue #18 of “Eightball”. Haven’t read the previous 17 issues (or following 5), but wanted to read Daniel Clowes’ pamphlet “The Modern Cartoonist” after seeing it referenced in Brunetti’s “Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice”. Found it in mint condition.
Had the impression it was a revered cartoonist manifesto, but it was never meant to be all that serious:
The idea behind it wasn’t really the content as much as having a crazy pamphlet out there. I like the idea of the kind of thing that you’d just leave on a bus seat or in an airport or something, that has this crazy rant that no one else really cares about, that’s about a subject that the writer seems to have way too much interest in and doesn’t quite know how to express to the average person out there. And that was the whole reason for doing it. And then I just filled it up with whatever was going through my head at the time. [Laughs] I always felt like people took the content a little too much as gospel. And, of course, who could blame them, since it was presented that way? But it certainly wasn’t intended as “my one pronouncement about comics.”
It might be written as an exaggerated, snarky rant, but it still makes a lot of interesting points about why comics don’t have to be mindless garbage and even has a few tips “to the young cartoonist” on how to avoid it.
Don Rosa is one of my all-time favorite comics artists, I grew up reading his (and Barks’) Scrooge and Donald Duck adventures. His stories and art radiate a love for his work, so it’s heartbreaking to read about deteriorating vision and bad experiences with the comics business, especially regarding Disney.
Paul Kirchner’s autobiography in “Awaiting the Collapse” was a great read, Boston Globe has published it in comic form.
Austin Kleon’s collected a bunch of Diogenes stories (with comics by John Porcellino).
Finally, in the “watching other people read” column: Cartoonist Kayfabe might be YouTube’s best channel about comics.