Posts tagged ‘Comix’

October 16, 2012

I Open Chris Ware’s Building Stories, Share Some Photos, and Riff a Little (Book Acquired, 10.15.2012)

by Biblioklept

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Thrilled today to get Building Stories, Chris Ware’s latest.

Thrilled here is no hyperbole—I can’t remember being so excited to open a book in quite some time.

But Building Stories isn’t really a book.

First, it comes in this big box—like a board game.

Here:

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I show it set against The Catcher in the Rye in mass market paperback and a glass of red.

(The Catcher in the Rye + glass of red is the international standard for items used to show relative dimensions of size).

(Also, don’t worry about the wine ring—still shrinkwrapped at this point).

And on that shrinkwrap blazons a blurb by some guy named J.J. Abrams:

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A description of the formal elements of Building Stories from the back of the box:

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I open the box:

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From the inside of the top of the box:

Not sure if that second quote shows here, but:

Pablo Picasso suggests that, Everything you can imagine is real.

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The package:

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Strips and papers and books.

Shots as I go through it:

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Stack: The shorter/smaller stuff is on top—a suggestion to read it first? / Probably not.

Probably more a packing issue.

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I remember a professor in grad school musing about where a book begins.

The title page?

The cover?

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How and where does a book begin?

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Chris Ware’s Building Stories: a kind of Möbius strip,

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crammed with ideas,

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illustrations,

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writing,

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stories . . .

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Little golden book

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. . . and broadside.

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. . . so many faces . . .

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. . . layers . . .

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. . . and layers . . .

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Ware’s transitions:

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(They always remind me of David Foster Wallace, who I know Ware read).

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And thus so well . . .

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Disconnect?

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Boom!

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I should’ve busted out the wine glass or the Salinger here to show the scale of this marvelous painting, better than anything I’ve seen in contemporary art in ages. It tells all the story. (Wait, you (maybe) say, have you actually read the story yet?)

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No.

But who hasn’t felt:

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And

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Thus

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So

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Well . . .

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[Insert ideas about malleability of form, sequence, narrative, idea---riff on discursive-novel-as-future-novel, etc.]

End riff/now look, read, absorb.

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September 1, 2012

Bill Sienkiewicz Profile in 2004 Issue of Vibe

by Biblioklept

August 27, 2012

Moby-Dick Illustration — Bill Sienkiewicz

by Biblioklept

July 30, 2012

I Review City of Glass, A Comic Book Doppelgänger of Paul Auster’s Postmodern Detective Novel

by Edwin Turner

Paul Auster’s 1985 novel City of Glass explores doubling, shadowing, and what it means to wear another person’s skin, so it’s fitting that the book has its own doppelgänger in the form of a graphic novel by Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli (maestro Art Spiegelman served as catalyst and counselor). I should admit upfront that although I’ve read a few of Auster’s books, I haven’t read City of Glass, considered by many to be his masterpiece. I have read Mazzucchelli’s excellent novel Asterios Polyp (and plenty of stuff by overseer Spiegelman), so the adaptation intrigued me. I wasn’t disappointed. I read Karasik and Mazzucchelli’s City of Glass in one brisk sitting and thoroughly enjoyed it. What’s it about?

Okay, so there’s this novelist, Quinn (“rhymes with twin”), who, after the death of his wife and son, takes up writing boilerplate detective novels under the pseudonym William Wilson. Late in the book, Quinn (if he’s still Quinn at that point, which I’ll get to) identifies the pseudonym with the “real” name of NY Mets center fielder (and future coach) Mookie Wilson—but savvy readers will also recognize “William Wilson” as the name of an Edgar Allan Poe story about a man haunted by a doppelgänger of himself to the point that he goes insane. In the Poe story, Wilson and his doppelgänger (whose name is, of course, William Wilson as well) share the same birthday, January 19th, which also happens to be E.A. Poe’s birthday (and my brother’s too, although that is not germane to this review). Auster is clearly working from Poe’s story, although he never announces this explicitly (at least not in the comic-bookization). Arthur Hobson Quinn, for example, wrote an exhaustive biography of Poe (published in 1941). Crossing from the real to the fictional, from authorial to character, Auster inserts himself into the story from its outset. At the beginning of the book, protagonist Quinn gets a mysterious call, like something out of the noir novels he writes:

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Bored, or perhaps ventriloquized by a force he doesn’t understand, Quinn takes up the identity of detective Paul Auster and agrees to take on a case for Peter Stillman, a man who, as a boy, suffered feralization at the hands of his insane father, who hoped to discover the Ur-language of god through the boy. Stillman’s monologue is one of the highlights of the book, showcasing the malleability of language—and also, significantly, the malleability of speakers:

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Stillman hires Quinn/Auster to track his father, also named Peter Stillman (Peter is also the name of Quinn’s dead son). Actually, it’s Stillman the Younger”s wife/speech pathologist who hires Quinn/Auster; she’s certain that Stillman the Elder, freshly released from a mental asylum, will return to harm his son.

Quinn/Auster slides into the role of Max Work, his noir novel protagonist—or, perhaps more accurately, William Wilson’s noir protagonist—and begins tracking Stillman the Elder (or a version of Stillman the Elder—I won’t spoil the novel’s strangest, most maddening metaphysical gambit here). And, predictably, as Quinn/Auster/Wilson/Work  shadows Stillman Sr., he morphs into yet another doppelgänger:

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Quinn/Auster/Wilson/Work eventually confronts Stillman, and the pair have a series of fascinating conversations about language, Milton, Humpty Dumpty, and the Tower of Babel. The motifs and themes are telegraphed fairly straightforward here, but also communicated through a lens of madness that comes to dominate the book’s third act—an act that initiates in a meeting between Q/A/W/W and the “real” Paul Auster, a writer who’s working on an essay about the authorship of Don Quixote. The Don Quixote conversation is perhaps too overt, the sort of postmodern cleverness that I increasingly find a big turnoff, but it’s not clumsy or awkward. Still, there’s something mildly irritating about an author tipping his hand and then showing you how he’s tipping his hand.

The third act of City of Glass feels compressed, rushed even, and will definitely disappoint readers who wandered in for a detective stories, hoping for concrete answers and a neat and tidy plot. However, the book’s themes of fantasy and reality, play and work, sanity and madness, and character and author are rich if frustrating in their circuitousness. Mazzucchelli’s art is evocative and fitting, recalling at times the rough-hewn pop art of Raymond Pettibon and the traditional prowess of masters like Kirby and Eisner. (I’ll bring up Spiegelman again too, who introduces the volume. A friend of Auster’s, he brokered the project and oversaw its development, and his work as a creative director here is evident in the book’s cohesion). I imagine fans of Auster’s New York Trilogy, of which City of Glass is the first book, will be interested in checking this one out. Having come first to the graphic novel, I now look forward to reading its doppelgänger, Paul Auster’s City of Glass. Good stuff.

June 13, 2012

Books Acquired, 6.02.2012 (Comix + Angela Carter)

by Biblioklept

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Little Lit: Strange Stories for Strange Kids is a collection of comix (and other oddities) for kids, edited by Art Spiegelman and his wife artist/publisher Françoise Mouly. I saw at random and picked it up for my daughter, whose birthday was the next day. She loves, loves, loves this book, spending hours poring over all its weird images and picture games. Cover is by the great Charles Burns; there are also comics by Spiegelman, the late great Maurice Sendak—

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—a weird search picture by Martin Handford (here’s a detail)—-

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—and comics by other notables like David Sedaris, Paul Auster, Claude Ponti, Jules Feiffer, and Kim Deitch. The endpapers — “Strange Cartoon Lessons” are by Kaz:

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I also picked up Burning Your Boats, which collects all of Angela Carter’s short stories:

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I was looking for her dystopian novel The Passion of New Eve, but no go. Of course, I couldn’t pass up this volume, which comprises four collections, as well as early and uncollected stuff.

June 11, 2012

Nausicaä of The Valley of the Wind, Vol. 7 (Book Acquired, 6.07.2012)

by Biblioklept

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A birthday gift from my daughter. I got volumes 4-6 for Valentine’s Day from my darling wife, but have held off on reading them because I didn’t have the final volume, which is this one, volume 7.

June 10, 2012

Book Shelves #24, 6.10.2012

by Biblioklept

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Book shelves series #24, twenty-fourth Sunday of 2012: In which we glance at canonical comics.

So we’ve hit the last shelf in a series of triplets; next week: new room.

This shelf holds graphic novels, including stuff by Alan Moore, Marjane Satrapi, David Mazzucchelli, Jeff Smith, Art Spiegelman, and Chris Ware. There’s also most of Dave Sim’s epic series Cerebus here.

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I wrote about Dave Sim and Cerebus back in week 6 of this project, when I looked at the actual comic books I owned in the series. From that post:

 I bought issues of Cerebus intermittently for years at a time, usually getting frustrated and then waiting for the “phone book” graphic novel editions of the series. Sim, along with background artist Gerhard, produced 300 issues of Cerebus over 25 years. The issues from the early ’80s to the early ’90s are brilliant; eventually Sim cracked though and went on an insane, reactionary (and arguably deeply misogynistic) bent. He created his own religion, a mix of hardline Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, and the later books in the series suffered greatly, as the book detoured to chronicle projects that seemed far outside its original scope (including strange, long satires of Hemingway and Fitzgerald).

These are the phone books I referenced. Looking over them again, I keep reminding myself to try and reread the last two books to see if I missed anything.

Somewhat at random, I opened Reads, the novel that signaled the beginning of Sim’s estrangement from sanity. It opened to this page, part of a climactic scene between Cerebus and Cirin, leader of the matriarchy that will rule Iest (don’t ask):

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May 15, 2012

The St. Louis Refugee Ship Blues — Art Spiegelman

by Biblioklept

April 29, 2012

Book Shelves #18, 4.29.2012

by Biblioklept

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Book shelves series #18, eighteenth Sunday of 2012.

Lots of issues of McSweeney’s on this shelf. I abandoned The InstructionsSome Tintin omnibuses. Crumb-illustrated Kafka bio. Bookended by Will Eisner’s masterwork A Contract with God:

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A Chris Ware comic from McSweeney’s #13:

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April 20, 2012

Diogenes and Plato — Paul Ollswang

by Biblioklept

(Read Paul Ollswang’s fantastic comic Cynicism here)

March 10, 2012

Moebius Penciling and Inking Blueberry (Video)

by Biblioklept
February 22, 2012

Alan Moore Talks Apocalypse (Video)

by Biblioklept
February 5, 2012

Book Shelves #6, 2.05.2012

by Biblioklept

Book shelves series #6, sixth Sunday of 2012: In which we dig into the comix inside the book shelf we looked at last week.

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When I was 13, I sold a fairly large collection of superhero comic books and earned enough money to buy an electric guitar—a weird mutant by Fender called the Bullet—and a small practice amp. It was the early nineties, and Marvel was about to burst the comic book bubble big time by flooding the market with gimmicky covers, hologram cards, and other nonsense.

I continued to buy comics (or comix, if you prefer) over the years, although eventually economic concerns led me to just wait for graphic novel editions. Anyway, the book shelf above now contains most of the “underground” comix that I own. A few samples:

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Most of the comix in this unit though are issues of Dave Sim’s epic (and insane) series Cerebus. I bought issues of Cerebus intermittently for years at a time, usually getting frustrated and then waiting for the “phone book” graphic novel editions of the series. Sim, along with background artist Gerhard, produced 300 issues of Cerebus over 25 years. The issues from the early ’80s to the early ’90s are brilliant; eventually Sim cracked though and went on an insane, reactionary (and arguably deeply misogynistic) bent. He created his own religion, a mix of hardline Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, and the later books in the series suffered greatly, as the book detoured to chronicle projects that seemed far outside its original scope (including strange, long satires of Hemingway and Fitzgerald). Anyway, some issues:

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Cerebus Jam, a one-off collaboration with a cover by one of my favorite artists Bill Sienkiewicz (I still have his entire run on Marvel’s The New Mutants in a box somewhere):

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A panel from the issue’s collaboration with comic book legend Will Eisner, featuring his seminal character The Spirit:

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November 21, 2011

Robert Crumb’s Favorite Macaroni Casserole

by Biblioklept

(Via).

October 19, 2011

AV Club Interviews Daniel Clowes

by Biblioklept

 

The AV Club interviews comix creator Daniel Clowes. (Read our review of Clowes’s hilarious and acerbic book Wilson)From the interview—

The A.V. Club: People often ask musicians if they listen to their old albums or filmmakers if they watch their old movies, but do you reread your old comics?

Dan Clowes: I try not to. [Laughs.] It usually doesn’t lead to anything good. The only way I can ever experience them really is if I completely forgot what they were about. Once I send it off to the printer, I try to never look at the work again, if I can help it. Usually when I put together a book like this Death-Ray hardcover or that Ghost World special edition, then I have to reread it and see if there is anything I want to change or any re-coloring I want to do. That’s when I’m faced with the actual work. When I’m working, I’m too close to it. I’m sort of inside, and I can’t see it at all. So when I have that experience of rereading it years later, it’s jarring.

October 19, 2011

“If You Write Every Day, Then You Are a Writer” — Alan Moore’s Advice to Unpublished Authors

by Biblioklept
October 11, 2011

Recipe Comix

by Biblioklept

Great collection of recipe comix at Saveur magazine. Marvelous stuff. A few choice panels, plucked not entirely but still somewhat at random—

Eli Valley

Frank Gibson and Becky Dreistadt

Emily Horne

 

 

April 30, 2011

“Marriage” — Daniel Clowes

by Biblioklept

From Daniel Clowes’s graphic novel Wilson, available from Drawn & Quarterly.

April 5, 2011

“How to Catch a Man” — Lynda Barry

by Biblioklept

"How to Catch a Man" by Lynda Barry

March 28, 2011

“Check This Out!” — Robert Crumb

by Biblioklept

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