Another Sunday, another tour around the comics internet!
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: You are buying Casanova, right?
ITEM! A bunch of wonderful cartoonists (including Friend of CSBG Dean Trippe) are auctioning off some original artwork to benefit the Gulf. By which I mean, they’re not just gonna chuck money into the gulf and hope that plugs the spill, but use it in some way to benefit mankind. If you love me, you’ll buy me this Kate Beaton Aquaman sketch which is currently $450 out of my price range:
ITEM! Sean Witzke discusses “cinematic storytelling,” editing, and page layout in comics, and what that means, using examples from Steranko’s Nick Fury, Gulacy’s Kung Fu, Miller’s Dark Knight, and many more:
Comics’ relationship with cinema is complex. While it has become rote to hear creators compare comics to everything from pop songs to television to theater in recent years, film is probably the dominant influence on comics, if only because both employ editing from moment-to-moment and image-to-image. The comic as film pitch complaint that is common these days is valid ( there are so many comics that barely exist as comics), but it maybe ignores the closeness of the media to each other. The problem isn’t that comics is influenced by film, it’s that comics aren’t influenced by the medium but influenced by films. So ripping off the plot of a scifi film du jour is common rather than working out why John Woo times his action scenes the way he does.
Meanwhile, over at Escape from Suicide Wolf Forest (best blog name ever?), Witzke narrows his comics-storytelling focus specifically to artists Chris Bachalo and Goran Parlov, and talks about the “And-Then” fight scene.
ITEM! David Brothers at 4thLetter! also turns his keen critical eye to comic artists this week, profiling seven distinct, excellent illustrators in the field: McGuinness, Bachalo, Connor, Corben, Aja, Rivera, and Mahkne. You can find all of ’em in a line at this link:
How do you read a comics page?
Stupid question, right? But no, not really. The comics page is the most basic building block of a comic book. They haven’t changed too much since they were first invented. You can have words and pictures and you can have ink in CMYK or digital PSDs or AIs in RGB, but without a page to put it on, the tabula rasa of yore, you’re out of luck. It’s probably the one thing in comics that’s genuinely indispensable. (Well, that and ink.)
What’s nice about David Aja’s work is how he treats his layouts. Rather than simply being a tool to convey the story, which is generally how most artists treat their layouts, Aja often turns the layout into part of the story. It’s like if the television you use to watch movies ended up actually introducing new data into your viewing experience.
ITEM! How do you make a copy of the early-90s X-Men #1 valuable? Paper a toilet with it:
Should Jim Lee be flattered or angry?
RANDOM THOUGHT! So, now I’m hooked on Wire in the Blood, a grisly British crime show that I’ve been streaming on Netflix seemingly 24 hours a day. I blame John Rogers.
ITEM! Hey look, a Scot-on-Scot interview with Frank Quitely.
ITEM! The Beat composes a retrospective of Wonder Woman covers to see how comics and their portrayal of women has changed over the years.
ITEM! A “Hulk meets the Thing” fanfilm from the early 80s? Yes. One of the filmmakers is former DC editor Bob Schreck? Yes. The weirdest thing I’ve seen all week? Hell yes.
ITEM! GQ has a massive interview with Matt Fraction that purports to be about Casanova, but quickly spitballs into a fun conversation about music (and then back again). Fraction breaks down exactly what bothers me about this Lady Gaga business:
It speaks to, like—I suspect we all want her to be David Bowie so badly. Like, we’re waiting for her to turn into the real deal, you know what I mean? There’s such anticipation and expectation. If she puts out another party record, I’m actually going to be depressed. If she puts another record about drinking and fucking, I’m going to be bummed out. I’m ready for what comes like—please be the real deal, please grow. Please don’t just be Madonna and do songs about drinking and fucking until you’re 50 years old. Please be something real.
ITEM! Todd Alcott examines Batman Forever, and lives. It’s a fun read, but if you’ve got the time, I’d go and read his 11-part analysis of Los Bros Coen’s A Serious Man, because it completely turned me around on that film. But this is a comics blog, so, Batman:
The script gives Two-Face his essential coin, but it also robs him of his pathology — his coin-flip isn’t a compulsion, it’s an affectation. He only does it when he feels like it, and if he doesn’t like how the coin lands, he flips it again until he gets the answer he desires. Or, he proceeds with his plan and merely alters it to give lip-service to the decision of his coin. The narrative of Forever holds Two-Face at arm’s length, and Two-Face holds his coin at arm’s length, as if to say “Okay, I’ve got the zany makeup, I’ve got the incessant “two” puns, isn’t that enough? I don’t really have to abide by the rules of my pathology, do I?”
ITEM! Matt Seneca draws a fun page of Plastic Man gags:
ITEM! Blog@Newsarama takes a look at the many outfits of Aquaman. I will defend the orange shirt until my dying breath.
ITEM! Christopher Allen writes about the first few issues of First Issue Special, and since The Green Team is included, I am required by law to link to it. There’s also some Metamorpho action in there, as well. I don’t know how anyone can’t love The Green Team.
ITEM! Comics Comics labels Sheldon Mayer a “prisoner of DC.” C’mon, DC, at least put out a Sugar and Spike Showcase. I know Sims and Sterling would buy it!
ITEM! It’s been a while since we took a look at Covered!, so why not do that now? Here’s a few courtesy of Fonografiks, Mike Walton, and Matthew Allison:
OH MY GOD KATE BEATON YOU GUYS DEPT: New strips! Kate Beaton makes me laugh:
ITEM! Neill Cameron draws a happy Doctor Doom:
DOCTOR WHO DEPT: Dean Fraser draws the Doctor, Amy, and a few more in the style of the Simpsons. Some visual spoilers for this season finale at the link. (Avert your eyes, BBC Americans!)
Also, the BBC is going to start publishing their own Doctor Who graphic novels. The first one on the docket is The Only Good Dalek. Looks okay.
That’s it for the week! See you next time.
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