May
25
2016

The Stunning Japanese Star Trek Art of Toru Kanamori

Yesterday in a far corner of the Star Trek interwebs I stumbled on two really beautiful cover illustrations from Japanese Star Trek books.

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There’s a lot to love about these images. I particularly like how loose and expressionistic (for lack of a better word) they are. I don’t know exactly when these came out in Japan, but they’re apparently translations of the James Blish episode adaptations that came out in the US between 1967 and 1977. Obviously book covers vary widely style-wise even in the same era, but just by way of comparison, here’s what I’d consider a pretty typical example of North American SF book cover illustration from the same era–a Chris Foss cover for James Blish’s Midsummer Century from 1975:

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(I adore Chris Foss’s work as well, by the way!)

After a bit of digging, I discovered that those Trek covers are the work of Toru Kanamori, a now semi-retired illustrator living in Ome, a suburb of Tokyo. The only English-language information I could find about Kanamori is here, a website set up by David Bull, a woodblock printer who’s a neighbor of Kanamori.

According to Bull, Kanamori was once a very popular illustrator in Japan, but his name at least is now largely forgotten there.  When Star Trek first made inroads in Japan, Kanamori was selected to do the artwork for the translated novelizations. For each book he would supply a cover image, a color spread frontispiece, and a number of black and white interior illustrations. Bull’s site has scans of a handful of interior illustrations… and they’re amazing.

It took some dedicated internet scouring, but I managed to turn up a few websites that have scans of his covers. These two seem to be the most comprehensive. Here’s a quick gallery I put together of some of my favorites, but there are more to explore at those two sites:

Sadly, I couldn’t turn up any of Kanamori’s frontispiece paintings other than the one on Bull’s site.

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One final thing I did turn up: there was a collection of Kanamori’s SF illustrations released in the U.S. via manga publisher Tohan in 2008. The book was called Toru Kanamori SF Art Original Sketches and retailed for a hefty $55.00. I’ve so far not turned up a copy for sale here, but I’ve got a saved Ebay search set up. Here’s an image of the cover:

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I’d love to see Toru Kanamori’s Star Trek stuff in particular collected and made available in the U.S. After posting those initial two images to Twitter it became obvious that even Star Trek fans in the comics/illustration community don’t know his work. I sure didn’t. Maybe with the 50th anniversary of Trek, some adventurous soul will figure out a way to give Kanamori’s work the exposure and appreciation it deserves. Live long and prosper, y’all!

May
18
2016

In The Weeds Progress: Character Designs

In the past I’ve not spent nearly as much time working on character designs for my books as I really should have. Certainly this was the case with Oyster War and as a result, I wound up having to do a substantial amount of pre-publication redrawing of the main characters–especially in the early pages where I was still basically working out the character designs as I went along. I vowed to avoid this pitfall with In the Weeds and indeed I’ve spent the last couple of months with my nose to the grindstone, really trying to come up with solid, fully developed character designs.

Design Challenges

As mentioned in my last post on In the Weeds, I’m using animal characters for the book. One consistent question I get when I’ve described this book to people is, “Why animals?” Short answer, “Why not?”

Comics (and children’s book illustration for sure) has a long and rich tradition of using animal characters. It’s part of comics’ formal tool kit–and a part of it that doesn’t seem to be utilized as much as it could be. The animal comics tradition seems to me to be more vibrant in Europe than in the North America. Is this maybe because of Europe’s historical infatuation with Carl Barks’ Donald Duck comics? I don’t know. Whatever the case, though, with a few exceptions (Usagi Yojimbo comes immediately to mind, as does Mouse Guard) most modern North American comics with animal characters are coming out of the furry subculture and few manage to penetrate into either mainstream or alternative comics readership here. I’d love to see more animal comics front and center in the North American comics scene.

One of the main challenges I faced in designing the animal characters for In the Weeds was making them sufficiently human-like to be able to walk and interact, while also giving them distinctly animal-like features. There’s a reason a lot of animal comics default to a sort of “house style” of essentially putting an animal head and tail on a human body: a human body interacts well with its environment and other human-like characters in a way that can be difficult for more animal-like designs. You can see, for example, how this sort of design (by Jen Suzuki, in this case) is very well suited to being just dropped into a real world environment:

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For me, the gold standard of animal characters that really look a lot like animals yet are able to work in a real world environment are Richard Scarry’s characters:

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I love how Scarry’s characters retain many of their distinctive animal features–hooves, haunches, etc.–and yet are sufficiently anthropomorphized to walk upright, use their hands like people, and otherwise interact with a fairly realistic environment. I knew my characters would need to be somewhat more human-like than Scarry’s, but I definitely took my cues from him design-wise.

Another big challenge with animal characters is scale. Again, it’s obvious why the default way to deal with this is to normalize the body sizes of the characters–regardless of what animals they’re based on. Not doing so creates a very tricky problem, given that the real world around us is designed mostly for interaction from similarly sized creatures: us humans. If you don’t standardize the size of your animal characters, you have to radically re-imagine the environment–something that the recent film Zootopia did brilliantly. Here’re the relative scales of the main animal types in Zootopia:

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If you’ve seen the film, you know that the makers of Zootopia went to some pretty impressive efforts to create a unique world in which characters of radically different scales can interact.

With In the Weeds designs, I wanted to preserve some of the size differential, but because of the nature of the story I also want the characters to be able to operate in a world that’s fairly similar to our own. So ultimately, what I wound up doing was just decreasing the “dynamic range” a bit. There’s still a size differential among the characters, but it’s just been normalized enough so that they can function in a largely real life environment.

And of course, the biggest challenge for me design-wise is simply that this is all new to me. I’ve never done a comic with animal characters before, so I’m really just figuring it all out as I go along.

The Final Designs

I tried out a lot of different animals, but eventually settled on a cast that I thought looked good together and showed off a wide variety of shapes and features. Here’s me sketching/designing from photo reference of various animals:

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So, here they are. The protagonist of the book is employed as a chef at a country club and plays in a band on the weekends, so I needed to develop two sets of character designs: the work characters and the non-work characters. He’re the former:

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That’s our protagonist second from the left. (These characters all had names at one point, but I’ve decided to change most of them; I’ve just been referring to them by their animal names.) I initially had a pig character in place of the yak, but I decided it would be best if none of the characters were animals that are commonly used as food.1 It just seemed weird, ya know?

And here’re the non-work characters:

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The four on the right comprise the rock band in the story. I tried to give each of them a nineties-appropriate dress style. The badger has a Happy Mondays/nineties 70s revival look. The poodle is loosely based on the great drummer, Cindy Blackman. The rhino’s body shape and stage moves (but not clothes at this point–I’ll probably change his style of dress) are coming from Minutemen guitarist D. Boone.2 The hyena, Kathleen, is an amalgam of various riot grrrrl band members style-wise. (“Katheen Hyena”/”Kathleen Hanna“… get it? Har har har.)

One nice thing about using animal characters is that it’s pretty easy to get really recognizable, distinctive body shapes–something that I’ve always struggled with when using human characters. Without even really thinking about it during design phase, the characters easily pass the “silhouette test.”

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silhouette band

So, what’s next? I’m probably going to spend a bit of time doing loose sketches of these characters in various poses and with various facial expressions, just to make sure I’ve got all that well ironed out before I put pencil to page. But, beyond that and a few small revisions to the script, I’m just about ready to start thumbnailing!

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1. Yes, I know that people sometimes eat sheep, but it’s not like people are regularly chomping down McLambchops.

2. Yes, I also know that The Minutemen are from the 80s, not the 90s. The Minutemen are so awesome that they transcend all eras and are not bound by the normal constraints of space/time.

May
10
2016

Come See Me at TCAF in Toronto!

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I’ll be appearing this weekend, May 14-15, at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) in Toronto Canada. If you’re in the area, please come out and say Hi! It’s held at the Toronto Reference Library and is free and open to the public. You can find out more details here: http://torontocomics.com/

I’ll be seated at: Q13 on the second floor of the library.

Additionally, I’ll be participating in the following programming:

11:00 – 12:00 Saturday — Historical Comics panel with Chester Brown, Tony Cliff, Ben Towle, Sarah Winifred Searle. Moderated by David Humphreys.

2:00 – 2:30 Saturday – Draw Along! live drawing in the kids’ area.

Apr
27
2016

Oyster War: A 2016 Eisner Nominee!

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I’m excited (and frankly, pretty surprised) to announce that Oyster War has been nominated for a 2016 Eisner award in the category of Best Publication for Teens. This is my fourth (!) Eisner nomination and as much as I’d love to finally take one of these things home, that’s some pretty stiff competition I’m up against. I think the obvious shoe-in is either March: Book Two or SuperMutant Magic Academy. Regardless, I managed to get a room for San Diego Comic-Con (or Comic-Con International: San Diego, as it’s officially known these days) and am considering going out to at least attend the ceremony.

Mar
22
2016

Come See Me In Denver at The Very First DINK!

I’ll be making my first trip to Denver, Colorado this weekend to be a guest at the inaugural DINK–Denver Independent Comic and Art Expo. The festival happens Friday 3/25 from 4-9 PM and Saturday 3/26 from 10 AM until 7 PM. I’m really excited about this show! The people running it are great long-time indie comics folk and the guest list is outstanding. If you’re anywhere near Denver this weekend, please consider coming by to check things out. I’m sure hoping this will be just the first of many successful DINKs.

I’ll be at table D-37, as you can see on the map below. Look for my big banner featuring the cover of Oyster War.

Also, I’ll be doing one panel:  The Process of Historical Comics and Their Icons, which is on Friday at 5:45 PM in the Mezzanine Room. Joining me on this panel will be a couple of fantastic cartoonists: Box Brown and Nate Powell.

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Feb
16
2016

Post-Oyster War Project: In The Weeds

What’s Next?

I’ve still got a small handful of Oyster War promo appearances to do (DINK, TCAF, probably HeroesCon), but with that book now squarely behind me production-wise, I’ve been ruminating a bit on what to do next. Like most comics-drawing folks, there’s always a voice in the back of my head making me feel bad that my comics aren’t generating a more substantial share of my day to day income–and a few months back I wound up chatting with a fairly well-known comics agent about precisely this. In so many words, what this agent basically said to me was: “You make great comics, but if you want to make an actual living at this, do all ages/YA books. Look at what wins Eisners in the kids/YA comics categories and do stuff like that.” This is about as solid a bit of advice as you’re going to get about making a living in comics and I began putting together the bare bones story for an young adult GN that I’d been thinking about for a while.

Typical of me, however, the more I tried to dig into this YA story, the more I wound up thinking about an old script that I wrote well before I began drawing Oyster War: In the Weeds.

In the Weeds is a story about cooking and playing rock music that takes place in the mid 1990s. I’ve posted bits and pieces about it here before as far back as 2010. Unlike this (possible) all ages book, In the Weeds isn’t something that any big trade publisher is be likely to give me an advance for–in fact, I suspect that if I move forward with In the Weeds, I’ll wind up doing it the same way I did with Oyster War: just doing the book on my own time, at my own pace, putting it  online, and seeing if anyone wants to publish it when it’s done.

So, why In the Weeds, not the YA book? Because of what cartoonist Ron Wimberly says:

“It’s either HELL yeah. Or NO.”

— Ron Wimberly

In a nutshell: Life’s too short–and the wages of comics too minimal–to spend time making any comic other than exactly the one you want to be making right now. I’ll continue to work on my YA story as time allows (and I’ve got a bit of a story and some in-progress character designs), but for right now what’s interesting to me is In the Weeds, so that’s what I’ve been working on.

In the Weeds:

I started by re-reading my original script. Not surprisingly, I’ve begun by doing a pretty substantial overhaul of it. I’m rewriting a few of the male characters as females to get a more natural gender balance and I’m rewriting the main character a bit as well to make him more empathetic and less of an overt smart-ass. But generally, I’m happy with the overall story and structure–which for me is the hard part of the writing process.

The character designs, though, had been really frustrating me. I didn’t like the few I’d done back in 2010, but even after a fair amount of sketchbook noodling over the last month or so, I still had a bunch of stuff that I didn’t like much. Here’re a few examples:


These aren’t terrible, but they weren’t really grabbing me–other than maybe a few of the ones in that fourth image grid. In the midst of all this I’d been reading the amazing French BD, District 14–an absolutely wonderful alternate history 1940’s noir comic featuring humans, aliens, and anthropomorphic animals. It occurred to me late one night that In the Weeds might work really well with…

Animal Characters!

Before digging into some animal character designs, I did a bit of visual research. On a lark, I decided to resurrect my old Pinterest account for this purpose, which has actually worked out really well. The bulletin board layout of Pinterest is great for taking in a ton of visual information at a glance and the handy “pin it” widgets make it easy and quick to add any image you happen across to a reference board. I can also display a board on my Surface while I work from it in my sketchbook out in the living room, away from my studio in the evenings. So as to not flood my followers (not that I probably have many after a few years of inactivity) with a bunch of personal photo reference, I set up my In the Weeds boards as private boards. I created one board for period 90s clothes reference, one for examples of anthro character designs (mostly from children’s books), and several for particular animals.

Here’re screen caps of the first two I mention:

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I’ve also been watching and sketching from then-contemporary movies from the mid 90s. Here’s a sketchbook page of stuff from Singles:

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To get warmed up for some animal designs, I did a bunch of sketchbook drawing–some original designs and some drawn from examples on my Pinterest page:

I was still wanting a bit more practice with animal designs and I also wanted to work out a look and feel for the inking and coloring (or gray-toning as the case is here) so I decided to draw some of my favorite existing animal characters in period garb. I stated with some Richard Scarry characters:

Then I did a few from District 14:

Finally, I started working on some original designs:

 

Of these, I think the poodle and rhino are keepers, and the badger and bear could be as well with a bit of further work.

One thing I’ve really been struggling with is line weight. I started seriously working on comics in the late 90s/early 2000s when folks like Charles Burns and Dan Clowes were the big influences in the indie scene. They in turn were largely drawing influence from North American comic book artists from the 50s and 60s–most of whom inked with a brush and consequently featured a heavy, variable-width inking line. This sort of inking, though, seems to have fallen out of vogue recently and I’ve even found myself using less and less line weight. Oyster War, for example, was pretty much all dip pen. I’ve been experimenting a bit with a nearly “dead” line weight–which you see all over the place these days–but I seem to find myself gravitating back to tools with at least a bit of variation to them.

Here’s an experiment with a rhino character. The top is nearly dead line weight. The middle is a inker with a bit of variation used throughout. The bottom features heavier variable ink lines for the contours of the image but nearly dead line weight for the hatching.

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I’m not sure where all this will wind up, but hopefully I’ll have a good batch of character designs wrapped up by about the time I finish my script revisions and then I can get rolling on.. my next comic!

In the Weeds! Coming who knows when! Hopefully published by someone! Woo-hoo!

Feb
08
2016

Comics Retailers: Get Hand-Drawn Oyster War Book Plates!

As recently highlighted in Diamond Daily, Oni Press and I worked out a great Oyster War promotion: Order at least three copies of Oyster War and get a free hand-drawn book plate of an Oyster War character. The verbiage in the Diamond describes the plates as “ultra rare,” but note that these are not just “rare”–they’re individually hand drawn by me! As you can see here, these are drawn on book plate templates intended to be run through a printer, but instead I’ve hand drawn characters on them in brush pen. Each one is signed and dated, ready to be peeled off and stuck into a copy of Oyster War.

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Jan
29
2016

James Sturm Lecture/Ten Years of CCS Exhibit

On Wednesday I drove up to Boone, NC to hear James Sturm talk about the history of The Center for Cartoon Studies and to check out the exhibit of CCS-related original art at the Turchin Center. The exhibit was organized by my friend comics writer/comics professor Craig Fischer, who you may know from our annual “mega-panels” at HeroesCon. James was a professor at SCAD when I was a student there years ago, so it was great to have an opportunity to catch up with him as well. I’ve been up to visit CCS a few times, but the most recent was in maybe 2006, so it’s been a while.

James’s lecture covered a bit of his comics-making process and then went over the “origin story” of CCS. Afterwards there was a reception in the CCS exhibit hall. Two bits of interesting info that came up in my conversation with James earlier in the day: First, he has not one, but two, forthcoming children’s books from TOON Books. I got a look at a physical copy of one and a PDF of the other. They both look great. Second: In a discussion about what original comics art folks owned, James mentioned that either he or the school (I can’t recall which) has never-seen sample pages that Craig Thompson did for the James Sturm written Fantastic Four series, Unstable Molecules. Apparently Thompson was considered for art on the book before Guy Davis was settled on. The pages include the (in)famous “Johnny Storm masturbating” scene.

Here’s a small handful of pictures from the event:

Dec
08
2015

Christmas Shopping for a Comics Fan

If you’re looking for gift suggestions for a comics fan, be sure to check out Oni Press’s 2015 Holiday Gift Guide. You’ll find all the suggestions here, among them Oyster War.

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Also, just a reminder that I’ve got tons of original art from Oyster War for sale at my store:

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Oct
30
2015

NYC Exhibition Reviews: Al Hirschfeld and Lynda Barry. Oh yeah, and the NY Comic-Con

So, just by happenstance my wife’s work was putting her up in NYC for a conference a few blocks from the Javitz Center the same week that the New York Comic-Con would be there. That seemed like too good a coincidence to pass up, so I booked a flight and tagged along. It was a last-minute deal (at least by convention planning standards) so I didn’t wind up getting an artists’ alley table, instead just doing a signing each day I was there (Thursday and Friday) at the booth of Oyster War publisher Oni Press.

NYCC

I wrote fairly extensive recent reports on CXC and SPX, but for NYCC, I’ll keep it short: The place was a zoo.

I spent some time on the floor on Thursday–presumably a “slow day”–and getting around was already thoroughly unpleasant. Yes, there was some cool stuff to see at the booths, but it took some doing to get around, especially in areas like the passageway to artists’ alley, which was very prone to bottlenecks and was even closed off at one point as a result.

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I attended one panel on Thursday, a Dark Horse panel that was billed as a panel on “Crafting the Original Story” and which I assumed would be about, ya know, the process of crafting a story. It was actually just the standard “guys talk about books they’re currently doing” panel. Not that there wasn’t some interesting stuff being discussed–the announced Van Jensen/Nate Powell book in particular looked great. The real takeaway moment from this panel, though, was when one of the panelists themselves, Ethan Young, asked moderator/Dark Horse PR person Steve Sunu whether their upcoming Moebius Library would retain the original coloring and he just straight-up declined to answer. (To be fair, it sounds like he wasn’t prepared to say anything about the Dark Horse Moebius Library other than that the project exists.)

The real high point of of NYCC for me was just getting to talk to people in person that I would really only run into at big mainstream events like this or SDCC. In particular, it was great to finally meet face-to-face a lot of the Oni folks, who I’ve been interacting with throughout the Oyster War publication process, but whom I’d never actually met in person before.

I did also really enjoy seeing the original art that some of the dealers on the floor had for sale. I’m always completely blown away by the stuff that’s just casually available in portfolios to flip through at cons. Seeing stuff like this totally blows my mind and seems like the equivalent of  seeing a bunch of Degas paintings at some yard sale:

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(That’s–top to bottom–Jack Kirby, Harvey Kurtzman, Basil Wolverton, Reed Crandall, and Barry Windsor-Smith)

All that said, I decided that one day at NYCC was plenty for me and since my Friday signing wasn’t until the evening I began hatching plans to do some things in the city Friday, rather than hang out at the con.

Al Hirschfeld at the New York Historical Society

The weekend of NYCC was the final weekend of a long-running exhibit of Al Hirschfeld originals at the New York Historical Society and that was stop number one for me. Unfortunately, photography was prohibited, so I’m going to have to make due with pictures I can find online, but here’re some observations about the exhibit:

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  • If you were at NYCC and didn’t hop on the subway to catch this exhibit, you really missed something. Al Hirschfeld is one of the greats and you’re probably not going to find another collection of Hirschfeld originals all together in one place like this again for a good long while.
  • Al Hirschfeld is known for his distinctive linework, but seen up close, you can see that his linework actually changes markedly over the years. Linework in his older pieces–up to maybe the 80s or so–has a lot of flowing uninterrupted lines made with a single stroke. At some point, though, he begins to move toward building up lines with lots of small scratchy strokes that emulate this look. I wonder if this is a change reflective of age, as with Schulz’s linework. Compare, for example, the linework in his Man of La Mancha illustration from 1977 (top) with this Tommy Tune drawing from 2012 (bottom): 1 2
  • Hirschfeld drew in a barber’s chair and they had a setup at the exhibit where you could sit in a similar barber’s chair and draw stuff on one of those magnetic kid’s drawing tablet things: Untitled-1
  • Hirschfeld is known for his distinctive drawing style, which is recognizable mainly because of its unmistakable line quality. The Al Hirschfeld documentary, for example, is called The Line King. That particular drawing style, though, is (not surprisingly) something that he developed over time. Judging by the works on display, he was in his currently recognizable style by the mid 1940s or so, but the works on display from before then were absolutely stunning and very, very different than what most people probably think of when they think of Hirschfeld.
  • There were plenty of these early works on display, mostly lithographs from the 1930s. They were quite stunning. Most of them were interiors or crowd scenes, not portraits, and exhibited a real concern with value as much as with line. If this doesn’t sound like the Al Hirschfeld we all know and love, we can hardly be blamed; this era and style Hirschfeld seems to be largely ignored. I could find precious few examples of this era of his work online and the group that I turned up leaned heavily on portraits. Even the official Al Hirschfeld website has only a few posted works from this era and they’ve selected only portraits/caricatures. 1940 1938 1939
  •  Even once settled into his now-recognizable style, Hirschfeld has a lot more going on than just his stunning linework. He employs an amazing vocabulary of patterns and textures and often uses them in brilliantly unconventional ways. For example, look at the crazy pattern he’s using to indicate stubble in this picture of Elia Kazan. (Sorry about the terrible image.) 5469049b04de6f6c5769db6bd2b9d81fOr how about the dry brush texture in The Defiant OnesFUGAAnd check out the hair in this 1970 Jane Fonda portrait: jane_fonda
  • He also had an amazing variety in the way he drew facial features. Hirschfeld had no “stock” methods that he fell back on for this stuff, and a lot of what he came up with bordered on the abstract in a wonderful way. Look at how he’s chosen to draw Lucille Ball’s eyelashes in this Mame image: 9501abd1ca493d316b05de69e5196622
  • Hirschfeld continued to change his style and explore new ways of representing faces and bodies until the end of his life. His final works really pushed minimalism. It seemed like he was trying to see with just how few lines he could possibly get away with. Check out how much of the torso and arms in the Rosemary Clooney illustration from 200 are implied rather than drawn: 2000
  • Seeing and thinking about all this linework made me a bit sad about the current vogue for dead or nearly-dead linework that’s prevalent in indie comics these days–and which has now filtered through things like Adventure Time and Over the Garden Wall and become a mainstream aesthetic. I like a lot of that work (and for sure love the sources it springs from influence-wise: Moebius, Katsuhiro Ôtomo, etc.) but I’ll always have an affinity for artists who are masters at expressive variable-width inking tools.
  • My only disappointment about the exhibition was purely a personal one. As a lifelong Trekkie I’d really hoped to see an original of one of Hirschfeld’s amazing crew portraits of the various Star Trek crews/shows. Alas, there were none to be found, but here they are:   Al_Hirschfeld_Star_Trek_Original_Cast hirsch-voy hirsch-tng2 hirsch-ds9

Lynda Barry at the Adam Baumgold Gallery

After a surprisingly reasonably-priced lunch at a vegetarian joint off Fifth Avenue I hopped on a rental bike, trucked across Central Park, and wound up at the Adam Buamgold Gallery, which was hosting a spectacular exhibition of Lynda Barry originals. The Gallery is tucked away in the bottom floor of a brownstone and I wasn’t sure I was even at the correct location when I rung the bell and was buzzed in. Adam seemed surprised anyone in town for NYCC was coming by to look at the exhibit–but I was frankly surprised no one else in town for NYCC had come by.

I don’t have a big list of observations about Barry’s art as I did with the Hirschfeld stuff, other than just that Lynda Barry is one of my favorite modern cartoonists and it was a real treat to see so many originals of hers in person. In particular, the stuff she’s done in the last seven or eight years or so were especially great to see since they’re multimedia/collage pieces that you can’t fully appreciate in a mechanically reproduced book.

Adam’s gallery is a really nice space in which to look at original comics art and from my minimal chatting with Adam he seemed like a great guy and a real champion of original comics art. Sadly/ironically, as a working cartoonist, I can’t actually afford to purchase a Barry original, but I was delighted to see on the list Adam showed me that the bulk of them had sold. He did, though, graciously allow me to take some pictures. Here’s a gallery of some of the stuff that was on display:

Etc.

On the way back to the Javitz Center for my Friday signing at the Oni table, I stopped by the French embassy, which has a French-language book store inside it. It’s a great shop and upstairs they have several shelves of French comics. I have to admit, I was surprised I didn’t find more stuff to buy, but I think that’s actually a positive sign. Ten years ago I’d have snapped up every Christophe Blain book I ever encountered, for example, but the bulk of the Blain books they had on the shelf had already been translated into English by various North American publishers so I didn’t buy them. I picked up a beautiful Nicolas De Crécy travelogue and I’m still kicking myself for not buying the new Blutch art book.

My trip to New York City was great and I got just enough time at the enormo-dome NYCC to get my fill. As you can probably tell from my write-up, though, most of my favorite stuff was ancillary to the con itself. But, hey, if I hadn’t been at the actual NYCC, would I have ever seen in-person this portrait of Tyrion Lannister made ENTIRELY OF PERLER BEADS?!?!

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