Tag: graphic novels

Karl Stevens, indoorsman

Karl stevens painter comics winner

Readers of the Village Voice in recent years will recognize the furry subject of “A Cat Lies In Wait” at The New Yorker, even as it’s thoroughly obscured by brushy black shadows.

Palm trees and plenty of pink

rich tommaso crime comics dry county

At Westfield Comics Blog, comics artist/writer Rich Tommaso talks about Dry County, a now-collected five-issue comic that’s both a tribute to detective pulp fiction and lightly rooted in autobiography.

Jules Feiffer’s new career

Paul Morton writes at the Los Angeles Review of Books about the “new career” that veteran cartoonist Jules Feiffer has embarked upon—that of a graphic novelist:

(W)hen it came time for Feiffer to sit down and write his own graphic novels, he ended up looking back, as always, to his old heroes Eisner and Milton Caniff, as well as to the classics of film noir. He studied their canted angles, their fast-paced compositions, their energetic narratives. His Micron pen allowed him to imitate the brush strokes of Golden Age comics, to depict fist fights and car chases with immediacy. In his trilogy, Feiffer experiments with often bizarre compositions: a single panel contains the same figure at a bar in three separate moments, all to depict what must be just a minute or so of conversation. He ended up producing books that, rough and sometimes hilarious, meditate on the use of violence in the comics medium and the threat of violence in the United States.

I recommend the whole piece, as it isn’t so much a consideration of The Ghost Script–Feiffer’s third installment in his trilogy of noir graphic novels—as it is a chance for Morton to discuss reading Feiffer at novel-length versus the strip form he’s published forever as well as the artist’s voice, which is rife with “leftist rage while remaining brutally critical of leftist hypocrisy.”

jules feiffer paul morton comics

Earlier this year, Morton wrote extensively at Los Angeles Review of Books about the relationship that Feiffer had with Hugh Hefner when he was contributing strips and sometimes fiction or longform comics to Playboy while in his 20s. When Morton interviewed Feiffer for Bookslut in 2009, they talked about Hefner’s very closely editing him at Playboy and the fact that Feiffer was “against everything that Hugh Hefner stood for in that magazine.” Feiffer:

“(Hefner) didn’t try to shape me to the demands of his publication as every publication except for the Voice generally did. Whether you were working for Esquire or Harper’s or the Atlantic or The New Yorker they wanted you to be like them, with their sensibility. Hefner, when he sent me back notes, he sent me back richly-detailed notes, panel-by-panel breakdowns of what he liked and what he didn’t like. And it was never to change my point-of-view to his or to the magazine’s. But it was to make my argument stronger by strengthening what he thought was a weakness. And in many cases he was right. 

Morton’s latest essay on Feiffer is at LARB.

Image from Kill My Mother. © 2014 Jules Feiffer for Liveright Publishing Corporation.

An answer to graffiti art

In anticipation of two new solo exhibitions of his work opening in New York City, writer Brett Sokol profiles street artist, illustrator, and comics creator Richard McGuire. From The New York Times:

Posters featuring Ixnae Nix receive central billing, drawing upon nearly 150 variations that Mr. McGuire plastered throughout Soho, Tribeca and the East Village. Using oversized sheets of blank newsprint he would spray paint a silhouette of the spiky-haired Ixnae Nix, usually in a state of frenetic motion, and then use a crayon to neatly fill the edges with cryptic text, all without spacing or punctuation. The net effect married a hard-boiled voice straight out of old detective movies — “I Knew She Could Whistle;” “Someone No One Remembers Who;” “Good And Sick Of The Whole Business” — to unsettling science-fiction imagery, akin to Jean-Luc Godard’s film “Alphaville.”

But Mr. McGuire says he was more inspired by rumblings from underground than the stars above.

“I wanted to do an answer to graffiti art,” he recalled. “I can still see that cast of character names when the subway would pull into the station, all with their own code names: Futura, Lady Pink. So I had mine: Ixnae Nix. I would hear those words in 1940s movies. Ixnae is the pig Latin of nix. And I like the double negation, it just sounds good.”

exhibitions New York City Richard McGuire

In Manhattan, Alden Projects will host Richard McGuire: Art for the Street–1978-1982, and at MoMA PS1, another exhibition will open this weekend at the New York Art Book Fair. Four years ago, in association with a show at The Morgan Library & Museum, Pantheon Books published McGuire’s Here, a stunning, full-color graphic novel grounded in an experimental black and white strip that the artist contributed to anthology magazine RAW in 1989 (see my post). Read Brett Sokol’s story here.

“Here” original strip © 1989 Raw Books & Graphics.