Saturday, October 3, 2015

Nosotros somos los muertos # 1

Francesc  Capdevila (Max), Nosotros somos los muertos # 1, May 1995.

It was twenty years ago already. Max's Nosotros somos los muertos anthology started a fifteen issue run after a number 0 two years before. The issue included some of the best Spanish comics (Arnal Ballester, Max, Pere Joan, Micharmut, Gallardo) joined by a couple of great authors from Germany (Hendrik Dorgathen and Anke Feuchtenberger) and Italy's Lorenzo Mattotti. 

As you can see below Max was also part of the great Drawn & Quarterly adventure. Read about it here.

Francesc Capdevila (Max), Drawn & Quarterly Vol. 2 # 6, June 1997.

By the way: Matthias agrees with me: the nineties were special. I even idealized a book titled 1996 (the greatest year in comics history).

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Chris Oliveros - Coda

The Pompidou Centre in Paris published online (and accessible to everyone) a sociological study about comics readers. (As an aside, the cover reminds the old Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales whose managing editor was Pierre Bourdieu. Powerful icons can't be escaped, I guess...)

This data is not about North America, but to prove my pessimistic views on these matters I'll post below some charts extracted from said study.

Christophe Evans, La bande dessinée: quelle lecture, quelle culture? [comics: which reading, which culture?], Éditions de la Bibliotèque publique d'information, January 2015, 19.

As you can see above comics readers are decreasing. Not surprisingly the chart also confirms the stereotype that women don't read comics.

Christophe Evans, La bande dessinée: quelle lecture, quelle culture? [comics: which reading, which culture?], Éditions de la Bibliotèque publique d'information, January 2015, 29.

As for women's comics reading habits the chart above shows that there are only four genres that women read more than men. Two of said genres, autobio and reportage, are almost the only ones that interest The Crib. (This means that, ideally, I would be blogging at least for 50% women and 50% men. The reason I think this doesn't happen is because women tend to be less involved in the comics community, whatever that is...) Anyway, in view of the reading habits indicated above Christophe Evans titled one of his chapters thus: "Le roman graphique: une catégorie féminine?" [graphic novels: a women's genre?]

The data would be different in North America because super-heroes would most certainly be over represented.

Christophe Evans, La bande dessinée: quelle lecture, quelle culture? [comics: which reading, which culture?], Éditions de la Bibliotèque publique d'information, January 2015, 40.

The above chart shows how few comics readers read graphic novels in comparison with the number of comics readers who read trash.

Christophe Evans, La bande dessinée: quelle lecture, quelle culture? [comics: which reading, which culture?], Éditions de la Bibliotèque publique d'information, January 2015, 41.

How many, you ask? Well exactly 93 % read trash and 7% read graphic novels. If we subtract the number of readers who read trashy graphic novels (even if the enquirers were careful enough to avoid mixing graphic novels with formulaic genre; see also note 4) we know for certain that comics continues to be mostly trash culture.

Quelle culture? Well, now you know.

Note 1: thanks to Jean-Paul Gabilliet for calling my attention to this publication.

Note 2: as Christophe Evans says himself Jiro Taniguchi's books should be under "Graphic Novels" instead of being under "Manga."

Note 3: speaking of which I continue to be baffled by the use of the Japanese word. I can't imagine a academic essay in English about Munch talking about "maleri" instead of "painting."

Note 4: here's what Chistophe Evans says on page 29 of La bande dessinée: quelle lecture, quelle culture? (my translation):
En effet, il y a fort à parier – malheureusement, cette enquête ne permet pas de le vérifier – que les reportages dessinés autobiographiques d’un auteur tel que Guy Delisle plaisent aux femmes. [In fact, I bet - unfortunately, this inquiry doesn't allow a confirmation - that women like drawn autobiographical reportages like Guy Delisle's.]
If Christophe is right that's exactly what I mean by mediocre graphic novels.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Chris Oliveros

Here's what Chris Oliveros had to say 25 years ago. Unfortunately things didn't improve much a quarter of a century later.

Chris Oliveros, Drawn & Quarterly # 1, Spring 1990.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Harvey Pekar

I'm revisiting a few of Harvey Pekar's short stories (forget his so-called graphic novels). In my next post I intend to think about comics using one of his stories as a pretext. For now enjoy this interview of the author in his later years (you can watch Pekar's appearances in David Letterman's Late Show online, but don't bother...).


Friday, September 4, 2015

Feliz Día de la Historieta!

Carlos Trillo (g), Alberto Breccia (d), "El hombre de azul", Skorpio Gran Color # 58, diciembre de 1979.

Hoy se celebra el Día de la Historieta en la Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires (Capital Federal) y en toda Argentina.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ana Hatherly - Coda

Neste tema com duas variações Ana Hatherly, a poeta-pintora, como alguém a cognomizou, demonstrou mais uma vez que o espaço da página como lugar expressivo e construtivo, no seguimento dos exemplos modernistas pioneiros de Mallarmé e Apollinaire, nunca deixou o seu espírito. É este aspecto da poesia visual, movimento em que foi um dos principais expoentes, que aproxima o trabalho de Ana Hatherly da banda desenhada, arte da palavra escrita e da expressão visual por excelência (sem essencialismos bacocos, evidentemente, antes com laivos barrocos, ou não fosse Ana Hatherly a maior especialista das visualidades escritas barrocas em Portugal). De notar que o "mote", por assim dizer, tem apenas uma tímida nota espacial no final e que as "variações" se abalançam decididamente no caminho experimental (a referência a "Il pleut", de Apollinaire, é clara). É como se Ana Hatherly descrevesse, em microcosmos, um dos caminhos mais ricos da poesia europeia (e não só, quando tudo se tornou global) desde os simbolistas aos poetas visuais e concretos.

O tom elegíaco do poema pretende, evidentemente, ser uma homenagem à memória de Ana Hatherly.

Ana Hatherly, Rilkeana, Assírio e Alvim, 1999.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Ana Hatherly

Ana Alves aka Ana Hatherly. Photo undated and uncredited.

Another artist in The Crib's pantheon died yesterday: Ana Hatherly. I wrote about her work (which I included in the expanded field of comics) here and here.

Today I just want to post part of Ana Hatherly's introduction to her TV show Obrigatório Não Ver [forbidden to watch] aired October 22, 1978, in Portugal's public TV, RTP [Portuguese Radio and Television]. What Ana Hatherly calls "vanguard art" we call today "contemporary art" (my translation):
Good evening dear viewers: this show is titled Obrigatório Não Ver. Said title, given by Jorge Listopad, who is at the head of the RTP's Department of Cultural Programming, was dubbed by the press as one of the most unfortunate in the current programming.
I would agree with this opinion if this wasn't, as it is, a show about vanguard art. What happens is that this title, deliberately or not, illustrates a more or less generalized attitude of the public towards vanguard art. An attitude that is founded in the ignorance of what is refused and self-indulgently based on the law of the lesser effort, because any knowledge, any new knowledge, demands a will to learn and, above all, persistence and effort.
This effort, in the field of the arts, is particularly real in vanguard art's case because of its excessive nowness. I mean, because the vanguard implies an immediate experience of our time's reality it doesn't allow the less trained the retreat that, for instance, the art of other times permits.
This is just one aspect - because there are others - but it allows us to mention what, in part unintentionally, the title of this show suggests: I mean, that what's nearer is what's more difficult to see, or, in other words, that nothing is more difficult to see than what's constantly in front of us.
Add to that a huge bias and apply the above words to the situation of the art form of comics.  (And I mean "the art form", not "the entertainment industry.")


Luís Alves de Matos, Ana Hatherly - The Intelligent Hand (trailer), 2002.