Tuesday, November 18, 2014

EDMOND, un portrait de Baudoin - Coda

If you read the quote below you will understand perfectly why the comics milieu (comics publishers especially) is my enemy.

I also wonder why the State (and I mean every State) spends so much money sponsoring the arts while completely forgetting art comics. It's no one's land, really... Great comics fall outside the industry and outside mainstream culture as well...

...And yet... for a while, at the beginning of the 90s (and during most of the decade), everything seemed possible... somehow...

EDMOND, un portrait de Baudoin

EDMOND, un portrait de Baudoin (trailer) from Kaleo films on Vimeo.

Pour justifier son refus de lui accorder un prix prestigieux, un éditeur lui confia un jour: "Si vous aviez été récompensé, cela aurait tué la bande dessinée telle qu'on la connait aujourd'hui. Vous, Baudoin, vous ne faites pas la bande-dessinée, vous faites de l'art, de la poesie. Ça ne nous intéresse pas.
To justify his refusal to give him a prestigious award a publisher admitted one day: "If you had received it, it would have killed comics as we know them today. You, Baudoin, you don't create comics, you create art and poetry. That doesn't interest us.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Comparison

Remember when I said below that craft is not enough to produce great art, but a world vision isn't enough either?...

Robb Armstrong, "Jump Start," Sunday comic strip, January 17, 1993 [originally published in color].

The above Sunday page doesn't represent offensive stereotypes of black people. On the contrary, these characters act and talk like real people which means that the characterization is quite well done... and yet... 

The drawing style is dull: the lines are heavy; the backgrounds either don't exist or are a generic "I drew these books and bookshelves and people, but I could very well draw other books and bookshelves and people instead" kind of backgrounds...

Worst of all though: the situation depicted is rather plain and the worthwhile anti-racist message lacks any kind of punch (even if the punch line, precisely, is the best part of the page). 

Now, compare the page above with these two panels below (I don't think that I need to add anything; the power of the images and the power of the words talk for themselves):

Héctor Germán Oesterheld (w), Alberto Breccia (a), "Mort Cinder," Misterix # 799, March 6, 1964. [Night at the Thermopylae. Some wounded man complains. He must be a Persian to wail like that... / The Fates weaving, laughing because they have almost no thread... So many lives will end soon...]

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Arturo del Castillo

Misterix # 715 was published in 1962. At that time Arturo del Castillo was already working for Fleetway Publications in the UK. He co-adapted, namely, Alexandre Dumas' musketeers novels to comics as we can see below...

Arturo del Castillo (a), Leonard Matthews (s), Lion, Fleetway, September 28, 1963. (Story reprinted from Film Fun - 1961.)

Arturo del Castillo (a), Leonard Matthews (s), Lion, Fleetway, December 14, 1963.

Arturo del Castillo (a), Leonard Matthews (s), Lion, Fleetway, February 1, 1964. 

Arturo del Castillo (a), Leonard Matthews (s), Lion, Fleetway, February 22, 1964. 

Below are four panels created by Arturo del Castillo in the year of his retirement, 1989. He died three years later.

Arturo del Castillo (original art).

Friday, October 24, 2014

Misterix # 715

I received a few Argentinian mags on the mail today, Misterix # 715 among them, so, and because Mahendra asked, I'll post what's more interesting in it. (Meanwhile I'm reading Aristophane's Conte Démoniaque - I'm on page 16, believe it or not!)

Carlos Cruz, Misterix # 715, Editorial Yago, July 27, 1962.

Héctor Germán Oesterheld (w), Alberto Breccia (a), "Mort Cinder," the third installment of the series - with the "ojos de plomo," the "lead eyes."

Another Mort Cinder page. Look below to see how it was reprinted by Ediciones Colihue in 1997!

This has to be seen to be believed: they cut the second panel in half! 

Eugenio Zappietro  (Ray Collins) (w), Arturo del Castillo (a), "Garrett." 

Hugo Pratt, "Wheeling." Pratt returned to Argentina, after his Brit adventure at Fleetway, to be managing editor of Misterix. He wrote and drew "Wheeling" for the magazine.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dan Mazur's and Alexander Danner's Comics A Global History, 1968 To the Present - Coda: What is an Artist? (Part Two)

"Aristophane was a better artist than Jack Kirby, obviously. Joost Swarte is better than Hergé."

Domingos Isabelinho

If you read part one of this post you know what it's about. So, here we go again...

Jack Kirby:

Jack Kirby is the king of machoism, mechanophilia and manicheism. He achieves his manicheistic goals coupling goodness / beauty and evilness / ugliness which is a long tradition going back to Medieval speciesism. Talking of which, Kirby doesn't shy away from said visual short cut, as we can see below:

Jack Kirby (w and p), Mike Royer (i and l),"The Quick and the Dead!," Mister Miracle # 14, DC Comics, June / July 1973.

Jack Kirby (w and p), Vince Coletta (i), John Costanza (l), "Super War!" [exclamation marks are all over the place in Kirby's comics], The Forever People # 2, DC Comics, April / May 1971. The beautif... er... the forever people are the goodies. Two minor debatable aesthetic choices though: was that cleavage, front and center, really needed? Was there a need for the black character to be called Vykin "The Black"? As Fredrik Strömberg put it in Black Images in the Comics: "Quite often the reader gets a feeling that a Black character is included just to be the Black character in a certain context."

Jack Kirby (w and p), Mike Royer (i and l), Glynis Wein (c), "The Russians Are Coming!," The Eternals # 11, Marvel Comics, May 1977. More beautiful people. 

Jack Kirby (w and p), Mike Royer (i and l), "Apokolips Trap!!," Mister Miracle # 7, DC Comics, April 1972. The bad and ugly.

Jack Kirby (w and p), Vince Colletta (i), John Costanza (l), "X-Pit!," Mister Miracle # 2, DC Comics, May / June 1971. Granny Goodness above is a misogynous stereotype, the harpy. It seems that the baddies are not only ugly, they're also always shouting.

I said all I wanted to say about Jack Kirby already. His stories, or the stories that he drew, are formulaic dreck, but a couple of things in his oeuvre are interesting. For instance:

Jack Kirby (w and p), Mike Royer (i and l), Glynis Wein (c), "Mother!," The Eternals # 10, Marvel Comics, April 1977.  

Jack Kirby (w and p), Mike Royer (i and l), Glynis Wein (c), "Astronauts!," The Eternals # 13, Marvel Comics, July 1977.  

Jack Kirby (w and p), Mike Royer (i and l), "Spawn," The New Gods # 5, DC Comics, October / November 1971.

Jack Kirby, "Out of Mind's Reach," Pro! magazine, FNL, October 21, 1973.

I can easily imagine a twelve year old saying - Awesome!! The problem is that I'm not a twelve year old, so, I need more than awesomeness from the art and writing that I'm reviewing. This is just the spectacle of cheap and superficial entertainment. What's behind it, then? As I put it in my The Hooded Utilitarian article there's: 1) a glorification, a glamorizing and a sanitation of violence; 2) a fascination with cosmic power translated in the power of machines (gods are literally shown as machines above). All this is in complete accordance with Futurism (Kirby's style is a cubo-futurism of sorts) and Fascist aesthetics.

An addendum: 

Jack Kirby (w and p), John Verpoorten (i), Gaspar Saladino (l), Glynis Wein (c), "The Day of the Gods" The Eternals # 1, Marvel Comics, July 1976.

As we can see above in The Eternals, at least, Kirby was highly influenced by Aztec art. This happened because he was under the influence of Erich von Däniken's quack theories about astronaut gods.

Stan Lee (s), Jack Kirby (p), Vince Colletta (i), Sam Rosen (l), "Where Gods May Fear to Tread!," The Mighty Thor # 132, Marvel Comics, September 1966.

Countless pages were written about who did what at Marvel Comics during the 1960s. I couldn't care less, really, but the above (one of Kirby's famous collages...) is such a wacky invention I bet that it was spawned by Jack Kirby's fertile imagination.

NOTE: I'm going to reread Aristophane's Conte Démoniaque, now. Since I'm such a slow reader, I'm very sorry, but it will be quite a while until my next Aristophane post.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Barron Storey's Paper Planes

While waiting for Dan Mazur's and Alexander Danner's Comics A Global History, 1968 To the Present - Coda: What Is an Artist? (Part Two) I give you one (an artist that is): Barron Storey, ladies and gentlemen!