Axel-In-Charge: Unmasking the "Totally Awesome Hulk"
What’s this? Could it be? Is this the return of Bill linking to cool stuff he found on the comics internet in an attempt to pass procrastination off as content? Why, maybe.
Below the fold: Art, writing, cool stuff, brief musings, and other things other people have created on the comics internet recently.
ITEM! The real reason I wanted to do this post was to link to Steven Brower’s article on Kirby’s use of collage throughout his comics career, so here is that link. (Brower is out of Scranton PA, so in country bumpkin terms he’s around the corner from me, or about an hour on the highway. All the best comics people on the internet are from Pennsylvania. It is a fact. Suck it, Brooklyn). Writes Brower (which image is he referring to? Click the link above!):
A disembodied eye floats below a half obscured castle, four headless women walk single file in Victorian era gowns, ghostly figures peer out from three windows, and a drawn nude male figure, back to the viewer, merges with a large rock formation. […] What is interesting is the variation in tonality that creates the illusion of foreground and background. Considering the source is all found material, one gets a glimpse into how carefully constructed these collages are. Although rhythmic, Kirby’s approach to collage appears to have been careful consideration as opposed to unfettered spontaneity.
The art selections within the article are retina-bendingly beautiful, and just in time for the release of the hardcover Spirit World volume from DC. But that’s Kirby, still blowing minds decades later. This work comes off as far more impressive since it was done in a world without Photoshop, much the same way older movies somehow seem more real and magical because they pre-date CGI. We see a wonder on the page or screen now and say, “Oh, this was done by a computer.” We see the page above and think “Oh, this was done by Kirby.”
(This is not to denigrate CG artists or those Photoshoppers out in our audience. I know that stuff is just as time-consuming and hand-cramping, but in many ways imagery created via computer has less inherent limitations the ways of olde. There are always pros and cons.)
ARCHNEMESIS DEPT: My mortal enemy, Shia LaBeouf, has apparently gone and created himself some “comics,” thereby throwing down the gauntlet into my home territory. It’s on, The Beef. Meanwhile, the internet has naturally become fascinated with the works themselves.
Matt Wilson at ComicsAlliance says:
It sort of reads like a children’s book, in that almost nearly ever page has but one illustration and a line or two of accompanying text. LaBeouf isn’t big on panels. Or backgrounds, for that matter. Each page gives only the most basic illusion of the setting, with characters surrounded by a ubiquitous pink haze that seems to indicate everything that happens, even the indoor scenes, is occurring at sunset.
But Sean T. Collins over at The Comics Journal thinks:
I picked up these comics, and browsed them online, because they were by Shia LaBeouf. But LaBeouf could have, I dunno, plotted a Transformers miniseries and some would have feted him for it. Instead he hand-crafted a bunch of weirdo comics that leave him wide open for mockery when he hits notes too hard or takes ideas too far or makes drawings too sloppy (and he does on all counts, from time to time, inevitably), because he had something to say and had to say it with this particular art form.
God help us all, even Rolling Stone interviews Mutt himself:
If you’re a celebrity with a comic, it already has a residue of shit on it because so many shit celebrity slash wrestler slash race-car driver slash who-gives-a-fuck books have already tainted the possible audience for it. This is not a get-rich-quick thing, it’s not a way to prolong my career – I would like the same fans that I respect in comics to like my books, and I know the only way to get there is to earn it, and the only way to earn it is to come up the same way everybody else does, as much as I can.
More praise, faint and otherwise, and a bit of damning, or more accurately, darning, in the links above. (And then, to put the full stop on it, comes Let’s Be Friends Again, and then to put an ellipsis and then an exclamation point comes Rob Cantor’s song about Shia LaBeouf trying to kill and eat you, which is, as the kids say, my new jam.)
ITEM! David Brothers washes his hands of corporate comics over creators’ rights. Chris Roberson does the same thing with DC, then DC slams the door on him on the way out. We all should probably have seen that coming. Over on the Wait What!? podcast, my favorite comics podcast [of the podcasts not hosted on Comics Should Be Good, under penalty of death –ed.], Jeff Lester and Graeme McMillan have spent quite a bit of time hemming, and to a lesser degree, hawing, over Jeff’s decision to give up on Marvel Comics, also due to ethical reasons.
PARAGRAPH BREAK! I can understand the viewpoints of all of the above, and I can commend them for coming to those decisions, even as I continue to buy DC and Marvel Comics. I just don’t have that kind of ethical fortitude, which is also why I still eat red meat. If creators I enjoy are working on a comic, I will buy it, and I will ignore that it was once a live cow who just wanted to chill out and eat some grass. If it happens to be a delicious, uh, salad, or tofu… sandwich… whatever vegans eat, I will buy that, too. Image has been on fire recently. I like good comics.
ITEM! Tom Hiddleston, the trickster god Loki himself, writes a charming article about the magic and power of the cinematic superhero.
ITEM! Warren Ellis totally has a new email newsletter. Remember email newsletters, you guys? They are back.
SELECTIVE SELLECK DEPT: Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 is objectively better than Girls.
READING: King City by Brandon Graham; Legends of the Dark Knight: Jim Aparo by Bob Haney and Jim Aparo; VALIS by Philip K. Dick
WATCHING: The Aquabats! Super Show!; Community; Awake; Mad Men; Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
LISTENING (TO): Scandalous by Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears; Comedy Bang Bang with Scott Aukerman; The Nerdist Writer’s Panel with Ben Blacker; WTF with Marc Maron; The Thrilling Adventure Hour by Bens Blacker & Acker
PLAYING: Realm of the Mad God
DRINKING: Rogue Mocha Porter, Left Hand Milk Stout, Pepsi Next
WRITING: This post. And another one, actually, which this post was created during the procrastination thereof. (Don’t expect the Brunch to become a regular thing again.)
What out there has been firing your brazier, grinding your gears, sizzling your steak, patting down your excess grease? Leave word in the comments.
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