When everyone is out and away like now, at a beach enjoying a healthy summer, I might stick some entries from my journal. It's part diary, and part my own exploring of the Comics Essay, a form I'm very interested in. So it is an ongoing musing, with experiments and things.
I love meeting a comics author and seeing their sketchbook. Ever since these little shadow characters appeared in mine, I've started to enjoy reading my own.
Some of these will be out of their context, and may not make that much sense. Others make a small completeness, or a little scene. Click to enlarge.
For those of you who know the work of Derek Kirk Kim, here's a tantalizing tidbit from his upcoming HEALING HANDS: early sketches for two of his characters...
And Derek's website: http://www.lowbright.com/index.html
There's a book that's going to make a hell of a noise: AMERICAN BORN CHINESE by Gene Yang. Seriously brilliiant stuff. Coming out Fall '06. Can't say more. Mum's the word. Who is mum anyway. But wait, I'm not kidding -- this kind of project is why FIRST SECOND exists in the first place.
Oh, you don't believe me. Just you wait and see. I've never read anything like it. And it has color by Lark Pien.
More shameless plugs later, as we get nearer to releasing it.
In the meantime, in our continuing award-winning FAVORITE SCENES, here's Gene's entry:
"There's a reason the Japanese call Osamu Tezuka the God of Comics.
In high school, I refused to watch anime or read manga. I found the plots trite, the storytelling unintelligible, and the pancake eyes utterly annoying. Plus, why did all the boys get projectile nose bleeds whenever a pretty girl walked by? Leave me to my Todd McFarlane Spider-mans and Peter David Hulks, thank you. At least gamma rays make sense; they're, you know, scientific and stuff.
Then Osamu Tezuka came along. A year after I graduated college, after hearing his name over and over again in comic book magazines articles, comics websites, and Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics, I decided to pick up the first volume of Adolf, Tezuka's World War II epic, from the local Borders.
The first few pages unnerved me in a way that's difficult to describe. Sohei Toge, a Japanese news reporter covering the 1936 Berlin Olympics, discovers that his brother, a student living in Germany, was mysteriously thrown out of his bedroom window. The drawings were much simpler than the American superhero art I'd grown up on, yet they were so much more... intense. They grabbed me by the intestines and wouldn't let go. Sohei Toge might've only been a line drawing, but my guts didn't know it. I was scared for him.
Over the next few weeks I bought the entire five volume set of Adolf. I read it again and again, not only for the visceral thrill of the story, but also to pick at Tezuka's secrets. Why do these pancake-eyed characters pull me into their lives so completely?
I'll let you know when I've figured it out." -- Gene YANG
Hey! A very cool article by Douglas Wolk in this week's PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY!
It's called "THE ROAD TO FRUITION; New York Publishers are luring comics artists away from their indie-house roots, in hopes of greater sales" and casts an insightful look into the publishing world's current scramble for comics. Anyone in the business knows that the hype about graphic novels has reached unprecedented pitch in the last two years, and simply won't go away. For better and for worse.
In the article, THIS BLOG gets a friendly mention, along with a recent strip, and there's mention of such comics luminaries as Derek Kirk Kim, Eddie Campbell, Craig Thomson, Kazu Kabuishi and Matt Madden.
And about Yours Truly? Well, it says that I'm "also suspicious of this new literary-graphic-novel goldrush -- although some might say he's a bit of a carpetbagger himself."
Leland Myrick is the creator of an exquisite memoir called MISSOURI BOY, which we're really proud to publish. Coming out in Fall '06, so more about it in the near future...
In the meantime, here's Leland's entry in our chronicle of all-time favorite moments in graphic novels:
"I read Varlot Soldat by Tardi and Daeninckx around the time it came out in 1999. Like most of Tardi's work, images from that book have stuck with me ever since. Few can draw the pain and humiliation of war like Tardi. I've sent you an image of Varlot running from the church which has just been blown up." -- Leland MYRICK
Continuing with the Sfar fest, here's his entry in our popular FAVORITES feature:
"My favourite scene in a comic book is the following: The hero of Terry and The Pirates is asleep on a chinese boat, there is the moon, the waves, the silent calm of night in black and white. And the mean dark haired femme fatale dressed in satin kisses his lips while he sleeps.
And WE read this strip and we know he had the chance to kiss this wonderful person and well she actually gave him a kiss and he doesn't even know. Would he have been awakened he would have refused because this good guy never kisses bad girls and we read this book and could just die. And we are in love.
I also revere this Will Eisner's splash page: "Hi, myname is P'Gell and this is not a story for little kids" or something like that.
I love when the Thing goes back to Yancee Street wearing sunglasses.
I love Hugo Pratt's Treasure Island." --- Joann SFAR
Joann Sfar continues to charm the nation while promoting his new book with Pantheon: THE RABBI'S CAT. He was on National Public Radio yesterday, for a terrific interview. He even played country music live.
You can hear it for yourself on NPR's website:
P.S. I am not related to NPR's Robert Siegel, as far as I know.