Did you know I used to write about music, like, a lot? This is still my favorite sustained piece, some stylistic issues aside. (Was still trying too hard to be vernacular in places, too much of the old-guard Village Voice still hanging around in the bloodstream. My natural style is stuffy. I wear neckties when I don’t have to.) Mainly because it’s the best shot I ever made at getting across why I think pre-rock music is important; it’s for the same reasons that I think rock music is important, and the music of the post-rock era too.

Cypress Hill ft. Pitbull & Marc Anthony, “Armada Latina” (2010)

Been trying to figure out why I’d had CSN stuck in my head lately. Finally decided it was because I hadn’t listened to this in too long.

How to draw a comic!

darrylayo:

Step one: ah, you messed up~

On this day of all days, I would like to reiterate:

Fuck Batman.

Same four Dutch artists, at three tiers a sample instead of two.

  • Daan Jippes/Martin Lodewijk, Bernard Voorzichtig: Twee voor Thee
  • Fred Julsing, Wellington Wish: Het Kruitvat van Gehoorzaamheid
  • Johnn Bakker/Lo Hartog van Banda, Blook: De Robots
  • Dick Matena, Grote Pyr: De Grotten van de Witte Beer

More TK.

jonathanbogart:

Left: Gringos Locos by Olivier Schwartz (art) and Yann (script), original French publication 2011, collected 2012. Right: El invierno del dibujante by Paco Roca, original Spanish publication 2010.

If you’re the kind of Anglophone comics fan who prides themselves on keeping up with European comics I bet you’ve heard of the former; and no matter who you are I bet you haven’t heard of the latter. They’re both about a vanished era in cartooning, the high-water mark of the 1950s, when comics (in the West) were at the peak of their pre-television popularity as a mass medium, and when several waves of cartoonists all over the world were plotting to revolutionize their small corners of the medium.

Gringos Locos tells the story of a holiday/research trip that Jijé, Franquin, and Morris (together with Will the founders of the Marcinelle school of Franco-Belgian cartooning) took to the U.S., and particularly the Southwest, with lots of references to the classic Western BDs they would go on to produce. It’s a romp through the back pages of French comics, with lots of slapstick and verbal gags that wouldn’t have been out of place in the pages of the artists themselves. El invierno del dibujante (the winter of the artist) is about the failed attempt by five classic cartoonists of the Golden Age of Spanish comics — Cifré, Peñarroya, Escobar, Conti, and Giner — to break away from the children’s-comics publisher Bruguera and create a comics magazine aimed at grownups. It’s a downbeat, even somber mood piece reflecting on the legacy of Franco-era censorship and suffused with regret for what might have been. (It reminds me a lot of It’s a Good Life If You Don’t Weaken, which is meant as high praise.)

Both comics, I think, reflect the positions not only of their respective national comics scenes in the 50s — BD was going from strength to strength, flush with money and optimism, curious about the world and in love with America, while tebeos (Spanish comics) were introverted, cautious, terrified of change and strung along on minuscule budgets as the publishers gorged themselves on the profits — but of their current ones. BD remains commercially-focused (the many great French indie/arts scenes aside), consummately professional, slick, and a bit heartless; it’s like reading a mid-level Hollywood comedy, if such a thing existed anymore. And tebeos are still trying mightily to catch up, to prove that they’re grown-up and sophisticated, still starved of money and still attempting to recover their own history. The most successful comics in Spain are still aimed at children (and were originally published by Bruguera), and everything else is essentially an indie/arts scene. Which has its own compensations.

Micharmut, “El puzzle del demonio,” first published in Cairo and taken here from the collected volume Raya, late 1980s.

Four Dutch cartoonists of the early 1970s, four approaches to exaggerated cartoon physics, action, and staging, all within a common cartooning language though with slightly different reference points for each.

First, credits:

  1. Bernard Voorzichtig: Twee voor Thee by Daan Jippes, script by Martin Lodewijk
  2. De Broertjes Samovarof & Co.: Het Wolvenjong by Fred Julsing
  3. Blook: De Ruimtepiraten by Johnn Bakker, script by Dick Matena
  4. Grote Pyr: De Zoon van de Zon by Dick Matena

All taken, for consistency’s sake, from their original appearances in the magazine Pep rather than from the album editions, some of which used different colors or none at all.

I’ve been tagging my posts about Dutch comics of the late 60s and early 70s #the children of tom poes, and I suppose I might as well note here that Tom Poes is to Dutch comics what Pogo would have been to US comics if Pogo also occupied the same space as the Walt Disney Corporation (and maybe, like, King Features to boot) in US cartooning. Marten Toonder is the name to start your Lambiek dive with; like Walts Disney and Kelly, he was a funny-animal cartoonist turned middlebrow philosopher, but more to the point, he hired a lot of people to churn out his studios’ product — more and more Disney-inflected over the years — beginning in the 50s. Two of those people were Julsing and Matena; Jippes and Bakker never worked for Toonder, but were deeply influenced by him, as well as by the Disney brand. (Carl Barks is perhaps the ultimate common denomintor here.)

The stories these samples are taken from vary widely in tone and content, but what they have in common is a unified desire to push past the traditional Belgian modes of adventure cartooning, whether ligne-claire, Marcinelle, or réalistique, which had been the standard European model since the 40s. The first wave of auteurist comics-makers (Pratt, Breccia, Crepax, Forest) and the Pilote generation of thoughtful, idea-heavy adventure storytelling (Blueberry, Valérian, Philémon) were firing ambitions all across the continent. The way Jippes, Julsing, Bakker and Matena grappled with the challenge to make it new was to push classic Euro (and Disney) cartooning to extremes: of motion, of character design, of line and composition and perspective.

You can see Franquin in Jippes and Bakker and Uderzo in Julsing an Matena but squished and stretched into absurdist territory. When you look at a whole page of any of these comics (particularly in the black-and-white editions) for the first time, it can register as visual cacophony, so dense with perspective switches, competing textures, and expository dialogue that those of us reared on U.S. or Japanese comics can feel subconsciously repelled by the surge of detail. They read very easily once you get into the rhythm and go panel-by-panel, of course — these are still comics aimed at the juvenile market — but the sheer brio with which these comics bounce and swerve, chock full of closely-observed detail even at their most outlandishly cartoonish, is unexpected and slightly overwhelming to a sensibility (mine) reared on more sedate heroic fantasy slash jokey strip cartoons.

I’m not sure I’ve gotten at what really appeals to me about these artists (and the comics don’t really excerpt well; their effect is cumulative, not modular), but I’m hitting publish anyway. More possibly to come if I work out what else I want to say.

Left: Gringos Locos by Olivier Schwartz (art) and Yann (script), original French publication 2011, collected 2012. Right: El invierno del dibujante by Paco Roca, original Spanish publication 2010.

If you’re the kind of Anglophone comics fan who prides themselves on keeping up with European comics I bet you’ve heard of the former; and no matter who you are I bet you haven’t heard of the latter. They’re both about a vanished era in cartooning, the high-water mark of the 1950s, when comics (in the West) were at the peak of their pre-television popularity as a mass medium, and when several waves of cartoonists all over the world were plotting to revolutionize their small corners of the medium.

Gringos Locos tells the story of a holiday/research trip that Jijé, Franquin, and Morris (together with Will the founders of the Marcinelle school of Franco-Belgian cartooning) took to the U.S., and particularly the Southwest, with lots of references to the classic Western BDs they would go on to produce. It’s a romp through the back pages of French comics, with lots of slapstick and verbal gags that wouldn’t have been out of place in the pages of the artists themselves. El invierno del dibujante (the winter of the artist) is about the failed attempt by five classic cartoonists of the Golden Age of Spanish comics — Cifré, Peñarroya, Escobar, Conti, and Giner — to break away from the children’s-comics publisher Bruguera and create a comics magazine aimed at grownups. It’s a downbeat, even somber mood piece reflecting on the legacy of Franco-era censorship and suffused with regret for what might have been. (It reminds me a lot of It’s a Good Life If You Don’t Weaken, which is meant as high praise.)

Both comics, I think, reflect the positions not only of their respective national comics scenes in the 50s — BD was going from strength to strength, flush with money and optimism, curious about the world and in love with America, while tebeos (Spanish comics) were introverted, cautious, terrified of change and strung along on minuscule budgets as the publishers gorged themselves on the profits — but of their current ones. BD remains commercially-focused (the many great French indie/arts scenes aside), consummately professional, slick, and a bit heartless; it’s like reading a mid-level Hollywood comedy, if such a thing existed anymore. And tebeos are still trying mightily to catch up, to prove that they’re grown-up and sophisticated, still starved of money and still attempting to recover their own history. The most successful comics in Spain are still aimed at children (and were originally published by Bruguera), and everything else is essentially an indie/arts scene. Which has its own compensations.

katherinestasaph:

…1880?

The explanation is probably something boring like “someone hit two 8s instead of two 9s when entering a date.”

sonnet which, unfortunately, will not fit on a post-it note

isabelthespy:

Wash every dish and empty out the rack.
Fold or hang each garment with the care
that it prefers. Tell yourself the air
is sweet to your skin. Exercise the knack
which you attempted to abandon. Crack
an egg and eat what it becomes. Wear
a pendant. Clean the bathtub. Wash your hair.
Drink water. Leave your bed. Do not go back.

Remember all the soggy, blurred-out days.
Remember what you know: this is such stuff
as life is made on, which could pass you by
again, which has devised so many ways
to leave you. Make that memory be enough.
It won’t be. It may never be. Try.

Édika, “And Here’s Yet Another Comic Strip,” ca. 1990. The word balloon is: “Stop! Two shoulders on the ground.”

A handful of 1974 centerfolds in the Dutch children’s comics magazine Pep promoting their current or upcoming strips:

  • Fred Julsing’s De Broertjes Samovarof & Co.
  • Dino Attanasio’s Johnny Goodbye
  • Jan van Haasteren’s Baron van Tast
  • Dick Matena’s Grote Pyr
  • Peter de Smet’s De Generaal and Joris P.K.

Goddamn piece of shit blackface caricature in the second one. (And it’s not like the Russian signifiers in the first are exactly flattering.)