Illustrate Your Life

August 31, 2009 at 10:21 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

R. Crumb, Chris Ware, James Kochalka, are just a few artists who illustrate their lives in journals, and whose work can now be viewed in the book, An Illustrated Life–Drawing Inspiration from the Private Sketchbooks of Artists, Illustrators, and Designers (compiled/edited by Danny Gregory). 

In all, over 40 artists contributed to this collection.  Gregory writes, “There are people in this book whose lives have been transformed by the simple act of drawing their breakfast in a book, who have seen their world for the first time by sketching it on a page”. (An Illustrated Life, p. 3).  Gregory has also published Everyday Matters, The Creative License, Hello World–A Life In Ham Radio, Change Your Underwear Twice a Week–Lessons from the Age of Classroom Filmstrips, and more.


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Comics as Poetry, Poetry as Comics

August 29, 2009 at 4:50 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Culturally, at least, serious-minded comic artists have much in common with traditional poets.  You could describe each in the same way: an underappreciated author who spends years working on a thin volume to be published by a barely surviving independent press for a small, cultlike audience.   “Comix poetics” by Andrew D. Arnold, World Literature Today, March -April 2007, p. 15.

When does a piece of comic art become a poem or a poem become a piece of comic art until you can no longer see the edges of each of them?

Dave Morice, as he says in a poem, once started a novel called Frankenstein vs. the New York Yankees.   He’s finished books about poetry comics, including How To Make Poetry Comics, which invites its readers to examine a series of ink blots and write down the first thing that comes to mind. 


 “When you’ve done this with all six panels,” Morice says, “write a poem of ten or more lines and include all six phrases.”

Morice has adapted Shakespeare with comic art and shows how the Bard’s words are not only relevant to our times, the accompanying images make a nice calendar, too.

He isn’t the only one who finds the poetry and comic art go well together.  They’re like hot fudge and ice cream, minus the calories and stain on your shirt.

Poetry Foundation invited several graphic novelists to interpret poems from the Foundation’s archives.   Read and see the results here.

Poetry in comics need not come from only from the canon.  Comics from Krazy Kat to Pogo to Peanutsbear witness.  Look at the lyrical, idiomatic quality in Krazy Kat’s speech: “Lil’ Dollin, his nobil soul showed me the erra of my way–sniff, is all I could do wit’ a spring flowa”. 

The cartoonist Sethsaid, “When I was studying Charles Schulz’s Peanuts strips. It seemed so clear that his four-panel setup was just like reading a haiku; it had a specific rhythm to how he set up the panels and the dialogue. Three beats: doot doot doot— followed by an infinitesimal pause, and then the final beat: doot.”

Hutch Owen at Cartooning Like You Mean It admits he’s “been obsessing about ‘comics as poetry’ for about 15 years.  Read his essay, Comics as Poetry, Part I, here.   Read Part II here.

gary_sullivan02aEarlier this year, Milwaukee’s Woodland Pattern bookstore presented an exhibit of original art from the first three issues of Gary Sullivan’s comic book series, Elsewhere.   Sullivan serialized his strip, Reverend Gary’s Church of Fun’ in the late 1980s.  A decade later, he offered his poetry comic, The New Life, in Rain Taxi.   His 24-page book, Elsewhere #1, catalogs words and images seen while he was on his honeymoon in Japan in 2004.   Musician John Zorn once wrote, “The Japanese have a really great way of using and mixing up the English language.  The Japanese often borrow and mirror other people’s cultures, that’s what so great about the place.  They make a crazy mix out of it all.”    Who knows what the following means (from Elsewhere #1) but its delicious on the page, as well as on the tongue:

Grab a wave, homy/Chime, see me/Bra the down/Wanco Sing-A-Ling Ding Dog.

biancas_picBianca Stone keeps a blog on poetry comics, offering her own art and poetry and introduces her readers to others working in the world of words and art.

Matt Madden’s been working on a series of comics based on the poetry form, the pantoum.  (The Mother Goosed book features a pantoum and comic art by Jeffrey Johannes, by the way.)   Madden has co-produced (with Jessica Abel) a course in comic-making called Drawing Words & Writing Pictures.  Highly recommended.

More on this subject in future posts.  Until then, “Grab a wave, homy/Chime, see me/Bra the down/Wanco Sing-A-Ling Ding Dog.” (from Gary Sullivan, Elsewhere #1)

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Clip Art Comics

August 22, 2009 at 4:10 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Recipe:  Take a piece of clip art and a Mother Goose nursery rhyme.  Add some new lines with a bit of fun.  Shake well.  Serve.   A “Frighteningly Pretentious Comix” by C. Glen Williams.  See here!

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Mother Goosed (So Far)

August 20, 2009 at 5:44 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

A quick update on progress toward publication of Mother Goosed.  Thank you to all artists and writers who created and submitted work and to those who have helped to promote this project by word-of-mouth, emails, and a podcast.  There’s a lot of wonderful work in the pages we’ve seen. 

We’ll post information in weeks ahead on the pieces that have been selected for this book.  Pages are to be scanned and artwork reviewed by the artists before the book is sent to the printer.   We’re still looking toward a Fall 2009 release, but release may arrive during the bare-tree-kind-of-autumn rather than the colorful time of the season. 

We hope to have a Website in operation by the release date of the book, which will provide detailed information on the publication, as well as an opportunity to purchase a copy online.

Mother Goosed is the first publication of an emerging small press publishing operation in Kenosha.   Information on this operation will be shared in future post(s).    Thanks for reading.

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Chicago Hosts Windy City Comicon

August 16, 2009 at 12:28 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

windyArtists and writers from the mainstream and independent world of comics visit Chicago on Saturday, September 19th for Windy City Comicon.  This event features the best in Chicagoland for comics, movies, games, toys, longboxes, trade paperbacks, graphic novels, and more.  Check it out here.  Windy City Comicon takes place at Center on Halsted, 3635 N. Halsted, in Chicago from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Tickets are $10.  Children, ages 10 and under, are provided free admission with a paid attendee.

AC_Logo_whiteWindy City Comicon is sponsored by Around Comics, the comic books culture podcast, a weekly roundtable discussion, featuring the very best comic news, reviews, and opinions.  New shows are available every Monday.

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Betty Boop Festival, 2010 In Wisconsin Rapids

August 12, 2009 at 12:33 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

BettyBoopMuseumPhoto72dpi_BPack your bags!  The Official Betty Boop Festival Wisconsin takes place in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, from August 5-8, 2010.  The festival will mark the anniversary of Betty Boop’s animation debut on August 9, 1930 and will honor Grim Natwick, Wisconsin Rapids’ native son and Betty’s original top animator at Fleischer Studios, for his lifelong achievements.

The festival will feature Betty Boop events, other artistic and entertainment activities, including a Grim Natwick animation exhibit; scenic motorcycle tours; an animated film festival; a visual art gallery; animation art collectors show; a dance; and other activities.

Visit the Betty Boop Festival’s Website here.

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Once Upon A Book

August 8, 2009 at 4:05 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Brian%20Selznick%20Invention%20of%20Hugo%20CabretOnce upon a time if you wanted to view a book with pictures you needed to time travel to the 19th century, visit the children’s section of your library or bookstore, or step inside a comics shop.   In recent years, however, books such as The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick have earned well-deserved attention not only by the children’s market, but by the market that likes a really, good book, no matter its label.  StudioB Films has documented interviews with authors who marry fine prose with arresting images.  Take a look below at StudioB Films interview with Selznick and then seek out other “Once Upon A Book” interviews with Maira Kalman, Elisa Kleven, David Macaulay, and Chris Raschka.

Also, check out Reif Larsen’s first book, The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet, which marries illustrations and maps with a story of a 12 year old genius cartographer and his incredible cross-country journey by rail from Montana to the Smithsonian.   Stephen King wrote, “I’m flabbergasted by Reif Larsen’s talent, and I was warmed by his generosity.  This book is a treasure.”   Author Gary Shteyngart said, “I felt my brain growing as I read it.”

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Interpreting Alice

August 8, 2009 at 1:22 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )


Tim Burton will soon present his own interpretation of Alice in Wonderland on the big screen.   It may be hard to top the work of Pogo @ You Tube, who has interpreted Alice through Disney’s own interpretation by sound and video cut-ups, creating a new vibe to this animated chestnut.   Check out his reworkings of Mary Poppins, Sword in the Stone, and others, too.  Also, click here for an interview with Pogo from the Sundry Chronicles.

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When Is A Comic Book Not A Comic Book?

August 7, 2009 at 2:25 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

 . . . when it’s a tourism guide!


Pittsburgh’s Toonseum, located within the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, partnered with 18 cartoonists, three writers, and and 15 organizations to create NORTH, a comprehensive visitors guide to its city’s northside.   You can read about it here at the Toonseum Website or see some of its fantastic content over here.  You can view a lot more of Jim Rugg’s art here.

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716:Fine Art Podcast on Mother Goosed

August 5, 2009 at 1:59 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )


Tune in to iTunes for a 716: Fine Arts podcast of a July 23, 2009 interview by David Geisler with Michael Anthony Lynch and Ashley Fugate as they discuss the Mother Goosed project.  Lynch is a contributing artist to this project/publication.  Discussion on the Mother Goosed project begins at 18 minutes and 36 seconds into the podcast. 

716 is an organization that promotes contemporary visual, literary and performance art in Southeastern Wisconsin.  It provides a fine art gallery; solo exhibitions and national juried shows; weekly open mic nights; monthly acoustic performances by local musicians; and a growing network of podcasts and other Web-based projects created by and for the arts community.

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