THE BLOG AT THE CROSSROADS
Posted: March 10, 2014
As well as co-curating the Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK exhibition at The British Library in London from May 2nd till August 19th, and co-writing the accompanying book of the same name, I am also one of the judges for an exciting British Library x Arts Thread Comics Unmasked Competition. Among others on the jury are award-winning comic book artist Dave Gibbons (Watchmen, 2000 AD), managing director and publisher Emma Hayley (SelfMadeHero), and Salem Brownstone author and exhibition co-curator John Harris Dunning. It’s open to UK residents of 16+ who are students, graduates or professionals for less than 3 years in the design industry. Simply create a single-page 9-panel comic exploring one of the six themes in the British Library’s Comics Unmasked exhibition and you could win a £1,000 cash prize. The deadline is midnight on Sunday April 20th. Best of luck!
Posted: March 8, 2014
Famed for his distinctive takes on superhero icons X-Men, Superman and Batman and currently drawing Mark Miller’s Jupiter’s Legacy, Glaswegian comic-book illustrator extraordinaire Frank Quitely (pen-name of Vincent Deighan) is profiled in a fascinating 30-minute ‘fly-on-the-wall’ documentary, episode 9 of the series What Do Artists Do All Day?. It was shown last Tuesday March 4th on BBC Scotland, is available on BBC iPlayer till Monday 11th, and will be repeated on BBC Four on Tuesday March 18th at 10.50pm and Wednesday March 19th at 2.20am.
Posted: March 5, 2014
Hey, I hope you enjoy looking through the forthcoming brand-new titles I’ve picked out for you, as I do every month. It’s another heady mix of classics and moderns, English-language and translations. I just received the Spanish edition of Flesh and Steel, the Russ Heath exhibition catalogue, which is revelatory, seeing so many of pages (and complete stories) as crisply reproduced original artwork with perceptive commentary and biography by Florentino Flores. If I had to pick just one original graphic novel this month, I’d wholly recommend This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki. They work magic on the page and in your heart. This will be a gem you’ll treasure. Read my PG Previews for May 2014 here…
Posted: March 4, 2014
University College Falmouth, Cornwall focuses on Reportage & Documentary as the theme of their 12th Open Forum entitled Witness this coming Friday March 7th. Their special guest illustrators this year are Sue Coe, Anne Howeson, Lucinda Rogers, Jenny Soep, Anna Cattermole & Fumio Obata, chaired by Gary Embury. Tickets £25 from events[at]falmouth.ac.uk Full details here…
Posted: February 27, 2014
I am really looking forward to talking again with the award-winning German graphic novelist Reinhard Kleist (above), acclaimed for his graphic biographies of Johnny Cash and Fidel Castro. He is over again to launch the riveting life-story of the Holocaust survivor and champion prizefighter Harry Haft in The Boxer published by SelfMadeHero.
Kleist explains on his website: “The story of Hertzko Haft is a drawn biography of the life of Hertzko “Harry” Haft. In the year 1940 he was deported by the Nazis from his hometown in Poland and survived four and a half years in concentration camps like Auschwitz and Flossenbürg. In the camps, he was used as a smuggler and boxer, where he had to fight against other prisoners. After the war he went to America and started a career as a professional boxer. Partly because he didn’t learn anything else, but mainly because he wanted to become as popular as possible so that his girlfriend from Poland, that he was supposed to marry, would find him. Hertzko Haft’s prose biography was first published in the States by Syracuse Press. It was told by his son Alan Scott Haft from interviews that he did in the year 2002.”
This is Kleist’s exclusive London speaking engagemernt presented in association with SelfMadeHero, the Goethe Institut and Comica Festival at the Goethe Institut London in South Kensington on Thursday March 6th from 7pm. Admission is free and refreshments are provided, but please RSVP on info[at]london.goethe.org or phone 020 7596 4000. See you there!
Posted: February 22, 2014
It’s a great big, ginormous Comics Planet and a few more of my international correspondents and my fellow reviewers for 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die have reported in with their recommendations for the very best comics published during 2013 in Australia, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden for starters. Let our voyage of discovery around the globe continue!.... Read their selections here…
Posted: February 22, 2014
It was a pleasure to re-connect with American comics journalist, connoisseur and ComixAce news blogger at The Beat, Heidi MacDonald a few weeks ago at the Angoulême International Comics Festival, on her first trip to this Cannes of Comics. And out of this came the invitation for her to interview me for Publishers Weekly as part of their ‘More To Come’ podcasts. Our whole forty-minute Skype chat is online here, covering my latest book Comics Art, out now in the US from Yale, and the upcoming British Library exhibition I am co-curating with John Harris Dunning, Comics Unmasked, among many other things. And yes, I do let Heidi get a few words in edgeways - and thanks again for inviting me!
Posted: February 20, 2014
Next Wednesday, February 26th, American expert Ryan Holmberg is giving a free illustrated talk about the remarkable magazine Garo, started in 1964, which revolutionised alternative manga in Japan. Holmberg has written and exhibited widely about this subject, most recently in the collection Gold Pollen and other stories by modern master Seiichi Hayashi, published last year by PictureBox (see image above, 1972). Don’t miss what promises to be a fascinating insight into this rich area of Japanese comics. It’s at SOAS, College Buildings, Room G50, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG from 5.05-7.00pm. Tickets are free. Full details here…
Posted: February 15, 2014
Comics and communism haven’t always mixed. While Chairman Mao’s China pumped out millions of lianhuanhua, palm-sized propaganda mini-comics with one panel per page, Hungary was one of several East European nations to forbid comics as capitalist Western trash, apart from their own worthy, wordy graphic novelisations of classic novels, and obviously imports of Vaillant, later Pif Gadget, published by the French Communist Party.
After the change of system in Hungary in 1989, activists formed the grand-sounding but since disbanded Hungarian Comics Academy, while the free underground arts and literature magazine Roham encouraged experimental, self-expressive comics. It was in its pages that András Baranyai published his first forays into the medium, drawing on influences from his country’s fine art, illustration and graphic design from the past to conceive his own daring visual narrative constructions. Read the rest of my new Article here…
Posted: February 12, 2014
STORIES FROM THE FRONT LINE is an innovative graphic medicine commission for a public space installation as part of Sick Festival 2014 in Brighton. Four fantastic comics artists present four stories from the Front Line of medical practice in Brighton. Four patients and four doctors share their stories, giving their own accounts of true events that are moving, revealing, honest and challenging. Ian Williams, ILYA, Nicola Streeten and Woodrow Phoenix (above) illuminate the personal and ethical issues of illness and healthcare through individual’s experiences. The resulting graphic narratives are presented in a large-scale light-box installation outdoors and for free in Jubilee Square, Brighton in the lead-up to, and throughout the festival from February 10th to March 31st 2014. Go take a look and a read, storms permitting!