Here’s a thought about remixing comics

The main interest for me of the comic strip is the infinite possible links between text and image : a system of representation continually confronting , in a kind of alchemy, text and picture. […] I try to find new reading perspectives. I dismantle a given material to make something else of it.

Jochen Gerner, talking about his remix of Tintin in America
image

Here’s a thought about medieval comics

[The] unconventional aspects are deliberate pointers to a hidden poetic structure, accessible only to the initiate. This deep structure is a system of interrelated parts conveying a unity of meaning. Although the links uniting these parts exist on the visual level, they are predominantly a function of subtextual narratives and symbols operating below the surface and realized in the educated viewer’s mind. The iconographer relies on the viewer’s silent co-participation in his creative process to uncover a mystery beyond words.

I had you convinced for a second that this was about some experimental comics, didn’t I? This is actually from the abstract for a study of a 500 years old, Russian icon depicting the biblical “last judgment”.

Let this be a lesson that a) I interpret everything as pertaining to comics, and b) everything pertains to comics.

Here’s a thought about comics series vs graphic novels

[I]n order to exist the series must:
1 – Have an hero. The hero (be it Tintin or Corto Maltese or John Difool) is not a fully developed character, it’s more of a void designed to be filled by the reader with positive things.
2 – A cast of stereotyped characters: the faithful reader knows that this one does this, that one does that. The reader who likes mainstream stuff usually doesn’t want to be surprised (Obelix *always* says that he wants to drink the magic potion; Captain Haddock *always* wants to drink scotch; etc…).
3- A set of stereotyped situations. The plot obeys to a few fixed rules. In adventure comics the thing goes more or less like this: the bad guys attack, the bad guys defeat the good guys, the good guys make a come back and win. The End. In comical comics the hero (or antihero) always commits the same errors, etc…
4 – Adventure follows adventure and the hero and his friends never age. It’s as if nothing happened from story to story (the few exceptions to this rule are far from being perfect).
5 – Psychological depth, what’s that?!

The graphic novel is a strategy to fight the blunt commercialism of the series, it’s the anti-series. Calling a collection of children’s stories (about superheroes, for instance) a “graphic novel” is a co-optation by the sharks, smelling fresh money.

From a blog post by comics critic Domingos Isabelinho.

Here’s a conversation about digital comics

Quote

A conversation I had with Eric Orchard on Twitter last week, on the subject of digital publishing. Eric just self-published his direct-to-tablet comic Marrowbones which, incidentally, is a very fine all-ages book (or precisely not a book?)

I think comic people are recognizing the importance of having revenue streams at all levels of publication, to make it sustainable
@Inkybat
eric orchard
...says @ who has cut out the middleman and is self-publishing his gothilicious Marrowbones comics for tablets! #fromthehorsesmouth
@haverholm
Allan Haverholm
@ It actually has more to do with speed than economics, wanting more material available. Trad. publishing is very slow.
@Inkybat
eric orchard
@ I know, in more ways than one. One reason I'm making my own little books now.
@haverholm
Allan Haverholm

Said “little books” available here, here, here, and here… We return to our scheduled program:

@ I'm still working all this out, publishing seems to be a bunch of things now....
@Inkybat
eric orchard
@ as in digital is an ongoing changing process and print is the artifact.
@Inkybat
eric orchard
@ Yeah, blogging, for one thing. Imagine every blog having an ISBN...
@haverholm
Allan Haverholm
@ I guess it's really just making something public, in a distributable or accessible form?
@haverholm
Allan Haverholm
@ Yeah, I think access is a big thing. Acceptable pricing to a lesser degree.But that needs a lot more research.But access for sure
@Inkybat
eric orchard
@ Somehow I would like to see people publishing paper objects with the same (lack of) filter they publish things online.
@haverholm
Allan Haverholm
@ I think visibility and access are the 2 big things in digital.
@Inkybat
eric orchard
@ When you see it that way, putting your book on TPB isn't that big a step. It's all publishing.
@haverholm
Allan Haverholm
@ absolutely. I'm adopting the philosophy that digital publishing is more fluid and less exact while print is a more finished thing
@Inkybat
eric orchard
@ Exactly, which is why we make certain updates and samples freely available as "blog posts" :)
@haverholm
Allan Haverholm
@ and both free content and paid online content is all part of that fluidity.
@Inkybat
eric orchard
@ It's more like being a street musician. People can stop and listen; if they like the music they'll tip, and maybe buy the CD.
@haverholm
Allan Haverholm
@ yes! And I've received 'tips' or donations beyond the price of the comic.
@Inkybat
eric orchard
@ And with digital publishing you won't have to play guitar in the rain...
@haverholm
Allan Haverholm

And it kind of petered out from there. Eric went on to write an almost shocking blog post about his rookie experience with digital self-publishing. “Shocking” in the ease with which he got the technical side sorted out, making one wonder how long there will still be a mass market for dead-tree books…

Here’s a thought about comics (and Mœbius)

Language is the oldest technology humankind has – and visual language, the ability to distill human experience and emotion and make a representation of it, one of the oldest human impulses (the cave paintings in Luscaux are testament to that). It’s a kind of alchemy perhaps, something that helps us reimagine our environment and design the world we make for ourselves. It’s the place in our minds where we translate what we see and experience, where we invent new vistas, new ways of seeing.

Nick Abadzis, remembering Mœbius

Here’s a thought about comics’ influence on Picasso

Quote

Katzenjammer Kids

[A]s [Gertrude] Stein relates in The Autobiography of Alice B Toklas, there was another visual influence on which Picasso fed voraciously when she first knew him in Paris in 1906, when he was pushing towards the most revolutionary artistic discovery since the Renaissance: a comic strip called The Katzenjammer Kids.

As Alice tells it, she and Stein were worried about Picasso and Fernande, his partner in these years, because they had broken up. So they went to see Picasso and Stein gave him a gift: a package of newspapers. “He opened them up, they were the Sunday supplement of American papers, they were the Katzenyammer [sic] kids. Oh oui, Oh oui, he said, his face full of satisfaction, merci thanks Gertrude, and we left.”

Next they went to see Fernande, who asked if Stein had any American comics left. But Picasso had got the lot of the Katzenjammer kids. “That is a brutality that I will never forgive him,” said Fernande.

From The Guardian’s preview of the 2002 Tate Modern Matisse Picasso exhibit.

And that just lends even more credence to the quote attributed to Picasso himself:

If there is one thing I regret in life, it is never having made comics.

(Which, after all, he did, so no regrets, Pablo!)

Here’s a thought about thinking about comics

Quote

Do you have to want to be a cartoonist in order to make comics?

Or can making comics be more like singing along to a song when we are alone for no reason other than it gives us something (almost undetectable) that not singing doesn’t?

Or can making comics be more like using a salt and pepper shaker to show your friend just where your car was in relation to the other car when the accident happened?

What if people thought of making comics as another good way to sort certain things out?

Lynda Barry, on her tumblr

Here’s a thought about abstract comics

A few years ago, I realised that the traditional ways the comics medium is used to express ideas wasn’t working for me. Once this happened, I started thinking about how comics might better express what I want to say. I started thinking about what the medium is and its building blocks. Since then I have been continually pulling comics apart and trying to figure it out. I like to think about comics in new ways.

From an interview with New Zealand comics artist Draw on the Comics Addict blog (via Abstract Comics)