Categories: The Cross Hatch Dispatch
This was definitely a Rip Van Winkle week for me, so why don’t we get caught up a little?
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By Kim Deitch
No one layers a story quite like Kim Deitch. Even with the highly fashionable tendency of the past decade, or so of centering plot lines around the intersecting existences of a half-dozen protagonists, Deitch’s consistent parade of new characters, levels, and twists would almost certainly translate into a jumbled, if entertaining mess. The artist’s work is suited to his native genre like no other, giving rise to a suitably controlled pacing, which, more often than not, plays out like some fractured and forgotten serial from the early days of film.
Shadowland proves, not surprisingly, that the circus is the perfect setting for Deitch’s talents and obsessions, vintage imagery, bizarre character sketches, and nostalgia for an unrealized past, all converging beneath the big top. The book is Deitch at his literary best, playing out like an Altman adaptation of Geek Love, the cast of carnies and their co-conspirators leading lives every bit as alternately romantically fantastic and gothically sinister as an outsider might expect from their ilk.
Stop Forgetting to Remember: The Autobiography of Walter Kurtz
By Peter Kuper
Thirteen years is a long time in the life of a cartoonist. For most sequential artists weaned on Mad Magazine, Batman, and old Looney Tunes shorts, attention spans for a single project rarely exceed the year mark. Peter Kuper, on the other hand, readily admits that this autobiography, playfully hopping between the modifiers quasi- and thinly-veiled-, took him a baker’s dozen, between conception and the final panel—that’s not to say that the artist focused his sights solely on this 208 paged book, of course. In the interim Kuper has been busy cranking out Spy vs. Spy strips, contributions to anthologies like his own World War 3 Illustrated, and the occasional Kafka adaption. Still, 13 years is a long time.
In retrospect, however, Kuper seems to be low-balling his estimate. Stop Forgetting to Remember, rather, is the product of somewhere in the neighborhood of a half-century. Harvey Kurtz, our retroactively omniscient narrator and pipe-smoking protagonist, is a thinly-veiled homage in name to some of Kuper’s own heroes, and in chronology to himself.
All good visiting professorships, it seems, must come to an end. And seeing as how we forgot to sell ads this month, and therefore can’t offer Professor Brunetti anything in the way of tenure, beyond good vibes, high fives, and the satisfaction of a job well done, we’ll have to bid adieu to the good to the Haw! cartoonist. Fortunately, this last one’s a doozy, and come on, with a subject like computers, how can it not be?
All that and so, so much more, after the jump.
Like most great artists, Craig Thompson is almost certainly his harshest critic. Where most of would be, at least somewhat self-congratulatory in the wake of what was, by just about every conceivable account, the massive success of his 540-page autobiographical sophomore effort, Blankets, Thompson has put his nose back to the drawing board, in and begun work once again on his nearly Sisyphean quest to create the perfect graphic novel—nearly, because the post-book boulder seems to roll a little less far down the mountain, each time.
In the time after Blankets, Thompson has battled mental exhaustion and physical health problems, but has managed to launch himself fully into his next massive undertaking, the 600-page Habibi, due out in 2009—that is, the artist says, if he works on it every day. With Thompson’s drive—if his health holds up—that shouldn’t be a problem, and while we know we ought to suggest he take it easy, with skill like Thompson’s so few and far between, even the earliest possible release date seems too far off.
His 2005 release, Spiral-Bound, Renier suggests, was not a submarine. At 178 pages, it was not massive, but was still quite the undertaken, placed against his longest prior work, a mini-comic, numbering somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 pages. The comic’s artwork is rather accomplished first book, and the story contains all the whimsy, jubilance, and adventure of some of our most-beloved children’s stories. Still, Renier insists, it was not a submarine.
His current Scholastic project, the forthcoming, Unsinkable Walker Bean might be it, or maybe those Spiral-Bound follow-ups the artist is planning. One thing seems for certain, however, whatever comes next from Renier is bound to impress, submarine, or no.
How great is Paige Braddock? Not only did she take the time out of her work day as the licensing supremo at Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates to do an interview with us (the evidence is here and here), not only did she send us an early copy (one she ran off at Kinkos herself) of her latest book, Jane’s World Volume 7 (the review is here), which comes out next month, but she also sent us a possible cover image for the next volume of Jane’s World, to run as a guest strip. Sweet! What’s that? It’s not technically speaking a strip, you say? Shut up; it’s still super-cool.
The drawing of Jane and Chelle shows the pair of star-crossed something-or-others thigh deep in a swamp full of gators. Apparently, the two have crash-landed there on their way to a vacation. Things go rapidly (and humorously) downhill from there, Braddock tells us. The book isn’t due out until April or May of next year, however, so don’t blame The Daily Cross Hatch if Braddock tweaks, changes, or even abandons that storyline altogether. We’re just happy to snag such a nifty exclusive from Braddock, especially one that shows our two favorite Jane characters: Jane herself and, of course, Chelle. See the whole image after the jump.
Tales to Demolish, Issues 1-3
Sparkplug Comic Books
Memories from my childhood run almost like a TV Guide of sci-fi television programming. Because of this, please trust my estimation that any story from Eric Haven’s Tales to Demolish would substitute nicely for an episode of the Outer Limits.
Science fiction, conspiracy theory and horror provide a thin veil against which Haven shows us our world through new eyes. Occasionally, a third eye is used.
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Best, of all, MariNaomi agreed to hook us up with some artwork drawn specifically for us, which pretty much makes her tops in our book. You can check out her site here, and don’t forget to say, “hi,” the next time you see her on the BART train. Full comic, after the jump.
Named for the comic character named for the Norse god, K. Thor Jensen made his graphic novel debut with Red Eye, Black Eye, earlier this year, after a good 15 years spent drawing strips for alternative weeklies, graphic anthologies, and Web publisher, Serializer.
The book is one of the most sullen travelogues ever commented to paper, graphic or otherwise, following Jensen’s cross country soul searching, in the wake of a series of person tragedies. It’s also one of the most entertaining books released so far, this year.
We slogged through the rainy streets of Queens, to speak with Jensen in the apartment he shares with his wife and their dog and cat. Fortunately for our soaking wet asses, Jensen’s days of drunken antagonization seem to be well behind him. He offered us some tea.
[Pt. 1 Here.]