Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Cité irréelle

    Today marks the release of Cité irréelle from éditions Tanibis. If you wind the clock back 57 years it's also the day my next story takes place.

Here's a panel from the comic I'm working on called The Tissue Paper Desperado 

I've been immersing myself in the period, watching movie after movie from 1962. It's been a good excuse to brush up on French New Wave films. Europe was way ahead of American cinema at this time. In honor of the French release I thought I'd share some of the highlights.  

This film has a complex plot, full of duplicity, yet also somehow feels simple and poetic. Very much in the vein of a good Jacques Tardi crime graphic novel.

Every shot of this film is beautiful, and nearly every shot contains the impossibly beautiful Anna Karina. Goddard is a big infuence. I've probably mimicked that shot of Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg walking down the street in Breathless a hundred times by now.

My first Truffaut film. A story of love and friendship that follows the course of a mé·nage à trois over several years. The storytelling is both fast paced and epic.

Another Truffaut film, based on Shoot the Piano Player  by David Goodis. I was reading a bit of Goodis around the time I wrote The Tissue Paper Desperado.

Also my first Agnes Varda film. I only saw about 10 minutes of Le Bonheur years ago, but I was always fascinated by a still from that film in a book I have.

I based this panel of Aydan and Nadya from Echoes into Eternity on this film still.

Anyways, that's it  for now. I'll be checking in again soon.

Au revoir!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Ciudad Irreal

Hola! May 24 marks the release of the Spanish translation of Unreal City through La Cupula out of Barcelona. Here's a sample page:

La Cupula has done some great translations of numerous Fantagraphics and Draw&Quarterly books. I really like the look of these Dan Clowes covers.

Today also marks the 39th anniversary of the day I was born. Same with my Spanish friend Salvador Dali. Here's a comic he did called Surrealist Mysteries of New York from 1935. 

I've also been studying the work of the incredible architect Antoni Gaudi for a sci-fi comic I'm working on. Here's the artifice of the Casa Batllo and images of the still unfinished cathedral the Sagrada Familia.

So excited that my work will be available to Spanish readers. Hope I get a chance to visit Spain someday. Hasta la proxima!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Perhaps I Can Make One More Before I Die

Salaam Alaikum!
Unreal City has been nominated for the 2018 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album - Reprint

The other nominees include some of my favorite artists: Boundless by Jillian Tamaki, Fantagraphics Studio Edition: Black Hole by Charles Burns, Small Favors: The Definitive Girly PornoCollection by Colleen Coover and Sticks Angelica, Folk Hero by Michael DeForge.

I always think of this scene from Osamu Tezuka's Phoenix: Karma when I think about the effort it takes to make a comic. Unreal City took me over seven years to complete, although I didn't realize I was working on a book when I started.

The book is chalk full of references. One question I get asked is if the movies on TV in Objet d'Art are real so I thought I'd share those.

The movie Elise is watching at the beginning of the story is The Unsinkable Molly Brown starring Debbie Reynolds from 1964.

The movie Elise and Leon Lyddell are watching is called The Beautiful, the Bloody and the Bare also from 1964.

The naked girl siting in a chair at the party next door is from the same film.

And of course that's Star Trek playing on TV at the bar in the end of the story. The episode in question is The Naked Time, that one where the crew gets drunk.

Live long and prosper!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Where Are You?

This is a panel from Objet d'Art, which I'm about a third of the way through. This panel is a reference to this: 

This was showcased in Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics and it was one of my earliest exposures to manga. It's from a comic called A Song of Wind and Trees by Keiko Takemiya, which I've never read. The character in this panel is actually a boy (in the manga version). 

Below is a cover I did for a magazine called Eat the Book which may or may not see the light of day

 And here's the black and white version.

In the past few months I've made some cartoonists friends- which is new for me.  I got to hang out with Josh Simmons who did, among other things, a book called The Furry Trap. I really like the painting he did for the cover.

And here's the first page to his story Cockbone.

I've also been hanging out with a cartoonist named Aubrey Harding. Here's a couple watercolor paintings from his website Bitches at the Zoo.


That's a childhood reference to a poorly dubbed version of Aliens I saw on TV as a kid.
"Maybe you haven't been keeping up on current events but we just got our BUTTS! kicked pal!"

My oldest comics pal is Dustin Weaver, who's on fire right now writing and drawing his own comics. There's  his ongoing serial Amnia Cycle- an improv sci-fi comic in the tradition of The Airtight Garage.

One of my personal pleasures in seeing this comic unfold is how Dustin works in concepts that have been floating in his imagination for years. My favorite sequence so far is Tara's discovery of the dual planet system Dasra and Nasatia.

Dustin actually came up with this idea way back in high school. I've lifted the idea from him myself- it's such a cool concept. The name of the planets came from a story concept we worked on together years ago.

I think it's important for artists to day-dream and have a backlog of ideas, regardless of whether or not you plan to use them. You never know when they'll come in handy. This is a beautiful example of that.

Dustin's got another side comic going called Sagittarius A*

That weird critter in the last panel comes from a goofy religion Dustin and I came up with called Whuddism. You might call the creature in that last panel a manifestation of Whudda.

There are many manifestations of Whudda throughout folklore and pop culture. One of the earliest examples would be Hanuman- the ancient Hindu god.

Related to Hanuman would be Son Goku- the Monkey king, a Taoist figure from the Chinese novel Journey to the West.

Probably the closest relative to Whudda would be Glomer, the magical sidekick from the Punky Brewster animated series. In the Whuddist religion Glomer is Whudda's chief angel.

Praise be to Whudda and his angel Glomer.

There's even a manifestation of Whudda in the Transformers cartoon- Primacron- the creator of the monster planet Unicron.

And as embarrassing as it is to post an image from Southpark , that show's conception of God is very much in line with the Whuddist tradition.

In closing I would like to say a few words from the Book of Ron:

You can hold Church in a Rocket
But you can't hold your Rocket in Church

That is all.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Here in the jungle life of the city...LOVE

Hello people of Earth. I am alive and well and living on your planet. Those of you who follow my work know that it takes the lifespan of a Galapagos turtle for me to complete a comic. I thank you for your patience. Soon you will be rewarded for your efforts. You'll get what's coming to you. All that you have earned...

(Sound of a gunshot equipped with a silencer)

No... I'd never do that to you. We're friends, aren't we? You trust me, don't you?

Here's what I guess you'd call a teaser for my next comic.

These are actually tiny, microscopic panels from my comic. These days I'm drawing things on a microscopic scale in the vain hope that it'll speed up my process (it hasn't). Actually, I'm just trying to squeeze every last drop out of every page. Actually, it's just a compulsive thing I do. Actually, my drawing is just getting more and more anal in my old age.


Here's a couple comic covers  by Jack Kirby that I like that are an influence on this story. Especially the woman in the white rabbit outfit.

A book came out last year that I'd been wanting to get my mitts on since my tender teen years: The Adventures of Jodelle by Guy Peelaert. It did not disappoint- an essential book for comics lovers. The book includes examples of his other comics work. Here's a page I really love.

Peelaert is tied to so many cool pop cultural things. The book introduced me to France Gall, who I've been listening to compulsively.

Some of my favorite tracks of hers are Cet air-la, Musique, Der Computer No 3, and Laisse tomber les filles which April March covered as Chick Habit and played at the end of Tarantino's highly underrated Death Proof.

Another book that came out last year was The Strange Tale of Panorama Island by Suehiro Maruo, who's long been one of my favorite manga artists.

Panorama Island seems to be his most sophisticated work yet. The book is loaded with beautiful details that reward the astute reader.

Here's a mysterious and seemingly benign splash panel of an empty room with a vase.

Later on in the story we see this room again and if you look closely you'll notice that the vase has changed.

Panorama Island tells the story of a struggling mangaka who kills his rich look-alike and takes over his life. The change in vase is such a sophisticated and subtle way of showing this to the reader, and an incredibly subtle payoff to the earlier panel. This is the level of minute detail that I strive for in my own work. 

Of course, it's extreme imagery that Maruo is most known for. His earlier book Mr. Arashi's Amazing Freak Show is easily one of my all-time favorite manga. Although it's filled with his trademark extreme imagery, it's the sequence of a man sneezing twice that I found most disturbing.  Here's a couple pages from that book.

I was also reading some of Tatsuo Yoshida's Speed Racer. Here's the cover by Mitch O'Connell.

And here's a sequence of Speed being a badass with a rifle.

Also, I thought I'd share these G.I. Joe pages by an artist named Paul Kirchner. It's almost what G.I. Joe might look like if it was drawn by Tim Hensley.

Kirchner's an interesting artist. He's got a very clean Wally Woodesque style that I like a lot. He did a crime graphic novel back in the 80's called Murder By Remote Control- which is something of an anomaly for its time. It's an interesting book.

The Comics Journal recently did an interview with him.

Anyways, I think that's all I'm gonna' share for the time being. I'll try not to wait too long before I check in again.