Sally here with the myth of the Wonder Woman, plus Vanessa Davis, Little Dot, Ulli Lust, and more!
There is a lengthy, intense essay on Artforum by Sarah Nicole Prickett titled Serious Sex Battle – it is about the myth of the “wonder woman”. She digs into comics, literature, and film and discusses the ways that pop culture has tried and repeatedly failed to make women “super” – often by stripping them of all the real things that in fact make them super. For example:
“The scholar Michele Wallace argues in Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman (1978) that the black woman doesn’t need a costume. She is already held to be a “woman of inordinate strength.” She “does not have the same fears, weaknesses, and insecurities as other women, but believes herself to be and is, in fact, stronger emotionally than most men. Less of a woman in that she is less ‘feminine’ and helpless, she is really more of a woman in that she is the embodiment of Mother Earth.” Ergo, says Wallace, she is a superwoman, burdened by the source of her powers.“
Prickett talks about Wonder Woman quite a bit, of course, both the strengths and weaknesses of the character and what she represents. She also brings up Miss Fury, Scarlett O’Hara, Tim Burton’s take on Cat Woman, and a whole lot more. Devote an hour at least to sifting through this piece (one that Prickett spent a few years writing!)
There is a nice interview with Vanessa Davis on Pocko, which digs into her career as a whole so far, her influences, and the choices she’s made along the way.
“Pocko: Your father was a commercial artist and photo-journalist. Can you see any of his work in your own? How did your childhood affect your career?
Davis: It feels natural (if not always easy) for me to live and work within an uncertain freelance lifestyle. The humility of struggle and uncertainty mixed with the rush of work and money… that’s always been sort of central to my experience, but both my mom and dad worked doing what they loved, so that’s just paramount, by any means necessary, to me. It is a high-maintenance lifestyle, but it feels almost just cultural or religious or something–I can’t get away from it. My dad definitely had an eye for the absurd and could criticize his subjects by merely portraying them. But he also maintained a sort of joy for the chaos of this world. That’s definitely something I aspire to in my work and in my own viewpoint.“
Michael Dooley has another great article on Print, this time tying a famous comic book character of the 1950s/60s – Little Dot – to today’s art scene and specifically the work of Yayoi Kusama (who is, if it’s possible, even more dot-happy than Dot).
The article includes multiple scans of old Little Dot comics, and this excellent reminder of what made them interesting:
“If you’ve never heard of this one-time comic book celebrity, it’s because Little Dot hasn’t been getting around much anymore. She started out in 1949 as a back-up feature in kids’ comics like Richie Rich but soon earned her own title. As originally conceived by cartoonist Vic Herman, she was designed with a distinctive flair and personality. But in 1953 her appearance melded into Harvey’s house style. She was softened and rounded out, which rendered her barely distinguishable from Little Audrey and Wendy the Good Little Witch. But from a marketing angle, it was a huge success.
Like the gluttonous Little Lotta, Dot fits neatly into Harvey’s formula of one-dimensional, obsessive-compulsive personalities. The less said about the actual stories, the better, because what’s truly fascinating is that this kid is completely dot-crazy, hooked on circles. She’s constantly compelled to reconstitute her surroundings to conform to her own private fetish. And why not? She may simply be an instinctual Design Modernist, sensing the dot as infinite, supremely iconic, the purest, most perfect single form in the universe. Not to mention that her very existence is totally dependent on the CMYK/benday process. Insert a shout-out to Pop Art’s Roy Lichtenstein here.”
France Culture asked ten authors to make a comic about their relationship to Chris Ware, in the event that he won a big prize at Angouleme. Ulli Lust made the little scene pictured above. As it turns out, neither Chris Ware or Ulli Lust won prizes this year at Angouleme, so when she shared the strip Ulli said it could have an alternate title: In the same boat again with Chris Ware.
An announcement went out this week from the organizers of the Pittsburgh Indy Comix Exposition:
Dear Friends of PIX —
We know some of you have been wondering about the status of PIX 2018. To make a long story short: there will NOT be a PIX 2018. We apologize for the late announcement of this fact. We are, however, already working on PIX 2019 and plan to return to the August Wilson Center in April 2019. We will make a formal announcement in the summer of this year.
Thank you for your past support.
- Apply for the Lucy Shelton Caswell Research Award, offered by the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum – applications due by March 1st – more details HERE!
- The Daily Beast has a lengthy profile on Trina Robbins – read it HERE.
- Sara Lautman writes a comic for the New Yorker about Cow Tools and a new tattoo – HERE.
Collected from the thousands of pages of material that Frank has left scattered all over the digital landscape, these 4 PDF collections contain Frank’s best writing on comics and comics making from the past decade. Theory and process, reviews and discoveries, journeys both physical and spiritual.
Suzy and Cecil – 2-2-2018 – by Sally Ingraham
Joanie and Jordie – 2-2-2018 – by Caleb Orecchio