Aaron filling in today with Christina Ramberg; More from that Austin English TCJ Essay; Post-Text Futures (According to the NY Times); Desert Island’s 10-Year Anniversary


Christina Ramberg

Dan Nadel on the Art of Christina Ramberg

Curator Jenelle Porter nicely summarizes the breadth of Ramberg’s interests: “To browse the over 1,000 slides Ramberg left behind is to gain a foothold on how she looked at the world. Slides of Buddhist hand mudras echo the elongated fingers in [the 1971 painting] Hand. Patterned asphalt shingles, hand-painted signs, wig shop displays, the homes of outsider artists, a twisted and frayed awning—one can begin to decipher how Ramberg translated quotidian visual experiences into highly ordered paintings.” Ramberg and Hanson also created a scrapbook of comic-book clippings with examples of explosions, word graphics, and dreams, among other categories. The scrapbook, Ramberg noted, was “valuable as a sourcebook of comic conventions or shorthand methods of depicting various themes and objects.” She did not, however, employ collage and comic-book imagery in her paintings, as some of the artists Ramberg admired—Öyvind Fahlström, the Swedish master of reconfiguring comic-book elements; San Francisco’s symbolist painter and collage-master Jess; and Yoshida—did in their own. For Ramberg, these fragments revealed modes of rendering and moments of accidental strangeness, such as when a speech balloon hovers above a house to indicate an interior conversation. Taken out of sequential context, as in Ramberg’s scrapbook, the house appears to “speak,” as if in a Magritte painting.


Where I’m Coming From (Part 2)
Juan posted about this yesterday, but here’s another look at the 2nd part of Austin English’s personal exploration into zines and mini-comics. There’s a lot of ground covered here.

Clara Bessijelle, from A Butler Named Hawk, 2008

[Clara] Bessijelle made this zine on a home printer, and stapled it at the edges—everything about the assemblage of this comic is worked out by the author on a system of their own. A heartfelt pride in its making comes through, which is augmented immeasurably by the purposefully labored over work within. The author made the art according to their own principles and found the images to be powerful, thus making reproduction and dissemination of the work essential. But how to go about that? Like some of the most uniquely beautiful zines, the printing is as personal as the drawing within, and if the reader brings themselves to it, a total work of art can be seen. Unlike self conscious art zines that stress their expensive production values, this work’s quiet features make it priceless.

Annie Murphy’s I Never Promised You A Rose Garden is an extremely important project. Murphy is a hard-to-do-her-artistry-justice cartoonist who isn’t extremely prolific, so each new work is worth studying. More then that though, Rose Garden is a historical work that is more vital then that description usually suggests in zine culture. Instead of a ‘historical’ zine that is concerned with the changing storefronts of main street, Murphy’s subject is no less than the history of mood, the underground itself, sordid half-truths, and tragedies involving all of the above within her home of Portland, Oregon. Murphy is a cartoonist like no other, more emotionally precise than  most artists who work in comics. Murphy’s feelings are clear to her but unique in spirit: she communicates them to the reader without noise and we are left with new heartbeats.

Annie Murphy, from I Never Promised You a Rose Garden


‘The thing you’re doing now, reading prose on a screen, is going out of fashion.’
At The New York Times, Farhad Manjoo contemplates a ‘Post-Text Future’.

The internet was born in text because text was once the only format computers understood. Then we started giving machines eyes and ears — that is, smartphones were invented — and now we’ve provided them brains to decipher and manipulate multimedia.

Suddenly the script flipped: Now it’s often easier to communicate with machines through images and sounds than through text.


Hey Desert Island, Happy 10-Year Anniversary!


Suzy and Cecil – 2-23-2018 – by Gabriella Tito


Joanie and Jordie – 2-23-2018 – by Caleb Orecchio


Aaron here today with Barbara T. Smith + Experiments in Electrostatics; A.T. Pratt; Uno Moralez; Old-Timey Cellphones


Barbara T. Smith
Untitled, 1965-66

Barbara T. Smith: Outside Chance
Through Feb 28 at Andrew Kreps Gallery, 537/535 West 22nd St, NYC, USA

Smith’s pioneering Xerox work is the earliest series in the exhibition dating from 1965 to 1967, and reflects a pivotal moment in the trajectory of her life and practice. Initially intending to make lithographic prints, Smith discovered the then-new technology of the Xerox copy machine, a mass-printing device that she perceived to be the future of printmaking. Smith leased a 914 Xerox Machine, at the time only in use by large corporations, and feverishly experimented with, among other things, images of her children taken by the artist-photographer Jerry McMillan. Simultaneously, Smith discovered her body as a performative tool by placing it upon the machine. Obsessively repeated and layered, the resulting works form a preemptive, and melancholic reflection on the loss of her family in her subsequent 1968 divorce. Following this, Smith fully devoted her life to art-making, with works that reflected a similar engagement with a burgeoning community of artists in Los Angeles, as well as an exploration of the new relationship between performance artworks and their audience.

Experiments in Electrostatics
At the Whitney Museum of American Art, through March 25, 2018

Experiments in Electrostatics: Photocopy Art from the Whitney’s Collection, 1966–1986 explores the use of the photocopier as a creative tool, from its public emergence in the 1960s to the dawn of the digital era in the 1980s. Despite the machine’s intended function to reproduce office documents, artists inventively utilized it as a camera and printing press to create original fine art prints. They placed objects on the flatbed, distorted imagery in the process of scanning, and manipulated the exposure, density, and saturation settings to achieve imaginative, often unexpected results. Far from “copies,” these still lifes, portraits, abstractions, and collages reflected the ingenuity of their makers. Focusing on three artists and one collective—Edward Meneeley, Lesley Schiff, Barbara T. Smith, and the International Society of Copier Artists—this exhibition investigates how artists found self-expression through a machine designed for replication. Experiments in Electrostatics is organized by Michelle Donnelly, curatorial fellow.


“the great American Graphic Novel Masterpiece of our time”
At Broken Frontier, Robin Enrico looks at A.T. Pratt’s Ink Toby

In another way the true target of Pratt’s scorn may be Pratt himself. Ink Toby was drawn under the very constraints that Pratt is mocking. The constant grinding away at making comics in an attempt to move the needle on an artist’s social profile. Reducing art to grist for the content mill. Even if as Pratt admits, the work was not finished during Inktober, it still adheres to that push to rapidly produce pages. This doesn’t always play to Pratt’s advantage, as his pages can be overly dense with at times cramped panel layouts. There are also a few instances where dialogue does, as Toby’s father cautions against, dominate the page. In Ink Tommy’s own words, “You think everyone wants to read all that shit?” Making a joke of the works shortcomings does not completely alleviate them.


Uno Moralez, from Blue Teeth

‘This is an internet comic, not a printed volume, after all…’
Matt Seneca on Blue Teeth by Uno Moralez

But what Blue Teeth attests to even more than Moralez’s image making expertise is his power as a comics maker. In a way, this is work as formally simple as it gets: a screen that shows one single image at a time, each isolated and complete in itself, yet linked by subject to the others. What’s so impressive is how immersive Moralez makes his work without any page-layout tricks or advanced sequencing or even words, for crying out loud! He gives his trust to the effectiveness of comics at its most basic level, comics as a simple accretion of image after image. It’s like hearing music played along with the strict, ticking beat of a metronome, where none of the power is in the timing and all of it is in the harmonies, the way every new note bounces off the vibration of all the ones that came before to expand the size of the world being created. Anybody can format a comic the way Moralez does here; that’s not the point. It takes someone who really understands the form, who gets that it’s about the thoughts that flicker in the reader’s head between the images as much what’s as inside of them, to make it work this well. The routes Moralez takes through his story’s information are unusual and exciting – in my favorite transition, a sexy stolen glance between Marina and her man’s road dog is followed immediately by a shot of two butterflies hovering above a flaming rose. Moralez’s sensibility is more poetic than literal, always willing to forgo the direct approach to accommodate a moment of beauty or bizarrerie.



Via Myko Clelland / BoingBoing


Joanie and Jordie – 2-20-2018 – by Caleb Orecchio


VISION BOX — 02/20/2018 — by Cameron Arthur



Aaron here today with Charlotte Salomon: Life? or Theatre?; 3 Comics from Ben Katchor; Tommi Parrish; Adrian Tomine covers TEOTFW; 1987; 24 Frames


Charlotte Salomon

Life? or Theatre?
At The New York Review of Books, Lisa Appignanesi looks at work by Charlotte Salomon, including a current exhibition at the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam.

All of the images and text in Life? or Theatre? are painted in three colors: red, yellow, and blue. Salomon blends these into brightly radiant or deadly somber hues. Whether this restricted palette was a deliberate choice or an accident of impoverished circumstances, we will never know. What is clear, however, is that with this paucity of means, the twenty-three-year-old Charlotte created a hybrid work of startling artistic innovation, at once a book, a storyboard for a silent film with indicated musical accompaniment (though sometimes a talkie complete with long shots and close-ups), and a powerful graphic novel decades ahead of its time, incorporating some of the stunning poster-art techniques of Weimar Germany.


An Evening Demonstration. / Hi & Dri in Connecticut / At The Old Unh-Unh Factory
Ben Katchor has been posting some comics here, and Oliver Lee Bateman interviewed him over at the Pacific Standard blog.

“To be a cartoonist now, in this world, with the costs it imposes on you? Well, it certainly isn’t easy, because this is as bad as I can recall things having been,” he says. “When I was developing my interest in cartoon art, I was enrolled in college studying painting and literature. But I loved this idea of the mass reproduction of artwork that could live on a rack near a candy stand, and I didn’t have nearly that same passion for the world of galleries and high modernist art. And fortunately, when I started working on these projects, the old New York City in which I lived was so astonishingly cheap. Rent, in my case, amounted to $200 a month, and if I sold a strip a week for somewhere between $25 and $100, I could squeeze by. This way of working was possible then.”

Ben Katchor


Tommi Parrish

The Lie and How We Told It
At The Comics Journal, Rachel Davies talks with Tommi Parrish.

[Davies] On that note about bookmaking, I was so shocked when I first got The Lie in the mail because of its size ‘cause Perfect Hair is almost like a pocket book, or something you can easily slip into a bag. I wanted to know if when you’re making the drawings, you’re thinking about how it’s going to look physically.

[Parrish] I try to! It’s a really important part of how the story feels, how the object feels in your hand. Ideally I’d like it all to be one of the same. I don’t know if everyone’s the same with this, but it really affects the way that I feel about a piece of writing, if I feel like the vehicle for it is clunky and ugly. I don’t know, making something that’s strange and beautiful, and also trying to make the contents of the book pretty, but also engaging. I want it to all be like… all of it as an object, I guess. I don’t know, I was really unhappy with how Perfect Hair looked.

I really like it!

It was a fun book.

I really like, I don’t know the technical term, but how it has the reflective title.

The spot gloss! It’s all about the spot gloss.


Adrian Tomine

Emily Nussbaum on the Netflix adaptation of Charles Forsman’s The End of the Fucking World.

Instead, “The End of the F***ing World”—which is written by Charlie Covell, adapted from Charles Forsman’s graphic novel, and directed by Jonathan Entwistle and Lucy Tcherniak—evolves into something much rarer, a convincing teen-age romance. At once a joyful watch and a morally destabilizing one, it bears some relationship to “Fleabag,” another dark British comedy driven by the narration of a deeply screwed-up individual, plotted so that its more compassionate themes come as a pleasant shock. Luckily, in an age of TV overkill, the show doesn’t take long to get there: it is only eight episodes long; each is twenty minutes.


1987: Drawings by John Ruggeri

In 1981, five young men were diagnosed with a rare lung infection. At the same time, numerous gay men in New York and Los Angeles were being diagnosed with an aggressive cancer, Kaposi Sarcoma. These illnesses would soon be understood as being caused by an immuno-suppressing virus, HIV. By the end of 1987, the World Health Organization estimated that up to 10 million people were living with HIV worldwide. This exhibition is titled “1987,” the year that the antiretroviral drug AZT was made available to help combat the plague. By 1999 an estimated 33 million people were living with HIV and 14 million people had died of AIDS. Today, approximately 36.7 million people are living with HIV.

BFA Visual & Critical Studies proudly presents “1987: Drawings by John Ruggeri” (1973 Illustration, BFA 1984 Media Arts, MFA 1986 Illustration as Visual Essay), an exhibition of approximately 80 drawings made between 1984 and 1987 that document the devastating early years of the AIDS crisis in New York City. The work, all charcoal drawings on Strathmore spiral-bound paper, were done in the bars, bathhouses, hospitals, prisons and public spaces of New York City and poignantly capture the anxiety etched onto the city and particularly to its often marginalized denizens.

School of Visual Arts, 133/141 West 21st Street, through February 28.

John Ruggeri


Abbas Kiarostami , from 24 Frames

Abbas Kiarostami / 24 Frames
At Film Comment, Imogen Sara Smith on Abbas Kiarostami’s final film.

Photography shows us things invisible to the naked eye, whether it is the moment when a galloping horse takes all four feet off the ground, or a murder in a public park, or just a facial expression too fleeting to catch. When Kiarostami took the original photographs, he was presumably trying to capture something in the world: the hunting motif, from the Brueghel painting through the animals being shot, might also be a metaphor for photography itself. By digitally elaborating on these images, it seems he is trying to paint something seen in his mind’s eye, a memory or an imagined scene. This mixing of the real and the unreal is summed up in that final image: a photograph of a film, or rather a film of a photograph of a film, suspended between stillness and motion, between watching and dreaming.


Joanie and Jordie – 02-13-18 – Caleb Orecchio


Vision Box – 2-13-2018 – by Cameron Arthur


Aaron here today with FUNHOUSE; 3 Comics from E.A. Bethea; Jog on Ditko; Necromancers of the Public Domain;  Austin English; Fukushima Devil Fish


An Interactive Book Fair by Desert Island at The Drawing Center

On the weekend of March 24 – 25, Desert Island and The Drawing Center will present FUNHOUSE, a new, interactive book fair at which guests can make their own books in collaboration with resident cartoonists and illustration artists.

March 24–25, 2018
Tickets $10 via Eventbrite here.

FUNHOUSE guests will interact with resident artists to create unique pages for one-of-a-kind books to be assembled at the fair. The resident artists will also have their own publications available for purchase at General Store within the FUNHOUSE fair, with games of chance, author signings, special activities, and giveaways of artists’ books. A SIDESHOW of talks, lectures, and presentations will be organized by FORGE. art magazine’s Matthew James-Wilson. Additional spectacles, like life-size interactive cut-outs and funhouse mirrors will provide wacky fun and photo-ops galore!

FUNHOUSE artists include: Gabrielle Bell, Lilli Carré, Rob Corradetti, Joanna Fields, Laura Perez-Harris, Abby Jame, Jeff Ladouceur, Sarah Lammer, Gary Lieb, Richard McGuire, Ben Passmore, Oskars Pavlovskis, Monica Ramos, Jim Schuessler, R. Sikoryak, Whit Taylor, Matthew Thurber, Thu Tran, Mark Wang, Kriota Wilberg, Kelsey Wroten, Gina Wynbrandt, and JooHee Yoon. FUNHOUSE is organized by Gabe Fowler of Desert Island and Molly Gross of The Drawing Center.

SIDESHOW Talk Series
Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25 at 11:30am, 1:30pm, and 3:30pm
Programing TBD. Sideshow will be programmed by Matthew James-Wilson of FORGE. art magazine

kuš! Magazine Comic Zine Workshops
Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25, 12:30–4:30pm
Tickets $40 via Eventbrite here.
kuš! comic zine workshop, lead by artist Oskars Pavlovskis from Riga, Latvia, will be a collaborative comic drawing experience suited for participants of any age and skill level. The workshop will focus on the creation of short experimental comic stories based around the FUNHOUSE theme. Together the participants will take part in creating a unique self-published comic zine, which will be printed and assembled during the workshop and each participant will receive a copy.

Richard McGuire


The Olcott Hotel/Jamaica Bay/Tonight We Try Every Position
At Bomb Magazine, Three Comics from E.A. Bethea

E.A. Bethea, from The Olcott Hotel


Steve Ditko

The 206th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  Feb. 6, 2018 at 7pm at Parsons School of Design, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public.

Joe McCulloch on Total Language: Steve Ditko at 90

Ask a person today who created Spider-Man, and they’ll probably tell you Marvel Comics, that inescapable entertainment brand. Some of them might say Stan Lee, the man whose profile is highest in mass media. Others, perhaps fewer, will know about Steve Ditko (b. 1927), a cartoonist of an unusual trajectory: his vision and craft gave concrete form to commercial characters still adored across the globe, half a century later, but his passion would soon pour into deeply personal, experimental, and furiously divisive works, comics emboldened by the freedoms of artist ownership, yet antagonistic toward the compromised values of society. Few agreed with the ideology espoused by these comics, but Ditko kept working, undeterred – through the rise and fall of the underground era, through the transition from newsstand racks to comic book stores, through the graphic novel boom and the advent of crowdfunding. He is still working now, here in New York City.  Since 2007, Steve Ditko has published more than 800 pages of new comic book art, and they are among his most fascinating: comics where text and image work in a simultaneity of intent, a total language that invests the tautness of line and the hatching of shadow with thematic roles in the story, where the function of the black and white page is a statement of the artist’s worldview, by which there is only good and evil, and where the individual must ascertain the objective nature of the world, lest they reject their own lives. Come and see for yourself.

Joe McCulloch has been writing and speaking about comics for 14 years, sometimes to audiences other than his bathroom mirror.


Necromancers of the Public Domain

“There are certain beings who bear the stamp of the divine seal and are preordained to receive the higest favours within the gift of glory; they are fated to pass through life like those brilliant meteors which are seen to flash across the heavens and disappear in the same instant. Bastien-Lepage was one of those meteors.”

Each month, we pluck a long forgotten volume from the shelves of the New York Society Library and resurrect it as a low budget variety show.

This month Masterpieces in Colour: Bastien Lepage by Fr. Crastre 

February 8, 2017, 8pm, at The Tank, NYC

Nick Balaban (Pianist extraordinaire)
Raquel Cion ( Me & Mr. Jones: My Intimate Relationship with David Bowie)
Katie Fricas (The Guardian / Fashionique)
Greg Kotis (“Urinetown: The Musical”)
Susan Hwang (The Bushwick Book Club / Lusterlit)
Charlie Nieland (Lusterlit)
Reverend Jen Miller (Reverend Jen’s Anti-Slam)
Jason Wachtelhausen (Monologist extraordinaire)
Hosted by Ayun Halliday (No Touch Monkey! / Queen of the Apes)

Bring a blank shirt, pillowcase, or bag for LIVE STENCIL FUN. Make your own free Necromancers souvenir! Read Masterpieces in Colour: Bastien-Lepage for free online

Thursday, February 8, 8pm / 312 West 36th Street / First Floor / New York, NY 10018


Where I’m Coming From (Part 1)
At The Comics Journal, Austin English continues a strong run of posts.

Mini-comics, even the “classic” ones, often disappear. Some of the most beautiful ones are never reprinted. Many artists choose not to have their earliest work collected, seeing the flaws ever so clearly, while the reader from the past holds the work close to the heart, aware of all the undeniable beautiful moments it also so obviously contains. Those private moments have shaped so many readers who went on to make mini-comics (or regular comics) of their own. The works disappear, remaining only in the hearts and minds of a happy few, but their essence (whether aesthetic, political, formal, etc.) live on as new shapes in new works of art.


Fukushima Devil Fish Launch Event: The Art of Gekiga with Ryan Holmberg


Vision Box – 2-6-2018 – by Cameron Arthur


Joanie and Jordie – 2-6-2018 – by Caleb Orecchio


Aaron here today with Louise Nevelson; Jennifer Ley; Comic Contracts


Louise Nevelson

Louise Nevelson: Black & White

Feb 01, 2018 – Mar 03, 2018

Pace Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of works by Louise Nevelson, marking the gallery’s twenty-seventh solo show for the artist since 1963. The exhibition brings together approximately 20 of Nevelson’s iconic black and white painted wood sculptures, wall reliefs, and installations from the late 1950s through the late 1980s. Louise Nevelson: Black & White will be on view from February 1 through March 3, 2018 at 537 West 24th Street, with an opening reception on Thursday, February 1 from 6 – 8 pm. A full-color catalogue accompanies the exhibition.


Inside Club 57: A Conversation with Artist Jennifer Ley
Tuesday, February 13, 1:30pm, The Museum of Modern Art

Join us for a conversation with artist Jennifer Ley, who moved to New York City and joined the circle around Club 57 in the late 1970s. An ad gal by day, she created fashion satire and early music videos by night. We will talk about her photo xerox series As Never Seen in Seventeen, handmade pins, and films. The discussion is moderated by educator Petra Pankow.

Jennifer Ley. She Doesn’t Cry Anymore over Faded Bouquets. 1979. Color xerox


Comic contracts and other ways to make the law understandable

The above comic is a full non-disclosure agreement. Three pictures with text. And the result? Users actually read it and get the basic idea of non-disclosure. No more disputes arose.

Are you wondering if this is all legally binding? The answer is yes. Contracts are about intention – and if it is actually made clearer and understandable by pictures then all the better.

Robert de Rooy


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.

Check out the “Best of Frank Santoro” PDF collections, available HERE!


Vision Box – 1-30-2018 – by Cameron Arthur


Joanie and Jordie – 1-30-2018 – by Caleb Orecchio


Aaron today with Breaking the Sequence; Orbiting; Structures; Birdcage Bottom Books; Outsider Art Fair


Patrice Killoffer

“experimental” “comics”
Shea Fitzpatrick’s Case Study: Breaking the Sequence, from October 2017. Juan may have posted about this already?

In a lecture, the writer and webcomics artist Daniel Merlin Goodbrey provides a helpful outline of characteristics that are distinct to comics as a visual medium. Defining the norm gave me a framework for understanding the works that deviate from it. Goodbrey’s characteristics were a useful jumping off point for articulating what the works I was collecting were doing, and why they struck me so powerfully. They are:

Juxtaposition of images
Spatial networks
Space as Time
Temporal Maps
Closure between Images
Word & Image Blending
Reader Control of Pacing

Experimental comics, then, are works that acknowledge the traditional framework of comics but, rather than adhere to it, tend to tilt, twist, and warp it into other things. This case study offers a survey of comics that abandon one or more of these characteristics, honoring innovations by artists, video game designers, poets, and educators alike. It should go without saying that these categories are by no means mutually exclusive. There are comics that exist outside of and in between these make-shift categories. As you may expect, there are very few rules.

Joshua Cotter, from Driven By Lemons


At Broken Frontier, Robin Enrico looks at some recent work from Penina Gal.

The means of storytelling in Orbiting then goes in a direction rarely tread by comics with the use of a single word, the word “you.” The second person, already a rarity in prose fiction is a technique almost entirely untouched upon in comics. The form lends it self so well to the third person in fiction and the first person in autobiography that even when characters do break the fourth wall and speak directly to the audience it takes on the form of a soliloquy rather than an outward address. Gal’s consistent use of the second person moves the reader to an undefined space. Who is the “you” the narrator is speaking to here? Even assuming the narrator is Gal, who is the recipient of this message: a friend, the reader, Gal themselves?


At Your Chicken Enemy, Philippe LeBlanc looks at work from Uncivilized Books.

Structures is a series that has been exploring interesting topics throughout its short publication history. From the creation of modern society, to how we destroy nature for our own purpose, to how we construct myths and how our mind behaves, Structures show that comics can achieve thoughtful explorations of philosophical topics and existential questions even in small formats. The medium is made better by work like these, each piece builds onto the previous one to create something bigger than the sum of its part. Uncivilized Books can be very proud to publish such a strong and experimental comic series.

Structures 24-34 by Michael DeForge


Birdcage Bottom Books 2018 Comics Publications
There’s a nice range of work in this, including comics from Eva Müller, Jordan Jeffries, D. Bradford Gambles, Larkin Ford, Stephanie Mannheim, J.T. Yost, and CW fave Sara Lautman. Kickstarting until Feb 20.

Sara Lautman, from Pictures of Bananas and Funny Bugs


A couple photos from this past weekend’s Outsider Art Fair.

John E. Jevnikar, from The Leana Sands Collection


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.

Check out the “Best of Frank Santoro” PDF collections, available HERE!


Joanie and Jordie – 1-23-2018 – by Caleb Orecchio


VISION BOX – 01/23/2018 – Cameron Arthur



Aaron today with Richard Hell; 2 from Liana Finck; The representation of the Spanish Civil War in North-American comic strips


Richard Hell

Richard Hell’s Small Press Publishing
At White Columns:

White Columns will host a small exhibition of Richard Hell’s 50-year history – 1968-2018 – as a small press writer, publisher, editor and designer. Hell, under his original name of Richard Meyers, began his first small literary magazine and press at the age of 17, shortly after arriving in New York City. The magazine was called Genesis : Grasp, as was the press. Genesis : Grasp ran for six issues (numbers 1-5/6, 1968 – 1971), and also released three authors’ first books and two folders of broadsheets. Richard’s small press endeavors have proceeded, under a variety of names (Ernie Stomach, Theresa Stern, Richard Meyers; Genesis : Grasp Press, Dot Books, CUZ Editions …), up through the present, in publications often typeset and printed, as well as designed, by Hell.


 A Loner’s Guide to Planning and Cancellation + The Distance Test
Some recent work from Liana Finck.

At Topic

Liana Finck, from A Loner’s Guide to Planning and Cancellation

At Catapult

Liana Finck, from The Distance Test


Francisco Manuel Sáez de Adana Herrero on The representation of the Spanish Civil War in North-American comic strips.

The 204th meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Tuesday,  Jan. 23, 2018 at 7pm at The New School, University Center, 63 Fifth Ave, UL 105 (lower level).  PLEASE NOTE NEW LOCATION. Free and open to the public.


The North-American comic strip of the early twentieth century has manifested itself, on many occasions, as a powerful means of transmission of history. In that role, the form of reproduction is a determinant factor since the comic strips were published together with the news of the time and, for that reason, they had an audience of several million readers. Many times the comic strips played the role of showing the public what was happening outside the United States, especially in the years before Pearl Harbor, when American society was more concerned with what was happening within its own borders than with international events. This study shows how an event such as the Spanish Civil War is represented in the comic strips of the late 30’s and how this shows the American society’s position towards this conflict.

Francisco Sáez de Adana is Professor at the the Franklin Institute of American Studies of the University of Alcalá in Spain. He works as a comic scholar, mainly focused on American comics, interested in that medium as a way to depict historical events. He has published five chapters in books, seven papers in Spanish and international journals, and several communications In international conferences. He imparted a seminar on Miton Caniff and American culture at the University of Salerno in Italy. He organizes a summer course on comics imparted in the University of Alcalá which is celebrated annually from 2014.


Joanie and Jordie – 1-16-2018 – by Caleb Orecchio


Aaron here today with an Art from Guantánamo Bay Update; Comic Book Heroes of Taiwan; Austin English on the End of Krazy Kat (and Superman Comics); More Machine Learning


Ode to the Sea
An update regarding the Art from Guantánamo Bay post from a few weeks back, via at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund:

Fortnunately, the Pentagon is backing off its previous threat of incinerating art by the Guantánamo Bay detainees. Unfortunately, they still maintain all of it is the property of the U.S. military and will not be permitted to leave the prison.

The exhibit is free and open to the public and runs through January 26, 2018, at Haren Hall (899 10th Avenue at 59th Street, on the 6th floor in the President’s Gallery, New York City).  The exhibit is open Monday to Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (except January 15).


Taiwan’s comic book heroes
Via the BBC:

Hsu Mao-sung, one of Taiwan’s earliest comic book artists, says it may be too late to save the industry.

His generation endured censorship during the martial law period from the 1960s to 80s, but he says it didn’t kill off his passion for drawing.


‘Sequence from June 4th 1944 Krazy Kat strip by George Herriman’

Anything But Reality
At TCJ, Austin English takes a long look at some comics from the 1940s-1960s:

The strip that follows is June 11th, with the stick now re-purposed to prop up the scarecrow. So, the final interactions of Krazy Kat and Ignatz map out like this: Ignatz tricks Krazy into getting hit by a brick toppling from a growing tree, Ignatz passingly confuses Krazy about oak trees vs. olive trees, Ignatz works to transform a weasel’s color in an issue whose subtleties are (seemingly) obscure to Krazy and finally Ignatz’ brick is discovered with a stick from Offisa Pup while Ignatz writhes in agony, his body beneath ground. After these events, the scarecrow emerges and Ignatz discards his brick. For a brief moment the strip is silent and empty.

The tone of the line defined itself in 1958, partly by a constraint that the comics world imposed on itself. Physical violence, while not banned by the comics code, was to be avoided. So Weisinger took a line of superhero comics and instead of emphasizing brawn, made them into intricate puzzles. Now, these are not puzzles that use the unreliable world as one of its factors in the way a Raymond Chandler novel might. Instead, every story has no relation to anything real (except basic outlines of things like ‘I have a job at a newspaper’ or ‘humans need to eat food to survive’ or ‘ice is cold’)—the comic book world of Superman itself is the only thing the stories use to set up their questions and render solutions. These are mysteries whose only logic is cartooning, and I’d argue that they are more beautiful as science fiction than anything EC ever published.

Panel from ‘The Shrinking Superman’ by Otto Binder (script) and Wayne Boring (art), Action Comics #245, 1958


Figure 1: A real-world attack on VGG16, using a physical patch generated by the white-box ensemble
method described in Section 3. When a photo of a tabletop with a banana and a notebook (top
photograph) is passed through VGG16, the network reports class ’banana’ with 97% confidence (top
plot). If we physically place a sticker targeted to the class “toaster” on the table (bottom photograph),
the photograph is classified as a toaster with 99% confidence (bottom plot). See the following video
for a full demonstration: https://youtu.be/i1sp4X57TL4

Adversarial Patch
An update from the machine learning front, via Boing Boing:

Another key difference here: the researchers achieve their best results using a “white box” technique where they get to design their patches through detailed knowledge of the AI they’re targeting, unlike other adversarial preturbations, which achieved good results with “black box” constraints (designing attacks without any technical knowledge of the AI). The patches they created didn’t work very well on other AI image classifiers.

We show that we can generate a universal, robust, targeted patch that fools classifiers regardless of the scale or location of the patch, and does not require knowledge of the other items in the scene that it is attacking. Our attack works in the real world, and can be disguised as an innocuous sticker. These results demonstrate an attack that could be created offline, and then broadly shared. There has been substantial work on defending against small perturbations to natural images, at least partially motivated by security concerns Part of the motivation of this work is that potential malicious attackers may not be concerned with generating small or imperceptible perturbations to a natural image, but may instead opt for larger more effective but noticeable perturbations to the input – especially if a model has been designed to resist small perturbations.

Many ML models operate without human validation of every input and thus malicious attackers may not be concerned with the imperceptibility of their attacks. Even if humans are able to notice these patches, they may not understand the intent of the patch and instead view it as a form of art. This work shows that focusing only on defending against small perturbations is insufficient, as large, local perturbations can also break classifiers.


Frank Santoro and Simon Hanselmann, CAB 2013 – photo by Chris Anthony Diaz, colored by Graham Willcox

The Winter Semester of thee Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers starts January 16th 2018! 8 weeks – 500 bux – coaching for as long as you need. The course is hard, but Frank will push your comics making practice to a new level, getting you to think about timing and color in new ways. His experience and ideas have influenced the likes of Connor Willumsen, Michael DeForge, and Simon Hanselmann (quote “I consider Frank Santoro to be my L. Ron Hubbard”) among many others. Dig into something new in the new year!

Full details and how to apply can be found HERE.


Vision Box – 1-9-2018 – by Cameron Arthur


Aaron here today with the New York Comics & Picture-Story Symposium Schedule; Käthe Kollwitz and Sue Coe; Whit Taylor; Imagined Communities, Nationalism & Violence


The 2018 schedule of the Ben Katchor-organized New York Comics & Picture-Story Symposium has been posted.
This line-up looks great, including presentations by Joe McCullough (on Steve Ditko), Julia Gfrörer, Eleanor Davis, Keren Katz, and Matthew Thurber.


Sue Coe, War

ALL GOOD ART IS POLITICAL: Käthe Kollwitz and Sue Coe
At Galerie St. Etienne until February until February 10, 2018.

ALL GOOD ART IS POLITICAL: Käthe Kollwitz and Sue Coe will present more than 30 drawings and prints by Kollwitz (1867-1945) and more than 30 paintings, drawings, and prints by Coe (b. 1951). The exhibition borrows its title from writer Toni Morrison, who once noted, “All good art is political! The ones that try hard not to be political are political by saying, ‘We love the status quo.’”

The exhibition coincides with the publication of a book of woodcuts by Sue Coe entitled The Animals’ Vegan Manifesto (OR Books, New York and London).

Despite their differences in background – Kollwitz was born in East Prussia in the 19th century and lived in Berlin, Germany; Coe is an American born in the U.K. and living in upstate New York – both artists share a career-defining attraction to social issues, undergirded by the belief that art can inspire constructive change. Each is considered among the most important political artists of her time, unmatched in her fearless approach to profoundly difficult subject matter, unerring humanity and eloquence, and an uncanny ability to disturb the viewer’s complacency.

Käthe Kollwitz, Never Again War!


Alternative to Avocado Toast for 2017
Whit Taylor at the NY-er.

Whit Taylor


Imagined Communities, Nationalism & Violence
At Rubber Factory until January 31, 2018.

Benedict Anderson’s seminal text “Imagined Communities” investigates the origins of Nationalism as a modern condition and serves as the starting point for our group exhibition. From the influence of rationalist secularism to the conception of homogenous, empty time, Anderson outlines the convergence of factors which led to nationhood as a vehicle for the creation of meaning and ultimately self-sacrifice.

As Nationalism is revitalized through increasingly extreme rhetoric whether it is nativism or protectionism, the exhibition explores this new wave of anxiety around nation-hood and ways nation-ness is constructed. Whether it is through the oblique nature of our informational channels which function as echo chambers reminiscent of the earliest ways Nationalism spread through print media or the conflation of meaning with sacrifice, it is clear that there are precedents for how Nationalism as a construct has led to and sustained cycles of violence.

Minstrel Kuik, Blue Book


Frank Santoro and Simon Hanselmann, CAB 2013 – photo by Chris Anthony Diaz, colored by Graham Willcox

The Winter Semester of thee Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers starts January 16th 2018! 8 weeks – 500 bux – coaching for as long as you need. The course is hard, but Frank will push your comics making practice to a new level, getting you to think about timing and color in new ways. His experience and ideas have influenced the likes of Connor Willumsen, Michael DeForge, and Simon Hanselmann (quote “I consider Frank Santoro to be my L. Ron Hubbard”) among many others. Dig into something new in the new year!

Full details and how to apply can be found HERE.


Vision Box – 1-2-2017 – by Cameron Arthur




Aaron Cockle today with Black Dada; Why, Comics?; Laura Park; Ai Wei Wei (in NYC); What is Bias in Machine Learning?


Adam Pendleton and Black Dada
Here are a couple pieces about Adam Pendleton’s excellent Black Dada Reader:

Interviewed in his studio, Pendleton is quick to point out that the book, like much of his work, has always been an experiment. The Reader began its life as a spiral-bound book that lived in the artist’s studio, an attempt to create “a collage in book format” of texts that inspired him.

“Originally it was an in-studio publication, in the sense that it wasn’t really meant necessarily for a wide distribution,” he explained. “It was really meant for me to refer to in the space of the studio while I was working on different projects. But I did hand out maybe a dozen copies, maybe more, to the people who would come to the studio, or people who were interested in the work and or the concept of Black Dada.”

Adam Pendleton, from Black Dada Reader


Panter/Groening DIY
Here is an excerpt from Hillary Chute’s book, Why Comics?: From Underground to Everywhere, at the Lit Hub blog:

The punk scene that launched cartoonists Panter and Groening was part of a larger punk movement that hit America, and the UK, in the mid-to-late 1970s. Both political and aesthetic, the punk movement, which often registered as a visceral or even violent response to mainstream pop culture, encouraged people to create their own culture across many different forms of production. This includes, most famously, the music that came to be known as punk rock.

Punk culture often consolidated around bands, particularly their live performances, and the independent labels that developed to put out their music, along with the art and graphic design that went into their promotion—as well as the fanzines that articulated their ideas and goals. The “do-it-yourself” ethic is the defining feature of punk culture and production. As Jaime Hernandez, the creator, along with his brother Gilbert, of the famed long-running series Love and Rockets explained, he never realized he could be a cartoonist until he got involved with punk. “Then I thought, ‘Oh, this is kind of the same thing,’” Hernandez told the novelist and comics writer Neil Gaiman. “They were all the same to me, so if you could do that with punk, you could do that with comics.”

Gary Panter


A Cartoonist’s Darkly Magical and Autobiographical Work
At Hyperallergic, Sarah Rose Sharp looks at the Laura Park exhibition and residency at the Columbus Museum of Art:

“When you’re doing autobiography, you realize our lives are very repetitive, so a sense of magical realism starts to seep in there,” said Park, who cited British-American cartoonist Gabrielle Bell as an admired peer working in a similar vein. For example, in the story “Office32F,” Park’s comic stand-in discovers a miniature and mysterious office in the walls and baseboards of her apartment, apparently devoted to the task of close-monitoring her daily existence. The tale is equal parts cute and unsettling, with the protagonist taking cues from miniature written reports, which criticize her unkempt birdcage, but also lead her to finding a tiny pair of red mittens caught in a spider web and bizarrely soaking them in bleach and flushing them down the toilet. The specificity of Park’s visual and literary descriptions adds a sense of the uncanny to even the most quotidian urban activities, like Strangers on a Train, which captures moments while riding public transportation.

Laura Park, from Office 32F


Good Fences Make Good Neighbors
Public Art Fund has a great interactive site detailing the current Ai Wei Wei installation in NYC.

Ai Wei Wei, from Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

Ai Weiwei conceived this multi-site, multi-media exhibition for public spaces, monuments, buildings, transportation sites, and advertising platforms throughout New York City. Collectively, these elements comprise a passionate response to the global migration crisis and a reflection on the profound social and political impulse to divide people from each other. For Ai, these themes have deep roots. He experienced exile with his family as a child, life as an immigrant and art student in New York, and more recently, brutal repression as an artist and activist in China. The exhibition draws on many aspects of Ai’s career as a visual artist and architect, and is informed by both his own life experience and the plight of displaced people. In 2016, Ai and his team traveled to 23 countries and more than 40 refugee camps while filming his documentary, Human Flow.


The Trouble With Bias (in Machine Learning)
Via Boing Boing:

“The Trouble with Bias,” Kate Crawford’s keynote at the 2017 Neural Information Processing Systems is a brilliant tour through different ways of thinking about what bias is, and when we should worry about it, specifically in the context of machine learning systems and algorithmic decision making — the best part is at the end, where she describes what we should do about this stuff, and where to get started.


Vision Box – 12-19-2017 – by Cameron Arthur

—————————————————————————————————Joanie and Jordie – 12-19-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio