We start the week with Wilson and Dan Clowes, on old/new comic by Dash Shaw, insights from HTML Flowers and Michael Comeau, and Gloria Rivera’s CW Rowhouse Residency Report – plus much more!
Dash Shaw wrote a “Filmmaker’s Letter” for Landmark Theater, which will be showing his film My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea! in locations around the country starting next week (find the complete list of showings HERE). Along with the letter, which details some of his thoughts behind the creation of the film, Dash shares the original mini-comic that inspired the film. The first spread is above – you can see the rest HERE.
Read Dash’s Filmmakers Letter and be sure to see the film when it comes through your town!
Daniel Clowes spoke to The Guardian recently about the similarities between the cynical world of his 90’s comics and this new “Trumpland” we live in – plus the experience of making Wilson, the new movie staring Woody Harrelson that is based on his 2010 comic of the same name. I read the comic and then saw the movie last week – Wilson the comic was quite amazing, and the movie didn’t disappoint either. Dan Clowes talks here about a powerful scene in the comic and the movie – and in real life, as it turns out:
“You drew the graphic novel around the time your father was dying, and Wilson’s father dies in the book. How much of it is autobiographical?
I began writing it when he was in the hospital, on his literal deathbed. He never got to see any of it. When I first began it was just something to keep my mind occupied while I was sitting in the hospital room with him. He was very much like Wilson’s dad, where he was just tuned out. He was clearly in his own head trying to process what was going on. I sort of expected that he would try to impart some, you know, final wisdom to his son, but he had no interest in that whatsoever. He was really just thinking about bigger things that I couldn’t comprehend.
That’s a moment in the book, isn’t it?
Yeah, it was a surprising moment in life and it was one of those things where we’d always had that kind of strained relationship where we never talked about anything deep or emotional. And I was waiting for that kind of my whole life. “When he’s dying, he’ll finally summon the courage to talk to me in that way!” and that just didn’t ever happen. That was very surprising, in a way. Even though it makes perfect sense: there was always this feeling that we had this unspoken thing between us, and now I realize maybe that thing can’t be put into words. Maybe that’s how it takes form – as an unspoken thing.“
Shawn Starr interviews HTML Flowers and talks with him about the evolution of the No Visitors series.
“There’s a greater focus on storytelling in No Visitors #2 compared to your earlier work, has your thoughts on writing comics changed?i started trying to really talk about my life in a simple, non fantasy manner. i wanted to build something, see myself changed or change things about my life that i can’t go back and change. show people how painful, rare & sometimes beautiful life with a chronic illness is. No Visitors #1 is basically just scraps and shorts that were all a part of the lead up to developing Little & his lifestyle, in fact i don’t really consider the series properly starting until No Visitors 2. i’ve been working up to this for years, now i’ve arrived and i feel so much myself. i feel like i’m really making the work i’m supposed to have always made in a weird way. lol destiny.“
Nicole Burton of Ad Astra Comix interviews Michael Comeau. They discuss his comic Hellberta, which “has been described elsewhere on the internet as “one of the most meaningful and interesting” variations of a Wolverine comic, and I must agree. It explores the Canadian home of one of comic fandom’s most celebrated characters, against a background that is at once both more realistic and more surreal than your garden-variety Marvel title.” Ad Astra Comix is an activism-based comics publisher, so Nicole finds this comic easy to love:
“NB: I often find myself fantasizing about the ability of the supernatural (and by extension, superheroes) solving the world’s social and political problems, beyond what I would see in your standard comic book. So I’ve found that Hellberta has been really satisfying for me and other activist folks I’ve shown it to. Would you describe Hellberta as a kind of political revenge porn, like Inglorious Bestards is to nazism or Django Unchained to slavery and racism?
MC: I am a straight/cis/white man from Ontario who learned about Albertan activist culture among the oil sands boom while living and traveling with queer and trans people from Calgary. I was unsure how to depict the queer flight from Calgary or the environmental impact of the tar sands so I took a popular myth from the area and supplanted it onto the situation. What would Wolverine do? Superheroes are extensions and exaggerations of our hopes and fears I don’t really see them as rising above anything. I’d rather see them struggle with our same mundane problems in spite them being so exceptional.“
Later in the interview they also dig into the printing process of this exceptional duel-tone comic – good stuff for the printing nerds! Read the rest of the interview HERE.
“…don’t let the straightforward nature of One More Year deceive you — it’s an astoundingly well-crafted and punishingly heartfelt depiction of mental illness and codependence, one that also manages to make you laugh uncomfortably at the horrible decisions made by the characters you’re watching. The use of longstanding visual and narrative tropes only serves to draw you in more and make each disaster all the more relatable.“
More HERE (including a brief write-up on Jillian Tamaki’s Boundless.)
Gloria Rivera wrote a report about her stay at the Comics Workbook Rowhouse Residency in March 2017. She came with the single expectation to work hard on making comics – but her experience turned out to be much greater than that.
“I am more than willing to report that while the uninterrupted work time, the comics lectures, and accessible reading material was what whipped me into completing my goal, what I am bringing home with me – more than another book done – is a sense of what true community is, and the importance of holding your peers to standards that will benefit them in the longer run.“
Calling Pittsburgh “…a town constantly working its bellows to support its comics scene” Gloria returned home to California with renewed intention and a great sense of purpose. Read more about her experience HERE.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on how to apply for a Comics Workbook Rowhouse Residency!
- Simon Hanselmann wrote a new episode of Truth Zone – check it out HERE.
- In related news, Dan Nadel reviews All Time Comics’ Crime Destroyer #1.
- The New York Times remembers Bernie Wrightson.
- Gary Panter has a new book coming out from Fantagraphics in May 2017! Keep an eye out for the two-color stamped cloth-bound hardcover book – Songy of Paradise – “an inspired interpretation of John Milton’s retelling of the story of Jesus being tempted by Satan after being baptized by John the Baptist and fasting for forty days and nights in the Judaean Desert“. In this version “Jesus” is a hillbilly named Songy. Stay tuned.
- Emil Ferris talks about My Favorite Thing Is Monsters on NPR’s Fresh Air.
- Bill Kartalopoulos looks “near and far for comics” on Commarts.
Blinkers – 4-3-2017 – by Jack Brougham
Suzy and Cecil – 4-3-2017 – by Tyler Landry
Joanie and Jordie – 4-3-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio