Today we have Sam Ombiri on Matthew Thurber’s Art Comic 3, NPR’s comics reader poll, The Permanent Night from Adam Griffiths, and more.
Sam Ombiri here: I was recently reading Art Comic 3 by Matthew Thurber (a story of art world hijinx where the recurring character of Cupcake has gotten a new job at Dachshund Pond’s gallery). I really like the relationship between the characters Dachshund and Zenobia – the way Zenobia refers to Dachshund and the way Dachshund has an idea of what Zenobia thinks about him, (yet she mis-remembers him enough to recommend Cupcake to get a job with him.) There are these subtle moments that hint at Dachshund’s attitude and him dealing with his surfacing demise, or at least that “Demise” that he greatly fears. This fear isn’t shown blatantly or in a straightforward way. It begins being shown as Cupcake walks in to the Party Portal after Cupcake’s nose has “worked its magic”, and Dachshund’s archivist has left (in the panel where she says, “I’m not coming back. I got hired at Starbucks…a job with a future!”)
Dachshund’s face has a look of horror, but then by the next panel Daschund undramatically drops his coffee cup, pretending, “Yeah, yeah, whatever, I know I’m a failure“. This isn’t what he says in the panel, but as the reader you hear it, because you combine the way Dachshund has dropped his coffee cup with him saying “Well OK! Guess I’m looking for a new archivist now, too.” He’s smiling, when not that much time has passed – we can still see one of the old archivist’s legs as she is leaving the Party Portal. The one looking at her is Cupcake. Thurber made the extra effort to register to the reader that Cupcake has turned Dachshund’s head, but Dachshund’s bigger and more significant turn isn’t registered, which is great because his turn is more muted – along with him tossing his cup being muted, you as the reader feel it more. The way Cupcake is looking at the old Archivist leaving also tells you this is something to look at, and who is Dachshund kidding by not looking at her, and smiling so nonchalantly?
In that panel, Thurber doesn’t bother to spell it out for the reader or emphasize it. The drawing of the cup is tilted to look like it’s falling, and as the reader of course you register it like he tossed it, but then the cup also feels like it’s floating – again Thurber doesn’t bother to spell it out for the reader.
Dachshund’s success is in a place where he could take it or leave it, or his desire for success is just success in general, I don’t know. My guess is that he’s not satisfied with his current role, since he said, “I was gonna be the next Jean-Luc Godard, but I didn’t have the talent, just the sunglasses. Five years ago, I finally realized what my role is… And took off my sunglasses. For Good.” The silence that comes after he says “I finally realized what my role is…” seems sad, and then after that it feels even more melancholy with Dushchand saying “And I took of my sunglasses. For good.” The sentences feel like forced uncompromising resolutions that surfaced after having no resources for what his goal is – to not look back at the sunglasses that he took off. Those sentences have more gravity than the more weightless words he was somewhat mumbling before, as if he wouldn’t be at all unsatisfied with them being unheard even by himself. – Sam Ombiri
Here’s a video of Keith Knight talking about his police brutality cartoons, made by the media students at Sierra Nevada College.
NPR released the results of their summer comics poll, whittling down 7,000 entries to 100 comics with the help of an all-star team of creators and critics (including C. Spike Trotman, G. Willow Wilson, and Maggie Thompson). The list is a good place for non-comics readers to start, and will tick off the major works in a couple of genres that “everyone should read”. NPR doesn’t make any lofty pretenses however:
“This isn’t meant as a comprehensive list of the “best” or “most important” or “most influential” comics, of course. It’s a lot more personal and idiosyncratic than that, because we asked folks to name the comics they loved. That means you’ll find enormously popular mainstays like Maus and Fun Home jostling for space alongside newer work that’s awaiting a wider audience (Check Please, anyone?).“
Adam Griffiths sent us a few copies of his new mini comic The Permanent Night (partially drawn during his January 2017 Comics Workbook Rowhouse Residency). An urban fantasy set in Washington, D.C., it’s small “floppy” size is quite appealing. Digital color balances well with Adam’s intricate pencil drawings, and the wildly inventive lettering doesn’t hinder the reading at all – the added visual element instead pulls the reader deeper into the story. I’m eagerly anticipating more work from Adam in the future (his social media hints at something BIG on the horizon!) Meanwhile, get yourself a copy of this debut mini comic HERE and be sure to check out Adam’s ongoing webcomic American Cryo – HERE.
Suzy and Cecil – 7-13-2017 – by Gabriella Tito
Joanie and Jordie – 7-13-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio