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Monday, Sep 30, 2013
It's really only the power of Grant Morrison's writing that can force you into the counterintuitively simultaneous directions of Will Eisner and H.I.M.

There’s a piece of example art, a small cartoon about a man leaving work then entering into his daily commute home (but the plot twist comes as, that commute is via rocket-pack), that Will Eisner uses to make a point in his book on comics pedagogics, Graphic Storytelling. It’s a piece from Eisner’s own illustrious body of work, but I can’t get to the name right now. I could get at the name if I wanted, and writing as little as one generation ago, I probably would have needed to. And the ref is real easy to come by. The piece is more than likely referenced in Graphic Storytelling itself, and not even in the notes at the back of the book, but right there where the cartoon is excerpted. And it’s not like Eisner’s book isn’t on the shelf right beside where I write. But after Google, after Napster, after Facebook and Twitter, after everything these last few years, that’s not the way the world works anymore. Not when anyone can reach out discover the title for themselves. Not when we’re all at an equal distance to every kind of information conceivable, even if that distance is as close as “only a click away.” In this world, after everything we’ve been thru digitally, culturally, it just doesn’t work like that anymore. After everything we’ve been thru, it’s better for me to just kick back and turn up H.I.M.‘s Uneasy Listening.


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Monday, Sep 23, 2013
Coming a week after the release of the first Unwritten standalone graphic novel, Unwritten #53 proves that there's always something magic.

Think of what it must have been like for those creators taking the very first steps into the brave new format of the graphic novel. Not Will Eisner who’s generally acknowledged as the progenitor of the format, but a little later on, think of Chris Claremont and Brett Anderson, writer and artist respectively on the X-Men graphic novel, God Loves, Man Kills which would eventually become the basis for the 2003 hit, X2: X-Men United.


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Monday, Sep 16, 2013
Brother Lono takes the core of the original 100 Bullets, that sense of the panopticon for human interest, arising from the margins of society, and elevates it beyond what seemed possible.

Maybe NYPD Blue did it best, in those days Back When. At least Blue did it better than Homicide: Life on the Streets, when the two seemed in competition for the gritty-realism-brought-to-TV crown. It was that sense of the panoramic, but a panorama forced outwards to the edge of the scene. Each crime scene the intrepid detectives from the 15th found themselves investigating would be subjected to a panning shot, and usually thereafter a tracking shot or two to follow the detectives thru the same scene. Certain things would always hit. The old lady in her robe and slippers smoking, or maybe the Korean bodega owner, or maybe the homeless guy with the shiny, new watch.


It was a visually evocative, and ultimately, a beautiful way to tell a story. And in the Fall of 92, and for nearly every year later for a decade, it became a wonderfully elegiac way to shot New York, one that infused the TV show with that quintessential urban energy of the place itself. In the thousands of scenes that comprise the entire 12 seasons of NYPD Blue, the map and the territory become one.


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Friday, Sep 13, 2013
We've got Marshall McLuhan to thank for reminding us that the medium is the message. But what happens when the mode of production for the medium changes? Comics mavens have been trying to answer this question since the '90s, perhaps none more diligently than Top Shelf publisher, Chris Staros.

Here’s one of those crime scenes I return to frequently:


In Graphic Storytelling & Visual Narrative that Eisner is at his most seductive. Bemoaning the loss of daily news strip comics, Eisner suggests, “There is a major structural difference between newspaper storytelling strips and comic books. In comic books, stories come to a definite conclusion, a tradition that began when the early comic books advertised that each story was complete. A book is free-standing whereas newspapers are connected to the pattern of daily life. In a daily continuity, therefore, the storyteller need only segue into the next adventure. [Milton] Caniff understood that the story had to emulate the seamless flow of life’s experiences and that the human adventure doesn’t have neat endings. His work shows us how to tell a story that could make itself part of the reader’s daily life”.


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Friday, Aug 30, 2013
It's hard to read Trillium, to read Jeff Lemire and not think of dangers Beethoven faced during his early life, when those dangers may stolen him away, long before anyone ever knew to speak his name.

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW


For WZW, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. never said “I have a plan…”


Could Beethoven, even in his deafness, have retained the memory of perfect pitch? Could his music be nothing more than the rigorous working out of an abstract calculus? A working out on a scale of genius far beyond any of us?


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