Monday, July 24, 2017

Intro To My 31 Favorite Comics Post Series


 Geneviève Castrée, wraparound cover of Lait Frappé, January 2000.

Why 31? That's an odd choice of a number, but the explanation is easy to guess, I guess...Instead of replacing a title in my list I decided to include both choices, hence, 31.

As some of you probably know, I divide the field of comics in two: 1) an expanded field and 2) a restrict field. While the former includes Goya's The Disasters of War or Hokusai's 100 Views of Mt. Fuji or Picasso's The Dream and Lie of Franco or Philip Guston's Poor Richard, the latter is what we usually consider as comics. Don't get me wrong, I don't see any reason to discard any of the above or Masereel's cycles as comics, but I decided to be conservative, just this time. Besides, those comics don't need my pathetic p. r....

I also want to address a well deserved word to those choices that aren't included, but could very well be: what can I say, this is basically a futile and pretty random game, so, mistakes are made. As I said before, I enjoyed the company of such luminaries as Ed Brubaker and Debbie Drechsler lately and I'm sure that I would enjoy and should include a lot more like Geneviève Castrée, for instance...

I'm a perfectionist and that's both good and bad. It's good for obvious reasons, it's bad because it may block you. As I said before I'm highly dissatisfied with the way all this occurred in the last two months, and, consequently, I should call it quits, but a promise is a promise, so, this time I will not let myself be blocked. There's no looking back, now...

Finally: all these choices are obviously limited by my own limits: there are a lot of languages that I can't read, there are a lot of comics that I have never even seen. Of one thing you may be sure, though: I bought them all. In my opinion the moment a critic accepts a book from a publisher s/he ceases to be a critic to become another cog in the prop machine.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

I'm Back - Sort Of... Coda

Couldn't resist giving you this beautiful page.


Ed Brubaker (w & a), David Lasky (c), Lowlife # 5 (July, 1995).

I'm Back - Sort of...

So, almost 50 days have passed...

Below I'll tell you: 1) what should have happeneed and 2) what really happened during that time:

1) I should have layed down a list of my 25 favorite comics and, since I read some of them years and even decades ago, I should have reread them. Plus: when in doubt I should have reread some of the books or stories that weren't included on my list and see if I wanted to replace an item or a few items...

2) I layed down a first draft of my list, but couldn't stop at 25 and, so, now I have 30 items listed. I reread Summer of Love by Debbie Drechsler and reread a few pages of Daddy's Girl, also by Debbie Drechsler. I also reread a few pages of Speak Low by Montesol and Ghost World by Daniel Clowes. That's it, I guess...
Today I tried to read A Complete Lowlife, by Ed Brubaker, but my eyesight isn't in the best of shapes right now, so, I gave up (even so I liked "Secret Hours"). I almost forgot, but I reread At the Seams, also by Ed Brubaker and I liked it too. 

Now, what, then?...

For starters, I still haven't closed my list. I find it an impossible task and I'm more and more convinced that, to do it properly, it's a full time job. I simply don't have the time nor the inclination to do so. This doesn't mean though, that I give up. If I can't do it properly I must rely on my dim memory...

That's it, I guess, but I have a

PS I'm reading the essay "I Will Not Bow: Analysis of the Feminine Refusal of Hegel's Master-Slave Dialectic in Inuyasha," by Robyn Johnson, in IJOCA (International Journal of Comic Art).
At some point she sez:
Manga is a much more sophisticated form of literature than recognized[.] [...]
She then goes on analysing Inuyasha by Rumiko Takahashi. This is unfortunately a typical reaction among comics critics: they say that comics are a sophisticated art form (sorry for the twisted grammar) and then they prove it pointing at trash.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

My 25 Favorite Comics

I decided to rip-off Álvaro Pons and write in the next weeks about my 25 favorite comics. After criticizing the comics canon (and make no mistake, that is the comics canon, or, at least, a comics canon that is highly influenced by the United States; I can only imagine a French-Belgian influenced comics canon with Hergé and Bilal and Moebius, etc... still more trash, of course...).  Anyway, I would love to promise one text per week, but I'm far from being sure that I will do that. The texts will vary in length according to my inspiration of the moment.

Finally, let you be warned that I will cheat. A lot! By cheating I mean that I'll choose one page, or one book by an artist, but I will not let myself be confined to just one item. If relevant I'll write about more than one item or more that one artist or author. Also, I'm not an expert on everything so, please excuse me in advance for any mistake or any underdeveloped theme.

Thanks!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

What's Wrong With Comics Criticism

What's wrong with comics criticism? Everything!

Remember when I said that a comics critic doesn't need an aesthetic education to write about comics? Lo and behold, here is a journalist saying that Álvaro Pons is a teacher of Optics and part of the Physics Faculty. Imagine someone without an aesthetic education wanting to write about the visual arts or someone without a degree in English (or other languages in whatever countries) wanting to be Lit Crits. They would be immediately laughed out of the room. Maybe that's the real reason why the comics canon is laughable as we have seen these last few days (it's either that or comics crits are the low of the lowest in crit skills). It's time to rest my case though. Besides, this art form is doomed anyway...

Yet Another Ridiculous List - Coda

While I was at the link below (the blog of a Summer Comics course, by the way; look at the ridiculous banner: 'nuff said!) I looked around and spotted their syllabus. It is what it is, the usual mainstream and American centric monstrosity. I'm not going to say much more about it. Except (look below)...

Capítulo 5 (de 7): El cómic español

1917. TBO [Selección de historias cortas] (AA.VV.)
1969. Mortadelo y Filemón: El sulfato atómico (Francisco Ibáñez)
1973. Superlópez [Vols. 1-10] (Jan)
1975. Paracuellos (Carlos Giménez)
1993. Trazo de tiza (Miguelanxo Prado)
2006. Bardín, el superrealista (Max)
2007. Arrugas (Paco Roca)
… y todo Keko, todo Luis Durán y todo Juaco Vizuete.

The  1980s (the most important decade in Spanish comics history) were completely ignored and down the drain went Madriz, Felipe Hernández Cava, Raúl, Federico del Barrio, etc...

Capítulo 6 (de 7): El cómic japonés

1945. La nueva isla del tesoro (Osamu Tezuka)
1972. Mazinger Z (Go Nagai)
1982. Akira (Katsuhiro Otomo)
1998. Barrio lejano (Jiro Taniguchi)
1999. La sonrisa del vampiro (Suehiro Maruo)

Where is the greatest comics artist of all time, Yoshiharu Tsuge? Where is Garo?

Moreover, where are Argentinian and Italian comics, besides the mediocre Corto Maltese, that is?

This can't be just love of the mainstream and hate of everything alternative. This is ignorance, pure and simple ignorance.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Yet Another Ridiculous List

Álvaro Pons this time:

Sorry, but I'm losing patience so I'll skip translation this time. As I put it before only fanboys write these lists. That's why I would love to read at least one written by someone normal. For once...

Please! Anyone?

1.º- The Spirit (Will Eisner)
2.º- Little Nemo in Slumberland (Winsor McCay)
3.º- Krazy Kat (George Herriman)
4.º- Príncipe Valiente (Harold Foster)
5.º- Terry y los piratas (Milton Caniff)
6.º- Mort Cinder (Héctor G. Oesterheld & Alberto Breccia)
7.º- Philemon (Fred)
8.º- Calvin & Hobbes (Bill Watterson)
9.º- Alack Sinner (Carlos Sampayo & José Muñoz)
10.º- Teniente Blueberry (Jean-Michel Charlier & Jean Giraud [Moebius])
11.º- Maus (Art Spiegelman)
12.º- Corto Maltés (Hugo Pratt)
13.º- Adolf (Osamu Tezuka)
14.º- “Obra completa” (Robert Crumb)
15.º- Spirou (André Franquin)
16.º- From Hell (Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell)
17.º- Paracuellos (Carlos Giménez)
18.º- Popeye (E. C. Segar)
19.º- Palomar (Beto Hernandez)
20.º- “Publicaciones EC Comics” (William Gaines et alii)
21.º- Flash Gordon (Dan Barry)
22.º- Valerian (Pierre Christin & Jean-Claude Mezières)
23.º- Los pasajeros del viento (François Bourgeon)
24.º- Watchmen (Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons)
25.º- Daredevil: Born Again (Frank Miller & David Mazzucchelli)

PS  As usual there are a few exceptions above: Alack Sinner, Maus, From Hell. Followed by a few more that, at least, aren't completely ridiculous: Krazy Kat, Mort Cinder, Philemon, Watchmen. But, that's it...