Archive for the 'letters' Category

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The Cage Stands as Before

The English illustrator, painter and comics artist Martin Vaughn-James passed away last week (obits here and here). Perhaps this will be an occasion for comics world to take greater note of this significant artist and innovator in the medium. Owing to his influences and probably especially the fact that he lived in Brussels for the latter part of his life, he is much admired by critics and scholars, if not the comics-reading populace at large, in the Francophone world. In America, however, he lamentably remains largely unknown.

From what little I’ve seen of his work as an illustrator and painter, I would hazard the guess that his work in comics, although comparatively limited — consisting as it does of a mere half a dozen books — is nevertheless his most significant. His approach to the form, both in terms of narration and, more concretely, his blend of words and images, remains unique in the medium, all the while prefiguring important later innovations by direct progeny such as Schuiten and Peeters and Marc-Antoine Mathieu, as well as by such less directly related figures as Richard McGuire and the Fort Thunder cartoonists, different as they are. Continue reading ‘The Cage Stands as Before’

Tegneseriemarkedet: Enter Rosinante

Rosinante har netop søsat en ambitiøs tegneserielinie, med speciale i graphic novels, på det danske marked. De to første udgivelser er danske Thomas Thorhauges Kom hjem og engelske Posy Simmonds’ Gemma Bovery. Med denne satsning på dette særlige tegneserieformat, er Rosinante det første danske mainstreamforlag der følger i sporet efter amerikanske bogforlag som Pantheon og Houghton Mifflin og franske som Le Seuil, Gallimard og Hachette, der alle med succes har publiceret tegneserier de sidste 5-10 års tid og dermed har været med til at styrke det iøjnefaldende fænomen tegneserien efterhånden er blevet på det internationale bogmarked.

Metabunkeren har taget sig en snak med Rosinantes ansvarlige redaktør Julie Paludan-Müller som i forvejen har udmærket sig i dansk tegneseriesammenhæng ved bl.a. at oversætte og bringe Marjane Satrapis Persepolis, og dermed hele graphic novel-fænomenet, til landet. Continue reading ‘Tegneseriemarkedet: Enter Rosinante’

What’s Wrong with this Picture?

shakespeare_portrait.jpgIt seems to be the season for the discovery of sensational portraits. A few days ago The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust announced having found an authentic, contemporary portrait of none less than Shakespeare himself. Its persuasive provenance and resemblance to a number of portraits, most presumably copied from lost pictures, that carry traditional identifications to Shakespeare, has convinced the Trust’s Chairman, the distinguished Shakespeare scholar Stanley Wells that it is almost certainly the only authentic image of Shakespeare made from life.

shakespeare_portait_cobbe.jpgThe attractive portrait belongs to the Cobbe family and has called Newbridge House, outside Dublin, its home for centuries. It was supposedly painted around 1610 when Shakespeare was 46 years old. As mentioned, several pictures assumed to be copies of lost paintings from that time, most notably a panel in the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC, carry traditions identifying their sitter as Shakespeare dating back within living memory of his life. Equally important to its pedigree is it provenance, which can apparently be traced with reasonable certainty to Shakespeare’s only literary patron, Henry Wriothesley, the 3rd Earl of Southampton. All of this is very convincing.

Not having seen the picture in the flesh and not being an expert on either Shakespeare or 17th-century portraiture in Britain, my opinion carries little weight, but I would nevertheless advise caution here. Continue reading ‘What’s Wrong with this Picture?’

Hype: Thorhauge i weekendavisen

Lars Bukdahl har fået fingrene i T. Thorhauges seneste tegneserie Jørgen Leth. Som afslutning på en karakteristisk pikaresk om Leths genfundne popularitet, giver han den følgende ord med på vejen:

“Sidste værk i bunken af Lethiana er T. Thorhauges lillebitte, virtuost tegnede og karikerede hæfte Jørgen Leth, hvor tegneseriefiguren Leth, mens han fremsiger blanke visdomsord fra Det uperfekte menneske — »man kan ikke skrue tiden tilbage og lave om« etc. — står op, spiser morgenmad og åbner en lem til en verden under jorden befolket af eksotiske kvinder, en af hvilke han udfører en slags voodoo-ceremoni på, hvorefter han skrækslagen flygter op til overfladen igen og serverer sig selv frokost: »Og nu går jeg ned for at få min mango og omelet.« En kvik og kongenial miniature-hommage, en kærlig Kalulesk uppercut lige på glashagen (der nok skal holde).”

Sådan er det.

John Updike RIP

We at the Bunker want to pay our respects. Read the New York Times obit, and if you’re part of our cartoon-interested audience, be sure to check out Jeet Heer’s articles on Updike’s appreciation for comics and cartooning here and here. While we’re at it, read his appreciation here.

1978 Cartoon portrait of Updike by David Levine.

Picks of the Week


The picks of the week from around the web.

  • Stephen Fry on language. This podcast is a real virtuoso performance from a sterling raconteur and wordweaver. Check it out.
  • Edward Gorey: The Recently Deflowered Girl. A little-known but brilliant Gorey book, in which he really fires on all his creative cylinders. Don’t miss it (thanks Tim and ComicsComics, from whom you should also go and download the PDF of their third print issue).
  • Two old and rarely seen ones from Alan Moore. “The Bowing Machine” (1991), originally printed in Raw, has Mark Beyer lending a little pictorial adventure to a somewhat heavy-handed, and uncharacteristically xenophobic, script, while “Love Doesn’t Last Forever” (1985), from Epic Illustrated, has Rick Veitch in his most hungry and delerious phase illustrating a somewhat banal EC-style yarn. (Thanks, Dirk).
  • Picks of the Week

    The picks of the week from around the web.

  • The New York Times: Bill Ayers responds. Op-ed piece from the recently much-maligned former Weatherman Bill Ayers. Succint and to the point, with plenty of things to disagree with. The comments section by the way contains some excellent discussion.
  • A couple of great comics links. “The Fourth Dimension Is a Many-Splattered Thing” (1957) is a Jack Kirby foray into the world of modernist art. The story’s totally lame, but dig those visuals. “Flesh and Blood Comics” is a recent effort from master cartoonist R. Crumb, and it’s freaking great, melding as it does crazy visuals reminiscent of his 60s work with the wise old man concerns of his recent work. Not to be missed. (Thanks, Tom).
  • du9: Quality commentary on the imminent abandonment of fixed-book pricing in the French-language book market and on the awards season on the cultural scene, with focus on comics, in the same place.
  • Heavy on the Castanets

    Michael Chabon frustrates me. He’s obviously talented, smart and knows how to tell a good story in the old school way. Even if he suffers from the classic problem of providing his stories with endings as memorable as what went before. (I remember a lot of cool things about Kavalier and Clay, but how did it end, again?). What I have a problem with, however, are certain mannerisms in his fluid, elegant language that have always been there, but which one hoped would dissipate, rather than consolidate themselves, with experience. Continue reading ‘Heavy on the Castanets’

    Hype: Alice in Paris

    flyer_alice.jpgIf you’re in Paris and in search of something to do tomorrow (Thursday) night, my buddy, the sculptor Paul Toupet, is part of a show based on Alice in Wonderland that opens that evening.

    I just visited him last week and saw his sculptures for the exhibition — Alice and the White Rabbit (he’s doing the croquet scene) — and they were damn cool. So I know they’re worth going for. Plus I’m sure some of the other artists have also contributed interesting work.

    So do go, it’s at the gallery L’Art de rien (MySpace) at 48 rue D’orsel (Métro Abbesses) from 6 PM onwards. The show runs till 9 November.


    Flyer for the show.

    Picks of the Week

    “…you’re apt to find your thoughts returning again and again to a certain dark box in a certain Hilton half a world and three careers away, to the torture and fear and offer of reprieve and a certain Young Voter named John McCain’s refusal to violate a Code. Because there were no techs’ cameras in that box, no aides or consultants, no paradoxes or gray areas; nothing to sell. There was just one guy and whatever in his character sustained him. This is a huge deal. In your mind, that Hoa Lo box becomes sort of a dressing room with a star on the door, the private place behind the stage where one imagines “the real John McCain” still lives. But the paradox here is that this box that makes McCain “real” is: impenetrable. Nobody gets in or out. That’s why, however many behind-the-scenes pencils get put on the case, be apprised that a “profile” of John McCain is going to be just that: one side, exterior, split and diffracted by so many lenses there’s way more than one man to see. Salesman or leader or neither or both: the final paradox — the really tiny central one, way down deep inside all the other boxes and enigmas that layer McCain — is that whether he’s For Real depends now less on what’s in his heart than on what might be in yours. Try to stay awake.”

    – David Foster Wallace, on McCain 2000.

    The picks of the week from around the web. A little late this time around, due to traveling and such.

  • “The Weasel, Twelve Monkeys And The Shrub”. Remembering David Foster Wallace at his sad death by his own hand on Friday, I’d like to hype this piece from Rolling Stone on the McCain campaign trail in 2000. While perhaps a little overlong, it is not only eloquent, but presents singular moments of empathetic exposition, acute observation and clever analysis. It also depressingly reminds us how McCain 2008 is nothing like its precursor.
  • The Comics Journal enters Deitch World! For what is surely the best issue of the Journal in a long while, Gary Groth talks to the cartooning family of the Deitches: Gene, Kim, Simon and Seth. Only there wasn’t room enough in the magazine to print the entirety of the great interview with Kim, so here’s some more.
  • Berlatsky & Crippen. Two remarkable comics critics expand and join forces. Crippen has signed up with Berlatsky’s blog The Hooded Utilitarian and starts out with his 2007 memoir of fanboydom “True Believer”, while Berlatsky opens his new column at Comixology, A Pundit in Every Panopticon, with an essay on Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ and the transcendence of art. Good stuff.
  • Noboru Ôshiro’s “Train Journey.” Matt Thorn brings us scans of an astonishing work of exploratory sequential art, surely a precursor to Yuichi Yokoyama’s great Travel. Don’t miss it!
  • Biksen som Bastion

    Tegneserie-, SF- og spilbutikken Fantask overgår til ny ledelse pr. 1. oktober. Det er netop blevet annonceret, at stifterne Rolf Bülow og Søren Pedersen fra den dato trækker sig som ledere og overdrager faklen til Marit Nim, der efterhånden har arbejdet i butikken i 14 år og har administreret spilafdelingen en væsentlig del af den tid.

    Det lyder som en fornem løsning på den helt naturlige situation, at der måtte komme et generationsskifte i denne, en af de ældste og væsentligste institutioner i dansk tegneseriekultur. Rolf og Søren fortsætter i butikken nogen tid endnu og kan nu se frem til at se deres forretning videreført, også når de velfortjent trækker sig tilbage.

    Jeg tænkte jeg ville skrive lidt om, hvor meget Fantask har betydet for mig, og for dansk tegneseriekultur, men har ikke det store at føje til den tekst jeg skrev i anledning af butikkens 30-årsjubilæum tilbage i 2001 (oprindeligt trykt i Rackham #4), så den bringes hermed i ganske let redigeret udgave.

    Tillykke Rolf, Søren og Marit! Alt det bedste i fremtiden. Continue reading ‘Biksen som Bastion’

    Picks of the Week

    The picks of the week from around the web.

  • L’affaire Siné. This is a good article on the firing of cartoonist Siné from French bi-weekly Charlie Hebdo, apparently over insulting the son of President Sarkozy, followed by allegations of anti-semitism, and provides some context to us who are puzzled how a magazine known as a bastion of freedom of speech in satire (famously so in the Muhammed cartoon case) suddenly fires one of its mainstays over what must be termed a trifle.
  • The Siegel-Detective Comics correspondence. (Warning: PDF). Unquestionably the find of the week. These documents from the early days of Superman are fascinating for the insight they provide into editorial policy at the time, as well as the concrete issues at stake between the creators of Superman and the company that ripped them off over it. Tom Spurgeon has a succint piece of commentary up, too.
  • Writings on The Dark Knight. The new Batman movie has been the most talked-about movie of the summer, and some people have said interesting and intelligent things, amongst them are Charles Reece and John Barnes. Check them out if you liked the film. UPDATE: David Bordwell has a post up too, of course.
  • Orwell: Bookshop Memories. Great little essay on working in a bookstore by a master of the form.
  • Woodring Ephemera and Simulacra. A cool collection of little-seen work by the great Jim Woodring and an inspired application of his imagination to the real world (or is it the other way round?) Thanks, Flog!
  • Picks of the Week


    The picks of the week from around the web.

    Lots this week:

  • New York Times: “The Trolls Among Us.” Great article on professional internet trolls. Whither Stewart Brand?
  • KRS-One & DJ Revolution: “The DJ”. Legendary MC Kris Parker is sounding better than he has in a long time on this sequel to his classic track “The MC”, breaking down the characteristics of a real DJ.
  • Watchmen Roundtable. One of the great early interviews with Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons on their masterpiece Watchmen, which originally ran in Fantasy Advertiser #100 (1988). Essential reading for fans of the comic. Also, by all means, do check out this clip of Moore talking about his favourite superhero. UPDATE: Also, check out this fine interview with Moore on the craft of writing comics, originally published in 2002.
  • Love & Rockets! Live audio from the spotlight panels on master cartoonists Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez on this year’s San Diego Comicon.
  • Jeet Heer: “Solzhenitsyn as a Soviet Writer.” A concise critical assessment of the literary achievement of one of the most influential authors of the 20th Century on the occasion of his passing last week.
  • Ludacris “Politics 2008″. In case you missed it, Luda’s rather silly, but funny Obama rap that had the conservative pundits up in arms and got the presumptive nominee’s campaign scrambling to dissociate last week.
  • Vanity Fair: “Believe me, it’s torture.” Christopher Hitchens gets waterboarded.
  • Picks of the Week


    The picks of the week from around the web, a wee bit late this time around.

  • The New Yorker Obama cover. The most depressing thing about the silly kerfuffle over this week’s funny, if not particularly great New Yorker cover by Bary Blitt is the Obama campaign’s stuffy and thoroughly humourless reaction to it. Read Maureen Dowd’s sharp commentary here, check out what cartoonist extraordinaire Steve Bell thinks here and read what a bunch of other cartoonists and comics alumni think over at the Comics Reporter.
  • A Milli. I’ve been talking a good deal about Bangladesh’s “A Milli” beat for Lil Wayne in here, but please indulge me. At the link learn just who it is that says “A MilliA MilliA MilliA MilliA MilliA MilliA MilliA MilliA Milli…” — be prepared for a surprise and dig how crazily that sample is flipped.
  • RozzTox meets Kipple. Read this short, funny 1980 interview with Philip K. Dick, conducted by the inimitable Gary Panter and his wife Nicole. Thanks to the good folks at ComicsComics for the heads up.
  • Picks of the Week

    The picks of the week from around the web.

    Been busy this week, so not much of a selection this time around. However check these out:

  • Get your Rusty Brown on with the Legion of Lego Superheroes (above). How many of them do you recognize, without looking at the Cliff’s notes?
  • The Comic Book scare contd. Following last week’s links to Jeet Heer and Bart Beaty’s discussion of psychologist Frederic Wertham and the great comic book scare of the 1950s, here’s novelist Michael Chabon defending his portrayal of Wertham in his novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and both Heer and Beaty responding. For completeness sake: The New Republic is running a discussion between comics critic Douglas Wolk and the author of the book that started all this in the first place, David Hajdu, but it is not particularly interesting unfortunately.
  • Nico and Warhol as the Dynamic Duo.