Monthly Archive for January, 2008

Picks of the Week

The picks of the week from around the web.

  • Frank Rich: “The Billary Road to Republican Victory”. The New York Times‘ great op-ed columnist looks ahead at what a Hillary Clinton ticket for the presidency might mean for the presidential elections. An interesting corrective to the otherwise commonplace view that Hillary is the stronger candidate for the Democratic party.
  • Rolling Stone: “The Death of High Fidelity”. Great article about the challenges posed to high-fidelity sound recording by the new digital formats.
  • That insane Tom Cruise indoctrination video. If you haven’t yet seen this thing, hop to it! Tom Cruise in all his glory. A great character study.
  • A Healthy Serving of Comics History

    eccoci.jpgComics writer and historian Alfredo Castelli has a late Christmas present for us all — the entirety (704 pages!) of his annotated bibliography on the early American newspaper strip, Eccoci ancora qui (“Here We Are Again”) is now available online in PDF format! Meticulously researched and chock-full of rarely-seen images, this is a must for everyone interested in the period, even if you don’t read Italian.

    Continue reading ‘A Healthy Serving of Comics History’

    Hype: Warren Craghead’s Lisboa, Lisbon

    Warren Craghead is one of the most interesting and innovative younger cartoonists working the margins of the comics medium these days. He has just posted his latest book, Lisboa, Lisbon on his new site, where it is available for reading and free downloading in PDF. What are you waiting for?

    Manga på Louisiana til efteråret

    Fra Louisiana’s hjemmeside:

    8. oktober 2008 – 8. februar 2009

    Det var den berømte japanske maler Hokusai, der kaldte sine tegnede portrætskitser for manga, som bragte navnet til Vesten. Manga er et særlig japansk tegneserie-fænomen, der historisk rækker 200 år tilbage, og som i dag har international kultstatus med millioner af hæfter solgt hver måned, talløse filmatiseringer og som over de sidste 25 år har sat sig dybe spor i den japanske samtidskunst. Continue reading ‘Manga på Louisiana til efteråret’

    Dupuy & Berberian — Grand Prix d’Angoulême

    Hardly surprising, here it is: Philippe Dupuy and Charles Berberian are the winners of the 2008 Grand Prix at Angoulême. An understandable, if somewhat dull choice, Dupuy and Berberian have played central role in the development of the French album-format comic for adults in the 1990s, first and foremost with their Monsieur Jean series (1991-2005), about a thirtysomething, single Parisian’s romantic travails and coming to terms with aging. Notable in their oeuvre is also their autobiographical work, particularly Journal d’un album (1994).

    Their artwork is elegant, airy and clear, a combination of the Belgian ligne claire, Parisian school illustration of the 30s in the tradition of Bofa, Laborde and Savignac, as well as New Yorker-style cartooning in the tradition of Addams and Arno. They are consummate storytellers and craftsmen, creating pretty, entertaining comics that do not rock the boat excessively. Good, but somewhat petit. Continue reading ‘Dupuy & Berberian — Grand Prix d’Angoulême’

    Shaun Tan Wins Book of the Year at Angoulême

    This just in: Australian Shaun Tan’s The Arrival, published last year in several languages, amongst them in French as Là où vont nos pères, was awarded the Book of the Year award at Angoulême. Here’s the full list of the Essential Selection, along with other selected awards:

    Rutu Modan — Exit wounds
    Pascal Rabaté & David Prudhomme — Marie en plastique
    Cyril Pedrosa — Trois ombres
    Jean Regnaud & Emile Bravo — Ma Maman est en Amerique, elle a rencontre Buffalo Bill
    Pierre Dragon & Frederik Peeters — RG

    Discovery of the Year
    Isabelle Pralong — L’Elephant

    Fanzine Prize
    Turkey #16

    Heritage Prize
    Tove Jansson: Moomin

    Youth Prize
    Philippe Buchet & Jean-David Morvan — Sillage vol. 10: Retour de flammes

    Prize of the Public
    Catel & José-Louis Bocquet — Kiki de montparnasse

    Well, that’s that. Seems like a strong enough selection, even if it is definitely a less interesting list than last year’s, but that was also exceptional.

    The French “Comics Mafia” and other Follies

    As always when Angoulême rolls around, discontents in the French comics community rise to the surface. A perennial issue is the relationship between artists and critics. In an ill-informed and ill-advised article in this week’s issue of French weekly Le Point, the journalist Romain Brethes sets up Joann Sfar, Marjane Satrapi and the other usual suspects of comics success as a kind of ‘comics mafia’ — an inner circle of “Godfathers of the Ninth Art”, that exchange favours by appearing in each other’s comics and on each other’s labels, just like American rappers do. I guess it was only a question of time before France got its own “King Maus,” its own comics camarilla. Continue reading ‘The French “Comics Mafia” and other Follies’

    Heath Ledger RIP

    The actor Heath Ledger was found dead in New York earlier today, possibly by his own hand. Sad news. In addition to being too young to go, he was a great talent. His performance as a passionate man lost the closet in Brokeback Mountain (pictured) was what made that film great rather than good. And I’m looking forward to seeing him as both Bob Dylan and the Joker, so sue me. Rest in peace.

    Old Men in a New Car

    The Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men is finally out here in the UK. Although I enjoyed it, and would rate it amongst the best of their films, I still have something of a hard time understanding the insane hype it’s been getting from critics everywhere. It’s nothing new in their oeuvre, and hardly represents a significant development for them beyond its toning down of their usual cinematic playfulness.

    Faithfully adapted from Cormac McCarthy’s novel of the same name, the Coens evidently found in him a kindred spirit. The film is basically a less showy reworking of earlier works such as Blood Simple (1984), Miller’s Crossing (1990) and Fargo (1996). As if the filmmakers decided, once and for all, to get what they wanted to achieve with those movies exactly right. Continue reading ‘Old Men in a New Car’

    Angoulême 2008

    We here at the Bunker are rather depressed that none of us will be going to Angoulême (Jan. 24-27) this year. In addition to always being worth the visit, we’re going to miss all of our Angoulême friends — the great people we unfortunately only meet there, once a year. Please be assured that we will miss you, and have a great festival. Continue reading ‘Angoulême 2008′

    A Blazing Baroque

    There Will Be Blood directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, loosely based on Upton Sinclair’s 1927 novel Oil!, and out now, is a great piece of baroque cinema. Sharing more than a passing semblance with Erich von Stroheim’s monumental Greed (1924), this is high Hollywood classicism brought through the wringer of idiosyncratic, but grand ambition. As Manohla Dargis points out in her somewhat hyperbolic but nevertheless excellent review, the filmmaker here finds what his earlier efforts have lacked, a great theme. The overwrought ostentatiousness of Boogie Nights (1997) or Magnolia (1999) is turned into an asset in this quintessentially American fable of soul-destroying enterprise, in that it consolidates the archetypical nature of the narrative. Continue reading ‘A Blazing Baroque’

    Hype: Blodbryllup på DIN NYE VEN!

    Frem til starten af februar vil man kunne se sort/hvide sider fra Blodbryllup og et kort bidrag til Johan Krarups Son Of A Horse-antologi på kunstcaféen “DIN NYE VEN”, lige en spytklat oppe af gaden fra Fantask, i Sct. Peders Stræde 34.

    Hvis ikke man er i nærheden af København, men alligevel gerne vil se nærmere på hvad der holder mig væk fra Tegneserierne, kan man følge udviklingen af min afgangsfilm fra Den Danske Filmskole her:

    Hype: David B. in Paris

    For our readers in Paris, or those traveling to Angoulême at the end of the month, I just want to call attention to an exhibition of unpublished drawings by the great David B., La Guerre sainte, at the Galerie Anne Barrault, 22 rue Saint-Claude, 75003. The opening’s Saturday January 12 from 16.00-21.00, and the show’s there until February 23.

    2007 — The Year in Comics Criticism

    Chris Mautner’s New Year’s roundtable as usual brings together commentary from a panoply of comics critics, including yours truly. This time, the subject is the year in comics criticism. Continue reading ’2007 — The Year in Comics Criticism’

    Accents of Persepolis

    Finally got to see Persepolis. It is better, even, than it had to be. Very faithful to the comic — I was amazed at how well it manages to encompass pretty much the whole story as told in the comic without seeming rushed, all the while adding its own accents to the proceedings. While close to the comic, the film applies a slightly different, more refined aesthetic to the story. Applying to the settings as it does lushly applied grey tones and moments of iconic symbology, such as the scene where the Shah’s army violently suppresses the demonstration at the beginning of the film, it is at least one step removed from the effective if somewhat crude minimalism of the comic. A more emphatic and emotional, not to mention quite gorgeous, presentation of the material. Continue reading ‘Accents of Persepolis’