Monthly Archive for February, 2009

On the Siné Acquittal

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It was a relief to see French cartoonist Maurice Sinet — pen name Siné — acquitted of charges of “inciting racial hatred,” brought by The International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism, at the court in Lyon earlier this week. Siné was fired from his long-time employer, the venerable French weekly satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, last year, after having provocatively insinuated that President Sarkozy’s son was going to opportunistically convert to Judaism to marry the Jewish heiress of the hardware chain Darty.

To the spectator, not privy to what went on behind the scenes, this and the subsequent charges of anti-semitism on the part of several colleagues as well as a number of prominent intellectuals seemed patently absurd. The short piece Siné wrote was provocative, sure, but that’s his freaking job as a satirist, and it could definitely be described as both dumb and in bad taste, but anti-Semitic? Please. Continue reading ‘On the Siné Acquittal’

Scans Daily No More?

The fabulous online comics community Scans Daily has been shut down, one assumes by its host LiveJournal. The reason, apparently, was copyright infringement — ie. posting scans whole issues or close to whole issues of new comics on the site. Seeing some of his work there got comics writer Peter David riled, and he informed his employer Marvel Comics, but he won’t assume any responsibility, saying that the plug was pulled before anyone could have acted on his complaints. Presumably, LiveJournal have been receiving similar complaints for a while and decided that this couldn’t go on. But really, I have no idea.

Whatever the reason, this is a real pity. Scans Daily was a great resource, both for getting people stopping by excited about comics, keeping them entertained, and providing amazing new discoveries, especially of older, hard-to-find stuff. I’ve greatly enjoyed lurking there, and have linked to their posts more than once here from the Bunker. Like this poster, I hope LiveJournal or whoever is responsible will reconsider this decision. Continue reading ‘Scans Daily No More?’

Picks of the Week

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The picks of the week from around the web.

Long time since last picks. Haven’t had as much time to surf as normally. This week, however, I have a bunch of comics stuff on my mind.

  • Du9: “Sibylline retrouvée” & “Le Grand recit fantastique.” Fine two-part article by David Turgeon on the never collected, late Sibylline stories and of the late great Raymond Macherot. Also, Turgeon goes into even more detail on these late stories here. Let’s hope they will eventually be collected.
  • Golden Age Comic Books: “Came the Dawn” — Frank Frazetta’s bootylicious, unfinished adaptation of one of the hokier Al Feldstein/Wally Wood EC shockers. Flawed in so many ways, yet so opulently disarming.
  • Arthur: Interesting interview with Marc-Antoine Mathieu, the author of the mind-bending Julius Corentin-Acquefaques books and the recent Museum Vaults. He is one of the important voices in the New Wave of French-language comics of the 90s but is strangely overlooked today.
  • Bonus: Dette var jo i øvrigt ugen, hvor to medlemmer af Blekingegadebanden leverede deres dybt anakronistiske Blast from the Past. Uden at ofre ét eneste ord på det mord og de mange psykiske traumer de var skyld i. Peter Øvig Knudsen var heller ikke begejstret for denne deprimerende, men ikke uinteressante zombie-manifestation.
  • Reads: Christopher Hittinger

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    I really should start paying more attention to online comics. Last fall I picked up the 2007 French book edition of Christopher Hittinger’s Jamestown because I found the drawings thrilling at first leaf-through. I’ve only now managed to read it, and I enjoyed it immensely. Turns out, of course, that it’s been available online since 2006. I’m sure I’ve even seen it linked to in several places, without taking notice. Lesson learned for this paper generation relic, I guess…

    Anyway, I found this comic exciting on several levels. It’s a retelling of the first English colony in Virginia in the early 17th Century, the people involved and conflicts both internal and external, with the native Americans on whom the colony was dependent — complete with the Pocahontas story and all. Superficially it’s pretty straightforward, narrating the facts almost like a school textbook, but even if the prose is mostly utilitarian, Hittinger manages beautifully to make history come alive. Continue reading ‘Reads: Christopher Hittinger’

    Innocent Abroad

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    Winshluss’ Pinocchio was the big buzz book of the Angoulême festival this year and it came as little surprise that it ended up taking the Fauve d’Or award — the festival’s prize for comic of the year, and one of the greatest distinctions of its kind. It’s an impressive package — a large hardback book printed on thick, matte paper with relief printing and gold leaf on the cover. Impeccably designed, if somewhat indebted to the Ware school of production design, it is simply an immensely attractive comic.

    More than anything else, however, this has to do with the art within. Winshluss has long been an energetic draughtsman, merging the subversive sensibilities of the underground movement with a palpable sense of punk abandon that owes more than a little to the great bad-taste humorist Vuillemin. The result are gruff cartoons, grimy with saturated brushwork, that refreshingly tend to reach beyond the comfort zone of the artist, resulting in a kind of frenetic energy of invention that is both spectacular and moves the story along with humour and efficiency.

    This time around Winshluss may have bitten off more than he could chew, however. Continue reading ‘Innocent Abroad’

    Hype: Ejner/Rytz

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    I dag er der fernisering på en dobbeltudstilling af de to tegnere, Michael Rytz — of BLÆK fame — og Claus Ejner — prima tegneseriemøver i galleriverdenen — i De Danske grafikeres hus, Sølvgade 14, København. Det er fra kl. 16.00 og udstillingen løber til 15. marts og er åben torsdag-søndag 13-17.

    Age Ain’t Nuthin’ But a Number

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    OK, so the prize for weirdest political moment this week goes to the tag team of Gordon Brown and David Cameron, disagreeing in public over the age of Titian when he died. In what in itself is a revealing moment of bizarre self-conception, Brown apparently compared himself to Titian last month, saying the master did his best work in his last years, before dying at 90. Today, Cameron then rather pedantically stepped in at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, presumably after having his people check the glaringly faulty Wikipedia entry, to correct the prime minister, who “never gets his facts right”, stating that Titian did, in fact, die at 86.

    Never mind that no one knows when exactly Titian was born and therefore at what age he died, it gets better: Shortly thereafter, an IP registered to Tory HQ doctored the same Wikipedia entry to back up his boss’ “zinger,” but only with limited success: not only did the person in question manage to get the one fact we do know about Titian’s lifespan — that he died in 1576 — wrong, changing it to 1572, he also failed to doctor the birth date correctly, landing Titian’s RIP at age 82. Continue reading ‘Age Ain’t Nuthin’ But a Number’

    Happy Birthday, Charles Darwin!

    Today is the 200th anniversary of the great pioneering scientist Charles Darwin’s birth. May his wisdom prevail!

    Illustrations: David Levine, left 1998, right 1973, (copyright New York Review of Books)

    Angoulême 2009: The Flix!

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    Check in here, for the spectacle that is the Bunker’s photo reportage from the Angoulême festival.

    Above: Chris Ware signing at the Angoulême booth.

    Titian’s Diana and Actaeon Secured for the Public

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    The official announcement is a few days old, the news even older, but I just wanted to note with considerable jubilation that the national galleries of London and Edinburgh have jointly secured the first of the two crown jewels of the Bridgewater collection, Titian’s Diana and Actaeon, for the public by raising the £50 million (a bargain price) for which the owner, the Duke of Sutherland, had asked. Now, the second stage begins, in which they will have to raise another £50 million over the next four years, in order to acquire its companion piece, the equally magnificent Diana and Callisto. As to the rest of the collection, which contains masterworks by such figures as Raphael, Rembrandt and Poussin, its deposit in Edinburgh is now secured for another 21 years. Good news!

    I wrote about the paintings in more detail here.

    Angoulême 2009: Blutch Takes Grand Prix

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    So, I’ve finally made it home after a three-leg train journey from sunny southern France to an England blanketed in powdered snow and plagued by traffic delays. We were long gone when the prize winners and the Grand Prix were announced, but thanks to a friend on the spot, we learned that Blutch took the big one this time round. Continue reading ‘Angoulême 2009: Blutch Takes Grand Prix’

    Angoulême 2009: A bas le président!

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    Last night’s party at City Hall ended abruptly, with the presidential portrait torn down and stomped upon by an exuberantly out of control underground publisher. The crowds cheered, the bar shut, lights went on, and we exited with a bottle of Hennessy.

    Saturday night always delivers.

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    Angoulême 2009: Picture of the Day

    … Masters of comics: Chris Ware & Daniel Clowes…