Nearly every creative medium is going through an unsettling period right now, as COVID-19 disrupts literary events, prompts the canceling of concerts, and shutters movie theaters. It’s arguable that the comics world may the most affected by the pandemic, however — the current distribution model for physical comics is facing an existential threat. And while there are some impressive digital-first spaces for comics producing memorable work, including The Nib and Quarantine Comix, digital-first comics might not yet have its Saga or The Walking Dead — i.e. a heavily buzzed-about comic that also grabs readers on an issue-by-issue basis.
Both poetry and comics make fascinating and bold uses of structure, pace, and language. What would happen if you brought the two together? That’s the premise of Poems to See By: A Comic Artist Interprets Great Poetry by Julian Peters. Peters’s book offers interpretations of works by the likes of Seamus Heaney, Maya Angelou, and Tess Gallagher. In this excerpt, Peters offers a distinctive take on Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Conscientious Objector.”
What happens when architecture, folklore, and horror converge? You get something like Lucas Harari’s graphic novel Sleeping in Darkness, about a young man whose visit to a remote complex built around thermal baths sends him on an uncanny journey abounding with obsession, secrets, and the presence of the uncanny. Harari’s characters are memorable, his pacing is fantastic, and his use of color is subtle and precise, making this book particularly haunting. I interviewed Harari about the graphic novel’s creation and the techniques used to create it.
Science fiction abounds with stories of chosen ones, space messiahs, and figures whose stories and histories are inexorably linked to destiny. It’s made for some of the genre’s most well-known works, but it’s also served as an excuse for lazy writing and tropes that, after several decades, can feel utterly exhausting. It’s gotten to the point where the subversion of this can feel revolutionary: numerous reviews of last year’s Blade Runner 2049 singled out its handling of this trope for […]
In his introduction to Nicole Claveloux’s The Green Hand and Other Stories, Daniel Clowes makes a seemingly paradoxical statement: though he’s admired Claveloux’s work for decades, he “had never actually read one of her stories.” There’s actually a completely reasonable explanation for this, involving the poor quality of previous English editions of her work, but the contradictions in Clowes’s statement makes a weird form of sense in light of the works to come. The stories in this book abound with […]
What happens when a story told in one medium echoes the storytelling conventions of a different one? Comics are particularly well-suited for this: they incorporate elements of other storytelling mediums, while retaining their own narrative devices and techniques. What follows is a look at eight distinct works that evoke other methods of telling stories–literature, radio, art, television–while remaining distinctly (and proudly) comics. Expanding the boundaries of one medium while referencing another is no easy task; these eight books carry it […]
The Customer Is Always Wrong, the latest graphic novel from Mimi Pond, follows her 2014 book Over Easy. Inspired by Pond’s own experiences as a young artist working in an Oakland restaurant in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Pond neatly captures a host of facets of human experience, from protagonist Madge’s creative evolution to the shifting dynamics of her workplace to a series of harrowing drug-fueled misadventures. Pond will be in conversation with Todd Oldham at Fishs Eddy — […]
Michael DeForge’s comics veer dramatically from book to book, from absurdist slices of life to tales of uncanny transcendence. His latest, Sticks Angelica, Folk Hero, follows the adventures of the title character as she eschews human society for a surreal life in the forest; strange hijinks do, in fact, ensue. In advance of his upcoming New York appearance–March 29th at Rough Trade–I spoke with DeForge about Sticks Angelica, his tour with Sadie Dupuis, and more.