Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Page a Day, Art Speigelman, and an Emerald Miner

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted! It's been a long and exhausting couple of weeks. A while back I set myself a pretty rigorous schedule in order to complete Crogan's Vengeance by April 30th, and sticking to it has been doable but draining. I'm supposed to be finishing an average of one full page a day, and so far have gone a little past that, averaging about nine a week. But it's hard! I have a rough idea as to what happens (example - "Crogan and D'or get into a fight") but no real details nailed down in terms of dialogue, shots, pacing, etc. I'm making it all up as I go, scene by scene (each scene usually being about five pages), thumbnailing and tweaking and tweaking and tweaking and then doing about two or three finished pages in a day. Sometimes it's great - other times, like this week, it's unpleasant, and I pace around the apartment all manic and grumpy, waving my hands around in the air and reciting potential dialogue in piratey voices.

Anyway, here's a couple of panels from the recent batch:

On a slightly less-piratish note, I've been doing a lot of twenties/thirties adventure sketches in my sketchbook lately... rickshaws and overgrown temples and gorillas and sky pirates and that sort of thing, and have had some ideas as to what to do with the subject matter... but, like everything, it's subject to how much time I have (which isn't a lot, if referring to spare). But I was thinking about doing some adventurer archetypes - maybe a new one with each post, just to keep me fresh.

I decided for certain to do this when reading the amazing Matt Kindt's blog this week - he and Brian Hurtt are collaborating on a really, really, REALLY cool looking project together that seems to fall into this same vein. It got me wondering who else is feeling this sort of thing? If you're a cartoonist, and YOU are, post it up somewhere and put a link in your comment - I want to see them! High adventure is where it's at! Here's adventurer archetype #1: the Miner.

Since I pretty much NEVER update my gallery pages, I thought I should post THESE jobs here as well... I've also finished a few to which I've previously alluded, some of which were seen in-progress - The first is that Arthur poster:

Next is that Captain Morgan Saint Patrick's Day thing (or at least a crop of it):

And last is a safety goals poster for CSX, the railroad company:

In terms of news, Art Spiegelman came last week and was a really amazing guest. He did a Q&A for Scad Students, after which he, Allen Spetnagel, and me went out to the front to smoke and chat.

(Allen and Mr. Spiegelman, photo by Charles Taylor)

Later that evening Spiegelman gave an amazing lecture, the details of which are too varied and long to try and do justice to here, but it was truly an eye-opening and exciting talk. One of the things that really got me going was some examples that he showed by Töpffer, who made comics in the early nineteenth century. A Swiss, I might add pridefully.

Anyway, I've always been extremely wary of claims of pre-newspaper comics. There's a school of thought that earlier examples of sequential picture narratives (such as the Bayeux Tapestry) are the first comics, but I think that this is an oversimplification - as with most art, I think that motive is everything and as such these works are NOT comics. I feel like it's an attempt to give artistic legitimacy to a medium which has always struggled for it simply by virtue of age and pedigree, and I think that's selling ourselves short - an academic equivalent to claiming that one's ancestors came over on the Mayflower, knowing full well they came through Ellis Island.

Thus I'd never read (or really looked at) Töpffer's stuff, but Speigelman showed a comic which was of men giving a series of toasts. I read it, and thought, "that's good, but you know what would make it better? Showing them drinking after the first toast, and therefore implying a drink after eah additional toast without having to show it," and then I realized that the comic I was looking at had almost the exact narrative structure of one of my own (the Goodbye Beard)! I thought I was being quite clever with mine, but apparently I was almost two hundred years late. It makes me insanely curious as to what other gems Töpffer has, what styles and syntaxes he may have invented that haven't been subsequently employed. Hmmm...

Anyway, afterwards we (Shawn Crystal, Doug Dabbs, me, Dr. Griffis, and some SCAD administrators) went to dinner with Mr. Spiegelman, and had a great time. At first the conversations were a little more rounded - what it's like to teach AND be a cartoonist at the same time, anecdotes, etc - but before long we got into some heavy shop talk about brush pens and fountain pens and ink and papers and all that good stuff, and I fear that we temporarily excluded the non-cartoonists at the table as a result, but all in all I think that everyone had a great evening. I know I did!


Anonymous said...

Im insane and firey jealous right now. I haven't even really ready your post, all I saw was "dinner with Mr. Speigelman" I got to see him in Savannah when I was a Junior I think... it was really great. He is much funnier than you would think.


Shawn Crystal said...

The modeling is looking MUCH better! Keep rockin!

Anonymous said...

Yay it's a polevaulter... hehe