Here is my 24-hour comic for 24-Hour Comics Day 2015. I hope you enjoy it and get a kick out of what I call “24-Hour Comics Logic.” It kicks in just when you need it. I’ll have more to say in another post later this week about Hotel Hotel, the venue for this year’s 24HCD. For now, thanks so much to the support of Hotel Hotel hostel and our friends at Comics Dungeon.
Tag Archives: Scott McCloud
“The Sculptor,” the new graphic novel by Scott McCloud, published by First Second Books, has an appeal linked to the author’s passion for his subject. Let’s say you’re a struggling artist. You moved to New York City and vowed to make it big. Once there, you learn that merit alone is no guarantee of success. Like Frank Capra’s “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington,” where an idealistic young man must come to terms with real world politics, another Mr. Smith, in this case David Smith, in McCloud’s story, must come to terms with not only the machinations of the real art world, but with just about everything else to boot! This, dear friends, is a true coming-of-age tale in the best sense of the word, full of questions, magic, and wonder.
For those who appreciate the details that go into creating a work such as this, an involved comics saga that you usually find in the pages of manga, this is quite an achievement. McCloud brings his A game to this ambitious work. You’ll find an impressive attention to detail in characters, backgrounds and compositions. It’s all condensed into a most pleasing style. We get a nice clean three rows of panels per page as a base from which to detour from. Lots of fun use of bleeded panels and interplay with screens. McCloud makes many interesting choices with fading out backgrounds and text in order to underscore various elements. And McCloud is no doubt sensitive to pacing and, at times, you’ll find panels taking on the tempo of animation.
Layer upon layer of immersive storytelling reveals a compelling relationship between our hero, David, and a young woman, Meg, who stumbles upon his path. But first, before the girl, there’s the deal that David makes that he probably could never truly regret since it’s his main reason for existence. He makes a deal with Death to gain, what he believes to be, his rightful place in art history. He’s obsessed with making his mark on the world and nothing else matters more than that. McCloud has a great time with the Faustian fable. David is doomed right from the start. He gets 200 days with the power to create all the sculptures he’s ever dreamed of creating. After that, it’s curtains for David. Whether or not David was ever cut out for immortality is sort of besides the point. His wish has been heard and granted. He never expected to meet someone like Meg so that complicates matters. The story that unfolds finds us on a journey with a young man still discovering the meaning of life while already with the power to achieve his wildest dreams.
A healthy distrust for the contemporary art world and the story of an idealistic young artist are certainly things that Frank Capra would have agreed with. That’s not the whole picture to what McCloud has to say even though it is easy to see him just rooting for honest forthright artists like his main character. It turns out to be more complicated than that. McCloud also sees one very mixed up kid in his main character. It all adds up to a satisfying read. It has a sentimental quality that’s appealing in its own right.
Anyone who digs deeper already knows that comics are fully capable of being as elastic, ambiguous, and fluid as any other art medium. Just like fiction, film, and painting, the comics medium can reveal as much as it hides. There’s an annual anthology, “The Best American Comics,” that showcases a wide range of North American comics and addresses the familiar and peculiar in what amounts to a particular branch of contemporary comics. Or, perhaps the best way to put it is to say this book showcases the best in comics as an art form. The 2014 edition is now available. Let’s take a look.
It is a pleasure to chat about comics, especially with someone as well-versed on the subject as Bill Kartalopoulos. For this interview, the occasion is the 2014 volume of “The Best American Comics,” which Bill takes over as the new series editor. I thought I’d take the opportunity to ask him about his thoughts on the term, “alternative comics,” since he led an interesting panel discussion on that topic at SPX back in 2012 entitled, “Life After Alternative Comics.” This was a way to frame the conversation.
Bill Kartalopoulos is a great observer of, and participant in, today’s comics scene. Part of his impressive resume includes being the program coordinator for the Small Press Expo as well as the program director for the MoCCA Arts Festival. Both of these events are essential barometers of prevailing trends. So, if Bill suggests that alternative comics are dead, I listen. Of course, he doesn’t really suggest that, at least not as you might think. But, let me continue…
I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend. Well, no rest for the wicked. September is going to be a very busy month and I see it as flying by faster than almost I can keep up with it. But keep up with it I will. We have a number of new book releases and exciting new comic book titles rolling out. I also have my own little tempest in a teacup, my 24-Hour Comics Day drawing marathon. I will be at Hotel Max in Seattle that first Sunday-Monday of October. I need to make that distinction since the official observance of the annual 24-Hour Comics Day is the first weekend in October. However, due to scheduling matters, we’re going with October 5-6 and that still works out just fine. Cool? Cool!
If you’re new to the work of cartoonist David Chelsea, then you’ve got to watch, or read, “Are You Being Watched?” and you’ll become an instant fan. Watch, view, and read it here. It all becomes more clear to you now, I would imagine. The lighter than air, seemingly effortless, style and the ever so quirky humor all coming together in a comic that was created in the span of 24 hours. It’s a surreal tale about a guy with a coffee mug for a head who is in love with a rather fickle woman who is obsessed with reality TV. How can poor Mugg attract Mandy? By becoming a reality TV sensation! And that’s a taste of what you’ll find from one of America’s leading cartoonists and illustrators, Mr. David Chelsea.
But not so fast, why 24 hours? That’s a good question. Well, that’s how it’s done in certain cartoonist circles. It goes back to cartoonist Scott McCloud’s challenge to all cartoonists to create a work in the span of 24 hours. And this has led to an official international observance on the first weekend in October known as 24-Hour Comics Day. Of course, you can put on a 24 Hour Comic at any time of the year and some diehard fans do just that. And you’d be hard pressed to find a more diehard fan of this unique activity than David Chelsea.
“Are You Being Watched” was David Chelsea’s 15th 24 Hour Comic, drawn March 2-3, 2013, at Theater For The New City, in New York City. And he’s embarking on his 16th this weekend, May 18-19, at Things From Another World, in Portland, Oregon. This is a man who loves to draw comics and is a professional in every way, well regarded and respected in the industry.
Having a chance to pose some questions to him, I am pleased to report back to all of you that Mr. Chelsea and I arrived at a successful interview via e-mail on Friday, May 17, 2013. The following is our exchange. It should prove most enjoyable and informative. Not only does it get published on the weekend of his latest 24-Hour comics adventure but it also anticipates a wonderful upcoming book published by Dark Horse Comics, “Everybody Gets It Wrong! And Other Stories,” a 152-page hard cover that collects Mr. Chelsea’s first six 24-Hour Comics, available June 5, 2013. Find more details by visiting our friends at Dark Horse Comics here.
Enjoy the interview!