Originally published on GoshenCommons.org September 16, 2013
Last post I focused on the spaces in Chris Ware’s book-in-a-box called “Building Stories,” and the way that those spaces bring the reader into the story. I could write about Ware for the next few months, but for now, since I’ve already made the case that Ware’s work is as significant as literature like “Infinite Jest” and “Remembrance of Things Past,” I’ll discuss his significance within North American visual history, mainly by analyzing his work alongside the landscape paintings of Grant Wood.
Fuzzy on who Grant Wood is? Here’s his best-known piece, “American Gothic,” from 1930.
Continue reading “Visceral Comics, Part 2”
Originally published on GoshenCommons.org August 16, 2013
Welcome to the second installment of Commons Comics, a bi-weekly blog sponsored by Better World Books. Stay tuned for my first review—Chris Ware’s “Building Stories”—in the next post. If you’re already familiar with the genre and you want some immediate reading suggestions, here are some of the other works released in the past year that I plan to review in the next few months: “Love in Yop City” by Marguerite Abouet, “Marble Season” by Gilbert Hernandez, “Relish” by Lucy Knisley and “March” by John Lewis.
Last week I promised an overview of five categories—moment, frame, image, word and flow—from Scott McCloud’s “Making Comics” (2006) to think about when you read comics. I also got requests from readers for more images, however, so I’ll slow down and start with just one of those five categories, the one that puts the “graphic” in graphic novels: image.
Perhaps the main reason that comics get dismissed as mere kids’ stuff is the simplicity of much of its art. McCloud argues in “Understanding Comics” (1993), however, that it’s precisely that simplicity that gives comics their power. Check out the contrast between these two images:
Continue reading “Reading Comics Images: Simplicity Isn’t Simple”
Originally published on GoshenCommons.org August 2, 2013
Welcome to Commons Comics, a bi-weekly comics review blog. I’ll be reviewing mostly brand new works, as well as some foundational classics. For those of you familiar with today’s comics genre, my expertise lies with what many people call “graphic novels”—works that take books like Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Maus” (1986) and Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis” (English translation 2003) as models to tell longer and sometimes weightier stories than superhero serials tend to tell. Continue reading “A Crash Course in Reading Comics, Part One”