As sometimes happens, especially as winter is coming on, I’m exhausted. There will probably be no new comics this week. I may manage a post or two on the blog. In the meantime, here are some links. I can’t remember at this point how I found them:
A New York Times story from 1896 celebrated the death of the three volume novel. (To read the actual story you’ll have to download a PDF.)
The system had a deleterious effect upon literature because it required every novelist to spread and pad out his story so that it would fill three volumes, without reference to the normal length of the story he had to tell. Anthony Trollope, in his autobiography, ackknowledges this necessity and naively explains his own methods of padding. The result was a school of fiction which was verbose on compulsion, and in which writers had to beat out their stories as thin as possible that they might spread out over the greatest space.
An interesting Dutch newspaper comic panel, introduced by the blog The Fabuleous Fifties. The art has a great design sense, and it’s amazing the effects the artist gets with a few simple pen lines. The tastefully colored Sunday strips put the character into a surreal environment, and then deliver a great sight gag in every panel.
A review of Zak Sally’s Like a Dog, which made me very interested in getting this book:
Sally quit his band, settled down, bought his own press and has become comfortable with the process of making and publishing comics. He’s quick to deflate his own sense of self-satisfaction, along with the idea that anyone’s got it figured out. In the end, he says, “it’s the work that counts”. It’s what mattered when comics frightened him, and it’s what matters now that he’s more settled. While Sally wanted to provide the reader context and his own view on his work (because he liked that sort of thing reading other collections), his opinion about his art was no more or less valid than the reader’s.
I often find that when I’m drawing, only half my mind is on the work — watching proportions, balancing compositions, eliminating unnecessary details.
The other half is free to wander. Usually, it’s off in a reverie, visiting the past, picking over old hurts, or recalling that sense of being somewhere specific — at a lake during childhood, or in a nightclub years ago. These reveries are extremely important to the work, and they often find their way into whatever strip I’m working on at the time. Sometimes I wander off so far I surprise myself and laugh out loud. Once or twice, I’ve become so sad that I actually broke down and cried right there at the drawing table.
Science doesn’t work despite scientists being asses. Science works, to at least some extent, because scientists are asses. Bickering and backstabbing are essential elements of the process. Haven’t any of these guys ever heard of “peer review”?