INTERVIEW: "Batgirl and the Birds of Prey" Hunt Rebirth's Oracle
I hope my illustrious colleague Brigid Alverson doesn’t mind me elbowing my way into her regular webcomics spotlight, but with the announcement the other day that Brian Chippendale is placing his eye-popping, rib-tickling webcomic Puke Force on hiatus for a few months, I simply had to point everyone in the strip’s direction.
Chippendale, the cartoonist behind last year’s acclaimed doorstop of an action-buddy-scifi comedy If ‘n Oof, is a co-founder of the influential Providence art/comics/printmaking/music/etc. collective Fort Thunder and the drummer for the band Lightning Bolt (which if you’re not familiar with it is sort of like if noise violation citations from your local law enforcement authority had an elemental, like how plants have Swamp Thing). His comics are famous/infamous for their “snake-style” layout: You read each page one row at a time, first from left to right, and then from right to left, and so on, zigzagging back and forth like a snake and allowing him to draw you through his complex physical environments with ease and choreograph action and slapstick alike with precision timing. Chippendale’s art is rough-edged and hyperdense, his characters look like little mutant and monster refugees from your favorite forgotten action-figure line, and his wild-and-wooly sci-fi stories may seem simply crazy or goofy at first glance, but in truth deal with the political, emotional, and philosophical ramifications of urban life today with sophistication and laugh-out-loud wit. Puke Force is no exception: In its installments you’ll find sardonically hilarious takes on everything from Twitter to terrorism. Best of all, you can catch up on all six months’ worth of material on the PictureBox site and be ready for Chippendale’s triumphant return in late summer/early fall. I know the visuals and layouts can be challenging, if not headache-inducing, at first, but stick with it and you’ll experience a truly singular comics sensation.
To see what Caanan and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
Over on the CBR mothership, Tim Callahan takes a close look at two books sure to be shortlisted for Best of 2010 honors in another month or two: CF’s Powr Mastrs 3 and Brian Chippendale’s If ‘n Oof, both from PictureBox Inc. Tim argues that the two books’ combination of sci-fi/fantasy trappings with the oblique storytelling techniques and challenging visuals of art-comics create the same sense of wonder and discovery that comics held for him as a kid. Here he is on Power Mastrs:
Like the characters he chronicles in If ‘n Oof, his new book from PictureBox Inc., Brian Chippendale is prone to wandering. He just returned to his home base of Providence last week following a tour with his acclaimed two-man music group Lightning Bolt, whose sound can be best described as “What if Thor’s hammer and Loki’s helmet formed a band?” He’s also gearing up to hit the road again in another couple of weeks for a brief cross-country book tour with fellow PictureBox cartoonist CF.
But it’s Chippendale’s artistic travels that interest me the most. Each new Chippendale book feels like an experience miles removed from its predecessor. Maggots is a tiny softcover with incredibly dense pages, drawn on top of a Japanese book catalog so that even the white spaces are filled with visual noise. Ninja is a gigantic hardcover with a smoother approach to Chippendale’s trademark “snake-style” layout — you read the first row of panels on a page from left to right, then hop down to the next row and read that one from left to right, then down another level from right to left, and so on back and forth — and a healthy dose of comics he drew as a kid thrown in. If ‘n Oof is a doorstop-sized softcover in manga dimensions in which every page is a splash page or part of a spread. And while all three share Chippendale’s unmistakable rough-hewn line and love of sci-fi, fantasy, and action — an approach forged in the hallowed halls of the late great Fort Thunder collective, alongside artists like Mat Brinkman and Brian Ralph — If ‘n Oof‘s buddy-movie storyline of two lovable creatures battling their way through a wasteland in search of home (and snacks) is the artist’s most accessible work to date. Robot 6 managed to get Chippendale to settle down long enough to talk to us about the new book, how it stacks up against his new webcomic Puke Force, and the tantalizing possibility that as far as If and Oof’s world is concerned, we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg.
They’re gettin’ the band back together, man! Tom Spurgeon reports that members of Providence, Rhode Island’s late, great comics/music/art/noise/wtf collective Fort Thunder are planning a one-off reunion issue of their anthology title Monster, to debut at
the San Diego Comic-Con UPDATE: the Small Press Expo via exhibitor and Fort alumnus Brian Ralph. Though the Fort produced everything from installations to art-rock to bicycles, we comics folks know them best through the output of a line-up of cartoonists that included Ralph, Brian Chippendale, Mat Brinkman, Leif Goldberg, Jim Drain, and Paul Lyons. It’s tough to imagine the alternative-comics world without them anymore — their aesthetic heavily influenced or outright inspired entire publishing lines, including Highwater, PictureBox, Buenaventura, Bodega, and post-Tom Devlin Drawn & Quarterly — so for fans of comics’ outer limits, this is at least as exciting as the Faith No More reunion tour currently underway. Which is pretty damn exciting.
Brian Chippendale is a just-plain interesting cat. He’s a co-founder of Providence, Rhode Island’s hugely influential art/comics/music/madness collective Fort Thunder, he’s the drummer in the insanely intense punk/metal/noise band Lightning Bolt, and just for fun he writes a blog about Marvel Comics.
Now he’s talking to NPR station WRNI about the whole shmear. Listen to the interview for details on his 800-page (!) upcoming sci-fi graphic novel If n’ Oof for PictureBox Inc., his experiences being evicted from multiple residences by the city of Providence, his drumming style, the pitfalls of political comics, the faded glory of the “mill scene” in which artists lived and worked in abandoned industrial buildings, and more. And be sure to check out the bonus video below, in which Chippendale shows off some gorgeously dense If n’ Oof pages.
Ignore the profane name under the “about me” section. The owner and operator of the new Marvelous Coma blog is none other than Brian Chippendale, artist behind such noteworthy avant-garde comics as Maggots and Ninja. What, you may well ask, would a creator of such idiosyncratic, highly acclaimed work want to talk about on the Internet? How about … Daredevil!
DD #100 volume 1 is a set up issue. an origin issue. and even a reflection of period stereotypes. It has virtually nothing in common with DD #500 except the presence of the red costume. In #100, written by Steve Gerber and illustrated by the one and only Gene Colan(the work, inked by Tartaglione, is not Genes best), DD is the wise cracking pre-Frank Miller version. This era of DD gave the hero, and the comic, the ability to stretch out of character, to veer off the dark dirty city streets into flights of fantasy. It allows DD to joke about the world. A virtue virtually gone in current DD characterization. Issue #100 acts as an origin summary, as DD recounts a few bits of his history to a Rolling Stone reporter, until a mass hallucination hits the Rolling Stone office and the streets of San Fransisco. This is 1973 Marvel Comics.
(found via the Beat)