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Dave McKean on sex and violence in comics

celluloid“Well, sex is OK. I like sex. Why are there so many books about violence? Why are there so many books and stories about violence? How much violence do you come upon in your daily life? How much sex have you had? It seems out of balance. I think sex is a lovely thing, something to be celebrated and explored in every form — in film, in comics, in all sorts. I touched on it in a book I did called Cages. I had a sex scene, and I was going to do an absolutely blunt, these two people are in love and they’re going to have sex. But I kind of shied away from it because then a great big 500-page graphic novel would be an X certificate book because of three pages. That seemed ridiculous. I always fancied doing a book that was just about sex and exploring the feelings and thoughts going on in your mind when you’re curious about sex. … I really loved doing it, but there were a couple things I didn’t get to, focusing on those little moments. Not necessarily big pornographic scenes, but attraction, a little bit of voyeurism, human play. I think that’s curious. I’d like to do something about that.”

Dave McKean, discussing where the idea for his adult graphic novel Celluloid came from, in an interview with CBR TV

Graphic novel finalists for Los Angeles Times Book Prize

The Los Angeles Times Book Prize judges have released their list of finalists for the 2011 prizes, and here are the five nominees for best graphic novel:

This is only the third year that there has been a graphic novel category, and it’s worth noting that this is the second time one of Jim Woodring’s books has been a finalist; last year it was Weathercraft. Also, while the selection is quite eclectic, five out of the 15 nominees in the past three years have been from Fantagraphics, which gives an inkling of the judges’ tastes.

The Middle Ground #83 | Five of my favorites

“Best Of”s are always a problem for me; I get plagued by the knowledge that I know that I’m going to forget something really important – The list of important things that I’ve forgotten in my life is both embarrassingly long and just plain embarrassing, trust me – as well as the fact that I’ve just not managed to read all the good stuff released this year. How can I claim that something is one of the Best 10 Whatevers of the year if there’s another something I suspect may be even better, if only I could finally get around to making time for it?

And yet… ’tis the season, isn’t it? With 2011 just days from crawling out the backdoor, ashamed at its behavior and hoping that no-one will think too ill of it in future, this is the point where everyone looks back and picks their favorite things of the past twelve months. “Favorites” is a far more accurate term; less definitive, true, and less likely to get hits because of that, but it’s more true to say “I liked these the most” than “These are objectively the greatest,” isn’t it? And so, in no particular order and with the warning that I will inevitably have forgotten something important and wonderful, five of my favorite books of 2011: Continue Reading »

Comics A.M. | Court sides with Zohan in comic writer’s lawsuit

Jayms Blonde

Legal | The Second Circuit Court of Appeals backed the 2010 decision by a federal judge to dismiss a comic writer’s claims that Adam Sandler, Judd Apatow, Columbia Pictures and parent company Sony Picture stole his idea for a hairdresser-turned-hero and transformed it into the movie You Don’t Mess With the Zohan. Robert Cabell filed a copyright-infringement lawsuit in February 2009 accusing the moviemakers of ripping off his comic The Hair-Raising Adventures of Jayms Blonde, about a Navy SEAL-turned-hairdresser who fights crime armed with a blow dryer. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Creators | The Hero Initiative reports that comics creator Josh Medors, who has a rare form of cancer, has been released from the hospital after being treated for a lung infection. [Hero Initiative]

Creators | Dave McKean discusses his most recent work, the erotic graphic novel Celluloid. [Suicide Girls]

Continue Reading »

Sex > violence: Dave McKean on his new erotic comic Celluloid

The depressing majority of comics seem to be about violence of one sort or another, yet how much violence does the average person have to deal with in their everyday lives? Unless you live in Bogotá or somewhere similar, mostly it’s pretty petty stuff; the odd drunk looking for a fight, the odd crazy shouty person, the odd mad taxi driver, maybe. And I just don’t enjoy violence. I can see that narratively it is often a powerful spike in a story, but I certainly don’t want to dwell on it. I don’t want it in my real life, I don’t find violence entertaining in and of itself, or exciting, or funny.

But sex is happily part of most people’s lives, and crosses the mind most days, I would say, even if it’s just watching your partner get out of bed in the morning. All my stories tend to be about things that mean a lot to me and may be fragmented through dream imagery, or metaphorical settings, but basically, my stories are just about the people and places in my life.

Dave McKean, artist of Arkham Asylum and many memorable collaborations with Neil Gaiman (including The Sandman‘s distinctive covers), on Celluloid, the upcoming porno-graphic novel from Fantagraphics that’s his first big comics project since his 1998 magnum opus Cages. I like that practical argument on erotica’s behalf. Ideally, we’ve had sex more often than we’ve thrown punches or shot bullets — why not reflect that in the art we make and consume?

McKean’s whole CBR interview with Robot 6’s own Chris Mautner makes for a fascinating read: He fills us in on how he’s been spending his time (lots of comics-esque collaborations with avant-garde musicians), talks about the unique challenging of baring it all (artistically speaking) in an erotic comic, discusses working with live models for some of the book’s sequences, and more.

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