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Something tells me that sunny Gainesville, Florida, is about to see an influx of aspiring comics creators: Cartoonists Tom Hart (Hutch Owen), Leela Corman (Subway Series), and John Porcellino (King-Cat) have announced the opening of The Sequential Artists Workshop [UPDATED: link added], a new non-profit educational institution “dedicated to the prosperity and promotion of comic art and artists.” The school will offer a two-year program with its inaugural class to begin in 2012, while a “Spring Break Intensive” will be offered from March 6-12, 2011. The SAW will also feature a residency program for practicing cartoonists, online classes, gallery and performance spaces, a house anthology called The Seen in which cartoonists will do “cover versions” of pages from other artists’ creator-owned works, and the proverbial “much more.”
If you’re thinking the SAW sounds a bit like James Sturm’s Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont, you’re not alone. According to the new school’s FAQ:
Isn’t this just like CCS?
Yes, a little, and maybe no. James Sturm, who founded Center for Cartoon Studies (CCS) has done a great thing in White River Junction, VT and we are in constant awe of his gumption and smarts. James has been friendly with us and he has helped us enormously by offering advice in the forming of this school. We too offer a two-year program in comic art, and will require students to publish their own work at the end of the program. Our school is new and we don’t know how it will evolve. Right now, our goals may be similar, but the places and personalities are different enough that soon the differences between the schools will become evident.
The more the merrier if you ask me.
In addition to the announced faculty of Corman, Porcellino, and founder/executive director Hart — himself a longtime School of the Visual Arts instructor — SAW’s boards of directors and advisors feature an all-star line-up that includes Lauren Weinstein, Brendan Burford, Vanessa Davis, Shaenon Garrity, Bill Kartalopoulos, Donald Ault, Matt Madden, Joey Manley, Chris Staros, Phil Yeh, and William Ayers. School’s in!
If you dig minimalist minicomics, then go ahead and climb aboard the CBR mothership for an interview with King-Cat impresario John Porcellino by Alex Dueben. In addition to some impressively direct questions about working with an outside publisher (Drawn & Quarterly) and putting together a collection — both of which, after all, are outside the legendary self-publisher’s wheelhouse — Dueben draws out some interesting info about Porcellino’s future projects:
Is the plan or the hope for D&Q to publish a collected edition of the comic every few years like this?
Yes, the next collection will be called “From Lone Mountain” and will contain material from King-Cat issues 62- 68 or so. We plan on beginning to intersperse the release of the collections with books of all-new material as well.
In addition to your “King Cat” work, you have a graphic novel coming out from Drawn and Quarterly next spring, “The Hospital Suite.” I don’t know how much you want to say about or where you are in finishing it…
It’s one of those “all-new” books I mentioned earlier – my experiences from 1997-98, when I was very ill. That period was the hinge of my life thus far, and when I look back, things are clearly divided into Pre-Illness and Post-Illness. The story has been written for a while now, I just need to draw it.
I think we probably all have events in our lives that divide everything else into Pre and Post; seeing a self-observer as astute as Porcellino tackle his big dividing-line event should be absolutely fascinating.
Wow, this is a delightful way to spend some time this afternoon. John Porcellino, whose quietly beautiful, self-published series King-Cat is the most influential minicomic of all time, has created a blog for his DIY distribution outfit Spit and a Half. And not only is he selling hard-to-find comics, zines, photography books, and manga by Alan Moore (!), Gabrielle Bell, Minty Lewis, Zak Sally, Dave Kiersh, Lilli Carré and many more, he’s also personally writing up insightful little descriptions of each of them. Whether he’s calling Moore’s underground magazine Dodgem Logic “a weird, bright, in-your-face blast of idiosyncrasy,” dubbing Kiersh “a Great American Artist — his art addresses a uniquely American flavor of loneliness and desire, with his recurring themes of suburban, teenage anxiety, lust, ‘romance,’ and desolation,” or explaining how Kazuichi Hanawa’s Doing Time was his “gateway” manga, his thoughts on comics are as worthy as his comics themselves. Check it out!
(via Annie Koyama)
From King-Cat to Dark Knight: Minicomics master John Porcellino tackles the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder for the Denver Comics Fest sketchbook. Click the link to check out the final version with colors from Noah Van Sciver. Then check out Noah’s take on his comrade-in-cartooning-Van-Sciverhood Ethan’s cover for The Flash: Rebirth #3 for the Covered blog. Gee, the Joe Chiappetta/Mark Chiarello collaboration of our dreams can’t be far away at this rate…
Now here’s a comics-to-film project I didn’t see coming. Minicomics master John Porcellino of King-Cat fame has revealed he’s the subject of an upcoming documentary by filmmaker Daniel Stafford, owner of Denver’s Kilgore Used Books and Comics. The doc is tentatively titled Root Hog or Root Hog or Die: Ballad of the King Cat.
Stafford’s started a blog to chronicle the process and post clips. So far he’s interviewed such comics luminaries as Joe Chiappetra, Jeffrey Brown, Ivan Brunetti and Zak Sally for the project, and he’s looking for fan-shot footage and photos. King-Cat fans, that’s your chance to be a part of film history!
Origin story time: Back when I worked at Wizard, I was introduced to the concept of a themed sketchbook by coworkers like Ben Morse and David Paggi, whose Nova and Lockjaw sketchbooks celebrated their favorite obscure superheroes through the generous contributions of comics artists. My problem? I don’t have a favorite obscure superhero. The only hero I really love is Batman, and the problem there is that I’m sure most superhero artists doing sketches at cons are sick of drawing him, while most alternative artists doing sketches at cons are sick of thinking about him. Who could I choose that would fit the bill?
Then it came to me: David Bowie. He’s my favorite musician, and it’s fair to say his outlook and approach to art literally changed my life. Plus, with all those alter egos and ch-ch-ch-changes, he’s like a superhero anyway, right? And thus, at MoCCA 2007, the David Bowie Sketchbook was born.
I’ve since collected sketches of Ziggy Stardust, the Thin White Duke, Aladdin Sane, the Goblin King, Major Tom, or whatever else you care to call the former David Jones from 80 artists and illustrators. Below are the latest batches, from this year’s Small Press Expo in September and Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival last weekend. How must the others see the faker?
Welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading. Pull up a chair and sit down, won’t you? Our guest this week is Bill Kartalopoulos, who teaches classes about comics and illustration at Parsons, is a contributing editor for Print Magazine, and a comics reviewer for Publishers Weekly. But he’s probably best known as the Programming Coordinator for the SPX convention in Bethesda, MD.
Bill and everyone else has quite a number of books by their bedside table this week, so we’ll get right to it. Be a dear and click on the link below, won’t you?
Nate Powell‘s Swallow Me Whole is a graphic novel that demands and warrants repeated readings. Released by Top Shelf last year, the publisher describes it as “a love story carried by rolling fog, terminal illness, hallucination, apophenia, insect armies, secrets held, unshakeable faith, and the search for a master pattern to make sense of one’s unraveling.” My thanks to Powell for this email interview and his level of candor.
Tim O’Shea: What motivated you to start self-publishing mini-comics at the age of 14?
Nate Powell: Well, I’d been drawing comics with a few friends for a couple of years already. We had many issues of a comic series mapped out, and a friend’s uncle suggested that we finish up each issue and self-publish it. We didn’t really know what that entailed, but soon discovered a few neglected copy machines around town and in my dad’s office. We made 100 copies of the first comic, and they all sold in about two months; we’d never anticipated recovering our expenses, or anyone actually BUYING the books, to be honest. We just wanted to have a comic too, and found the most accessible way to make them. At this time I was already into the punk subculture and had been exposed to people who made zines and released records in much the same manner, but it was not until a few years later when I started writing zines and putting out records that I saw the inherent connections between these two realms of DIY entrepreneurship.