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Your Wednesday Sequence 20 | Kevin Huizenga

Ganges #2 (2008) page 3.  Kevin Huizenga.

Comics’ panel-by-panel mode of presentation is incredibly effective at sucking people in.  The simple fact that we say we “read” comics when we describe following strings of pictures attests to how strong a tool for immersion sequencing is.  And it’s especially strong when we step back for a moment and think about just how weird, how alien cartoons look.  A single panel of a comic, especially one drawn with the blend of simplification and exaggeration that forms the look of newspaper strips and many alternative comics, is as much a conceptual statement about form as a depictive drawing.  Where the real depiction comes into play is with the sequencing, which turns cartoons from abstractions into living vehicles for movement and action.

Kevin Huizenga is one of the cartoonists whose work addresses comics’ conflict between the abstract and the literal most frequently and interestingly.  Huizenga’s attempts at using comics to mimic the visual effect of video games are especially notable: rather than creating the simulacrum of reality that the vast majority of comics do, what is brought forth instead is a simulacrum of a simulacrum, a copy of a copy, something already abstract abstracted further, its ties to reality stressed and stretched about as close to the breaking point as they can go.

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Kevin Huizenga unveils the cover for Ganges #4

My, but this has some oomph, doesn’t it? That clean block lettering (Helvetica? font geeks, help me out here), all that black…I know I’m excited. The latest installment in Huizenga’s oversized solo anthology series is due in August from Fantagraphics.

Artists with Cartoon Sensibility: Cartoon Polymaths, the exhibit

Note: An earlier version of this story identified Kevin Huizenga as an artist in the exhibit; rather than exhibiting, he has a 2-page comic about the show that’s given out as a handout.

At New York City’s Parsons Art & Design College, aficionados of comics, cartoons or just fine art in general are getting something special to look at starting Feb. 4: a new exhibition called “Cartoon Polymaths”. Curated by Bill Kartalopoulis and set to open this Thursday, this exhibition of multimedia work profiles several high-profile artists who are cartoonists themselves or show “cartoon sensibility.” The premise of the exhibit, taken from Parsons’ website, is: “While the word cartoon is usually associated with humorous line drawing, the form has a deep influence across many types of art and design, from animation and children’s books to puppetry and product design. What is it about the cartoon that permits—or enables—such an evolution?

On display will be newspaper tearsheets, comics, puppets, posters, zines, animated clips and other media from artists such as Winsor McCay, Saul Steinberg, Kevin Huizenga and more. The show’s organizers even commissioned Kevin Huizenga for a two-page comic about the show that’s available as a free booklet. In addition to the exhibition itself, Parsons and Bill Kartalopoulos are coordinating a slate of public programs for the area featuring Ricard McGuire, R. Sikoryak and Jacob Ciocci.

The exhibition opens Friday, Feb. 4 at Parsons’ Sheila C. Johnson Design Center and will be on display through April 15. An opening reception will be held Thursday, Feb. 3 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

If there were a comics version of the Netflix Watch Instantly queue, what would you put on it?

Today Pop Candy’s Whitney Matheson did something that some consider too revealing even in this socially networked, airport x-ray’d age: She posted 20 movies from her Netflix “Watch Instantly” queue. Like anyone else’s, it’s a motley crew of movies made possible by a massive library of films and the power to watch any of them at any time with a few clicks of a mouse — a blend of “comfort food” you want access to at all times, unwatched stuff you’re dying to see at the next available opportunity, major investments of time or energy you haven’t been prepared to make just yet, “eat your vegetables” fare you know you ought to watch eventually, and goofy guilty pleasures you’re simply tickled to be able to watch whenever you feel like it.

This got me thinking. I know there are any number of logistical and financial reasons why such a thing doesn’t exist for comics. But we comics readers are an imaginative bunch, no? And today I choose to imagine a world where I can load up pretty much any book I can think of and read to my heart’s content. So here’s what my imaginary “Read Instantly” queue would look like, circa today. Check it out, then let us know what’s on your queue in the comments!

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Comics College | Kevin Huizenga

cover to Ganges #3

Comics College is a monthly feature where we provide an introductory guide to some of the comics medium’s most important auteurs and offer our best educated suggestions on how to become familiar with their body of work.

This month we’re looking at the career of a relative newcomer to the comics industry, Mr. Kevin Huizenga.

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What Are You Reading?

Blood's a Rover

Blood's a Rover

Hello and welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, where the Robot 6 crew talk about the comics and graphic novels that they’ve been enjoying lately. Our special guest this week is comics journalist and critic Dirk Deppey of Journalista and The Comics Journal fame.

To see what Dirk and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, read on …

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Ooh, look, it’s Kevin Huizenga’s next book

wkishere

On his blog, the great cartoonist Kevin Huizenga has posted some shots of The Wild Kingdom, his upcoming (and overdue) collection from Drawn & Quarterly starring his trademark everyman character Glenn Ganges. Okay, it’s not Wonder Woman in ’90s-Superboy’s jacket, but I for one am pretty darn excited.

What comics websites make you say “Jackpot!”?

from Dance of Doom! by Leonard Starr, found at USSCatastrophe.com

from Dance of Doom by Leonard Starr, found at USSCatastrophe.com

Ever stumble across a comics treasure trove when you least expected it?

The other day I was looking around for the websites of artists associated with the late, lamented Buenaventura Press when I clicked a random link USSCatastrophe, the site of cartoonist Kevin Huizenga. Suddenly I found myself looking at a hidden repository of out-of-print comics by an astonishing range of cartoonists from throughout the history of the medium. An entire book of dog cartoons by Barnaby artist Crockett Johnson … early minicomics by two of my favorite altcomix artists, Dave Kiersh and John Hankiewicz … crazy-gorgeous strips and cartoons by C.C. Beck, Abner Dean, and Garret Price … links to, samples from, and miniature reviews of dozens more titles … sure, some of the links are broken — it’s been years since the stuff was updated, it seems — but what’s there is more than enough to keep me blissed out on hidden gems for hours on end.

Have you ever wandered into a similar motherlode of comics goodness online? Superheroes or scanned minicomics, a killer collection of original art or a webcomic you never knew existed, a site full of classic strips or a gallery of stunning covers — whatever it is, post your links in the comments. Face it, tiger — you’ve just helped thousands of readers kill an afternoon!

Comics Cavalcade | Iceman, unemployment and Brian Ralph

Every day people post comics on the Internet. Here are a few that caught our eyes.

“Ice man” by Chris Eliopoulos

iceman

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The Middle Ground #2: In Which I Hate On Previews

middle2Sometimes, it feels like there are too many comics out there.

I know, I know; that’s not exactly the most popular opinion to hold, never mind share on a website devoted to comics and the worship thereof, but we all know it’s true. I’m far from the only one who sees solicitations for months ahead, or lists of that week’s new releases, and has at least one “Seriously? There’s really enough of a market for that?” moment. It’s easiest to do when looking at, say, Marvel’s upcoming releases and counting what’re essentially seven monthly Avengers books (Adjectiveless, New, Secret, Academy, alternating bi-monthlies Children’s Crusade and Prime and, of course, New Ultimates and Ultimate Avengers, for those who were wondering about my math), but all it takes is one step inside the non-premier publishers section of Diamond’s Previews to realize that there’s a lot of noise hiding the signal in the world of indie publishers, as well. Continue Reading »

Comics Cavalcade | Turtles, pandas and Peter Bagge

Every day people post comics on the Internet. Here are a few that caught our eyes.

Nevermind The Bollocks, Here’s a Comic! by Nomi Kane

nomi_survey_essay_p11

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Straight for the art | Kevin Huizenga’s Fan Art

Kevin Huizenga draws Kiyohiko Azuma's Yotsuba&!

Kevin Huizenga draws Kiyohiko Azuma's Yotsuba&!

Critically acclaimed comics creators: They’re just like us! Take Kevin Huizenga, for example. Sure, his work in his series Or Else and Ganges has gotten him labeled the best cartoonist of his generation. But he geeks out over other people’s comics just like you and me — and even draws their characters as a tip o’ the fanboy cap.

Check out the STL Drawing Club blog for Huizenga’s renditions of characters by Osamu Tezuka, Richard Scarry, Alain Saint-Ogan, Jim Woodring, Kiyohiko Azuma (see Yotsuba Koiwai at right) and probably even more I’m not recognizing. (There’s a pretty badass Dan Zettwoch drawing of the biker gang from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure in there, too.)

And don’t forget the killer fan art drawings he posted on his own blog, including characters from Johnny Ryan’s Prison Pit, CF’s Powr Mastrs, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. Fandom can be fun!

Huizenga does Holmes

from "Professor Moriarty" by Kevin Huizenga

Elementary, my dear Ganges! Wildly acclaimed, prodigiously talented cartoonist Kevin Huizenga has taken a break from chronicling the vagaries of our daily existence in his series Ganges and (the late, lamented) Or Else to take on the greatest detective in literary history and his arch-nemesis. (No, not Batman and the Joker, but I like the way you think.)

At his blog, Huizenga has posted a two-page comic featuring the first and final face-to-face confrontations between none other than Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty. The strip is part of the Famous Fictional Villains show at St. Louis’s Mad Art Gallery, curated by Huizenga’s friend, fellow cartoonist, and occasional collaborator Dan Zettwoch. The opening reception for the show — which features baddies ranging from Macbeth‘s witches to Alien‘s facehugger, interpreted by Zettwoch, Huizenga and over a dozen other artists — takes place tonight from 7pm to 11pm.


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