Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Photographer and comics creator Seth Kushner passed away Sunday following a year-long battle with leukemia.
Celebrated for his portraits of actors, musicians and artists, Kushner is widely known for his collaboration with writer Christopher Irving on Graphic NYC, a collection of profiles of comics creators that became the 2012 book Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics.
A comics creator in his own right, Kushner experimented with, and wrote about, photocomics, and collaborated with numerous artists on his semi-autobiographic Schmuck, originally serialized on Trip City, and with George Folz on The Roman Nose. He debuted the anthology Secret Sauce just last month.
Back in July when I interviewed Seth Kushner, he told us about a project he was doing with American Photo magazine explaining how he makes photo comics. After its debut in the magazine’s July/August issue, Kushner is now sharing the eight-page strip with everyone, online. The piece, which Kushner says is both a “discussion of a form” but also a personal highlight reel, showcases some of the varied subjects he’s documented, from Harvey Pekar to Moby.
“I decided to title the piece Understanding Photocomix and I used my own words and photos to tell the story of how I first discovered photography, first started working freelance for magazines, how I produced my book The Brooklynites (with Anthony LaSala), how Leaping Tall Buildings (with Christopher Irving) came about, and how I learned to combine my loves of comic books and photography into a wholly unique form,” Kushner says in a post. ” I had only a week to pull it all together, and it was amazingly challenging, but I am proud of the results …”
You can see those results at TripCity.net.
Some use pen and paper to make a comic, while others employ a stylus and a computer screen. But photographer Seth Kushner moves beyond the idea of utilizing a camera to document life to instead capture images to tell a story in a sequential narrative. Y’know, comics. In the past few years, Kushner has come to be a significant force in comics, both for his photocomix like CulturePOP at Trip City and for his more traditional photography work profiling comic creators. For the latter, he’s best known in comic circles for his partnership with writer Chris Irving, which produced the website Graphic NYC and recently the printed book Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics.
As both a chronicler of comic creators and a comic creator himself, Kushner is an interesting subject to talk about the current landscape of comics. From the American reception to photocomix (as compared to the European adoration for them as fumetti) to his personal and iconic photography of comic creators that’s far beyond the grainy bygone magazine photographs we’re used to. In his work, he allows the comic creators themselves to live up to the lofty nature of the comics they produce. And his comics work, both in the photocomic CulturePOP and his more traditionally drawn series Schmuck, Kushner keeps his personal aesthetic for being “up close and personal” with his writing and treatment of his subjects.
Launched yesterday at Trip City, Joe Infurnari‘s comic series Time Fucker shows the story of how Salvatore (“Sally” to his mother) looks to get revenge on all the bullies, friends and family members that have caused him anguish by “Time Fucking” them before they were born.
That’s right, time travel for revenge sex.
Using a cast-off time machine invented by Thomas Edison, Sal’s goal is to travel back in time and preemptively have sex with the mothers of his adversaries, with the goal of impregnating them and cancelling out his foes, or subverting them to be more like him. His first target? His half-brother, Dick.
Featuring cameos by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and an inventive use of Tony Atlas ads, Time Fucker is a surprising return for the Eisner-nominated Infurnari, but I’m not complaining because it’s rowdy and excellent. Infurnari’s already posted the first 10 pages of the story, with future installments planned for every Thursday this month.
It’s Christmas Eve, and we’re winding down here at Robot 6 to go spend time with family and friends. Before heading off to celebrate, though, you’ll find a collection of holiday-themed links after the jump, along with this year’s collection of holiday cards we received.
On behalf of all of Robot 6, have a great holiday and stay safe. We’ll see you next week.
(Above: a Christmas showdown by Matthew Petz)
As long as I have been covering the comics industry, it seems like I have always found reasons to support the work of Dean Haspiel and/or his many talented associates. So when Trip City, a Brooklyn-filtered literary arts salon, launched at the start of last month it struck me as a good time to reach out to the founders for an email chat. While Trip City has four key members (Haspiel, Seth Kushner, Chris Miskiewicz and Jeffrey Burandt) the bulk of the discussion involved Kushner and Miskiewicz, with a brief check-in by Haspiel (discussing the start of a new Billy Dogma story, The Last Romantic Antihero [TLRA]). Haspiel also gave me a head’s up on a December 8 TLRA live reading at BookCourt at 7 PM (163 Court St Brooklyn, New York 11201/718-875-3677).
Tim O’Shea: When did TRIP CITY first get conceived–and how did the two of you come to be involved? How early in the planning was it determined that a podcast would be important to the venture?
Chris Miskiewicz: Dean was leaving Deep6 and starting a new studio. Seth Kushner and I were the first people he asked along. Although my film schedule is always in flux and I wasn’t sure how often I’d actually be there, the idea of sitting around others and not being by myself writing appealed to me. So we formed HANG DAI Studios.
If you put three creative people in a room together stuff happens. What happened was TRIP CITY. We spoke about the concept for about five months. Who would be a part of it, what we’d do, how we’d do it. We didn’t want to revamp ACT-I-VATE but we did want comics, along with prose, fiction, a web-series, and a podcast. What we did was create a multimedia site that catered to our individual interests blending them together into a whole.
Several Brooklyn, N.Y. creators launched Trip City, a new “literary arts salon” website, this week, featuring free content by the likes of Dean Haspiel, Seth Kushner, Joe Infurnari, Kevin Colden, Chris Miskiewicz, Jef UK and many more.
“TRIP CITY reinvents the online arts collective with a virtual playground for a diverse set of accomplished and highly individualistic creators,” said Trip City founder Dean Haspiel, “spanning every borough of artistic endeavor from the visual arts to literature, music, video and beyond.”
Comis wise, there’s already a bunch of stuff to check out, including Dean Haspiel’s Bring Me The Heart Of Billy Dogma, Chris Miskiewicz and Kate McElroy’s Adrift, Joe Infurnari’s Memoirs of the Kid Immortal, Nick Bertozzi’s Lad Zeppelin, Kevin Colden’s Baby With A Mohawk and more. In addition to comics, the site will also feature profiles, interviews and podcasts with everyone from Moby to Henry Rollins to Michael Moore, who is interviewed by Dan Goldman in the site’s first podcast.
The release Haspiel sent out says that the group has future plans to take some of the content and perform it live on the road. “Working with so many Brooklyn locals, we have this great sense of community right out of the gate,” said Jef UK. “Then, when we take the next step and turn Trip City into a live event—which is in the works—our tribe is already gathered, so to speak.”