Here is unused artwork by Daniel Clowes for Victor Banana's album Split. I think I may have pasted these up around the same time the Neil Smythe CD was being mastered. The Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron soundtrack had sold well enough to break even, so, drunk with power, I assumed I would be able to release a whole line of products. There's a panel in the Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron book this reminds me of--a character admonishes, "I'm sick of everybody using my store as a through street!" Since the formats are now forgotten, I've posted these templates for any old-timer who wants to make a cassette for their big rig.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
As long as there’s anyone making a more beautiful mud pie in a column of sunlight in the heart of despair -- there’s hope. Hope for a world reconstructed. Nothing has to be the way it is. Only the earth has continuity (or what we consider continuity in relation to our limits) -- man is not complete -- nor are his mores. He and they are changing. There is a slow and bloodless revolution in progress. None of our concepts or constructions are necessarily permanent. Out of a good mud pie may come a new world.
It would be easy to read this drawing as a condemnation of the character in the sunbeam, who seems completely oblivious to the suffering around him. (He looks at the dog, not at the parade of people). In this way, he seems to share the sense of self-delusion often possessed by Dean's main characters. But here, as elsewhere, Dean's comments show an appreciates for those who try to imagining new ways of seeing, thinking, and making art. Even if the result appears comical (an ordered mound of dirt and water), it shows a desire to imagine -- and to try to create -- a better reality, one that can have positive social consequences.
So rather than coming from above, it is as if the beam of light emerges (like the flower) from the mud pie, a comment on the generative power of art, and its ability to illuminate social realities in an abstract way. Perhaps Dean is telling us it's not that the main character ignores the suffering around him, but that the others overlook the hope in their midst.
[In the third to the last sentence, Dean writes (gradual) in a different pen above "and," suggesting that he may have wanted this sentence to read: There is a slow and gradual and bloodless revolution in progress.]
Funny our relationship -- funny our struttings. Birds preen their feathers -- we caress our secret knowledge -- and use it as the lure. It’s a comment on our own lack of magic. Never do you say, “I want this place where we are to have magic for you.” It’s always the secret, the far, the elusive, the seemingly special -- the obscure that you use to fascinate. What happened to your power -- to your poetry where you are. If it doesn’t exists here it wont exist for you or her anywhere.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I was reading a '70s issue of The Avengers and I thought about Ivan Brunetti. In his excellent book
he points out "some common pitfalls," one of which is "unintentional connections" between images in different panels:
A page in The Avengers #152  (pencils by John Buscema) seems to have this problem:
Two connections -- the leg in panel 1 'joining' the arm in 3, plus the torso in 2 'jutting' from the hip in 1 -- create some visual confusion and impede a clear reading of the fight scene.
On the first reading, the connections felt like a flaw to me, but looking at the sequence again, I'm not so sure. When you take in the page as a whole, they give the fight a sense of circular motion. Or they're a result of questionable planning. . . [The cover of the issue is by Kirby and Ayers]
Monday, November 9, 2009
This story was originally published in The Comics Journal Special Edition of Winter 2004, but in black and white and on a single page measuring 12 by 12 inches. Reformatting it meant redrawing the opening:
Maybe this new version will appear years from now in a barrel scraper.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
[See here for part 1, which explains some things.]
This thing has meaning [click on images to enlarge]
The beginnings of philosophy -- now if you can only find the meaning you have the all. But it’s good even if you only come to the point of suspecting a meaning. If you can be part of the flow and aware of it at the same time (which doesn’t seem apparent here) you can get out of your bucket.
Some days I feel confident
Confidence in itself has no real validity -- mayhem and horror have been created by people with confidence. Humanity should always be, perhaps, in a state of semi-confidence. Confidence obscures awareness -- resists understanding and denies relationships and rights. No man individually has a right to confidence.
In a different pen, Dean added "(individually)" with an arrow indicating that this word should be inserted after "man." So, the final sentence first read: No man has a right to confidence. Dean's philosophy emphasized that understanding our connection with others was crucial if we were to understand ourselves, so it's not surprising that he would see the "right to confidence" in social terms.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
- An exceptionally spectacular crossover cover by the estimable Charles Burns
- Paintoonist Jerry Moriarty (The Complete Jack Survives) in conversation with cartoonist Chris Ware
- The debut of the new monthly "Comics" spread, including all-new strips by Tim Hensley, Lisa Hanawalt, Matt Furie, Charles Burns, Al Columbia, Tom Gauld, and many more, edited by Alvin Buenaventura
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
A few days back, I wrote an appreciation-analysis of Moench, Jones, and Madsen's Batman Unseen #1 and #2. The comics racks at my local shop has somewhere around 70 new comics today -- and Batman Unseen #3 is the only cover to have a word balloon. This choice clearly seems to be part of the author's decision to evoke a retro feel, and though a word balloon on a cover shouldn't seem like a risk, given current trends, it almost seems a little subversive; and it's a small reason why this comic stands out to me . . .
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Abner Dean’s papers include notebooks in which he commented on dozens of cartoons from his 1947 collection What Am I Doing Here? In this commentary he adopts different personas: in some he talks as if he were a character in the drawing; in others he sympathizes with or scolds characters or the reader in his own voice; in many he offers either straightforward or obscure observations on the cartoon; and in others he moves between these approaches. Dean’s comments are a strange and compelling form of criticism on his own work, the kind that we don’t often get to hear from an artist. I don't know why Dean wrote these kind of notebooks, when they were written, or if he ever shared them with anyone . . .
I use quotations from the notebooks in an essay on Dean in Comic Art #9, but on the blog today (and in the next few weeks) I will post cartoons and writing from Dean that did not appear in that essay. [Dean's text is in italics below, in part because it's in cursive in the notebooks -- click images to enlarge.]
Well! don’t just stand there! Prove it! I don’t have to prove it –– I got monuments, coats of arms, bigger feet than you have –– smaller feet than you have –– a higher forehead –– anyway I descend from ancestors. The record is written –– I can coast. I’m the fulfillment. I’m really a bauble headed brachycephalic babitt in this response. Is it possible that anything yet is a monument to my own importance or yours? Our survival so far is pure accident –– and the accident has humored us long enough it seems. I can prove I’m important not by monuments to my past ego –– but by a continuous developing state of logic and peace. I can’t be important by myself. Take back your metals and your monuments. etc.
You can give too much of yourself
Of course you recognize yourself -- you're the man inside the lunch counter! Or are you someone else in this group? Look again -- inside yourself.