Wednesday, May 5, 2010

35 short 'essays' on comics

The Blog Flume has been on the web for 30 months. In that time, I've posted around 35 short illustrated 'essays' (a few of these were initially written for other publications). I tend not to write reviews (though I have done a few); often, I find some aspect of a comic that seems interesting to me and try to develop my ideas about it in a way that will (hopefully) make these observations interesting to others. The methods I use and the issues I explore vary, but I would call an approach I often use 'visual close reading': I focus on details -- and often on formal aspects -- that lead me to ideas about the artist's aesthetic practices and perhaps to observations about cartooning as a whole.

Rather than produce something new, here they are, identified by key terms and somewhat organized, but in no particular overall order:

Casper, Harvey Comics, single page, close reading, form, the great page.

Richie Rich, Harvey Comics, design, money, sex, gender, power, close reading.

Tim Hensley, Wally Gropius, form, color, space, Walter Gropius, children’s comics.

Daniel Clowes, Wilson, multiple styles, narration.

Daniel Clowes, Ice Haven, genre, stillness.

Daniel Clowes, Ghost World, dialogue (last line), close reading.

Daniel Clowes, Mister Wonderful, word balloons, narration, psychology.

Steve Ditko, word-text relationship, design, reader expectations.

Steve Ditko, representation, abstraction, beauty.

Steve Ditko, movement, close reading.

Jack Sparling, Tiger Girl 1, superhero parody, stupid but good.

Sammy Harkham, Crickets 2, genre, humor, review.

Chris Ware, Acme Novelty 19, design, form, shape and color leitmotif.

Lisa Hanawalt, I Want You 1, form, types of comics, narrative.

Alex Nino, multiple styles within a story, DC Comics.

Jack Kirby, aging, psychology, horror, DC Comics, reader expectations.

Dave Sim, Glamourpuss, punctuation, editing.

Marvel Comics, Girl Comics 1, gender, editing.

Roy Liechtenstein, lettering, design, comics.

Tomine, mini-comic, style.

Pete Morisi, design, Charlton horror comics, stillness, appreciation.

Pete Morisi, static, stillness, design, Charlton western comics.

Charles Schulz, Peanuts, punctuation, prose, poetry.

Charles Schulz, Peanuts, time, narrative, background, conversations.

Teaching comics and describing style.

Four Great Stories of 2007, Clowes, Ware, Tomine, Gilbert Hernandez, close reading, general commentary.

Kelley Jones, Doug Moench, Batman Unseen, “quality entertainment.”

Ivan Brunetti, John Buscema, Avengers, design, unintentional connections between panels.

Ivan Brunetti, New Yorker cover, design, sentimentality, Central Park, close reading.

David Chelsea, point-of-view, subjectivity, autobiography.

Ted May, Injury Comics, art comics, adventure/action.

Jason, Sshhhh!, Ugo Rondinone, high art, appropriation, swipes.

John Stanley, Thirteen Going on Eighteen, shading, craft.

Critics, artists, validation, cartoon elite.

Criticism, analysis, reviews, close reading, judgment, negative criticism.

On "The Comics Revival.

On original art and collecting.


Abner Dean.
[Faces by Sal Buscema and Frank Giacoia, from Nova 12 (1977)]


Anonymous said...

This stuff is good, but it lacks balls -- If you want to be numbered among "The Sons of Groth" you got to take somebody down. Like if a cartoonist makes a comment about critics that you don't like, you take it to heart and go after them. If David Eggers coronates someone, you take em down, because setting standards and telling the truth is your job.

Unknown said...

Posting your criticisms anonymously also lacks balls. Right?