Tag: books

The new adult comics revolution

comics guido crepax fantagraphics

At The Comics Journal, Derik Badman writes about Italian comics artist Guido Crepax and his popular character Valentina Rosselli, whose strip was first serialized in a monthly adult-aimed comics magazine called Linus in the mid-1960s.

Vibrant as a rainbow

At The Los Angeles Times, Lyra Kilston wrote about midcentury Southern California designer Gere Kavanaugh, whose work is celebrated in a new book from Princeton Architectural Press, “the first monograph on Kavanaugh’s life and work, (which) tells her story through a fascinating avalanche of visual material.” Here’s Kilston on Kavanaugh’s direction after finishing at Cranbrook Academy of Art:

She graduated in 1952, becoming the third woman to earn an MFA in design at Cranbrook, and was soon hired by General Motors as one of its “Damsels of Design” to work on car interiors, kitchen appliances and its lavish modern showrooms. Her ideas were fresh and inventive: For a spring showcase of new cars she conceived of a garden party theme, filling the auditorium with blooming hyacinths and creating 30-foot-high bird cages containing 90 singing canaries. Soon she was choosing between offers at architecture firms run by Finnish architect and industrial designer Eero Saarinen in Michigan or architect Victor Gruen in Los Angeles. She took a fateful one-week trip to check out the West Coast, visiting the artist-activist nuns Sister Corita Kent and Sister Magdalen Mary, who welcomed her warmly and insisted she relocate to Los Angeles. She complied, embracing and embodying the colorful region where she still resides today.

I hadn’t heard of Kavanaugh before reading Kilston’s piece, and I think we’re going to have to order A Colorful Life.

 

Nothing would ever be the same again

For my debut at The Los Angeles Times (!), I wrote about cartoonist Brian Fies’s graphic account of losing his home in the 2017 California wildfires. A Fire Story is his chronicling, in comics, of life during and after the second-most destructive wildfire in the state’s history:

Following a tense sequence that has the cartoonist and his wife springing from bed and frantically hauling belongings out to their driveway and the palpable heartbreak that materializes later when Fies scouts out their rubble-strewn streets, A Fire Story shares lesser-broadcast hardships as well as how quickly wildfire victims are expected to process a frenzied cycle of emotions.

A drawn five-key keychain has three keys that “don’t do anything anymore,” explains Fies in a caption. Homes elsewhere are reduced to wholly blacked-out, cross-hatched blots on stretches of sepia-toned blocks that look like a war zone, where neighbors comb the charred ruins of their houses’ foundations. Discussions with utility companies prove pointless. A tally of long-gone items on a single-panel page is slugged “Things I Will Never See Again.” But a vulnerable Fies doesn’t grieve alone—the careful accounting here culminates in what’s better described as a work of comics journalism than it is autobiography.

Read my whole piece at The Los Angeles Times.