Tag: graphic novels

Hyperallergic’s year in comics

Outside of emailing with friends or some argumentative text messages, I don’t really do the “Best of” thing. I’ll probably post “the best” writing that I’ve read here at my site as I’ve done in years past, but I never really feel as if I’ve consumed enough of anything over the course of a year (other than pizza) to tell you that one thing is better than the other. I can always tell you that I liked something, so there’s that, right? That said, it was nice to have been asked to contribute to Hyperallergic’s “Best of 2018: The Top Ten Graphic Novels,” particularly alongside the brilliant writers involved. Here’s critic Dan Schindel:

Comics writers and artists are often better equipped to tackle contemporary events and issues before anyone working in any other medium, and many graphic novels that came out this year demonstrate this perfectly. Both the anxiety and tentative sense of possibility that comes from living in deteriorating liberal democracies, climate change, and changing paradigms around sex and gender are all on display in everything from superhero series to indie comics. All these ideas and much more are explored in these titles, which represent some of the most innovative art and sharpest writing to be found in 2018.

My selection was Michael Kupperman’s All the Answers. I wrote at length about All the Answers earlier this year and went to Parsons recently to see Kupperman talk about his very moving memoir. It’s worth a read.

See the whole Hyperallergic feature here. All the writing I’ve done at Hyperallergic is collected here, and it is inclusive of my 2018 work.

Karl Stevens, indoorsman

Karl stevens painter comics winner

Readers of the Village Voice in recent years will recognize the furry subject of “A Cat Lies In Wait” at The New Yorker, even as it’s thoroughly obscured by brushy black shadows.

Palm trees and plenty of pink

rich tommaso crime comics dry county

At Westfield Comics Blog, comics artist/writer Rich Tommaso talks about Dry County, a now-collected five-issue comic that’s both a tribute to detective pulp fiction and lightly rooted in autobiography.

Jules Feiffer’s new career

Paul Morton writes at the Los Angeles Review of Books about the “new career” that veteran cartoonist Jules Feiffer has embarked upon—that of a graphic novelist:

(W)hen it came time for Feiffer to sit down and write his own graphic novels, he ended up looking back, as always, to his old heroes Eisner and Milton Caniff, as well as to the classics of film noir. He studied their canted angles, their fast-paced compositions, their energetic narratives. His Micron pen allowed him to imitate the brush strokes of Golden Age comics, to depict fist fights and car chases with immediacy. In his trilogy, Feiffer experiments with often bizarre compositions: a single panel contains the same figure at a bar in three separate moments, all to depict what must be just a minute or so of conversation. He ended up producing books that, rough and sometimes hilarious, meditate on the use of violence in the comics medium and the threat of violence in the United States.

I recommend the whole piece, as it isn’t so much a consideration of The Ghost Script–Feiffer’s third installment in his trilogy of noir graphic novels—as it is a chance for Morton to discuss reading Feiffer at novel-length versus the strip form he’s published forever as well as the artist’s voice, which is rife with “leftist rage while remaining brutally critical of leftist hypocrisy.”

jules feiffer paul morton comics

Earlier this year, Morton wrote extensively at Los Angeles Review of Books about the relationship that Feiffer had with Hugh Hefner when he was contributing strips and sometimes fiction or longform comics to Playboy while in his 20s. When Morton interviewed Feiffer for Bookslut in 2009, they talked about Hefner’s very closely editing him at Playboy and the fact that Feiffer was “against everything that Hugh Hefner stood for in that magazine.” Feiffer:

“(Hefner) didn’t try to shape me to the demands of his publication as every publication except for the Voice generally did. Whether you were working for Esquire or Harper’s or the Atlantic or The New Yorker they wanted you to be like them, with their sensibility. Hefner, when he sent me back notes, he sent me back richly-detailed notes, panel-by-panel breakdowns of what he liked and what he didn’t like. And it was never to change my point-of-view to his or to the magazine’s. But it was to make my argument stronger by strengthening what he thought was a weakness. And in many cases he was right. 

Morton’s latest essay on Feiffer is at LARB.

Image from Kill My Mother. © 2014 Jules Feiffer for Liveright Publishing Corporation.