“I Guess” by Chris Ware, USA, 1991


I Guess (a.k.a. “Thrilling Adventure Stories”) by Chris Ware (USA) in: RAW Vol 2, #3, High Culture for Lowbrows, Penguin Books, 1991. Via Glad You Asked.

Copyright ©1990 Chris Ware

If words can be drawn, and images written, then the tension between words and images can become quite complex. For example, in “I Guess” (Raw 2:3, 1991, reprinted in Ware, Quimby), alternative cartoonist Chris Ware experiments with a radically disjunctive form of verbal/visual interplay: a six-page story that sustains parallel verbal and pictorial narratives throughout, never quite reconciling one to the other […]. Admittedly, “I Guess” represents a radical questioning of the way comics work […]. Dismantling genre as well as form, Ware’s experiment demonstrates the potential of comics to create challenging, multilayered texts: his simple broadly representational drawings contribute to, rather than mitigate, the suggestive complexity of the narrative, while the blank naive narrational voice both amplifies and undercuts the appeal of the drawings. (Charles Hatfield, “Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature”, The University Press of Mississippi, 2005)


 

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“Daddy’s Girl: Visitors in the Night” (first version) by Debbie Drechsler, USA, 1992


Daddy’s Girl: Visitors in the Night (first version) by Debbie Drechsler (USA), in: Drawn & Quarterly (Anthology) Vol.1, #10, Drawn & Quarterly, CAN, 1992. The author’s first name “Debbie” was changed into “Lily” in the Daddy’s Girl collection (Fantagraphics Books, USA).  More on the topic in our interview with Debbie Drechsler.

“Visitors in the Night” – or “Daddy’s Girl” as the book was eventually called – is a masterpiece of horror. And it’s all the more horrifying because it is true, and because the actions depicted, the innocence-killing, soul-destroying actions, are happening right now, everyday, all around the world. (Richard Sala, in XeroXed #4, July 2004)

Contains scenes of a sexual nature. Viewer discretion advised.

Copyright ©1992 Debbie Drechsler

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“Greyshirt: How Things Work Out” by Alan Moore & Rick Veitch, UK/USA, 1999


Greyshirt: How Things Work Out, script by Alan Moore (UK) and art by Rick Veitch (USA), in: Tomorrow Stories #2, Wildstorm Productions, America’s Best Comics imprint, USA, November 1999. The Greyshirt character is a pastiche of Will Eisner‘s The Spirit.

“In one of the Greyshirt stories in Tomorrow Stories, we did something very peculiar with the panel layouts. We had an apartment building, the same building, upon ever page. There are four horizontal panels on each page. Then, to add another element, we made it so that the top panels are all taking place in 1999, the second panel down on each page is taking place in 1979, the panel beneath that takes place in 1959, and on the bottom panel of each page, you’re seeing the bottom of the building as it was in 1939, when it was a fairly new building. We’re able to tell, by some quite complicated story gymnastics, quite an interesting little story that is told over nearly sixty years of this building’s life, with characters getting older depending upon which panel and which time period they’re in. There’s something that you couldn’t do in any medium other than comics.Alan Moore (as cited on The Great Comic Book Heroes website), 2001.

Dear students, this story was later published in the collection Tomorrow Stories book 1 (soft cover) by DC Comics.

Copyright ©2004 DC Comics/Moore/Veitch

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“Barnyard Animals” by Craig Thompson, USA, 2002


Barnyard Animals by Craig Thompson (USA), in: Dark Horse Maverick: Happy Endings (anthology), Dark Horse, USA, September 2002.

Dear students, the anthology Dark Horse Maverick: Happy Endings is available @ Kinokuniya bookstores.

Copyright ©2002 Craig Thompson

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More on the topic in my paper Muted and Mutated: Animal-headed characters in autobiographic trauma-related comic books in: Asylum, the magazine for democratic psychiatry: Comics & Mental Health Part 4, Winter 2015, Vol.22/4, Monmouth (UK).

Innovative/Notable Webcomics (I): Memory Lane

THE BLOODY FOOTPRINT by Lilli Carré

In The Bloody Footprint (link) published by The New York Times on February 5, 2015, American multidisciplinary artist, illustrator and cartoonist Lilli Carré explores a personal memory yet later reclaimed by one of her childhood friends. Who experienced the event and who made its recollection her own? An intimate and effective take on the blurred contours of memory through a clever blend of prose, comics and GIF animation.


MIRROR by Chris Ware & John Kuramoto

More animated film than webcomics (yet using comics features), Mirror (link) is the result of a collaboration between The New Yorker and the radio program This American Life.  Through a cover for The New Yorker and its expansion as a short animated feature, extraordinary American cartoonist Chris Ware – with the assistance of John Kuramoto -revisits a radio interview (and an interesting reflection) of writer Hanna Rosin and her daugther about parenting, makeup and teenage self-awareness. Published by The New Yorker on November 30, 2015.


ME AND THE UNIVERSE by Anders Nilsen

In Me and the Universe (link), American cartoonist Anders Nilsen cleverly combines diagrammatic storytelling and the infinite canvas feature to explore his place in the Universe, from ancestral past to more-or-less present and distant future. Published by the New York Times on September 24, 2014.


WHY I LOVE COMICS by Chris Ware

Echoing Anders Nilsen‘s Me and the Universe, Chris Ware‘s Why I Love Comics (link) also depicts an artist’s lifetime on Earth. Playing with iconic solidarity and text spatialisation, the first word of each rounded panel spells out an acrostic hidden message. Published by The New York Times on October 16, 2015. Note also the epigraph:

“Cartooning is the art of turning time back into space.” Art Spiegelman.  

“In the Search for the Ninth Art” by Fabrice Neaud, FR, 2008


In the Search for the Ninth Art (“A la recherche du 9e Art”) by Fabrice Neaud (FR) in: Qu’est‐ce que la Bande Dessinée aujourd’hui (“What is Comics Art Today?”), Beaux Arts éditions, France, 2008.
Copyright ©2008 Fabrice Neaud/Beaux Arts/TTM éditions

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PAGE 3/8. “Histoire de M. Jabot” by Rodolphe Töpffer (CH), 1830/1831.
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BRAIDING: “The way panels (that is the images in the panels) can be linked in series (continuous or discontinuous) through non-narrative correspondences, be it iconic (repetition of certain symbols or elements) or other means. In a way this is a kind of rhyming for comics.” Derik Badman commenting the term introduced by Thierry Groensteen in: Système de la bande dessinée, Presses Universitaires de France, 1999.

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On “braiding”, from the first Graphic Writing lesson, CommArts, Chula

“Big Tex” by Chris Ware, USA, 1996

Big Tex (one-pager) by Chris Ware (USA) in: Acme Novelty Library Vol VII, #7, Book of Jokes, Fantagraphics Books, Summer 1996.

Copyright ©1996 Chris Ware/Fantagraphics Books

“Like how does something happen, and … how does it reverberate through time? And that act of memory is important, and comics are great for memory. Like even when you have a short comic, like a three-panel comic, you’ve got a past, a present and a future as soon as you look at those three boxes. And that allows you to reflect and compare times.” Art Spiegelman, NPR interview, 2011

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