what’s uncanny about fiction isn’t so much the idea of a distinct and seperate world existing harmlessly side-by-side with this one as the way that the two domains feed into and produce one another, that unreality is actively cranked out by reality - often by grown-up and unfrivolous people in office blocs and studios, often with large financial backing, both following and competing with a vast market of others - while at the same time being consumed, purchased by surplus capital to fill up actual hours, modifying human lives and hence modifying the circumstances of its own production. artifice can seem more real than everyday life because it highlights both the concrete aspects of its own existence as well as the immaterial affective content that hovers above the circumstances by which it was made. i think part of the reason why some of the most unregenerately commercial culture can stick with us so much is exactly this sense of not so much an escape from reality as an overload of it, a kind of doubling. the strange imagery of a cartoon or videogame existed in a format which highlighted the ways in which that imagery fed back into the waking world: sandwiched between advertisements, sold in little cardboard packages from overloaded racks at the video store, reproduced on t-shirts or little plastic guys. think of all the freeware videogame developers who ironically or not reproduce commercial formatting which is no longer relevent to the context they work in, fake corporate splashscreens and jingles. think of me, at 8 years old, drawing without any selfconsciousness homemade comicbooks that had no actual comics in them, but rather character bios and cut-out trading cards and fake subscription notices and spurious cheatcode / letters pages.
i think there’s a long tradition of art that plays on the phantasmagoric aspects of imaginary experience arising from violently material objects, like the torn letters and journal scraps in Frankenstein, Melmoth the Wanderer and the stories of MR James and Lovecraft, as well as gory media playing with the violent rupture between a human consciousness and the sticky material organs which generate that consciousness, i guess i bring these as examples up in particular because Pim & Francie combines both: the images are grisly but they’re also very fragmented, both narratively and materially, with many of the individual pictures showing tears and damage which are reproduced on the unmarked pages of the book proper. some of the pictures are just sketches, while more complete ones may still have surplus half-erased characters or snatches of dialogue floating around the edges. there are tiny stories that appear and fade out suddenly, there are clusters of pages arranged around particular images that suggest they were produced in some larger context the details of which are never provided. a lot of the art plays on the incongruity of old studio animation techniques. pim & francie cycle through stock costumes and gestures, frozen in goofy walk cycles and superimposed over stock backgrounds that seem increasingly disconnected and horrific, and where even the body horror seems like direct continuation of rubbery, infinitely plastic old disney and max fleischer toons. (walter benjamin’s comments on famous movie celeb mickey mouse are directly appropriate here: ”here we see for the first time that it is possible to have one’s own arm, even one’s own body, stolen.”) there’s a peculiar horror of multiplicity in the comics, of identical images reproduced over and over and shown to occupy the same scene: flowers, cats, trees, clouds, monsters. as the book goes on the situations degenerate as if they no longer have the energy to keep up the simulation, until pim and francie are eternally jazzhandin’ their way across rotting wooden boards nailed together across a void, the scenary reduced to a decrepit curtain just behind them, possibly being chased, possibly not, over and over again, for page after page. it feels like an exorcism.
pim & francie review by the elusive A. Juan Rev Hughes
(thankfully archived by The “Stephen” Catamites)
i’ve juste arrived at tokyo, so i didn’t have the time to really work and i’m still waiting for my desk. My current work station is cute, but not very fonctionnal.
So today, just a little sketches.
I hope better next time fellows !
living the dream….
A2 or A3 giclee prints, numbered editions of 20. Available soon, HERE.
OLD CITY BLUES is a future cop comic. 2 Volumes, published by Archaia/Boom.
READ ONLINE / PDF DOWNLOAD [free]: http://oldcityblues.com/
This particular sequence in Yotsuba in which depicted action is omitted inb/w panels and then later referenced and serves as a punchline (usually prompting the reader to go back a few pages and notice the location of the ladle through the pages) is a nice spin on certain techniques (and also subversive in a sense of how they are taken for granted) and reminded me of this lecture on visual composition and technique that Kransom & SDS translated by Kumi Kaoru.
The lecture is actually primarily concerned with the manga edition of Nausicaa and in some way is a follow up to certain previous lectures looking into why Nausicaa is difficult to “read”, though it actually does feature panels from Yotsuba (as well as a host of other great comics.)
If this stuff is interesting to you, you can read the lectures here:
Hmm… I remember seeing these lectures online before but never got around to reading them. Definitely need to take a look at these.
Download ‘Prophet’ Artist Giannis Milonogiannis’ 350-Page Art Book Directly Into Your Brain (For Free)