Thursday, October 22, 2009

New review in Portuguese

From Brazil, I think, here.

For once, I will venture to (barely) copy-edit the Google translation, to make it more readable in English (however, I gave up on trying to fix the last three sentences, though I think overall their meaning is clear; if you have any suggestions, please paste them into the comments, and I will update the translation):

One of the major releases this year, still unpublished in Brazil, is the anthology Abstract Comics, launched by the North American publisher Fantagraphics. Organized by Andrei Molotiu, the album brings together abstract comics produced by a number of artists between 1967 and 2009. In practice, this means that instead of recognizable figures, like dolls and houses, the narrative is constructed from abstractions - as in a painting by Kandinsky or Pollock, for example. The first milestone in the book is the comic Abstract Expressionist Ultra Super Modernistic Comics by Robert Crumb which had already been published in the journal Zap Comics # 1, 1967 - and only flirts with pure abstraction, because there are many panels that are clearly figurative. In the introduction Molotiu - himself a major abstract comics creator - relativizes the date citing examples even before Crumb, as is the case with illustrations by Russian artist El Lissitsky, created in 1920 for a children's book about two squares. And even pages of Marvel comics bring examples of abstraction older than the Zap Comics # 1. For example, the book recounts a story of the magician Dr. Strange drawn by Steve Ditko in June 1965. The fact is that comics have always had an abstract artistic potential - and as far as my memory goes, one that is accepted by all worthwhile theoretical definitions of comics. But, until now, its role was secondary, relegated to isolated experiments. It is here that the anthology does its job: presenting an overview and organizing it, Abstract Comics creates a movement. From it, abstraction in comics can move beyond an experiment and become a legitimate possibility - a process that began in the visual arts years ago. The impression that the role of a book goes beyond: it can take several closet abstractionist and inspire other designers to abandon - even temporarily - the picture. And here for us, makes you want to see abstract works of many people just to know how it would be. Just to give a taste, I leave a short list for provoking the imagination of the reader: Craig Thompson, Laertes, Milo Manara, Art Spiegelman, Angeli, Frank Miller and Guy Delisle.

(The post goes on to discuss the introduction of new e-readers; though that's interesting, it's not particularly relevant to the discussion of the anthology.)

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