Sunday, April 7, 2013

The List of Long Form Abstract Comics

I was thinking today about long form abstract comics and how many have been published. These are the only ones I'm aware of so I thought I'd post the list and ask if there are any others out there.

[EDIT: I'm adding every title that anyone suggests to the list. Read the comments below for the debates as to whether they qualify or not.]

schwarz : weiß/weiß : schwarz by Kurt Kranz, 1928/1929 (Republished by Spector Books, 2011)

Abstraction 1941-1968 by Jochen Gerner (Published by L'Association, 2011)

Das Auge der Verfolgung by Mark Staff Brandl and Daniel Ammann (Published by St. Gallen, Stoob Steindruck, 1998)

Bleu by Lewis Trondheim (Published by L'Association, 2003)

Blots by Andrei Molotiu (Published by Andrei Molotiu, 2003)

Alcoholalia by Andrei Molotiu (Published by Andrei Molotiu, 2004)

An Abstract Life by Andrei Molotiu (Published by Andrei Molotiu, 2004)

Parcours Pictural by Greg Shaw (Published by Atrabile, 2005)

Jardin botanique by David Turgeon (Published by Colosse, Canada, 2006 & 2011)

Error and Annihilation by Anders Pearson (Published by Anders Pearson, 2007)

Anonymous abstract comic by Anonymous (Published by Anonymous, 2007-2008)

Petit Trait by Alex Baladi (Published by L'Association, 2008)

Stray Thoughts by Chris Kreuter (Published by by Chris Kreuter, 2008)

Twentyfourinone by Mike Getsiv (Published by GetsiVizioN, 2008)

Nautilus by Andrei Molotiu (Published by Fahrenheit, 2009)

Rejkjavik by Henrik Rehr (Published by Fahrenheit, 2009)

The Intercorstal by Gareth A Hopkins (Published by grthink, 2009)

We all go down #4 contribution by Ilian Manouach (Published by SOAP Comics, 2010)

Where In: A Series of Events by Rosaire Appel (Published by Press Rappel, 2010)

Narrative in abstract drawing by Nina Roos (Published by Nina Roos, 2011)

Badman’s Cave by Derik Badman (Published by Derik Badman, 2011)

AH Seen by Derik Badman (Published by Derik Badman, 2011)

Pequenos Mundos by Diniz Conefrey (Published by Diniz Conefrey, 2011)

100 Scenes by Tim Gaze (Published by asemic editions & Transgressor, 2011)

episode x by Rosaire Appel (Published by Press Rappel, 2012)

and yet by Rosaire Appel (Published by Press Rappel, 2012)

an unauthorized account by Rosaire Appel (Published by Press Rappel, 2012)

treize huit cinq by mFausse (Published by mFausse, 2012)

TENM by mFausse (Published by mFausse, 2012)

Reconstitutions by Lucas Taïeb (Published by Lucas Taïeb, 2012)

Skyface Sensrmap by Brenna Murphy (Published by Floating World Comics, 2012)

Shrouds by Gary J Shipley (Published by asemic editions, 2013)


Abstract Sequential Art by Kym Tabulo (To be published by Kym Tabulo, September 2013)
Scattered pages from a book in progress by Andrei Molotiu

So can you think of any others, old or upcoming?

btw, I think these should be submitted to the Wikipedia entry on "abstract comics" so whoever is into it, could you please do that? It would be very nice. 


  1. I self-published Error and Annihilation in 2007. in your format:

    "Error and Annihilation" by Anders Pearson (Published by Anders Pearson, 2007)

  2. Well, there's this anonymous one:

    And do the minis I published before "Nautilus" count?

    And, how come I've never heard of or seen that Brenna Murphy one--or heard of Murphy, for that matter?

    1. I was debating whether they're "long form" or not. Personally, I think they have to be at least 16-18 pages or more but I guess it depends on how many panels per page or how much detail. I don't know. I'm not going to deny anything is "long form" if the artist considers it to be.

      You don't know about the comic by Brenna Murphy 'cause you're not cool, Daddy-O! (Seriously though, I'm sure you can order it from Floating World. It's worth it.)

    2. Well, they're all at least 24 pages, Blots is 28, I think. So if Twentyfourinone counts, so do these!!

    3. I was thinking of consecutive panels per piece, more than pages but you're right, page-turns do make a difference. It's interesting to think about a comic that's 42 panels on 1 page and asking yourself if it would be more "long form" if it was 42 panels on 42 pages? How many panels does Blots have? It's one per page, right? If it was all on 1 page, would it still be "long form"? Not arguing about any of this, just wondering how others see it.

    4. Well, at least "Alcoholalia" has a ton of panels...

      And, well, it's not all on 1 page. :)

    5. And so does "An Abstract Life," come to think of it.

    6. Shouldn't Alcoholalia (I always want to call it "Alcoholica") be co-credited to Tony Millionaire? It's a Maakies remix, right?

      I'm still not sure about Abstract Life being "long form". It's a collection of separate short pieces, right?

      Sorry for all my "right? right?"s about your minis. I promise I didn't lose them or give them away or use them for kitty litterbox lining. I just don't have them with me right now.

    7. No, it's a piece I did sampling Tony. I can assure you that he wants nothing to do with it. In the same way that James Tenney's "Blue Suede Shoes" remix is not credited to Elvis. I titled it "Alcoholalia: a remix of Tony Millionaire's Maakies no. 35," but it's not like a remix song where you just add a new beat or something. It's an entire 24-page piece built up out of a one-panel strip.

      "Abstract Life" was meant to hold together conceptually--see the titles of the individual pieces. But, zheesh, if you want to disqualify me...

    8. I don't want to disqualify your minis, you big baby! You know I love them. I'm just trying to figure out the criteria for what is and what isn't "long form".

      Maybe I could ad Dancey to the list if I say that it's dancing very sloooooooooooooooooowly…

  3. Chris Kreuter's "Stray Thoughts":

  4. Yeah, I think my minis count: Blots, 2003, and Alcoholalia and An Abstract Life, 2004.


  5. btw, I made an 18-page abstract/asemic piece back in 2003 but I never published it (or even showed it to anyone) so I didn't include it on this list. It will be in my upcoming book titled ~ , which is a collection of all my abstract comics and asemic writing.

  6. Hey, that's the title of my animation blog!! :)

    Would you add the new ones I mentioned into the list, so we can keep an updated list in the post?

    1. Is it okay if I use your animation blog to practice my 1970s disco dance moves?

      Actually, we should do a combo animation where Dancey dances in the panels.

      btw, I wasn't sure what to call my book but I made a rough cover for it back in early 2009 that just had ~ on it and not being able to come up with a title, decided to just call it that. (It also seemed the best way to go for an abstract/asemic collection. Any word for a title sounded dumber, funny enough, than a squiggle or "tilde" as it's officially called.)

  7. And, of course, I'm working on this-a-one:

    1. I'm excited about your book. Definitely "long form". (I swear if I find myself typing "long form" one more time, I'm gonna long form my head into a brick wall.)

  8. How long is long form? There is my and Ammann's stone litho leporello (it took a loooong time to mkake!):
    Mark Staff Brandl and Daniel Ammann:
    Das Auge der Verfolgung. Artists’ Book.
    Stone lithograph in numbered edition, 26x35 cm, Leporello with 8 pages, Rives paper, 300g.
    St. Gallen: Stoob Steindruck, 1998.

  9. I add any french (belgian or swiss) AC which are not in your list :
    Abstraction (1941-1968 by Jochen Gerner, L'Association, Paris, 2011 ;
    Petit trait d'Alex Baladi, L'Association, collection patte de mouche, Paris, 2008 ;
    La nouvelle pornographie, Lewis Trondheim, L'Association, collection patte de mouche, Paris ;
    TNT en amérique, Jochen Gerner, L'Ampoule, 2002 ;
    We all go down #3, Ilian Manouach : and ;
    — someone Reconstitutions by Lucas Taïeb are AC : ;

    I have two AC, but only in pdf, not print :
    treize huit cinq, mFausse, 2012 : ;
    TENM, mFausse, 2012 :

    In other countries :
    — [Germany]schwarz : weiß/weiß : schwarz by Kurt Kranz, bauhaus ?, 1928/1929, republished by Spector books, 2011 (?) :
    — [croatia] CIRCLES CYCLES CIRCUITS, Dunja Jankovic.

  10. Mattias--I would disagree that many of those are actually abstract comics, though they are experimental, and all of them fascinating. However, I think we need a larger category to fit them in.

    La nouvelle pornographie is definitely NOT abstract; its whole point is that what, at first sight, may seem abstract is very clearly representational and narrative after you've deciphered how to read it (and that takes only a few seconds to figure out).

    "Abstraction" uses elements of abstraction, but its heart is in a different place, I think.

    TNT en amerique and TenM, again, are primarily appropriation, collage, but the representation is crucial for how they function. The same is true for Circles Cycles Circuits (which I like a lot--but it's not an abstract comic.)

    I haven't seen Petit Trait or WAGD 3, so I can't comment on those.

    Yeah, I meant to add Kurt Kranz, I even reproduced four pages of SW/WS in the anthology; also search for his name on this blog, I did at least another post of his work.

    1. Andrei, sorry, I disagree with you on this points…

      La nouvelle pornographie isn't more nor less abstract than Bleu ; and maybe even !, la nouvelle pornographie is more abstract than Bleu, which is a "concret comic" (as petit trait). I think "LNP" is a pornographie idéel ; it'sn't the minimalism representation of sex act some want to see there, but the symbolic representation of sex, where the light (the non-penetration) fights with the dark (the penetration) ; there is something of hieratic, transcendental inside ; and this, it's, I think, abstract. Bleu, on the contrary, is very Kandinsky dernière période ; a story of protozoan, a commonplace representation of microscopic world. After, I know Lewis Trondheim don't regard "LNP" as abstract comic ; but Bleu either.

      "Abstraction" is, at first sight, abstract in the common acceptation way of word in the XX century and in your introduction for the anthology. It is inside but, yes, as something postmodern, or, maybe, "archeomodern", for use the term of Arnauld Pierre. But, I believe, beyond, it is really abstract because, in the first hand, the process used, "le recouvrement" — to hide for better to show that's hidden —, is a abstraction process, and, in other hand, the reading doesn't lean on the perceptible world's reader but on a extraperceptible world.
      TNT shows it is but which isn't visible in Tintin en Amérique. And, for me, it's abstract.
      After, you can see its like conceptual comics… But the concept, issn't a abstraction's way ?

      TENM is clearly abstract ; a lot more than Treize huit cinq, which is more concret — I designed Treize huit cinq in the way of concret art et epicurism. In TENM, the space and the time aren't those of perceptible world, those which in "classical" and representational comics, but a speculation on the real time and the real space. And I will add all representations, figuratism, narration, classical mecanism and determinism, which are in Little Nemo, are destroyed in TENM

      And I think a lot of Renaissance pictures are more abstract than Pollock's Work.

      There are pages of Kurt Kranz in the anthology (the book) ?!…

  11. Well, if you think that a lot of Renaissance pictures are more abstract than Pollock's work, then I guess we are working with different meanings of abstraction? Of course abstraction can mean "idealization," "generalization," etc., as in the abstraction that leads to concept formation. But that is much too general for my purposes. I think it's important to distinguish between genres, so that we can have more exploration, more experimentation in specific direction. As such, while these comics that you mention have the general "abstraction" of conceptual art in general, they are not "abstract comics" in my definition. And listen, I like them a lot! But I don't want to water down the mission of this site, and the possibilites of abstract comics proper. So, sorry, I disagree too.

    There are four pages of Kurt Kranz reproduced in the introduction.

  12. "episode x" by Rosaire Appel / 28 pgs (
    depends on where the line is between graphic novella and abstract comic for these two:
    "and yet" by Rosaire Appel /56 pages (
    "an unauthorized account" by Rosaire Appel 54 pages (

  13. Mike--for the reasons given above, I think it's a mistake to include "TNT en Amerique,' "La Nouvelle Pornographie," etc., in this list. It dilutes too much the notion of abstract comic, and makes the list, in my opinion, a less useful tool than it could have been.

    1. Well, as it's my fault… : Mike, yes, remove from this list TNT en amérique, la nouvelle pornographie (because it's discutable and ambigous) and Circles Cycles Circuits (which more a recueil of comics than a comic book, and all isn't abstract inside). Put outside Bleu and Petit Trait (because they are more "concret comics" than abstract comics*) and ,also, "Abstraction 1941-1968" (which can be to regard as abstract comic but which is as well other things).
      The well all go down is maybe more a graphic novel than comic book (and is, maybe also, "concret").
      Keep inside TENM, which IS abstract comic.*

      *@Andrei : I don't understand what you see of representational and narrative in TENM ; if you can explain to me ?…

      *Their authors don't really regard its like abstract

    2. the answer to Andrei is the second asterisk…

    3. As I wrote in my main post above, I'm adding anything suggested by anyone. I didn't want to get too involved in judging, myself but perhaps I should take more time before adding anything until it's decided by all if they qualify.

      I don't like the idea of jerking anyone around by adding and then removing titles, so please take a harder look at each before asking me to add more, especially if any of the artists are tuning in. (We don't know the dead ones aren't watching us!)

      For now, if the person who suggested a title asks for it to be removed, then I'll remove it.

  14. Well, I'd say "Bleu" belongs because Lewis Trondheim agreed to have an excerpt from it published in "Abstract Comics," and because similar comics by him were published in the "B.D. abstraite" sections of Bile Noite.

    I don't know Petit Trait, so I can't speak of it.

    "Abstraction 1941-1968" is disputable, yes, but I think a good case can be made for it, so we might as well keep it.

    OK on "TENM," if you insist... I'll write more about it later.

    1. @petit trait : there are a critic in, if you want. It's in the same vein than bleu but with "petits traits".

  15. Hi Mike,
    Thanks for this list, I'm also interested this aspect of Abstract Comics reserch.
    Others I know of are:-
    2010 Rosaire Appel's Where In: A Series of Events
    2011 Derik Badman's Badman’s Cave (24 pages) and AH Seen (36 pages)

    Here is a link to my abstract comics, which will be 150 pages and due to be completed in September 2013.
    Kym Tabulo

  16. You're welcome, Kym!

    Is the title of your book Abstract Sequential Art? I'll be happy to post it on the list as an "upcoming publication".

    1. Hi Mike,
      Here is another one example:-
      Pequenos Mundos by Diniz Conefrey 2011
      Also isn’t Lightbeam 2005 your work? Should it be included?
      Thanks for including my work which is still untitled so ASA is good for now.
      I’m also happy for others to see my first 50 pages or get my URL if that’s ok.
      It is part of my doctoral research which is practice based so any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks again for taking on this task it is really helpful.
      I hope you have a peaceful time this week in the US.

    2. I consider Lightbeam to be only semi-abstract, if at all. It may use strictly elemental forms and have a somewhat obscured narrative but it's still basically a character-driven story taking place in a representational environment.

      (Not sure if you read this on the blog but some of the more vague passages from Lightbeam were actually used to pitch the idea for the Abstract Comics anthology to Fantagraphics. However, I never thought of it formally as an abstract comic.)

    3. My mistake Mike, I've really only seen the four pages of Lightbeam that you posted here.
      These pages are ACs and beautiful compositions.

      I must tell you Mike that I use the AC anthology to teach AC's to my Yr 9 students and most of the kids go for your Shapes pages when they have to choose an artist to study. They love your work.

      Thanks for making my ASA link live.

    4. That's great! I'd love to see your students' work.

      btw, I made this post a while back about abstract comics in the classroom:
      Feel free to send me anything relevant and I can add it.


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