Thursday, April 28, 2016

collaborative graphic novel: illiterature. issue v.

these 2 pages are from illiterature. issue v. the graphic novel. (Puddles of Sky Press, 2015).

It's a collaborative graphic novel with original work provided by 15 artists or poets (Nelson Ball, Gary Barwin, derek beaulieu, Amanda Earl, Claudio Ghirardo, Faye Harnest, Gene Kannenberg Jr, Mark Laba, Mark Laliberte, Chris Piuma, sven staelens, Lin Tarczynski, andrew topel, Dale Tracy & Nico Vassilakis), & a lot of engineering by the editor, Michael e. Casteels.

Only some of the pages are strictly abstract. It's an unusual reading experience, which I'm still working with. Some pages require more than one way of reading: A frame full of text, then some visual poetry made of stacks of letters, then some asemic symbols, abstract shapes or small pictures. A seasonal poem at the beginning of each chapter adds further food for thought.

Unlike a kick in the eye (in which Lin & Nico also took part), in this project, some artists' pages were cut up & rearranged by the editor.

Another collaborative graphic novel which I should mention, which is not abstract, is Nelson, by 54 UK artists. Creating a sense of unity with so many styles is an interesting challenge.


  1. Are you sure this is a "collaborative graphic novel"? When I saw the issue advertised, nobody claimed that. It was simply a matter of it being an anthology. I am just wary of spreading out this notion of "collaborative graphic novel" much too thin. If you said that, one could make the same point about "Abstract Comics," and about who knows how many other anthologies.

  2. The book is subtitled "the graphic novel.", even though every other issue of illiterature is an anthology. To me, it feels like a remix album where the original unaltered album doesn't exist. In Notes, Michael says "illiterature. issue v. is a journal of collaboration." Collaborative graphic novel works for me, although a very strange, atypical kind of graphic novel.


Please note that anonymous comments will be rejected.