Thursday, December 31, 2009

Seriously missed it: English language translation of Pedro Moura's long analytic article on Abstract Comics

At Let the scholarly debates begin!

Also, here are some more folks who like us, so we send love back:

Articulate Nerd

Mairead Case at Light in the Attic Records. Hey, we're between Ashbery and Woodring, not bad!

And Happy New Year, everybody!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


--YouTube profile of Tim Gaze by Wider Screenings, including shots of a signing of the anthology at Dynamic Duo Comics in Adelaide, Australia:

--Q&A with our designer, Jacob Covey, at the Casual Optimist:

Monday, December 28, 2009

Anthology review by LA Weekly critic Doug Harvey

The Anthology is featured on LA Weekly art critic Doug Harvey's "mostly psychedelic" X-mas shopping list--a reaction to what he sees as other, more boring "top ten art books of 2009" lists. (The anthology is actually discussed on page 2 of the article).

While we’re torturing geeks, I have to put in a good word for Andrei Molotiu’s Abstract Comics: The Anthology, also from Fantagraphics. Given the historical simultaneity of modern art and graphic narrative, and the considerable amount of crossover between the traditions (Japanese ukiyo-e prints, pop art, etc.) it seems odd that there hasn’t been a movement to bring the language of nonrepresentational painting into the narrativizing sequential structure of comics. As editor (and contributor) Molotiu points out in his introductory essay, artists like Hans Richter and Oskar Fischinger were quick to successfully translate geometric abstraction into the equally narrative-prone language of cinema. Many of the best works here could in fact be storyboards for animations. But the thing is, most comic readers are primarily interested in the medium’s conventional storytelling potential, often vitriolically so. The collection has a wealth of rewarding material, some of it awkward, some groundbreaking — on the whole, it is a significant historical document that may jump-start an actual new genre. I’d have liked to have seen the fine-art examples reproduced on equal footing with the contemporary comic art, and some love for Jess and Oyvind Fahlstrom, but that’s what volume 2 is for, right?

Book Soup Review

"Book Soup is a 34 year old independent book store that lives on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles." and a Website of book reviews too.

Go here.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


I've also posted it here, along with a few other favorites:

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Aaron's Arch Spiral: Black, White and Grey?

I took the liberty of re-combining Aaron's Black and White panels from the previous post--out of curiosity, but I kind of like how it looks. I hope this is all right, Aaron!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Spiral 18/20: Arch Spiral: Black, White, and Transparent

click to enlarge - - - - - - - click to enlarge - - - - - - - click to enlarge

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Unidentified object, possibly sequential

Cat. no. 2934: Unidentified object, limestone, probably for ritual use. Approx. 6" x 6" x 3.5". Predominant scholarly opinion believes the object was intended to be worn by a priest or similar religious figure (since the civilization left no written records, its religious practices are still a matter of conjecture). An apparent drill hole at one corner suggests the object hung in "diamond" position, as illustrated. A minority view (See Smith & Delsanto, 2005b, pp. 90-106) holds that the "drill hole" is not man-made, but simply the result of erosion. According to this interpretation, the object was intended to be displayed on one of its sides (even within this scholarly camp, consensus has not been reached as to which side exactly). Smith and Delsanto, building upon a suggestion first made by Schlutter (1953d, p. 1129 fn. 3), see the object's surface as divided into roughly sixteen squares or "panels," and believe it may have served a narrative function. Even if this hypothesis is correct, however, the surface is too degraded to guess at the exact nature of such a narrative.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Politics and Prose [heart] the Anthology

We're on Washington bookstore (and C-Span 2 mainstay) Politics and Prose's list of "Favorite Graphic Literature of the Year."

Adam Waterreus writes: "It becomes a treat to take a page of art - or a simple panel - and consider how the shapes, texture, depth, and color interact with one another; to reflect on how, when one takes the time, the enjoyment one ordinarily finds in reading a purely textually-oriented, narrative-driven written story can - with the graphic form - be translated into something completely different."

(Thanks to Mike Getsiv for pointing this one out!)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Metabolism of Rugs

Abstract Comic in Mainstream Marvel Monthly!

Recently while going through recently purchased comics I got around to reading Marvel's Strange Tales #3. For those that are unaware this was a limited series where non-superhero and small press comic artists can do fun quirky short stories involving Marvel characters.

Well, in the final issue there is what I would consider an abstract comic featuring the Red Skull!. It is titled Sue Nami Cupcake and is by Liquid Fury artist Chris Chua.

I found this work to be very interesting and relevant to what we talk about on this sight.

I would have loved to share the actual work with you but I didn't want to violate anyone's copyright.

I recommend you all try to see this strip, I would love to discuss it within' the context of abstract comics.

As far as I know this is the most mainstream place this kind of work has been published.


Brief review at the Book Soup blog


Conclusion: "This is a great book for the comics enthusiast and visual artist alike."

Also, here's a review by a self-professed "not a big fan of abstract art." For all that, it has a lot of good images and a brief video preview of the book--and, well, if you keep in mind that the reviewer is "not a big fan of abstract art," I think it still makes the book seem intriguing.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Erik Colan Abstract Comic

Erik Colon, son of famed comic artist Gene Colan (my mentor) is an amazing artist in his own right.

portrait of bob flanagan


please kill me

Sunday, December 13, 2009


From the Indiana University, Bloomington copy of Emile Zola's Edouard Manet (Paris: E. Dentu, 1867).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pythagorus comic.

Hi everyone.

I did this small piece today :
(Sorry, the image was very small, so I enlarged it but it got blurred.)

Well, when I say "I" did it, in fact it is copied from a drawing due to Thabit Ibn Qurra (826-901), I just decomposed it in a sequence of 5 figures. So the "today" is quite innacurate as well, and even more when you remark that it does provide a proof for Pythagore's Theorem, which is way older. (If you don't see why, call a,b and c the lengths of the sides of the triangles that appear in panels 2 and 3, c being the larger side, then in the first panel you have a black area of c square, and in the last one a black area of a square + b square.)

I don't think that this piece is very interesting as a comics (as a mathematical proof, it is brilliant - of course I take no pride in it since I just copied it and have nothing to do with its invention), but I publish it here because I think that there might be something to investigate here. There is a whole lot of "proofs without words" in mathematics. Wikipedia says that "The College Mathematics Journal runs a regular feature entitled `Proof without words' " (but I never looked at it), and there is a book of the same name containing hundreds of these proofs (I have looked at this book a while ago). So maybe one could take inspiration in these proofs to produce abstract comics that would be quite different from what I have seen until now (I guess), since its contents would be "concrete" representations of mathematical "abstract" concepts (I put both in quotes as I use these words in a quite unprecise way).

Of course, the interesting point would be not to just translate a mathematical graphic proof into a comics, but to introduce something new, which I did not make.

Well, I hope it does not sound too boring for people who do not like maths as I do. But for me this proof from Thabit Ibn Qurra is incredibly elegant, and deserved to be known, so even if my piece is not that interesting, I hope that those who didn't know it enjoyed it.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Abstract Comic Anthology featured in Holiday Books issue of New York Times Book Review!!

I know that Derik scooped me on it, but I've been sitting on this news for a week not wanting to jinx it, though I could hardly wait to post about it--so I'll do it anyway. This is the greatest exposure the Anthology has had yet, and, given the reach of the Book Review, probably the greatest exposure we could have hoped for; and it's in the Holiday Books issue, no less, as one of Douglas Wolk's favorite comics of the year. (Not to mention that this brings us that much closer to convincing Fanta to do a second volume--so spread the news widely, folks!)

When I get my physical copy of the review tomorrow, I'll post here a scan of the actual review. IN the meantime, here's what Wolk has to say:

The artists assembled by Andrei Molotiu for his anthology ABSTRACT COMICS (Fantagraphics, $39.99) push “cartooning” to its limits: the selections have few if any words, no characters or plot, and very few clearly identifiable representations — just abstract images in sequence. Some contributors draw on comics’ native vocabulary for their lines and compositions, while others avoid contour drawing altogether. (The “Mutts” artist Patrick McDonnell’s sequence is mostly circles, right angles and negative space; Janusz Jaworski’s watercolor blobs “communicate” with word balloons full of meaningless scribbles.) It’s a fascinating book to stare at, and as with other kinds of abstract art, half the fun is observing your own reactions: anyone who’s used to reading more conventional sorts of comics is likely to reflexively impose narrative on these abstractions, to figure out just what each panel has to do with the next.

Brief Review in NYTimes

Douglas Wolk give the anthology a brief review in this Sunday's New York Times Book Review (end of article).

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Legend of the Rotating Bursts Doomed to an Existence of Repetition

click to enlarge
(enlarged version highly recommended)


Here's a 4-pager I finished today:
You can click on it to see the larger version or you can look at a 2x2 arrangement here.