Sunday, January 31, 2010

Instrumental music, abstract comics, and the logic of illustration

(Part III of a multi-part series. Mild warning: this is a pretty academic post, primarily of interest to some of the people who have commented on my earlier Miller and Ditko posts. Feel free to skip it if you're not into that kind of talk. The next installment--the next two, come to think of it, there's no way I can do it in one--will be on Ditko's "Spider-Man." You may want to come back for those ones...)

Anyway. In the last couple of posts I have been using quite a few musical analogies, and it's time I addressed that issue head-on. I think I first brought up (in writing, at least) the musical parallel in a post on the old TCJ Message Board (Comics Medium, "New Abstract Comics" thread, p. 2, June 12, 2004, 10:53 PM; yes, I realize that thread died along with that entire board, which I think is a huge shame. This was one of the couple of threads from it I saved, and I wish now I had saved a lot more.) In response to a comic that our own Mike Getsiv had posted, I wrote:


A long time ago in a bedroom far, far away...

I think this is where my interest in abstract comics really took off (although I can't say for sure that I won't find some earlier examples.) I started painting this oil on canvas in 1996 and worked on it until 1999. I don't know if it's an abstract comic as a whole but there are some abstract sequences within it so I hope you enjoy looking at it here.

Pencil drawing

doodled earlier tonight:

mechanical pencil with HB lead on 12" x 9" Bristol.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Abstract Comics

Hi my name is Blaise Larmee and this is my abstract comic. What is abstract comics? Abstract comics are interesting because there are many kinds. This blog is a community that pushes forward. The abstract comics are experimental or avant garde comics. Sometimes it seems like we haven't even scratched the surface of what is possible in comics! But the Abstract Comics Anthology (and this blog!) is a good place to start.

plane work

click here for the booked version

Friday, January 29, 2010

excerpt from a Lettriste hypergraphic novel

this, by Anne-Catherine Caron, is from her 1977 roman hypergraphique illustré J'écris mécaesthétiquement, également titré/equally titled J'écris à Bertrand, Roman & is sourced from LeLettrisme.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A thought I had a while back

I remember having this revelation in college. I was gonna make a strip about it but didn't know how to go about it so I thought I would mention it and see what people's reactions were. Anyways, here was my thought process that some of you might find interesting:

Comics are images in deliberate sequence
Written language is symbolic imagery in deliberate sequence
written language is a form of comics


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

'Found' Abstract Comic

found here, the tumbltr site didn't provide any information about where the images are from, who made them.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Abstract Form as Leitmotif: Frank Miller's "Spider-Man"

All right. After all the fireworks (which are still ongoing) on my Ditko post, I want to extend some of this investigation, but for now in a more modest fashion. (I will return later with another post on Ditko, which I'm guessing may continue the controversy; think of this one as a palate-cleanser, something like a lemon sorbet.) So. Let me say from the start this has nothing to do with any kind of word/image hierarchy, any interpretation of the work as an organic whole or not, any assignment of intentionality (well, maybe that last one just a tad). It's primarily an observation I made recently, and that to some extent I find fascinating precisely because it does not (easily) allow itself to be integrated into any higher interpretation of a work--or, rather, all such integrations I can think of seem too facile, which paradoxically amounts to the same thing.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Spinning Discs with Holes: Opaque, Translucent, and Color Translucent

Here is another strip I made a few different versions of and want your opinions on.
What do you think of the differences in these strips? Do you prefer one to another?

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

More on Ditko and abstraction

I wrote on Steve Ditko's connection to abstraction in the introduction to Abstract Comics, and so has Ken Parille in a great article on Blog Flume. (Go read Ken's article now, then come back here. Go, go! I'll wait.) So I was pretty excited when I saw a new post at Comics Comics, by AC contributor and blog member Jason Miles, post that at first glance (I should stop reading so rashly!) I thought continued the discussion in the same direction. However, after my first enthusiastic comment there, Jason explained that his intention had been to show how Ditko's layouts serve the narrative. Had I read his post a bit more carefully, I would have noticed this in his original text too, for example when he praises Ditko's techniques for being "respectfully appropriate to the story"--and, consequently, I wouldn't have been so quick to comment there that I agree with him. So this is a post about why I disagree.

Monday, January 18, 2010

RAW BOOK (pages)

click here for the booked version

Brandl: "Meta-Dailies: Fortsetzung"

From 2001. I was analyzing the structuring of typical "dailies" --- daily newspaper comic strips --- and creating abstract variations on that. I was also including the so-called ancillary elements of titles, names, the copyright notice, "to be continued tomorrow" captions and so on. What I enjoyed most was the combination of abstract images with the conventional accoutrements.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jenni Rope's Friday

Found this while digging through my collection of minicomics. Friday by Jenni Rope (Napa Books, 2005) is a small (3.5" x 2") book is a flipbook of abstract imagery. Like many abstract comics, it is sequence of transformation, expansion and contraction. From nothing, a bunch of beadlike objects slowly grow into a pattern, then they are encircled by lines. The beads slowly disappear and the lines between a dark circle which then shrinks into non-existence. Here's an image from Rope's website and two more that I scanned in.

The flipbook format is an interesting comics/animation variant. Is it one or the other? A bit of both?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

bds abstraites classiques

voici un croquis de Mœbius (Jean Giraud), de Chaos (édition anglais, Epic, 1991). je pense qu'il est un unique, pas une partie d'une série.

francophones, connectez svp les accomplissements des bdeurs abstraits avec ce blogue !

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Words and never-completed projects

Rosaire's post on words in abstract comics reminded me of this project I began in 2007, in collaboration with poet Jerrold Shiroma, which I never completed (this was supposed to be the first page of a 6 or 7-page adaptation of one of his poems):

From around the same time, here is a sketch of the first page of a possible treatment of Jack Kerouac's "Scripture of the Golden Eternity":

I think after doing this one page I convinced myself that I would not be able to carry this over the 60-some pages it would require and be able to keep up any kind of visual interest/visual narrative arc.

I would love to get some feedback on these, and whether you think it would be worthwhile for me to get back to and complete either piece.

Monday, January 11, 2010

As The If And

The challenge of mixing words and images (both abstract/ used abstractly) is getting them to touch or bounce off each other, getting them to interfere with each other's boundaries, getting them to trample or jump over the border between their separate rooms. Not the familiar redundant translation/ illustration gambit, not mirroring each other, but animating each other. I was thinking about this as I was making 'As The If And'.

Abstractionisms for your daily rhythm

In the spirit of Tim's previous post, here is another meaning of "abstract," as shown in Q-Tip's "Abstractionisms" from his album "Kamaal the Abstract," which was finally released in September (it was slated for release back in 2001, but it was shelved as not commercial enough. I had heard of it back then, wanted it, couldn't get it, forgot about it, then just came across news of its release ten minutes ago. Go buy it--I am going to. In the store, I mean. Get a physical copy of it, on CD or vinyl, I promise it won't bite.)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

general abstract nonsense

general abstract nonsense or abstract nonsense are terms used in category theory.

see, for example,

this post for fun, but also an example of the kind of tangent a word such as "abstract" can propel you onto.

abztract komix from Madrid

this is by Alfredo Santos. he has more, at & geometrical possible abstract comics at

Brandl: Sorta Abstract

This is a link to larger images from my last, 50-foot (15 meter) long, 12-foot (3.5 meter) high comic "installation." It is not abstract, yet is non-narrative, thus abstract in one of Andre's senses. My Metaphor(m): Meninas
Link here.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Ellsworth Kelly ca. 1950-52

(Thanks to Mark Badger, who first pointed out to me the possible connection between Kelly and abstract comics.)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Jeff Zenick abstract comic for sale on eBay

If I may, I want to point out that anthology contributor Jeff Zenick has the original art for a brand new abstract comic currently for sale on eBay--and it's a really good deal, too:

Two more days left--don't let this one get away, folks!

(Jeff also has other, non-abstract drawings on offer--click "see other items.")

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wandering Story

Hi everyone, I've been working on this piece over the course of a month. It was something I would keep to the side of my computer and work on for 10-20 minutes at a time as a break from other work. Many of you are familiar with my previous work on Stray Thoughts, and this is part of a conscious effort to keep the spur of the moment nature in my work.


- Chris

Monday, January 4, 2010

Spiral 18/20: Spiral Spiral: 100% Opacity & 50% Opacity

I don't know which of these I like better. What is your opinion? If I were to show one publicly, which would be the stronger piece?

100% Opacity----------------------------------50% Opacity
click to enlarge------------------------------------click to enlarge

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Least Wanted: A sequence from Komar and Melamid

(Re-sequenced from here. If you don't know about K&M's "Most Wanted" and "Least Wanted" project, here's an introduction.)

Glass Skies Sequence.

The sequence is best viewed horizontally here.

Below are the first 5 steps.