Saturday, August 27, 2011

"Expedition to the Interior" on Ubuweb

My piece "Expedition to the Interior" is now part of the Ubuweb visual poetry archive, and available for download as a Ubu editions pdf, at a much higher resolution than it was previously on my website. (It's number 010 under "Various Books, Manuscripts, Poems & Ephemera." EDIT:  it's now all alphabetical.)

(page 3)

Here is the direct link to the pdf, but really you should explore the entire archive, beautifully curated by Derek Beaulieu. Thanks, Derek!

EDIT: Derek wanted the work to be presented on its own merits, with little accompanying text, a decision with which I fully agree. Nevertheless, some of you might be interested in the text that accompanied the piece when it was published in Blurred Vision 4, in 2008. The editor, Kevin Mutch, asked all contributors to write brief introductions to their pieces, and this is what I came up with:

For a while now I have been interested in the possibility of abstract comics, and especially in playing with shapes that are just under the threshold of legibility: shapes that, ideally, will suggest several representational alternatives but will not allow the reader to settle on any single interpretation. In such cases, an added title may help orient the reading, but hopefully it too will remain vague enough not to straitjacket the strip. “Expedition to the Interior” is an old expression, often encountered, for example, in nineteenth-century reports to the Royal Geographic Society, denoting the exploration of previously uncharted lands, far from the well-known coastlines—lands such as the Congo, the Amazon forest, or the central territories of Australia. Alternately, it could also refer to a journey to the center of the earth, perhaps one of the Jules Verne sort. Additionally, I hope the word “Expedition” will retain here its military resonance.

I had already penciled the strip and was inking the second or third page when I realized that I was channeling—or, to sound more modest, maybe I should say “imitating,” or “inspired by”—Mike Royer inking Jack Kirby. The further pages—which I inked in order—show the direct influence of these two great artists, and it may be that from the very beginning, albeit unconsciously, I was following in my own way their example.

Abstract comics, if they do nothing else, can show us that, beyond the storyline, comics also lead the reader from one panel to the next, from one page to the next, by virtue of a formal force that I would dub “sequential energy.” Kirby’s work—as well as Steve Ditko’s—par excellence displays such energy, which may lie at the very essence of what the medium of comics is. I’d like to think that all I have done here is to foreground this force, in the absence of any words, plot, or recognizable characters or settings.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Spiral Animation

An Abstract animation I created this week.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Some of my summer's crop of drawings

I posted some of my drawings from May through August at blotcomics. Click on the pic:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

La construction de la case


After an epic battle with blogger, It appears it was not possible to publish a new work, La construction de la case, on abstract comics. Too bad.

Here he is, but I'm quite disapointed having to relocate it.

Well, sorry for my approximative english nice day to everybody and have fun.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Randomizing panels

Hello all. Working on a project to generate abstract comics out of pre-loaded elements. Just finished the first step: . Hopefully the embed also works below.

Friday, August 5, 2011

5 from kevin mcpherson eckhoff's rhapsodomancy

As a closer look at kevin mcpherson eckhoff's rhapsodomancy (Toronto: Coach House, 2010) (which i discussed here), here are 5 excerpts:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Not Quite Abstract Comics

My Life in Records is relaunching!  This newest issue contains a remastered and reworked version of the very first My Life in Records story, plus two new "B Side" stories that are only available in the print version of the comic.

The release date for My Life in Records #1 is September 15, 2011, but you can preorder it now for a reduced price ($5.00) and also enjoy FREE SHIPPING!

If you can't wait until then to read the first pages of the book, you can read the remastered Prologue on Google+.  While you are there, add me to your circles and see more behind the scenes stuff.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Abstract Language #1: kevin mcpherson eckhoff’s Rhapsodomancy.

Andrei Molotiu has been kind enough to invite me to contribute to Abstract Comics: The Blog as a guest columnist and for that I thank him. These on-going columns, entitled “Abstract Language,” will consist of reviews and discussions of visual poetry – the poetry that treats language abstractly – as a physical media manipulated atomistically (as opposed to based it usage on meaning and comprehension). The columns will explore the intersecting Venn diagrams of abstract comics and visual poetry.
The traditional poetic impulse is a refutation of language’s inherent failures. It is the attempt to make language perform the impossible, to lucidly reconnoiter the ineffable. Metaphorical language is an acknowledgement of language’s inherent downfall. Language is too tied to thingness, to objects and gestures to plumb the depths of the human soul. This is not to say that metaphorical language does not have moments of beauty and grace, but those moments are the result of a larger failure. As poets, we attempt to bend language to our lyrical will. What results is inevitably a failure, but poetry exists in the degree to which the poem fails.
kevin mcpherson eckhoff’s Rhapsodomancy explores language’s inherent failures and surveys how those failures become poetic. mcpherson eckhoff uses two abandoned languages—Shorthand (created by Sir Isaac Pitman in 1837) and Unifon (created by John Malone in the 1950s) to visually tie concrete poetry (an ostracized poetic form) to sleight of hand, comic strips, optical illusions and apantomancy (the divination of the future through scattered objects).

Rhapsodomancy’s “Disavowals: Optical Allusions” recreate traditional optical illusions with Unifon characters. Each of the fourteen visual poems playful challenge the reader to define their own poetic foreground / background relationship; the pillar of “I” warps, one of the arms of “E” falls into emptiness, the “O” is a linguistic Gordian knot.

The “optical allusions” in “Disavowals” belie the illusion of poetry; strain your eyes as much as you’d like, vertigo is inevitable.
As hopeful as apantomancy (the divination of the future from astrology, palm-reading, tea-leaf reading which ultimately reveal more about the reader than the read) may be, poetry is just as naïvely optimistic. Poets have become literary palm-readers, not because they can divine or influence the future (gone are the days when poets were members of the court or endowed by the ruling classes to celebrate and immortalize their accomplishments), but because they are the literary equivalent of a tarot-reader in a secluded tent at a creative anachronist fair. Poetry has become Unifon: a language largely abandoned to specialists and anachronists who pine for a return to an imagined poetic heyday.
Rhapsodomancy revels in the exuberant, playful poetics of failure. The meaning “stamped on [the] lifeless things” of poetry is merely an illusion, a “now you see it, now you don’t.” Poetry is no longer the beautiful expression of emotive truths; it is the archæological re-arrangement of the remains of an ancient civilization. Faced with the “two vast and trunkless legs of stone” of Shorthand and Unifon (and by extension of poetry itself), mcpherson eckhoff realizes P.B.Shelley’s plea that “[r]ound the decay / of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare / The lone and level sands stretch far away,” sits down and makes sandcastles in the rubble.


Over July I finished a 24 page minimal experimental comic called within. Page 1 here.