As Dylan and I weep silently for the loss of Confounded Books, the excellent independent shop selling fine printed works to young and old alike, there are still a few reasons to revel in the emerald hue of this great city we call home.
To be honest, I’ve been really surprised to read about how many bloggers are going to Emerald City ComiCon. One of my favorite bloggers, Polite Dissent, is going to be there, along with Comics Should Be Good. It makes me sad since we decided a while back that APE would take the whole of our convention funds this year. While I do admit the exhibitor list left me a tad lukewarm (especially since most I want to see will be at APE), I feel like there is an esprit de corps among comic fans in Seattle. And I’ve left my fellow brethren to fend for themselves. I’m a bad, bad comic fan.
Harvey Pekar is making an appearance at Town Hall. And it’s sponsored by the best book shop in all of Seattle, Elliott Bay Books. Yes, moan and groan and give me ten reasons why you hate him while telepathically sending me ten reasons why he is your hero. I personally like him, and I will go encounter the crazy-eyebrowed, egocentric, scary man giddily.
Olympia Comic Fest. I won’t bore anyone reading this with the reasons, as I’ve already posted about it before. But do note that if you live in the area and are an independent comic book fan and don’t attend without some major catastrophe as an excuse, I will think you suck. And if brave and filled with booze, I might even tell you myself.
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The Seattle Public Library sponsored a “Seattle Reads Persepolis” event with author Marjane Satrapi at Town Hall. I’m so there. I’m really glad that I move to a city that puts funds towards events like this.
Akin to a toddler being potty trained, I have passed a major indicator of comic fan maturity. In my arrested development, there is something that I’ve been meaning to do, that I should have done a long time ago, and am finally doing. Partially inspired by Sophie’s tackling of the book, and partially due to it constantly staring at me from Dylan’s bookshelf, I am knee-deep in Watchmen territory.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to share any amateur opinion or “revelation” about it. Anything that is noteworthy about the book has already been beaten to death. Because it’s so damn good. And now I can say that I agree.
The only tidbit I can add to the chorus of comments is to note that listening to kid606, or any other type of fast-tempo electronic music should be discouraged as reading music. I found myself rushing my reading while listening to it. Instead, a suggestion might be something closer to Broken Social Scene: smart, even tempos, and not terribly distracting.
2 comments | Categories: Randomata | Permalink
Sad news for Seattle comics lovers. Confounded Books, on Pine St. in Capitol Hill, will be closing on April 29th. Follow that link to the Comics Journal message board for the full press release.
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Hope Larson’s second book-length work, Gray Horses, follows her debut, Salamander Dream, by only a few months. It is a similarly slim volume, at slightly over 100 pages, and like Salamander Dream, it is printed in a two-tone color scheme.
Gray Horses is about Noemie, a French girl moving to Chicago to study art. There are several plot threads entwined in her story, making the book one part coming-of-age story, one part fish-out-of-water tale, and one part supernatural mystery. While the multiple stories may not affect each other directly, the way Seinfeld episodes end up piling plot threads together into a perfectly resolved heap, but they all contribute to Noemie’s growth as a character, giving her the confidence to move through her strange surroundings and adpot them as her own.
Photographs play an important role in the story, showing up in several contexts. Noemie keeps a photograph of a boy next to her bed in the apartment she rents in Chicago, and it’s significance becomes clear as the story progresses, revealing Noemie’s level of attachment to a past that has already disappeared. There are the photographs of Noemie, taken by a shy and flight-prone boy, in a series of scenes reminiscent of Brian Wood’s Local #2, without the creepy aspect. And most importantly, there is the photgraph that turns up at the end of a trail of horse-shaped images that appear to Noemie in various contexts: in the lemon juice “invisible ink” drawing her friend Anna makes for her, in the shadows in one of her secret admirer’s photographs, and in the peeling wallpaper of her apartment. It’s this last photograph, and the dream sequences that lead to it, that tie together her experiences. This experience, of mementos of the past bringing some meaning or resolution to a third party in the present, reminded me of the early scenes of Amelie. In fact, much of the story carries the same tone of romantic whimsy.
Hope’s art style is simple but expressive. There’s a precise, economical quality to her linework, reminiscent of Seth at times, most notably in her architectural elements. She has an elegant lettering style as well, using cursive lettering to inegrate sounds and smells in the artwork, and giving her dialogue a home in curlicued word ballons whose tails twist around each other without impairing readability. There’s a wonderful variation in the density of her art as well, with heavy blacks piling up in the intense dream sequences, and the warm peach color holding more importance in the daylight scenes, and often defining the shape of the freeform, borderless panels.
Hope is shaping up to be a formidable talent in her generation of young comics artists. Her work is formally experimental, without losing focus on the highly accessible and affecting stories she tells. And she’s well-rounded, handling every aspect of her books (script, art, colors, lettering) with an obvious attention to detail. Check out her current ongoing autobio webcomic, She’s From Away, to get a taste of her work.
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While sifting through teenage melodrama and stupid quizzes, I came across interesting facts about one of my favorite comic characters, Scott Pilgrim. Live and direct from Mal’s Livejournal:
He wears tighty whiteys.
Vera Brogsol, who I adore, will be in one of the final crowd scenes.
Scott played DnD.
Final Fantasy 3 is one of his favorite video games.
There is some inconclusive yet encouraging talk of some hot Wallace/Scott action.
Many other nuggets are buried in this exciting, revealing post (don’t worry, there are no spoilers). It’s awesome to read, especially since I am almost foaming at the mouth to get in on the Volume 3 action. I suppose this will have to placate me for a bit, since hearing that he isn’t done with it is totally disheartening.
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On Friday, Seattle’s University Bookstore hosted a meet-the-author event with Jessica Abel, on the occasion of the release of the collected edition of La Perdida, a book about a young woman’s turbulent stay in Mexico. We managed to show up late to the event, but caught the last 15 or 20 minutes of her Q and A session. She went into her writing process, where she starts with a dialogue-only script and then proceeds to break that down into pages and panels before doing any sort of thumbnail process, and her artistic influences for the book most notably Paul Pope, and his loose, brushy style. Like Pope, she work mainly in the inking stage, using pencils to rough in figures and guides before doing the heavy lifting with a brush. She also spoke about her upcoming projects, a textbook on comics co-written with her husband, Matt Madden; and a graphic novel about “vampires in love” titled Life Sucks.
It was a small but appreciative audience (except perhaps for the man up front who kept insisting, without provocation, “no habla espanol”…which was odd, considering the entire presentation was in english). Also in attendance was Seattle local Jason Lutes, of Berlin and Jar of Fools fame. So of course, I had to have a brief fanboy moment with him on the way out…
Picked up a copy of the gorgeous La Perdida hardcover while I was there, which is now signed and skethced in. I haven’t had the chance to read it yet (and probably won’t for a little while, having recently read the individual issues released by Fantagraphics). I do hear that there have been some changes from the original version, so it’ll be interesting to compare against Serene’s copies.
Anyways…looks like it’s worth paying attention to the U. Bookstore’s schedule of apeparances, as we’ve already missed Seth there, a couple of months ago. Seems like they have decent comics related events on a somewhat regular basis.
2 comments | Categories: Artist, Seattle | Permalink