Friday funday – the simple idea of peoples’ feet in interesting or beautiful places
(click on image for site)
I find Sophie Ell’s work with pens and pencils very satisfying
There are great textures but also a great sense of atmosphere
Her comic work is a great mix of her drawing and conversational insight
Sophie has been interviewed for the site here
It’s the depth of field and physicality of his world’s that I love about Jake Wyatt’s work.
He just builds solid believable spaces and characters that move dynamically. As much as they’re real looking individuals, they’re also larger than life pantomime cartoons delivering emotional meaning through exagerated body language that makes it easy to parse.
This will STAND THE GENERATIONS award
There’s an urge in me to make this contrarian and go look for the more obscure option here. But that’s just daft because the whole point of this is to put out the work I most immediately feel has lasted, has maintained a relevance to the world and to those that are working here and now.
So – this one goes out to Nick Abadzis for Hugo Tate – details on Nick’s site here
I was having a conversation with someone and was reminded of Hugo Tate by Nick Abadzis
It’s such an incredible piece of comics. It’s not a work that blew my mind, it’s a work that formed a small part of me, at points visualising what was hidden in me. It also made me think about life and about comics and stories, how to tell them, what they’re worth within this world.
In particular, the scene with his father, early on in the series and just after his father’s death struck me then and continues with me now. It’s nearly 30 years later, but I can still see that page, with its stick figure characters and how rawly, openly and cleverly it details that emotional situation. That truly was and still is a high-water mark for comics storytelling.
Kenny Penman did the world a huge service bringing the book back into print and in putting it out in such a suitable format, a manner that evidences it’s worth very clearly. I don’t know how easy it is to get hold of copies of that book currently. I do know my library has a copy, as I’ve flipped through it many times, settling in to read 5 or 10 pages of I have a moment of quiet with my kids when there.
This is one of those things that episodic or chaptered comics does so well that doesn’t really exist in any other medium. You can grab 10-15 minutes with a work and get an excellent bit of a story in that time.
That string of tweets initiated a fair amount of feedback from UK comickers on how influential in opening their minds to what comics could do Hugo Tate was.
It’s a work that needs reprinting and distribution to as wide a base of readers as possible, both because of it’s worth to the medium and because of the great beating heart of humanity that lives within the work.
I’ve posted recommendations for Walking Distance in a few places a few times because it looks so amazing visually, and what I’ve seen online has struck a chord with me.
Walking is a very significant part of my life, it’s a part of who I am and how I think. Walking Distance feels like it manages a conversation that’s equally as personal and meaningful. Aside from Walking Distance, though, I’ve followed Lizzie’s work online for a few years as her illustration features such good design with form and colour casually managing the eye on the page.
Originally, I said that this would be – Best discovery I made in November (but it was really just being sar
Originally, I said that this would be – Best discovery I made in November (but it was really just being sarcastic) Then I received something in October that fitted the bill.
Which is an odd title for an award, but there we go.
Download from here
The winner is Nick Prolix with his Pannonica series (and experience)
Originally, I included this as a dig at all those bests of lists that come out in December thereby blowing off everything that comes out in December.
Then in October and again In November I read part of an ongoing series that struck me as amazing and original, but also as something that concretised a feeling I’d had for a while about UK comics and zines and where I’m seeing work that I would consider vital and important.
Petrichor, our initial award winner, is part of that wave. A wave that drives its visuals with non-representational art married to real life thoughts and emotions. It has narrative, but not story. Structure but not linearity.
Sort of a comic slipstream fiction, but nothing like it.
Why name it?
Pannonica was something very surprising to me, considering Nick’s normal mode of comics are very representational and timebound. Here’s this printed and hand made zine with abstract images. A zine related to tweets and Instagram posts. World building by building in the world rather than the fictional page. Yet, amazingly, it’s a work that still manages to be structured, human and about matters of life. Dealing with the humanity of his thoughts, his present concerns, his art history and art future. Not necessarily universal, but personally meaningful to me and timely – like it froze a wave and made a statue for generations to come to look upon.
What’s striking about Pannonica is how it creates narrative structure in the same manner as Nick’s story work, with call backs, shadowing plot points and running a theme through its paces.
Work that is something I’d never want to make, but really appreciated anyway
Work that I wish I had published in a large deluxe limited edition
I literally only know Sarah’s work from online – but god I wish I owned everything she has ever made.
I love her colour work; her choices of texture and pattern; her colour combinations are so vibrant, living and communicative I’d sink deep down into their glowing acid power like people claim to do with a Rothko.
What she achieves with computer textures makes me want to grab a pen and a brush and get that physically down on paper. Her art affects me the same Bill Sienkiewicz’s affected my childhood mind. I want to cut out and paste, to splash paint and hatch and scratch and design the page into perfect life. I want to perfect what they’ve put on paper, with my own hand because then I’ll have achieved a skill and greatness I could easily respect.
Which, I suppose, makes my choice either odd or contrary.
When I saw her post this double page from her current comic Aorta I contacted her straight away because it was just so impressive. All that texture to lose myself in – I actually put it up across the double screens I have at work. I saw it and just imagined holding a big – A3 page size big – hardback book; textured paper, almost like watercolour paper and that image crisply set into that paper, so deep it stretches beyond the edge of vision, like an IMAX movie. Comics suffers to keep itself cheap and avoid ‘being elitist’. But I don’t see why we can’t have expensive, deeply beautiful objects as vehicles to portray these works. I think this art deserve engaging with in a manner that let’s you obscure the world around and just sink into this glorious world of marks, movement, design and texture, like you’re climbing through a dark forest.
Being able to immerse yourself into the reality on paper and letting the work argue for the respect it so readily deserves.
I found Ze Burnay on tumblr where I enjoyed his character design, very tight cartooning on his figure work, a bit like Chester Brown. His backgrounds always had these great textured, detailed linework and I’ve really enjoyed seeing his character work develop along that way into the realistic style of his current graphic novel and illustrations.
Lovely to see a creator with such a versatile skillset.
Most Romantic work
Petrichor – by Gareth Hopkins (shop here)
This is my book of the year, no quibbles.
Until I read Gareth’s work, I would never have said that either romance or auto-biography would be the most important and urgent style I’m encountering in comics.
Yet, when I read this book I was moved nearly to tears, to rethink my own attitudes and to a sense of admiration for what was being said on these pages. I think Gareth’s work is amazing. I always have, from the moment I first saw it. But, generally, I’ve admired the images and the textures, structures, marks and sequencing. His work was very much visual pleasure.
Then he wrote Petrichor and later worked on Intercorstal: Extension which I’ve previously reviewed. Intercorstal: Extension was published prior to Petrichor, even though it was created after it. In both works the writing developed an elliptical, poetic and rhythmic style that dealt with life and memory as experiences rather than narrative. It’s almost poetry, but it’s not. I’d say it’s a clipped version similar in style to JG Ballard’s early novels, like The Drowned World. But somehow warm and human and emotionally affecting, whereas Ballard’s words are the experience of ennui.
Many works are labelled as being about love and death, it’s a great review cliché – this work is truly about the experience of both, of how living life comes with waves and troughs, how we change whilst staying the same person, maybe with altered priorities.
To be fair – it’s not going to be for everyone, it’s not narrative, it’s got no images of things, there’s marks and short, clipped lines of text. But if you let yourself experience it, it’s like being in the heart and mind of that person as life happens around them. Beautiful and poignant. Ultimately, it’s satisfying to see a book dedicated to sharing an individual’s humanity and love.
These are my way of thinking about what has mattered to me in zines and comics this year.
As much as they’re a way of recognising what I’ve found excellent, they’re also a thank you and a chart of what mattered to me at a time and place.
I don’t know whether these will matter to people, but then I’m not going to not do something from fear of embarrassing silence.
Originally there were going to be 5 awards, for the terribly practical reason that I could roll out an award a day over a week. Then something big happened in 2019 so now there’s going to be 6.
I think in the end, I’d like to see other people respond in kind to these awards and just do something that tells other people, but particularly the creators, why they liked their work in a little bit more detail and depth than a like, a purchase or an ‘Awesome’ – nothing wrong with that, but I think it’s great for people to take a minute and engage with the question of what they enjoyed about a certain work, consider the essential ‘thing’ within them that it satisfied.
Here are the categories:
1- Most Romantic work
2- Work that I wish I had published in a large deluxe limited edition
3- Work that is something I’d never want to make, but really appreciated anyway
4- Originally I said that this would be – Best discovery I made in November (but it was really just being sarcastic) Then I received something in October that fitted the bill
5- This will STAND THE GENERATIONS award
6- Mystery award
not sure whose artwork is being shown on here, there seems to be a whole group.
it’s great stuff though