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THE BLOG AT THE CROSSROADS


Books To Read: Best Graphic Novels October 2014

Posted: July 31, 2014

The range and ambition of comics today continue to surprise and impress, as my personally recommended titles prove again this month. Biographies of Marx, Stefan Zweig or Michael Jordan, a thrilling expansion of Richard McGuire’s seminal “Here” short story into a 320-page tour de force, a Jim Henson lost story rediscovered, the welcome returns of Euro-stars Winshluss, Schrauwen and Schuiten & Peeters, exciting upcoming talents and some vintage treasures reprinted, with a focus on comic-book women from the Golden Age - and even a horror yarn set in an Ikea-style furniture store and packaged like one of their catalogues!

Among so many delights, I want to highlight the important solo debut by Rob Davis, whose Don Quixote stands as one of the finest and wittiest literary adaptations into comics I’ve every enjoyed. In the footsteps of SelfMadeHero’s other break-out original graphic novels like Glynn Dillon’s The Nao of Brown, Ilya’s Room For Love, Oscar Zarate’s The Park and I.N.J Culbard’s Celeste, now The Motherless Oven looks like being one of the most unpredictable and provocative parables of the season, the arrival of Davis as a major complete auteur and visionary voice. Not to be overlooked! Clear some more shelf space, it’s another bumper crop this October. Read about all my recommendations here…


Don’t Miss Guardian Graphic Novel Masterclass This Sunday!

Posted: July 24, 2014

I am opening this Sunday’s How To Create And Publish A Graphic Novel one-day masterclass. I will then be joined by Toby Litt, Stephen Appleby and Karrie Fransman who are sure to inform and inspire. Two days to go to book, hope to see some of you there!


Batman’s 75th Birthday on Radio One’s Mark Forrest Show!

Posted: July 24, 2014

I was interviewed on Radio One’s Mark Forrest Show to discuss Batman’s 75th Birthday on Wednesday night. You can listen in from 01:04:25 to 01:12:40 and hear me give due credit to the original Batman writer and co-creator Bill Finger, and then I rattle on as well about Tintin, Thunderbirds and of course the amazing Comics Unmasked exhibition at The British Library!


Emmanuel Guibert: Memories And Memoirs

Posted: July 22, 2014

As Emmanuel Guibert turns fifty this year, three overriding goals have come to motivate him: “Making people, especially children, laugh, so that I can get back to the source of my love of comics and give kids all that I felt myself when reading my favourites. Then, trying to capture life through reportage. And finally, collaborating with friends I get along with well but who are also very different from me, so they take me where I’d never go on my own.” The results are a vibrant diversity of projects and approaches from a natural collaborator, whether he is working as writer or artist with his fellow French comics creators, or with his close friends, transforming their memories into unforgettable graphic memoirs. Read my new Article here…


Extra Late Openings For Comics Unmasked Exhibition!

Posted: July 16, 2014

Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK is proving to be one of the most popular exhibitions ever staged by The British Library. Due to high demand for tickets especially at weekends and Tuesday evenings, the BL has just announced the following additional late openings, allowing you to visit the show till 8.00pm on the evenings of:

Thursday July 24th; Thursday July 31st; Thursday August 7th; Monday August 11th; Wednesday August 13th; Thursday August 14th: and Monday August 18th.

Times and ticket booking can be found online here. Don’t miss your chance to catch this mind-expanding, once-in-a-lifetime exploration of British comics which has to close of Tuesday August 19th at 8pm precisely!


Adrian Edwards, Comics Unmasked Co-Curator, on Panel Borders!

Posted: July 13, 2014

It was a privilege and pleasure for John Harris Dunning and I to collaborate as co-curators over the last two years with Adrian Edwards from The British Library on the current exhibition Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK, on display at the Library until August 19th. Adrian is interviewed on Resonance FM’s comics programme Panel Borders as part of a month of episodes looking at the connections between comics and literature.

Alex Fitch talks to Adrian in a Q and A recorded at Cartoon County in Brighton. Adrian discusses how he helped put together the exhibition - which looks at over one hundred years of British comics - with co-curators Paul Gravett and John Dunning, the marketing of the show and some of the more controversial items on display in the library from Aleister Crowley’s Tarot Cards to examples of comic book erotica.

First broadcast at 4.30pm Monday 14th July, repeated 11am Thursday 17th July on Resonance 104.4 FM (London). Also streamed at Resonance FM online, or listen to the extended podcast at Panel Borders website.


Comics Unmasked: A Co-Curator’s Top Ten Best In Show

Posted: July 13, 2014

After two years spent rummaging through the British Library’s vast comics collection in London, co-curator John Harris Dunning and I have cherry-picked around two hundred items to display in Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK. Simply this country’s largest ever exhibition of British comics spanning centuries, it’s arranged in six thematic sections exploring violence, society, politics, sex, heroes and altered states, and continues daily till August 19th. From Jamie Hewlett’s sassy new mascot Lawless Nelly to Dave McKean’s brilliant design concepts, from prints, publications, scripts, sketches and original artwork to artefacts, audio and video clips, webcomics and Sequential’s iPad samplers, it’s really tough to choose, but here’s my personal Top Ten (I’d probably choose another Top Ten tomorrow!). And don’t miss the final weekend, August 15th to 17th, when Comica Festival presents in the BL Foyer a free Comica Comiket Fair & Drawing Parade, and a programme of celebrity panels and signings in the Conference Centre, including Bryan Lee O’Malley and Emmanuel Guibert. Read all about my Top Ten choices here…


Battle Of The Eyes Paint Live at Streatham Festival!

Posted: July 9, 2014

Edwin Pouncey and Chris Long, alias art-gang Battle Of The Eyes, are part of the Art23 programme of the 2014 Streatham Festival. On Saturday July 12th from 1pm they will “painting for real in real time” before your very eyes in the Oxfam Furniture Shop at 24-26 The High Parade on Streatham High Road, London SW16 1EX. Don’t miss their latest visual, visceral performance! BOTE are also opening up their studio on July 11th and 12th - for more details of when and where to visit, check their website…


Pop Matters Gives Comics Art 9-Out-Of-10 Rave Review!

Posted: July 9, 2014

“Gravett loves comics.” Mightily chuffed about this long, considered review by Daniel Rasmus, including Dorothy Fields music clip, at Pop Matters of my recent book Comics Art from Tate in the UK and Yale University Press in the US. Here’s an extract:

“Known as one of England’s foremost authorities on comics, Paul Gravett was in the mood for love when he wrote Comics Art, a book that demonstrates his deep passion for the world of panels, speech balloons, fine lines and grand colors, subtle shading and transformative images. In Gravett’s view, comics create heightened reality, a third-person perspective that passes life through a variety lenses to alter the ordinary so that we learn to appreciate simple moments with greater heart, and when necessary, to fear the dreadful and the dishonest more deeply than allowed by the overburdened filters of the human mind.”

Read the rest of it here…


Reinhard Kleist Interview: Harry Haft - The Boxer

Posted: July 6, 2014

After American music legend Johnny Cash and Communist Cuban leader Fidel Castro, Reinhard Kleist turns to Polish Jewish boxer and Holocaust survivor Harry Haft (above) in the latest of his compelling graphic biographies which reveal the secrets of extraordinary 20th century lives.  For the launch of The Boxer, translated into English by SelfMadeHero, the German artist came from Berlin to the Goethe Institut in London for an interview with me and shared his fascination with documenting complex personalities in comics. Read my Interview with Kleist here…


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