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THE BLOG AT THE CROSSROADS


Gaijin Mangaka: A Constant Light

Posted: September 18, 2016

Something extraordinary is happening right now in the wider global manga movement outside Japan, a further sea-change in its irrepressible revolution and evolution, and the special 25th issue of Latvian colour mini-format anthology š! captures a vital snapshot of this through 164 full-colour A6-size pages of brand-new work by some key current innovators working outside Japan. From the ceaseless two-way ebb-and-flow of influences between manga and Western comics, co-editors Berliac and David Schilter have gathered an exciting crop of contemporary ‘gaijin mangaka’, so-called ‘foreign comics creators’, predominantly young writer-artists from Europe and North and South America. Read my introduction to this landmark compilation here…


François Boucq : Twisted Tales

Posted: September 6, 2016

Meet the versatile French virtuoso who brings colourful life to the maverick westerns of movie-maker Alejandro Jodorowsky, the intrigues of novelist Jerome Charyn and his own delirious fantasies. In his award-winning graphic novel written by Jerome Charyn, The Magician’s Wife, a detective as dapper as Hercule Poirot observes: “People aren’t really like the image they try to project… they ignore their own mystery.” People, and things, are frequently not what they seem in the unnervingly skewed observations of the phenomenal comics creator François Boucq. Read my profile of Boucq here…


Marcel Ruijters: Hieronymus Bosch

Posted: August 28, 2016

Hieronymus is a vibrant graphic biography commissioned by the Bosch500 Foundation from award-winning Dutch underground cartoonist Marcel Ruijters. He cleverly refers to several of Bosch’s works and creatures, but avoids any attempt to re-create actual paintings, instead illustrating with a vigorous woodcut style and aptly grotesque caricaturing. Read my profile and interview of Ruijters and his new 2-page ‘bonus’ Bosch Strip here…


Top 22 Comics, Graphic Novels & Manga: October 2016

Posted: August 19, 2016

You can tell Christmas is coming! Blimey, this is quite a month’s worth! The histories of Muhammad Ali, Salvador Dalí, John James Audubon, even the game phenomenon Tetris are all told in comics for you. And there’s plenty of daring original graphic fiction on offer here, ranging from the second volume in Rob Davis’s mind-warping alternative England, to a new manga thriller by the duo behind Death NoteRead my Pg Tips for October 2017 here…


Alexander Tucker: In The Forcefield

Posted: August 5, 2016

What Tucker began as a series of single-page episodes as a distraction from the demands of the Shandor epic has culminated this year in his new ongoing graphic novel World in the Forcefield from Breakdown Press. Read my profile and interview with Tucker and his new 2-page comic for ArtReview magazine here…


Blutch: American Dreaming

Posted: July 30, 2016

Although he is fixated on American culture, French cartoonist Blutch is not widely known in English-speaking countries. Blutch is admired and influential for his daring draughtsmanship and ceaseless innovation of his bandes dessinées. He was born Christian Hincker in 1967 in Strasbourg, France. He would go on to win the Grand Prix in Angoulême in 2009. With Peplum, one of his masterworks, newly translated from New York Review Comics (below). it’s the right time to talk to this acclaimed, ever-challenging creator. Read my interview with him here…


Igort: Capturing Life

Posted: July 16, 2016

Igort Tuveri, who publishes under the name of Igort, was born in 1958 in Cagliari, Sardinia, yet grew up surrounded by Russian culture. His father was a classical composer inspired by Russian music and his grandmother would tell him the stories of the great Russian novels before he could read. “Chekov, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Tolstoy were like imaginary uncles to me. I used to speak with them at home as if they were real.”  These formative tastes would colour the rest of his life and his multi-faceted creativity. Read my two profiles about him here…


Top 25 Comics, Graphic Novels & Manga: September 2016

Posted: July 6, 2016

Can you feel the vibes? The vibrancy of global comics culture is demonstrated at its brightest in these imminent offerings. They range from never-before-seen debut strips by the great Will Eisner to Alan Moore’s long, and long-anticipated prose novel Jerusalem. Cultural icons like Adolf Hitler, Aleister Crowley, Elvis Presley, Andy Warhol, Kurt Cobain and the Irishman hanged for treason Roger Casement feature in revelatory (semi-) or biographical graphic novels.

In particular, British comics past and present are in rude health, reviving at last the spooky classics in Misty, commemorating the 2,000th edition of 2000 AD, and with strong new works by Isabel Greenberg and Tom Gauld, while there are English translations of fine comics from France, Italy, Japan and Norway. Take a look below, I hope you find some comics to look forward to…  Read my PG Tips here…


Comic Invention: Interview with Co-Curator Laurence Grove

Posted: June 19, 2016

Here is my interview with Dr. Laurence Grove, the co-curator of an exhibition exploring how comics have been constantly reinvented. From Egyptian hieroglyphics to Frank Quitely’s originals, the multi-themed Comic Invention mixes ancient and modern, fine art and comics art, Scottish and international, to make four exhibitions in one. This is also represented in the enlightening catalogue, or more accurately four catalogues plus a reproduction of part of the first issue of The Glasgow Looking Glass of 1825, all housed inside an elegant box (below). This landmark exhibition runs from March 18th to July 17th 2016 at the Hunterian Art Gallery in Glasgow. Read the interview here…


Top Comics, Graphic Novels and Manga Coming August 2016

Posted: June 4, 2016

Rich pickings this coming August. It’s not every month you get original and translated graphic novels from Jules Feiffer, Moebius, Raina Telgemeier, Cyril Pedrosa, Dash Shaw, Nate Powell, Greg Cook, Ben Haggarty & Adam Brockbank, not to mention newcomers like Sarah Lippett and the English debuts of Lucas Varela (a recommended wordless science fiction gem, cover below) and Ezequiel Garcia from Argentina, and Pablo Auladell and a whole anthology of other creators from Spain. Then among the books about comics, throw in a lavish catalogue for a major Steve Ditko exhibition and a nearly 600-page history of pioneering publishers Fantagraphics Books.

Still, for me the standout has to be Black Dog: The Dreams Of Paul Nash, Dave McKean’s dream-life story of War Artist Paul Nash. I think this may be McKean’s most evocative and provocative total masterwork yet, a new highpoint in his already stratospheric creative flow. I was lucky enough to get a front-row seat on May 28th for the world premiere at The Lakes International Comic Art Festival of the intensely moving live multi-media performance which accompanies it. It will performed again this October at Lakes (more details here) and is totally unmissable and unforgettable. Read my PG Tips here…


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