Archive for November, 2010

Recent Comics

I started following adult-themed comics in the late eighties, when I was doing research on “zines,” super-small-circulation publications zeroing in on a single topic and typically made by one or at most a few persons. I met a lot of great people via their zines (and was briefly engaged to one zine author/publisher). I’ve kept all that correspondence, including a charming note from Julie Doucet, who was publishing her dreamy, explicit work in micro-comic format. I remember showing her work to a close friend of mine. He was incredulous: “I never thought you were into pornography.” I’m *not*, I said, and *it’s* not. I wasn’t sure what Doucet’s work was, actually, but I knew that it sure was the start of something new and wonderful, and I knew that I was hooked. The publishing house Drawn & Quarterly was founded to publish Doucet’s series of comics, called Dirty Plotte, in conventional comic magazine format and then as books. (D&Q later published a number of other autobiographical comics by folk like Seth, Debbie Drechsler, Chester Brown, Joe Matt, and Gabrielle Bell.) Doucet became perhaps the most influential artist of her time; God knows how many girls (and boys) started writing and drawing after reading her work. Doucet, alas, has given up the comics genre. I haven’t, though.

This week’s reading:

No one inks dystopia better than Charles Burns.

Nicolas Debon’s “Four Pictures by Emily Carr” was the perfect book to follow Burns’. The great Canadian artist’s boldness led her to the beauty she painted and gave her real joy.

I’ve just started this collection, with a story by the winsome Gabrielle Bell called “Mixed Up Files.” Bell beautifully depicts the quotidian, plain exchanges people make with one another. I love her stuff.