Friday, June 02, 2006

SHAPER OF WORLDS!

Oh, man. Took me longer than I thought find this image. I think some Savage Critic mentioned him the other day. How can you not love that guy? I can't find his first appearance, but I'm sure it was in battle with the Hulk at a time when Kirby defined the Marvel House Style, but certainly wasn't drawing the Hulk. Or designing his enemies. Shaper of Worlds!

Halfway through the b&w printing. All my side ones are done. Tonight, I begin printing side twos. Maybe I'm not so far behind afterall. I'm feeling the energy coming back to me. I think it helps that I've gotten good and pissed off at the office. Thanks, clients! Thanks, Doug!

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Picked up Dan Nadel's Art Out of Time: Unknown Comics Visionaries, 1900–1969. My first reaction was that there were certainly some artists or cartoons I had seen somewhere. The Boodie Rogers and "White Boy" strips, Nostrand's piece, the Upsidedowns, Ogden Whitney, Fletcher Hanks and a few others. It's possible that some of these were printed in other places in order to prepare us for this book. I'm not sure.

There's definitely some wonderful stuff in here, and all the cartooninsts deserve some recognition. The volume is attractive, but it's also one of the most frustrating books I've ever seen. I have two major complaints with this book:

1) A LOT of this work is printed too small. Someone made several design decisions (the book's dimensions, not clipping the gutters around the reprinted pages and the unneccesary gutters of the pages themselves). There's an attempt to give the book the look of a monograph, but almost all of the artwork could easily have been presented larger and most of it really should have been.

A book about finally revealing the work of unheralded artists shouldn't be presented in such a way that the work remains mysterious.

2) The book is not recolored. Back when The Comics Journal's message board was still breathing a bit, there was something of a discussion about the 'correctness' of having Bernie Krigstein's comics recolored for those gorgeous reprint editons. Much of the recoloring was done by the original colorist (and one of the most talented), but when it wasn't, other corrections were made by the book's editor. The result was spectacular.

Art Out of Time takes a different approach. Newspapers and comic books are photographed and/or scanned and reproduced without correction. Paper is yellowed (often unevenly). Color is faded, flaked off, severly off-register or all three.

The very first examples in the book are the most depressingly reproduced, suffering from all of the above problems. Somewhere beneath the squalid reproduction is a most amazingly beautiful comic in the dreamlike vein of Windsor McCay. But the Sunday pages are reduced to the point that words are illegible, the pages that were scanned were initially printed with the colors off-register by a good 1/8 of an inch. The paper has yellowed, turning bright whites into disrespectful browns. The color has faded and flaked to the point of losing its luster and making several backgrounds, done entirely as color holds, nearly invisible.

There's some fantastic swork in here. Really, incredible gems have been unearthed, complete with brief historical and biographical details. Comics that should be seen and read and looked upon with some regularity. Exciting lines and forms, shapes and colors, words and phrases all fill the book. I have no doubt as too the love Nadel and other contributors share for these comics. I just wish it was all presented in a way that made that love a little more palpable.

7 Comments:

Blogger Marcos Perez said...

i appreciate your dedication to printing all that shit out rather than photocopying.
it's interesting how our little quirks lead us to make more work for ourselves.

you should look into a laser printer. faster, more economical, and, from my experience, the lines look a lot crisper.

swinging elbows with poverty and laser printers!
think i might ask my folks for one come december.

1:42 PM  
Blogger Marcos Perez said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:42 PM  
Blogger Justin J. Fox said...

I'm on the fence on laser printers. There's something... strange about what I've seen.

I'd love to see what one of my pages looks like lasered though.

Economically, it comes out cheaper to do the printouts myself, even if it's ten times the work.

And when the printer doesn't suck ingrownhairs from my balls, I prefer the quality.

4:51 PM  
Blogger Marcos Perez said...

and that workload increases the more stuff we do! getting to the point where i'm going to be ok with being "out of print" for a while.
suppose it dends on the printers. but the masters for ML, i printed out the first 2 carl master on laser at old work and they looked great.
one of those things worth researching i suppose.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Justin J. Fox said...

I'd have to look again. Wasn't that decades ago?

Out of Prince is going to be the new black come 07.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Marcos Perez said...

dont want to spend foerver making shit!

5:34 PM  
Blogger Justin J. Fox said...

True dat. True dat.

I'm thinking about no more books being needing cuttings. all folds or Lou's Leafs! Or "make-your-owns"!

5:53 PM  

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