Sunday, September 10, 2006


I keep meaning to check out Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith's Fell. I got a little Ellis-ed out a while ago, and wasn't ready to jump back in the pond when it came out. I think my enjoyment of Casanpova has put me in a place where I can get into it. The two are part of a mini line at Image comics, both sharing a similar format: 16 pages of story, four or five pages of "back-matter" (essays, behind-the-scenes annecdotes and images) and a $1.99 price point.

Content-wise, there are some other similarities. Both books feature a single protaginist in a fairly recognizable genre setting (detective noir and psychadelic super spy). Both are written by pop-culture obsessives who like to make a lot of music analogies to their writing processes (the format is another of Ellis' stabs at creating pop-album singles in comics form, Fraction likens Casanova's stories to Phil Spector's Wall of Sound productions). Both have art by guys with styles that place them just outside the mainstream.

I thought both books were two-color productions, as well, but it appears Fell is fully painted.

This was a bit of a revelation to me. I was thinking about the books, thinking, "hmm... this could be an interesting challenge..."

What if I were to create a 16-page story with a pop-music aesthetic and some "backmatter". Well, Ellis' pop-music mind tends to lean towards the gothy britpop sound (I'll know for sure when I checkk it out) and Fraction tends to veer in the direction of late sixties pop. That's great, and I have a love of both, but what if someone wanted the comic to be more — reflective — of contemporary pop? Might contemporary R&B or Hiphop be a natural fit?

And that got my head back into that question I've been flirting with myself for a few years now, "What would a hiphop comic actually look like?"

So, I had some vague images in my head, and I started thinking about them in a pop-music structure. And then I saw some pages of Fell online. The fully painted art gave me ideas. I was stuck in the two-color world of Casanova, trying to beef some black-and-white thoughts into black, white and... light blue? deep red? It seemed better than trying to peel full-color head images back to something more stripped. But, after seeing those pages, I started to wonder about two-color art on top of fully painted art. Cutting Casanova out figures and pasting them on top of Fell backgrounds.

I was already thinking about doing some photo-referenced art. Not the crap you see in a lot of comics today (a lot of Marvel, DC and Image books seem stuck in this utterly lifeless photo-reffed look), but a freer, looser photo-reffed look. I'm thinking about Paul Pope or Bill Sienkiewicz — using photos as a basis for backgrounds, or to quickly jot down some anatomy so I can spend more time making the image than figuring out why I can't connect this elbow to this upper arm. There's a panel from the upcomming The Game that was photo-reffed. I couldn't get a figure into one of those highschool/college desk-chair combos, and wound up trawling through my ancient past to find this photo of me sitting in one from Sophmore year of highschool. Then I changed the outfit, turned myself into a girl and doubled myself up. It looks like all the other panels I drew, but it's a little more anatomically sound and I did the drawing in no time. Blam.

So, I'm back to thinking about pop comics (triggered, in no doubt, by Brendan McCarthy's Solo #12), hiphop comics in particular. With a single protaginist in a story that could concievably continue without end (that's another aspect, these single issue storie are part of a longer series). With painted backgrounds and two-color figures. I'll probably actually start using my digital camera a lot more. Snapping locations and figures.

And doing some writing. I want to be IN this by the time I get to SPX (or is that Arizona?). By the end of this week, I expect that all of my EMAW #7 work will be on the computer, but I don't want to suffer through another re-learning process artwise. The less time I spend between projects, the better off things will be. Maybe I'll even get a bunch of books out between now and this time next year.

So, I'll be scanning, retouching, printing and making headway into the next thing for the next couple of weeks. Probably burning more social bridges as well. I'm off to assembling a good pop mix in the iTunes to think about story structure. Thinking, "What makes a comics verse? A chorus? A bridge? How do I want to approach rhythm?" I know I want to do a more visual book than the wordy motherfucker I'm doing now. And I know that a comic with a pop song sensiblility is going to be more of a book about one idea, and less of a complex "story".

And I want it to be big and brash. A track #3. The big single. The hit. The Hot 97 high-rotation dominator. The TRL mainstay. Probably a little bit ridiculous. Beyoncé, crazy in love and trapped in R. Kelly's closet. Fabulous, breathing and finding out what he knows about T. I.

Hope this is as fun as it sounds like it could be.


Blogger Marcos Perez said...

post in forum for you.ill have to take a look at the casa nova

1:37 PM  

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