CBABIH 0.6 - Show Notes

Being an extended homage to the annotations of Chester Brown, in the form of a series of comments on Episode 0.6 of Comic Books Are Burning In Hell, a podcast by Matt Seneca, Tucker Stone, Chris Mautner and myself.

00:00: The sonorous voice of Chris Mautner whisks us away to another exciting episode, now clocking in at a wholly elephantine one hour and eleven and a half minutes. It is taken from the same June 10 session as last week's episode, and in fact runs in continuity with just the same topics and secret, aching qualms. "...did we go too hard on Chip Kidd?" I thought, at the theme song rose and the audience exploded in applause. Oh, heavy is the head that bears the crown!

01:18: Definitely the comedy highlight of the episode right up front, as I treat us all to some half-decade old Craig Ferguson we-tape-these-in-blocks humor; I think you can actually hear Tucker turning to Matt in disbelief while he cuts loose with the most meta guffaw in American media. I eagerly await our People's Choice Podcast Awards nomination, in the category of Religion/Inspiration.

01:51: Again: Nicholas Roerich; Lyonel Feininger. The latter had an art school background prior to his 1906 fling with newspaper comics, and indeed had exhibited as early as '01 -- and, like Brian Michael Bendis, took work as a caricaturist, albeit not of the live drawing variety -- but Matt is correct that he didn't really click with the German fine art scene until later. He was supposedly the first faculty appointment at Bauhaus, named by Walter Gropius (not to be confused with comics' own Wally Gropius; we're serious about our 'fine' art here on Comic Books Are Burning In Hell).

03:44: Ray Pettibon. He's supposedly a huge fan of Josh Bayer, among the masterminds behind Tucker Stone favorite Suspect Device. Here's Goo. Vice has some duly-labeled comics here.

05:17: Ben Marra's American Psycho booklets can now be purchased in collected form -- newspaper broadsheet-style! -- from Floating World Comics.

05:45: I think Last Gasp might have actually acted as US distributor (or even just a prominent stockist) for  Raymond Pettibon, a 2001 release from UK art book publisher Phaidon Press (dare I recommend their Jean-Jacques Sempé library? Monsieur Lambert is an honest-to-god early '60s French graphic album in English, which is the kind of shit that bumps you 1/3 to sainthood in Rome, and the Nicolas storybooks are written by Asterix co-creator René Goscinny.) Rizzoli New York is apparently planning a huge slipcased Pettibon image collection for later this year; it is also titled Raymond Pettibon.

06:48: Yuichi Yokoyama's comics & drawing wares can be purchased in English from PictureBox, Inc., where he also maintains a weekly-ish image blog. I didn't make a list or anything, but Color Engineering was tied with Jim Woodring's Congress of the Animals for my best comic of 2011.

07:28: It's not just an old legend I'm describing here, mind you; last year's UK multi-artist anthology extravaganza Nelson comes fully equipped with sneers 'n jeers at those awful, stuffy art college beardos who just don't get the appeal of rich cartoon curves filled with bold-ass colors. Granted, this is in the mid-'80s section of the book's history-spanning narrative, so we might be dealing with autobiography there.

08:54: Teen idol Piero della Francesca, of The Flagellation of Christ (1455-60ish) and the Brera Madonna (1472-74 or so). That's totally Den in the white tatters.

(And in case you think I'm totally out to lunch on this Corben stuff, the artist himself commented on the matter in his 1990 Fantagor Press release Richard Corben's Art Book, in reference to a 1986 oil panting, Under the Oak:

"Occasionally, I question the direction my art has taken. Are all these narrative visions of absurdly idealized figures and monsters the most meaningful things I can do? Making it as a 'fine' artist has got to be much tougher than what I've done. During periods of such introspection, I try to produce work with higher pretensions. What better way to study art than to study a master? So, fans of Michelangelo might recognize the familiar pose of the man in UNDER THE OAK. Even with such refined intentions, I still deal with monsters. Where's the monster here? The undefined white, the unknown, unformed, the symbol of oblivion."

Fans of Corben will note the prolific use of "undefined" backgrounds in his work as a means of emphasizing dread, most recently in his just-concluded Ragemoor with writer Jan Strnad.)  

11:05: Matt's raising the issue of triptych painting here as a further example of 'potential' panelization in classical art.

11:22: Richard Diebenkorn, whose landscape works in fact faintly remind me of the great French comics artist Jacques de Loustal, although if we're gonna talk Loustal we'd have to talk David Hockney first. Incidentally, Loustal's approach to comics art -- particularly in collaboration with writer Philippe Paringaux -- tends to frustrate expectations of comics "pace," in that individual panels tend to freeze discreet locations and moments in time with no concern for animation or spatial exploration, while copious text narrates to a sometimes counter-intuitive effect. If you can find the old Catalan Communications albums Love Shots and New York/Miami, you will find yourself awash in quality.

13:20: Philip Guston, whose late '60s journey toward figurative work perhaps captures something of the underground comics' blow-back to abstraction in more than simple iconography.

14:22: Barbara Kruger (Mautner bête noire), Henry Darger (ironically, the only dude in here I didn't feel like I needed to link), Wassily Kandinsky (whose works provided a key inspiration for the bomb-ass Dreamcast/PS2/Xbox Live Arcade game Rez) and Barnet Newman (wait a minute, is Blaise Larmee trafficking in homage?!) - note what while Chris was expounding on Newman, Chris' wife was across the room attempting to sketch the gallery layout of the artist's Stations of the Cross on a sheet of paper, bringing my jokes about cue cards uncomfortably close to praxis.

17:03: Matt compares Venetian school master Titian's Diana and Actaeon (1556-59) to The Death of Actaeon (1559-75, slow jam).

19:00: With "trophy economy" I'm referencing a much-linked 2010 essay by the aforementioned Blaise Larmee, which primarily implicated the destabilizing force digital comics have on the self-perpetuating 'value' of print.

19:33: I totally thought Chris was gonna say "Boris Vallejo" (joke TM & © Michel Fiffe) but he instead referenced William Hogarth's A Harlot's Progress (1731) and A Rake's Progress (1732-33). Then I snapped the conversation back to my own topic like a total dick.

22:24: Michel Fiffe's article on One-Artist Anthology Comics was for the Comics Journal; commentary on formats continues at that site via this Rob Clough roundup of recent comics periodicals.

23:59: By This You Shall Know Him, by Jesse Jacobs. SYNOPSIS: Poor Ablavar is having an awful time at art school; his fondness for working in carbon does not lend itself to adequate articulation of his intentions, and his creation of "dinosaurs" is derided as "aesthetic curiosities." But significant progress is noted in the smooth contours of ani-mals, prompting jealous silicon-based particle specialist Zantek to sabotage the project with the consumptive stain of, ugh, humanity. A archetypical snobs vs. slobs conflict plays out in heavens over some classical terrestrial narratives, particularly that of a boy who sacrificed plants and whose brother gladly killed beasts...

25:18: Of course, given the suggestion above, I mean Abel is cruel toward animals while Cain respects creation; these hardwired dichotomies are tough to shake!


26:43: Tucker means dense like:

28:59: It's not a spoiler if its mythic:

Damn, Cain is looking pretty Yoshikazu Ebisu there.

29:35: Domino Books. I was mainly thinking of Molly Colleen O'Connell's Difficult Loves. Uh, I have a tiny text thing in Rub the Blood... full disclosure.

32:58: Indeed, Jacobs never shows the animals eating anything, though they do bite when provoked - maybe we can presume those choppers are solely protective.

34:08: Did you notice that none of us seem to remember that it's the snobby, evil student that actually creates humankind? That stacks the deck ever further. Anyway, here's that White Stripes video.

39:45: Okay, one more (it's a cool-looking book!):

42:18: NICE SEGUE. I am all about the segues, and that one was just for me.

42:24: Ed the Happy Clown, by Chester Brown. SYNOPSIS: Ed would like to be happy, it's true, but the very state of the universe is prone to violent slapstick jokes, and it's the lot of a clown to be carried along on this improvisatory vaudeville flight of acute religiosity, cunning pygmies, ghosts, vampires, alternate realities and President Ronald Reagan of the United States of America, an odyssey stretching from the abyssal depths of the anus to the furthest reaches of penis envy. But is this a tale of man, or God?

42:37: Begun in 1983 as a self-published minicomic, Yummy Fur went on to become one of the defining one-artist anthologies (see above) of the first great wave of post-underground alternative comics. It was also the original serializing vehicle for Ed the Happy Clown, along with his later books The Playboy and I Never Liked You, as well as the initial forum for most of the stories in The Little Man and a bunch of uncollected adaptations of the Gospels of Mark and Matthew.

44:21: There's no way I could raise such mighty issues without a link to the all-time greatest work of Canadian broadcasting, a 1988 CBC report on how a poor newspaper delivery boy's world was irrevocably shattered by Mike Grell's Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters, prompting his pocket-protected pops to sputter up a luxuriously censorious froth at the new snuff porn whilst sonny sneers at the "bunch of bull" justifications of his good lady shopkeep. What the hell is going on with comics, indeed! A Goofus to this Gallant soon appears in the form of a young dude in a leather jacket seen scarfing up Howard Chaykin's Blackhawk and turning a friend on to Jamie Delano-era Hellblazer - THAT KID IS PROBABLY LISTENING TO THIS PODCAST RIGHT NOW. Special guest appearances by a Watchmen button (totally not merchandise) and Canada's own Chester Brown, wearing what can only be called exactly the hairstyle the artist of Ed the Happy Clown would have. Please delete your entire schedule and memorize this video clip.

51:04: I mean, right now that kid's probably shouting "Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron you hosers!!" (he's Canadian). Although I think that might've been more a case of dreams inspiring a story solidified into larger chunks beforehand. Yeah, take that, Socratic device!

54:42: Paying for It was actually the subject of the harshest review Matt ever wrote - and Matt has cooked and eaten other books. Just a lil' joke explanation for those of you without MAs or higher in 21st century funnybook reviews online.

55:54: That episode of Inkstuds is right here.

01:04:12: So, from:


And, in that around this time in the episode Tucker is emailing me to try and wrap it because we've run over, I think I'll leave it on that.