Category: Cats in Comics

BLOTTING PAPER The Comic: Production Report No.38

Art, Blotting Paper, Cats in Comics, Comics, Germania December 2, 2014

This is the second in a series of regular reports documenting the production of the fourth issue and chapter of my artist book/comic Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions Of Doctor Comics. These reports are updated approximately on a monthly basis. The new chapter Beer, Chocolate and Comics deals with the cats recovering from the demise of their patron and their travels in Germany and the world of European comics.

Double page handprinted spread from Chapter 3–© 2014 Michael Hill.

Double page handprinted spread from Chapter 3–© 2014 Michael Hill.

Continuing the turnaround of events and forward momentum that the above image from Chapter 3 illustrates the cats begin to get on top of things, take control of their situation and consequently develop and express their characters on their travels abroad.

Beer label collage character from Blotting Paper comic-© 2014 Michael Hill

Beer label collage character from Blotting Paper comic-© 2014 Michael Hill

I have been playing around with a beer label collaging idea, mostly from Belgian and German bottles, and have come up with this character so far but I expect there will be others. With the European theme and setting I am also considering including some bilingual content, preferably English and German and possibly even doing a combined issue #4-5.

Fish woodcut from way back-© 2002 Michael Hill

Fish woodcut from way back-© 1998 Michael Hill

Fish woodcut with pyschedelic sauce from way back-© 2003 Michael Hill

Fish woodcut with pyschedelic sauce from way back-© 2000 Michael Hill

The subject of fish and the technique of woodcut printmaking also return. And there is cooking too, of both fish and comics!

The Busch approach to managing a comics collection-now available as a postcard-© 2014 Michael Hill

The Busch approach to managing a comics collection-now available as a postcard-© 2014 Michael Hill

More visual developments and an update on progress will be posted on this blog around the end of the year. For a visual diary record and time-line overview of this project that covers all four issues you can read the BLOTTING PAPER production reports on the following posts:

Issue #1:  No.1   No.2   No.3   No.4   No.5   No.6   No.7   No.8   No.9   No.10   No.11   No.12   No.13   Issue #2:  No.14   No.15   No.16   No.17   No.18   No.19   No.20   No.21   No.22   No.23   No.24   No.25   No.26   No.27   No.28   No.29   Issue #3:  No.30   No.31   No.32   No.33   No.34   No.35   No.36   Issue #4:  No.37   No.38   No.39   No.40   No.41   No.42   No.43   No.44

BLOTTING PAPER The Comic: Production Report No.37

Art, Blotting Paper, Cats in Comics, Comics, Germania November 3, 2014

This is the first in a series of regular reports documenting the production of the fourth issue of my artist book/comic Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions Of Doctor Comics. It continues on from those posted on the first chapter/issue The Ingurgitator, the second chapter/issue A Blot On His Escutcheon and the third chapter/issue The Chthonian Turn: The Cats’ Revenge (see links to posts #1-36 below). The new chapter Beer, Chocolate and Comics deals with the cats’ recovery from the demise of their patron, Doctor Comics, their travels in Europe and their contact with the world of European comics. Printmaking is again involved in the design and production of this issue with woodblock, linocut and the use of rubber, bakelite and wooden stamps along with drawing and handwriting plus a bit more of a move into cartooning. The intention is to produce a comic in an artist’s book type format. I hope to have it more or less ready for self-publication in the early months of next year. Mmmh, well we’ll have to see about that!

Brush tips dipped in ink and at the ready.

Brush tips dipped in ink and at the ready.

Cartooning the cat character Cohl from Blotting Paper comic-© 2014 Michael Hill

Cartooning the cat character Cohl from Blotting Paper comic-© 2014 Michael Hill

More cat cartooning for the Blotting Paper comic-© 2014 Michael Hill

More cat cartooning for the Blotting Paper comic-© 2014 Michael Hill

There will also be the introduction of a new character in this chapter, a dog.

Funny animal character from Blotting Paper comic-© 2014 Michael Hill

Funny animal character from Blotting Paper comic-© 2014 Michael Hill

UPDATE: 17th SEPTEMBER 2015 (See comments below.)

Here is how this character finished up looking in Issue #4-© 2015 Michael Hill

Here is how this character finished up looking in Issue #4-© 2015 Michael Hill

This issue has a marked European flavour with much careful research into Belgian and German chocolates, comics and beer having been undertaken by the artist and author.

For a visual diary record and time-line overview of this project that includes development of all three issues you can read the BLOTTING PAPER production reports on the following posts:

Issue #1:  No.1   No.2   No.3   No.4   No.5   No.6   No.7   No.8   No.9   No.10   No.11   No.12   No.13   Issue #2:  No.14   No.15   No.16   No.17   No.18   No.19   No.20   No.21   No.22   No.23   No.24   No.25   No.26   No.27   No.28   No.29   Issue #3:  No.30   No.31   No.32   No.33   No.34   No.35   No.36   Issue #4:  No.37   No.38   No.39   No.40   No.41   No.42   No.43   No.44

CATS IN COMICS: The Rabbi’s Cat

Art, Cats in Comics, Comics, Film October 4, 2011

This cat can talk! The Rabbi’s Cat by Joann Sfar.

This is a wonderful talking cat from Algeria that lives with a rabbi and occasionally visits Paris. One day it ate the rabbi’s parrot and in so doing, gained the gift of speech. Being a smart cat it denied eating the bird and instead demanded conversion to Judaism. The design of the cat appears loose and improvised. Whilst it is rather thin and scrawny in physique it is big in terms of personality, intelligence and cheek. This richness of character and determination affords the cat the capability of comprehending foreign languages(he speaks Arabic, French, Latino and a bit of Spanish) and of learning the Torah. The rabbi’s cat is a marvellous, witty and charming cat that pleases itself, as cats do. It has appeared in several comics and most recently in an animated feature film of the same name and is the creation of the very talented Joann Sfar, a jury prize winner at Angoulême for The Rabbi’s Cat graphic novel. The cat likes to hang out with the rabbi’s daughter and snuggle up close to her. It even tells her that it loves her. She tells it to shut up as she prefers it when it’s quiet or not around. It’s also inconvenient for both of them when her boyfriend visits. The cat loves a bit of a scratch, preferably on the ear by a female foot with painted toenails. Resilient, resourceful, stubborn, smart, curious and decidedly nocturnal, this cat is difficult to ignore.

This cat considers taking up painting to impress his love.

The Rabbi’s Cat (Le Chat Du Rabbin) film is a charming animated adaption of the graphic novels by Joann Sfar who also co-directed the film thus ensuring an authentic visual adaption of the bande dessinee. I saw the film at the 2012 French Film Festival in Sydney and I have been reading the graphic novels for a couple of years. You can watch the trailer of the film here. Sfar is a prolific and award winning comics creator with awesome talent who is now transferring his talents to filmmaking. Sfar had previously directed the highly stylised live-action film Gainsbourg (vie héroïque) of the life of the famous 1960’s French pop singer Gainsbourg (that’s Serge Gainsbourg, Charlotte’s dad). The film won the French Oscar, César Award, for Best First Film. The Rabbi’s Cat (Le Chat Du Rabbin) film also won a César for Best Animated Feature and the similar prize at the 2011 Annecy International Animated Film Festival. It is a traveller’s tale in more ways than one dealing with the cat’s progress from ordinary cat to talking cat having swallowed a parrot, its enforced separation from its beloved mistress, the rabbi’s daughter, and its struggles with the rabbi in its attempts to convert to the Jewish religion. Then there is the overland journey in an antique Citroën half-track, all terrain vehicle from France to Africa with the rabbi, a Russian artist and others in search of African Jews in Ethiopia. The film is ambitious covering material from three of the graphic novels although some characters and sequences have been altered or omitted. Its visual design has also been modified into a more simplified cartoon look suitable for animation production from Sfar’s sumptious illustrative style but the images remain rich and varied. It contains plenty of satire including a few barbs aimed at Tintin and his dog Snowy whom the travellers meet in Africa and whom the cat finds somewhat obnoxious.

Poster of the film.

Poster of the film.

For a more formal analysis of The Rabbi’s Cat graphic novel see my post Gridlocking Joann Sfar’s Talking Cat on The Comics Grid. You can also watch an extract from a new documentary by Sam Ball called Joann Sfar Draws From Memory that shows Sfar cheerfully drawing in a restaurant with his pen and water-colours whilst dining and commenting on his cross-cultural background and port city upbringing.

Read all the CATS IN COMICS posts:  Busch   Cohl    Doraemon    Krazy Kat    The Rabbi’s Cat

 

Doctor Comictopus alias for Michael Hill Ph.D (a.k.a. Doctor Comics) designed by Michelle Park.

Doctor Comictopus alias for Michael Hill Ph.D (a.k.a. Doctor Comics) designed by Michelle Park.

   

CATS IN COMICS: Krazy Kat by Gene Kannenberg, Jr.

Art, Cats in Comics, Comics September 23, 2011

Panel from Krazy Kat comic strip October 17th, 1937

Krazy Kat, created by cartoonist George “Garge” Herriman (1880-1944) initially as a family pet in his comic strip “The Dingbat Family” in 1910 before graduating to an eponymous strip in 1913, is without a doubt The Greatest of All Cartoon Cats – if only because “Krazy Kat” is the greatest comic strip of all time. (I don’t write those words lightly, but to me they’re true enough.)

As ever, the strip’s conceit: Ignatz Mouse, the antagonist, has it in for Kazy Kat, the sometimes-he, sometimes-she protagonist; Ignatz expresses his disdain usually in the form of a brick hurled at Krazy’s head. Krazy, in love with Ignatz, sees the brick as a sign of affection. Offissa Pupp, the local constabulary, is in love with Krazy and despises Ignatz. Many strips end with Pupp putting Ignatz in jail for his crime. It’s all that simple, and that complex – variations on a theme for four glorious decades.

It’s almost a cliche to say that the strip is “poetic,” but really, honestly, I don’t know of a better word. Herriman’s use of language, pulsing with puns and patois, is lyrical in and of itself. But look at the strip as a whole: each installment, especially each Sunday page, is a perfect little gem of an object, with visuals that are as malleable, marvelous, and magnificent as any sonnet. Form and meaning walk hand in hand in Krazy’s hometown of Coconino County.

Panel from Krazy Kat comic strip October 8th, 1920

I’ve seen it said at times that Krazy is delusional, or that she doesn’t understand Ignatz’s intentions. But I think that such ideas miss the point. Like a “real” cat*, Krazy creates hir own reality. Anyone who’s lived with an actual feline knows that, try as you might, you cannot control, cannot master a cat. Cats are subject to their own internal wants, needs, and whims; sometimes, rarely, these impulses correspond to what we want, and we then find this behavior charming and “cute.” But really, it’s the cat who’s calling the shots. So, too, does Krazy call the shots – literally: she calls the shooting bricks love tokens. So what if Ignatz doesn’t mean them that way? Ultimately, and to our benefit, it’s what Krazy desires that kounts.

* I use the “scare quotes” hesitantly; to me, Krazy is as real a creation as is possible. Nothing fake; all genuine. All Art.

Many thanks to our guest blogger Gene Kannenberg, Jr. for this wonderful post.

BIO: Gene Kannenberg, Jr. is the director of ComicsResearch.org. Formerly the Chair of both the International Comic Arts Festival and the Comic Art & Comics Area of the Popular Culture Association, he has written widely on comic art. His book “500 Essential Graphic Novels” was published in 2008.

Read all the CATS IN COMICS posts:  Busch   Cohl    Doraemon    Krazy Kat    The Rabbi’s Cat

 


CATS IN COMICS: Doraemon

Art, Cats in Comics, Comics, Japanning September 10, 2011

In this series I shall be featuring mini-profiles of cat characters I have enjoyed in comics. Each post will feature an image and short description of the character.

Cover of Doraemon manga issue 1.

The first cat in this series is Doraemon, the creation of Fujio Fujiki, the alias of two creators (mangaka) Motoo Akibo and Hiroshi Fujimoto, working in collaboration. Doraemon is a blue, earless, male, magical, back from the future, robot cat that lost his ears to a hungry rat. And like most cats he is very good to his owner, the little boy Nobita. This cat has been designed in a seriously super-deformed style with a large round head that takes up practically half its body length. First published in Japan in 1970 it has been so successful it was developed into an animation series and franchise with a massive amount of merchandise including postage stamps. Doraemon has the distinction of being the first Anime Ambassador of Japan. Most recently a museum has opened in Kawasaki. This cat is more than 40 years old although, as it is a cat that is back from the future, it has not yet been born, his birthday being just over a century away on 3rd September 2112. His popularity goes on and on, and taking a lead from the guitar I saw in a music shop in Ochanomizu, Tokyo, near Meiji University, I say “Rock on Doraemon!”

Doraemon guitar in Tokyo music shop. (Photo by Michael Hill a.k.a. Doctor Comics)

See who is front and centre on this Anime character post card!

See who is front and centre on this Anime character post card!

UPDATE 3 SEP 2112: On September 3rd 2012 Doraemon received an official residency certificate from Kawasaki city-100 years before his birth on September 3rd 2112.

Doraemon’s official residency certificate.

Doraemon on rails!

UPDATE 21 NOV 2016: On a trip to Tokyo last month I found these two sets of Doraemon stamps on sale at a Japan Post shop:

2 sets of Doraemon stamps on sale in Japan.

2 sets of Doraemon stamps on sale in Japan.

and an old copy of the Doraemon magazine at a bookshop in Jimbocho:

Copy of Doraemon Official Magazine 2004.7.20

Copy of Doraemon Official Magazine 2004.7.20

and a toy figure in a food shop in Kappabashi:

Doraemon toy in food store in Kappabashi-(Photo-© 2016 Louise Graber).

Doraemon toy in food store in Kappabashi-(Photo-© 2016 Louise Graber).

UPDATE 19 APR 2017: On a trip to New York last month I found this Doraemon doll made up as Captain America in a shop window in Chinatown, along with a group of smaller Doraemons and a large Japanese neko.

Doraeman as Cap, Chinatown, New York. (Photo-© 2017 Michael Hill)

Read all the CATS IN COMICS posts:  Busch   Cohl    Doraemon    Krazy Kat    The Rabbi’s Cat