Category: Coffee Table

SCRAPBOOK

Art, Coffee Table, Comics, Film, Germania, Japanning June 7, 2015

In this post I am profiling another artist book I have made, my scrapbook. Only one copy, it contains images of other people’s work that I admire along with assorted memorabilia of my own. This profile will be ongoing as the book is not yet finished. It does have some history though. Subsequent posts will be added to this one and the content of the book may change over time as images and pages are altered, removed and added. To begin with here are some sample page-spreads.

Double page scrapbook spread in progress.

Double page spread in progress.

Starting with a blank paged, hard-covered sketch book I covered the covers with cloth then painted some of the double page spreads in various colours and a range of textures. To these I added images that I had collected or made, gluing them onto the pages, sometimes in random fashion and other times in related groupings. This relationship might be in terms of colour or commonality of subject or simply a whimsical choice. The above spread shows Kamishibai frame boards on the left and animation drawings by Chuck Jones on the right.

Double page scrapbook spread in progress.

Double page spread in progress.

This spread juxtaposes a theatrical illustration with an add for a Gary Panter book. The white blotch at the join is torn paper, the result of closing the pages before the paint had dried then re-opening them. It looks good though, I think.

Double page scrapbook spread in progress.

Double page spread-prints and seals.

Above are some printmaking images and a selection of Chinese seals.

Double page French spread.

Double page French spread.

Front cover has been covered with cloth.

Front cover has been covered with cloth.

Top edge shows extent of painted and pasted pages.

Top edge shows extent of painted and pasted pages.

Side view of scrapbook on table.

Side view of scrapbook on table.

Posts of my graphic based material include:  THE GRAFIK GUITAR   BOOKBINDING THE GRAFIK GUITAR   CARTOON   MORE CARTOONS   RESEARCH CARTOONS   UNIVERSITY CARTOONS    POSTCARD   POSTCARD-Second Series   POSTCARD-Fourth Series   PRINT Fish Tai   PRINT Fish Two   SCRAPBOOK  SCRAPBOOK-More Pages   SCRAPBOOK-A Few Pages More  and the posts on production of my artist book/comic BLOTTING PAPER:  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   Issue #5: No.45   No.46   No.47   No.48

COFFEE TABLE another shot

Art, Coffee Table, Comics, Japanning December 21, 2013

It’s a yōkai Xmas with master mangaka Shigeru Mizuki material on my coffee table this month! This marvellous creator of both autobiographical and fantasy manga with the gekiga approach to graphic storytelling of placing cartoon style characters over realistically drawn backgrounds has legendary status in Japan but really needs to be better known in the rest of the world.

Mizuki GARO cover.

Mizuki GARO cover of Kitaro carrying a basketful of yokai characters.

After serving in New Guinea in World War II Mizuki got his start in graphic storytelling as an apprentice artist in kamishibai, or paper theatre, in which successively shown painted cards operated and accompanied with vocal and musical narration by a street performer, told a story to audiences standing on street corners in Japan.

Early shape and form of Mizuki 's popular character Kitaro

Early shape and form of Mizuki ‘s popular character Kitaro.

Mizuki moved on to the print media from street theatre, making manga for the rental market and participating in the emerging gekiga form of alternative comics developed by Yoshihiro Tatsumi. Interested in the ghosts and spirits of Japanese folk tales he developed his Kitaro character in a series of yōkai stories based on a popular kamishibai play by Masami Ito called Hakaba Kitaro from 1930s.

Early shape and form of Mizuki 's popular character Kitaro.

Early shape and form of Mizuki ‘s character Kitaro with his father Medama Oyaji.

Mizuki found an outlet for his stories in GARO magazine, an anthology publication of alternative manga. There he gained an assistant, Yoshiharu Tsuge, the developer of nejishiki, or Screw Style manga.

Early shape and form of Mizuki 's popular character Kitaro.

Kitaro’s father Medama Oyaji.

In the stories Kitaro’s deceased father reanimates himself as an eyeball and, with the eyeball as a head, grows a new body, hangs out in Kitaro’s hair and his hollow eye socket(Kitaro has lost one eye) and tries to help his son with his adventures.

Early shape and form of Mizuki 's character Kitaro. with Ratman.

Kitaro with father and Nezumi Otoko.

Shigeru Mizuki 's popular character Kitaro.

Shigeru Mizuki ‘s popular character Kitaro.

Recently more Mizuki’s works have been translated into English and published by Drawn & Quarterly.

The Mizuki manga about the old woman who taught him yokai.

The Mizuki manga about the old woman who taught him yokai.

Autobiographically based war comic.

Autobiographically based war comic.

In Onwards Towards Our Noble Deaths (originally published as Soin gyokusai seyo! in 1973) based on his own experiences in the Japanese army in New Guinea during World War II, he portrays the sadistic officers who, driven by their ideological beliefs, were cruel to their own troops.

Japanese history gets the Mizuki mix of cartoons and realism-Vols.1 & 2

Japanese history gets the Mizuki mix of cartoons and realism-Vols.1 & 2

Japanese history gets the Mizuki mix of cartoons and realism-Vols.3 & 4

Japanese history gets the Mizuki mix of cartoons and realism-Vols.3 & 4

SHOWA 1926-1989 is a four volume history presented in manga form with contrasting graphic treatments of the history portrayed-the newspaper/media representation running alongside the cartoon adventures of Mizuki and his family living that history or the effects of it. Happy Xmas Shigeru!

UPDATE 30 NOV 2015: Sad news breaking that Mizuki has died today, aged 93.

 

COFFEE TABLE next fix

Art, Coffee Table, Comics June 9, 2013

This time round it’s a tip of the hat to Hergé and his creation Tintin. I have assembled collected editions of the complete set of albums in the reduced size format, a copy of the Tintin magazine Le Journal Des Jeunes De 7 A 77 Ans, some scholarly works, items of clothing and accessories, a DVD set and a previously published, related bande dessinée franco-belge exhibition review.

Tintin stuff (Art direction and photography-© 2013 Louise Graber)

Tintin stuff (Art direction and photography-© 2013 Louise Graber)

Tintin magazine, No. 467, October 1957.

Tintin magazine, No. 467, October 1957.

The Benoît Peeters study of Tintin and Hergé.

The Benoît Peeters study of Tintin and Hergé.

The Michael Farr Tintin companion book

The Michael Farr Tintin companion book.

The Adventures of Tintin in albums, as the French call them, totalling 24 in all including the unfinished final one, were executed in the attractive ligne clair or clear line drawing style that was developed by Hergé and his colleague and collaborator Edgar Pierre Jacobs. I never read these as a child. I was given comic books by Carl Barks and Hank Ketcham then and didn’t get to Tintin till my adolescence.  It wasn’t until the English translations had been published that they began to appear. They were the first comics I found in libraries. Librarians seemed to like acquiring them. I suspected the fact that they came in hardcovers and not the soft, pamphlet form of North American comics made them seem more like books and right for library collections. And groups of boys tended to monopolise the borrowing of them to the extent that it was really difficult to find them on the shelves. Re-reading the Tintin comics now with their beautiful colour and drawing, the adventures in unfamiliar geography, the abusive babble from Haddock and the amusement provided by the surprising amount of slapstick my appreciation of bande dessinée and the Ninth Art is extended.

A volume of the collected works in the reduced size format.

A volume of the collected works in the reduced size format.

Another Tintin study book-this one by Harry Thompson (no relation).

Another Tintin study book-this one by Harry Thompson (no relation to the twins).

Comic Strip, Passion’s Trip exhibition, Sydney, Alliance Francais de Sydney November 18-December 20, 2002, review by Michael Hill, first published in International Journal of Comic Art, Vol.5 No.1 Spring/Summer 2003

The “Tintin” Qantas Flight 714 finally touched down in Sydney in November 2002. Originally carrying Tintin and his associates to a scientific symposium in Sydney in the Herge comic Flight 714 to Sydney (1968) his party left the plane in Jakarta and went off on a private jet and another adventure. Now, 34 years later, Tintin, in the shape of a cargo of beer, chocolates and comics, three of Belgium’s significant export commodities, as well as members of the Royal family and an exhibition of French language Belgian comics titled Comic Strip, Passion’s Trip has arrived.

For a country that exports considerable quantities of comics (65% of publication exports) and which refers to comics as the Ninth Art and so has a museum devoted to comics, it was no surprise that the exhibition was opened by members of the Belgian monarchy, Prince Philippe and Princess Mathilde, giving the exercise the Royal seal of approval. The exhibition formed part of an economic mission organised by the Wallonia-Brussels Sydney Trade Office. 300 different titles in French plus a further 70 in English were shipped to Sydney and put on sale in Dymocks, one of the city’s larger bookshops, creating a mini-venue for Euro comics to compete with the growing presence in the local retail market of Japanese manga and Hong Kong comics.

The exhibition was staged at Alliance Francais de Sydney, a combination gallery, café and French language teaching centre. It was a noisey location next to a city bus stop but this was a bonus for waiting passengers as they could admire the window display of merchandise and old comics and the staged acrobatics of a large model of the André Franquin character Marsupilami. The exhibition had undergone a serious design process by the curator Jean-Marie Derscheid and had a multi-strand focus: the exhibition of actual comic books, original art and rough process art, a display revealing the workings of the artist’s studio, a child’s bedroom decorated with comics merchandise and videos, and a gigantic mock-up comic book album, 82cm (heigth) x 56 cm (width), beautifully bound and designed, contextualising Belgium comics and featuring brief biographies and examples of the work of 20 significant artists: Didier Comes, André Franquin, Greg, Hergé, Hermann Huppen, Edgar Pierre Jacobs, Jijie, Lambil, Raymond Macherot, Morris, Peyo, Francois Schuiten, Jean-Claude Servais, Tibet, Maurice Tillieux, Tome and Janry, Will, and Yslaire. References were made to Spirou magazine and to two emergent schools of comics: the Brussels School and the Marcinelle School.

The bed in the child’s room had a Tintin doona cover and bed sheets, a Gaston Lagaffe reading lamp, a Marsupilami alarm clock, various posters and a cupboard containing Lucky Luke figurines. Surprisingly there was not a Smurf in sight. The room also had a small television and vcr with a collection of Belgian animated cartoon series. Amusingly, by the end of the opening night, the child’s room was littered with empty beer bottles from the large crowd viewing the exhibition, giving the installation a bizarre visual association between beer and comics in the nursery. The child’s room, the mock-up of the studio and the giant book brought to the exhibition features not available in the normal process of reading the comic books.

Another section of the exhibition consisted of individual displays of the work of particular artists. These included examples of original artwork and a copy of the comic album that was accessible for visitors to read (some appeared quite soiled near the end of the exhibition) and collaborative partnerships including Hermann, Geerts, Midam, Yslaire, Morris, Jacobs, Herge, Francois and Luc Schuiten, Francqu and Van Hamme, Dufaux and Marini, Lambil, Marc Bnoyninx, Tome and Janry, Constant and Vandamme

Upstairs in a small seminar room there was a mock-up called  ‘the artist’s studio.’ Large blow-up photographs on the walls showed the interiors of various comic book creators’ work spaces although these were not identified. A working drawing table had been set up with pencils and other equipment, again more of a generic than specific representation, and there was a video corner screening a documentary on one of the featured artists, Frank, at work on illustrations for the comic book about Australia which had been scheduled to be released for the exhibition. His watercolour sketches of Australian animals were impressive. In the current ‘making of’ climate being reinforced by DVDs of particular films, this part of the exhibition seemed timely.

Although there was no exhibition catalogue a special edition comic book The Source by Frank was specially commissioned and published for the exhibition. Set in Australia, even though the creator had never been there prior to the exhibition (Frank came to Sydney for the opening) his story was based in the desert and although his use of colour was accurate some of his content was neither sensitive nor politically correct. Based on an attempt to move what he insensitively refers to as Ayers Rock, a giant natural rock formation now known as Uluru having reverted to the control of the indigenous owners several years ago and consequently treated as a sacred place, Frank plays with Aboriginal art and icons, a practice which local artists respect as the cultural domain of the indigenous people. Conscious of the lack of local knowledge perhaps, and in tongue-in-cheek fashion, the exhibition points to “our delightfully cliched images of Australia: kangaroos, boomerangs, mythical Aborigines and smouldering red deserts.”

But this exhibition was about culture in any case: the culture of a country where comics have been elevated to the level of art, are treasured, and are collected by libraries and museums; and a culture where comic books are also treated as consumables, collected, handled, read, and integrated into everyday life as objects of desire.

The exhibition brochure with Illustration by Frank.

The exhibition brochure with illustration by Frank.

 

 

COFFEE TABLE another fix

Art, Coffee Table, Comics, Film, Japanning January 19, 2013

There are football (or soccer) comics on the coffee table this month. Last year I saw a really good FIFA World Cup qualifying match in Brisbane between Australia (Socceroos) and Japan (Blue Samurai) and recently I attended a Sydney FC match and witnessed the Italian master Alessandro Del Piero (a.k.a. the little painter) play. Del Piero says he was inspired to play football by the Japanese animation and manga character Captain Tsubasa (see image below). Growing up in Australia with the SBS television broadcaster, the Special Broadcasting Service, I was aware of football’s cultural origins. Due to its coverage of ethnic programs SBS became an amusing acronym in the schoolyard for ‘Soccer Bloody Soccer’ especially for followers of the other football codes such as rugby league, rugby union and Australian rules, and later with it’s screening of adult art films prior to the early morning broadcast of live football matches from Europe, ‘Sex Before Soccer’.

Comic Book Guy red carded for invading the pitch. (Photo and staging by Michael Hill a.k.a. Doctor Comics)

Comic Book Guy red carded for invading the pitch. (Photo and staging by Michael Hill a.k.a. Doctor Comics)

So some of my set of Simpsons soccer figures and Comic Book Guy comics are in play this time with the cast kitted out to fill a couple of soccer teams and Mr. Burns as the referee. Comic Book Guy seems to be miscast here, invading the playing field and shown the red card for not being a member of either team. There is no sign of the ball, lost perhaps in the long grass. Springfield is not known for its smooth playing surfaces. Perhaps Homer was supposed to mow it?

Comic Book Guy in his own series plus his enormous cosplay effort on Free Comic Book Day.

Comic Book Guy in his own series plus his enormous cosplay effort on Free Comic Book Day.

The Jack Kirby cover for the first issue of The Fantastic Four.

The Jack Kirby cover for the first issue of The Fantastic Four.

In the recent comic book series Death of Comic Book Guy, the first issue cover is a pastiche of the Jack Kirby design for The Fantastic Four #1 back in November 1961 with Comic Book Guy trading places with The Thing, Bart with Human Torch, and Homer with Invisible Girl(see above). Oh, did I forget to mention Billy the Fish?

Captain Tsubasa manga

Captain Tsubasa manga: Road To 2002 Vol.10 (2002 FIFA World Cup campaign)

All of the figurines in the set.

All of the figurines in the set.

Springfield's finest-Homer with ball-Simpsons soccer trading card.

Springfield’s finest-Homer with ball-The Simpsons soccer trading card.

Grampa stops the ball in The Simpsons Springfield soccer team trading cards.

Grampa stops the ball in The Simpsons Springfield soccer team trading cards.

UPDATE #1(February 2014): The Simpsons show is currently cartoonising some of the members of English Premier League club Chelsea FC. (L to R in the photo below) are Eden Hazard, Fernando Torres, John Terry, Frank Lampard and Petr Cech.

Chelsea FC players standing behind their Simpsonised characters.

Chelsea FC players standing behind their Simpsonised characters.

 

COFFEE TABLE first fix

Art, Coffee Table, Comics, Japanning October 29, 2012

Please welcome my Coffee Table posts to this blog where the basic idea is to set up a coffee table scenario that includes a coffee table art book as an accoutrement to the cake and coffee and possibly relate the choice of materials to some current event. That would be a comics art coffee table book of course, usually large, hard covered and heavy although the one featured in this post is soft covered and light but does relate to a topical event. The plan is to pull one book out of my collection every month or so and make a scene.

Painting by Louise Graber, skeleton doll from Mexico, wooden and metal sculpture by Richard Black, comic by Jis and Trno, and pumpkin postcard by Yayoi Kusama. (Photo by Michael Hill)

On the coffee table there is an actual Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos) skeleton doll (it’s that time of the year with Halloween just a few days away) and a large format comic El Santos y El Peyote en La Atlántida by Mexican cartoonists Jis and Trno. I met these guys at ICAF some years ago where I also first met  Gene Kannenberg, Jr. Jis and Trno each did a drawing for me in their comic book that I bought. Their comic is really funny, strongly satirical and in Spanish. The doll has removed his legs and is relaxing on a wooden sculpture called Cloud by Australian artist Richard Black. There is also, appropriately, a Dancing Pumpkin postcard by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama and a Grateful Dead poster from the Stanley Mouse studio for some concerts at the Avalon Ballroom. Setting these elements off in the background is a painted enlargement of a death scene page from Louise Graber‘s comic Black Light Angels. In the foreground, barely visible, just an edge I suppose, is the coffee table but the coffee and cake are out of frame. BTW the coffee was Italian and the cake Chilean. The table has orange ceramic tiles, suiting the thematic colour, and was made in Orange, NSW. Let me know what you think about all this.

Coffee Table arrangement-detail. (Photo by Michael Hill)

Yayoi Kusama's Dancing Pumpkin postcard.

Yayoi Kusama’s Dancing Pumpkin postcard.

Bones and roses in 1966 Grateful Dead poster Skeleton and Roses designed by Alton Kelley and Stanley Mouse.

Bones and roses in 1966 Grateful Dead poster Skeleton and Roses designed by Alton Kelley and Stanley Mouse.