Tag: comics

BLOTTING PAPER The Comic: Production Report No.32

Art, Blotting Paper, Comics March 29, 2014

STARTING TO GET A MOVE ON! In this third report documenting the production process and progress of the new issue of my artist book/comic Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions Of Doctor Comics, Chapter 3, The Chthonian Turn: The Cats’ Revenge I can say that things are starting to move on the design front and scheduling of the creation of the planned pages is beginning to fall into place.

The production schedule is up!

The production schedule for Issue #3 is up on the wall!

The intended dates for completion of the five 8-page signatures have been approximated and with a good run could be ready for binding as early as June.

The art table has been established.

The art table has been established…

Ink more so than paint appears to be the dominant graphic ingredient in the production with dip pens, drawing pens and brush calligraphy involved although some of the inking will be made onto painted paper.

...and particular tools selected.

…and particular tools selected.

There are some pencils in there too, as well as the pens, with drawing and handwriting components plus my regular use of printmaking.

Ink tests are underway...

Ink tests are underway…

The mess of ink tests and mark making has begun.

...and drying on display.

…and on display whilst drying.

Further developments and an update on progress will be posted on this blog next month. For a visual diary record and time-line overview of this project, see all of the BLOTTING PAPER production reports. 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


Comics February 23, 2014

I have been involved with this project as an advisor for the past three years. It’s formal title is Q-COLLECTION COMIC BOOK PRESERVATION PROJECT and is an initiative to preserve a collection of comics. I like to refer to it as Q, the “Q” standing for the city of Quincy, Massachusetts. The city’s shield was presented to the project’s founder Dr. John Offerman Sindall for use on the project. Sindall, a member of Mensa, has collected around 200 key American comic books from the period 1930s-1960s. This was an era of printing comics on low grade paper that will eventually crumble into powder at a mere page turn. The Q project is a strategy to prevent this by cutting up the comics, coating them with Mylar and mounting them in wooden binders that will provide an estimated life of 10,000 years. Hearing this part of the process, that the comics will have to be destroyed in order to be saved, is disturbing for some collectors but librarians understand. It means the comics can be read. This collection is not about unopened first issues in sealed plastic bags.

Two of the comics in the collection, both No.1's, Strange Adventures (1950) and MAD (1952).

Two of the comics in the collection, both No.1’s, Strange Adventures (1950) and MAD (1952).

In addition to the comics the collection contains associated artifacts such as trading cards, bubble gum wrappers, photographs, ads, membership cards etc. These too, will be subject to the preservation process.

Superman bubblegum wrapper.

Superman bubble gum wrapper.

Sindall has put together a wide-ranging international advisory committee for the project. Here is my statement of support: In a world in which comic books have been treated for far too long as consumables and ephemera the Q-Collection Comic Book Preservation Project represents a significant plan to preserve key items of these as popular culture artifacts. This project also provides physical protection against the transitory status of comic books by means of coating, wrapping and encasement in protective materials that will ensure defense against their decay. The selection and acquisition of these rare comic books that have become classics of popular culture, their preservation treatment, deposit and safekeeping and subsequent availability for reading and research by future generations has my support and deserves backing by business benefactors, patrons of popular culture and by an appropriate public collection institution.

The collection is destined for the Library of Congress.

UPDATE: FEBRUARY 2016: Article about the project’s founder published: Comic Book Heroics: Mensan Leads Efforts To Preserve Aged Comics by Michael Hill, Ph.D., The Mensa Bulletin, February 2016, No. 592.

UPDATE: DECEMBER 2016: The Q-Collection Comic Book Preservation Project’s 2017 promotional calendar-strictly limited edition gifted to committee members. Thank you John!


BLOTTING PAPER The Comic: Production Report No.8

Art, Blotting Paper, Comics January 12, 2012

I’m getting closer to completion of the first issue Chapter 1: The Ingurgitator. Drum roll! What I had hoped to have out by the end of 2011 is now looking certain for early 2012 so some celebratory banging on my own drum is in order.

Testing out type. (Photo by Louise Graber)

There have been changes to the script. This has resulted in compressions, extensions and deletions. I found that I needed more space to convey some sequences. The consequence of this meant shortening some parts in order to keep to the 40 page total that has progressively crept up from the planned 20. Some sequences weren’t working so they had to be cut although they may appear in a subsequent chapter if I can get them sorted out, and some parts, whilst working in script form, were just too difficult for me to draw.

My box of type. (Photo by Louise Graber)

The type in print.

The other interesting development has been the photographic part of the project. Initially employed as a reference device for locations, objects, figures and gesture positions that would in turn be converted into drawings, the lens art has now become more of a feature. Some pages are even starting to look a little like sequences from a Mexican foto-novela or picto grafia comic. This was not my intention. There is still the anticipated drawn, collaged and printmade elements along with the traditional rubber stamped text (see the photos above). Anyhow, I expect that the next report will confirm my suspicions of the forthcoming completion of the first issue of the comic and contain the announcement of details of publication place and date.

For a visual diary record and time-line overview of this project, see all of the BLOTTING PAPER production reports relating to 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

BLOTTING PAPER The Comic: Production Report No.2

Art, Blotting Paper, Comics July 10, 2011

Title page for first issue using rubber type stamps and linocut-© 2011 Michael Hill

The above image is an impression of the reversed typographic design shown in Production Report No.1. As I am interested in experimental image-making I have moved the block during the printmaking to create some blur, used askew registration and mixed some of the fonts. The comic is based on memories I have of a career in education that involved teaching, research, design and consultation at an art college then a design school across the disciplines of film, video, animation and visual communication. The subject of comics came up as a method of teaching storyboarding and as a medium in its own right. I also became involved in printmaking and that has become part of my artistic practice. It has not only been used to generate the title but also many pages.

A little too much blur perhaps?-© 2011 Michael Hill

I manipulate the visual communication aspect of the work and modify the degree of graphical experimentation but I see both elements as essential considerations in comics making,

Experimental typography-© 2011 Michael Hill

The ‘graphical impressions’ are drawings or prints of memories generated in ink from rubber, wood, lino and other surfaces (the title and subtitle from rubber, my name from lino). This page looks a bit too typographic so I think I shall probably consider adding an illustration. In addition to utilising printmaking as a method of image-making I am also doing some drawing with various tools ranging from traditional metal dip pens and pencils to felt-tipped pens and brushes and a selection of inks.

UPDATE: For a visual diary record and time-line overview of this project, read all of the production reports relating to 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


Art, Blotting Paper, Comics May 12, 2011

After a period in which I have been guest blogging and micro blogging I am now blogging. I started out with two blogs: Doctor Comics (more serious) and Doctor Comictopus (more fun) but these got merged. This is the first post on the Doctor Comics blog. I love comics and I have read them since childhood. My mother would buy me one when I was home from school in bed…Donald Duck or Dennis The Menace. I knew them by their titles then and only later learned they were the work of Carl Barks or Hank Ketcham. My father read war and western comics and left them lying around so both parents contributed to my love of comics. I still read comics in bed but no longer wait till I’m sick.

The T-shirt design by Max

The T-shirt design by Max

Louise Graber and Doctor Comics at a Halloween Party. (Photo by Kat Smolynec, Painting by Anton Emdin, Feed On Comics T-shirt by Max)

I have been involved in comics studies for several years and have a Ph.D. for my research. That is where the alias comes in. I’m known as Michael Hill, Ph.D. (a.k.a Doctor Comics). I completed the doctorate in 2003 and acquired the alias in 2006 on a talkback show. Aided by the growing resources online it’s a rich time to study comics. Pluralism reigns. There are numerous creators from diverse cultures making good comics in a multitude of styles and formats along with the usual rubbishy material. I am increasingly drawn to the notion of making comics and I’m finally working on my first solo project Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions Of Doctor Comics.

Conventioneer card for the 99 Expo in Maryland with Brian Ralph illo.

The 99 Expo card with Brian Ralph illo

This blog will reflect my interest in reading, researching, critiquing and creating comics art as expressed by Feed On Comics! by Max (photo above) official T-shirt of  ICAF (the International Comic Arts Festival) at Bethesda, Maryland, 1999. The event comprised an academic conference chaired by Gene Kannenberg, Jr., at which I made a presentation on Australian alternative comics, and a convention, the Small Press Expo that honoured alternative comics. There was an award ceremony at which James Kochalka performed and each category winner received a brick just like the one Ignatz threw at Krazy. The event celebrated both the study and creation of comics and so has particular resonance for me and my blog.

The Small Press Expo Comic at ICAF where I also bought the Max T-shirt

The Small Press Expo Comic


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.

UPDATE: The Doctor Comictopus blog, with an alias designed by Michelle Park has been merged with this Doctor Comics blog. Transferred posts include:   GIGANTOR AND GOJIRA IN THE HOUSE     ROCK ART: Magical Cave Drawings Found and Filmed in France     CATS IN COMICS: The Rabbi’s Cat     COFFEE TABLE first fix     COFFEE TABLE fourth fix