THE KAPPABASHI CAT: Production Report No.1

This is the first in what I intend will be a regular series of reports documenting the production progress of the sequel to my comic/artist book Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions Of Doctor Comics that was completed in 2016. The current draft title of the new book is The Cat Cooking Comics In Kappabashi. It is in a similar vein to Blotting Paper in its graphic approach but different in that this comic will be less autobiographical and less of a graphic memoir and much more fictive. It will contain fewer anecdotes of Doctor Comics and much more about his cat Cohl’s adventures. A first draft of the comic has been written but the design and the artwork have yet to be commenced. As in the earlier comic printmaking will be employed along with other forms of image-making including drawing, typography, handwriting and photography. As with the earlier publication the intention is to make a comic in an artist’s book type of format.

The work book with the working title-© 2017 Michael Hill.

The story begins in Berlin where Cohl, having heard no word from his friend Busch for almost two years, decides to follow him to Tokyo and try to find him. Cohl has been very comfortable in the German city and consequently reluctant to move but his curiosity has awakened him from his cultural slumber.

Curiosity stirs the sleeping cat-© 2017 Michael Hill

For details of the production of all five issues of the Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions Of Doctor Comics artist book/comic and a continuing visual history record and time-line overview of the project read all of the 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   Issue #5: No.45   No.46   No.47   No.48

BLOTTING PAPER The Comic: Production Report No.48

I am happy to announce completion of production and commencement of publishing stage of the fifth and final issue of my artist book/comic Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions Of Doctor Comics. The pages are being printed, collated, trimmed, bound and covered and copies will soon be mailed to my personal readers. Each copy will have an original postcard size print on the cover.

Original print on cover of new issue-© 2013 Michael Hill

Original print on cover of new issue-© 2013 Michael Hill

Four years since the appearance of the first issue that I launched at Hondarake-Full of Books in Sydney in February 2012 a total of five issues have been produced and published in serial form and I am now considering collecting these in graphic novel form. This will provide me with the opportunity to make some revisions to the story and artwork. The five issues have generated 200 pages of material and I imagine there would be an additional 20 to 30 new pages to develop aspects of the existing material.

Woodblock ink print and painting-© 2014 Michael Hill

Woodblock ink print of sea-© 2014 Michael Hill

Location photograph, Germany-© 2014 Michael Hill

Photograph of road, Germany-© 2014 Michael Hill

Rough scan of artwork, Germany-© 2016 Michael Hill

Rough scan of artwork, drawing and collage-© 2016 Michael Hill

Rough scan of artwork, woodblock prints, handwriting, cartooning Tokyo-© 2016 Michael Hill

Rough scan of artwork, woodblock prints, handwriting and cartooning-© 2016 Michael Hill

Rough scan of artwork, illustration, sketching, cartooning, Tokyo-© 2016 Michael Hill

Rough scan of artwork, illustration, sketching, cartooning-© 2016 Michael Hill

Rough scan of artwork, Photography, character design, Tokyo-© 2016 Michael Hill

Rough scan of artwork, photography, handwriting and character design-© 2016 Michael Hill

Rough scan of artwork of a cat scanning artwork, Germany-© 2015 Michael Hill

Rough scan of artwork, drawing and printmaking-© 2015 Michael Hill

For details of the production of all five issues of this artist book/comic and a continuing visual history record and time-line overview of the project read all of 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   Issue #5: No.45   No.46   No.47   No.48

 

SCRAPBOOK: More Pages

In this post I am adding more sample pages from my scrapbook, the initial posting of which can be found here. There is only one copy and it contains images of other people’s work that I admire along with assorted memorabilia of my own.

Scrapbook page 1

Above-collage of scenes from Walt Disney studio production, clockwise from top left: me visiting their studio in Burbank(I studied storyboards from their morgue); mixing colour; making synchronised soundtracks; character paint set merchandise.

Scrapbook page 2

Above-Osamu Tezuka at work at Mushi Productions making anime; early Mazzucchelli superhero drawing; spool of recording tape; Tetsujin 28-go manga cover; Klaus Voormann cover design for The Beatles album Revolver.

Scrapbook page 3

Above-mixed bag of Tatsunoko Production studio interior; Dave Brubeck Quartet’s Time Out cover designed by Sadamitsu Fujita; Shigeru Mizuki manga; Gene Vincent and his Blue Caps without their blue caps: one of my signature stamps.

Scrapbook page 4

Above-Kamishibai frame and carry case; plus Yoshihiro Tatsumi gekiga manga panel from GARO magazine.

Scrapbook page 6

Above-Kyoto street and shop scenes; cartoon characterised Kansai airport tax card in Osaka; Mamoru Oshii; Fujii TV outside broadcast van; Tokyo record store receipt; assorted cartoon stickers and stamps including Doraemon and What’s Michael?

Scrapbook page 9

Above- postage stamps; B & W photo of Yayoi Kusama; illustration by Aya Takano; and centrepiece photo of my postcard printmaking production-the black shape on table is studio cat, Tabi, quality controller of production.

Scrapbook page 5

Above- me sketching in the Botanical Garden at U.C.L.A.; and studying the Aztec Sun Stone in Forest Lawn Memorial Park cemetery in Hollywood Hills; bookshop postcard, Tokyo.

This book is still under construction but more pages may be posted in the future. 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-Third 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

 

DRAWING WAR: Arrayed in Erlangen

One awesome aspect of the recent Internationaler Comic-Salon Erlangen that I attended in the old university town of Erlangen, Germany, near Nuremberg, was the staging of two contrastingly presented exhibitions of comics art on World War I by Joe Sacco and Jacques Tardi.

COMIC SALON exhibition signboard in the city (Photo-© 2014 Michael Hill).

COMIC SALON exhibition signboard, with Tardi image, in the city (Photo-© 2014 Michael Hill).

Joe Sacco’s The Great War was displayed as an open-air exhibit in Schlossplatz, enlarged on display boards arranged in a long series of folds. Seeing it spread across the square magnified the herculean task that Sacco undertook in drawing this epic, concertina work of one day of the Battle of the Somme and fitting it all into one panel.

Open air exhibition in the city at Schlossplatz of Sacco's The Great War (Photo-© 2014 Michael Hill).

Open air exhibition at Schlossplatz of Sacco’s The Great War (Photo-© 2014 Michael Hill).

His wordless comic is structured around a single seemingly endless panel that has been folded into 24 segments that unfolds to form a single piece. It depicts events in a continuous, cinema-pan like take, spread across time and space with soldiers assembling, then attacking and returning to their lines. The unfolded published comic is too long for a table and has to be spread across the floor of two adjoining rooms or a long corridor. In Schlossplatz it ran right across the width of the square necessitating a reading whilst walking approach and with so much detail it required several passes to take it all in.

Fold-out art work of Sacco's The Great War (Photo-© 2014 Michael Hill).

Fold-out art work of Sacco’s The Great War (Photo-© 2014 Michael Hill).

Closer view of fold-out art work of Sacco's The Great War (Photo-© 2014 Michael Hill).

Closer view of fold-out display of Sacco’s The Great War (Photo-© 2014 Michael Hill).

The panels above show the trenches and the movement of the soldiers from them into the hostilities of ‘No Man’s Land’, their exposure to artillery attacks and its associated schrapnel, plus machine gun and rifle fire.

Sacco being interviewed on site of The Great War exhibition. (Photo-© 2014 Michael Hill).

Sacco being interviewed on site of The Great War exhibition. (Photo-© 2014 Michael Hill).

On the other hand the war comics art by Jacques Tardi was exhibited indoors. Low level lighting created a sombre mood appropriate to the theme and also perhaps to protect the original art work that showed corrections such as the whiting-out of errant black border lines and some alignment and registration marks. This was the original art on display, not it’s cleaned up and reduced size reproduction as seen in the published comics.

Landscape of Death: Jacques Tardi and the First World War exhibition (Photo-© 2014 Michael Hill).

Landscape of Death: Jacques Tardi and the First World War exhibition (Photo-© 2014 Michael Hill).

Image from Landscape of Death: Jacques Tardi and the First World War exhibition (Photo-© 2014 Michael Hill).

Image from Landscape of Death: Jacques Tardi and the First World War exhibition (Photo-© 2014 Michael Hill).

The work, titled Landscape of Death, was very bleak, expressing the agony of those who fought in World War I. Many of the images were painful to view such as soldiers’ bodies being torn apart by flying pieces of shredded metal, lacerated, disfigured or rendered limbless, and with some surviving in this state.

Image from Landscape of Death: Jacques Tardi and the First World War exhibition (Photo-© 2014 Michael Hill).

Image from Landscape of Death: Jacques Tardi and the First World War exhibition (Photo-© 2014 Michael Hill).

Image from Landscape of Death: Jacques Tardi and the First World War exhibition (Photo-© 2014 Michael Hill).

Images from Landscape of Death: Jacques Tardi and the First World War exhibition (Photo-© 2014 Michael Hill).

Exhibited in a darkened theatre inside the Civic Centre, the low level of the light created a reverence for the images as well as a canopy of protection for the original art work as protection from fading. The work was housed in a series of narrow wooden walled and roofed walkthroughs with some shapes cut into the walls so that one could see out to lessen the confined effect. Tardi’s use of colour was impressive with his delicate watercolour brushwork adding a poignant hue to his poppies, pools of blood and rising smoke.

Image from Landscape of Death: Jacques Tardi and the First World War exhibition (Photo-© 2014 Michael Hill).

Image from Landscape of Death: Jacques Tardi and the First World War exhibition (Photo-© 2014 Michael Hill).

These two exhibitions, Sacco and Tardi respectively, with contrasting presentations: open-air/ indoor; spacious/ confined; sunlight/low level artificial illumination; expansive/confined; complete/edited, served to express and communicate aspects of the texts: open, the vulnerability of soldiers out of the trenches and restricted by the narrow confines of the trenches; and time-one day or six years of living with gas masks, flame throwers, helmets, barbed wire, dampness, misery, the stench of rotting bodies, despair and the ongoing expectation of death made a memorable imprint on me.

Pages from my Germany journal with Tardi press clippings and sticker (© 2014 Michael Hill).

Pages from my Germany journal with Tardi press clippings and sticker (© 2014 Michael Hill).

UPDATE MAY 2017: I FOUND THIS JACQUES TARDI STICKER (below) FROM THE SET THAT THE ERLANGEN ORGANISERS WERE DISSEMINATING, 300 IN ALL IF I REMEMBER CORRECTLY, SO I HAVE ADDED A SCAN.

 

BLOTTING PAPER The Comic: Production Report No.32

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

Q: A PROJECT FOR THE PRESERVATION OF COMICS

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. The list of comics in the collection is here. 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!

2017-q-project-calendar

COFFEE TABLE first fix

Please welcome my Coffee Table posts to this blog. This one debuts here but some others first appeared on my former blog Doctor Comictopus. 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. This post is new and fresh, a first timer here.

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.

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.

CupofCoffee-1RRead all the coffee table entries imported from Doctor Comictopus:  COFFEE TABLE first fix(Day of the Dead/Halloween comics)   COFFEE TABLE fourth fix(Football comics)    COFFEE TABLE eighth fix(Hergé and Tintin)    COFFEE TABLE tenth fix(Shigeru Mizuki)