Tag: Gene Kannenberg Jr.

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.


BLOTTING PAPER The Comic: Production Report No.12

Art, Blotting Paper, Comics, Japanning March 18, 2012

Copies of my artist book/comic Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions Of Doctor Comics are available exclusively from the launch venue Hondarake till 31 May 2012: Level 1, 465 Kent Street Sydney  phone: 02 9261 5225  online shop: http://fullofbooks.com.au

The book with original print on cover. (Original print-© 2011 Michael Hill)

The limited edition numbered and signed book comes with an original print on the front cover (see photo above), a numbered bookmark and printed bag (see photo of package below).

The Blotting Paper package-limited edition, signed and numbered book + original print + matching numbered bookmark + gift bag.

A double page spread from the book that shows printmaking with pieces of fish. (Drawing and prints-© 2011 Michael Hill)

The book was launched by my friend and colleague Gene Kannenberg, Jr. a noted comics historian, director of ComicsResearch.org. and author of “500 Essential Graphic Novels”.

Gene Kannenberg, Jr’s copy with his suggested matching drink, Ommegang Abbey Ale. (Photo by Gene Kannenberg, Jr.)

The Blotting Paper package.

The store also stocks a selection of handmade printed postcards that I produced in the  sosaku hanga method, each one an original hand-made monoprint, signed and stamped by the artist. Both the art book/comic and the cards involve printmaking as an image-making technique. I employed the Japanese technique of woodblock printmaking in my first animation film around 20 years ago and I have continued to use Japanese influenced printmaking techniques ever since. During this time I have largely been involved in the scholarly and research aspects of visual communication, writing and teaching more than the making. This artist’s book and exhibition marks a more focused return to the ‘making’ of images and projects.

The printed cards. (Original prints-© 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 Michael Hill)

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.11

Archive of Australian Alternative Comics, Art, Blotting Paper, Comics, Japanning February 20, 2012

Good news! My artist book/comic Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions Of Doctor Comics was launched at Hondarake Full of Books in Sydney on a wet Summer afternoon in February along with an exhibition of my postcard prints and a display of printmaking tools used in their production.

My fish prints hanging overhead. (Photo by Sal Jones)

Zeera the Space Pirate creator Naomi Hatchman. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Australian comics legends Glenn Smith and Gerard Ashworth. (Photo by Louise Graber)

JMC Director of Animation Sean Callinan and Peregrine Besset creator Lewis P. Morley. (Photo by Louise Graber)

It Lives! CEO’s Nick and Liz. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Store owners Hisae and Tomoko. (Photo by Louise Graber)

Dr. Michael Hill a.k.a. Doctor Comics in foreground with Gene Kannenberg, Jr. (onscreen) entertained with his witty matching of comics and beverages. (Photo by Andrew Hawkins)

The book was launched by Gene Kannenberg, Jr. via Skype from the U.S.A. Noted comics historian, Kannenberg is director of ComicsResearch.org. former Chair of the International Comic Arts Festival and the Comic Art & Comics Area of the Popular Culture Association, and author of 500 Essential Graphic Novels. He made a humorous speech and participated in a game of pairing comics with beer including the work of creators Will Eisner, Lynda Barry, Hergé, Jack Kirby and Joost Swarte. Gene  got a big response when he suggested black coffee with Steve Ditko and Duff beer with Matt Groening, and then an even bigger response when he brought his cat, Mr. Pickles, onscreen.

The pop-up exhibition of postcards. (Photo by Harrison Hill)

Hair and prints in abundance. (Photo by Harrison Hill)

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.10

Art, Blotting Paper, Comics, Japanning February 4, 2012

The launch of my artist book/comic Blotting Paper: The Recollected Graphical Impressions Of Doctor Comics, Issue #1 The Ingurgitator in a signed and numbered limited edition of 50 is on 11 February 2012 at Hondarake Full of Books in Sydney (details in the poster below). The book will be launched by my friend and colleague Gene Kannenberg, Jr. via a Skype link from the U.S. Kannenberg, a noted comics historian, 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 including “500 Essential Graphic Novels”.

Poster designed by Louise Graber from original print by Michael Hill.

The launch will be accompanied by an exhibition of 33 of my handmade art postcards produced in sosaku hanga style, the ‘creative print’ movement that emerged just over a century ago in Tokyo. Creative prints became the voice of a group of artists who went under the name Pan and met for sake parties by the Sumida River, the centre of the Floating World of old Edo and site of the classic Ukiyo-e print movement. James Michener described this new approach: …in contrast to the classical system in which the artist merely designed the print, leaving the carving of the blocks to one technician and the printing to another, the newer print artists preached that the artist himself must do the designing, carving and printing. A new term was devised to describe such a print-sosaku hanga, meaning “creative print.” (Michener, 1968: The Modern Japanese Print p.11)

One of the cards in the associated exhibition–© 2010 Michael Hill

Another of the cards–© 2010 Michael Hill

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

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



Art, Blotting Paper, Comics May 12, 2011

After a period in which I have been guest blogging and micro blogging I am finally concentrating on the development of my own blog! I started out my approach with the idea of having two blogs: Doctor Comics (more serious) and Doctor Comictopus (more fun) but these have since merged into the one Doctor Comics blog (both fun and serious) and this is the first post on the new, one and only Doctor Comics blog. I love comics and I have read them since childhood. Every Sunday most I would sit and read the comics section of the Sunday paper. My mother would buy me a comic when I was unwell and home from school in bed…a Donald Duck or a Dennis The Menace. I knew them by their titles then and only later learned that they were the work of comics artists Carl Barks and Hank Ketcham respectively. My father regularly read both English war action and American western adventure comics as well as the comics section of the Sunday newspaper and left them lying around the house so I can say that both of my parents contributed to my developing love of comics. I also had a couple of kind aunties who would buy me the odd imported weekly comic such as the English Eagle boys paper. Even nowadays I still read comics in bed but no longer wait till I’m ill.

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)

My interest in and enthusiasm for comics continued throughout childhood and adolescence and into adulthood. I also developed a serious interest in studying and researching the medium. I have been involved in comics studies for several years and have been awarded 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 radio talkback show…the caller said he wanted to talk to “that Doctor Comics guy”. (Cue amusement as the radio announcer informed the audience that I actually had a Ph.D. in comics!) That “Doctor Comics” label sounded odd at the time but it caught on and I got used to it. Aided by the diverse range of publications available and the growing amount of resources online it has become 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 standard 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 the Feed On Comics! call from the Max (photo above) official T-shirt of  ICAF (the International Comic Arts Festival) at Bethesda, Maryland, 1999 that I attended. 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 comics artist James Kochalka performed, totally naked, 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 now has particular resonance for me and my blog. Enjoy!

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 now been discontinued, however, some elements have been merged with this new 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