November 4, 2016

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Weekend Pattering for November 4th, 2016-- Remembering Steve Dillon (1962-2016)


I'm waiting for the day when Box Brown does a comic chronicling the 2016 Cubs/Indians World Series.  It would be a great third part if he wanted to consider his Andre the Giant and Tetris books as the first two parts of a trilogy.  Just saying...

Previously on Panel Patter

Cover of the Next Week


Doom Patrol #3 cover by Simon Bisley

Let's step back to the heady days of the early 1990s, when a young whippersnapper named Grant Morrison took over DC's Doom Patrol comic from Paul Kupperberg.  You can't really say that the two writers were kindred spirits in any way.  For the first handful of Morrison's Doom Patrol comics, Richard Case handled both the interior art and the covers but as the comic embraced its Dadaistic leanings, Simon Bisley took over the cover work.  Bisley's covers look like Dave McKean's Sandman covers, only on acid.

With Gerard Way's ode to all things Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol, it's only fitting that Bisley should be doing a variant cover for the new series.

It just feels right to see Bisley's Robotman gracing the cover of a comic book again.

Bonus Cover of the Next Week

Cometbus #57 cover by Jeffery Lewis

Aaron Cometbus's fanzine deserves an extra call out.  It's been available through online dealers for a couple of months now but it looks like the latest issue of Cometbus is hitting direct market stores next week.  The book is full of all kinds of great interviews with NYC-based comic people.  

Interviews



** An Interview with Sophie Campbell (The Comics Journal)-- From Wet Moon to Jem and the Holograms, Sophie Campbell has built an interesting career.
I’ve talked about this in other interviews where people ask me if there’s a social agenda with what I’m doing, and it’s yes and no. Yes because I’m thinking about that stuff so it can’t not have that aspect to it. Some decisions–just to have a fat character for example–are inherently political and you can’t avoid it and I think there’s some responsibility to be aware of it. But I didn’t really start thinking about that kind of thing until partway through my career. Looking back, now I can see how my work fits together with intersectionality and feminism, but I wasn’t aware of it at the time. I was like, “this is what I want to see, this is what I want the characters to be like,” and that was the extent of it. I tried to do what I wanted to see in comics, and what I saw in the world around me. But since having learned so much in the past however many years, I can look back at my work and see it more clearly.

** This Westworld and Captain America Writer Just Wrote Your New Favorite Graphic Novel (GQ)-- So, Ed Brubaker is just turning up everywhere, particularly when the episode of Westworld that he wrote aired on HBO.  But this interviews concentrates on his and Sean Phillips' excellent comic The Fade Out and its exploration of Hollywood.
It’s interesting: social media has changed the way we look at stars a little bit, but let’s not pretend, if you follow some movie star on Twitter, that it isn’t a completely curated experience from their end. I’m sure some are not, but most movie stars are probably not running their own Twitter account. [Laughs] That’s the interesting side of it: the picture that is presented to the world. You know, I saw a lot of parallels between The Fade Out and something like Deadwood, in a way, because it was about a place and a time, but Hollywood in the post-war years felt like the Gold Rush. Everybody was coming to Hollywood to try to become a movie star or a writer, and the amount of names of people who came to Hollywood to try to become a writer and wound up tossed out the other side doesn’t end with Dashiell Hammett and William Faulkner. I think Raymond Chandler was the only one who figured out how to game the system and make a living, and not actually have to live in Hollywood!

This and That

** CXC 2016: Report Card (Comics Workbook)-- Whit Taylor shares her thoughts about the recent CXC 2016, looking at how it stacks up to some of its goals.
When I asked Spurgeon what he wanted for this festival in coming years he said he hoped that CXC would “not just [be] having a strong show but driving attention to the entire world of comics in a kind of Cannes Film Festival way.” He talked of developing a housing program as well. “I’d love for the show to become successful enough we can aim it at some of comics intractable problems!”
Also at Comics Workbook, Juan Fern├índez ruminates on what a Comics Festival could look like.
Why? Because as it stands, in it’s current, commodity focused culture, comics are facing a cultural choking point with respect to the role that comics making can play in broader cultural discussions. We need to give comics making and comics reading practices more breathing room. To grow. To continue expanding. We need to nurture interdisciplinary approaches to experiencing comics. We need our festivals to make this a guiding principle.



** The Shirley Jackson Project (The Comics Journal)-- Greg Hunter reviews the latest Rob Kirby-edited project.
One sign of a good anthology is that even the misfires are interesting, and this is true of The Shirley Jackson Project. “Merricat” by W. Woods posits a series of found sketches by Merricat Blackwood, of We Have Always Lived in the Castle—sort of a losing endeavor by default, as the novel itself takes a deep dive into Merricat’s interiority, but it’s still fun to see the choices made sketch by sketch. Jennifer Camper’s “The Guest Bathroom” begins another losing game, putting a Jackson-like figure in the center of its story about a gradual home invasion, and also adopting a Jackson-like voice for its captions. In other words, it’s particularly easy to measure this piece against Jackson’s own work. But Camper still boasts one of the collection’s most dexterous plot-level feats, weaving together strands of the Jackson stories “Like Mother Used to Make,” “Trial By Combat,” and “The Villager” within one comic.

 ** The REAL Best Comics of all-time (73)-- Reacting to Sean T. Collins list at Thrillist about the Best Graphic Novels of All Time,  Sarah Horrocks replies with her own list.  Looking at the two lists, I'm much more partial to the books on Horrocks' list but both of them contain a lot of comics that I like and a lot that I still need to catch up on.

Steve Ditko

** Steve Ditko: The Father Of DOCTOR STRANGE (Birth. Death. Movies)-- Just in time for the movie to come out, Derek Faraci profiles the one cartoonist who still toils away daily in an office in Midtown Manhattan.
In 1987, Steve Ditko was awarded the Comic-Con International Inkpot Award. He didn’t show up for the ceremony, so publisher Deni Loubert accepted it on his behalf. Loubert sent the award to Ditko, only to have it returned with a note that read “Awards bleed the artist and make us compete against each other. They are the most horrible things in the world. How dare you accept this on my behalf”.

Your Moment of Steve Dillon


Honestly, I'm still having some trouble processing the death of Steve Dillon, who passed away on October 22, 2016, at 54 years old.  While I've been reading his comics since the mid-1980s, when his stuff first started appearing in the states in Eclipse Comics' reprints of British comics, I don't know if I could ever say I was a fan of his.  Hs work was solid but for a large chunk of Dillon's work, I think I was far more interested in eye candy than his work ever was.

Preacher is the Dillon book to me and maybe that's part of the problem.  I'm just not that much of a Garth Ennis fan and Preacher is Garth Ennis to me.  The over-the-top outrageousness was just a put off to me.  But there are key aspects of Preacher that I love and a lot of that is Dillon and his depictions of the friendships and relationships of Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy.  It's probably been 16 years since I last read through the series but it's the way that Dillon showed how these characters cared for one another that's always been one of the more remarkable things to ever come out of Vertigo.

Ennis and Dillon had talked about doing a follow-up Vertigo series, City Lights, that always sounded like it was going to be the spiritual successor to Preacher and it was a book that I always wanted to see.

For as much of Preacher being about Ennis' writing, the book really succeeded because of the many ways that Dillon brought the story to life.  It was vile, disgusting, blasphemous, joyful, exuberant and beautiful.  

And you know, in hindsight, those are all words that I'd use to describe Steve Dillon's work. 

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