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Review: Seconds

I was surprised to be so affected by this book! I suppose I am the target audience, at the same age and stage of life as his protagonist, and as O’Malley when he was writing the book. Seconds speaks clearly about what it’s like being in your late 20’s and finding the stakes getting escalated and realizing that you actually sorta built the house you’re living in. He invents these really clear moments that remind me of my life in ways I didn’t expect. 

Calling your parents when you need $12,000 right now and deciding instead to tell them “I love you.” 

Realizing what you wanted out of your relationship is exactly what you’re complaining about now.

Discovering the unfair burden that younger people sometimes stupidly look up to you.

In the end the book is about having integrity, owning up to your decisions, and listening to yourself even though you build your own traps. Shit’s tough and you feel like an idiot sometimes but you’re not the only one.

Posted at 11:43am and tagged with: seconds, bryan lee omalley, reviews,.

Review: Seconds
I was surprised to be so affected by this book! I suppose I am the target audience, at the same age and stage of life as his protagonist, and as O’Malley when he was writing the book. Seconds speaks clearly about what it’s like being in your late 20’s and finding the stakes getting escalated and realizing that you actually sorta built the house you’re living in. He invents these really clear moments that remind me of my life in ways I didn’t expect. 
Calling your parents when you need $12,000 right now and deciding instead to tell them “I love you.” 
Realizing what you wanted out of your relationship is exactly what you’re complaining about now.
Discovering the unfair burden that younger people sometimes stupidly look up to you.
In the end the book is about having integrity, owning up to your decisions, and listening to yourself even though you build your own traps. Shit’s tough and you feel like an idiot sometimes but you’re not the only one.

"I’m in the hole… are you?"

Noel Freibert’s The Hole is this amazingly printed little book. It’s all black, no color, printed the hell out of on every page. When I say this book is as black as can be, I mean I literally didn’t know how he printed it. The illusion is thorough. 

The “comics content” of the book is “dark” figuratively. The pages are all different metaphors for feeling oppressed, seeing others being harmed, living with pain… it’s heavy, it’s sad, and the imagery is tough as nails… it’s violent, shy of being gorey, but it made me wince. It really pulls the empathy out of the reader by hook or by crook. Have you felt this way before? I have. I’m glad I read this book because it gave me a way to visualize these lame feelings externally.

Noel couches his work as 100% dark. Don’t let that push you away. It’s cartoony and inventive… I think he does a cool thing of going into dark content with bleakness and humor. It’s an emotional exercise. The physical aspect of this book is a) meaningful and b) cool.

Check out a bunch of his work on his wweeiirrdd tumblr and if you wanna get this in the mail, buy it at his store.

Posted at 11:02am and tagged with: reviews, noel freibert, the hole, wweeiirrdd,.

"I’m in the hole… are you?"
Noel Freibert’s The Hole is this amazingly printed little book. It’s all black, no color, printed the hell out of on every page. When I say this book is as black as can be, I mean I literally didn’t know how he printed it. The illusion is thorough. 
The “comics content” of the book is “dark” figuratively. The pages are all different metaphors for feeling oppressed, seeing others being harmed, living with pain… it’s heavy, it’s sad, and the imagery is tough as nails… it’s violent, shy of being gorey, but it made me wince. It really pulls the empathy out of the reader by hook or by crook. Have you felt this way before? I have. I’m glad I read this book because it gave me a way to visualize these lame feelings externally.
Noel couches his work as 100% dark. Don’t let that push you away. It’s cartoony and inventive… I think he does a cool thing of going into dark content with bleakness and humor. It’s an emotional exercise. The physical aspect of this book is a) meaningful and b) cool.
Check out a bunch of his work on his wweeiirrdd tumblr and if you wanna get this in the mail, buy it at his store.

Mashup outside and inside covers, Two Eyes of the Beautiful II, finally getting the full size print edition it deserves, get ready for it soon…

Posted at 1:14am and tagged with: rcs, photoshop, twob ii,.

I’m selling this page from S.F. #3, featuring a gouache painting of Hupa Dupa, “a good-natured and cheerful, if less-than-over-qualified, little boy from Tokyo, Japan.”  On sale until Friday.

Posted at 8:01pm and tagged with: sf3, hupa dupa, sfsfsf, original art, gouache, painting, screentone, rcs, ryan cecil smith, full width,.

I’m selling this page from S.F. #3, featuring a gouache painting of Hupa Dupa, “a good-natured and cheerful, if less-than-over-qualified, little boy from Tokyo, Japan.”  On sale until Friday.

Hupa Dupa dreams… original artwork on my web shop…

Posted at 10:18am and tagged with: sf3, hupa dupa, russell street the well dressed cat, original art, screentone, full width, rcs, ryan cecil smith,.

Hupa Dupa dreams… original artwork on my web shop…

On Monday I took my binder of SF #3 originals to my local copy shop and sent them to my USB drive. I scanned them at 600dpi, color photo mode, with the lowest compression, etc. Maybe this took an hour at the shop total. Good to have these all in one place.

(Source: screentonetv.bigcartel.com)

Posted at 4:15pm and tagged with: full width, process, digital, sf3,.

On Monday I took my binder of SF #3 originals to my local copy shop and sent them to my USB drive. I scanned them at 600dpi, color photo mode, with the lowest compression, etc. Maybe this took an hour at the shop total. Good to have these all in one place.

Yes I’m working on new things…. I usually post process updates on Instagram

Original drawings for sale on the shop this week

Posted at 5:00am and tagged with: sfsfsf, S.F., process, inking, rcs, ryan cecil smith, full width,.

Yes I’m working on new things…. I usually post process updates on Instagram
Original drawings for sale on the shop this week

I’m putting pages from SF#3 up for sale on my web store. My Big Cartel shop has a limit of 25 items up at a time, so I’ll rotate new ones up on Friday.

Lots of real screentone, blue pencils, and labor-intensive night skies.

Check ‘em out it’s cool

Posted at 3:56pm and tagged with: process, original art, comics, sfsfsf, sf3, ryan cecil smith, rcs, screentone tv distro,.

Star fantasies, spread fold #SF #SFSF

Posted at 6:39pm and tagged with: sfsf, sf, full width, process,.

Star fantasies, spread fold #SF #SFSF

Initial approaches to the LOOP de LOOP poster. I kept a few elements for the final poster, which was much more fun to make:

LOOP de LOOP poster

Posted at 2:30pm and tagged with: blocks, sketchbook, process,.

Is there an attitude of dismissiveness towards literary comics in certain critical circles? Towards comics that tackle literary themes, mimic novelistic structures and storytelling, or indulge in very literary the-art-and-the-artist navel-gazing? I've heard and read people suggest that these comics try too hard for respectability, that they're primarily to be read by people who don't like comics. Some of this might be reading too much into superficial online comments. I'm unsure. Thoughts?

thefactualopinion:

snubpollard:

Sure, absolutely. But then, each of those circles probably has a somewhat different idea of what ‘literary’ comics are. It used to be simply comics with aspirations beyond exercising the qualities of genre - which replicated, I think, that quintessential latter-half-of-the-20th-century obsession with qualifying the division between High and Low art. And even then, there were disagreements over whether novelistic comics which hewed to generic strictures were correctly literary: always, the texture was a mix of intent, form and circumstance.

Harvey Pekar, for example, took great inspiration from realist fiction, but autobiographical comics both are and aren’t considered literary. Up until most of the way through the ’00s, they were sort of considered (by people who disliked them) as a dominant species of indie comics, and indicative of the inability of indie comics to succeed anywhere beyond their homogenous, self-centered cloister. Then Fun Home happened, and Persepolis happened, and now the knock is that these comics appeal too much in the wrong (i.e. boring) direction.

Similarly, as the ’00s stretched on, and venues like Kramers Ergot and publishers like PictureBox gained momentum, the values of small press comics arguably became less literary or confessional than visual, collapsing distinctions between reproduced comics and gallery art. (There were, obviously, many antecedents, ranging from RAW to Fort Thunder, but this is where the dialogue really seemed to shift.) In that light, to be ‘literary,’ arguably, was to gesture toward traditional narrative structure - but then, Kramers always had a number of very straightforward stories in it; Chris Ware was a contributor, and he’s frankly as prone to start talking about comics as musical composition as anything else in a book.

I suppose what I’m saying is that it’s quite easy to brandish the literary as a signal of what’s wrong in comics, because it casts a very broad beam. I don’t like many of the comics I see coming out of the generalist book publishers, because I don’t think a lot of them are especially interesting or adept as comics, but this is as much the result of the expectations of marketing to a certain demographic as it is a symptom of literary pursuit.

This is a really solid description of a term that gets used as both praise and a pejorative, but often because it’s being used to describe such a wide range of comics it’s difficult to know what a person is referring to. 

The final thing that Joe mentions couldn’t be more true. Random House, Norton proper—even the most generic Image or IDW genre comic is stronger than the autobio and “literary” stuff they’ve been putting out. There’s exceptions, like when they swoop in and give a young cartoonist a nice paycheck, but generally speaking, if those guys put it out, it’s always terrible. What’s often surprising is that when you speak to the people who work at these places about these books, they’re either dismissive of the entire field as total crap (because their only experience is a bunch of piece of shit non-starters) or they’re psychotically bewildered as to why they aren’t moving 10,000 units of a Fun Home rip-off drawn by someone who couldn’t get a mini-comic past whoever it is who is supposed to be editing comiXology Submit selections.

What’s also interesting—well, maybe only to me, and maybe not even that—is how unaware the rest of comics often is of these books, except for that one week or so where the New York Times or the LA Review of Books gets marketed into writing about them (which I don’t really blame them for—Random certainly buys a lot more ad space in big magazines than every comics publisher combined). You won’t find these books in comic stores unless they’re given a copy (and they usually are), you won’t find any of our comics journalists writing about them—they don’t exist in this spectrum at all. Even at their most popular (David Small’s Stitches comes to mind), they’re just nonentities except for their placement on that NY Times bestseller list—another area you can only truly game if you’re a really big outlet.

Sometimes I do wonder what and where comics would be like if there was somebody at one of those bigger houses who actually knew the difference between a Bechdel and a…well, whatever those last two Penguin graphic novels were supposed to be. Would that kind of money and press engagement change anything? Most alternative comics publishers and readers feel to me to have a somewhat cynical view of how many potential readers of non-genre powered graphic novels really exist, but how much of me thinking they’re incorrect is my own ignorance? Maybe Pantheon was it, and getting Black Hole into the apes movie as a prop is as far as it goes.

Anyway. I always learn something from reading Joe. 

Yeah I mean I’m predisposed against the term “literary comics…” I don’t think it has much of a meaning to me, but it signals an agenda which I don’t really value, that academia or “the literary establishment”(?) should respect these comics by nature of some particular shared values, maybe as opposed to the clarity of the voice and the effect of its message.) I try to keep my eyes and ears open. Good/interesting/compelling work tends to stands out in any arena…

(emphasis added cuz it’s my question, too)

Posted at 10:47am and tagged with: theory, wisdom, tucker stone, Joe McCulloch, questions, i dont know, literary comics, genre,.

I illustrated several “tales n tips” about PB&J sandwiches in the September issue of POPEYE magazine. See tons more features on sandwiches in this issue!!! I can’t wait to pick up my delicious copy. Thanks so much to my cool editor Kenta Enomoto! 

POPEYE 809 cover

This was a fun and easy assignment for me, because I am very happy to draw and share about my favorite sandwich. I used to always tell my students in Nishinomiya that a PB&J is sorta an American kid’s onigiri, so when I moved to LA I followed up on that claim and I make one or two for my lunch most days. Imagine my delight when asked to draw them.

fuel-sketch

18-years-sketch

jimmy-carter-sketches

Posted at 10:08am and tagged with: popeye, popeye magazine, popeye sandwich club, illustration, rcs, ryan cecil smith, peanut butter, jelly, pbj, sandwich, japan, jimmy carter,.

Wisdom from Siddhartha. 

Posted at 9:28pm and tagged with: wisdom, water, magic, siddhartha,.

Look, Kamala: When you throw a rock into the water, it will speed on the fastest course to the bottom of the water. This is how it is when Siddhartha has a goal, a resolution. Siddhartha does nothing, he waits, he thinks, he fasts, but he passes through the things of the world like a rock through water, without doing anything, without stirring; he is drawn, he lets himself fall. His goal attracts him, because he doesn’t let anything enter his soul which might oppose the goal. This is what Siddhartha has learned among the Samanas. This is what fools call magic and of which they think it would be effected by means of the daemons. Nothing is effected by daemons, there are no daemons. Everyone can perform magic, everyone can reach his goals, if he is able to think, if he is able to wait, if he is able to fast.

first page of a new S.F. story… um let’s call it S.F.S.F. #3A for now. 

Posted at 11:32am and tagged with: S.F., sfsfsf, comics, rcs, ryan cecil smith, full width, sfsf3a,.

first page of a new S.F. story… um let’s call it S.F.S.F. #3A for now. 

This will be printed very very tiny! And this is the mess that it will be made of.

Posted at 4:00am and tagged with: sflpb, risograph, cmyk, S.F., process, sfsfsf, rcs, ryan cecil smith,.