Archive for April, 2011

Bill Blackbeard, Comics Historian: 1926-2011

I will only say this: I scoured the The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1977) as a young lad, and Blackbeard’s commentary in this volume and his essay in The Complete E.C. Segar Popeye (Volume One: Sundays, 1930-1932) were among the first extended historical treatments of comics I ever read. May Blackbeard’s contributions to comics long be remembered.

LINKS:

Bill Blackbeard, 1926-2011 (The Comics Reporter, April 25, 2011).

Bill Blackbeard, R.I.P. by Jeet Heer (The Comics Journal, April 25, 2011).

Bill Blackbeard: Tributes, edited by Dan Nadel (The Comics Journal, April 25, 2011).

Bill Blackbeard, the Man Who Saved Comics, Dead at 84 by R.C. Harvey

Bill Blackbeard Dies at 84; Saved Comic Strips, New York Times, April 29, 2011, by Margalit Fox.

The beauty that is Inkstuds

It didn’t take me this long to read Inkstuds (Conundrum Press, 2010) because I found it tedious; on the contrary, I wanted to savour these interviews and read them in small doses, interspersed with the ongoing consumption of comics—many created by artists featured on the radio show. Kudos to McConnell: with all of the interviews he’s conducted, I don’t know how he decided which ones to put in this volume. I suspect that’s why there’s a “1” on the spine of the book!

In the introduction to Inkstuds, comics scholar Jeet Heer remarks, “McConnell takes a deceptively casual tack, winging his way like a student at an oral exam who is willing to make up for in gusto what he lacks in preparation (6).” This may be especially true when listening to McConnell’s show, but one feature of reading the interviews that I found interesting was how once transcribed on the page, these conversations take on a new life. Now edited, gone are the traces of improvisational filler, instead leaving only a fluid path of ideas. Continue reading ‘The beauty that is Inkstuds’

The Art of Difficult Art

Keeping the Story Alive

Today’s National Post had an interesting article with artist Adam Matak. “Over the past few years, this young Toronto artist has made a name for himself by applying a cartoon style to classy gallery settings.” Matak explains that he began drawing at the age of three, and that when he was young he drew in a style inspired by Disney.

Later, I trained as a printmaker, so when I started getting into painting I brought in that graphic element, too. And I’ve always been interested in trying to create connections between disparate things. I started off doing Greek busts and combining them with graffiti -trying to meld ancient and contemporary art (The National Post, April 4, 2011).

Check out the photo of the Thames Art Gallery space above, with Matak’s cardboard cutout figures, whom he describes as “museum patrons.” Very cool. More examples can be seen on the “Sculptures” tab on Matak’s website. Matak’s “Museum Series” of paintings equally explores the public experience of art, poking fun at how disengaged many viewers may at times appear. But the deeper message concerns what an audience may be missing by not reflecting on the lineage from which art springs, and what we may have to learn from it about ourselves. Continue reading ‘The Art of Difficult Art’


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