Archive for August, 2012

Hignite strikes again: The Art of Jaime Hernandez

The intimacy of Todd Hignite’s In the Studio: Visits with Contemporary Cartoonists (Yale University Press, 2006) blew my mind when I first read it. Profiled within its pages are commentary by Hignite and accompanying passages from interviews with Ivan Brunetti, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Robert Crumb, Jaime Hernandez, Gary Panter, Seth, Art Spiegelman and Chris Ware.

To “hear” all of these artists’ voices between two covers was a revelation in comics form and function, with generous and glorious full colour reproduction of many samples of the artists’ work, as well as work that influenced them.

Hignite has more recently built upon his initial treatment of Jaime Hernandez in In the Studio, and has developed a full volume consecrated to Hernandez’ art. The Art of Jaime Hernandez: the Secrets of Life and Death (Abrams, 2011) is not only exquisite because of Hernandez’ contributions, but also because it is infused with Hignite’s poetic prose. Listen to this: can you hear the music?

Hernandez’s titles are always both iconic and insinuatingly evocative. “Wigwam Bam” is taken from a 1970s pop hit by the Sweet and provides a pop culture springboard that magically evokes a deeply personal flashback. The centrepiece is an entry in Maggie’s diary that Izzy reads while searching for her—to the young Maggie and her friend Letty, the song was a metaphor regarding cultural difference and identity, and in particular the mythic proportions that such childhood experiences take on later in life, themes that Maggie will continue to question throughout her stories. While abundantly engaging, as only the most complex art can be, Hernandez’s comics are also great entertainment. His formal virtuosity is in the service of characterization, altering one’s perception of the world while the full range of humanity dances on and below the surface of the page. Continue reading ‘Hignite strikes again: The Art of Jaime Hernandez’

Holmes on Homesteading

The Artist Himself: A Rand Holmes Retrospective by Patrick Rosenkranz (Fantagraphics Books, 2010)

Given that Lucky’s Comics recently hosted an exhibition of Holmes’ work as part of a book launch for The Artist HImself, and that the artist spent much of his life in familiar territory, I was curious. Before listening to the Inkstuds interview with Patrick Rosenkranz (Holmes’ authorized biographer), I knew nothing about Rand Holmes’ life or his comics. I thought I was going to read the biography of an underground cartoonist. Instead, I read an epic exploration of a complex human being, who just happened to be an underground cartoonist.

Top Quality Shit

When I walk into Legends Comics and Books in Victoria, co-owner Gareth Gaudin (with Lloyd Chesley) is reading Paul Gravett’s 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die: The Ultimate Guide to Comics, Graphic Novels and Manga (Universe, 2011) at the cash.

“Is it good?”

“It’s pretty good…there’s only one comic so far that I think should have been included in here that isn’t.”

“What’s that?”

“Harold Hedd #2.” It’s hard to find nowadays, but all of the Harold Hedd comics have been reprinted in here.” Gareth hands me a copy of The Artist Himself: A Rand Holmes Retrospective by Patrick Rosenkranz (Fantagraphics, 2010). “Look at this…” He flips to page 115. “Look at this! Where else will you find an authentic drawing of a BC transit bus in Vancouver, circa the 1970s?”

“Oh! Remember The Buzzer?” Continue reading ‘Holmes on Homesteading’


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