Posts Tagged 'Inkstuds'

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’

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Long Live Da Comix!

Comix: The Underground Revolution by Dez Skinn

I finished reading Comix: The Underground Revolution (Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2004) right after reading Men of Tomorrow by Gerard Jones. The two books are a perfect match for one another. In many ways, Skinn’s work begins where Men of Tomorrow leaves off—with the birth of Mad magazine, and the undergrounds that followed suit from Harvey Kurtzman’s lead.

I am a late arrival on the comix scene, so for me to find what serves both as an itemization and a brief history of the period in the pages of one volume is a real gift. The book is visually rich, including huge amounts of source material, none of which has been watered down for more sensitive audiences. Continue reading ‘Long Live Da Comix!’

Because I’m not: Skim

Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

Skim (Groundwood Books, 2008), written by Mariko Tamaki and drawn by her cousin Jillian Tamaki, is a gentle and unparalleled exploration of one fictional teenager’s inner life.

The splash page for Part I of Skim introduces us to the story’s protagonist, Kimberly Keiko Cameron (aka “Skim”), a half-Japanese student attending an all-girls’ private high school in Ontario. Why the nickname Skim? In her own words, ”Because I’m not.” Though the story does not concentrate on Kimberly’s weight issues, in a world of highly self-conscious teenage girls, we can only guess that this is one of many reasons that Skim is perceived as an outcast.

As readers, we are provided access to Skim’s diary, which indicates her favourite colour as “black red.” The uncertainty communicated through this initial journal entry is a poignant and provocative indication that all may not be as it seems with Skim. To introduce corrections throughout Skim’s diary is also to realistically portray how a teenage diary, or for that matter any diary, might look—unless its author were to erase or white out any errors. The jazz pianist Thelonius Monk insisted on never re-recording tracks when he was in recording sessions, believing that if musicians made errors during these events, they ought to be duly noted as such for all to hear. In Skim, we can assume that Kimberley’s errors are an intentional vehicle used to portray the diarist’s doubleness, her doubts and insecurities. But their inclusion at all is testament to the author’s depth and perceptiveness into teen neurosis. Continue reading ‘Because I’m not: Skim’

The Hole of Humanity

Discovering Inkstuds. Rediscovering Colin Upton

Weird. This weekend I went to Vancouver with my family. We were driving up Main Street and passed by Heritage Hall. I mentioned to my kids that this was the locale where many years ago I sold off much of my comic collection, during comic conventions that were organized by Leonard S. Wong. As we drove by, I mentioned, “I wonder if conventions are still running here…” and lo! There was a sign on the front of the building announcing that a Vancouver Comicon taking place that very same day.

I did a Web search for the convention once we got home, in order to find out what artists were attending the event. I never made it to reading information about the convention, because I spun off and experienced full-on rapture upon discovering the Inkstuds website, where over a hundred (!) interviews with comic artists have been uploaded to the Web for your listening pleasure. And of all the places where this website could have been from, it is hosted as part of CITR radio from the University of British Columbia. Man, my high school years were consecrated to listening to that radio station, from hardcore, to reggae, to jazz, to blues, to world music, and beyond…and now I find out that CITR also has a radio program on comics! Continue reading ‘The Hole of Humanity’


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