Sunday, April 29, 2007

Percy Gloom Preview Part 2

I was fortunate enough to get an advance copy of the book from Cathy last week and wanted to show some spreads from it. The printing job is fantastic. I look forward to reading people's reaction to it when it hits the stores in a month or so. (And in case you are wondering, those are my wife's lovely fingers, not mine. Mine are more delicate.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A Preview of Percy Gloom

Cathy Malkasian will be having her first graphic novel, Percy Gloom, come out some time very soon through Fantagraphics. (In fact, some advance copies will be on sale at APE, but I understand that supply will be very limited.) I’ve had the good fortune of seeing this book develop over the last year, and it’s really terrific. On the surface, it’s about aspiring cautionary writer Percy Gloom moving to a new village to fulfill his dream of writing warnings on. The town is full of eccentrics, actually the whole world that Cathy creates is eccentric, and the tale is completely absurd, but again, that’s on the surface. Through all of the craziness there is something there, at the root of this world that is universal and keeps it all grounded.

Here’s the description from Amazon:

Occupying an unreal world of secret societies, benevolent families, and bureaucratic security, lazy-eyed Percy Gloom fights to overcome the loss of his wife, Lila, to a truth-pointing, lotharian cult-leader. Pursued by the muffin-throwing daughter of the city's important family and purposeless in life, Percy finds some security and meaning through a position testing various everyday items (such as hairbrushes and encyclopedias) for their danger potential. Approached by his doctor to help protect some special people and given advice by some talking goats, Percy comes to terms with his place in the gloomy world and finds himself reaching enlightenment (literally).

If you liked Pater Contrarious, then you’ve got to pick this up. It’s drawn in a similar style and I understand will be printed using the same duotone process. However, where Pater Contrarious was 16 pages, this one is 150.

Also, check out the new Percy Gloom website. You'll find a recipe for blue berry muffins and can listen to goats sing opera.

Alternative Press Expo - San Francisco

I'll be going to the Alternative Press Expo this weekend. I've been busy making some more sketchbook/journals for the show. These ones are 3 silk screened colors on either luon (small) or birch (large) plywood covers. They're very much like my birch tree ones I did a little while back.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Aqua Teen Hunger Force - Daytrotter

I just did an illustration for an Aqua Teen Hunger Force promo at Daytrotter. Back in my animation days, drawing on model was never a strength of mine. Fortunately in the illustration world, it's not so necessary.

You can buy the original drawing of this here.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Cartoonists I'd Like to See Translated 4: David Prudhomme

When I was living in Paris, I was running a little early to my weekly French class and I ducked into a stationary store to buy a pen and kill a little time. In France, comics are sold in most stores that books are sold, and books are sold in more kinds of stores than in America, including stationary stores. However, most of the comics found in stores like this are pretty mainstream genre type stuff and not terribly interesting. With this in mind, I was pretty shocked to come across Etienne Davodeau and David Prudhomme’s La Tour des Miracles de Georges Brassens, printed by mainstream publisher Delcourt.

I guess the mainstream hook is that the book is about an extremely popular French singer/songwriter from the 50’s. Prudhomme’s artwork however, is something I would expect to see out of a L’Association book (if they printed in color). It is drawn in pencil, ink, color pencil, watercolor, and whatever else may have been near Prudhomme’s drawing table. One of the things that I just love about it is that elements of the drawing are not always handled in the same way. Sometimes Prudhomme lets some scribbled pencil underdrawing show through the painting, or he will have erased out someone’s face and let the rubbed out hole remained unfinished. At other times, he will draw over more opaque paint with color pencil or ink. It’s an approach that reminds me a bit of Picasso in that elements within a page or even a panel are fluctuating between translucent and opaque, very loose and more carefully rendered, areas of intense, busy linework, and more open spaces of pure color or blank paper. It takes a lot of skill to be able to bring together all of these various elements and not have a mess. It’s especially difficult in the context of a comic page where one has many self-contained pictures co-existing on a page. It is Prudhomme’s strength however to keep the chaos just under control; he benefits from the energy that the tension creates.

As far as what the book is about, I’m not very sure. I’m guessing that since the comic credits list Etienne Davodeau and David Prudhomme as adapting La Tour des Miracles, then I would assume it was originally a song or maybe a memoir. Brassens is a character who appears to be surrounded by a bunch of lunatic friends. Half the book takes place in Paris, the other half, I’m guessing, the south of France. I would think that since it is about a French singer that most people in English speaking North America haven’t heard of, an English translation isn’t coming any time soon, but if you find yourself going on a trip to France, hunt this one down. Its really fantastic.