Monday, February 5, 2007

Cartoonists I'd Like to See Translated 2: Markus Huber

I know very little about Markus Huber. According to Lambiek, he is German and lives in Hamburg. He hasn’t done a ton of comics and I don’t believe he has done anything of any great length. I think most of his time is spent as an illustrator.

My knowledge of his work is based primarily on two books. The first is Nichts Von Bedeutung (the one I have was published by Zyankrise, but it is now published by Edition Moderne out of Zurich). This is a small book (4 ¾” x 6 ½”), a little larger than the Patte de Mouche series by L’Association or my own company’s Lunchtime Stories. It’s printed in two colors and is comics taken from some pop songs by local musicians. Huber’s drawings have a general uncomfortable feeling about them. The perspective is flattened, as if objects may roll off the page. Figures are angular and often looking out of the corner of their eyes. When they smile, it seems painted on. The anthology Le Cheval sans Tete printed a portion of this book in black and white and I prefer it that way. I don’t know what the songs are about, so maybe the color works better in that context, but I prefer black and white, which seems to better represent the starkness of Huber’s world.

The other book I have is Promenade a Saturnia, published by Amok (who also published Le Cheval sans Tete). It’s about 4 people on a trip to Italy with a little Death guy cruising around in a cart, boat, or plane. I love the drawings in this book. Each page is a small symphony of marks, some thin wavy lines, some stubby and thick, as well as solid blacks and sparse whites. They come together to describe figures and settings as well as telling a story. They also work in a more abstract manner creating a beautiful pattern on a page. Getting all of this to harmonize on a page is not easy, but Huber makes it look that way. At 20 pages, if I were putting together an anthology, this would be a dream story to try to get in English.

Although my knowledge and collection of Huber’s work is limited, he does have an excellent website where much of it is bilingual. In fact, he has a wonderful comic called The Comeback that is in English on his site. I would strongly suggest checking it out if you like what you see here.

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