Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Calvin And Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book is the one Calvin And Hobbes book I have in my possession. I have all of them, at home in New Jersey, but after they got water-damaged, my mom bought a new copy of that book and sent it out here. That's the one with all the commentary about character names and the comic strip business and licensing and stuff. It's pretty great. There are two bits of commentary I want to write about. The first is when Watterson notes how all the great strips are out of print, and that modern work would probably be better if there were more historic documentation. The line is that each new generation of strip artists has to "reinvent the wheel."

This was written over ten years ago. Starting as of a couple years ago, old comics are starting to be reprinted in really complete form- The Krazy and Ignatz books, the Peanuts books, and Pogo is going to start coming out this year. All in complete form. These strips were the ones Watterson cited as major influences. But there's also all sorts of more obscure stuff coming out, thanks in part to that awesome Art Out Of Time book, and also due to the success of this stuff. So there's Gene Deitch and Jack Cole comic strips being reprinted.

There's also a bit where Watterson says that he thinks that, after so many comic strips about young boys drawn by men, he thinks a strip about a little girl, drawn by a woman, could be great. This is also interesting to me due to an interview I read with either Eleanor Davis or Andrice Arp, where they said that at the time they started going to comics classes at the Savannah College for Art and Design, they were the only woman in the class, but by the time they were seniors, things were more equal.

Right now, there's the Megan Kelso comic, Watergate Sue, being serialized in the New York Times, but that's not exactly what I'm talking about. I just think it's worth noting as a parallel. Megan Kelso went to Evergreen in the early nineties. I think some of the stuff that was printed in her Queen Of The Black Black was pretty cool, but the stuff in her second book showcases a leap in style and pacing to a place I can no longer understand, where indefinite periods of time pass between panels. Some people can parse the flayed minimalism and find great emotional moments, good for them.

This thought process was began just in general by my thinking about, as I waited for the bus, that 2008 will probably have a lot of great "graphic novels" coming out, as 2007 has been dominated by reprints of older work, next year will see more contemporary stuff being finished and collected. I'm thinking specifically of Anders Nilsen's Big Questions and Paul Pope's THB, but certainly the promise of collections of Cold Heat, Scud The Disposable Assassin, and Dal-Tokyo fit into this trend. So too would a theoretical collection of Megan Kelso's Artichoke Tales, but I neither know nor care if that will happen. Scud was supposed to come out this year, but I don't know if it was finished drawing before the creator, Rob Schrab, went back to directing The Sarah Silverman Program. It seems possible that it will be out before the end of the year, but I don't know. That would be a good one to read on the plane travelling in one direction or another for the holidays.

When "Watergate Sue" stops running in the Times, a new Daniel Clowes thing will start to come out, which I think will wrap up early in 2008. If that were to be collected into an issue of Eightball next year, that would also be great.

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