Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Alternative Comics

A few years ago, I fell under the spell of two very different films directed by Terry Zwigoff.

One of them, Crumb (1994), was a documentary about the legendary alternative cartoonist; and the other was a teen film made from a comic book by Daniel Clowes, Ghost World (2001).

I felt like I had just discovered a great American art-form that had been hiding under a rock — the world of alternative comics. I spent several months reading nothing but alt-comics. [More on that obsessive period later].

From last year, here's a virgin stab at trying to hand-make a little alt-comics strip.


Anonymous Matt said...

Oh, man, that's great. I really quite like it.

Also, I've just been catching up on your blog (I don't know how I got behind all of a sudden...) and I have to say, I really love it.

August 24, 2005 11:53 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

I don't know my Jazz history that well, but I love the sound of the tritone. Will there be more music theory cartoons in the future?

August 25, 2005 2:52 AM  
Anonymous dvd said...

Tritones rule, as do alternative comics. I'm looking forward to your extended post on that (as well as any additional pages of your own that you might wish to post). I'll save my specific comments on the medium until then.

August 25, 2005 5:28 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks, gentlemen.

I have a few ideas for music theory cartoons that are all "storyboarded" out. But cartooning is slow and labor-intensive. Which is why doing single illustrations seems quicker...

One idea that I've been obsessed by for years is this: music evolution and history is characterized (I believe) by the gradual (and unconscious) transformation of dissonance into consonance. Thus, the tritone (for which people were put to death in the middle ages) is actually at the heart of the bittersweet astringence of jazz chords. What sounded like nails on a chalkboard (they called it "the devil's interval" at the time) now sounds positively delicious in "Take The A Train".

August 25, 2005 7:07 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

Yes, please, more jazz theory toons, educational and fun.

Re alternative comics, I lived with a guy for two years who collected Eightball, Ghost World and others. For the longest time I didn't read any, but once I read one, burned through the rest pretty quick. Very expressive medium.

August 25, 2005 11:44 AM  
Blogger girish said...

"Very expressive medium."

Good point, Brian. Very cinematic art-form, no? What with decisions such as: framing & composition, montage, ellipses, temporal disjunctions and flashbacks, etc. And to top it off, a single person ([ahem]...auteur) creating everything from start to finish. Too bad it suffers by association with its disreputable "Pow! Blam! Wham!" cousins, superhero/genre comics.

August 25, 2005 11:58 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

I never really gave much thought to the mechanical similarities between film and comics, but YES, there are many!

August 26, 2005 11:58 AM  
Anonymous Darren said...

Girish, our minds work in uncannily similar ways. Years ago, I wrote a strange little piece of creative non-fiction that includes these lines:

"The tri-tone. Medieval composers called it 'The Devil's Interval.' Jimi Hendrix called it 'Purple Haze.'"

August 26, 2005 4:05 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Darren, I like that line.

I can't count the number of times I've used one of your posts to jump-start one of mine. But you know that already.

August 26, 2005 4:13 PM  
Anonymous phil said...

love that little cartoon girish -- you really should do more...very creative.

no really, you should. i like this a lot.

August 30, 2005 6:21 PM  

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