Monthly Archives: October 2009

Witzend and Trashcans

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There are so many little treasures in these walls.  Take Witzend for instance.  I never thought in a million years would I see a copy of this (can I call it a zine?)lovely publication.  The periodical that Wally Wood started with his buds so they could draw whatever they felt like using a self-proclaimed “statement of NO policy” as there only editorial guideline.  Printed in all black and white on surprisingly good paper.  This copy is in really great shape for being printed in 1966.  Thats enough about the object, I really want to talk about one contribution in Witzend #1 called Absurd Science Fiction Stories: Moon Critters by Jack Gaughan.

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This wordless and quick-paced strip is a super delight to read.  Almost everything else in Witzend doesn’t get me too excited save for another story called Sinner that reminds me of David B. But this Moon Critters Story just makes me happy.

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From my research, Jack Gaughan was a science fiction illustrator and didn’t do many comic strips.  You can image-search his name + cartoonist and find a bunch of his book covers.  A talented guy indeed.  Moon critters looks like he had some fun.  It’s drawn almost in a style of dashed doodles but very controlled.  All the information you need, he gives.  Not much line-variation but it doesn’t need it.  His characters are filled with so much energy that it really drags you through.  I wish Mr. Gaughan had done more comics.  If he had, let me know in the comments.  I hope you like these as much as I do.  Enjoy!

Chuck Forsman

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All Across the Ocean

Recently CCS second year student, Kevin Kilgore, embarked on two journeys. First, he and his wife (Nahee) brought a new life into the world. Affectionately called Baby X by his dad’s peers, our new friend accompanied Dad even to the library. And then to Seoul, South Korea.

Kevin spent many years before his time at CCS in Korea and was instrumental in the Korean underground comics movement. Now, his work and many others is featured in Sal 4. He recently sent the Schulz Library a copy of this handsome anthology for future students to enjoy (and it will NOT collect dust!)

Printed in Korean with tiny English subtitles, Kevin’s work is once again available to a wider audience. In this strip, he portrays himself teaching English to Korean children. A student asks for the English equivalent of the words ‘beach’ and ‘horse’ for some compound word fun!

According to Kilgore, she will ‘learn about bitchwhores’ later in in life. Sal 4. features many other talented cartoonists such as Sang-a Oh and her story So, Late. Overall, the stories are range from quiet to narcissistic with many wonderfully poignant moments.

Thank you Kevin, Nahee and Baby X! We cannot wait to see you in June either.

-Jen Vaughn

The Fathers of Modern Science Fiction

If you want to take a closer look at the history of science fiction in America, then a good place to start is with the dynamic duo of Hugo Gernsback and Frank R. Paul.

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Hugo Gernsback was born in Luxembourg and studied electronics in Germany, but after immigrating to America he found himself a frustrated inventor and scientist.  He had better luck in the world of publishing, where he published a number of science magazines (including Modern Electrics, The Electrical Experimenter and Science and Invention).  Gernsback discovered the illustrations of Frank R. Paul, a European immigrant like himself who couldn’t find work in his chosen field of architecture.  Paul would go on to create over 150 illustrations for Gernsback.

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Gernsback’s biggest claims to fame, and why he is often called “The Father of Science Fiction” is his publication Amazing Stories.  Published in 1926, this pulp magazine was the fist publication devoted completely to science fiction (or, as Gernsback called it at the time, “scientifiction”).  The stories he published celebrated science and aimed to prophesize the future.

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For his numerous sci-fi illustrations, Frank R. Paul is likewise called “The Father of Modern Science Fiction Illustration”.  Though his figure drawing was stiff and his color choice garish (even for the time) there is something charming and special about his work.  I think it was summed up best in this quote, from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction:


“FRP’s style shows his architectural training; his cities and technology are lovingly detailed, his aliens well thought out and plausible, but his human figures stiff and simplistic…. It seems odd to associate primitive art with SF, but FRP was in his technological way, just as much a primitive as Grandma Moses (1860-1961) and, like her, had an authentic naive poetry to his work.” 


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For more art by Frank R. Paul, visit the Frank R. Paul Gallery.

To learn more about these creators, I suggest reading The Classic Era of American Pulp Magazines by Peter Haining.  My own personal copy will be on loan for the next week.  The Schulz Library currently does not own a copy of this excellent book – do you have one you’d like to donate?

– Robyn Chapman

Incoming: The Sony eReader

Introducing the Sony eReader, the latest addition to the Schulz Library!  Are you curious about digital readers? Do you want to learn more about the role comics can play in this new technology?  Take this gadget out for a whirl!  It’s loaded with the following books and graphic novels:

Black Hole by Charles Burns
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
Reading Comics by Douglas Wolk
A Contract with God by Will Eisner
I Saw You… by Julia Wertz et al 
Good-Bye, Chunky Rice by Craig Thompson
The Ten-Cent Plague by David Hajdu
Cruddy by Lynda Barry
French Milk by Lucy Knisley

I must admit, I’m a lover of print.  I like ink on paper, and books with texture.  Gadgets like these aren’t my cup of tea.  But I was impressed by the convenience the eReader has to offer.  You can purchase a book and read it instantly.  For any students, journalists or writers working on  deadline it can be useful research tool.

Is it well suited for comics?  There are definitely some hurdles to overcome.  Reading a comic like Black Hole requires a lot of zooming and navigating, which I found really detrimental.  However, the format of French Milk (by CCS’s own Lucy Knisley!) lends itself well to the eReader.  Her lettering is readable without zooming and the line work is bold.  the drawing aren’t overly intricate, so they can be appreciated on the small screen.

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To learn more about the eReader, talk with one of our friendly librarians!

 

– Robyn Chapman

My Every Single Thought…plus a few more

First off, the last name is said “Mu” as in music and ‘-cha’ as in cha cha cha! Now that we are settled, let’s discuss some quality comics made by Xeric Award winner, Corinne Mucha (My Alaskan Summer). Having emailed Corinne before SPX, I knew that a copy of My Every Single Thought was bound for my hot, little hands. Made with the up-most care while in a whirlwind of depression and singledom, Mucha fully expresses misery, doubt, and sarcasm consistently in a humorous way in her mini-comic.

Despite the incident that inspires this comic, you can feel the hope. Every hatch mark, every letter, every emanata resonates hope within the reader. Maybe this is what truly connects Mucha to her audience, the hidden kernel of hope we dare not speak about in our own time of romantic tragedy. Well, that and the fact that we love to laugh at other people’s pain. Self-deprecation can be tiring but Mucha thoughtfully uses other objects to express her character’s feelings such as these socks:

My single socks were also excited to finally see themselves represented in a comic.


The other mini Mucha handed me was a collection of short comics called Buzz #3. These were also more enchanting auto-biographical stories mixed with surreal fiction, such as the expiration date having an identity crisis or what ‘real’ truly means in our technoingredient-aware present.

These are great stories woven together by a young, masterful cartoonist and we all should look forward to future work by Corinne Mucha.

-Jen Vaughn

Unicorn Mountain: The Black Forest

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During my time at the Small Press Expo this passed weekend I never was able to find the Unicorn Mountain table.  Luckily a very nice man by the name of Curt Gettman came up and talked to me and we chatted for a while.  We talked about the city of Pittsburgh, we talked about printing costs, we talked about the new Unicorn Mountain Book which he graciously donated to the library.  This book is massive.  From what I can remember of our conversation, the book took them 3 years to become fully realized.  It was worth it.  The Black Forest has taken UM into darker territory.  It seems that the majority of the artists and writers’ pieces for the book feed on those darker stumbling times in our lives.

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From what I know about Unicorn Mountain, they are a loose collective of artists centered around Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania.  I may have a soft spot for the locale as I was raised in the state and have grown to appreciate the trees and land there.

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This book is lovingly produced.  A mainly black and white book on ivory paper is interrupted by color sections and full-color pasted-in plates.  There are a ton of folks in here too numerous to name but here are a few faves of mine:

Sam Gaskin(CCS alum)

Theo Ellsworth(Capacity)

Elina Malkin

Andrew Davis

Frank Santoro(Cold Heat)

Bill Wehmann

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colrplatedeerladies-chuck FORSMAN