Sunday, July 13, 2014

Recently Read: The Europeans, by Henry James

The Europeans is the most entertaining James novel I've read so far in my quest of reading all his novels in chronological order. It's a sort-of reversal of The American; instead of a financially successful American attempting to marry into European aristocracy, The Europeans concerns mid-19th century visitors from across the pond staying with and somewhat preying upon, plain-living New Englanders of various types, with marriage as the ultimate goal.

The Europeans are a broke and devil-may-care bohemian/artist and his older sister, unequally married to a prince attempting to dump her. The machinations of this somewhat dubious couple's attempts to ingratiate themselves into the lives (if not the hearts) of their straight-faced cousins are fascinating, subtle and frequently funny. The short novel is not considered one of James' best works, but it has a sort of tossed off quality that rings truer than some of his more labored over "serious" work. All of the characters ring true to my mind and the work is a slow simmering mixture of comedy, pathos and acute observation of manners.

I read this book 34 years ago, and enjoyed even more reading it recently.

One thought that occurred to me while reading The Europeans is how unworthy the medium of film is in translating good literature to sound and pictures. Film is literally incapable of communicating the depth of details presented in text. Consider, for example, how this passage would be filmed. I'll find out soon, when I watch the Merchant-Ivory adaptation onto film:

The Baroness took her uncle's hand, and stood looking at him with her ugly face and her beautiful smile. "Have I done right to come?" she asked.

"Very right, very right," said Mr. Wentworth, solemnly. He had arranged in his mind a little speech; but now it quite faded away. He felt almost frightened. He had never been looked at in just that way—with just that fixed, intense smile—by any woman; and it perplexed and weighed upon him, now, that the woman who was smiling so and who had instantly given him a vivid sense of her possessing other unprecedented attributes, was his own niece, the child of his own father's daughter. The idea that his niece should be a German Baroness, married "morganatically" to a Prince, had already given him much to think about. Was it right, was it just, was it acceptable? He always slept badly, and the night before he had lain awake much more even than usual, asking himself these questions. The strange word "morganatic" was constantly in his ears; it reminded him of a certain Mrs. Morgan whom he had once known and who had been a bold, unpleasant woman. He had a feeling that it was his duty, so long as the Baroness looked at him, smiling in that way, to meet her glance with his own scrupulously adjusted, consciously frigid organs of vision; but on this occasion he failed to perform his duty to the last. He looked away toward his daughters. "We are very glad to see you," he had said. "Allow me to introduce my daughters - Miss Charlotte Wentworth, Miss Gertrude Wentworth."

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Recently Read: Go: A Kidd's Guide to Graphic Design

Ostensibly for Kidds (I mean kids), Chip Kidd's Go: A Kidd's Guide to Graphic Design is in truth worth reading by all ages.

Kidd is a designer who loves design, the history of design, loves designing and loves teaching design. Every page of this graphics-packed book has insight on the creative process, on the thought process required for good design and the infinite number of techniques and tools which can be used in design.

This short but potent book entertainingly covers typography, package design, logos, book and poster design, creative concepts and much more, including suggested do-it-yourself projects which every artist can learn from. I recommend this book!

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Mini Indie Ogre Con at Laughing Ogre Comics Friday, July 11th, 6-8

We'll be set up, signing books and taking commissions at the Mini Indie Ogre Con at Laughing Ogre Comics - High Street this Friday evening from 6-8, along with Sean Forney, Victor Dandridge Jr, Brian Canini & Derek Baxter and Craig Bogart! Many more cartoonists are scheduled to set up throughout the weekend, so check here for the complete schedule and details:
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Lot of 16 Sci-fi Digest Mags from 1952 - 1979, from the Neno Archives: $35 PPD.

PayPal accepted! Conditions range from Fair (reading copy) to Very Fine. Average condition: Good+. Authors include Asimov, Clarke, Farmer, Edmund Hamilton, Poul Anderson, Larry Niven, Ben Bova, and much more.

Illustrators include Virgil Finlay, Kaluta, Dan Adkins, many more.

Books include:
Analog - Sept., 1970 (Cover worn/Good); July 1976 (Cover worn/Good)

Fantastic - Dec. 1968 (Good)

Galaxy - May, 1972 (Good); Sept., 1972 (Fine); Nov., 1973 (Fine); Dec., 1973 (tape across cover/reading copy); Sept., 1974 (Good); Nov. , 1974 (Very Fine); Sept., 1975 (Good); Sept./Oct. 1979 (small tear in cover/Fair)

Other Worlds - Aug., 1952 (two copies) (Good)

Science Fiction Adventures Yearbook 1970 (Fine)

Space Adventures - 1970, Spring (Very Fine)

Thrilling Science Fiction - April, 1974/All Virgil Finlay issue (Fair)
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Loving This Fantastic Four Art by Steranko

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An Early '50s Ad for Jughead's Own Comic Book Series.

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Scott Mills' "Space"

I came across this 1999 mini comic, Space, by Scott Mills today - one of his best. You can check out some recent work by him here:

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Some Pencil Art for the Bus Stop Ned Story I Drew for Nix Comics Quarterly #7

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Underwater Cats Greeting Cards

Underwater Cats greeting cards 10-packs! Beautifully decorated with one of my kitschy underwater cat paintings, blank inside for whatever message you may wish to send and marked on the back with my Underwater Cats logo. Packaged in acid-free plastic with ten envelopes. $10 ppd. PayPal accepted:
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Fantastic Brain Destroyers? I Want This Comic!

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Drawing Created for McSwagger!

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Sketchbook Studies of Kirby's Mid-'40s Stuntman

 I love those elongated limbs.

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Friday, July 4, 2014

Noel Sickles' Scorchy Smith Up Close

The following are pics I took of the original art for Noel Sickles' January 22nd, 1936 Scorchy Smith daily, which was on display at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum.

Cropping close sections of the art reveal the amazing craft Sickles put into the work on a daily basis, some of which could almost double for fine abstract paintings. Click on the art for a bigger look.

In comparison, I've included a printed version (minus the book spine bends in the last panel) of the same strip, from Dean Mullaney's book, Scorchy Smith and the Art of Noel Sickles.

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