The Real Wants You to Shut Up!

el_jueves.jpgWhile we’re at the depressing news, I just wanted to note that the writer-cartoonist team of Guillermo Torres and Manel Fontdevila, who wrote and drew this cartoon of the Spanish Crown Prince and his wife a few months ago, have now been found guilty of “vilifying the Crown” — basically by depicting them in a completely mundane situation in which people of their age tend to find themselves on a regular basis — and fined €3.000 each. Better get in line folks, the Spanish Royal Family wants you to shut up!

As usual, Con C de Arte has the goods for people who want further information and linkage. Earlier Metabunker posts here and here.

Whither My Country?

The Danish people has just reelected as prime minister a guy who was once fired as minister of taxation for cooking the books and lying to Parliament about it, who went to bed with xenophobic right-wing extremists to attain power and has therefore been responsible for the harshest and most inhumane immigration policy in the EU, who has slowly but surely been eroding the traditions of solidarity the country is built on through short-sighted tax policy, and who has wholeheartedly embraced the lies used to justify the humanitarian disaster in Iraq and sent Denmark to war.

Good night, and good luck.

Comics and Critical Language

Over on Blog@newsarama, Chris Mautner has gathered one of his roundtables, inviting critics to talk about the terminology and general language we use when writing about comics. Yours truly participates for the first time, and I therefore thought I’d hype it here. Go, read — and by all means chime in!

Image by Kevin Huizenga, from Ganges (2006).

Ingen Frygt Lancerer Asmaa-Støtteside

Kunstnertrioen Ingen Frygt reagerer på den hetz, politikeren Asmaa Abdol-Hamid har været udsat for i forbindelse med sit kandidatur til Folketinget, og har i selskab med initiativtagere lanceret en støtteside. De skriver:

“Via nogle venner blev vi involveret i at lave denne støtteside for en engageret ung politiker, som af medier og andre politikere bliver grillet mere end nogen andre vi kan komme i tanker om herhjemme.

Vi har mødt hende og fik et stærkt indtryk af et tolerant og humoristisk menneske med nogen mærkesager der ligger meget langt fra de araberangst-spørgsmål hun konstant skal forholde sig til. Et indtryk der bliver forstærket når man besøger hendes egen hjemmeside.

Prøv at forestil jer et scenarie hvor f.eks. Bondam i stedet for at føre politik, hele tiden må være i defensiven fordi alle journalister kun vil interviewe ham om sikker sex. Om han nu er sikker på at han har det. Og hvordan han vil forholde sig til at andre politikere påstår at han i virkeligheden slet ikke er homoseksuel.

Vi mener faktisk at det er det plan, det kører på.

Siden er apolitisk – initiatiativtagerne består både af politisk aktive folk : for forskellige partier : og ikke aktive typer.”

Check siden ud — den er lagt i vanlig Ingen Frygt-stil, med musik, video, quiz, oa. Og husk at stemme til valget!

“He Gave Us Comics!” — Ditko at 80

With that great quote from a starry-eyed Neil Gaiman in Jonathan Ross’ recent documentary on the great artist behind Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, The Question and Mr. A, the Metabunker wishes Steve Ditko a fine 80th birthday. It is great to see how much serious attention the artist is getting these days — the latest announcement, from Fantagraphics, that Blake Bell’s long-awaited monograph Strange Stranger will be released next year is but the latest piece of good news.

For more on Ditko at this site, check out Morten Søndergård’s article on the early Spider-Man comics and the debate it sparked, as well as this compilation of linkage. Also, check out this great anecdote, by DC editor Mike Gold, on Ditko’s Hands.

Let’s Hear It for the Optimists

mai_377_t.jpgVia David Packwood, I was made aware of the sale, last Friday at Moore, Allen & Innocent, for £2 million, of a Dutch 16th-Century portrait that the buyer and whoever he was bidding against evidently thought was a Rembrandt. Now, it certainly is a good-looking painting and evidently related to Rembrandt, but — at least judging from the low-quality reproduction available at the auction house’s site — this is pretty far from the real thing.

I am not a specialist, but to me the handling on the face, with its patchy application, and the superficially applied highlights on the tunic spell out Pastiche. Loudly. In the early period emulated here, Rembrandt did indeed apply paint in rather thick patches without blending a whole lot, but his results were still of a wholly different order of nuance. Packwood has an example up, which should demonstrate the difference in quality conclusively.

I am unfortunately not that well-versed in the work of Rembrandt’s students and artistic circle, but the suggestion made in the comments section of Packwood’s site, that it could well be by Isack Jouderville, seems convincing. Nice picture, but £2 million..?

Cartoon Crisis Remembered in Danish Election, pt. 2

Following upon Danish far-right Danish People’s Party’s campaign poster of a few days ago, evoking the cartoon crisis, left-wing party Enhedslisten (“The Unity List”) and their candidate for parliament Asmaa Abdol-Hamid (pictured, right) have created their own poster in response, showing a hand drawing the face of Danish People’s Party leader Pia Kjærsgaard under text saying “Freedom of speech is Danish, idiocy is not.”

This post was initially made yesterday by T. Thorhauge, but disappeared due to bungling on the Metabaron’s part. The above is a reconstruction.

On a Wall in Barcelona

tree_t.jpgJust returned from a short, sweet trip to Barcelona. Found this on a wall, in one of the many recesses of Gaudí’s Sagrada Família. Made me think of this passage from Leonardo’s notebooks:

“… if you look at any walls soiled with a variety of stains, or stones with variegated patterns, when you have to invent some location, you will therein be able to see a resemblance to various landscapes graced with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, plains, great valleys and hills in any combinations. Or again you will be able to see various battles and figures darting about, strange-looking faces and costumes, and an endless number of things which you can distill into finely-rendered forms. And what happens with regard to such walls and variegated stones is just as with the sound of bells, in whose peal you will find any name or word you care to imagine.”

Somehow auspiciously appropriate in that particular building.