Travelogue: Berlin, August 2007

neurotitan_heiner.jpgSince my recent trip to Berlin mostly consisted of looking at drawings and prints in the Kupferstichkabinett, I unfortunately didn’t get much time to take in the city this time around. I however did make it to Neurotitan in Haus Schwarzenberg, nested in the alt. culture oasis of Hackescher Höfe in Berlin Mitte. Haus Schwarzenberg is a must for anyone interested in contemporary art, comics, design and all of that Ringling Brothers shit.

Mike Weiringo 1963-2007

This is some sad news to come home to. Comics artist Mike Weiringo died of a heart attack Sunday. He brought a nice and friendly attitude and a sleek energy to American mainstream comics art. The fun of children’s comics wedded to the coolness of those for adolescents, and a joy to behold. Rest in Peace.

Memorial Day sketch by Weiringo. More here.

Save Storyville!

It has come to my attention that a petition to prevent the BBC from cutting the budget of their documentary department, Storyville, by c. 60%, has been launched a while back. The BBC has a world-class history of documentary production and remains one of the important guarantors of innovation an quality in the field. To see such a substantial reduction in their budget would be sad indeed. Go, sign the petition.

Read more here and here.

The Ellison-Fantagraphics Settlement

ellison.jpgJust got back and have a million things I wanna do here, so what better than to comment on the recently released documents of the settlement between writer Harlan Ellison and publisher Fantagraphics? (the document is available here) Well, I guess there’s lots, but here we go. While it is obviously the most practicable reason for all involved, and eminently understandable that both parties wished to settle – Fantagraphics not wanting to spend a fortune in legal fees and Ellison basically just wanting to obtain some kind of redress he could subsequently hang his Phrygian cap on, like he did with his settlement with AOL a few years back. Congratulations all round on putting this matter behind you.

groth.jpgHowever, it is nevertheless sad to see what is essentially bullying tactics on the part of self-styled free-speech champion Ellison have an effect, no matter how diffuse. The major concession here is that Fantagraphics have conceded to remove the offending parts of their upcoming 30th anniversary book and company history, Comics as Art – We Told You So, despite having maintained and gone far to prove that these allegedly libelous statements are substantially true. Ellison has produced nothing that refutes the clear evidence backing up their statements in the book, provided by Fantagraphics in their motion to dismiss, and while he naturally should not necessarily be expected to do so in public and should therefore perhaps be given the benefit of the doubt, the evidence against him is substantial.

Missive from Berlin

Sorry for the apathy here, this last week and-a-half or so. All that will change. Right now, I just gotta get back from Germany where I’ve been spending a little time, first in Hamburg, now in Berlin. There’s a lot of good stuff here, some of which I’ll try to post on these next few days, once I’m actually at a machine that’ll allow me to upload images and such. Hang in there – we’ve also got a bunch of other good shit coming up.

The Big Crossover

beaty_unpop.jpgAs a long-time reader and fan of Bart Beaty’s Comics Journal column, “Euro-Comics for Beginners”, today continued as “Conversational Euro-Comics” at Tom Spurgeon’s Comics Reporter, I have been looking forward to Beaty’s book on the new wave of European comics since I first heard he was working on it, several years ago. Now it is here, it is called Unpopular Culture : Transforming the European Comic Book in the 1990s, and it does not disappoint, though it raises a number of interesting and somewhat problematic questions.

Only a few, if any, people besides Beaty could have written this panoramic survey of the development of the comics medium in Europe over the last decade-and-a-half. As someone who has followed the scene with great interest, and even published on it : and also experienced Beaty in the flesh on several occasions : I can whole-heartedly vouch for his commitment, knowledge and critical acumen in this area.

Arrivederci, Maestro

The clip above is taken from L’Eclisse (1962), showing the place where the lovers (Alain Delon and Monica Vitti) are supposed to meet – but alas, they don’t, and thus the camera has to film something else. 100% Antonioni, don’t fight it – feel it.

Michelangelo Antonioni 1912-2007 RIP

Hype: Norske serier i Morgenbladet

fior_ikaros.jpgEndnu et public service announcement til særligt vore norske læsere. I denne uges udgave af Morgenbladet, har undertegnede anmeldt en håndfuld norske serier fra det forgangne år.

Det drejer sig som Jasons Jeg drepte Hitler, Lene Asks Hitler, Jesus og Farfar, Bendik von Kaltenborns Seks sultne menn, Manuele Fiors Ikaros (hvorfra billedet til venstre er hentet), samt Steffen Kverneland og Lars Fiskes første bind af Kanon.

‘Go, read’: Spurge interviews Dr. Beaty

Today, there’s a great and lenghty interview with leading Euro-comics critic Bart Beaty, conducted by Comics Reporter’s awesome OMAC Tom Spurgeon. The interview deals with Bart the Man (there’s even a photo showing parts of Bart’s huge library of comics) but also with topics from his recent book Unpopular Culture: Transforming the European Comic Book in the 1990s, hyped here on the Bunker some time ago. Tom Spurgeon is great. Bart Beaty is great. What are you waiting for? Go read!