Dominique Goblet at The Comics Journal


My latest column at The Comics Journal is an extensive examination of Belgian artist and comics maker Dominique Goblet’s work over the last ten years and how she has made collaboration an essential part of her practice. Here’s an excerpt from the lead-in:

…Dominique Goblet is intensely concerned with life as lived by others, and life as a communal experience. She is among the most empathetic of artists working in the comics form, with each project pushing further the boundaries of interpersonal hermeneutics. Goblet is of the generation that emerged in the ’90s and helped consolidate ‘the graphic novel’ and ‘art comics’ in broader cultural terms—the first, arguably, to unabashedly self-identify as artists.

It is probably unsurprising, therefore, that she made autobiography—the genre that centered that movement—her proving ground. But she differs from most of her peers in that she has consistently looked beyond herself, in the process redefining for reality-based comics the way of working that has determined so much of the historical evolution of comics: collaboration.

Verrocchio (og Leonardo) i Weekendavisen

Andrea del Verrocchio, Bevinget dreng med delfin, ca. 1470:5, Firenze, Museo di Palazzo Vecchio


I dagens udgave af Weekendavisen kan man læse min anmeldelse af den fantastiske udstilling om Andrea del Verrocchio (ca. 1435:1488) som kunstner, værkstedsbestyrer og læremester for Leonardo i Palazzo Strozzi i Firenze. Udstillingen giver et fornemt indblik i det summende kreative florentiske kunstnermiljø i anden halvdel af fjortehundredetallet. Se udstillingen, hvis du kan, og læs anmeldelsen i avisen, eller her hvis du har abo.

Death Save i Information


I fredagens bogtillæg til Information kunne man læse min anmeldelse af Rune Rybergs overskudsprægede ungdomsfortælling Death Save. Og man kan stadig læse den på nettet, lige her, hvis man betaler.

Hermed et lille uddrag:

Præmissen er ganske traditionel, og det er ikke, fordi plottet byder på de store overraskelser undervejs, men Ryberg iscenesætter det med overbevisning og nærvær. Den storbyverden, han bygger op om sine figurer, emmer af postindustrielt forfald, men også af romantisk patina — den kombinerer, hvad der kunne være Napolis bakkedrag og trappeforløb med Lower Manhattans hængebroer, Chicagos højbanetog og Københavns brokvarterers boligkarreer.

Snuskede baglokaler, nedlagte fabriksområder, vindblæste indfaldsvejsrabatter og mennesketomme skurvognsdiners — det hele hænger sammen som beåndet åsted i Rybergs blødt svungne streg og fruktoseholdige farvelægning. Kun den lidt utilpassede computertekstning er en hæmsko.

Titian’s shitting dog


That got your attention, I hope? Yes, Titian drew a shitting dog, which he inserted into one of the most monumental compositions of his early years, the twelve-block woodcut of the Submersion of Pharaoh’s Army in the Red Sea (c. 1517), right next to the figure of Moses! (detail above) In the latest issue of Art in Print, I examine the meaning and sources of this coarse insertion into what on first sight seems a grad and heroic composition, but — while it is certainly that — upon further inspection is inflected with a realism that is almost unprecedented in Venetian Renaissance art, informed as it must be by Titian’s possibly traumatic experiences of war during the struggle of Venice against the powerful League of Cambrai. Read more at your local art library or, if you’re a subscriber or would like to become one, online right here.

Miniaturemaleri i Weekendavisen

Nicholas Hilliard, selvportræt, 1577, Victoria and Albert Museum


I dagens Weekendavis kan man læse min anmeldelse af den fornemme udstilling the National Portrait Gallery de seneste måneder har vist af miniatureportrætter af genrens to store britiske mestre Nicholas Hilliard og Isaac Oliver. En art kollektiv portræt af den britiske elite under Elizabeth I og Jakob I via udsøgte kunstværker. Den bedste udstilling i London lige nu, men desværre ikke ret meget længere. Se den hvis du er i byen før 19 maj og læs kataloget.

Posy Simmonds at The Comics Journal


For my latest column at The Comics Journal, I take a closer look at Posy Simmonds’ latest comic, Cassandra Darke, which is a slow-burn masterpiece in paraphrase of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and in the process I have some more general thoughts on her art. Here’s an excerpt:

It is in this characterization of privileged life unsettled that Simmonds—ever concerned with the complexities of social relations and middle-class anxiety—delivers her starkest indictment to date of contemporary society. Mind you, with her trademark British understatement which ensures that satire never subverts story. Her masterful use of crayon and wash technique brings to life a posh London under snow, with its darkened windows, gated garden squares and gleaming lobbies. Her work was an exquisite, unostentatious a sense of place which rivals that of Jacques Tardi. And when Cassandra finally decides to take action and ventures into the ‘far east’ of London, Simmonds evokes a boarded-up high street—perhaps in Dagenham—of pound shops, off licenses and pawnbrokers in a short burst of dense panels, while contrapuntally noting in the voiceover “in spite of its decay, [it] has Christmas lights and bursts of laughter coming from pub doors.” In the space of a few pages she has skipped sideways from A Christmas Carol to A Tale of Two Cities.

Read the whole thing here, and stop by Cynthia Rose’s in-depth reportage from the Pulp festival, which took place a few weeks ago just outside Paris and featured Simmonds, as well as Catherine Meurisse.

Fantask no more?


Meget tyder på at Fantask er slut. I fredag i sidste uge sendte Butikkens ejer Marit Nim en besked ud til Butikkens abonnenter om, at de lukker til sommer. Det satte i den grad fællesskabet i affekt — Benjamin Herbst fra Superhelten.dk igangsatte en GoFundMe for at støtte Butikken, i håbet om at det kunne forhindre en lukning. På under 24 timer var indsamlingen oppe på en kvart million, på mindre end en uge nåede vi en halv. Marit annoncerede som reaktion, at Fantask ikke lukker, men nok stadig må flytte fra adressen Skt Pedersstræde 18, hvor Butikken har ligget siden 1971.

Det virker helt sikkert. Fantasks stiftere Rolf Bülow og Søren Pedersen ejer lokalerne, som samtidig udgør deres pension. De har siden de afhændede butikken til Marit sikret, at hun kunne køre den på gode vilkår. At Marit så i sidste uge annoncerer at hun bliver nødt til at lukke, viser tydeligt at det ikke længere kan lade sig gøre uden større forandringer. Vi håber alle på det bedste, da Fantask jo i den grad må karakteriseres som en kulturbærende institution i Danmark — og en der har betydet enormt meget for enormt mange, herunder undertegnede, som endda en overgang arbejdede der.

Selvom det ikke er overraskende, gør det ondt at se Butikken kæntre her i den digitale tidsalder, hvor det i stigende grad er blevet vanskeligt at drive fysisk boghandel. Og det bringer alle minderne frem, i hvert fald hos undertegnede, men tydeligvis også for de tusindvis andre, der har lagt deres hårdt indtjente i hvad der nok snarere er en kærlighedserklæring til Fantask og et rygstød til holdet bag, end det er en realistisk redning. Lad os se, og Godspeed til alle de involverede, før og nu.

Pisket at The Comics Journal


After more than a year, I’m finally back on the virtual pages of The Comics Journal with a new instalment of my column Common Currency, on European comics. This time, I’ve taken the opportunity of the recent awards handed out at the Angoulême Festival to review Danish cartoonist Halfdan Pisket’s astonishing account of hi father, James’ life in the Dansker-Trilogy, the third volume of which was just given the Prix de la Série in Angoulême, as far as I know the first time a Scandinavian comic has been awarded in the major categories (do correct me if I’m wrong).

But that’s less relevant — what’s important is that this is a distinct and compelling work of memoir, empathy and history, told in comics form. I absolutely encourage you to seek it out if you read Danish or French, and if not then pester your favourite comics publisher to put it out in a language you can read. Check out my column here.