While we wait, let’s look at these Tintin pages

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OK, so there isn’t much happening here, I know. I have a couple things brewing, but have simply been too busy on dissertation work to do much in here. Hopefully I’ll be able to post a few juicy things over the next weeks though. In the meantime, here’s an awesome set of preparatory Tintin pages — full inks, and a page of sketches — from Hergé’s swan song, The Castafiore Emralds (1961-63).

These were just sold for some astronomical sum at an auction in Namur, held on the occasion of a small festival celebrating Hergé. Check out how Hergé plays with the sequence on the sketch page, trying to find the right arrangement, repeating certain scenes and sticking others in, out of chronology, while still maintaining the overall integrity of the page as a unit in his narrative. By this point he had surely worked out what needed to be accomplished on each page in the album, but still needed to fine-tune the breakdown and arrangement of panels.

It’s interesting to see that he ended up playing down the emotional scene of the Roma child being reunited with his mother — a scene he seems to have agonised over before deciding to leave it out. The portrayal of the Roma in the story is a little on the romantic side as is, and here Hergé gives us a live act of walking the tightrope of sentimentality. I dig the marginal character sketches too!

A few more original pages, amongst them a fairly finished sketch for The Calculus Affair, were sold at the auction, check them out here. Seriejournalen provided the tip.

Picks of the Week

The picks of the week from around the web.

  • Frank Rich: “The American Press on Suicide Watch”. Rich cuts to the chase in this piece on what seems increasingly to be imminent demise of print journalism.
  • Donald Richie on Japanese cinema. Great on-stage interview with the gaijin dean of Japanese cultural studies, with special focus on his main area of interest: cinema. Unfiltered opinion and insight from a great critic. (Thanks, Dirk!)
  • Steven M. Johnson. This blog entry by Allison Arieff brought my attention to the deliciously ludicrous and quirkily inventive work of this cartoonist/inventor/author/urban planner. Check it out!
  • Thru You. The wonders of web creativity brings you Kutiman, who creates YouTube mashup videos for a bunch of great funk, soul and dub tunes in the style of the classic video to DJ Shadow’s “Midnight in a Perfect World”. (Thanks, Loka?!)
  • The Walrus: “Back in Palookaville” Sean Rogers writes about the role of design in the current revival of comic strip history and features the consummate if problematic work of Seth. Interesting perspectives are sketched out. Supplement it with this nice multimedia presentation from Seth’s home.
  • Kom hjem — First look


    Yeah, it’s him again. Thomas Thorhauge has been working on this thing for almost as long as we can remember, so we’re cutting him some slack here. It’s fresh off the press and it looks spectacular. Thorhauge himself evidently also thinks so, because he’s done this Flickr-stream showcasing his baby. Enjoy, and let’s hope for an English-language edition of Kom hjem (‘Come Home’) soon!

    Do you see a prototype? Addendum

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    A few days ago, I posted an image of a painting by the Danish artist J. F. Willumsen, hoping you might be able to help trace any source of inspiration he might have drawn upon while painting it, and especially while revising the central figures in 1948 when he painted out the originals from 1888 that had been covered by a star-shaped piece of cardboard for all those decades. Now, for completeness’ sake, the Willumsen museum has sent us an image of the painting before it was reworked.

    And again: do not hesitate to contact us, if you have any ideas about its sources. Thanks for reading!

    The Danish Comics Council

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    Our international readers may remember a lot of activity, all conducted in the gibberish tongue that is Danish, about a month ago here at the Bunker. The reason was that a new Danish comics organisation, the Danish Comics Council, was founded. On the board serves yours truly serves, along with the Bunker’s own Thomas Thorhauge, who was elected chairman, Steffen P. Maarup co-publisher with Fantagraphics of the forthcoming Danish comics anthology From Wonderland with Love, as well as several other good people from the Danish comics scene.

    Here’s the central mission statement:

    The Danish Comics Council wishes to assist in:

  • heightening both the general and the specialised knowledge about comics, and
    thus strengthening both communication of and research into comics
  • contributing actively to the creation of, the conditions for and the versatility of
    Danish comics and publications of comics in Denmark, as well as the availability of
    foreign comics in Denmark through publications and exhibitions
  • establishing contact between and functioning as a shared forum for everyone with
    a personal as well as a professional interest in comics
  • collaborating both nationally and internationally with organisations and institutions
    with an interest in comics and related media/artforms
  • This is a go-to organisation for queries, national and international, as well as possible collaborative projects having to do with the above-mentioned areas of interest, having to with comics and cartooning in Denmark. The full press release in English, which includes details on our areas of concentration, a full list of board members, and much more can be downloaded in PDF form here.

    Additional information (in Danish) on www.dansktegneserieraad.dk

    Photo from the foundational meeting: Christian Sand

    Going Home Again

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    Just watched the three-parter that marked the return of British SF-comedy sitcom Red Dwarf after ten years in the movie development wilderness, which ran on the digital network Dave TV over Easter. I had absolutely no expectations for this — the last two seasons of the show, VII (1997) and VIII (1999), had been rather mediocre and it just seemed highly unlikely that this was going to be any kind of return to form, after all these years.

    Suprisingly, it was rather good, and — most importantly — funny.

    Do you see a prototype? Updated!

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    We’ve been asked whether we recognise any comics/cartooning prototypes, or sources of inspiration, for the above-posted picture. We are somewhat at a loss. Can you help us? Please let us know what you think might have inspired the painter, or merely what the image makes you think of.

    (I shall refrain from giving more information on the image for a few days, in order to let your associations wander more freely. Thanks for your help!)

    UPDATE: Here’s what Anne Gregersen from J. F. Willumsens Museum in Denmark writes:

    “The painting is called The Prince’s Wedding and was created by the Danish artist J.F. Willumsen (1863-1958). There’s a sixty-year span between different parts of the painting: It was first painted in 1888. After a severe criticism by the establishment and by a leading art critic, Willumsen chose to cover the central figures of the painting with a star-shaped piece of black paper. In 1948 he began a radical modification of the work. He cut out the part of the canvas covered by the star-shaped piece of paper and inserted new canvas there, as well as on the left side of the painting. And he then repainted the central figures in a completely different style, which may have been inspired by contemporary comics like Flash Gordon, Prince Valiant, Superman and Batman. Or movies like The Wizard of Oz or Robin Hood. On May 13th, the J.F. Willumsen Museum is opening an exhibition about this work, and we are very interested in hearing what kind of associations the painting brings to your mind.”