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Wednesday, 18 February 2009


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Vance Maverick

Hmm, interesting. I think we're pretty far apart on this. Photorealism, for instance, is IMO a red herring: as you know (Bob), the degree of realism has not simply increased monotonically over the history of art. (And an Ingres is highly realistic in one sense, but not another; and a Sargent is realistic in a third sense, but not in a fourth. Etc.) Similarly, I'm unsympathetic to the argument from technical limitation. I don't think Krazy Kat used fancier means.

With "dated", I didn't just mean that the images are recognizably of a particular era. In that sense, all art is dated: when we say something is timeless, ahead of its time, etc., we're speaking figuratively. The particular knock I'm trying to make on Gibbons' work here is that it seems constrained by a too-familiar technical repertoire. Here, look at the woman's face in the second panel -- the hair, the eyes, the lips. This is all by the book, literally: when I was a boy, I checked out books from the library that promised to teach you these tricks. Gibbons is proficient, no question, but to scan these lines is not to see freshly.

Moore's text, by comparison, works with conventions, some very hokey, and has fun with them -- puts them in perspective, ironizes them (to effect, not just reflexively). I'm sure there are good examples of this in comic-book art; the easiest existence proof from my highbrow perspective is Lichtenstein. (Or Guston.)

More, no doubt, on further digestion.

Vance Maverick

Broadly, that is, I agree with your praise of the composition of the pages and panels, and complain about the surface & detail framed by that composition.

Tangentially -- with Caravaggio, more even than composition and color, I think we admire the use of light and shadow, and the theatrical effect of space. (Here's a link that works for me.)


Any discussion of 'photorealism' in comics should, I'd say, include Dave Sim's current Glamourpuss, which is a spoof of women's magazines and a comic-book history of photorealism in comics. I've never read such in-depth writing on the subject, and I imagine Sim is the only person who cares about it as much as Sim does. Not the only topic of which that could be said. Still: extraordinary.

Vance Maverick

This is getting interesting. I look forward to reading more. For now, I'll just note that the technical limitations you're pointing out have nothing to do with the "Kirby style" limitations of the drawing. (Those changes in the redux edition all have to do with the color between the lines.)


Dave Sim's current Glamourpuss, which is a spoof of women's magazines and a comic-book history of photorealism in comics.

A satire of woman's magazines in comic book form!?!?!?!?!

I. Need. This. Now.

Especially as it sounds like it would go along so well with Palahniuk's _Invisible Monsters._


Dave Gibbons inked and lettered his own images in Watchmen.

John Higgins just did the colors.

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