Oh, OK then. What happened to turn comix around again? Or has it? Is this notion of a “revolution” stale, or just impossible?
Frank: I think it has just become another “acceptable” form of expression. Personally, I’m against comics gaining respectability. That’s always THE END. Look at Film. Everyone is a Filmmaker now with a capital F. No one just makes a fucking movie for a laugh. Think John Waters. As soon as he became co-opted by Hollywood his movies—while brilliant by mainstream standards—went south in my view. Same with Art, same with Comics. The avant-garde is generally at its best when it’s making fun of the establishment and a lot of “alt comix” guys who used to make fun of the “establishment” in Comics are becoming the establishment.
§ The Walrus has a massive, sparkling interview with Lynda Barry conducted by Sean Rogers, and it’s full of things you didn’t know but you needed to know:
They’ve done MRI stuff on hoarders—on people who have that thing where they can’t throw away anything. They do these MRIs to see what part of the brain is getting blood flow, and they had this woman who had a really big hoarding problem. She had coupons that had expired ten years earlier and what they wanted to do was measure her blood flow as they put the coupon that had expired ten years earlier through a shredder. And it was the blood flow exactly as if she herself had been attacked. My husband is also a hoarder—we love garbage—and this wish to transform garbage into something valuable, it’s sort of a feeling about yourself as well. The hoarding thing is really interesting. I do think it’s a defence. Also, my mom was very neat, so I know as long as there’s stuff on the floor she’s nowhere around [laughs]. If things are a mess, that woman is not ever around. So I made my ring of trash to keep her away. And then I used a lot of glitter…
Part II is here. Both are a must, not just for learning about Barry but her extraordinary way of teaching creativity.
§ Geoff Boucher finishes his interview with Neil Gaiman; in part three he talks about his China trip…:
The story is one of the four great Chinese classical stories from the 16th century. And I got to investigate the real-life people that story was based on in the 7th century. I also got to travel across China where I had a variety of strange and wonderful events including bribing an elderly watchman to allow me into a closed-down amusement park filled with dark and dusty monkey statues. The park takes you through a story that ends in hell. This thing was an amusement park inside a warehouse so it was very incredibly dark and it closed down because people simply weren’t coming back. I did this walk where you start out in this fun, lovely, happy monkey story and you walk through that to the end of the warehouse where you are in hell and you watch all these demons crushing people before you stumble out into the daylight. I really can’t imagine any little Chinese kid turning around to their dad and saying, ‘Wow, I can’t wait to come back.’
§ For a different kind of interview, check out Jen Contino interviewing Kevin Huizenga. If you thought that Contino’s damn-the-torpedoes interveiw style and Huizenga’s generally reserved nature might make for strange tablemates…you are correct.
THE PULSE: What are the challenges of producing a story where the picture is worth a thousand words? What made you want to make this story have minimal dialogue?
HUIZENGA: Those are the rules of the game. But maybe there will be dialogue in a future strip–or not really a dialogue, though, because there really isn’t a possibility of dialogue in the sense of a true exchange of ideas between the Fighters or Runners, but maybe there will be some words exchanged. We’ll see. I’m already working on the next one and there are no words exchanged in it thus far.