Home Columns Kibbles 'n' Bits Kibbles ‘n’ Bits — 11/30/09

Kibbles ‘n’ Bits — 11/30/09


§ Charles Hatfield reminds us that JH Williams IIIis a total badass who is able to mix formalist experimentation with affecting and evocative storytelling.

And then there’s JH Williams III, in whom graphic experimentation, the demands of narrative drawing, and the conventions of genre are perfectly counterpoised. These days, in the wake of the so-called widescreen genre aesthetic — all those hyperrealist godchildren of Adams and Ross, artists like Bryan Hitch and Steve McNiven and the more interesting John Cassaday — Williams is the new master of trick layouts, the one artist who is, month after month, doing more than anyone else to reinvigorate page design in mainstream comic books. Though capable of, indeed comfortable in, hyperrealism, he has, like Frank Quitely and few others, a flare for design that reintroduces a graphic energy to the straitened pages of today’s mainstream comics.

DC’s collection of the Rucka/Williams Detective/Batwoman series is coming out in June. Surely it will find a place in the Expedit.

§ Blogger Christopher Allen interviews blogger Sean T. Collins and there is much talk of reviewing and blogging that is of interest. We became particularly nostalgic at Collins’ evocation of the Early Days of the Comics Blogosphere when we were all so young and things were so simple.

§ Tom Spurgeon’s gift giving guide for 2009 includes many excellent suggestions, and also what comics his mother likes, which is more useful than you’d think.

§ Jason Thompson has a very amusing look at A History of Horrible, Harmless Violence by which he means Japanese comics meant for boys.

“The basics of shonen manga are smiles and a happy ending,” said Nobuhiro Watsuki, the creator of Rurouni Kenshin. To this I would add, “and terrible suffering.” Japanese shonen (boys’) manga permits violence way beyond anything found in American comics or animation, and seinen (adult) manga is even more explicit.

The article categorizes levels of mutilation and suffering from the endless blood supply to the limb that hangs on by a shred of flesh.

§ This is from last week’s kids comic discussion. Noah Berlatsky points out that young boys like superheroes:

But I think this maybe misses or downplays a fairly major point — kids really, really, really like superheroes. A lot. It’s not me who was foisting my old Spidey Super Stories and Super-friends comics on my kid because I desperately wanted him to read them for the sake of my overwhelming nostalgia. On the contrary, I pulled those out of the long boxes because my son was obsessed, and I figured it would be cheaper than buying new reading material. And let me tell you, by the time I’d read them fifty or sixty times out loud, any lingering nostalgia I felt for the material was killed well nigh dead.

Young boys grow to be older boys — and thus the Wednesday Crowd regenerates.

§ Videos, cartoonists doing things and so on.

––Paul K. posts Audio of an interview with European masters Mawil and Trondheim. If you don’t know who Mawil and Trondheim are…well, you should.

In this episode, the great Italian artist Lorenzo Mattotti teams up with the Velvet Underground’s Lou Reed.

Newsarama posts the entirety of the documentary The ACT-I-VATE Experience.


  1. JH is stand-up guy, and his art on Detective Comics is outstanding. The fact that he can switch styles seamlessly (effortlessly, too) in order to tell a story riddled with flashbacks and defining moments (see pg 20 of DC #859!!) gives Batwoman the type of characterization and meaning you don’t often see in the capes’ crowd.

  2. JH Williams IIIis a total badass who is able to mix formalist experimentation with affecting and evocative storytelling.

    I completely and totally disagree. Williams draws nice pictures. But his page designs are gimmicky and often detract from his storytelling. I generally don’t read anything he draws because it’s not worthwhile.

  3. “Williams draws nice pictures. But his page designs are gimmicky and often detract from his storytelling. I generally don’t read anything he draws because it’s not worthwhile.”

    Well, you can’t please everybody. I for one enjoy his layouts, and love how he lends an honest vulnerability to the characters he portrays. They come off as both innocent and knowing, which are qualities that Marvel, seem to be able to appreciate and expertly utilize far better than DC.

  4. Wow, that was nice of you, douchebag. I can clearly see how it was necessary for you to find a way to insult me and my work personally since I didn’t say anything about you, nor was my comment about Williams particularly incendiary. Yes, that was absolutely needed. Fuck off.

  5. I’d go for the Rucka/Williams Detective Comics collection – but if only they omit the Question stories because I feel they do a disservice to the Vic Sage legacy.

    And tekende – show some professional class for cripessakes. You’re a pro – you’re going to have to deal with a riff raff snipe once in a while, obviously Welk obviously doesn’t have any pro credentials to back up his claim.



  6. And, re: the JH Williams story, it’s kinda hard to take seriously a story that someone wrote, starting it with an admiration for notorious swiper, David Mack.

  7. I’d agree cary, except I’m not a pro.

    Granted, my response wasn’t necessary either, but I like to think I’d have handled that better had it been, you know, contextually appropriate. I don’t really expect people to criticize my work one way or the other here, as opposed to, say, deviantArt or something, so it took me by surprise.

  8. tekende – If your artwork is made available to the public eye such as seen on your website – then you’re a pro.

    I’d go get that free San Diego professional badge if I were you.



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