sparrow’s fall

Last fall I started picking up the free copies of the locally produced comic “Sparrow’s Fall” available at the Broadway Cafe. Somehow, I recently learned that the creator, Parrish Baker, has his own blog. You can read some of his work for yourself on this page and this page. I think it’s great stuff.

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comic art at mizzou

Well, this is news to me:

Since the late 1980s, the [Special Collections division of the University of Missouri-Columbia Libraries] has been involved in building a collection of cartoon and comic art that’s used by scholars, students and comic enthusiasts of all ages. The Comic Art Collection, which includes original comic strip art, animation cells, printed comic strips and books about cartooning and graphic novels, originated from a number of MU alumni, faculty and library staff members.

V. T. Hamlin, creator of Alley Oop and Mort Walker, creator of Beetle Bailey and Hi and Lois, are MU alums. Art Stack, an underground cartoonist perhaps most famous recently for his work on Harvey Pekar’s Our Cancer Year, was on faculty in the MU art department.

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honour among punks

I recently purchased a copy of the graphic novel Honour Among Punks, by Guy Davis and Gary Reed. The story is set in an alternate reality where 20th-century England basically never left the Victorian age because World War I took place on much lesser scale and World War II never happened. Technology did not advance as rapidly because, to quote the introduction, “there were no great wars to propel the development of new weapons and all the ancillary benefits that come from military research.” In other words, it’s like steampunk in reverse. I’ve just started the book (airplane reading, so I don’t know when I’ll have time to get back into it until the semester ends), and it’s a little rough around the edges in terms of storytelling, but it’s fun.

Guy Davis is one of my favorite artists, and I first became addicted to his work when reading the now dearly departed Sandman Mystery Theatre, back issues of which are available in many comic book stores at bargain prices. You should buy them in the groups of four issues by which each story arc was published. It looks like Honour was Davis’ first published work, and as the five “acts” progress, one can watch his style mature and evolve. Davis creates incredibly detailed panels with lots of cross-hatching, and yet sometimes things are suggested by a few simple lines rather than delineated fully. Davis’ work is in the same vein as work by the much more famous Frank Miller, but I think Davis tends to work on more interesting projects.

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