Carnival of souls: Lots and lots of webcomics and illustrations, Morrison & Mignola interviews, Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” reviewed, more

* Recently on Robot 6:

* I’ve barely talked about the Egyptian Revolution in public at all; I try to explain why in this piece on Domatille Collardey and Sarah Glidden’s webcomic “Egypt from 5,000 Miles Away”;

* Valentine’s Day comics #1: In the tradition of Henry & Glenn Forever comes Johnny Ryan’s Mark Mothersbaugh/Gary Numan slashfic strip “Mark + Gary Forever”;

* Valentine’s Day comics #2: a great made-up myth by webcomic wunderkind Emily Carroll;

* and hey, did you know a bunch of Ben Katchor’s Metropolis magazine strips are online?

* There’s a pair of new, off-the-beaten-path interviews with the two prime movers behind the very best serialized superhero comics of the past half-decade. First up, Alex Carr of Amazon.com’s Omnivoracious blog interviews Grant Morrison. One thing I like about this interview, and it’s a minor thing but still kind of neat to my mind, is that since it’s for Amazon, it refers to Morrison’s comics exclusively in terms of their collected editions. Anyway, this is part one of a longer interview, and focuses mainly on Dick Grayson and Damian Wayne, The Return of Bruce Wayne, Joe the Barbarian, 18 Days, and Morrison’s desire to one day tackle the Flash and Wonder Woman. There’s a bit that explains an object that shows up in the Stone Age with time-displaced Bruce Wayne that I for one found extremely helpful. (Via Kevin Melrose.)

* Next up, BLDGBLOG interviews B.P.R.D. and Hellboy impresario Mike Mignola, with an unusual and fascinating focus on Mignola’s use of architecture and environment. It’s quite neat to hear that Mignola prefers Lovecraft’s settings to his bestiary. And this passage was wonderful:

Well, once upon a time, when I started all this stuff, the one thing I didn’t want to draw at all was buildings. Because, growing up in California, buildings to me were an exercise in using a ruler and perspective, and shit like that. I just had no interest in drawing that kind of stuff.

It was only after having lived in New York for a while, around really old buildings—where you see that, actually, this building’s kind of sagging and that building’s kind of leaning against the other building next door and this chimney looks like, if those three wires weren’t there, it would all fall over, and that fire escape is at some odd angle—that’s when I really started to love architecture.

(Via Tom Spurgeon.)

* I’m not sold on Austin English’s comics, but I greatly enjoyed his Inkstuds guest post on the artists and cartoonists who influenced him, since it reminded me of the existence of the D’Aulaires, whom I’d completely and shamefully forgotten.

* The cartoonist L. Nichols writes on Joe Sacco’s word balloon and caption box placement, with copious marked-up examples. I’ve talked about all the heavy lifting they do, too. Very much worth your time — and it’s maybe worth reading it and then revisiting that Emily Carroll strip above, too, to see how such techniques work on the web as well as the printed page.

* What does this lovely Justin Green illustration for The New Yorker have to do with Colin Ferguson, the man who shot 25 people on the Long Island Rail Road before it pulled into a station located about five minutes from where I grew up? Let Green explain it to you.

* Jesus Christ, Michael DeForge.

* My friend Matt Rota sure can draw.

* I’m pretty tired of designy Internet-supported minimalist movie posters, but Sam Smith’s take on David Lynch’s Mullholland Dr. maps so neatly onto my personal iconography for the film and Lynch’s work and supernatural horror in general that how could I resist? (Via Shaggy.)

* Allow me to be the 3,892nd person to excitedly inform you that Radiohead are releasing their new album The King of Limbs on Saturday. I really, really enjoyed In Rainbows, thinking it was their best thing since Kid A and digging it hard enough to go back and reevaluate Hail to the Thief (the quicker stuff is really strong, the slow songs aren’t except for “The Gloaming”; still not a big Amnesiac person), so I’m looking forward to this.

* This Rich Juzwiak review of Lady Gaga’s new song “Born This Way” is what finally sold me on it. (Finally being a matter of, like, two days, but whatever.) At first listen I wasn’t crazy about it, because it seems really simple and obvious. I mean, i understand everything she’s doing here — she’s making a gay club anthem for the ages; she’s trying to have the final word on the current UNF UNF UNF UNF four-on-the-floor pop-house revival; she’s trumping earlier, vaguer, far less actually gay “yay empowerment, yay gays” songs by Ke$ha and Katy Perry and Pink; she’s being way more uplifiting and positive, and less sleazy and focused on sex and fame, than all her other hits. So it’s definitely smart on all those counts, and successful on all those counts. It’s just way less interesting to me than the songs from The Fame Monster, especially “Bad Romance,” which was a knockout I’d never heard anything like before, like Britney covering Marilyn Manson. “Born This Way,” by contrast, is just kind of a peppy dance song. And as far as the ubiquitous comparisons to Madonna’s “Express Yourself” goes, “Born This Way” doesn’t really sound like it in any way that matters — except that the melody for “Born This Way”‘s chorus is totally cribbed from the “so if you want it right now, better make him show you how” part from “Express Yourself”. So you get to the big anthemic chorus part for the big anthemic song, and it’s a snatch of someone else’s melody, and therefore it just didn’t click for me the way it was supposed to. And I say this as someone who’s totally fine with the ABBA/Ace of Base riff she did with “Alejandro,” or the “All the Young Dudes” thing she did with “Speechless,” and so on and so forth. The weird thing is that those two songs actually sound more like their inspirations overall than this one sounds like Madonna, but there’s no specific passage in either of them that sounds as much like a specific passage in their inspirations as the chorus for “Born This Way” sounds like that one bit of “Express Yourself.” But where Juzwiak saves the day is by likening the song not primarily to “Express Yourself,” but to Patrick Hernandez’s unbelievably wonderful disco anthem “Born to Be Alive.” “Born to Be Alive” is one of my all-time favorite songs by anyone ever, a massive onslaught of delightful sounds (“Yes we were BAWRN! BAWRN! BAWRN!”), kind of ridiculous lyrics (a lot of it doesn’t really rhyme or even make sense grammatically), and cockeyed optimism. And that’s pretty much what “Born This Way” is. Hearing it with those ears gives me a workaround for the “Hey this sounds like ‘Express Yourself’” bug when it comes up.

* And in case you just saw the big Destructor image and clicked right through it in my early post, here’s part one of my big interview about Destructor with The Cool Kids Table’s Ben Morse and Kiel Phegley.

4 Responses to Carnival of souls: Lots and lots of webcomics and illustrations, Morrison & Mignola interviews, Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” reviewed, more

  1. Chris Mautner says:

    Man, that Dauliere’s Book of Greek Myths was my favorite book as a child. I must have taken that thing out of the library at least once a month.

  2. Matt M. says:

    The D’auleries’ book of Norse mythology was a huge influence on me, as was their Greek myth book. But the blues and grays of the Norse gods just stuck with me, heavily coloring RAGNAROK SUMMER, which I recently dusted off and might actually be talked into publishing online since it doesn’t do much good sitting on a hard disc.

    Funny, but I think I like AMNESIAC as an album better than I like KID A, but the good stuff on KID A is just so spectacularly wonderful that it’s hard to compare. Those albums and HAIL TO THE THIEF really stick in my memories of the early 2000s, for good and for ill. I can’t listen to them in the same way now. Funny but HAIL TO THE THIEF leaked about the time I last “got into” comics again, so I associate it with everything from THE INVISIBLES to NEW X-MEN to CATWOMAN and GOTHAM CENTRAL.

  3. Ben Morse says:

    Totally forgot how much I love D’Aulaires. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. [...] if you weren’t me in the late ’90s) industrial dancey music from my bygone era. Take “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga. At first I was stuck on the “Express Yourself” thing like everyone else. Then Rich [...]