Carnival of souls: Jim Woodring interviews, various creepy and lovely images, more

* Nicole Rudick interviews Jim Woodring at glorious length for The Comics Journal:

RUDICK: Are [the apparitions you've seen] usually the same thing or similar things?

WOODRING: No, they’re always different. The last thing I saw was a guy standing upstairs in my hallway, standing bolt upright, with a leather harness on his face.

RUDICK: Does it frighten you to see those things?

WOODRING: That one was extremely frightening. At first, I thought it was my reflection in the mirror. Then I thought, There’s no mirror there. I saw this guy, just standing, wearing black pants and a white shirt, with his face in a leather harness with the number nine on leather tabs at every junction of the straps, and his mouth was open in a rictus. I could see his teeth, and his eyes were staring at me in this beseeching way. He left after a couple of seconds, but it was very vivid while it occurred.

Then a couple of years before that, I saw the Thompson Twins, Thomson and Thompson from Tintin. They were in black and white and were walking down the street with a full-color nine-foot streetwalker in fuchsia hot pants. That resolved into a woman and her two small children. Then the time before that, I was at the mall and my neighbor lady saw me and came up behind me and spoke my name, and when I turned around and looked at her, where her head should have been there was this eggshell of lint, which had the front pushed in, and there was a big gob of chewing gum or something sitting at the base of it. That was a frightening experience. I screamed when I saw that. That just scared the shit out of me.

The thing these all have in common is that they’re not at all vague, they’re very crisp, and I retain memories of them with extraordinary vividness. I’ve drawn all these things out. They’re very sharp, almost more sharp than real life, in the same way that when people meditate and they see the white light—it’s obviously not light, it’s not photons, it’s something else, more vivid than light. Because you’re not seeing with your eyes, you’re seeing with your mind when these things happen, they have sharpness and an intensity that regular visual things don’t.

That’s the juiciest part, but there’s stuff in there about the Surrealists, and horror as the sacred, and symmetry, and struggling with the presence of evil in a world that also contains wonderful things, and all manner of other stuff that hit me right in the gut. You must read this.

* Hey, it’s a new Emily Carroll comic! This contains one of her creepiest images yet.

* Fight Club screenwriter Jim Uhls will be adapting the Nine Inch Nails dystopian-future concept album Year Zero for Trent Reznor’s long-gestating HBO/BBC miniseries. That sounds fine.

* Too Much Coffee Man‘s Shannon Wheeler, of all people, nails the problem with Chester Brown’s Paying For It, as succinctly as anyone I’ve seen make the attempt. I think calling for a heavier editorial hand is a nonstarter, though, and for good reason. A heavier editorial hand would likely have preempted Chester Brown’s entire career.

* Curt Purcell salutes the proud wearer of Comics’ Greatest Jacket, Death Note‘s Naomi Misora.

* Paging Frank Santoro: Marcos Martin is really approaching page layout differently than anyone else in superhero comics, if this preview page from his and Mark Waid’s Daredevil #1 is any indication.

* I’m really not sure what Darryl Ayo’s comics call to arms is about — the problems, and the people, he’s addressing are described in terms too general to be useful. Mostly I find my enjoyment of comics increasing the less I worry about the state of comics, or more specifically the less I expose myself to the daily scrum of jawjaw about same. That said, he put together a gallery of lovely images to support the post, including these pieces by Al Columbia and Frank Quitely that I’d never seen before.

* Aeron Alfrey of Monster Brains has posted a couple of killer galleries lately. First up is the cosmic horror of Anatoly Fomenko, with its wondrous and oppressive sense of scale:

* And next is the scabrous, texture-heavy creature portraiture of Hasama (warning: the image below is fine, but the rest are not for anyone who’s squeamish about facial disfiguration):

* Aled Lewis’s “Video Games vs. Real Life” is similar to a Star Wars-based photography project that made the rounds a while back, but even though I was familiar with the basic idea at play, I still found this Donkey Kong image kind of unnerving. Looking through the foliage and seeing something looking back at you is the great cryptozoological dream/nightmare image.

* If you can’t trust them to straighten their belts, how can you trust them to save us all from Despero???

* I’m pretty excited to discover a Broadway revival of Godspell is in the works for this October. Stephen Schwartz, the show’s creator, is involved, so that leaves me optimistic that they won’t just slap a coat of Rent paint on the thing. It’s my favorite show.

2 Responses to Carnival of souls: Jim Woodring interviews, various creepy and lovely images, more

  1. Darryl Ayo says:

    Hi Sean,

    Contrary to popular belief I don’t actually enjoy instigating conflicts with people, so yes my article was intentionally vague. I struggled while writing it. I tried to invoke a feeling rather than call people out. My post isn’t about any one person or specific persons. It’s about a general tone or atmosphere in comic culture and discourse that makes me feel alienated.

    How to talk about alienation without alienating? I don’t know yet, I am still trying. I agree that my article reads as a whole lot of nothing and I remain very frustrated about my ability to successfully communicate intangibles like emotion or cultural malaise.

    But to that end, tomorrow’s article attempts to be more direct by specifically perforating a thing that I feel deserves to be aired out.

    Thanks for reading, Sean.

    • I DEFINITELY am not calling for you to call people out by name. I think that’s overrated. I’m not sure where that leaves you, though…like I tried to get at above, when I feel down about comics or the comics discourse I just put my head down, so I’m probably unqualified to offer advice on how best to stick your head up and try to persuade people to go a different way.