How’s your 2020 going so far? Pandemic, unexpected relocation, pinched nerve, Minneapolis Riots, RIP Ruby, Pneumonia… what else you got 2020?
My Comics Journal column about Ted McKeever’s Eddy Current is live! See how Eddy fits into the 1985-87 Event. Also, I couldn’t help myself, but I go into a fun tangent on the portrayal of cities in superhero comics. Here’s a taste:
As required by superhero conventions, Eddy lives in a fictional city with a ridiculous name: Chad. The city resembles New York, especially the New York of the 80’s: grimy, with underfunded infrastructure, populated by lowlives and criminals, and loomed-over by gleaming towers of the ultra wealthy ruling elites. Chad is Metropolis and Gotham in one. This is where McKeever really shines. His keen eye really brings the city to life. He finds moments of stillness and quiet beauty in studied depictions of abandoned warehouses, gas stations, desolate alleys, and diners. Clean lines, attention to detail, exquisite framing. These moments make Eddy stand out from other comics of the Event.
Some of you probably have seen it, some of might not have, but I have a column, called Event Horizon, on The Comics Journal where I write about comics from the Event. What is the Event? Here’s my explanation from the inaugural column:
For a while now I’ve had the idea that something unusual happened in American comics between 1985 and 1987. The period was marked by a unique set of circumstances that encouraged a new level of seriousness about comics as an art form. Comics from this short timespan are something else. The direct market was booming. Marvel and DC were joined by a legion of smaller publishers which released comics in a dizzying array of genres and art styles. Foreign comics became much more available through European graphic novels, and they were joined by some of the first instances of serialized manga, leading to an exuberant experimentation and cross pollination. Beyond the now classic (and thoroughly analyzed) Watchmen or Dark Knight Returns, many of the comics from this period are marked by thematic and formal ambition. The roots of this moment stretch back to the late ’70s and early ’80s but it seems to reach apotheosis precisely during this short span. Something happened in comics between 1985 and 1987. Let’s call that something the Event. The Event influenced comics for decades…
My next column is on Ted McKeever’s Eddy Current. Here’s a little preview:
Gritty, deliberately grotesque, messy, and challenging; these days you don’t see comics like Eddy Current. Many comics from the time of the Event had this quality. It was a deliberate distancing from the dominant styles established between the 50’s and 70’s. the tight, abstract, dynamic pulp modernism (Kirby), and the elongated slickness of pulp neorealism (Neal Adams). In the 80’s, McKeever—along with his peers from that era, Kevin O’Neil, Bill Sienkiewicz, Kyle Baker, Howard Chaykin, Keith Giffen, and others—were developing new stylistic innovations that mapped closely to what was going on elsewhere in culture and art: postmodernism.
For more you’ll have to wait until the column is live. I’ll post a link when it’s live. In the meantime enjoy some of the images from the book. These ended up unused in the column, but all are great examples of Eddy Current‘s gritty urban nightmare lovingly depicted by McKeever.
Trans Terra progress images roundup.
On track for MoCCA release.
- Million Year Boom | Notes to Beta Testing the Ongoing Apocalypse
- Jim Starlin’s Dreadstar 9-10 (1982)
- The Cozy Apocalypse; Adalbert Arcane’s Notes and Theories to Beta Testing the Ongoing Apocalypse
- Tintin in Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s The Nautical Chart
- Beta Testing the Ongoing Apocalypse: Adalbert Arcane’s Notes and Theories to the Sound Strips
to full color painted comics pages like this one (Ransom Strange from Swindle Magazine #12. 10 x 12 inches):
To hand drawn typography (9 x 12 inches):
As we slide deeper into the quadrennial football madness I get seized with a major case of Nostalgia. I played football as kid in Poland, but pretty much stopped when I moved to the US. Now I rarely think about football… except during the World Cup every four years. Above is the only football related illustration I ever drew (I think?). It was for the beautifully designed Green Soccer Journal. It maybe the best looking sports publication ever! It was a pretty fun assignment. And now it can the perfect gift for a FIFA World Cup obsessed football fan! The only other time I referred to football in print was in this very old (1996) comic (reprinted in Cartoon Dialectics 2). Who are you rooting for?