COMICS ETC. by Kevin H
For what it's worth, I am very glad to have the Glenn stories instead of another batch of autobio / diary strips. Glenn enables you to go as far afield as the Feathered Ogre or Jeepers Jacobs—he allows you to say more, I think, than you could just writing "what you know" (in the narrow sense). More Glenn! (More Castor Oyl!)
I think part of the problem is "I" is observer and the cartoon is observed. It is harder to "be yourself" in front of the camera, rather than behind. (Julie Doucet: "Leave me alone! I have nothing to say.")
I think Gabrielle Bell does first person narration very well. Maybe it's helps that she doesn't do close ups.
There are certainly ways to make comics with yourself in them and pull it off. I'm just not sure how I want to go about it. This was a quick sketchbook doodle to think out loud about it. G Bell makes herself a particular kind of character, drawn in a particular way and at a certain distance, and she fictionalizes events for a particular kind of storytelling, and I love those comics, but they're different than what I was thinking about attempting at the time I drew this in January. I think I was thinking about something more like an essay... Anyways it's May now and I'm working on other things...
I hesitated posting this little comic from my sketchbook b/c it's undercooked, and might give the wrong impression, and because it doesn't spell out my full take. It's certainly possible to do autobio comics that are not gross. The issues for me are 1) how it makes me feel differently a) about myself and b) my experiences as they are underway*, and2) if I'm drawing myself in the story for the right reasons, does the subject or story need that? Or does it undercut what I'm going for? 3) what does it mean to draw myself. This is tricky! It goes to the heart of the matter of making comics--visualizing the story, characters, and issues of empathy with cartoony characters, with framing in a panel, etc. etc. etc. It's tricky finding the right balance and approach. (good luck!)*this is always already a problem for writers, I think. My answer is that I wait usually 2-3 years at least before I write about something that happened to me. Fictionalizing it and getting it to mean something and work as a story I feel OK about is easier for me if I get far away from it.
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