lukas, May 25, 2007 (view all comments by lukas)
Yeah, it's OK to read comics! I mean, "graphic fiction." Yale University Press said it's OK. This diverse and enjoyable anthology is another contribution to the mainstreaming of comics and its belated recognition as a legitamate art form. Editor Brunetti pulls together an impressive array of names, from forefathers like Charles Schultz to pioneers like Robert Crumb (possibly the most important comics figures of the past 40 years) and Art Speilgman to more recent talents like Chris Ware, Daniel Clowes, and Joe Sacco. Of course, his selection is somewhat subjective and most readers will quibble with at least some inclusions. At its worst, graphic fiction is badly drawn and seems little more than a parade of the author's neuroses and boring preoccupations. I don't know how guys like James Kochalka and Jeffry Brown got in. And where's Winsor "Little Nemo" McCay? But part of the function of such an anthology is to generate debate. A valuable, provocative collection that will no doubt find its way into emerging comics as lit classes.
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lindawitkowski, April 21, 2007 (view all comments by lindawitkowski)
An important addition to the contemporary examination of comics and graphic fiction as forms of art, Brunetti's work is comprehensive without becoming muddled in the debates of criticism. He presents stunning reproductions of pieces from a wide variety of North American artists in a self-described "vital, highly personal work." Aside from a justifiably gushing introduction, Brunetti takes himself out of the process and allows the work to speak for itself. This is perhaps the most prudent decision he could have made, as it allows the work to be presented in such a way that it can be recognized and appreciated on its own merits.
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Douglas, April 6, 2007 (view all comments by Douglas)
I just re-read this anthology, enjoying it more the second time around. Brunetti's selections are personal, a strength of the selections, and run a gamut from classic comic strips to modern mini comics, and from the well-known (R. Crumb et al) to the fairly unknown. I really enjoyed the various tributes to Charles Schulz, but would have liked more of his own pieces. Brunetti lets the work in this anthology speak for itself, though it would have been nice to have some kind of short blurbs accompanying the works regarding when they were done and where else the artists' works can be found; there are short author bios in the back of the book. The format does allow the cartoonists' works be the stars. Thoughtful re-reading of this collection is an education in the art of cartooning, and the learning is fun!
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An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, & True Stories
0 stars -
Yale University Press -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Brunetti's stated criteria for what made the cut for this hearty and hefty volume comes in his refreshingly honest introduction: 'Ultimately... these are comics that I savor and often revisit.' Luckily Brunetti's got a fabulous eye for an artist's signature work. The selections are difficult to argue with, hitting not just the expected luminaries (Chris Ware, Daniel Clowes) but lesser-knowns like surrealist Mark Beyer and Richard McGuire, whose 'Here' breaks down the time-space continuum with mind-bending ease. Brunetti includes usually just one work from each artist, but makes exceptions for the likes of R. Crumb, and he isn't above putting his own work in, a move that's somehow more charming than obnoxious. Any fallow patches are more than made up for by, say, Jaime Hernandez's cinematic miniepic 'Flies on the Ceiling.' Unlike other recent anthologies, women cartoonists are represented with some of the best work in the book, like Debbie Drechsler's horrific 'Visitors in the Night.' While one may question the need for another comics anthology in a year unusually heavy with them, Brunetti has gone beyond the obvious to create an anthology of what is truly the finest in comics." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by New York Times,
"The book is a manifesto of comics' coming of age."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"Broad in scope if somewhat narrow in emotional pitch, this stands to be...a definitive text on American comic art for a good while."
"An ambitious compendium of graphic narratives, designed to showcase both the varied styles and emotional depth of the field....Broad in scope...this stands to be...a definitive text on American comic art for a good while."--"Kirkus Reviews" (starred review).
The best cartooning is efficient visual storytellingit is as much a matter of writing as it is of drawing. In this book, noted cartoonist and illustrator Ivan Brunetti presents fifteen distinct lessons on the art of cartooning, guiding his readers through wittily written passages on cartooning terminology, techniques, tools, and theory. Supplemented by Brunetti's own illustrations, prepared specially for this book, these lessons move the reader from spontaneous drawings to single-panel strips and complicated multipage stories.
Through simple, creative exercises and assignments, Brunetti offers an unintimidating approach to a complex art form. He looks at the rhythms of storytelling, the challenges of character design, and the formal elements of comics while composing pages in his own iconic style and experimenting with a variety of tools, media, and approaches. By following the author's sophisticated and engaging perspective on the art of cartooning, aspiring cartoonists of all ages will hone their craft, create their personal style, and discover their own visual language.
The creator of "Schizo" offers a best-of anthology of contemporary art comics, along with some classic comic strips that have retained a "modern" sensibility. This book is a must-have for collectors, aficionados, readers of comics, and those generally interested in cutting-edge art and literature.
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