Synopses & Reviews
We are living in a golden age of cartoon art. Never before has graphic storytelling been so prominent or garnered such respect: critics and readers alike agree that contemporary cartoonists are creating some of the most innovative and exciting work in all the arts.and#160;
For nearly a decade Hillary L. Chute has been sitting down for extensive interviews with the leading figures in comics, and with Outside the Box she offers fans a chance to share her ringside seat. Chuteand#8217;s in-depth discussions with twelve of the most prominent and accomplished artists and writers in comics today reveal a creative community that is richly interconnected yet fiercely independent, its members sharing many interests and approaches while working with wildly different styles and themes. Chuteand#8217;s subjects run the gamut of contemporary comics practice, from underground pioneers like Art Spiegelman and Lynda Barry, to the analytic work of Scott McCloud, the journalism of Joe Sacco, and the extended narratives of Alison Bechdel, Charles Burns, and more. They reflect on their experience and innovations, the influence of peers and mentors, the reception of their art and the growth of critical attention, and the crucial place of print amid the encroachment of the digital age.
Beautifully illustrated in full-color, and featuring three never-before-published interviewsand#151;including the first published conversation between Art Spiegelman and Chris Wareand#151;Outside the Box will be a landmark volume, a close-up account of the rise of graphic storytelling and a testament to its vibrant creativity.
"Every medium should be lucky enough to have a taxonomist as brilliant as McCloud. The follow-up to his pioneering Understanding Comics (and its flawed sequel Reinventing Comics) isn't really about how to draw comics: it's about how to make drawings become a story and how cartooning choices communicate meaning to readers. ('There are no rules,' he says, 'and here they are.') McCloud's cartoon analogue, now a little gray at the temples, walks us through a series of dazzlingly clear, witty explanations (in comics form) of character design, storytelling, words and their physical manifestation on the page, body language and other ideas cartoonists have to grapple with, with illustrative examples drawn from the history of the medium. If parts of his chapter on 'Tools, Techniques and Technology' don't look like they'll age well, most of the rest of the book will be timelessly useful to aspiring cartoonists. McCloud likes to boil down complicated topics to a few neatly balanced principles; his claim that all facial expressions come from degrees and combinations of six universal basic emotions is weirdly reductive and unnerving, but it's also pretty convincing. And even the little ideas that he tosses off like classifying cartoonists into four types will be sparking productive arguments for years to come. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Like his previous books, this is thoughtful, fascinating, stimulating, potentially controversial, and inspiring." Library Journal
"The volume covers a lot of ground and always in comic-strip format that McCloud's mastery makes easy going. There's plenty of practical value here for neophyte and veteran artists alike; meanwhile, those content to just read other peoples' comics will have their appreciation of the medium enhanced." Booklist
"This is a book of great interviews with great cartoonists. The interviews are great because Hillary Chute is great. She knows how cartooning works and she intimately knows the work of the artists sheand#8217;s interviewing.and#160;The interviews are smart, insightful, and very readable. This isn't dry stuff nor is it fluffy.and#160;It's the real stuff. Anyone interested in the minds of today's cartooning masters will want to read it."
and#8220;Chute wisely lets each artist take the lead. . . . Itand#8217;s a fascinating glimpse into a medium swiftly gaining recognition."
"A handy guide to the creators behind the graphic novel revolution."
"How refreshing it is to listen to these cartoonists talk about a branch of the culture here in America that isn't plagued by feelings of decay, repetition, malaise, or despair. . . . These interviews are as good a reminder as any that, at least for the world of alternative comics, the blood is flowing and the people believe."
and#8220;It is a valuable record of some of the industryand#8217;s greatest talents contemplating their work, their influences, and comics culture at large. . . . No one is better poised for such a project than Chute.and#8221;
"This collection of interviews is remarkable, not least of all because so many of the contributors have been interviewed extensively. Yet, all of these are fresh and insightful examinations of some of the most diverse creators in comics."
"Full of fascinating, weighty insights into the artistic and working concerns of some excellent cartoonists."
In a voice that mixes dry humor and clear, concise instruction, McCloud's cartoon narrator shows readers how to master the human condition through word and image in a brilliantly minimalist way. Comic book devotees as well as the most uninitiated will marvel at this journey into a once-underappreciated art form.
Scott McCloud tore down the wall between high and low culture in 1993 with Understanding Comics
, a massive comic book about comics, linking the medium to such diverse fields as media theory, movie criticism, and web design. In Reinventing Comics
, McCloud took this to the next level, charting twelve different revolutions in how comics are generated, read, and perceived today.
Now, in Making Comics, McCloud focuses his analysis on the art form itself, exploring the creation of comics, from the broadest principles to the sharpest details (like how to accentuate a character's facial muscles in order to form the emotion of disgust rather than the emotion of surprise.) And he does all of it in his inimitable voice and through his cartoon stand–in narrator, mixing dry humor and legitimate instruction. McCloud shows his reader how to master the human condition through word and image in a brilliantly minimalistic way. Comic book devotees as well as the most uninitiated will marvel at this journey into a once–underappreciated art form.
Hillary Chute has become recognized not only as the most incisive scholar of contemporary comics, but also as the most canny interlocutor with the star practitioners of this booming genre. There is a sense of community among these artists, and they have together taken the field of graphic narrative forward in terms of force, sophistication, and craft.and#160; But their styles and sensibilities diverge, and their work represents a range of goals and desires, which Chute deftly elicits in conversation. Several commonalities emerge from the interviews. For example, art school was not, for any of these cartoonists, a necessary step for a career in comics. Another theme running across the interviews is the enduring importance of print and the varieties of its circulation. For example, Lynda Barryand#8217;s first book, collecting her series Two Sisters was entirely reproduced through Xeroxes: and#147;Copy shops had just come out,and#8221; she tells Chute. and#147;I just copied the whole collection. I put it in a manila envelope and I hand-decorated the top, and I sold them for ten dollars.and#8221; These mechanisms of reproduction, Chute notes, were key for the expansion of creative comics culture.and#160;
About the Author
Scott McCloud has been writing, drawing, and examining comics since 1984. Winner of the Eisner and Harvey awards, his works — which include Zot!
, Understanding Comics
, and Reinventing Comics
— have been translated into more than sixteen languages. Frank Miller (Sin City
) called him "just about the smartest guy in comics." He lives with his family in southern California. His online comics and inventions can be found at scottmccloud.com
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Twenty-First-Century Comics
1.and#160;Scott McCloud (2007)
2.and#160;Charles Burns (2008)
3.and#160;Lynda Barry (2008)
4.and#160;Aline Kominsky-Crumb (2009)
5.and#160;Daniel Clowes (2010)
6.and#160;Phoebe Gloeckner (2010)
7.and#160;Joe Sacco (2011)
8.and#160;Alison Bechdel (2006 and 2012)
9.and#160;Franand#231;oise Mouly (2008 and 2010)
10.and#160;Adrian Tomine (2012)
11.and#160;Art Spiegelman and Chris Ware (2008)