Ask box is open: http://darrylayo.tumblr.com/ask
Ask box is open: http://darrylayo.tumblr.com/ask
An assortment of characters from the old X-Force comics. I just realized after drawing this that they’re all reaching for some sort of weapon on their left.
The next panel shows their prey, already incapacitated in a bodycast, connected to tubes in a hospital bed. X-Force was a funny comic. Greg Capullo and Fabian Nicieza. Summer 1993.
Anonymous asked: How did you work out how to write about comics? How long did it take you to become happy, or relatively so, with your reviews and critical work?
It took a fairly long time.
I have been talking about comics for most of my life but it wasn’t until the last few years when I was talking about comics in anything resembling a formal or structured manner. It took a while to adopt a sense of how I wanted to go about it.
And even now, I haven’t cemented myself.
I’ve passed through several stages of depth and awareness of what I was doing since I began writing about comics. There was a time when I was basically writing “gee wiz, aren’t comics terrific?!” Then there was a time when I was writing “okay here is everything wrong with comics, condensed into this particular book.” I’ve gone around the map and it isn’t all pretty. I’ve followed my feelings of the moment and like any person, my ideas and feelings change from time to time and from situation to situation.
There’s also an extent to which I am writing for an audience that exists, not for the audience that I want to write for. My writing got more cold and analytical as I proceeded but in truth, I feel a loss of the emotional level of engagement that I have (or don’t have) with certain works.
The analytical writing is very rewarding but an engagement with the subject of a work (what many would deride as “fannishness”) is more in line with what appeals to me. One problem is that this sort of writing skews toward placing the visual artists involved in comics on the back burner. For instance, there’s Batman and there’s What-Happens-To-Batman. Those two concepts overlap in a way but scarcely directly account for the visual part of comics. The part that makes comics what they are. This is what leads to the dreaded “second-to-last paragraph blurb about the art” that has been discussed lately (I believe that Declan Shalvey or Sean Murphy said that??)
I’m an artist, I’m a cartoonist! I don’t want to back-burner other cartoonists. But as much as I buy comic books (and strips and so on) for the art, I still end up engaging with the subject and “happenings” of a comic in an almost independent way.
There is a space in comics… between what is drawn and HOW it’s drawn, intersecting with what is said and HOW it’s said, intersecting with the concepts and desires and needs of both creator and audience… intersecting the structure of a mechanism with the alchemical substance of what is being communicated (both literally and intentionally)…
…somewhere in-between all of that is me, a reader who vaguely feels *something* and wants to share that something with other people.
I’m still trying to put my finger on it.
This question was very difficult to answer and I thank you for it. It’s been tough to figure out exactly how I wanted to approach it.
iamdavidbrothers asked: What's one comic that you read and liked this week, whether it was brand-spanking new or a re-read? What'd you like about it?
I’ve begun rereading “Cucumber Quest,” a webcomic by Gigi Digi http://cucumber.gigidigi.com/cq/page-1/ it’s a huge comic but you just fly through the pages (except to stop and gawk about how nice everything looks).
It’s one of those fantasy genre comics but it is genuinely, absurdly funny. Lots of comics are funny but “Cucumber Quest” is Really Funny. Gigi Digi has a lot of fun with the genre tropes of “chosen one/quest” narratives and this is one of the few stories in any medium that really captures that feeling of being a young kid and realizing that the adults around you are completely foolish, yet being kind of at their mercy.
The art, the art, the art, Gigi Digi’s art is one of those panic-inducing things. She’s not only accomplished at drawing cartoon-people but at this really colorful light-and-dark lighting control. This work is the type of work that makes other cartoonists snap their pens and tablets in despair.
Very good art, I’m saying. First time I read Cucumber Quest, I was literally “right-click+save” for every page for a while. I had to stop with that.
Anyway, as of this week, I’ve reread the prologue chapter (which is over 80 pages) and I will soon continue into Chapter Zero…
For kicks, I picked up All-New X-Men #23 from Brian Bendis and Stuart Immonen. “The Trial of Jean Grey, Part 3!”
I love Stuart Immonen’s art. I love when he and Bendis get together because Bendis seems to frequently call for these two-page spreads of just…rooms full of people sitting around and talking. Immonen is good at it and I’m a sucker for a good crowd drawing.
The comic’s plot seems to revolve around adults being jerks for no reason which is a different tone from how I see it in Gigi Digi’s aforementioned Cucumber Quest. In CQ, adults being stupid is funny but in The Trial of Jean Grey, the story is played straight with no irony: the Shi’ar are going to put time-displaced Jean Grey on trial (and presumably execute her) for the Phoenix-related crimes that Teen Jean hasn’t even committed…yet.
Also absurd is that Definitely Guilty Jean Grey has already died and come back and lived for decades (our time) without the Shi’ar acting up. This is one of those time travel things: “kill hitler as a baby” sort of thing. Kill Jean Grey as a teen and she will never grow up to genocide all of those adorable broccoli people. I dunno, it isn’t a *bad* story idea, I just… time travel is so aggravating. In a few minutes we’ll be making diagrams out of restaurant straws.
Cucumber Quest, Prologue Chapter
All-New X-Men, number 23
I interviewed cartoonist/critic Darryl Ayo about being a cartoonist and a critic at the same dang time. We talked for a good amount of time, hit a lot of different subjects. I don’t think we got too deep into our shared love for X-Force member Feral, but we get it in regardless. Pick your poison: Inkstuds or ComicsAlliance.
More next week.
Lucy + Angela, hanging out.
an old comic that ended with Lizzie hitch hiking to The City. This is that ending. Little Garden, 2007.