33. Comics & Art?

Mighty Mutt Frag

This “Mighty Mutt Fragment” was a lot of fun to do. It’s intended to be a page from an imaginary comic book in an alternate universe. I put together some unrelated doodles, give it a narrative and suggest that it’s a “recovered” part of a larger work. But is it art?

I’ve previously mentioned art historian Hillary Chute and her books championing some remarkable cartoonists. Another example of cartoonists who aspire to art can be found in a 2004 issue of McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, issue number 13. Sure, that was 14 years ago, but it features many of the greats who are still active today. The guest editor for the issue was Chris Ware, probably the greatest cartoonist/graphic designer extant, who created an amazing paper cover for this hardback journal that’s a work of art in intself. It includes a pocket that contains two remarkable mini-comics. I won’t begin to even try to describe the wealth of material in this issue. If you are interested, follow the above link and you can get a used copy of this marvel for only $3.55.

Another remarkable trend that’s more current is found in The Nib. This is a free daily e-newsletter that features political cartoons by some of the best, like Tom Tomorrow and Jen Sorensen.  It often also includes links to short comic essays –nonfiction works that generally have a political slant, but usually involve solid source references. Some of these works are quite remarkable. One of my favorites is by a Danish cartoonist, Line Høj Høstrup, called “Your Memory Is Worse Than You Think.” With the attrition of quality newspapers, The Nib is a wonderful resource that has a huge list of amazing artists (check under “authors”) and is brimming with creative energy. I contributed to their Kickstarter campaign to come out with a print version and they have a variety of membership plans that include all sorts of goodies. Check them out!

I’m thinking about art and comics a lot these days because I want to see if I can’t raise my level. How can I make more meaningful comics that are still fun for me to make and hopefully for others to read?

Trying to bring my interest in Buddhism as a practical life guide (not a religion) and my love of comics is one way I’ve mentioned. My “Edzl” character, the Nebboid extraterrestrial is going to try and scope out the Buddha’s teachings when he takes a return trip to Earth. It means I have to learn more about Edzl’s psychology and physiology too. How is he different from humans and why would he be interested in the teaching of some human who lived 2500 years ago?

Edzl originated in a comic I did which is a “prequel” of sorts to “The Case of the Renegade Refrigerator,” in Multiverse Comics and Stories, the comic I published on CreateSpace and comiXology this year. The prequel is called “Asteroid Stu and the Mind-Duel” and it’s now available on Amazon in hardcopy and Kindle editions (see below). In this story Edzl is pretty much a hapless pawn. In “Case of the Renegade Refrigerator” he’s a minor character who suddenly becomes the High Admiral of the Nebboid Space Armada. But in the new series of “Pause & Reflect Comics” which are in the works, he needs to be a much more complex, multi-faceted character.

Another direction in this planned series of comics includes a group that has nothing to do with the Buddha. These are the “Comicologists.” They are a consortium of 2-dimensional beings from a variety of universes who share a passion for comics. They have just learned how to embed themselves in comics and study them “on site.” So the comic will be infested with these benign little beings who will travel to and fro, entering stories from the margins and in some cases, supplying their own content. The bright yellow guys at the top of the “Mighty Mutt” page are representatives of these students of the comic book genre.

So despite my aspirations to elevate my comics to “art” (whatever that is), there will be plenty of silliness as well.

Multiverse Comics and Stories, a full-color, 100+ -page comic is on Amazon in print form for $22. A Kindle version is $4.99 There is a slightly different edition at comiXology that also costs $4.99. If you’re a “Prime” member, shipping is free.

NEW: Asteroid Stu and the Mind-Duel is a 54-page, black and white (with half-tones) comic which costs $9.99 for the print copy and $2.99 for the Kindle version. If you’re a “Kindle Unlimited” member, the Kindle version is free.

If you choose to buy either or both of these comics, in any form, please feel free to let me know what you think (please avoid profanity if possible; if not, let ‘er rip.)

Contact me at: asteroidstu@gmail.com

Categories Arts, Buddhism, Cartooning, Comic books, Comicologists, Creativity, Dhamma, Dharma, Selling comics, Visual artistsTags

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