Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Recently I made a comic page inspired by the childrens book, Where The Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak, for Vice. Check it out here. They've set up a mini-site devoted to the movie based on the classic book. You can see that here. They're going to be releasing other pages by 24 other comic artists every day, leading up to the release of the movie. Where The Wild Things Are is an amazing book, perfectly illustrated. The imagery from that book has been etched on my brain since I first saw it, like I'm sure it has for all it's readers.
Friday, September 25, 2009
I'll be at the Small Press Expo this weekend selling issues of Night Business and Gangsta Rap Posse.
The same deal applies to SPX as it did at MoCCA: When you buy both issues of Night Business for $5 you get the first issue of Gangsta Rap Posse for FREE!
I'll also be speaking on the panel moderated by Sean T. Collins entitled The New Action, on Saturday afternoon at 4:30. Here's the details:
4:30 | Brookside Conference Room
The New Action
For decades, independent cartoonists have labored to distinguish their work from the corporately-controlled material popularly associated with the form. In the process, artist-driven comics have frequently avoided genres such as adventure, fantasy, and science fiction. Recent years, however, have seen a wave of cartoonists who embrace genre and have explored new ways to activate comics’ ability to depict movement, action, and spectacle. Sean T. Collins will discuss these topics and more with Shawn Cheng, Benjamin Marra, Brian Ralph, Frank Santoro and Kazimir Strzepek.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Here's some pieces from the review:
The idea of a Bush I-era hardcore hip-hop outfit who actually are gun-toting, ho-pimping, mass-murdering drug kingpins as outlined in their platinum-selling rap career is so fucking brilliant a high concept I'm stunned I've never seen it in action before. It's difficult to remember now, in an age when Jay-Z has more number-one album debuts than anyone but the Beatles and the President jokingly banters about Kanye West's antics, but when my generation of white kids was growing up, "rapper" was a career that took on the same sort of quasi-mystical air as "cowboy" or "ninja."And:
The kinds of hip-hop that politicians and parents groups rent their garments over back then were tailor-made for action-hero status, and that's what Marra delivers here. Watching his N.W.A. manques roll up on a rival MC's compound and strafe his bodyguards with machine-gun fire fulfills a long deferred desire to see the larger-than-life lyrics of such groups made real, or at least as real as an action comic would make them.And also:
It's so effective in that regard that it's tempting to overlook the obviously problematic racial territory we're in. What we have here is a white guy taking Easy, Cube, Ren, and Dre's lurid cop-killing, bitch-fucking, crack-pipe-illuminated fantasy world and drawing it, and that's a bit of a sticky wicket, innit? It's an ugly portrait, even if you're just painting by the numbers left by the subjects.
But it seems to me that what Marra's doing is simply taking vintage gangsta and treating it like any other kind of genre fiction.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Sean Collins, prominent comic critic and blogger, wrote and amazing review of the first two issues of Night Biz over at his blog. Definitely the best review so far (right up there with Frank Santoro's review). But nothing competes with Tim Hodler's too-well-executed-to-be-the-work-of-an-idiot-savant comment. Obviously, Collins gets it. You know what I mean? Gets it. Here's a piece of the review:
Benjamin Marra's art is studiously amateurish and ugly in a totally consistent fashion--precisely the way that the art of someone whose natural talent is totally outgunned by his boundless enthusiasm and obsession bordering on dedication would be. These blocky, blockheaded, stiff figures--everyone, male and female, looks like their bodies are 85% gristle--seem like the thought-through product of a worldview, like they're the output of someone who's drawn page after page after meaty, pulpy page of these people without ever thinking twice about what anyone will think of it (beyond, perhaps, "they'll fuckin' love it!"). The layouts are simple, all business, as if to say "enough of all the frou-frou, let's just see what happens next." Every outfit is peeled from some hair-metal or porno fantasy world where men are either leather and denim street toughs or sharp-dressed sharks in suits, and where women routinely walk around in lingerie and heels. The City (capitalized like a motherfucker) consists almost solely of strip clubs, alleys, morgues, and the preposterous offices of an exotic-dancer management empire; everything is lit by streetlights or neon.
Thanks for the review, Sean.
(Incidentally, Sean will be moderating a panel I'll be on at SPX this year. See the previous post for detes).
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
At this year's SPX, Sept. 26-27, I'll be sitting on the panel entitled "The New Action," moderated by Sean Collins. Here's the official breakdown:
The New Action
For decades, independent cartoonists have labored to distinguish their work from the corporately-controlled material popularly associated with the form. In the process, artist-driven comics have frequently avoided genres such as adventure, fantasy, and science fiction. Recent years, however, have seen a wave of cartoonists who embrace genre and have explored new ways to activate comics’ ability to depict movement, action, and spectacle. Sean Collins will discuss these topics and more with Shawn Cheng, Benjamin Marra, Brian Ralph, Frank Santoro and Kazimir Strzepek.