Monday, April 26, 2010

In the Studio, Part 2

I hadn’t thought of that before.

In his interview in Todd Hignite’s fascinating In the Studio: Visits With Contemporary Cartoonists, Chris Ware shows the work of Japanese cartoonist Suiho Tagawa, “my fourth-favorite cartoonist who’s no longer alive.” Tagawa in the 1930s produced big, wide-open-vista colorful pictures that depicted multiple characters in myriad scenarios — all in one image.

“This,” Ware contends, “is the course comics should’ve taken before they got sidetracked and transformed by the language of cinema in the 1930s.

“As near as I can tell, the Japanese understanding of art is almost a sort of simultaneous reading and seeing, where ours is purely seeing ….”

I hadn’t considered the notion of cartoons having been hijacked at some stage by a movie-form — i.e., a sequential form, with dramatic camera-like angles — of storytelling. (My guess is Ware would name as the chief culprit Milton Caniff, who made the most of a cinematic look with his popular Terry and the Pirates.)

And I hadn’t ever thought about that being wrong.

See my earlier post on this book here.

And you can see Ware display his Gasoline Alley collection in a video interview by Chicago NPR radio station WBEZ here. (I always meant to try to finagle a visit to Ware’s house when I also lived in Oak Park, but it never happened.)

More on In the Studio
to come.

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