November 1, 2011

TV series Het Beeldverhaal takes a mature and in-depth look at comics

Filed under: Comics,Shows by Branko Collin @ 8:43 am

Is it possible to speak of the advantages of a dying medium? Right now comics don’t seem to be in particularly good shape. Where magazines like Eppo and the new Dutch Mad used to be made for kids, they now appear to be produced mainly for the grown-ups that used to be kids when they last read those magazines.

On the other hand, a mature audience for comics can lead to mature comics. A good TV series about comics did not seem viable one or two decades ago (Han Peekel made a valiant but ultimately not too successful attempt with Wordt Vervolgd, To Be Continued), but last Saturday cartoonist Jean-Marc (Fokke & Sukke) successfully took up that dusty gauntlet and started a new documentary series about comics called Het Beeldverhaal (The Comic). In this first episode he introduced us to the world of the Dutch autobiographical comic, talking to Jan Kruis, Gerrit de Jager, Maaike Hartjes, Barbara Stok, and others.

Writes comics reporter Michael Minneboo:

Van Tol’s boyish enthusiasm works infectiously. In the seventh episode, he is full of admiration for Willy Linthout whose Jaren van de Olifant (Age of the Elephant) is a personal comic about the death of his son. In the episode about superheroes, he is surprised to learn that a copy of the first Superman story was sold for more than one million dollars.

One of the advantages of having Van Tol as a presenter is that he knows what he is talking about, being a comics artist himself. “Many of the authors we talked to thought that was refreshing,” says [editor Pieter] Klok.

Seven more episodes have been produced that discuss amongst others Belgian comics, superhero comics, manga, newspaper strips and underground comics.

(Video: Youtube / Martijn Tervoort)

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February 15, 2011

The horrible, horrible comics of Maaike Hartjes

Filed under: Comics by Branko Collin @ 10:09 am

Comics artist Maaike Hartjes is from the generation that said ‘gaaf’ (cool) to express that they liked something very much. She has tried to say ‘vet’ (fat), but it made her feel as if she were a member of the ‘mieters’ (swell) and ‘jottum’ (neat) generation. The new cool, ‘gruwelijk’ (horrible)—now there’s a word she can get behind.

So it’s no surprise that she called her latest comics book Gruwelijk!, and it is full of small observations such as this strip:

I quite like the portrait in my old passport. But now I need a new passport. With a photo taken according to the latest regulations…

Tiny photographer: “DO NOT smile!”

Tiny Maaike: “Waaah! That’s not what I look like, is it?”

Tiny boyfriend: “Er…. nooo! You’re much prettier in real life.”

One advantage: after a twenty hour trip + jetlag:

Tiny customs person: “Horrible picture! It’s good that she looks much better in person.”

Maaike Hartjes, Gruwelijk!, EUR 12,90, published by Oog en Blik.

Via Holly Moors, who liked the result and has a couple more samples.

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July 28, 2009

Zone 5300 in the land of the Dadas

Filed under: Art,Comics,Music,Nature by Branko Collin @ 8:19 am

The Summer edition of Zone 5300 contains a large retrospective of The Cramps, the psychobilly dinos that put the fun into punk, because of stiletto-heeled front-man Lux Interior’s death earlier this year. Writer Eric van der Heijden handcuffs you, then shows all the clean versions of rock ‘n’ roll and the dirty parents they sprang from. Guess where The Cramps belong?

Lars Fiske reports on a 1922 visit of Dada to the Netherlands (illustration).

What do you do if everybody is already shooting nice pics of microbes, hell, if nice pics of microbes are really old hat in your country? Stereoscopic photos of the creepy-crawlies! Plus you try to get American art schools and Dutch museums to believe your story that art can only be objectively enjoyed after you have dunked classic works and instruments in a bath full of micro-organisms. Such is the wondrous sense of humour of Wim van Egmond.

Maaike Hartjes tries her hand at photography. Eerie! Cute! How does she do it? (Maaike’s got a new blog by the by, so go check it.)

And finally a long comic of Fool’s Gold contributor Milan Hulsing about collected collectors, so you know he knows what he is talking, er, drawing about.

(Illustration: Lars Fiske.)

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November 9, 2007

Zone 5300, 2007 autumn edition

Filed under: Comics,Design,Literature by Branko Collin @ 2:11 am

Literature opens doors, and eyes, and windows on the soul, some people say. But who is going to close all these entrances again? For instance, in the new Zone 5300 Maaike Hartjes reports from Japan that one of the most popular forms of manga for women there is gay manga for girls, including gay manga for girls set in Lord of the Ring’s Middle Earth and illustrated with a drawing of a smooching Aragorn as portrayed by Viggo Mortensen. How am I ever going to unknow that?!

Or what about this: the heyday of Holocaust porn? Let me rephrase that. What about this: Holocaust porn? Apparently quite popular in Israel during the Eichmann trial. Zone writes about tall blonde nazi women in tight leather skull adorned uniforms brandishing whips and presumably about to suck the life juices out of camp prisoners. The 2007 documentary Stalag by Ari Libsker explores the phenomenon.

At this point I am too jaded to get worked up over the fate of Virgil Mankiewicz, a man from Nebraska who got sentenced to death because his Siamese twin brother Homer got sentenced to death.

There’s also a short interview with Raoul Deleo, one of the two makers of De eenzame snelweg (The Lonely Motorway), a book describing the trip the authors took along the same route that Jack Kerouac describes in On The Road. Kerouac typed out his book on scrolls, and in true “method drawing” fashion Deleo copied that idea by constructing a case with a built-in scroll to draw on while on the road (see illustration).

Furthermore, there is a look at the fantastic work of Chuck Groenink (for instance: teabags hanging from a ceiling, dripping like corpses in a slaughterhouse), comics by Merel Barends and Jakob Klemencic, an excellent episode of Fool’s Gold (which I reported about earlier), and Wasco’s interpretation of Dick Bruna’s Zwarte Beertjes book covers (see illustration).

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