Brandon Graham week one

I’m Brandon, I make comics. King city(Image) and Multiple warheads (oni)
Robin was nice enough to let me use his space.
Some months back I got to go out to the SCAD art school to talk about comics.

A lot of these images were put together for a slide show I did out there on things that excite me about this comic book
medium and how it’s affected my own work.

Here’s a panel from Asterix, I really like how Uderzo used a change in style to show the change in language.

One of the comics that had the biggest impact on me growing up was Fil Barlows Zooniverse:

I really like how willing to take side roads into other parts of the world away from the main story Barlow was willing to go.

Like on this page where the lower 4 panels are an entirely seprate from the main plot we get a thing about an alien race that would be a huge threat if anyone could actually hear their threats.

And here’s a trick on the lower left of ths page, where Barlow takes the dot of an exlamation point and turns it into a space station.

Also I should point out how great the politician aliens on this page are, with a garden below them fertilized by their excrement.
so many cool ideas.

Another fantastic artist whose work I grew up on is Matt Howarth.
Here’s the start of an issue of his Post brothers that has an entry exam to get into the comic.

Howarth does a lot of storytelling that is specific to comics but this one from his WRAB: pirate televison is
the example I like to bring up to show something that only works with printed paper comics.

This page shows Ron post doing a cooking show and printed on the back of the same page is subliminals

So you can see them when you hold the page up to the light:

Here’s a Post brothers issue where the brothers split up and splitting the panels of the book for the entire issue. following one on the top row and the other below until they meet up again at the end and the pages go back to normal.

And I like how this scene from his Keif Llama shows what lies in all the directions the space ship could go.

And this Post brothers page, I like the key showing what all the different textures on the page are.

Howarth did a lot of stuff in his work that before I’d only seen in japanese comics.
like this scene using blank panels to show the characters dive.

And this, that I think of as the most effective way to show a fast zoom in comics.
Showing the same character closer without a panel boarder getting in the way.

Here’s the same trick done my Masamune Shirow in his Orion book:

I’m always amazed going back and looking at Shirows storytelling.

I really like how in this scene from Appleseed the characters are shown ordering food and having it brought to them by the waitress.
But the dialog never mentions the food.

And Its done so smooth.

Here’s another similar scene. Where the characters are talking in the park and you see an ice cream wagon, and in the next panel they have ice cream but the dialog never takes a break for ice cream.

I sometimes wonder if Shirow was just seeing what he could get away with.
Like this Appleseed page that has a panel in the gutter showing a character walking out of the main story.

I think a lot about things that can be added to a story that wont be missed if you don’t catch them, nonsense panels.
You see it a fair amount in Japanese porn comics.

Here’s an Appleseed page where Deunan gets hit by a car and you get this broken glass panel put behind another panel:

And here’s a less severe example with the lower center panel by her robots foot–

I feel like that panel reads like a beat on the page, giving her time to get out of her suit
–it might as well be blank.

I really like this scene from an Appleseed knife fight. Deunan has an eye patch on and you get all these dense panels
and then there’s a blank space on the lower right when one of the guys gets on her blind side.
So you don’t see what she can’t see.

I like the idea of comics as a kind of call and response art form, where artists will sometimes do work because they were
inspired by the work of others. This next guy Locke is really Shirow influenced (while still maintaining his own voice)
Here’s some pages from his comic Ride and a link to the actual thing so you can read it before I ruin the end on here:

Locke was kind of the older comics brother of dudes like Brian O’malley and Corey Lewis.

I really like how he starts this scene with just these simple elements

And then shows you the whole scene–

So the girl in the story goes off a buildings edge.

And falls

And as she falls you see the windows as flashbacks to different parts of their relationship.

At the end her dude jumps off after her with the line,
“all or nothing this is love”

And the whole 22 page comic leading up to this one poetic line that Locke
took off of a spear stuck in a guys face in an Appleseed comic:

I love that shit!

Anyway I’ve got lots more to get into, I’ll be putting these up here for a couple more weeks.

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12 Responses to Brandon Graham week one

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  2. This is really interesting. I like to see where you get your inspirations to be an artist and what has help shape your style. I really like the part about moving space with blank panels. That was really cool to see.

  3. Kingofsiam says:

    I love this! Its so rare that an artist with so much mojo goes on to reveal the elements of his personal pastiche. Some of these I wasn’t aware of (Zooniverse, Howarth) and some of them had me smiling and nodding (Locke). I never would have figured out the reference to the spear! I am also pleased that after all these years we can finally engage in an intellectual discourse of the tropes specific to (printed) comics.

  4. Joe Williams says:

    This is like “In the Studio” with Brandon Graham. As if your comics weren’t inspiring enough, now this… Thanks!

  5. This is amazing. I was going to say that Graham’s comments are so nice he should write a book about comics, but the sheer cost of copyrights for so many examples would be astonishing. So, once again, hurray for blogs!

    I follow his blog and there are tons of great stuff there. Too bad it’s on livejournal and there’s no Tweeter or RSS 😛 Even so, very good.

  6. mmmmmike says:

    I’ve found myself coming back to that Orion sequence at least once a month for years, and that page is the reason. Can’t wait for the next installment!

  7. ramon says:

    Daniel, you can just plug the LJ URL into your RSS reader and it gets imported fine, no problem. I’ve got Brandon’s LJ on my Google Reader, amongst many others. 🙂

  8. Sam Mooney says:

    Wow. You could write a whole book on how cool Shirow and his comics are and all the stuff you can learn from them.

    But that 80’s stuff I’ve never seen before. I’ve got to start hunting for Zoonivers back issues.

    I look forward to reading more…

  9. this is great!
    i’m glad people are still talking about locke. if i hadn’t read ride and trepanation when i was 15 i probably would not be making comics today! i never knew about his shirow influence though, and i’ve never read appleseed either, but now i think i will.

  10. Dirk Deppey says:

    I’ve been a Matt Howarth fan for over twenty years. The One That Got Away for me when I was managing editor for The Comics Journal was that I was never able to convince Gary Groth to let me interview Howarth for the magazine. After a while, it even became a running joke: “Yeah, I’ll let you do that just after I let you publish that Howarth interview.”

    Actually, I did get Gary to agree to conditions that would allow me my interview: If I managed to assemble a “Music and Comics” issue that was coherent enough to pass muster, he once said he’d give me my damned Howarth interview. I even went so far as to begin arranging a comics section for the issue — Kyle Baker was willing to let us reprint the comics collaboration he did with KRS-One if KRS was willing to sign off on let us post a recording of the tape as an MP3 for our website — but I wasn’t ever able to figure out how the rest of the issue would work.

    Like I said, the one that got away…

    • inkstuds says:

      Hey Dirk, there are lots of really interesting things you could do with comics and music. If you were able to revisit it now, with the online version, i am sure there are more interesting things to cover than there would be 5 years ago.

  11. Habbit says:

    Thanks Brandon, been really enjoying King City. Love that you brought Howarths work into the conversation, not someone mentioned much today. Glad to see you added Orion. I think it’s one of Shirows best works. His style & layouts are so loose in that one. Keep it up!

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