On 17th November, Brick goes all intellectual, presenting a paper at the Thought Bubble Festival Conference in Leeds (http://comicsforum.org/comics-forum-2011/) under the banner of ‘Graphic Medicine:Visualising the Stigma of Illness’. My co-presenter will be Associate Professor Theo Stickley from Nottingham University, who has this crazy idea that we should act out sequences from DEPRESSO as an example of challenging the stigma of madness (sorry, mental illness)!
Comics are slowly wheedling their way into academia, possibly on the back of the number of creative writing courses that now include a module on writing for comics. (While the idea of a degree in creative writing is nonsense, there is stuff an aspiring comics creative needs to master, much like an aspiring film maker.) Around the world there are various high-brow comics conferences, academic journals and subscription websites, and a large number of intellectuals are turning out theses on everything from mainstream superhero crap to obscure underground mags from the Sixties, all of which is good news for those of us struggling to make a living in the medium.
One drawback is that, oddly enough, these boffins pay to present a conference paper, presumably on the basis its extra browning on their CV. Up at Leeds they are currently grappling with the concept that impoverished cartoonists are normally paid for giving talks!
For anybody interested in more depth on the comic writing and drawing process, try this post-Lowdham Book Festival interview.
BRICK in Easy Bits
A couple of gigs that might interest fans of ‘Depresso’ and/or aspiring comics creatives in the East Midlands…
25th June – Lowdham Book Festival – an illustrated talk by Brick about the writing, drawing and production process of ‘Depresso’. www.lowdhambookfestival.co.uk
2nd July – Nottingham Writer’s Studio – a day’s workshop on writing for graphic novels, with a dinner thrown in afterwards. Absolutely no drawing skills are required. www.writingeastmidlands.co.uk
The writing and drawing up of my investigation into the hoax of ‘Leonardo’s Bicycle’ continues a pace, but does anybody out there have a take on the business side of the Leonardo industry? The sample shows just some of the tat plastered with his ‘Mona Lisa’, but what about all those exhibitions of models where you almost never see an actual Leonardo? And just how many departments are there in the world bristling with well-paid academics trawling through the poor sod’s work? Like no other artist, Leo is an multi-national industry, but has anybody written about it?
Interesting review by Alison Frank in the American arts magazine, Afterimage, of the ‘That’s Novel…’ comics exhibition that included displays from ‘Depresso’. In her paragraph featuring the book, she talks about about my characters and the way they are drawn (see below), something critics rarely comment on. As someone who has spent most of his cartooning career focusing on the disenfranchised, I suppose it was inevitable my pen would portray folk as ‘vulnerable and sympathetic’, but even the baddies in my ‘toons appear to have redeeming features, even if I think otherwise about them in real life!
Another section explored the way in which the medium can be used to cope with mental illness. Brick’s Depresso (2010) recounts the artist’s experience with depression and the pressures it placed on his job and marriage. The slightly childlike and caricatured style of illustration makes the characters appear all the more vulnerable and sympathetic, increasing the story’s impact. By abstracting real life through illustration, Brick’s graphic novel relativizes depression—however crippling and all-consuming the illness can be, it is described as transitory—something best endured with patience (and even humor).
To obtain the full article go to Afterimage.