Thierry Groensteen: A response to Renaud Chavanne

After the publication of my review of Renaud Chavanne’s Composition de la bande dessinée, and the related interview, in IJOCA, Thierry Groensteen contacted me. The French theoretician realized that there was faulty or incomplete information where his work and person were concerned, and asked for a droit de réponse, which I promptly translated and submitted to the same journal. I also published it at the time in a Portuguese translation, with the expectation, repeated here, that the misunderstandings were not aggravated by my own misinterpretation of either Mr. Groensteen’s or Mr. Chavanne’s work, translation problems (French into English when I am not a native speaker of either), or other types of problematic intervention. I’d like to take this opprtunity to, once again, than Thierry Groensteen, whom I had met before during the first Conferences of Comics in Portugal (2011), which I had organized and to which I had invited him, along David Kunzle, to be a keynote speaker. With the exception of this introductory note, the following text is all by Mr. Groensteen.  Continue reading “Thierry Groensteen: A response to Renaud Chavanne”


Renaud Chavanne: the “Composition” interview.

Published in Portuguese for the first time in 2011, and then in English at the International Journal of Comic Art (Vol. 14, no. 1, Spring 2012), along with its review, which I posted here. It’s long and winded, folks. Continue reading “Renaud Chavanne: the “Composition” interview.”

Composition de la bande dessinée. Renaud Chavanne (PLG)

This review of Renaud Chavanne’s Composition de la Bande Dessinée, along with the interview, is based on material previously published, in Portuguese, on my own blog, which was subsequently edited for publication at the International Journal of Comic Art (Vol. 14, no. 1, Spring 2012). The interview was conducted by email, in both English and French, and not only consisted in back and forth correspondence discussing Mr. Chavanne’s new book, as it followed personal concerns, and does not claim to be a balanced, more objective stance (if such a thing exists). All the translations are my responsibility, except where noted, and they were done with clarity in mind, not style. To make it more palatable, I’m posting here the review only, and the interview in a separate post… Also, Thierry Groensteen issued a reply to this interview, which I translated and was put out by IJOCA, and I’ll post that soon as well.  Continue reading “Composition de la bande dessinée. Renaud Chavanne (PLG)”

The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye. Sonny Liew (Pantheon)

Sonny Liew’s book is a perfect, multilayered example of that one might call “archival comics,” something that Tony Venezia and others have theorized about, explainable as works that “instantiate in fictional form the generative accumulation of documentary detail associated with historiographic practices, producing tensions between fragment and whole, image and text, past and present, and, of course, material text and changing contexts” (“Archives, Alan Moore and the Historiographic Novel”). All of these points are played out in The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye in order to construct a discourse that thematizes a celebration of comics as a medium in itself and of the multicultural crossroads of Singapore, specifically where comics are concerned, but also engages in a discussion about national identity, the power and price of the interrelationship between politics and material comfort, identity and compromise, aesthetics and freedom, comics canon-making and -breaking and, ultimately, of presenting comics as a way of discussing and even re-thinking history. Continue reading “The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye. Sonny Liew (Pantheon)”

The Voynich Manuscript. Raymond Clemens, ed. (Beinecke/Yale)

This is a dream come true. A beautiful, big tome with short yet comprehensive texts by multiple experts from several disciplines contextualizing the famous Voynich Manuscript and a complete, unabridged, true-to-form, image-perfect facsimile edition of that same book. We can now peruse its pages as if holding this unique bibliophile’s gem in our hands and, if you’re up for it, try to unlock its secrets on your own leisure and by your own capacities. Continue reading “The Voynich Manuscript. Raymond Clemens, ed. (Beinecke/Yale)”

Article on “Comics Memory” (Palgrave)

Just to let you know that a new volume of the Palgrave Studies in Comics and Graphic Novels series is out, entitled Comics Memory. Archives and Styles. Edited by Maaheen Ahmed and Benoît Crucifix, this collects the papers and essays presented at the Comics and Memory conference, that took place in Ghent in April, 2017. I was blessed to be accepted to this incredible company, so this volume does contain an article written by me. Continue reading “Article on “Comics Memory” (Palgrave)”

Sequences. Stanley Wany (Trip)

Apparently, Sequences is the third part of a trilogy of highly personal books, being the first two called Agalma and Dreamcave. Having not read any of those, I will trust extratextual information that the associations between these books are more topical and methodological than actually diegetic, even if some characters and visual traces cross them all. To a certain extent, each of these books seems to act as a sort of diary for Wany’s semi-hallucinatory, hipnagogic experiences, something that has been attempted before by artists such as Aleksandar Zograf. But whereas Zograf is rather more whimsical and filled with poignant observations about life in Serbia and zany humor, Sequences explores narrative structures and relationships between characters and symbol straight out of an archetypal repertoire (Jung is quoted in the epigraph, there’s cameos by the major arcana, Joseph Campbell is discussed in the preface by Marc Tessier). Continue reading “Sequences. Stanley Wany (Trip)”

Tumult. John Harris Dunning and Michael Kennedy (SelfMadeHero)

Tumult is… well, tumultuous. A stirring, science-fictiony, high-octane and tech-savvy plot of deceit, espionage, and noirish seduction. A toothsome cocktail with a bittersweet aftertaste that throws a number of classics into a refined, contemporary crisp form. A zest of Lolita for first sip, and then a barrage of Highsmith and Hitchcok, as promised by the back cover blurb, but also Burroughs, Palahniuk, B. E. Ellis, and a plethora of direct references to other books, comics, films, music and even to board games, with the role-playing Dungeons & Dragons at the fore, unsurprisingly. After all, Tumult‘s core story spins around a woman with “split personality,” the popular misnomer for dissociative identity disorder. From such a popular standpoint, dangerous roleplay is king. Continue reading “Tumult. John Harris Dunning and Michael Kennedy (SelfMadeHero)”

Acquisition. Cátia Serrão (kuš!)

In 2011, I had the privilege and the honor of curating a show at the Berardo Collection Museum in Belém, Lisbon, focused on the contemporary scene of Portuguese comics and how they responded to formal and aesthetic experimental concerns as well as to see how certain artworld objects or from contiguous media could be addressed as being part of an expanded vision of comics themselves. This was entitled Tinta nos Nervos, and it counted with the help of many friends, including the participating artists. Among them was a young experimental artist who had not produced that much work by then, and not known at all. In fact, it is still not that known today, as Cátia Serrão – that’s her name – has made choices that are not conducive to fame and fortune. Then again, every time one mixes the words “comics” and “experimental”, more often than not one is going down a world of trouble.  Continue reading “Acquisition. Cátia Serrão (kuš!)”

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