Her rendering choices are a big key as to why the comic succeeds. She has the ability to flip from near-abstraction to a more naturalistic style, depending on the setting. Her figure drawings are exquisite: circles, lines and angles all whirling together and cohering on a panel-to-panel and page-to-page basis. The way she positions her head to indicate a sort of perpetually slumped-shoulder posture is one way she gets at gesture and body language with so much skill; despite the sketchiness of her line, one never feels cheated in terms of visual impact. Indeed, the abstractness of her line combined with the artificial solidity of the zip-a-tone gives the protest scenes a strange quality that would be difficult to capture in a more naturalistic style.
Read the whole review here.
A gentle reminder: 3 days left to sign up for the Goodreads giveaway for Gabrielle Bell’s new book, Truth is Fragmentary:
We’re about to celebrate the launch of Gabrielle Bell’s new book, Truth is Fragmentary! We’ve got two events for you:
The first is Friday, June 20 at 8:00pm in Beacon, NY. Here’s the Facebok event page. Be there!
For those of you who can’t make it to Beacon, fret not, we have an event in New York City as well!
If you’ve never looked at Sam Alden’s comics, at first glance you’ll be impressed by the drawings. His pencils show the very nature of the medium and in their purity they give the feeling of looking at the original art. The pages are full of lines, marks, gray and black spots. The line work is neither realistic nor naturalistic. When in Hawaii 1997 the two children are running on the beach, they turn into two abstract figures. The representation of the night sky recalls instead the Impressionists. Alden isn’t seeking the verisimilitude but the emotions of the reader. The emotional and communicative aspect is at the heart of his cartooning. The relationship between artist and audience is incredibly direct and even by merely looking at his panels you’ll have the feeling that they’ve been drawn only for you.
If you can’t make it to the Montreal event tonight (details here), you can still see Sam read & answer questions. He was in Minneapolis at Boneshaker Books a couple of weeks ago and the event was captured on video by Alex Farley. The Q&A session (starting at 5:57) is especially great! Check out the video here & order Sam’s new book here.
Celebrate the double launch of Sam Alden’s new book It Never Happened Again and Moderne Luv (Ray Ray Books) at Librairie D&Q in Montreal! It’s tonight, June 12 at 7 p.m. There will be presentations and signing! More details here.
When did you begin making comics? And putting them online?
Sam Alden: For me, those were sort of two separate events. I’ve drawn comics since I was tiny, but I went through high school unaware of any comics scene on the internet. I wasn’t on any social media. I used the internet for email, and that was it.
And then I had a desk job — my first corporate desk job — right after high school, when I was 19.
Oh my god was that a weird job. It was this industrial shredding factory that made these gigantic shredding machines for recycling plants, and my job was to make a monthly commercials for them, call up Costco to get 100 shopping carts from them to dump in this shredder.
SA: It was called Watch It Shred. It’s had brief moments of YouTube celebrity. Just videos of people dumping cars in shredders. Bowling balls. Coats. It’s kind of weirdly addictive in this 10-year-old boy way. So I was their video editor. And while I was at that job I had a lot of time to be bored and wonder what I was doing with my life. So I just made a Blogspot of Post-It Note doodles I was making at work, of squids and stuff. That was my only internet presence for about three years, and then I eventually went to Tumblr.
There are all these comic artists now who’ve known each other from DeviantArt since high school, but I came late to that game.