Valentina: Magic Lantern (1976), page 17 panels 1-11. Guido Crepax.
Hey guys, go check out my new Your Wednesday Sequence column on Robot 6! It's about Guido Crepax, hands down my favorite comics artist of all time, and I think it's some pretty good reading.
I usually make a pretty sizable amount of notes toward these columns before I write them (as I did with Your Monday Panel), and I thought I would start including the notes in these link-posts just so you, my faithful DTU readers, could get a little something extra for checking this site out on the regular. I know it's more and more links these days, but hey man, I get paid for this shit! PAID TO WRITE ABOUT COMICS, so if I gotta turn this site into a link-dump once or twice a week I'm sorry, but it's goin' down. Anyway -- yeah, my notes for this one were mostly about the way comics can present either information (story data) or sensation (visual sense experience), or some mixture of the two. Obviously just about all the comics there are do both, but it's interesting to look at which ones place the emphasis on which thing. (In my column, I contend that Crepax is focused on sensation above information, which is why he's the most successful eroticist comics have ever had.)
But thinking about Crepax as a pure sensualist, creating comics that bypass intellectual engagement and go straight for the eyes and the erotic imagination, I was struck by -- well, here's the note I scribbled:
A paradox of "abstract" visual art: the word "abstract" was originally used to mean "purely intellectual", carrying no meaning that can be derived from sensation. "Truth", "understanding", "immorality" -- these are "abstractions", divorced from sense experience and relying entirely on the workings of the rational mind. But abstract ART is art with all depictive meaning stripped away, art that exists purely on the level of sense experience with no barrier of intellectual comprehension standing between it and the viewer's eye -- the complete opposite.
It's interesting to think about which meaning of "abstraction" can be applied to abstract comics. For me something like David Gray's 1981 is pure sensation, a visual experience that engages the senses and pleasure receptors long before the mind starts trying to make a story out of it (though that might change by the time it's over. But something like Mike Getsiv's Eyeballs is pure information, because I find the individual pictures themselves less engaging than their sequential, logical movement through the panels. It's an interesting distinction, and one that can't be made except in purely subjective terms, since it's all about whether the sequencing or the panels themselves grab you the reader first. I dunno if any of this makes any sense -- something to chew on hopefully? If not, jeez, just go read my actual column. It's good! And a lot more lucid than this, but what do you expect? This is only a link post after all. Once more: go read!