Saturday, May 23, 2015

MY FAVORITE COMICS - Pussey!

What's better than a comic? A comic about comics! What's  better than  a comic about comics? Why, a comic about the comics industry, of course!

With his typical ironical "take-no-prisoners" approach, Daniel Clowes mocks A LOT ( but not all, as should be noted) of the pretenders, hucksters, geeks, morons, sincere hacks and evil people that have populated and continue to populate the (american) comic book industry.

Even after all this time, I still get a good laugh out of it. Most importantly, I'd advise this comic as obligatory reading to all upcoming cartoonists, especially those lured into the so-called mainstream and its lesser clones.

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MY FAVORITE COMICS - It's a Good Life, If you don't weaken


I first came across the softcover edition of this comic (originally serialized in the series Palookaville between numbers 4 and 9) without any previous knowledge of its content or its author. The beautiful design and obvious care taken on its production and packaging attracted me in a "love at first sight" manner. The almost pulpish paper, the lush brushstrokes and cartoony style of the artwork, even the smell of the object were inviting,  to say the least. It took me only  a cursory glance to realize this was one to keep.


On the wasteland of my college years, this book proved to be a gleam of light and comfort. The title alone was enough to seduce a young man whose romantic dreams of love and art were constantly demolished to pieces by the hardship of many uphill battles. With its contemplative approach to storytelling and subject matters ranging from comics, cartooning and cartoonists to the experiences of loneliness and nostalgia (all aspects that seem to be tied up, I think). Seth built a tale that, just like everyday life, may seem  bittersweet, at best. Like an old memory from long ago, "It's a good life, if you don't weaken" manages to be simultaneously beautiful and haunting.

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

NEXT!

Next week sees the return of MY FAVORITE COMICS, the label of posts where I rant about the comics that left an enduring impact on me. Some feedback I got from the previous run of these posts made me think I was giving the impression of being some kind of marvel-zombie, which was true back when I was a kid, but couldn't be further from the truth later on and nowadays as I pretty much feel depressed by the current output of so-called american mainstream comics. So, in order to put things into a more proper perspective, I'll be jumping ahead a few years, chronologically speaking, and start addressing my comic book favorites from more recent decades. Until then!

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Saturday, May 09, 2015

Casulo


Para quem ainda não sabe, participo como desenhador em quatro pranchas de BD na nova antologia da Kingpin Books, "Casulo", uma colectânea de histórias curtas escritas pelo argumentista André Oliveira e desenhadas por um autêntico All-Star de ilustradores portugueses, publicadas originalmente na revista CAIS. Já à venda! 

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Saturday, May 02, 2015

Bonus Enlil Sketch


Desenhado na Tertúlia BD de Lisboa.
Drawn at the Tertúlia BD de Lisboa.


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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Young Enlil goes to hell 16

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Young Enlil goes to hell 15

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Young Enlil goes to hell 14

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Young Enlil goes to hell 13

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Young Enlil goes to hell 12

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Young Enlil goes to hell 11

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Young Enlil goes to hell 10

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Young Enlil goes to hell 09

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Young Enlil goes to hell 08

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Young Enlil goes to hell 07

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Young Enlil goes to hell 06

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Young Enlil goes to hell 05

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Young Enlil goes to hell 04

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Young Enlil goes to hell 03

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Young Enlil goes to hell 02

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Young Enlil goes to hell 01

Saturday, January 03, 2015

New Year

I'll be taking a break from the My favorite comics  posts for awhile. The series is not done yet, it will come back again sometime in the future. Meanwhile, starting next week, my comics will finally return to the blog with a new Enlil short story. This is a comic originally done for the Crumbs anthology of portuguese comic book authors published by Kingpin books. Hope you join me - Until next time!

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Saturday, December 27, 2014

MY FAVORITE COMICS - X-Men by Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin


   

The (Uncanny) X-Men by Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin.  THIS IS IT! The still-unsurpassed mold for the modern superhero team. No matter what the opinion makers might tell you, this is THE ONE every single creative team has been trying to mimick, beat down or surpass ever since it was first done. This is the one that jumpstarted the whole X-Men franchise into the moneymaker it became later on. This is the one that gave us the Wolverine we all love and hate and love to hate.

This one has it all: gorgeous artwork, memorable characters, action, grandeur, tragedy, humor, romance, friendship, betrayal, star wars, a secret society, brainswashing, the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it, an apocalyptic future,  time travel, battling superteams, dinnossaurs, giant robots, shapeshifters, cyborgs, aliens, mutants, a demon... everything and the kitchen sink. A perfect recipe for failure, right? Yet, it works. And it works beautifully!

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

MY FAVORITE COMICS - Daredevil by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson


There were two comic book series that pretty much all the comic book reading kids of my age talked about in absolute awe whenever a new issue came along. Frank Miller and Klaus Janson's DAREDEVIL run is one of them (the other I'll talk about next time).


What can I say that hasn't already been said about this, one of the most cheered and revered runs by any creative team on an american mainstream comic book? Looking back, what Miller and Janson managed to do each month was nothing short of amazing. Not only did they manage to inject life and interest into one of marvel comics minor characters, they also crafted a comic book that reverberated with entertainment, some humor and lots of action and suspense every single month. That alone would've been a major achievement working on the grinding system of a corporate comic book back in the early 1980's. But they went beyond that. Month after month, Daredevil was THE book everybody talked about. I clearly remember how one of my kid comic book reading friends had an older brother studying cinema in college who was completely nuts about this comic book!

I remember so many cool and interesting aspects about this run. Frank Miller's storytelling was unlike anything I'd ever seen in comics and his depiction of action sequences was second to none. The villains... Kirigi and Bullseye were the scariest characters I'd ever read in comics. The whole New York sewers underground society was disturbing, to say the least. The tragic love/hate story of Elektra, her shocking death and its aftermath left me breathless. Later on, when Klaus Janson took on the full art chores I loved the look of the book even more. I could spend paragraphs remembering more bits, pieces and memorable issues... Still, what do I remember most fondly? Well, suprisingly (or perhaps not), it's the little human touches: Ben Urich with his bad habit of smoking and his unglamourised wife; Josie's Bar and the recurrent routine of its glass being broken during the fights; the small-time thieves Turk and Leech; Foggy Nelson and Matt Murdock... those were the lights that brought the whole thing to a human scale, making it possible for this whole superhero dark fantasy to be relatable and believable - a lesson so often forgotten in superhero comics.

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

MY FAVORITE COMICS - "Panther's Rage" from Jungle Action #6-18












The Black Panther by Billy Graham



It all seems so quaint now, but back when I was a kid this storyline had me on the edge of the seat as to what would happen next. It was one of those comics where I felt totally submerged on the story and couldn't separate the art from the writing - it was a total experience and I loved it. The Black Panther seemed like the most noble hero out of all the marvel pantheon - this was someone fighting for his people. And the villain! To a kid, Erik Killmonger looked great and had just enough edge for me to actually wonder if the Panther would manage to defeat him. Plus, this comic had Dinossaurs and Killer Albino Apes!  What else could a young boy ask for? Even after all these years, with all the scepticism and remove from this material that time has brought to me, I still get a chill when I look at these pages and panels...

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Saturday, December 06, 2014

TERTÚLIA BD DE LISBOA - Encontro de Dezembro de 2014 - Parte II

Foi assim, na passada terça-feira à noite na Casa do Alentejo:

Recebi um diploma...

... e tive direito a desenhar a primeira vinheta do habitual Comic Jam!

As vinhetas 2 a 4 deste Comic Jam são da autoria de Andreia Rechena, Ana Saúde, Miguel Santos, Fil, Filipe Duarte e Álvaro. 

Podem encontrar a lista de presentes no encontro aqui!


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Saturday, November 29, 2014

TERTÚLIA BD DE LISBOA - Encontro de Dezembro 2014


A Tertúlia BD de Lisboa é um encontro bedéfilo mensal que decorre há mais de 29 anos. Fundada e dinamizada originalmente pelo divulgador e militante da bd, Geraldes Lino, a TBDL conta hoje com organização e dinamização a cargo de quatro tertulianos regulares: Álvaro Santos, António Isidro, Carlos Moreno e Inês Ramos.
Na próxima terça-feira, dia 2 de Dezembro, terei o prazer de ser o "convidado especial" da TBDL. Este 366º encontro, irá decorrer, como é habitual, na Casa do Alentejo de Lisboa, a partir das 20 horas.  
Fica aqui o programa deste encontro, com um breve texto biográfico do convidado, como é habitual, ilustrada com um auto-retrato e algumas pranchas da minha mais recente bd protagonizada pelo meu Poderoso Enlil.






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Saturday, November 22, 2014

MY FAVORITE COMICS - Kull the Conqueror

   
To some, Kull the Conqueror might be remembered as a second rate version of Conan the Barbarian. Fair enough, I can understand that point of view, even if I disagree. You see, I had the privilege of being introduced to Kull through the art and craft of Ross Andru teamed up with Wallace Wood, followed by subsequent stories drawn by Marie and John Severin. To a nine year old kid, that artwork was transcendent and seemed like something retrieved from an ancient time and place, very much in tune with the story contents. John Severin's inking gave weight to the figures and a degree of ruggedness and texture to the backgrounds that echoed Hal Foster's work on Prince Valiant, creating a unique world, as beautiful and frightening as our own, at least to a child's sensibility. 

Unlike the cimmerian barbarian, which I found stupid and brutal, there was a tragic nobility to King Kull's character, a sort of romantic dimension, that I found incredibly captivating as a kid and which I could not find on Conan. Still, that might not have charmed me if it were not for the artwork. Sure, John Buscema was "the artist" on post-Kirby marvel comics and as far as I'm concerned his Conan is the ultimate version of the character, but Andru/Wood and the Severin sister/brother team brought an eye to detail and setting which grounded the artwork and made Kull and, most importantly, his world, every bit as visually appealing as the cimmerian's (if not more imho).

Personal favorite after the "origin" tale : The King And The Oak, which, ironically, wasn't published on Kull's own mag but on Conan the Barbarian #10. Check it out! 

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

MY FAVORITE COMICS - "Assignment: The Infinity Formula!" in Marvel Spotlight #31

I couldn't have had a better introduction to the amazing Howard Chaykin's nasty and sexy artwork (here at his most Toth-esque) than through this small pearl. I'd never seen Nick Fury looking so good before. Written by Jim Starlin, this comic (finally) explained how the S.H.I.E.L.D.'s man in charge could look so young after all the decades since World War II. At the time, in my naivette, I was hoping for further Fury stories done by the same creative team the following month but, alas, it was not to be. It would take quite a few years before I'd read another Chaykin drawn Nick Fury tale - the also thrilling "Scorpio Connection", written by the late, great Archie Goodwin.
Highlights from this forgotten gem forever engraved on my mind were : the flashback showing how Fury started using the Infinity Formula; the fight scene between an  increasingly old Fury and his also fast ageing foe wrestling for possession of the formula; the terrific sequence where Fury's enemy falls on a slot machine hitting the jackpot and the final page with Fury de-aging and a oh-so gorgeous and sweet Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine saving the day.  

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Saturday, November 08, 2014

CRUMBS


Está prevista para amanhã, dia 9 de Novembro, por volta das 15h30, a apresentação de CRUMBS no auditório do Festival Internacional de BD da Amadora. 
CRUMBS é uma antologia de BD de autores portugueses em língua inglesa publicada pela Kingpin Books de Mário Freitas. O livro tem 144 páginas a cores, reúne 12 histórias curtas de diversos autores nacionais. Será lançado oficialmente e comercializado no Thought Bubble Festival de Leeds e pretende celebrar e divulgar a diversidade e qualidade da BD portuguesa.
A minha partipação na antologia é uma bd intitulada "Young Enlil goes to hell", escrita, desenhada, colorida e lengendada por mim que, como o título indica, apresenta uma aventura inédita do meu poderoso Enlil.

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Saturday, November 01, 2014

Taking a break!

I didn't have the opportunity to write a proper text for this week's post so in order to keeping up with the timely schedule of my blog, this week I leave you with a little oddity: a two panel comic I was commissioned to do earlier this year for a school manual. Fill in the balloons with your own funny dialogue :-)
Until next week!




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Saturday, October 25, 2014

O poderoso Enlil VIVE!


Foi com surpresa e agrado que tomei conhecimento da nomeação do meu livro "THE MIGHTY ENLIL" para os prémios do Festival de BD da Amadora na categoria de melhor álbum de autor português em língua estrangeira. Deixo aqui os meus agradecimentos ao editor Pepedelrey e ao André Oliveira, sem os quais esta edição do livro e a sua nomeação não teriam ocorrido.


Aproveito para informar que estarei presente no Fórum Luís de Camões, na Amadora, hoje, Sábado, dia 25 e amanhã, Domingo, dia 26 de Outubro, entre as 15h00 e as 17h00 para sessão de autógrafos.

Esta edição do meu livro também já está disponível nas livrarias. Ficam aqui algumas ligações onde podem obtê-lo por via de compra online:




Conto estar igualmente presente no Festival de BD da Amadora para a sessão de apresentação do fanzine Efemérides nº6, editado por Geraldes Lino, no próximo dia 1 de Novembro, Sábado, pelas 17h00.

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

MY FAVORITE COMICS - Mafalda by Quino


Previously I wrote about how sometimes you can clearly remember when you first bought or read a particular comic and how that can trigger all sorts of memories beyond the actual reading experience; memories from the "real" world, not the fictional one reads. Argentinian cartoonist Quino's much celebrated creation, Mafalda, is another of those comic book characters that I can place in that category.

I first met her on my Portuguese Grammar manual, when I was around ten years old. Man, how I loved that book! It was a school book, yes, but it was filled with samples of great comics used to teaching grammar! Judging by how Portuguese school has been going to hell for the last decade or so - and I should know it, being a teacher - I don't think they do that anymore. You see, I'm from a generation where kids still read books and comics were seen as a good teaching tool to get kids to read... but I digress.  Back to Mafalda, for awhile that book was my only source of her incredibly funny and lovingly drawn comic strips. The jokes were great, the characters were super cute but, as usual, it was Quino's superlative drawing line and cartooning ability that held my attention. There was a sort of pleasant humming that came across his ink lines that felt so spontaneous and yet perfect. Then, one day, I fell ill with a sore throat and high fever and had to remain in bed for a few days. Guess what? Mom and dad offer me a wonderful anthology with hundreds of Mafalda's comic strips - I went to heaven that evening!

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

MY FAVORITE COMICS - QRN sur Bretzelburg

It's interesting how the memory of some books entering one's life remains clear even decades after the fact, while the memory of others goes straight into oblivion. I can still clearly remember how QRN sur Bretzelburg entered my life. One day when I was around seven years old, my mom took me out to have lunch and go to the movies along with a fellow coworker of hers, a young woman who, while having a husband, my mom had told me, couldn't have any children of her own. At that age I couldn't still quite grasp the whole workings of that (latebloomer that I have always been, perhaps I was still under the impression that babies were brought by storks to married couples), but my empathy was already well-developed enough to find this whole situation sad. The woman gave me this Spirou album as a gift and I immediately found her quite charming. The story had many layers that would take many readings and many years for me to digest and understand, but even then I could still find it fun and captivating - it was that well crafted that it could be enthralling on different levels according to the reader's context. The characters were awesome; Marsupilami becoming an instant favorite! The even better part though, were Franquin's drawings, which were unlike anything that I'd ever seen before, with a verve, energy and attention to detail uniquely their own. Little did I know then that this was one of the most celebrated and highly imitated european cartoonists ever. It would be quite a few years before I had the luck of coming across another comic by this author, but when I did, boy, I immediately grabbed it!
It's been many years since that fateful day when I first crossed paths with the work of Franquin. My mom left that job about a year later to remain at home and take care of me. She ended up losing contact with that coworker. Like so many, many other people who have touched my life (friends, foes, strangers), I have no idea where her path took her. I guess that's part of life: no neat answers, lots of unsolved questions and lose ends too. Still, her simple gesture of offering a comic book, still ressonates within me. Whenever I pick up QRN sur Bretzelburg or any of Franquin's bande dessinées, I still wonder about whatever happened to her, how she's doing and hope that she ended up having a child of her own, either biological or adopted, someone with whom to share such fun comics. 

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Saturday, October 04, 2014

MY FAVORITE COMICS - Lucky Luke

   My relationship with Lucky Luke is similar to what I have with Astérix, although I'd say that the later is closer to my heart than the former simply because I've read more Astérix books than Lucky Luke. Both are pretty much synonymous with comic books on Europe, yet they've also managed to transcend the medium to the point where they've become popular culture icons, which makes it hard to have some degree of objectivity analising them. Again, just as with Astérix, my contact with Lucky Luke came via my uncle and cousins who had most if not all of the character's albums. As a kid, the only Lucky Luke comics I was lucky enough to get were "Western Circus" and "La Caravane", both of which, coincidentally enough, I'd rank as different from what the popular perception usually equates with Lucky Luke books - no Daltons, no Rantanplan...
While this is french-belgium bande-dessinée, I can't help but think that if there's anything worthy of being called "comics", it's these books. Morris and Goscinny's mastery of the medium exudes with caricature and humor of the finest kind. Another of the lasting impressions I was left with from these two particular books were the unforgetable secondary characters. To this day I can't help but smile whenever I remember Nelson the one-eyed vegetarian lion, the drunk Ringmaster (a caricature of W.C. Fields) or Ugly Barrow the constantly cursing wagon driver. Fun stuff!

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

MY FAVORITE COMICS - Les Schtroumpfs, Johan et Pirlouit, Benoît Brisefer by Peyo


     Speaking of blue skinned creatures... back when I was a little kid, the Schtroumpfs were everywhere. There was an animated tv series, toys, all sorts of merchandising and, naturally, the comics. I remember how that stuff really triggered my imagination. I mean, for a small child, at least in those more innocent times, there could really be some lost race of little creatures somewhere out there, right? Oh, I also remember seeing the ads for a movie, "La flûte à six Schtroumpfs". Sadly, mom and dad never took me to see that movie... But what seemed like the two main heroes of the film, at least from the poster and movie stills shown outside the theatres (named Johan and Pirlouit, I would later learn) stuck on my mind. They seemed like fun. Fast forward a few years and I borrow a couple of books from a friend of a friend. Both by Peyo. The cartoonist behind the Schtroumpfs. Guess who I finally get to know? That's right, Johan and Pirlouit. Boy, were my instincts right? This was even more fun that those Schtroumpfs books I had, which were already pretty good. This was more like adventure! And plus, the other book had a character I had never even seen or heard about: Benoît Brisefer, a superpowered kid who loses his powers whenever he catches a cold. More innocent times like I said... but they sure don't mak'em like they used to. 

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