I made a zine

These notes from ‘The Transformation of Eve’, by Robert Martensen (from a fantastically interesting book Sexual Knowledge, Sexual Science), prompted a swift leap into the craft of the 1-page zine.  It kinda counts as my first contribution to the 24 Hour Zine Thing, too, but I guess the components of its conception had been brewing away for a good week before the act.  The passage which sparked this zine’s inception was from a medieval French medical study called Secrets des dames, and reads thusly:

‘And whosoever were to take a hair from the pubis of a woman and mix it with the menses and then put it in a dung-heap, would at the end of the year find wicked venomous beasts.’




Nuts.  Ah well, here’s how the layout went (gotta have some more fun with paper folds and flaps and all they might suggest):


Opened out:WP_000360


And your fancy flappy poster to frame and hang in your boudoir:


And some better scanned imagery:ManChurnLadiesVag


Taiyo Matsumoto on Storymaking

(on the right, always in hat)

This interview‘s been floating around in my ‘must blog’ list for too long.  Taiyo Matsumoto talking about his latest manga, Sunny, and the various ways his mind/his practice works.  I’ve snatched out two sections that struck me as particularly revealing.  Not in a ‘OH so THAT’S how you write a story!’ way, but in a ‘what a beautiful human, look at him through his work’ kind of way:

‘Matsumoto works at what’s considered a steady clip, and says he always starts with the artwork before the story. His settings and many of his establishment shots in “Sunny” appear to be single thoughts, and stories often build into the background through secondary dialogue. He works for the most part without assistants, though his wife, the artist and manga illustrator Saho Tono, helps in prepping and coloring while occasionally giving editorial guidance.’

I’d like to give a little more credence to my sketchbook scrawling; pick up on characters that materialise out of no direct purpose and develop an idea from there.  I imagine it as a method of storytelling that speaks quite directly to emotions, the main focus being the atmosphere of a particular scene.

‘“I knew each character was based on someone, but I couldn’t attribute anyone’s behavior (to anyone specific),” he claims. “And I couldn’t avoid making them all me.”’

This is a perfect summary of engaged character-creation/design.

I haven’t read Sunny just yet, but now the dissertation is behind us, it is an important feature in the stack of literature I’ve built up as a treat for finishing.  I’ll be blogging about them on here then, hopefully along with gradual development of my own work (whatever it may be).

Jean Giraud/Gir/Moebius documentary

You know when someone’s talents move you so much that the very pit of your stomach tightens and comes too close to your diaphragm, paralysing you with nausea; making profanities spill from your lips and tears form in your ducts?  The work of Jean Giraud does this to me.  He talks in this documentary about putting all his energy into his drawings, making them ‘vibrate’, and talks about being a human.

He says:

‘The only way to allow the reader to identify is to create a character who resists.  Who doesn’t understand and who doesn’t want to understand.  Who is in total denial.  That’s the only way to attract a modern audience.’

Developing Comic Further – Environment, Characters and Panels


The previous post on this comic idea had some sketched hints at the ‘playroom’ kind of aesthetic I wanted for the bedroom, so I thought to try working on some different angles/compositions/framing for panels that would give the reader the impression that the wall was in fact being projected on to, and that the images on the walls are moving animations.  I keep coming back to the Rugrats, but in particular, those scenes where we are seeing the world through Spike’s eyes – all distorted with fish-eye aspects.  I can’t find any examples online, but it’s quite a nightmarish viewpoint.  Add the playroom from Akira into this, along with that age-old futuristic ideal of images everywhere*, and I’ll arrive at something scary/recognisable/cute in time enough.

This isn’t the bit I mean at all, but I can’t find any images of the playroom online either. I think it’s the ominous lighting in the fight scene with Tetsuo that has me referencing it more than anything, though, so this image will more than suffice.

*A fine passage from Cybersexualies essay Technophilia, by Mary Ann Doane, refers to the impressive amount of imagery in science fiction (though it certainly isn’t something we’re unfamiliar with in every day life):

‘Garrett Stewart remarks on the over-abundance of viewing screens and viewing machines in science fiction in general – of ‘banks of monitors, outsized video intercoms, x-ray display panels, hologram tubes, backlit photoscopes, aerial overhead projectors, slide screens, radar scopes, whole curved walls of transmitted imagery, the retinal registers of unseen electronic eyes.’  And in his view, ‘cinema becomes a synecdoche for the entire technics of an imagined society.’ (30)

It seems like having this ultra-‘natural’ scene projected onto the bedroom walls will be quite an obvious illustration of the use of technology to create a new, ultra-human, and un-Other-based environment, a central theme in my dissertation.  Having the child in the scene playing with a tablet-type device feels a little lazy, but I was also aware of the importance of including very recognisable technologies in order for the story to be relatable; tablets are pretty ubiquitous right now.  Here are some goofay designs:



Struggling at the minute to decide what language the child is learning on the device – if I choose Japanese, I’m giving myself an opportunity to practice my own learning, but I am aware and wary of the whole Orientalism cliche in so much science fiction… We’ll see.

I am having some trouble deciding on what the two characters (mother and child) should look like too.  Every time I make a conscious effort to draw a person, a character that I have made up, I suddenly find myself drawing hideous, hideous faces, the kind of which I’d never draw when I’m just doodling, and drawing faces for my own enjoyment.  At the same time, if I try looking at other comic artists whose work I love, I’ll copy them, and then hate myself for being that unimaginative, that lazy.  The only real solution to this problem is to keep drawing every day (as absolutely everyone advises), and eventually the brain-to-wrist connections will get stronger.  This is what I got from this recent exercise:





So, that’ll be something to push harder on tonight, and hope that the aesthetic comes out when I have at these (more definite) panels in the next few days/weeks:


Child comes into room after following baby’s cries, and sees mother-robot breastfeeding little baby sibling.



Snaps out of that. Mother-robot comes over to pick child up, child has knife, slices open veil (onto which the image of mother’s head is being projected)

This is another fantasy/dream sequence, and when it finishes (with a detailed image of the mechanical head under the veil), the child goes back to their playroom and is happy when greeted by its tablet.

While at home in Northern Ireland for three weeks, I’ll use this time to draw out the comic, in black-and-white – probably using ink and a paint brush, potentially working in fineliner – once I know what I want it to look like/which tool I can use more skillfully, that decision will make itself.

Comic Cover

I have been working on cover ideas, using many different colours for the face in the mother-robot’s veil, similar to the work of two artists I came across in the last few months, who use colour with bold, electric energy:

And someone who goes by the handle 8 9 3 9

Less half-clothed ladies for half-clothed ladies’ sake though.  Also looking closely at the colour palette of Wesley Allbrook’s comics, particularly the pink-pink of Montmartre à trois.  She’s incredible.

COP Creative Response – Story-forming

This comic tells the story of a child whose natural biological mother is now permanently absent.  She died shortly after giving birth to their younger sibling.  The father – a wealthy, successful, busy man – sees that the children need a mother.  Humanoid technology is at this time progressing, though it has not yet reached a point at which these androids are indistinguishable from humans.  Engineers are having particular trouble getting facial movements just right, and as a way of bypassing this problem, came up with the temporary solution of projecting animated human heads from the inside of a veil which is draped over the head, and securely attached around the shoulders at the base of the neck.  The father of our family decides this is the best course of action, especially for the baby, who he believes would suffer greatly from the lack of its mother’s nurturing.