A couple of weeks ago, Carl Antonowicz who writes for the Schulz Library Blog sat down with me and the Dog City boys to chat about what we’ve published in the past year as Dog City Press. The interview is now up on the blog. We talk about the editorial process, our philosophies and our aims for the future.
If you want to learn more about what we’ve been up to, this is as good a time as any!
Big ups to Carl for taking the time to interview us about this. It means so much!
This post originally appeared on the Schulz Library Blog.
Recently I’ve been digging deep into the Center for Cartoon Studies archives to shine some light on the books that excite me most. This week I’d like to shine the spotlight on the Narrative Corpse. I hope to bring you some more reviews of this kind in the coming weeks.
Published in 1995, The Narrative Corpse is an experimental comics project edited by Art Spiegelman and R. Sikoryak. It is a book based on Le Cadavre Exquis (The Exquisite Corpse), the parlor game played by French Surrealists in the early 1920s. The aim was to create a graphic chain-story that eschewed traditional narrative.
The idea was first conceived of in May 1990, as a project for Raw. It wound up outliving RAW by 4 years, which closed its doors in 1991. Done entirely via correspondence, 69 cartoonists drew 3 panels after another each only seeing the 3 before them. The Narrative Corpse’s contributors list now reads as a who’s who of alternative and underground comix of the late eighties and early nineties: Kim Deitch, Debbie Drescher, Lynda Barry, Ever Meulen, Joe Sacco, Richard Sala, Savage Pencil, Jason Lutes, Julie Doucet among others!
It’s an incredible artifact in that sense.
The protagonist of this book, a stick-figure named “Sticky”(pictured above), proves to be the only constant in the ensuing twisting and turning narrative. Not surprisingly, the narrative hiccups and stutters when cartoonists create a great setups only to have the situations hastily restructured by the subsequent cartoonists. Nevertheless, that’s the name of the game in this kind of collaboration.
Like many Raw Graphics publications, The Narrative Corpse is elegantly presented as a large format book .The tabbed pages greatly heighten the production value of this “jam” comic. This innovative presentation further accentuates that in the case of projects like The Narrative Corpse, the experiment is more important than its outcome.
While you might be hard pressed to find a copy of The Narrative Corpse to read for yourself, you can experience the lively spirit of this publication online in the Infinite Corpse, which follows the Narrative Corpse’s surrealist footsteps.
An online collaborative comic, The Infinite Corpse, has no beginning and no end. Meant to be a source of inspiration for writers and cartoonists, The Infinite Corpse takes the basic premise of The Narrative Corpse and infuses it with Scott McCloud’s idea of the “infinite canvas“. Not having to obey conventional page restrictions allows for this giant comic quilt to grow like a balloon indefinitely.
And does it ever! Do check it out, if you haven’t already!
This is your second lesson.
Grab some index cards. Don’t got no index cards? Grab some post-it notes.We’re doing six panel comics today. this is what they’ll look like.
An important note: More likely than not, your comics today won’t be anything to write home about. That’s okay, that’s not the point.
Do the following in light pencil.
-Write the name of the last person that you spoke to on the phone with on one of the cards.
-Think of the year 1970. Write down some words to describe the images that you see in your mind on the second card.
– Draw a circle or a square in the third box.
– Draw your non-dominant hand in the 4th panel.
– Draw two human silhouettes facing each other in the 5th box.
– Write a four letter word in the last Box.
Turn the panels face down and mix them up in a pile. Flip them over and arrange them in a new order. Let chance determine this order.
Time for an intermission.
Grab a ballpoint pen or some crummy writing utensil.
Grab 6 new notecards or post its. Make 4 marks on each. Circles, squares, diagonals, spirals. It’s all good. Turn them all over. You will now turn them face up one at a time. What do you see? Draw the rest of what you see. If you don’t see anything yet, add some more random marks one at a time. Wait for it to click. Eventually you’ll have made 6 doodles. Great job.
Time for the second act.
Turn on some good instrumental music and connect the panels!
I suggest you draw in pen this time around. Feel free to erase what you need to from the original pencils in order to make this comic read relatively clearly. Add word balloons if you like. Perhaps a character? It’s your comic after all. Try to keep traces of the original ideas in each panel.
Have fun, pal.
I’m excited to see what you make!