Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Art Spiegelman's Deconstructing comics (NSFW)

I love comics that deconstruct the comics form.
The cover of the 1977 edition of Breakdowns. There are three more pages to go with this one showing the infinite combinations of this image.

For example in Art "Maus" Spiegelman's "Breakdowns" he explores what goes into making the very cover image by breaking down the printed image into it's individual parts and recombining them in a multitude of ways.The first image is the "normal" image. The next image is only the yellow and blue plates printed; then blue and red and so on until he starts to really mix things up with printing the "blue" plate yellow and black plate red. It makes for a surprisingly fascinating picture that I end up spending a lot of time just studying.

With a cover like that, it should be no surprise that Spiegelman loves deconstructing comics in many ways.
In "The Malpractice Suite" he uses panels from the newspaper strip "Rex Morgan" as a spring board to explore what happens "out side the box" of a comic strip.
The Malpractice Suite From Breakdowns

In "Day At The Circuits" he explores the sequential side of comics, playing with the order in which you read the panels.
Day At The Circuits from Breakdowns
Another classic Spiegelman "breakdown" is his "Two-Fisted Painters" in which he breaks down the four color printing process.
Two-Fisted Painters an insert from RAW Magazine.
Another favorite little strip of mine is "One Row" that appeared in RAW magazine. It's a simple little strip but I just love the way it describes the way it works. It's just too clever not to love.
One Row from RAW Magazine

While Spiegelman is most famous for his autobiographical Maus books, I love him for his incredible mind and the many cool ways he has found to break down the form of the comics medium.

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