Point of Exquisite Suspension

Thoughts & life experiences of a Chicago area graphic artist

05 July 2018

I've been on a Watchmen Jag...

I've been on a Watchmen kick and enjoying two fascinating books from my local library:

Watchmen : the annotated edition:

'This book examines each of the series' twelve issues in unprecedented detail, moving page by page and panel by panel to reveal the hidden foundations of this milestone in modern storytelling. 

Edited with notes by Leslie S Klinger, this 2017 edition draws upon critical and scholastic commentary, in-depth interviews with Dave Gibbons, and previously unseen original source material Klinger provides the reader with a unique and comprehensive view of Watchmen as both a singular artistic achievement and a transformative event in the history of comics as a medium.

Set in a world in which history has been forever altered by the existence of superheroes, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' monumental graphic novel Watchmen is one of the most influential comic book series of all time. Following two generations of masked crime-fighters from the end of World War II to the height of the Cold War, this compelling tale unfolds from a simple murder mystery into an epic saga of power, corruption and the ultimate meaning of humanity. More than 30 years after it was first published, Moore and Gibbons' masterpiece continues to inspire and entertain readers around the world. Named one of Time magazine's 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century, Watchmen has won countless critical accolades and honors, including the Eisner Award and the Hugo Award"-- Description Provided by publisher.


Watching the Watchmen:

The essential companion to the original graphic novel Watchmen; filled with archival materials and eye-popping images. 

By Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons, this 2008 volume includes remarkable preliminary sketches, photos and detailed behind-the-scenes stories of how the Graphic Novel came to be written and the collaboration between writer Alan Moore, artist Gibbons and colorist John Higgins.

The Watchmen graphic novel has spawned an entire industry of films, commentaries and coffee table books -- many of which I have enjoyed from my library and I recommend.

02 July 2018

Emoji Career...

Ok. So maybe the Emoji Movie bombed at the Box Office —or at least on Rotten Tomatoes. I confess I couldn't bring my self to see that movie. But sometimes I still wonder if there could be a future in "Emoji Technology". Would it be a stretch to imagine that someday there might be good money in being an Emojitician?

Screen capture from getemoji.com
After all, as I explore in my previous blog post about the First Graphic Artists, symbolic, iconic imagery has a long, LONG tradition in anthropology and human history. The "Have a Good Day!" Smiley Face was the precursor to our love-affair with today's emojis. I'd love to have a glimpse into the future to see the next generation of the friendly little symbols.

Who knows. Someday we might all communicate primarily in emojis and there might be advanced degrees in "Emoji Studies". "O Brave New World!"

UPDATE 7/5/18: After I posted this blog, I found out about the "Emojicon" in NYC this Summer!
AND the article in Fast Company Magazine had a similar illustration concept as I had! ^_^

20 June 2018

Worse Than That Other Racist POTUS

The Ghost of Andrew Jackson - © by O. Douglas Jennings
I've often thought that POTUS 45 is a lot like POTUS 7, Andrew Jackson. Primarily because both were populists and racist. Jackson is most infamous for the "Trail of Tears" -- forced relocation of Cherokee Native American Tribes from the Southeast United States to much further West to so-called "Indian Territories".

A cantankerous, slave-owning racist, Jackson despised Native Americans and was callous to the suffering he caused them. But at least he didn't stoop so low as to take their children away from their parents.

28 May 2018

Tigrikorn Website Fun Facts

Fully Clickable Links! Notice the icons in the upper left corner! Have fun! © & TM O. Douglas Jennings
I haven't plug my Tigrikorn Website for a while. It's actually in need of some updating, but I'm still happy with how it serves as an info source for all things Tigrikorn.

Once you arrive at the site, discover, in the Gallery, the original drawing of the "Tiger Unicorn" that I made in the late 1970s on a spread of my pocket sketchbook.

Check out the "hidden" links to the cast of characters in the Tigrikorn Universe!

The archives have links to online versions of the Tigrikorn Comic Fanzine that I began in 1995 to showcase the work of my students at Kaleidoscope School of Fine Art.

And, please check out the Official Store of Tigrikorn at Cafe Press. A sample of one of the many products is below:

05 May 2018

Joking Our Way Into The Abyss

It's always fun until someone get's snapped out of existence. Thanos with his social engineering tool.
Marvel/Disney Studios' Avengers: Infinity War has been long anticipated by Comics Fans and even Pop-Culture Cinema aficionados of all ages. I'm sad that I was not able to view the film on its opening debut at my local theater. Scheduling difficulties forced me to see it an excruciating two-weeks later than most of my friends and, of course, my social media cohorts. I gave up on trying to avoid spoilers so I went in to see the movie knowing most of the important surprise twists and turns.

Nevertheless I enjoyed the story and the experience of seeing it play out first-hand. I found that the movie is actually a strange mix of cheesy jokes, warmed-over economic theory and philosophical/apocalyptic allusions.

Thanos in the comic version of the Infinity War Story is depicted as a "Mad Titan" who has deranged (nearly fetishistic/romantic) obsession with death. The movie Thanos, however, has a more pedestrian and pedantic motive of wanting to achieve "balance" in the universe: by "mercifully" eliminating half of the population of all people in the cosmos randomly through the use of the all-powerful Infinity Gauntlet (basically to provide more "elbow room"). He's like an "ivory-tower", know-it-all, bureaucrat who insists on foisting his pet theory or ideology on the public-at-large the moment he gets access to the levers of power.

History is full of such characters. Sure, the movie Thanos is crafted to be "complicated" with glimpses of back story full of loss and expressions of his love and sacrifice to achieve his "lofty" goals. But he IS the bad guy and his badness is actually made worse by his clueless self-righteousness and tinge of self-pity.

I felt somewhat of a serene detachment to the drama as the "worst-case-scenario" events made their fatalistic grinding way through the plot. In the meantime, as a fanboy, I enjoyed each of the super hero characters play out their roles together in a consummate team collaboration.

It also reminded me of the religious End-of-Days, Apocalyptic prophetic scenarios that are explored in the "Left Behind" books and films. Even Bucky (Winter Soldier) alludes to that sentiment when he tells Captain America, "I'm doing all right for the End of The World".

Avengers: Infinity War invites us to stare into the Abyss and consider the end... even though it's just a cliff-hanger at the end of the first installment of the two-movie story arc.

I couldn't resist making art of Trump as Thanos and the powers of the U.S. President as the Infinity Gauntlet.
Oddly, I found the movie Thanos to be a more sympathetic character than Trump.
  Art by © O. Douglas Jennings

18 April 2018

Happy Birthday Superman! Action Comics #1:The Big Bang of the Super Hero Genre in Comics

The comic book publishing industry as we know it was revolutionized on this day in 1938. That first issue of Action Comics was electrifying. It lay the foundation for a media empire and a Pop Culture Icon that still has global devotees after these 80 years.

 Superman Illustration © by O. Douglas Jennings
Below is a video that was created for Superman's 75th Anniversary:

Some might say Superman has lost some of his luster in these cynical times when the Lex Luthors of the world seem to be in power. But I think the Last Son of Krypton who, in his earliest depictions was a hero for the oppressed,  is more relevant than ever.

10 April 2018

Silly Daddy Forever Book Review

My two volumes of Silly Daddy comic books. Silly Daddy Forever is the most recent.

Because I had enjoyed his first Silly Daddy comics collection of slice-of-life stories told with his innovative comic style, I am happy that cartoonist Joe Chiappetta has published what I like to think of as his follow-up volume, Silly Daddy Forever (although many years have passed between volumes). When my copy arrived in the mail, I was pleasantly surprised by the large 11” x 8.5” format which is easy to read and showcases his comics well.

At the very beginning of the book he states the wonderful premise that “behind every face in the whole world … there is at least one epic story: not that everyone has the skill to tell such a story. Yet some will dare try.” I’m glad for Joe’s daring. It inspires me to ponder my own story and appreciate my own journey in life.

Some of the art is loose digital brushwork. Other times Joe has more detailed, finer-line renderings. I had seen a small number of the comics online on his blog. But the vast majority were new to me. At a certain point, as I read the many comics drawn in a fun variety of formats and styles -- from single panel to multi-panel comic pages, I decided that an appropriate description of the book would be “a Treasury”.

This Treasury is full of delightfully illustrated accounts of his life as a father, husband, artist and community organizer, Silly Daddy Forever is a poignant and often funny glimpse into Joe’s mindful sense of gratitude for everyday blessings, his love of family and for people in general.

I am captivated with this fun Treasury of the latest adventures of Silly Daddy and his lovely circle of family and friends. Silly Daddy Forever is inspirational, reflective, fun and a wonderful antidote to an increasingly divisive, cynical mass-cultural miasma in our society.

So I say, somewhat redundantly, “Long live Silly Daddy Forever!”

It will definitely have a long, actively-read life in my home library! 

Find out more about Silly Daddy Forever on Joe’s blogs: