01 July 2012

V25 and Hay Festival!

Oops, maybe we won't see Amer in action just yet...

Sketch page:

The Hay Festival's coming to town!

I'm excited to be part of this international cultural festival with fellow Lebanese comickers as well as Karrie Fransman, whom I met in London last year – neither of us imagined we'd meet again in Beirut! The full program can be downloaded from the festival's website, details for my event are below:

Thursday July 5, 20:00-21:00 @ Zico House: Visual stories.
Karrie Fransman, Zeina Bassil and Joumana Medlej in conversation with Lana Asfour

Karrie Fransman (UK) came into the public eye with her
autobiographical comic strips My Peculiar Life, published in
The Guardian, and The Night I Lost My Love, printed in The Times,
and who is author of the highly acclaimed graphic novel The House
that Groaned. Zeina Bassil (Lebanon) is a freelance illustrator, editor
of La Furie des Glandeurs, an illustration and comic fanzine that tackles
social related issues in Lebanon, she also has a column in the monthly
French literary supplement L’Orient Littéraire. Joumana Medlej
(Lebanon) is a designer, calligrapher and illustrator that has created
and published her own graphic novels, works with calligraphy and
designs desktop icons and computer games. The three participants will
discuss the wonders of comic writing, picture making and storytelling
with the journalist Lana Asfour.

Attendance is free but you need to book tickets; to do so please call the Beirut Art Center, +961 (0)1 397 018.

Webcomic of the Week

I was prevented from doing this earlier by my long internet deprivation, but starting from now I'll feature a new webcomic every week, beginning with the works of my fellow SpiderForest members (by the way, it's application season if you're looking for a good collective: see here for more details).

This week's webcomic is Spine by Cihan Sesen.

As the author puts it, "The story depicts a post-apocalyptic, distopian future where Spine makes the best of it, and by best of it I mean skydiving half-naked. "

Spine impresses at once with a strong, original art (that I find very organic and personal) supported by a shading style that provides a minimalistic color palette. The result is that every panel is a bold visual statement, almost like a linocut. Cihan seems to love machines and industrial settings like I never will (it's glaringly obvious throughout Malaak) and he makes them look alive, far from the mechanically-drawn-looking technology that is generic in action comics. Kudos also for the hand-drawn speech balloons and lettering, which fit in so seamlessly with the art style.

As far as pacing goes, the author goes the distance to set up atmosphere and build up to the action, which is explosive when it happens. It's an achievement in itself, in a medium where this kind of pacing means drawing loads and loads of pages. And they're not space fillers, either, but deconstruct the setting and action cinematically. (Small advisory note: this comic features adult language and some graphic violence.)

I'll leave you with sample pages to illustrate this comic's strengths: