Books I’ve been reading:
I finally found the time amongst my busy schedule to go to MSU’s Special Collections today, where I discovered a copy of Stud Terkel’s Working: A Graphic Adaptation came in. I have not actually read the original Working, but the comics format of the piece is incredible. The adaptation, which is co-edited by Harvey Pekar and Paul Buhle, features stories of migrant workers (by my professor Dylan Miner, also my advisor for my thesis), prostitutes (by WW3 artist Sabrina Jones), and labor organizers (one was done by Peter Kuper), just to name a few. Many of these stories are from the earlier part of the 20th century, especially the 1920’s/30’s. While i’m only partially through the book, it does a great job of showing how comics/graphic novels can document history and really put a face to the stories of people in various work forces, struggling to get by. The adaptation also shows the parallels between oral historians rooted in various social justice causes, and that of comic artists, which is a significant point to be discussed in my thesis.
Along the same lines of labor issues/union organizing/social justice, I also recommend Wobblies! A Graphic History of the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World), which is also co-edited by Paul Buhle and Nicole Schulman (for those of you who don’t know, Schulman’s work is the main focus of my thesis) It includes work by many of the same artists from Stud Terkel’s Working, including many artists who have contributed to WW3 Illustrated. The book celebrates the centennial of the IWW in 2005, by bringing tales of the Wobblies (IWW members) into comic form, ranging from the early days to modern days.
What both of these books have in common is that they are written from a biographical standpoint. While it isn’t autobiography, it does bring up the same points of documenting people, documenting histories, and documenting movements aiming for radical social change that will be discussed in my thesis. Many of the artists who contributed to these adaptations have also created autobiographical works of their involvement in social movements and quotidian experiences relating to social justice.
For those of you wondering the process of my thesis, I am currently transcribing interviews and figuring out character designs in my head. I finished transcribing one of the four interviews I recorded today, and am hoping to have the rest done soon. On top of this, I am still researching and reading academic articles on comics theory and criticism and relevant comics/graphic novels. By the end of this week, I will have entered the stages of scripting the thesis comic itself. My current goal is to have a 25-page script written by March 4th. We’ll see if that happens.
A Drawing a Day (or something close to it):
I’ll leave you with some drawings i’ve done (I took pictures of them, since I am currently without a scanner… explains some of the quality of the photos/if the images look distorted…) I’ve been trying to do a drawing a day, so here are some of them. Within the next few drawings, I’d like to start thinking about perspective drawing: how to incorporate more than one perspective, how to make my illustrations more complex and interesting to look at, while still getting the point across that I intend with my illustrations. I am open to tips, suggestions, resources, etc.
Until next time,