Dash Shaw

COMICS & ANIMATION
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NEW BOOKS: Cosplayers and Doctors,
New School, 3 New Stories, and New Jobs.

Previously: BodyWorld and Bottomless Belly Button.

Recent Animations: New School, Seraph, and Wheel of Fortune.

dash (dot) austin (dot) shaw (at) gmail (dot) com

robotech-emissaries:

Dash Shaw screened the “very best episode” of Robotech as part of Comic Arts Brooklyn's November 2013 programming. I was intrigued by the cartoonist-animator's promo art for his evening of limited animation and curious about what Robotech episode he selected & why. Since no other news source (that I'm aware of) wrote about the event's specifics, I reached out to Shaw for an interview. He generously answered a few questions and, in the process, enlightened me to a possible reframing of Robotech's original production — as collage.

EhC: How do you define “limited animation”?

DASH SHAW: Animation that “limits” the number of drawings, usually because it’s a low-budget project. It’s the art of communicating a lot, through a little.

What Robotech episode did you screen at CAB? Why that episode?

Episode 17, “Phantasm.” I love the fast pace and delirious energy of the episode. It’s a long dream. It’s basically the most avant-garde episode, and it’s also completely fun. I’ve watched it many times. It has that great thing that film can do, which is someone imposing their sense of time on you. It reminds me of the Guy Maddin short "The Heart of the World" and the episode recaps that appear before shows like Lost, but this Robotech episode is 25 minutes long and is a total joyride the whole way through.

How did you discover Robotech? What attracted you then and what attracts you now?

I just rented it at some point. I’ve liked comics and cartoons my whole life. I never took any breaks from it. So the kinds of things I like now are very similar to the things I watched as a kid. But I don’t think I have any nostalgia for it in particular. I genuinely love the characters, the moral complexities of the story, and — as it’s presented in this program — it’s technical qualities, such as pace and movement. Mostly showing it in the context at CAB was about the technical aspects, especially the frantic, delirious pace of this particular episode. I played it right after an episode of a very fast-moving series I did for IFC called "The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century AD."

Collage is a technique you utilize in your work. The original 85-episode Robotech cartoon rearranges and draws connections between three separate series to create a unique multi-generational one. Is Robotech collage?

I hadn’t thought of that before. Usually I think of collage in comics and animation in a spatial sense. By arranging things on a page or a screen you’re drawing connections between things, or suggesting possibilities that might not have been apparent immediately. Like layering sound over an image creates a third thing. But that’s also true in stories. Interesting point.

You’ve been given eight pages in a Robotech comix anthology to tell any story in any way. What do you do?

I’m not interested. I want to tell stories about my own characters.

Dash’s animated short "Seraph" was a 2013 Sundance Film Festival award nominee. His Cosplayers one-shot came out in April 2014 and is available at quality comix shops & on comiXology.

Another frame from the animation I’m working on. The drawings are like 72% done right now.

Another frame from the animation I’m working on. The drawings are like 72% done right now.

Some of my favorite coloring books are the 1970s Planet of the Apes books. Coloring book drawings are designed to be clear and unalterable under a child’s stormy crayon scribbles. They’re like hurricane resistant beach houses. How can something so rigid sometimes be so moving? Chris Ware draws like a Do Not Walk sign, but I find him very emotional, while some artists draw in sensitive, expressive strokes that feel too self-involved to let me in. 

Chekhov wrote “If you wish to move your reader, write more coldly.” Jane Hirshfield’s poem In Praise of Coldness begins with this Chekhov quote, and she notes:

The point is not the coldness, but the way that a restraining coldness can in fact contain heat, can move the reader more than would a simple explosive outpouring. In art, in life, a certain coldness (the emotional distance of classical tragedy, the technical use of perspective in a Renaissance canvas, the capacity a person might have to step back sometimes from the pulse’s racing) allows, paradoxically, greater feeling, greater range, increase of compassion, but it cannot so dominate as to deny human feeling, human life. Heat alone is narcissism; coldness alone is fatal.

geewebber:

DUMB #4 and #5 to DEBUT at TCAF!

DUMB #4 and DUMB #5, by Georgia Webber

24 pages, stapled

Red and black, Self-published

www.georgiasdumbproject.com

In Toronto-based artist Georgia Webber’s debut series, Dumb, the silent medium of comics is used to describe her own silence — the result of a vocal injury sustained in October 2012. After chronic pain forced her to stop speaking for all but a handful of minutes a day, Georgia set about creating new ways to communicate, to continue life, and to support her recovery. Her comics tell the story of her turbulent internal experience alongside the unique reactions and situations that arise. Her recovery, like the series, is ongoing.

The story is being serialized online at www.georgiasdumbproject.com. Updates Monday and Thursday.

+ Print Only: Additional Content +

With these new editions, Georgia brings you into the larger project a little further by including prose introductions by special guests on facets of the voice not included in her comics. A music writer heralds the power of the scream, a social activist learns to speak for herself, a language-learner explores new vocal personalities, and a professional opera singer-turned-voice-coach describes her instrument and the need to care for it.

+ Praise for Dumb +

Georgia Webber nominated in the Spotlight (“Nipper”) category of the 2014 Doug Wright Awards! 

Dumb #2 nominated for an Expozine Alternative Press Award!

"In Dumb, the feeling of powerlessness to express oneself is expressed in a completely articulate and powerful cartooning voice. It’s a totally fascinating and meaningful comic.”

Dash Shaw, creator of New School and Bodyworld

Dumb is a passionate recount of a painful, frightening and very human experience.”

Eleanor Davis, author of the forthcoming How to Be Happy (2014)

"Georgia Webber’s Dumb has an interesting subject matter that ropes you in and I’m here to tell you that it delivers. Dumb is a pleasure to read and I bug Georgia about the next issue whenever I see her.”

— Ed Piskor, author of Hip Hop Family Tree

"Georgia Webber’s DUMB is an excellent example of how comics can do things that other mediums can’t.”

— Glyn Dillon, author of The Nao of Brown

+ Summer Travels +

Catch Georgia in the following cities on the following dates!

May 9 - 11, Toronto (TCAF!)

May 18, Portland, ME (MECAF!)

May 29 - June 1, Chicago, IL (CAKE!)

June 28 - 30, Baltimore, MD (Graphic Medicine Conference!)

July 26 - August 6, Vancouver, BC; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA (TBA)

+ About the Author +

Georgia Webber is the comics artist behind Dumb, a series chronicling of her severe vocal injury and ongoing (mostly silent) recovery. She is the Comics Editor for carte blanche, Guest Services Coordinator for the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, and Distribution and Marketing Director at Paper Pusher and Papirmass.

Full biography at www.georgiasdumbproject.com/about

+ Contact +

For additional information, contact Georgia at georgiasdumbcomics [at] gmail [dot] com.

This mini, Family Feud, 2012, was initially inspired by something I read Art Spiegelman say in an interview. By the time I drew it, I’d forgot exactly what he said. I remembered it differently. I was thinking about it again recently and I found it online. He said:

Well, it’s not just in Family Feud where you’re rewarded for knowing what people know. In life, you have to know what people expect you to know. Otherwise, you end up in the nut house. Now, it’s easy, because I’ve had practice at it. But, when I was twenty, I’d had no practice whatsoever. I wasn’t aware of the conventions, and that was a problem.

Possibly it’s in a different interview, but I misremembered it as being something like: “If the Family Feud prompt is ‘objects in your fridge’, you might have batteries in your refrigerator, but you have to say ‘milk’ because that’s going to be the ‘correct’ answer. In life, in order to fit in, you have to learn to provide the most common answer, not the answer that is true to you.

fantagraphics:

Cosplayers
by Dash Shaw

32-page full-color comic book • $5.00

Now in Stock! See Previews / Order Now  

Annie and Verti are two teen cosplayers with too much time on their hands. Annie wants to act, and Verti wants to be a photographer/filmmaker. Together, they embark on making a film starring themselves and featuring an unsuspecting cast of extras they record via hidden camera. What could possibly go wrong? A one-shot dose of humor and melancholy from the creator of New School, BodyWorld, and Bottomless Belly Button.

This’ll be in the Previews catalog that comes out later month. Cosplayers 2 takes place entirely at a fictional anime convention, “Tezukon.”

fantagraphics:

Cosplayers
by Dash Shaw

32-page full-color comic book • $5.00

Ships on: April 16, 2014 (subject to change) — Pre-Order Now  

Annie and Verti are two teen cosplayers with too much time on their hands. Annie wants to act, and Verti wants to be a photographer/filmmaker. Together, they embark on making a film starring themselves and featuring an unsuspecting cast of extras they record via hidden camera. What could possibly go wrong? A one-shot dose of humor and melancholy from the creator of New School, BodyWorld, and Bottomless Belly Button.

In comic shops TOMORROW!