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Harvey Pekar - American Splendor 1980s onward

Collaboration with Robert Crumb.

Pekar pioneered graphic works which documented everyday events and conversations
in his life. He never drew anything himself. At first he worked extensively with
Crumb and later with a wide range of artists and styles.
His work was literary first, and visual second. Many times he would simply stand and
narrate as in the example here. I chose this page because it reminds me of the movie
American Splendor made about his life. His work is highly autobiographical about
his day to day job as a filing clerk within his small world of characters. When he had
cancer, his wife encouraged him to make his treatments and struggles with cancer into
a new series.

David Heatley - My Brain is Hanging Upside Down. 2000s onward

Autobiographical work drawn in a very simple style. His pages tend to have multiple
fragments of stories, charts ect.
Mostly about his family and relationships obsessively sketching and writing his day to
day dialogue and encounters like a film strip.

3 &4
Chris Ware The Acme Novelty Company, New Yorker, Editor. 1990s onward

Chris Ware changed the perception of graphic novels in the 1990/2000s. His work
was recognized by contemporary art and literary institutions.
He incorporates a rigid graphic style with complex narratives that combine
architecture, typography with bleak landscapes and flawed protagonists.
In this example repetition, memory and an abrupt image from the childs point of
view recreate a traumatic (to the child) experience.
4 - An example of a papercraft sculpture. The instructions, while informative, also
provide part of the narrative, style, and critiques the actual act of assembling this
Jim Woodring - Frank 1990s onward

Woodring uses a very stylized textured drawing style. His work morphs objects and
characters in a surreal manner. Very dream and nightmare-like.
In the given example he alternates between interior and exterior, reality and thought,
positive and negative in four simple panels.

George Herriman Krazy Kat 1920s 1944

Herriman is cited by many graphic novelists and artists as a central influence. Samuel
Beckett was inspired by him as was Charlie Chaplin.
The re-occurring plot was simple and ludicrous; The Kat loved the mouse, the mouse
threw bricks at the cat, the dog put the mouse in jail.
The drawing style was inventive and incorporated surreal landscapes and strange
details. Herriman also played with the English language, altering it, using slang and
regional dialects, almost in a Jazz-like manner.

Art Speigelman Maus, Raw, 1970s onward

Art Speigelmans Maus also changed public perception of the graphic novel and new
comics. He set about to chronicle his fathers experience in Auschwitz as well as his
own relationship to his father in the present day (1980s). A testament to its
importance, Maus won a Pulitzer prize the year it was published, the first and only
graphic novel to do so.
His style in Maus alternates between conversations with his father and the narrative of
his life in Poland and later Auschwitz. He used the simple conceit of depicting Jews
as mice, Nazis as Cats, Americans as Dogs etc.
Matt Groening Life in Hell 1980s onward

Before achieving fame with The Simpsons, Groening published a weekly comic
called Life in Hell. Initially it chronicled his move to Los Angeles but then start to
cover different institutions in our lives;
Work is Hell, School is Hell,.
More recently he began to chronicle his kids stories and obsessions.
His style is wonderfully basic, repetitive, and uses a very simple layout, sometimes
charts and graphs.

10 & 11. SETH Palookaville 1990s onward

A Canadian artist working in a variety of projects. He uses a drawing style that is

reminiscent of artists from the 1940/50s. Much of his work revolves around
nostalgia, forgotten buildings, people and pastimes.
Many of his publications are specific about Canadian architecture and small towns.
This example grids a complete urban image with different thoughts. The memory
literally fragments the complete view. As you view frames without text you become
aware of your own thoughts and the thoughts of the writer. You move back and
forther between viewing the buildings as a whole and moving your eye over details.
This page is like a poem, conflating the interior and exterior worlds: our eyes take in
the expanse and details of the urban landscape while our thoughts wander, pause,
reflect into silence.
11- this multipanel piece catalogs an aged 1960 bar and notes all the minor and
insignificant details that makes it unique.

12 & 13.
Lynda Barry Ernie Pooks Comeek 1980s onward

Lynda Barry connects a very spontaneous amateur style with vibrant bittersweet
memories of growing up in a lower middle-income family.
While she uses fictional characters, they are very autobiographical. Lyndas work can
typically be wonderfully funny while refusing to sentimentalize childhood.
She deals with social issues, school, dysfunctional families, and adolescence with a
stunning attention to everyday detail. They are poignant portraits of moments that
often expand with hope and youthful idealism, then abruptly fall with a disaster. But
sometimes, they stay buoyant.
She typically uses a basic four panel layout with narration and conversation. She kept
a diary as a child and teenager which explains the authentic voice of her characters.

14 to 18
Alison Bechdel Fun House 1990s onward

One of the first syndicated artists to publish a comic chronicling the lives of various
gay characters. Her most recent book Fun House, is an autobiographic account of
growing up in a very eccentric household. Fun House also examines her father, who
was gay and may have committed suicide.
Her drawing style is very illustrative. In the two examples she uses circles to, first,
highlight the narrative, and secondly (page 14) to indicate a point of view and
vignettes of her characters. In this book, she draws a lot of different styled text. As
she examines old letters, pages from books, even the message paper.

Jeffrey Brown various 1995 onward

Jeffrey began drawing comics while studying for a MFA. He began self-publishing
books when he couldnt get any support for his work by the Art Faculty. His work is
strictly autobiographical and covers his time at school, various relationships, and
His style almost always uses the same size layout and sketch style. Like Heatley he
obsessively records his day-to-day encounters and dialogue.
John Porcellino

An example of using a highly simple drawing style combined with memory and
poetics. Porcellino typically uses this style of drawing in combination with sketches
of everyday life the ordinary as extraordinary.

Adrian Tomine - Optic Nerve, Shortcomings, 1990s onward

Tomines work fictionalizes his experience of growing up third-generation Asian-

America. Race and relationships are depicted in his clean realistic style.

22 & 23
Anders Nilson

Example of a wordless, surreal narrative. Layout alternates between close-up and

landscape views

24 & 25
Charles Burns Black Hole 1990s onward

Burns uses a high contrast ink format that is very distinctive. His narrative mixes
1950s B movie horror with high-school relationships.
The attached images demonstrate his cinematic method of narration and viewpoint, in
this sequence all about her relationship to the photo.
Chester Brown Riel 1990s onward

Chester Brown published a large graphic novel that follows the historical timeline of
Louis Riel. The project was exhaustively researched and attempts to depict the real
story that neither absolves or condemns Riel.
Brown chose and austere layout a rigid grid 2x6, and a very simple drawing style
which seem playful in reaction to a serious historical research project.

Brian Fies Moms Cancer 2005

This recent graphic novel follows the authors mother and family and her battle with
cancer. The narrative sometimes switches to dreams and depictions of the disease

KAWS Graffiti artist, interventionist