Another page from the unfinished “These Five” story. See the previous post for the other images.
Posts Tagged ‘poetic’
From around 2001, these are sketches and partially-completed drawings for a story called ‘These Five’. Neither the text nor the images were ever completed, but I think some of these fragments are quite nice, and one or two of them appeared in The Sound Projector issue 10. The story concerns an obsessional man with a major persecution complex, convinced that his life will fall into order if he can only eliminate five of his personal enemies. He creates wooden totems or voodoo sculptures to feed his vendetta and stares at them for hours on end, humming and chanting to himself. These totems correspond to his enemies; I suppose if the story had gone anywhere, they would each have been destroyed in imaginative ways, perhaps by fire or axe. I wanted the artwork to resemble the work of Steve Ditko, specifically his powerful and mesmerising Avenging World stories from the 1970s. I think this story ran out of steam because I couldn’t get past the “mesmerising” stage, and hence it failed to develop any further.
Since there’s no set order to these images, the gallery below will load in a random sequence if you refresh the page.
Serpent in Hell, originally published in 1992 as a 36pp A5 comic, is now available as a digital download. A miserable and embittered fable of alienation and despair. Contains many obsessive images of a wretched, suffering snake and some disconcerting drawings of The Devil. The drawings are aspiring towards the condition of old engravings, and the book attempts to emulate the look of an 18th-century chapbook or pamphlet.
“Cover me up with squares of turf / And I will consort with my brother worm…”
Download Serpent In Hell as a PDF (14.96MB)
Contains some adult content and will probably not be suitable for young readers.
We were absolutely delighted to hear from Russell Christian last month. “Check out my World In Disarray“, he suggests. “Mostly old comics, but stuff you’ve never seen. Putting them up on the blog might even encourage me to start drawing comics again (when I’m not spitting fire at the Big Bankers, or teaching little kids how to have fun with Art at the Bruxist Manifesto Institute. Ah yes! The ever elusive Art, who always evades. You get to the bedsit and he’s gone and the trail is cold.”
Russell’s oblique mind continues to find art hidden in the most unlikely places. “Your site wouldn’t let me comment,” he told me. “To the question: Are comics made of paper or glass? I answered: They are see-through and yet strangely opaque (when they are good that is). But my answer, apparently, was wrong.”
As I said in reply: that is because computers are not poets. Even though some say ‘code is poetry’.
IT’S NOT SATIN takes an Ed’s-eye look at horror. Superficially, it’s not too far removed from EC territory, telling the story of a mad, reclusive artist who must possess the object of his love in much the manner of John Fowles’ ‘The Collector’, but who cannot in the end incarcerate his loved one’s spirit. But to read Pinsent’s work superficially is to miss the point; he is not merely a storyteller. He seems to me to be an artist who employs narrative as a structure, a framework intended to provide access to the meanings and possibilities implied by the ambiguous events with which it is embellished. Here, for instance, satin is not only not the material of which a ribbon is made – it is also not the name of the familiar horned image which is the “tortured” artist’s friend, sole communicant and inspiration.
That is a simple ambiguity, clearly explained within the narrative itself. Its deeper resonances, however, can only be probed and explained within the context of each individual reader’s experience and understanding. More than almost anything else in comics, Pinsent’s work defeats the techniques of objective analysis – all this review can do is tell you what I think of this tale. You, whoever you may be, will find other matter for digestion within its pages. Perhaps this is why Pinsent is generally held to be brilliant, but has never achieved wide acceptance; his work holds little that is susceptible to consensual understanding.
For what it’s worth, then my reading of IT’S NOT SATIN perceives a cold condemnation of art’s very artificiality. Its nameless protagonist does not (cannot?) communicate in words, only in symbols; caught up in an entirely private world of meaning, he (she?) interprets a moment of fleeting, trivial human communication as the trigger for a passion which can only be consummated dispassionately. With the help of artisan’s tools, the loved one is captured and objectified, adapted completely into the artist’s world and thereby removed from real life. From this chilling expression of a dichotomy between art and life, perhaps the closing pages, in which the artist feels compelled to release his loved one’s spirit, offer a means of redemption. Perhaps…but there the story ends.
And perhaps no-one else would read the story in this way. As with all reviews, you can read them but they cannot embody your understanding. Ed Pinsent reminds us that only you can do that. For the questions that he asks, give him your support.
From ZUM! No 3, January 1992
It’s Not Satin, written and drawn in 1990, was one of my rare full-colour stories. It has previously only been available in a black-and-white photocopied version, printed half the size of the original art. This web publication is the first time it has been released in its full colour version. (EP)
Download It’s Not Satin as a PDF (4.25MB)
Adults only! Not suitable for young readers!
Violent nightmarish comic!
Voice of a Dream from 1988, now available to download as a PDF (11.41 MB).
Ed Pinsent’s digital comics are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
A Hypnotic Magic strip
Here is a nine-panel piece called Masque, which was my submission to The Comics Journal Special Edition (Fantagraphics Books Winter 2003), which included a section curated by Paul Gravett as a tribute to Escape magazine. Selected Escape artists were invited to contribute a single page of new work, and the magazine was a square-sized format about the size of an LP cover. This was one of the first pieces I put together inside the computer (it was executed as nine separate drawings), hence the reference to the “flickering screen”.
I’ll admit Masque, in its pseudo-poetic form, is obscure and incomprehensible even by my standards. It may help if you realise it’s not really a single story, but three separate narrative fragments stitched together. Panels 1-3 are something to do with the inadequacy of an artist’s role in a largely indifferent world. Panels 4-6 tell the short tale of the plight of a helpless insect (or a man who imagines he’s as insignificant as an insect). Panels 7-9 depict a librarian or other isolated student, who imagines he can make a woman fall in love with him simply by thinking about it. However, the stories may overlap somewhere; I think it’s likely the woman in panel 3 is making a reappearance in panel 8.
The cut-up nature of Masque extends to the way the drawings were assembled. Many of the panels are created from two or more unconnected sketches pasted together randomly on the page, then inked in to create the illusion of a single drawing. In panel 3, this approach has resulted in a drawing of a doll melting into a drawing of the woman’s hair. The ambiguity of the resulting image suggests we’re seeing two views of the same person, from different vantage points. In panel 8, the same doll/woman figure is now running in a sideways plane, contrary to the other figures in the panel.
It’s possible that the final panel depicts all the main male protagonists – the useless artist, the insect and the lonely librarian – all squashed into a single squat figure. He’s stranded in a surreal nocturnal landscape, with a block of wood under one hand (or possibly a sheaf of paper), a tree, and a flying crab in the sky. The figure floating to his left is a map to an unknown land, hence the reference to his “directionless journey”.