divendres, 8 de febrer del 2008

graphic novels, comics and artists

I must confess I'm not a specialist in the field of comics and graphic novels, but I've read some and I developed a kind of need to know more, so I'm devoting part of my time to learn about the genre (shall we call it a genre?).

Besides I also made some contacts and I'm very happy to have reached agreements of representation with two brilliant young authors/artists. They both are Finnish and they both were completely unknown to me until I found references to their work in different websites.

Their names are Jenni Rope and Tommi Musturi.

Jenni's graphic novel is entitled 'Monday', and it is a beautiful and poetical work. In Finland it's been published by Napa Books. In Napa they also have a gallery and an agency of Illustrators, which Jenni owns.

Just see a sample of Monday here:

It combines white, orange and brown and it's about a man who wakes up on a Monday morning and tells us what he does and what he thinks... He also tells about his dreams, about his wonders.

Jenni Rope is an artist and illustrator. Born in 1977, lives and works in Helsinki, Finland. Jenni graduated from the University of Arts and Design in Helsinki in 2002, after studying painting and graphic design in Helsinki and animation in London.
Since 1996 she has been active with her own art exhibitions, making illustrations and comics for various magazines in Finland and abroad. As the other founder of Napa, she has worked as a curator and designer for all the Napa's books as well as their group exhibitions. In addition Jenni has done many record cover designs and animation videos for bands. She mostly works with pencil, ink, and collage techniques.

In Spain we could see a sample of her art in the magazine ''Una casa para siempre nº1'' (Borobiltxo Libros)

Tommi Musturi has published a couple of remarkable graphic novels: 'The First Book of Hopes' and 'The Second Book of Hopes'. Here you have a quote from http://forbiddenplanet.co.uk/blog/?p=5000 in which they tell us about those two shining stars:

"The First Book of Hope opens with an idyllic scene, a small house near a lake where an older man is spending his retirement time in leisure and laziness. He has thrown away his cuckoo clock and doesn’t even notice when the radio mentions a nuclear explosion. His days are filled with eating, smoking and rare bouts of activity, when he decides to start exercising, or goes on a fishing trip on the lake.

Overall, our hero is a Ware-like melancholic, who ponders heavily upon life and wonders where everything went. Luckily, there’s his wife (at least, I assume it’s his wife that sometimes talks off-screen) who tries to offer him solace and in the end tells him the obvious: “Just come out of the rain”. In other words: if you can’t pick yourself up, no-one can.
The atmosphere in the First Book of Hope is mildly melancholic and, well, hopeful, with its lush sunrise on the cover and everything. The Second Book of Hope starts with images of destruction and devastation. Even though it’s only a dream, it feels real to our hero, who gradually loses all grip on his life. He dresses shabbier every day and wanders around in his meandering fantasies. His wife, again, tries to keep him afloat with useful truths as “it will last as long as we live”, and, when asked “what to do about this life?” the answer “Just live”. It’s no use, though, and while locusts eat our hero’s wheat, he rides into the sunset, after shooting his own shadow.

They’re not uplifting reading material, these books of Musturi’s but thanks to his art, they are small masterpieces of emotion and poetry. Musturi’s style resembles, not unlike his main character, Chris Ware’s in its lack of movement, and its use of iconic imagery. However, while Ware loses himself in his page layout, lettering and compulsive detail, Musturi keeps a steady pace. Each image is as big as the others, and eight images fill a page. No image dominates the others and colour is limited to tints of blue and yellow or red.

The books can also be read page by page like as a series of aphorisms in cartoon format. Open the books on any page, just read the page and you will find a poem of Zen-like profoundness that has enough to have you ponder over it yourself for the rest of the day."

‘The First and the Second Books of Hope’ have been translated into to English by Bries Publishers (Belguim) and into French by La 5è Couche (Belgium).
The Finnish editions are published by Like.

Tommi Musturi (b. 1975) is a Finnish comic artist and editor for the award-winning anthology Glömp. His work includes participations in numerous fanzines and an on-going five book serie called The Books of Hope. He works in the organization of the Helsinki Comics Festival, works in 10-people comic art studio Kutikuti and runs publishing houses Boing Being and Huuda Huuda. At the moment he's working on a new book entitled 'Walking with Samuel' that should be out late 2008.


I hope I can find publishers for these books, as I'm sure many people will enjoy them as much as I did!!
More about graphic novels soon...