Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Baltimore Comic-Con is one of the best and friendliest of the mid-size superhero focused cons. Under the leadership of Marc Nathan and Brad Tree, it's grown quite a bit in a decade and a half, but still remains enjoyable for all ages and interests. Hang Dai Studios is based in Brooklyn, but as usual will have a big presence at Baltimore. My friend Dean Haspiel (and Hang Dai Studios founder) will be there with the whole studio, a week after he, Christa Cassano and Gregory Benton attended the Small Press Expo. We hope to have interviews with everyone in the studio throughout the week. Our fourth interview is with Gregory Benton.
What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?
Alternative comics leaning towards wordless and stream of consciousness.
How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?
My latest book Smoke has two story threads. One is executed in watercolor and ink, the other digital. My other recent books are all traditional media (watercolor, gouache, crayon, pen and ink).
When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?
I was born on a steamy summer's day in NYC, sometime toward the end of the last century
What is your training and/or education in cartooning?
I went to RISD, majoring in illustration. At the time there was no "cartooning" discipline, but there were plenty of us who loved the art form and would hang out together to figure it out. Jason Lutes and painter Eric White among our group.
Who are your influences?
Artistically, the Euro artists Mattotti, Chaland, Baru, Muñoz really jazzed me as a young cartoonist. These days there is too much to love artist-wise. I find myself relying on nature and life drawing to inform my work.
If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?
I would probably just have told my younger self to finish the projects started. That's a huge thing: keep the ball rolling.
What work are you best-known for?
Probably B+F (AdHouse). Hopefully soon for Smoke (Hang Dai Editions).
What work are you most proud of?
I did a book in 1996 called Hummingbird for Slave Labor Graphics. It was my first long work at 48 pages and it taught me a heck of a lot about comix-making: pacing, technique, storytelling. It is a completely unorthodox story, but I love it. It was recently reprinted in The Mammoth Book of Cult Comics.
What would you like to do or work on in the future?
I would like to keep making comics, simple as that. For me it is not a gateway to another media. I love it as a discipline, warts and all.
What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?
Walks are nice. Stepping away for a while to take your mind off the story, getting involved in something unrelated to let your subconscious work on the problem. Also, talking with studio mates (like the fine ones I've got at Hang Dai) is massive in seeing the problem from a different perspective. Rending of clothes works in a pinch.
What do you think will be the future of your field?
The increasing legitimacy of comics art as literature. It has come a very long way since I began my career, but I don't think we've gotten anywhere near the ceiling.
Why are you at the Baltimore Comic-Con this year?
I've never been before! Really excited to meet some good people and hopefully turn them on to my work.
What other cons do you attend? The Small Press Expo, or others? Any comments about attending them?
This year I've been to SPX and will be attending BCC, CXC, NYCC, CAB, Genghis Con and Angouleme. I will also be a Visiting Artist at Center For Cartoon Studies in October.
What's your favorite thing about Baltimore?
I've never really spent time in Baltimore, but I'm looking forward to it!
Do you have a website or blog?
I can be found at www.gregorybenton.com, on Twitter @gregory_benton and Facebook. On both Instagram and Tumblr my handle is @gregorybenton.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 8, 2010
University Park, PA—Penn State University Libraries and the Pennsylvania Center for the Book are pleased to announce the creation of the Lynd Ward Prize for Graphic Novel of the Year.
The Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize honors Ward's seminal influence in the development of the graphic novel and celebrates the gift of an extensive collection of Ward's wood engravings, original book illustrations and other graphic art donated to Penn State University Libraries by his daughters, Robin Ward Savage and Nanda Weedon Ward. Between 1929 and 1937 Ward published his six ground-breaking wordless novels—"Gods' Man," "Madman's Drum," "Wild Pilgrimage," "Prelude to a Million Years," "Song without Words" and "Vertigo"—which are being re-issued this month byThe Library of America in a two-volume boxed set entitled "Lynd Ward: Six Novels in Woodcuts," the first time the nonprofit publisher has included a graphic novelist in its award-winning series.
Sponsored by Penn State University Libraries and administered by the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress, the Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize will be presented annually to the best graphic novel, fiction or non-fiction, published in the previous calendar year in the United States by a living American citizen or resident. The announcement of the award will take place each spring and the prize of $2500, the two volume set of Ward's six novels published byThe Library of America, and a suitable commemorative will be presented each fall to the winner at a ceremony to be held at Penn State.
The selection jury for the award will have representatives from various Penn State academic departments who use the graphic novel in their teaching or research, as well as representatives with graphic novel expertise from among Penn State's alumni. The inaugural selection jury for 2011 includes John Meier, an assistant librarian in the Physical and Mathematical Sciences Library; Jarod Rosello, a cartoonist, writer and doctoral student in curriculum and instruction in the College of Education; Jean Sanders, an associate professor of art in the School of Visual Arts; Scott T. Smith, an assistant professor of English and comparative literature in the College of the Liberal Arts; and Jerry Zolten, an associate professor of communication arts and sciences and American studies at Penn State Altoona.
For more information about the selection criteria and how to submit books for consideration for the Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize, contact Steven Herb at 814-863-2141 or visit the Pennsylvania Center for the Book website http://www.pabook.libraries.psu.edu/activities/ward/index.html
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Some years ago I helped put together a bibliography of wordless comics that was published in the International Journal of Comic Art 2:2 (Fall 2000). Today questions about those comics were raised on the comix-scholars list with some people sending in suggestions about titles. I pulled up my old list to take a look at it and decided to make an update available.
I whipped up a corrected and updated version of the 2000 version of the list I had and stuck it on Lulu.com at http://www.lulu.com/content/5790271 as Stories Without Words: A Bibliography with Annotations 2008 edition. You can download a pdf for $1 (it wouldn't let me set it any lower), or buy a print version for $10.00.
Friday, July 25, 2008
David Berona's done more than anyone else to bring some forgotten works back to public view. Here's a profile of him: "Central alum writes the book on wordless books; David Berona links wordless books of '30s to today's graphic novels," By Andrew McGinn, Springfield News Sun Thursday, July 24, 2008.
Needless to say, the bibliography's out of date. Lio's my current favorite wordless comic strip.