Don't mention the f-word
November 14, 2011 1:13 PM   Subscribe

Grandville and the anthropomorphic tradition by Bryan Talbot, a 59min youtube lecture and slideshow on the history of anthropomorphism in comics and the creation of his own graphic novel in the tradition, Grandville
posted by fearfulsymmetry (16 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Those are fine books, well-crafted. Not really very furry.
posted by mdoar at 1:56 PM on November 14, 2011

That was a really interesting talk; I'm only halfway through, but it had a lot of older comics history that I wasn't aware of. Talbot does a nice job of drawing a line of influence from 18th-century comics and Beatrix Potter to his book. Which is quite good, by the way. Thanks for posting this, fearfulsymmetry.

Also, it's a goddamn shame that nobody can write anything on the internet any more about anthropomorphics without the HURF DURF FURRY crew showing up in the first comment.
posted by hackwolf at 1:57 PM on November 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

Can't wait to get home and see this. I've been trying to weigh the recent phenominon of furries against the "Anthropomorphics" trend in underground comix throughout the '80s.(Albedo and others)

Using animals to represent the sexualized "other" is probably as old as humanity; we've only just recently started using that as a basis for holding conventions.
posted by lekvar at 2:21 PM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Mod note: A few comments removed. Please maybe skip the obvious shit-stirring approach to threads about stuff that annoys you and just don't comment in the thread instead.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:39 PM on November 14, 2011

Did Trekkies ruin Star Trek? (wait, don't answer that.)

That's actually very close to the point of contention - can an acquired fan-base be so awful that they poison the well of the product itself? A closer example (not to Godwin) would be the swastika - pre-1920, it was a fun bit of graphic design that had a long and storied history stretching back for centuries. Then some folks come along and completely blow it in a fraction of the time, and a single illustration concept acquires a psychic stain that won't come off for centuries more, if ever.

It doesn't help that Talbot's art style looks almost exactly the same as the unsavory kind of anthro - the connection wouldn't be quite so immediate if it looked like Richard Scary or David Peterson or what have you. You can love drawing the adventures of bikers all you like, but if your characters all look like Tom of Finland it may be broadcasting to different channels than intended.
posted by FatherDagon at 2:58 PM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

you seem invested in this
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 2:59 PM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

lekvar: I haven't finished the video yet (work, alas), but where I left off Talbot was just starting to get into his personal influences from that period (Cerebus, Howard the Duck, etc).

It's funny that you mention Albedo; there are a lot of anthro comics from that particular period in the 80s that went on to garner a lot more fame (TMNT and Usagi Yojimbo in particular). Steve Gallacci, the artist on Albedo, still attends cons from time to time I think. One of his Albedo-universe stories, Birthright, recently became available as a free webcomic. I could be wrong, but it seems like a number of the artists from Critters and that era of B&W indie comics have been putting old stuff online for free lately.
posted by hackwolf at 3:15 PM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you want to see a whole 'nother kind of questionable anthropomorphism, check out The Amazing Apes of Africa (warning: autosound), created by a black, faith-based entrepreneur and animated by a veteran of '80s Filmation Studios, which I stumbled upon a couple days ago and have haunted my dreams since.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:18 PM on November 14, 2011

Yeah, Gallacci still does cons every few years. I met him at last Further Confusion, he did this awesome dirty drawing of Erma Felna in my robot spider con sketchbook. He's even on Furaffinity (warning: furry porn is always a couple clicks away from any page there) now.

And I went to the comic store recently and found the latest issue of Usagi Yojimbo, which turned out to be the two hundredth issue. I've only been reading it intermittently but I applaud Sakai's persistence; Usagi is as much fun to read as it was the first time I ran across the character.

It's always interesting to see people argue about whether or not a work using anthropomorphic animals is "furry". Especially if those animals get up to adult antics. I dunno whether Talbot would say 'Grandville is a furry comic', I haven't watched the lecture yet.
posted by egypturnash at 3:52 PM on November 14, 2011 [2 favorites]

And geeze, the stuff he shows right after 'Dogs Playing Poker' (around 15:00) is totally furry. Dogs playing pool, lovingly painted, wearing the kind of clothes normal people would wear. I could totally see that on Furaffinity. Nobody would question it. Except now it'd probably be done in Photoshop or Painter. (I can't tell the name through his accent - Arthur Sam?)
posted by egypturnash at 4:13 PM on November 14, 2011

egypturnash: Arthur Sarnoff is the name, I think.
posted by hackwolf at 5:08 PM on November 14, 2011

Yeah, that sounds about right and looks like the same hand.
posted by egypturnash at 6:30 PM on November 14, 2011

hackwolf, I mentioned Albedo because I seem to remember there being some debate, at the time, as to whether TMNT or their copycats were "true" anthropomorphic comics. Some people seemed to feel that TMNT, etc., were parodies or homages to the superhero books, or that they mutants, not animals.

I also mentioned it because I loved Albedo and Fusion. I've gotten rid of a lot of comics over the years, but not those.
posted by lekvar at 6:54 PM on November 14, 2011

That's an interesting point about TMNT - I hadn't heard that (I wasn't paying attention to comics then, much less comics critique). I can see why some people might divide the taxonomy that way, although I'd still favor lumping them in with the anthros given the crossovers with more "pure" anthro comics like Usagi Yojimbo. And wow, how did I miss Fusion so completely all these years? Thanks for the pointer.
posted by hackwolf at 7:20 PM on November 14, 2011

Thanks fearfulsymmetry, that was a very informative and enjoyable video, particularly the first half (for me). It's very much to Talbot's credit that he's so well versed with the antecedents of the genre.
posted by peacay at 10:49 PM on November 14, 2011

« Older Pass the Pimento Cheese, Please.   |   She sells seashells etc. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments