Over the weekend I took a look at a recent interview with Tonči Zonjić, a youngish artist working on, among other things, one of the Mignola titles these days. This bit toward the end, in a longer reply to a question in which the interviewer (also a working comics artist, I gather) expresses preference for ‘comics that are about something more than just light entertainment,’ caught my attention:
I mentioned that it feels like there’s a gap in the middle of comics — simple, ‘normal’ stories, drawn realistically. Outside of Jaime Hernandez’s Love & Rockets stories, or things like R. Kikuo Johnson’s Night Fisher, there aren’t many of them. Probably because it takes a lot of effort and skill to create somewhat less noticable comics. And they’re not really all that simple in the end. But I often wonder why people don’t aim for that. Whenever anyone does it well, like Glyn Dillon did recently, everybody goes nuts! That would be an interesting field to explore.
Well hey, that’s a gap I’ve sensed too — albeit without a very strong basis for saying so, since I’ve given very little to knowing the contemporary comics scene (for someone who’s drawn to the topic as I am, anyway), commercial or independent either one. I’d certainly never heard of Glyn Dillon, anyway. Let’s set aside for now the question of what ‘simple, “normal” stories’ might be.
S. was conveniently positioned in Manhattan yesterday, so I asked her to stop at Forbidden Planet and get the Glyn Dillon book in question for me: The Nao of Brown. It’s from Self Made Hero, a UK press I’d also never heard of. Have I been living in want of this kind of thing? I’m not sure. But it’s worth a look. I can’t just go buy everything that looks like it might be worth a look, by any means. In this case there’s a secondary reason, wound up in the story Dillon has to tell, for going ahead to buy the book. (It helps that it’s not expensive for a hardcover book of its length.) But I’m going to let myself explore down this path a little, where the simple normal stories drawn realistically are said to lie.