I’m dazzled by too much brilliance today. First, there’s Graham Rawle’s masterpiece Woman’s World.
It is so good. The whole thing is “written” in collaged snippets of old British women’s magazines. On top of that, the story is moving, suspenseful, and engaging from start to finish, as well as funny, deep and clever. For something that could stand on its own for being technically singular and “meta,” it packs an enormous emotional wallop.
It’s a sad comment on society that this book isn’t more widely famous. Still, I’m grateful just to have read it.
Rawle also has a blog where you can see his latest creations, including the weekly “Bright Ideas“.
No sooner had I finished Woman’s World than I started Sanjay Patel‘s breathtakingly beautiful Ramayana: Divine Loophole. Sanjay and I joined the same Mutual Admiration Society a few years ago, before Sita was even finished. We independently developed graphic 2-D stylings of the Ramayana; his are more intricate and angular, while mine are more rounded and outlined. There’s been a wee bit of confusion among friends and Sita fans which I’d like to put to rest: I love this book, it’s not “edging in” on Sita’s “territory,” and y’all should admire a copy for yourselves. Besides, there is no Sita print book available, and if there were it wouldn’t be this good.
Its publisher, Chronicle Books, has conventionally stingy ideas about sharing images online; Michael Sporn had to scan his review copy himself. Fortunately, Sanjay has more images on his web site. Even if every image were available digitally, they wouldn’t compete with the physical beauty of the printed object. The production values of this thing are extraordinary. You want to touch it and smell it. Every page is printed crisply and perfectly, with color bleeding off each knife-sharp edge. It’s everything a graphic book should be, offering a sensual, immersive experience. Like one reviewer wrote, “I want to physically jump into this book.” It’s a container worthy of its content, restricted or not.
The Open-Source Coffee Table Book: Publishing Pop Culture in the Digital Age
Nina Paley (Nina Paley Productions, LLC)
5:25pm Wednesday, 02/11/2009
Location: Broadway North (6th Floor)
New York Marriott Marquis Times Square
Why should techies have all the fun? The few publishers to embrace open content focus primarily on technical books. But an increasing number of artists and pop culture creators are seeking alternatives to copy restricting their works. What works for Cory Doctorow’s science fiction can also work for graphic novels, art and coffee table books. Unfortunately, publishers that historically specialize in popular culture – many of which are subsidiaries of the same media conglomerates pushing DRM and extending copyright enforcement – are unwilling to pursue the open-source model. Will existing open-source publishers expand into pop culture to exploit this niche? Will new publishers emerge to serve both pop culture markets and artists?
I’m making a power point (excuse me, keynote) presentation and everything.
Today’s New York Times Book Review contains an article on Sarah Boxer’s Ultimate Blogs, with this to say about the blog you’re reading now:
“I also liked being taken off the beaten path and into a blogger’s area of obsessive, esoteric interest. In the case of the cartoonist-blogger Nina Paley, it’s the Sanskrit epic poem the “Ramayana,” which cast its spell on her as her marriage fell apart in Trivandrum, India, to which she’d moved in the first place because her husband had taken a job there. (Her blog posts and drawings document her attempt to create an animated feature based on the “Ramayana” but told from the point of view of Sita, the subjugated wife of the epic’s hero, Rama.)” [link]
What can I say but, ‘w00t!’?
What with the Berlinale and all, I forgot to mention ninapaley.com is included in Sarah Boxer’s new anthology, Ultimate Blogs: Masterworks from the Wild Web. She’s doing a reading from it TONIGHT:
at the Chelsea Barnes & Noble (6th Ave and 22nd St.) on Monday, Feb. 18th, at 7 pm.
Two of the bloggers in the book, Alex Ross of The Rest Is Noise and Jennie Portnof of johnny I hardly knew you, have kindly agreed to help me out. I’d love to see you there!
If I’m awake, I’ll be there too, so come on down!