Dec. 06, 2011 | 2:12 p.m.
Dogma is AmGod spelled backward. That’s the kind of thing you pick up while reading the work of Dean Haspiel, the New York artist who finds himself at an interesting career crossroads with today’s release of “The Last Romantic Antihero.” Haspiel became one of our personal favorites after memorably putting his art with the words of Jonathan Ames (on “The Alcoholic”) and the late, great Harvey Pekar (on “The Quitter” as well as some installments of “American Splendor”), but with this new digital comic he goes back to his most persistent creation, the brawny Billy Dogma. “I think he represents my thugishness as a lover and a partner,” Haspiel said last week. “He’s also the one thing I will never sell to any corporation.” Dogma has been roaming the harsh ridgelines of Haspiel’s imagination for a while now but the writer-artist says he is “hitting […]
July 12, 2011 | 6:48 a.m.
The late, great (and grating) Harvey Pekar died one year ago Tuesday and left behind a singular legacy in the world of comics. Anxious, grouchy, obsessive and frequently paranoid, Pekar was a fascinating figure who loved music more than people and, fittingly, introduced a new jazz rhythm to comics with the wry, misanthropic memoir “American Splendor.” Above you’ll find an exclusive five-page excerpt from a new tribute to Pekar that will be going live Tuesday at Act-i-Vate, one of the liveliest corners of the online comics world and a place worthy of your bookmark. The tribute is a 25-page fumetti and features quote from Pekar himself and contributions from Seth Kushner, Josh Neufeld, Dean Haspiel, Jeff Newelt, Ted Hope and Joseph Remnant; Joyce Brabner, Pekar’s widow; and Shari Springer-Berman and Robert Pulcini, the directors of the terrific “American Splendor” film from 2003. Beyond the […]
Feb. 14, 2011 | 10:04 a.m.
FIRST LOOK: ‘THE ANGEL’ MOTION COMIC Even with all that chocolate, Valentine’s Day can be as bitter as it is sweet. With that in mind, we bring you a special holiday exclusive — a truly evocative motion comic, “The Angel,” which melds the heart-tugging words and images of Dean Haspiel (artist on “The Quitter” and ”The Alcoholic“) with a forlorn soundscape created by none other than Moby. The final result shows that motion comics have a wide frontier ahead of them if creators approach them as a distinct medium and not as paper-doll passive or low-energy animation. This motion comic adaptation of Haspiel’s printed-page version of “The Angel” was directed and produced by Daniel J. Kramer who uses text, artwork, composition and a sliding sense of motion to orchestrate the reading experience and introduce a rhythm to the aching monologue. Haspiel, one of the more restless talents […]
Aug. 17, 2009 | 2:59 p.m.
ARTIST AT WORK: DEAN HASPIEL This is the first installment of Artist at Work, something I’m hoping will be a semi-regular feature here at Hero Complex. Essentially, this will be a conversation with a comics artist about the craft and his or her process. I’m very happy to say we’re launching this with New York illustrator Dean Haspiel, who has done exceptional work in recent years on projects such as “The Alcoholic” with Jonathan Ames and “The Quitter” with Harvey Pekar. In October, Dean Haspiel will be one of 18 creators featured in the hardcover collection “The Act-I-Vate Primer,” which brings to the printed page the inspired spirit of Act-I-Vate Comix, the routinely outstanding Web-comics collective. Haspiel’s contribution is a story with his signature character, Billy Dogma, who this time around is reeling from a broken heart. It was a challenging and special story for Haspiel to put together but not […]
June 10, 2009 | 1:08 a.m.
For the past three years, I’ve gone to Chapman University in Orange, Calif., to speak with students about feature writing, journalism and the art of the interview. One of the students this year took my advice about persistence and followed up on my offer to seniors about writing something for this blog. She did more than that, too — she delivered a wonderful piece about an online comics series I’ve been admiring for months. Check out Beth Hartnett’s article below and keep an eye out for her name, something tells me she will be writing a lot in the months and years to come. — G.B. Dead rats and voodoo threats replace the potted plant or newcomer’s gift basket at a Brooklyn apartment complex. A little old lady, dressed like Strawberry Shortcake, finds solace with her dolls and cats, and red plastic furniture. Sinister scents […]
Sept. 15, 2008 | 4:29 a.m.
The Sunday Review: "The Alcoholic" by Jonathan Ames and Dean Haspiel (Vertigo Comics, hardcover, $19.99) On Sale Sept. 24. It was a grim weekend here in Los Angeles. There was a horrific train wreck on Friday afternoon and that same night the brilliant novelist David Foster Wallace was found dead at his home in Claremont with a noose around his neck. The self-inflicted death of any gifted writer starts your mind searching; the natural impulse is to scrutinize their body of work, which trailed behind their lives like the tail of a kite. All of this was circling in my brain this morning when I picked up “The Alcoholic,” the wrenching (and, frequently, the retching) graphic novel written by novelist Jonathan Ames, whose own besotted life inspired the contours of this tale. The book is brilliantly executed with […]