Kramers Ergot 6 (2006), page 35 panels 1-4. Marc Smeets.
Here's the latest installment of my Robot 6 column. This time I talked about an absolutely gorgeous page from the sketchbook of the massively underrated (and under-read) Dutch cartoonist Marc Smeets. Smeets is a really interesting artist for a lot of reasons -- his cartooning skill is pretty much unimpeachable and he has a real propensity for truly bizarre visual ideas that are still compelling, which is a lot rarer than it might sound. But what I focused in on is the way Smeets' work present a completely non-linear comics experience, one in which the sequencing of images next to one another on a page is about the only thing that makes the random, scattershot processions of disconnected words and images "comics" at all. Smeets really works on the outer limits. It's a way of comics very much worth talking about, and it also gives me a chance to present my side of the somewhat contentious discussion that erupted in the comments section of last week's Hal Foster analysis. So go read it. It's real good. Starts like this:
Sequence is vast. As I’ve said here a few times before, it’s what’s makes comics comics. If it’s got images placed in sequence on the page or on the screen and it wants to call itself comics, then I for one fail to see grounds for rejecting it as such. That’s not to say that all comics are equal — though sequence is what creates visual art as comics, the skill of its use is a major part of what creates good or bad ones. But the idea that certain kinds of sequencing are more appropriate to comics, or even work better in comics than others is simply a fallacy. The old chestnut “it’s the singer, not the song” applies here. A method of sequencing’s effectiveness is directly proportionate to the skill of the artist using it. Read more