I've been looking over some of my earliest efforts at making comics lately, the stuff I did back before I could draw. That photo-collaged work obviously loses something to its lack of handmade content, but I like the directness of it, how willfully I was going about doing "experimental comics". Much as the mannerisms of drawing style are a part of comics, the way I interact with the medium it also takes a lot of setting aside before I can get to the actual content. Photographic imagery is more objective, maybe more communicative. "This is a picture of ______", with nothing getting in the way. I also think found imagery is a fun, useful thing to bring into my comics, because it dictates content that I wouldn't have thought up myself.
So: I found the photo negatives that make up this comic at LA's famous Fairfax Trading Post today, in the bins full of random old pictures. I love looking at photo negatives a lot more than I like looking at finished photography, I guess because it doesn't look like the real world looks at all, but still unmistakably represents it. Negatives are a lot like drawings that way. And strips of negatives, like the ones in the middle of this comic, are about as close to the comics form as photography gets. They're always so small, though -- these pictures are about half an inch tall in real life -- that it's tough to really live inside them, to drink them in as imagery. (Though that too is undeniably part of their ghostly charm.) So I thought I'd blow them up and put them online, big enough for the eye to really inhabit. I think the resulting photocopy-machine grit is a pretty tasty extra, deteriorating the objective quality of the photographic image a little bit, bringing it back into dialogue with drawing. But it's like a drawing done by a machine: human hands are still nowhere near this stuff. Negatives always creep me out, and I know I'm not the only one... maybe that's why. Regardless, that's where the title "Ghost House" comes from.