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July 14, 2008


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It was nice meeting you too, Charles. I enjoyed getting the chance to walk and talk.


I'd second Charles' praise for Berona's WORDLESS BOOKS, which is an excellent sampler of the genre.

I'd also note a couple of other excellent publications about "wordless books," most notably GRAPHIC WITNESS (Firefly Books, 2007), edited and introduced by George A. Walker, which reproduces Masereel's THE PASSION OF A MAN, Ward's WILD PILGRIMAGE, Patri's WHITE COLLAR and Hyde's SOUTHERN CROSS. The Berona and Walker books nicely complement each other; Berona gives examples from many different wordless books, while Walker takes a narrower focus, offering up four complete books. There's also a lot of ancillary material about the process of woodcutting itself (what tools make what marks, etc.) in Walker's collection.

Drawn and Quarterly released a very attractive stand-alone edition of SOUTHERN CROSS in 2007.

Did anyone on the panel mention Mat Brinkman's TERATOID HEIGHTS or Brian Ralph's CAVE-IN?

David Berona

Great coverage of this event. It was a pleasure to see you again. I have to agree with many of the evaluations that Juliet shared with me, that this was one of the best panel discussions at ALA. I felt that the four of us could have continued our discussion with the audience into the evening.
Best wishes,

Ben Towle

This sounds like a really interesting line-up of talks. An item of likely interest to fans of wordless comics is this exhaustive website listing wordless comics of all sorts:



Ben, thanks for the site tip re: wordless comics!

In fact that website, Paul van Dijken's, is based on an earlier bibliography compiled partly by our good friend Mike Rhode (along with Tom Furtwangler and David Wybenga). I believe that list was begun back in 1997 and last updated in 2003, so Paul's list is a kind of sequel.

Mike Rhode is one of the unseen gods of comic art bibliography. Lots of people out there have probably been using his work without even knowing it, or knowing him!

This is an apt moment to refer everyone to Mike's excellent blog about comics-related activity in the Washington, D.C. area:


BTW, Mike is the editor of the forthcoming Harvey Pekar: Conversations (UP of Mississippi). Look out for it, folks!


>> Did anyone on the panel mention Mat Brinkman's TERATOID HEIGHTS or Brian Ralph's CAVE-IN?<<

(Sound of hand slapping forehead! D'oh!)

Thanks for the reminder! And, yeah, that D&Q ed. of SOUTHERN CROSS is wonderful.

Funny anecdote about this. Two days ago I was at Vroman's, Pasadena's excellent, long-lived independent bookstore (http://www.vromansbookstore.com is where you can find them online) and was, of course, looking at the GN section. A man was standing there looking at something, with a copy of SOUTHERN CROSS sitting right next to him. The book was face down, so I wasn't quite sure if it was SC or not. I asked if I might look at it, and a very awkward "conversation" ensued, because he could not speak English and I could only manage a few halting words in Spanish, one of the (at least two?) languages he was speaking, the other one I thought I recognized being French (a companion called out to him quickly and I couldn't grasp the words).

This exchange went further when I started noticing all the woodcut novels in stock there, including GRAPHIC WITNESS. We stopped to look at that one. Turned out the man wasn't claiming the copy of SC (he sort of nervously put it back in the shelf), but he was interested in the woodcut books. In fact he asked me what the technique used in the books was called in English, and I told him, "woodcuts."

All very ironic, our hedgy, tentative exchange, considering the cross-cultural reach of such wordless books!

As luck would have it, I also ran into Jaime Hernandez during the same shopping expedition. No shit.

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