TABLE OF CONTENTS

TOP TEN

Dash Shaw

Dash Shaw is a cartoonist and animator whose graphic novel New School was published in 2013 to wide acclaim. His other publications include Doctors (2014), BodyWorld (2010), and Bottomless Belly Button (2008); among his recent animations are Wheel of Fortune (2012), Blind Date 4 (2011), the Sigur Rós video and Sundance Film Festival selection Seraph (cowritten with John Cameron Mitchell, 2012), and the IFC series The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D. (2009). He is currently a Cullman Center Fellow at the New York Public Library.

  1. BREAKDOWN PRESS

    A London-based boutique publisher of small-press/unusual comic books, Breakdown Press carries the torch for beautiful, intelligent, and forward-thinking comics being made today. I humbly suggest their manga reprint project, which includes Masahiko Matsumoto’s The Man Next Door and visionary Seiichi Hayashi’s Flowering Harbour (both 2014), as well as releases by new cartoonists such as Lala Albert, Inés Estrada, Antoine Cossé, Conor Stechschulte, Connor Willumsen, and Breakdown’s art director, Joe Kessler.

    *Back cover of Seiichi Hayashi’s _Flowering Harbour_* (Breakdown Press, 2014). Cover and layout design by Joe Kessler and Alex Johns. Back cover of Seiichi Hayashi’s Flowering Harbour (Breakdown Press, 2014). Cover and layout design by Joe Kessler and Alex Johns.
  2. A. J. H. DUGANNE, THE FIGHTING QUAKERS: A TRUE STORY OF THE WAR FOR OUR UNION (J. P. ROBENS, 1866)

    I am currently working on a graphic novel about a Quaker soldier during the American Civil War. Quakers were pacifists, but they were also antislavery; many Quakers fought in the war. There was even an all-Friend regiment. Doing research at the NYPL, I discovered Fighting Quakers. It was delivered to my office and I got 148-year-old paper flakes on my pants. Much of the book is a correspondence between two brothers and their mother. One brother writes to tell her (I’m paraphrasing), “People who write that war is horrible just want to be called heroes when they get home. War is mostly boring.” He later died in a prison camp.

    *Page from A. J. H. Duganne’s _The Fighting Quakers: A True Story of the War for Our Union_* (J. P. Robens, 1866). Page from A. J. H. Duganne’s The Fighting Quakers: A True Story of the War for Our Union (J. P. Robens, 1866).
  3. BILLY IRELAND CARTOON LIBRARY AND MUSEUM, OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY, COLUMBUS

    Ohio State started amassing original comic art in the 1970s. Now they have an unbelievable collection and recently opened a new, spacious building for the museum. I went there to research Civil War–era illustration (Thomas Nast!) but also found gorgeous Japanese Sunday newspaper comics from the ’20s and ’30s, Chester Gould’s ink-stained desk, and an informed staff. It’s the best place for serious comics study in America, maybe in the world.

  4. 3D WAREHOUSE

    Cartoonists used to have “morgues,” archives of photo references to swipe from. Hergé and Roy Crane found ways of tweaking images to make them look more cartoonish and less overtly photographic. Now there’s 3D Warehouse, an archive where people (nerds) make digital three-dimensional versions of objects—buildings, chairs, anything—and offer these representations online for free. If I need to draw a covered wagon, I can search “covered wagon,” download a 3-D model, and take photos of it from any conceivable angle.

    *Rendering of Charles and Ray Eames’s molded plastic chair with rocker base, 3D Warehouse website, 2014.* Rendering of Charles and Ray Eames’s molded plastic chair with rocker base, 3D Warehouse website, 2014.
  5. RALPH BAKSHI

    Where are the truly strange, independent animated features in the US? Animation and comics are parallel industries that are dominated, unfortunately, by commercial interests, hacks, and bozos. That’s why we must cling to the original, idiosyncratic voices. Ralph Bakshi is one of them: He continues to provide inspiration, especially through his string of completely personal features Hey Good Lookin’ (1982), Heavy Traffic (1973), and his controversial masterpiece Coonskin (1975). I even like it that he made some stinkers (Lord of the Rings [1978], Cool World [1992])—when he sucks, he sucks hard!

    *Ralph Bakshi, _Heavy Traffic_, 1973*, 35 mm, color, sound, 77 minutes. Ralph Bakshi, Heavy Traffic, 1973, 35 mm, color, sound, 77 minutes.
  6. PAMELA COLMAN SMITH

    Smith drew the illustrations for the Rider-Waite tarot deck, which—particularly her “Sun” and “Fool” images—are some of the most widely recognized drawings in the world. She illustrated the entire Minor Arcana with characters and situations, as opposed to the traditional graphics of normal playing cards. I like the wobbly boldness of her lines, her affectless tone, her flat picture planes, and her literal interpretation of coded symbols. She has influenced nearly every tarot deck since.

    *“The Fool” card from the Rider-Waite tarot deck, illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, 1910.* “The Fool” card from the Rider-Waite tarot deck, illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, 1910.
  7. REGGIE WATTS

    As a performer of disorientation, Watts is, strangely and wonderfully, extremely popular. He often blurs the lines between sense and nonsense, between talking and singing. His TED Talk was complete BS; he winged it and yet said something meaningful: that everyone you admire is making it up as they go along.

    *Reggie Watts, Seattle, 2010.* Photo: Noah Kalina. Reggie Watts, Seattle, 2010. Photo: Noah Kalina.
  8. LADIES-ONLY DUNGEONS & DRAGONS

    I don’t play Dungeons & Dragons, but my wife does. Frustrated with being the only female in D&D groups, she found an underground network of ladies-only meetings. Of course, I’m not invited to any of them, but I have to imagine that something radical is taking place.

  9. LIQUID LIGHT SHOWS

    My teacher, mentor, and favorite artist and human being, Gary Panter, has an ongoing “hippie project” to resurrect the ’60s for the youth of today. He makes beaded necklaces and tie-dyed T-shirts, designs imaginary head shops, reads the January 9, 1968, issue of Look magazine to Parsons students, and stages liquid light shows with Joshua White. I didn’t fully comprehend light shows until I saw how they’re actually done: They’re completely lo-fi, alchemical, improvisatory. Now I understand why Sigmar Polke was into them. They’re playfully serious business.

    *Joshua Light Show, _Fulldome_, 2011.* Performance view, Hayden Planetarium, American Museum of Natural History, New York, June 3, 2011. From “Brain: The Inside Story,” 2010–11. Photo: Stan Schnier. Joshua Light Show, Fulldome, 2011. Performance view, Hayden Planetarium, American Museum of Natural History, New York, June 3, 2011. From “Brain: The Inside Story,” 2010–11. Photo: Stan Schnier.
  10. FREDERICK SEIDEL, “SIX POEMS” (PARIS REVIEW, NO. 211, WINTER 2014)

    Has any artist made growing old as badass as Seidel has? I hope when I’m seventy-eight I remember that Seidel was doing some of his most intense, awe-inspiring work at that age. . . . “It’s exciting. It’s exciting not to die.”