The Friday afternoon before MoCCA Art Festival our students were scrambling to get their comics finished up. Still, we made time to meet up at MoCCA after lunch, where David Mazzucchelli himself met us to give us a tour of his just-opened retrospective show, “Sounds and Pauses, the Comic Art of David Mazzucchelli,” curated by Dan Nadel.
[reposted and slightly edited… and now featuring a jump!]
The blown-up panel that serves as the entrance to the show was painted by David himself after an elaborate transfer project involving a puzzle of 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheets of paper with little pieces of the blown-up image on them.
These four drawings are framed four-up because they are small, maybe 5″ x 3″. These drawings were used for the cover images of Batman: Year One, for which they were blown-up and colored–see the next photo:
This is an acetate overlay of the blown-up image, now something more like 10 x 15″, with painted color by Richmond Lewis underneath [correction courtesy Signor Mazzucchelli: Richmond colored all the interiors; David colored the covers himself–MM]. I asked and now forget if it’s gouache or acrylic. I think it’s the former. David loved the effect of these covers: the simplified, gestural inking which went on to become a hallmark of his later style. You can see the progression from the earlier to later pages from that series.
A spread and one of the vellum overlays which enabled David to work in two Pantone colors on a story which changed a lot of cartoonists’ (myself included–see “Night of the Grossinator”) ideas about the potential of color and printing in comics, “Discovering America” from Rubber Blanket #2 (by the way there are copies of Rubber Blanket on sale at the show and I recommend you snatch them up before they’re all gone).
The final, printed spread (the red plate of the page on the left appears in the previous photo). David reiterated numerous times that the original pages are of little value to him; what counts—what is the real comic—is the printed book.
Kind of an illegible photo, but just to give you a shot of the two flat cases full of David’s notes, index cards, studies, and lettering samples for Asterios Polyp. He worked out the story on index cards, then sketched small thumbs in spreads (keeping the reading flow always in mind), and only then worked up final pencils and inks.
David did a lot of “post-production” in Photoshop. Here’s an example of a bunch of drawings (showing a strong, if semi-unconscious, Saul Steinberg influence) that he drew on a big sheet of bristol board and later pasted in to a page: