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The best fiction often succeeds because its creator has constructed a convincing world. By that I don’t mean a place that seems realistic, but rather a world that’s believable because it’s been thought through — pages of notes, characters described down to their beauty marks, the relationships between them, their homes and towns mapped out. Vladimir Nabokov was known to draw and diagram not just the elements of his own stories, but of others’ as well.
Comics are an especially apt medium for this type of construction, since, well, they’re visual. Diagrams and maps in comics can do different kinds of work: they can be used as exposition, to help readers get their bearings in a story, or to create a mood or feeling, or simply as a prop. They’re not even necessarily made-up — Jason Lutes’s Berlin is a series of fictional stories set in a historical place.
Comic Cartography, a lovely blog that I discovered today, collects images of maps from all different kinds of comics, from Lutes’s Weimar-Era Berlin to the office layout of the Daily Bugle, the fictional newspaper featured in the Spider-Man comics. The wide range of work makes the blog engrossing, as it highlights the many forms and shapes that maps can take but also their underlying commonality: we use them to make sense of the world, even if that world exists only in our heads. To that end, there’s also something wonderfully meta about seeing these images within images — they seem to simultaneously represent a homing in and a zooming out.
Started by comics critic and enthusiast Aaron King, Comic Cartography is a sort of second coming of another blog from four years ago that departed from the same premise: Comic Book Cartography. That blog drew heavily on superhero and mainstream comics, whereas King’s reach seems broader, taking in everything from newspaper cartoons to graphic novels. Although he’s written that he’ll be slowing down from one post a day to whenever he finds relevant images, I look forward to following along as he continues to compile some of the most imaginative visual records in comics.
To showcase this work exactly 500 years after Magellan’s conquest of the Philippines in a space that, 134 years ago, was a “human zoo” of Indigenous people from the Philippines, is certainly poignant.
Since 2014, Alison has been visually dissecting Monique Wittig’s novel The Lesbian Body, which theorizes the split subjectivity women experience in language, an inherently patriarchal structure.
This exhibition in Great Falls, Montana addresses the concept of intention in contemporary fiber art and its complex relationship with the history of women’s art as craft.
N.I.H., short for No Humans Involved, was an acronym used by the LAPD to refer to “young Black males who belong to the jobless category of the inner-city ghettos.”
Cha, who was murdered at 31 years old, explored the nuances of forced migration and language.
Explore new avenues in artistic practice and scholarship amongst a diverse cohort of peers while gaining leadership skills both academically and professionally.
Taping a banana wasn’t enough, so the art world had to do something even more stupid with food.
Stoner jokes, unexpected pop culture references, and an unlikely love story jangle against each other like charms on a bracelet.
In this exhibition, curated by Patrick Flores and presented by Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Paiwan artist Sakuliu reflects on interspecies co-sharing and coexistence.
The plans for Munger Hall may just be the most ruthlessly efficient way to house 4500 students.
The Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara (MHA) Nation says tribal leaders were not consulted regarding the relocation of the statue.
The autumn holiday of Sukkot continues to offer solace and community for new generations.