Data comics marries the nerd and the geek in you

At first sight this comic by computer scientist Matt Hong looks like one of Randall Munroe’s more elaborate xkcd gags, but it is something completely new.

This is a comic that tells a simple story, while at the same time providing the reader with actual insights on statistical data, in this case the distribution of activities along a typical American day.

To be honest, it took me a moment to grasp the meaning of the darkened frames, but it is really quite brilliant, poetic even. The graph device allows Hong to tell a fairly mundane story, essentially how an average American spends his day, while immersing it in context and suggesting a whole world around the anecdotal.

I was awestruck by this small gem. It was good enough to awaken the forever hybernating beast that is this blog.

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Nancy breaks the comics page

With this comic, current Nancy cartoonist Olivia James proves to her (quite strong-voiced) critics that she is the true successor to Ernie Bushmiller’s throne. Who else will pack breaking the fourth wall, a self-referencing Droste effect and storyboard-like graphics in one single Sunday strip?

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Those are some marvellous stamps, old bean.

Britain’s Royal Mail has announced the issue of a series of Marvel-themed stamps with a British slant, to be released in March 2019. A total of ten stamps will be published featuring the heroes of the day (i.e. the ones that are in the movies or on TV), along with a sheet that contains five stamps in an action sequence featuring Thanos. Oh, and there’s Captain Britain and Union Jack, which is nice, with Brexit around the corner and all.

The stamps will be designed by British cartoonist Alan Davis (of Marvelman, Judge Dredd and ClanDestine fame), and will feature particular British (well, London) elements, like the Gherkin and Trafalgar Square (if you look close). They are available in a myriad of formats which will set you back a couple of hundred dollars if you want it all.

But the stamps look good — they are well-designed, they have the appropriate comic-book feel to them (with captions and word bubbles) and, thanks to Davis’s art, they don’t look like they’ve been pasted together in an idle Tuesday afternoon like we have seen with superhero stamps in the past.

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Blutch in Strasbourg

French cartoonist and illustrator Blutch (Christian Hincker) will the guest of honor at next month’s Rencontres de l’Illustration in Strasbourg, and he provided the poster for the festival. Once more, through subtle colours and strange composition, he’s attained the tender alienation that is his trademark (see also Variations, his reworkings of famous pages from the history of bandes dessinées).

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The anti-Valentine

In order to give some counterbalance to the annual smooch fest that is Valentine’s Day, cartoonist Liana Finck presented this impression of Out of Africa writer Karen Blixen’s love life in the New York Times. Once more Finck proves herself to be one of the more original cartoonists that I’ve come across in recent years.

Illustration © 2019 The New York Times Company

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No, it’s your frame of reference.

While thrawling through my feeds earlier today, I came across this visual from a campaign for Sanofi Pasteur about the dangers of whooping cough. It’s probably just how my mind works, and how decades of Tintin have shaped my thinking, but it immediately made me think of the very famous frame from Tintin au Tibet, below.

And then I saw it also featured a Yeti! What are the odds!

I love these kinds of chaotic, big-plan images — you can keep looking at them and find new details you missed before. The campaign has some great other examples, by the way.

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Original and clear signage? Call Joost Swarte

What do you do when you visit a museum that’s full to the brim with artwork by your all time favorite artist? You admire the signage for toilets, wardrobes and the like.

When the Musée Hergé in Louvain-La-Neuve opened its doors in 2009, it really stood out because of its bold architecture, but also thanks to the inventive scenography by Dutch designer and illustrator Joost Swarte. Swarte paid meticulous attention to even the most minute detail, resulting in a user experience that is flawless and at once unique. Even the iconography of the signage fits perfectly in this temple for unique ligne claire art.

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Moebius for Maxwell House Coffee

This illustration is one of a series created by French comics genius Moebius (né Jean Giraud) for Maxwell House coffee. And even though it may seem to be a strange combination at first sight, one can only wonder how interesting and pleasing advertising would be if we’d let real artist at it more.

(via Elégie En Bleu, where you’ll find more)

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Bianca Bagnarelli on the Havana Syndrome

Italian cartoonist and illustrator Bianca Bagnarelli created this brilliant piece for an article in the November 18 issue of the New Yorker on the Havana Syndrome, the mysterious case when numerous people working in the American embassy in Cuba suddenly became ill.

I think this is an excellent example of how comics can appear where you least expect them, but that, while a series of pictures may be used to present a narrative, it’s not necessarily a linear series of scenes.

(Illustration © Bianca Bagnarelli)

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Sunday Evening Special – Júníus Meyvant

Thank God for playlists, offering me (and the rest of us) some kind of brilliance at least every so often. This soul god hails from Iceland, and he makes me very happy.

(this post goes out one day late, but maybe this will cheer up your blue monday)

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