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Bodyworld

by Dash Shaw
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Pantheon
  • Publishing date: 13/04/2010
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780307378422
  • ISBN: 030737842X

Synopsis

Questions for Dash Shaw on Bodyworld

Q: Bodyworld is about people who smoke a mysterious plant and can then read and feel each others’ thoughts. Where did you dream up that concept? Was there one event in particular that inspired it?
A: When I was in college I was really into figure drawing, and kept being involved in it after I graduated. When you’re drawing someone, part of it is imagining what it’s like to be inside of the person. You imagine yourself in their body, or look for a psychology in the kinds of poses they make or their face. I was also thinking about how to express how people think in comics, in ways outside of the normal thought balloons (which are just words). If you’re doing a book about telepathy, you’re really doing a book about how people think, and what it’s like to be inside of another person. So of course that leads to a strange, confusing, and funny, often goofy, story.

Q: Which character from Bodyworld was your favorite to dream up? Are any of them based on people in your life?
A: The main character, Paulie Panther, was the most fun for me. I think that shows on the page, especially during his interactions with some of the other characters, like Billy Borg. I can’t say that anyone was based on a specific, real person. The characters in Bodyworld are very stylized, cartoony, and unrealistic. I think they come more from my sense of humor than anything else.

Q: Which step (pencils, colors, etc.) is your favorite part of the drawing process?
A: For Bodyworld, it was the colors. I had done a lot of color comics before Bodyworld, but they were printed in grays because I didn’t know what I was doing. Color really freed me up. It was very playful. I work more unself-consciously in color, probably because for many years I was only interested in line drawing and black-and-white comics. It started to feel like my drawings were just an amalgamation of other people’s drawings, how someone else drew a hand or tree, but I didn’t have that baggage with color. The colors then helped my drawing, too. It’s hard to separate the different steps in Bodyworld, since all of the stages were integrated. It wasn’t like I did all of the drawings and then colored it. A lot of the pages moved back and forth between the drawing and the coloring stages. Because I don’t work inside of a system where I have to submit pencils, or ink a drawing and then color it--since I do everything--it allows me not to separate the stages in my mind.

Q: When did you know that cartooning was something you wanted to do full-time?
A: I always wanted to be a cartoonist, and have been doing comics all of my life. I’ve had a lot of friends who wanted to be cartoonists in high school and then stopped in college, and others who stopped after college. A lot of super-talented people stop. It’s a tragedy. I don’t know why I haven’t quit, but I think it’s because I enjoy it so much, while to others the cartooning process seems to be painful. It’s still fun for me. Comics aren’t something that you should want to procrastinate from doing, and they’re more fun to make than they are to read. It’s like a noncompetitive nonspectator sport. You have to keep at it; otherwise you get out of practice.

Q: David Mazzucchelli has called you "the future of comics." Where do you see comics heading in the future?
A: Right now in bookstores, all of the comics are grouped together: the reprints are right next to the contemporary comics, next to Marvel and DC, next to a nonfiction comic, etc. It’s as if you went into the book store and everything, all of it, was organized alphabetically. So I think what’ll happen in comics is that it’ll become more like other books, in that a Web cartoonist doesn’t necessarily read print comics, in the same way that some romance author doesn’t necessarily read the latest science fiction works. That’s already happening. But that’s unusual in comics. It’s usually been a small community. But, at the same time, I think there will be people who are viewing everything as a whole. So someone will like Robert Crumb, Otto Soglow, and Suehiro Maruo and then make comics that they’d want to read. Everything will move farther apart and also come closer together at the same time.

Q: What are your favorite graphic novels/comics? If you could name five comics that should be required reading, which would they be?
A: Answering that is too much pressure for me. I’m just going to suggest five comics that I read sort of recently, or are fresh on my mind, that I can recommend:
Black Blizzard by Tatsumi
The Clover Omnibus by CLAMP
Color stories by Guido Crepax in Heavy Metal
The recent Art in Time collection, edited by Dan Nadel, especially the Kona comic reprinted in there
New comics by Yuichi Yokoyama



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  • Strange Interesting Book
    From Amazon

    I had previously read the first few chapters of Bodyworld online, but after hearing about the print edition I decided to wait for the rest. I'm glad I did, the book is gorgeous. The vertical binding is a nice touch, imitating the reading scroll from the online version. The colors pop off the page and the fold out maps are a really cool feature. Check this out if you liked the Unclothed Man or Bottomless Belly Button.

  • Surprisingly Thought Provoking !
    From Amazon

    I picked this up on a lark, sight unseen, knowing only one short piece of one of the author's previous works. Starting off as what seems like a punk-hipster world view of the future, full of sarcasm and commercialism critique, ends up being a sci-fi mindtrip with inventive presentation through the medium of comics. I was quite surprised by the concept as I got deeper into the story. A lot to think about after you finish! I did not care for the ending, there were deeper areas for exploration left undeveloped. However, what started out frivilous ended up being a book with real value and, perhaps consciousness expansion. Well worth your time. BodyWorld

  • Botanist Finds Conscousness-Sharing Plant
    From Amazon

    Some comics are pretty straight-forward; //BodyWorld// is not one of those. //BodyWorld// explores what we consider of ourselves, and the boundaries that separate one from another. An alien race is conducting an experiment in consciousness, and have dispatched agents to spread a plant that, when burnt, causes individuals to share their consciousness, even allowing some to control the actions of others. They can share memories and sensations, and it creates some interesting issues. This book will make you explore those boundaries, especially as to whether or not those boundaries should be crossed, as various pairs see the pluses and minuses of being able to share their deepest, darkest memories, and the ramifications of that sharing; couples find that they are both more deeply sympathetic to as well as repulsed from the person that they share with. It's an interesting exploration of what is generally glossed over in most science fiction. Combined with one of the most interesting book designs (there is a flip-out map and character information that can be read even while reading the book), and this book is definitely worth the price.

  • Couple hours of ugliness for no payoff
    From Amazon

    Self-destructive professional drug experiencer + documenter finds a new drug and beyond that it's hard to say much without spoiling it. Except for the realism of the dialog of the trashy main character and the one or two stabs at ideas (that of a super organism like an ant colony or human society - mentioned but not explored - and the novelty of what happens when minds overlap - nothing attractive), it's really got nothing. Not the art, not an interesting depiction of the future, or overall point-possessing plot. None of: a pleasure to read, instructive, interesting, or a worthwhile experience, even taken as a whole.

  • weirdness, mind blowing drugsstranhe pictures
    From Amazon

    lots of weird drugs and surreal drama. strange drawing style. if you liked Asterios Polyp this one is as much strange as that one. you can see this free on authors pages but then you will decide to buy it anyway like me. Mazzucchelli even described it as "future of comics".... and he was right. totally mind blowing. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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