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Thursday, May 26, 2011

"The Single Most Cosmopolitan Cartoonist I’ve Ever Met"

TCJ has posted this wonderful interview with R.O Blechman by Jeet Heer. Of course it doesn't hurt that it begins by talking up our beloved chief and Blechman's Talking Lines, but it also goes on to provide a fascinating portrait of twentieth century art, illustration and animation including mentions of James Thurber, Gene Deitch, Maurice Sendak, The New Yorker, McCarthy, etc, etc, etc.

HEER: I don’t know how familiar you are with Drawn & Quarterly, but their other books are all very nice physical objects. I think that’s where Chris Oliveros really distinguished himself.

BLECHMAN: Yeah.

HEER: All the books by Seth and many other cartoonists are all really beautiful objects.

BLECHMAN: But my experience with him is that he is a first-rate editor. He was very involved in the selection of pieces, and sometimes he did things that I would never think of. For example, the very last piece in the book I thought would be “Georgie.” Which is a dark piece. So Chris thought, “Hey, let’s bring the reader up a little bit” so he thought to include…

HEER: “Looking in the Mirror”?

BLECHMAN:: Yes, it’s nice, because number one, it’s autobiographical. And number two, there’s a little humor and lightness which God knows the reader would like [Heer laughs] after having gone through the harrowing adventure of this poor dog.

HEER: Yeah, that’s right.

BLECHMAN: It’s typical of how Chris has been very instrumental in the shaping of this book.

HEER: Yes. I totally agree. It’s interesting. There’s another magazine that was doing a profile of Drawn & Quarterly and of Chris. I told the interviewer that Chris really sort of harkens back to the older style of editors who really creates a list and really does a lot just in terms of selecting stuff and by editing his list. He reminds me of James Laughlin who did New Directions.

BLECHMAN:: Oh, wow.

HEER: You know, like that sort of publisher.

BLECHMAN: My hero. I love New Directions. I was about to say, I think Chris is the Maxwell Perkins of the graphic novel industry. He, again, was extraordinarily helpful and I must say, I resisted this cover because I thought it was so Steinbergian. But I’m so glad that, finally, it was produced. It only happened because I couldn’t come up with my own design. I love to do design work, but I couldn’t think of anything better than that.

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