Monthly Archive for October, 2011

Sketchbook 027

drawing by tom kaczynski

True Swamp No. 2

True Swamp No. 2 by Jon Lewis

Meanwhile… at my little comix label Uncivilized Books… we’ve got the new True Swamp mini-comic!

Zaha Hadid

zaha hadid by tom kaczynski

Sketchbook 026

Rem Koolhaas

rem koolhaas by tom kaczynski

Missed This Dept.

trans-utopia excerpt by tom kaczynski

Another several weeks old story I should’ve mentioned on here at some point. Over at the Comics Journal site I was interviewed by Mike Dawson for his TCJ Talkies podcast. The conversation took a lot of weird but enjoyable turns. We ended up talking a lot about the Trans-Series and the social & philosophical issues that crop up again and again in my comics. Check it out.

Sketchbook 025

Willendorf Venus by Tom Kaczynski

Inside the Social Media Coal Mines

Alexey Grigoryevich Stakhanov

We’re breaking all kinds of productivity records here at Trans Atlantis (and over at Uncivilized Books). For example blogging is up since last week by over 100%! This inspired us to draw this quick portrait of a young Alexey Grigoryevich Stakhanov, the patron saint of industrial productivity. I won’t recap the history of the man here (or any disputes about his records), suffice it to say that he was very productive (or so it was claimed), he was a genuine hero to many and he inspired the Stakhanovite movement.

Was there ever an American version of a supremely productive worker, mythical or otherwise? The closest I can think is John Henry who outraced a steam hammer… but he died in his victory. And really, his story is a tragedy signifying the end of human prowess in the face ‘the machine’. Stakhanov worked with machines & his comrades and achieved unheard of levels of productivity. But I can’t think of a single western worker hero. They are generally depicted as part of faceless masses (say in Metropolis) or bumbling fools (Chaplin’s Modern Times).

Is there a hero for post-industrial office workers? I can’t think of one. Office workers – though often depicted with more personality than industrial workers – are mostly shown as petty & damaged bureaucrats (The Office) doing mostly nothing in the strict hierarchical pyramid-like corporate system. It seems the only genuine American heroes are ‘titans of industry’ and their rags to riches tales of relentless ambition. Is there anything heroic in doing your daily job in America? Or is that for suckers? Am I missing something obvious?

This is also invites comparisons of industrial work with post-industrial work. Is social media todays coal mine?

MIX 2011 Poster

I’m really excited about the Minneapolis Indie eXpo this year. Last year turned out great and this year promises to be even better. There are some amazing guest coming to town for that weekend. Make your plans to attend the show now!

This year I was asked to do the poster for the show. My poster idea was to turn MIX into some a of World’s Fair. Here was an early idea which seemed not grand enough. It got turned into a banner for the site:

MIX Art by Tom Kaczynski

This is the final poster art:

mix poster art by tom kaczynski

It’s a bit of a mash-up of traditional architectural forms and the kind of work I’ve been doing for my Structures project.

 

Music for Neanderthals

mome 22 - music for neanderthals by tom kaczynski

Here’s another item I neglected to note: the passing of the MOME anthology. My first comic for MOME appeared in issue #7. That time seems impossibly distant. I was still living in New York at that time and hadn’t published much of anything… besides a bunch of mini-comics and short pieces here and there. I was grateful & excited to be included and produced a steady stream of  short pieces for my first few issues. I was unable to keep up that productivity indefinitely, which was just as well. There were other cartoonists waiting in the wings for a chance to be included. But since then, MOME became a constant presence. Whenever I came up with some crazy short story idea I knew it would probably find a place in some future volume of the anthology. Well no longer. MOME closed it’s doors this summer with issue 22. I was fortunate enough to be able to contribute to the last volume. My final MOME story is called “Music for Neanderthals.” In retrospect the theme of extinction was fitting…

I think MOME’s influence will reverberate into the future and will have an outsized effect on future comics… or maybe that’s just my wishful thinking. Here’s to MOME! It will be missed.

Fantagraphics posted some preview pics of the last issue. You can ge the book here.