No Words

No WordsHere’s another of my collaborations with the independent theater group The Civilians. Early last year, they approached me about a book they’re putting together based on their show, Gone Missing. As they said when they contacted me: “The show is about loss and about how the loss of small things can seem enormously resonant despite the relatively trivial material value of something. Six actors portray more than 30 characters who have lost everything from rings and phones to dogs and favorite toys and family heirlooms.” Again, right up my alley!

They continued: “Anyway, we are working to produce a book based on Gone Missing. It’s not exactly a published version of the play. Rather, we’re taking the monologues and pairing each vignette or story with an artist or illustrator. The book will be primarily an art book, something to look at rather than something to read, and I’m very excited about it because its a way for The Civilians to expand the range of artists they work with and the methods behind their philosophy of engaging with the ‘real world.'”

They provided me with a monologue from the show, a harrowing personal reminiscence alternately called “Drunken Englishman” or “No Words.” I’ve never seen the show, but it was my initial feeling that the monologue would be very difficult to adapt. But I love a good challenge — in many ways, that’s what makes a collaboration come alive — so I went at it. I approached the piece from a formalist viewpoint, imposing a series of restraints on myself. In the end, I wanted it to be not exactly comics, not exactly a straight recitation of the monologue, but something in between. Most of all, I wanted to use the panel format to capture the rhythm — the beat, if you will — of the spoken piece. The result is for you to judge.

So, without further ado, I present “No Words.”

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

About joshcomix
Brooklyn-based cartoonist specializing in nonfiction comics about topics like Hurricane Katrina, the media, travel, and finance.

18 Responses to No Words

  1. man_size says:

    This is the best collaboration you’ve done, thus far. Brilliant use of the comix form. You made it yours.

  2. iconotrast says:

    What I like
    Yeah that’s pretty cool.
    Borges!

    • 4_eyez says:

      Re: What I like
      thanks so much! (i’m embarrassed to admit i’ve never read Borges. i’m such a poseur.)

      • iconotrast says:

        Re: What I like
        You would like him I think.
        He had a surealistic slow burn thing gonig on in some stories.

      • 4_eyez says:

        Re: What I like
        i’ve always been intimidated by him. but sari says they use a piece of his, “borges & I” in an 11th grade textbook she worked on. if high school juniors read borges, by gum, then so can i!!!

  3. That is sweeeeeeeeeet. The formal stuff you’ve got going here reminded me a little of the Karasik/Mazzucchelli take on City of Glass. (I mean that as a compliment, of course.)

    • 4_eyez says:

      Dude, that is one of the best compliments I could ever receive! The Karasik/Mazzucchelli adaptation of City of Glass is in my top five of all-time best comics EVER. i am trembling with glee.
      (Did you know Paul Karasik was Sari’s art teacher in high school?)

      • I just calls ’em as I sees ’em. I would love to see you tackle this type of thing more in the future, either in collaboration or stuff of your own creation. It’s really, really strong.
        I didn’t know about the Karasik/Sari connection. I met him once at a signing he did here in DC for the book he wrote with his sister (the name escapes me now…). I get to the front of the line and he’s like: “You’re a comics guy, aren’t you? You look like a comics guy.” His sister said he could spot ’em a mile away. And to think, I was in my secret identity (ie, work) clothes. Did he see my Spider-Man costume underneath? I wonder…

      • 4_eyez says:

        wow, that’s funny. ‘cuz i don’t think you look like a “comics guy.” you’re too tall and friendly — and you don’t blink furiously when you go out in the sun.

  4. man_size says:

    I keep revisiting your 2-pages…a perfect combination of black, white, and grey/

  5. al_monster says:

    Hey, I don’t know nuthin about nuthin, but this is fantastic.
    And oddly familiar. I’ve been sick for a long time, and I’ve been feeling like this, like senior moments, but it can’t be that, things are just missing.
    The pictures are poifect. Well done!

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