Monday, May 7, 2012

Recent commentary on my other book

Found here.

Translated to English for the benefit of international readers:

George said...

ΟΚ...80% of this album give off the sense that nothing of what we go through each day has any particular meaning to it. I say to you a resounding 'come on!'. 'Nihilism' I think, is the word. You did you provide any solution to your readers... In my opinion if you stood 100% behind what you created, you'd be dead by now (possibly by commiting suicide). What makes you keep on going IN SPITE of the troublesome worries inherent in life, that you neglected to let us know in the 50 pages of your book. (And do not think that the epilogue of the book saves you any face by playing the part of the artist that shows you the TRUTH that you unenlightened beings cannot see. That role in my opinion is the most passive. In any case, what you show in your comics, I see in life as well and I try to combat it. If I didn't do this, I'd die. You just made me feel like shit... where is the good in that in any degree, huh? I mean no offence, I also make comics.


My answer and resulting dialogue below.

I replied...

I did not get into making comics to give you answers about anything. It's self evident that I still exist. In your own comics I urge you to try to give answers to life's questions and see how that reverberates inside you. I do not care much for didacticism. If you approach ZX as a manual on how to live life, it ends up more like a manual to a death, yes. But as I said, I am still here, so that probably was not the intention (of the book). My hypocricy is probably not the only explanation to this.

In any case, if you felt like shit, that's probably better for me to you not having felt anything after reading. You're still there as well, after all. Aren't you?

George said...
Oh yes, I am alive!! But I'd be interested to find out your goals are when you draw your comics. Perhaps for you it is beneficial to get some things off of your chest... but what about us, your readers? I do not think you're asking enough of us. I just have seen a lot of artistic works which people would characterize as dark and pessimistic or even depressing and they still have some light to them that shines through the darkness. Your is just... I mean, it's just the path that leads many to suicide. That is, my comment stands for 80% of it, because there were parts I enjoyed, like the story with the grandfather. In my opinion we live in a world where the difficult task is to find a reason to keep on existing, we need to search for it and we need to fight for it. And that's what I think humanity has reflexively done for all these years. We're a spoiled generation and I think we have taken it for granted that everything's going to be perfect. If my grandmother, who lost her father at age six, her father at age eleven, her three brothers at war, if she let despair take hold of her she would have never married. I would have never been born. Almost twenty people would not exist today, and she would not have experienced a full life herself thereafter. Flora longs for sunlight, not for darkness. It is the darkness that is readily found everywhere, just everywhere. But light is scarce. Perhaps it's just me. Perhaps for other people it would be more beneficial to get slapped around a little bit to wake up from their rosy existence. But 99% of people do not live a rosy existence... and many of them are living in situations which we cannot imagine in our worst nightmares.

I understand what you're wondering about. What is the purpose of 'dark' art. The only obligation for art is to provide access. Every comic I've drawn so far has provided access to something, melancholy, small hope, something funny, an alienating moment, something illogical, something beautiful (I hope). These are my noteworthy offerings. I make these comics with a personal stake, it is not an easy process.

I do not see what is so suicidal about 'Ektos Thematos', I have to say. Initially when I read your comment I thought you were talking about my second and newest album 'ZX'. Perhaps you should avoid that one if 'Ektos Thematos' seemed too heavy for you. Then again, perhaps not.

What can I say? I enjoy heavy art. I like to be moved, I like the access. It makes me feel alive and hopeful and energetic. I realize that it may not be the same for you, but I do not think you'll die from it.

I do not like the idea that I'm putting my burdens on my readers. No burden is 'removed' from me. It's still on me. And my readers should claim ownership for their own melancholy. I provide access. If you were so saddened by 'Ektos Thematos' and you do not enjoy melancholy, why didn't you stop reading half-way?

As to light and flora, I would rather avoid the literary reply. My aim with 'Ektos Thematos' was to provide access to noteworthy emotions. Access doesn't hurt anybody. Nobody killed themselves for reading a poem. They killed themselves for X reason and there was a poem that underlined it, perhaps.

Where you say that "and many of them are living in situations which we cannot imagine in our worst nightmares." That's not enough. I need access. Make a comic, show me what you found noteworthy, show me my worst nightmares if you can. Take that risk.

Otherwise 'the suffering of the Other' is an academic point, and an underhanded rhetoric device at that.

George said...
Ok.. Sorry for all of this but the invitation of feedback (found in the intro to your book) was just too enticing. A final question, perhaps a bit cliche... which are your biggest influences? I know, probably too numerous to note, but if you could list 5-6 artists or works that moved you, which would they be? They don't have to be comic-related.
P.S.1 The parts about wars and gardening, I realize they sounded somewhat childish and faux-romantic, but I do think they are necessary for most of us and basically everybody uses these concepts whether they aknowledge it or not.
P.S.2 Excuse me but now I have to find a different comic artist to yell at, teehee. It has been interesting.. thank you.

My influences as a comic artist are expansive. If you're interested, check out Barry W. Smith from the US, Andrea Pazienza from Europe and Yukito Kishiro from Japan. In a more general sense, I have been moved by a great deal of Heavy Metal music like My Dying Bride, Fates Warning or Lordian Guard.

I appreciate the contact.

George said...
Truly, I am sorry to keep this up but now that the Greek neo-nazi party "Golden Dawn" has come out of the electorial process with a 7% of the vote, don't you think it's time to use your artistic capability for a little bit of didacticism (even though I know you abhor it)? It would do a lot of good for us.

No, I do not desire to teach anyone anything, political or otherwise, through my comics. If you do desire it, I urge you to do it in your own work, George.


I thought the dialogue was important, in understanding not just "Ektos Thematos" (for anyone else that has had trouble with it, I presume) but also "ZX". Art should be honest, and I do not believe anyone that wants to teach other people ethics, politics or any other 'way to live' is honest. I think the awe towards existence and that one hasn't come to any concrete answers about what life means is a honest thing to convey in art, if it has been felt. It builds a much stronger bridge with other people as a shared experience than any political message to push down their throats. ZX is a dark comic (much darker than "Ektos Thematos" whose darkness had been mitigated by attempts at humour to initially sell the premise to the publisher) and it's a much better comic for it. "Ektos Thematos" is bookended by periods of depression. ZX is a dark story that starts dark and ends less dark, because it is bookended by awe towards the unfathomable illogic in the center of sapience. It is a significant, if not the most significant thing I've wished to express. "Thanatos" is there. "Eros" must follow. I cannot and do not wish to 'teach' that awe (also called 'hope'). I wanted to express it. My life has become much better for expressing it. There is no message, there is only sentiment.


Erenan said...

Is there more to ZX than what you posted in chunks on Asides-Bsides? In other words, have I missed something by not having read a physical copy of it?

When I read ZX, which was not within what I'd consider very recent history, my feeling was that it started out fairly light, then got darker, and then at the end I felt as though the protagonist had endured something significant and profoundly challenging, and though shaken, he emerged from the fire... not unscathed, not even necessarily all right, but alive and arguably stronger than he was before. Am I forgetting what happened?

A cursory search on Google does not reveal a place where I can read "Ektos Thematos" online. Is there a hidden place I should go, or is there a place where I can purchase it?

Helm said...

ZX has an additional chapter in the print version.

Your assesment finds me in agreement.

"Ektos Thematos" is most of the material published in this blog from its inception up and before I started ZX!

Erenan said...

Oh! So I've read some of it, then, though not much. Good to know. I might dig through this blog a bit to read more.

Erenan said...

Argh! I hate to make two comments in a row, but I forgot (twice!) to mention that I doubt anyone who was seriously interested in becoming a neo-nazi would actually be deterred from that path by simply reading a comic, anyway.