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Steve Conley Administrator Offline

Registered: 11/27/98
Posts: 2490
Loc: Arlington, Virginia, USA

Tonight, lucky New Yorkers can grab themselves come culture comics-style with CAROUSEL, a series of cartoon slide shows hosted by artist R. Sikoryak. Sikoryak, a former RAW contributor and NEW YORKER cover artist, has been putting together these cartoon slideshow for a few years now, with an eclectic lineup ranging from cartoonists to screenwriters to actors. While we were asking him about the slide show, R. also let slip a bit about his participation in UNSTABLE MOLECULES the upcoming Fantastic Four story by James Sturm and Guy Davis.

The line-up of the show is nothing if not diverse: Writer Todd Alcott (ANTZ) presents a humorous look at the creation of Spider-Man, with narration by James Urbaniak (SEX AND THE CITY). Musician Brian Dewan will display another of his hand made educational filmstrips. Cartoonist Kaz unveils slides of his alternative weekly comic strip, "Underworld." Painter and cartoonist Jim Torok will show his "Lo Tech Animations." Sikoryak himself continues his epic "Masterpieces of Western Civilization," which adapts literature into comic strip form. These have included such masterpieces as "Crime and Punishment" staring Batman, Kafka's Metamorphosis starring Charlie Brown, and as seen in DRAWN & QUARTERLY "The Scarlet Letter" as retold with Little Lulu.


SIKORYAK: Carousel is a cartoon "variety show " that I've hosted for several years. It features a wide array of cartoonists and performers who create slide shows and film strips. This one includes lots of alternative cartoonists, such as Kaz, Michael Kupperman, and Lauren R. Weinstein. (In the past, we've had works by Ben Katchor and David Sandlin.) Some creators are from the theater and music world-- such as Todd Alcott, Brian Dewan, and Doug Skinner. Others are visual artists and illustrators, like Jim Torok and Megan Montague Cash. And we also bring in performers to do additional narration and music, such as James Urbaniak and Patrick Hambrecht. I'm sure I've left somebody out...

THE PULSE: How did you get involved in doing slide shows to showcase your comics?

SIKORYAK:I've certainly seen a lot of cool comics slide shows over the years, but I can pinpoint the one that made me start doing it myself. Around 1990, I saw Roz Chast present some of her cartoons as slides. The juxtaposition of her unassuming demeanor as she read the captions and the huge blowups of her drawings was really charming. She seemed a little nervous at first, but she quickly warmed up as the crowd starting laughing at the jokes. I've always liked seeing an artist present their work, it's so different from the way we usually look at comics.

I used to do a lot of downtown performance events, and I began to incorporate slide shows into those. It's a great way to introduce comics to a new audience.

Also, there's something great about isolating and enlarging each panel so that you can really appreciate the details and composition. As the slide shows developed, I've gotten actors to read (live) along with me, in addition to using (prerecorded) background music. Now I think of them as live radio plays -- with pictures.

THE PULSE: Is there any kind of overall theme to the show?

SIKORYAK: Not really... I like variety in the presentations. Some are goofy, some autobiographical, some even historical or philosophical. But regardless of the theme, they tend to be funny.

THE PULSE: Hey, what's this I hear about you working on a FANTASTIC FOUR comic?

SIKORYAK: James Sturm asked me to help out on his miniseries, UNSTABLE MOLECULES. It traces a day in the lives of Reed, Ben, Sue and Johnny circa 1958, before they got their powers. In turns out Johnny was fond of a comic book heroine, VAPOR GIRL, published by Atlas Comics at the time. Some Vapor Girl panels will be inserted within the story which James and artist Guy Davis are telling. I'm working as an archivist, doing the retouching and recoloring of the Vapor Girl panels, so they don't look too muddy. Those Vapor Girl comics are very rare, and we had a lot of trouble tracking down any copies at all! (A very rare example of Vapor Girl is reproduced with this story.)

Carousel takes place Monday, October 21, at 9:00 pm at Dixon Place, 309 E. 26 St. (between 1st and 2nd Ave) Admission is $12.00 ($10 for students & seniors). For more information, call 212-532-1546.)

Elayne Riggs Offline

Registered: 01/29/99
Posts: 2983
Loc: Bronx, NY, USA
Sounds interesting! Jessica Abel & co. do much the same sort of thing with their Comix Decode shows. Very educational, and fun as well!

- Elayne
"Life is truly normal only when people feel safe enough to critique, defend, and analyze art and popular culture." - Lisa Schwarzbaum
Click here for my blog, Pen-Elayne on the Web
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