Astronaut, David Bowman, is absorbed by the monolith and becomes the Star Child, in both the book and film, 2001: A Space Odyssey. In Bowman, Pat Aulisio's comic, the astronaut is not absorbed. He adventures on.
Aulisio's art is inspiring, frenetic, and beautiful. Imagine Gary Panter's hands were cut off and transplanted onto Jack Kirby's arms. In other words, cartoony and raw in all the right ways and at the same time structured traditionally both artistically and narratively.
Mini-comics are always hit and miss with me. I keep shelling out the cash, but a lot of mini-comics are so personal, so experimental, and so hard to crack if you are not on the exact wavelength of the artist, that they are not absorb-able. They, often times, just don't translate to anything I can understand. HA. This is not one of those mini-comics. The story gets surrealistic but it is clearly readable. The art is thick; you can float around in it like a hot tub. The flashbacks and flash forward felt important and relevant. They are funny and sad.
Buy Bowman HERE and be sure to cruise around the rest of Pat's site HERE.
Thanks to Pat Aulisio for answering my questions.
1. Who is David Bowman?
david bowman is the main astronaut character in 2001: a space odyssey (frank poole being the guy that dies by the hal controlled space pod, who also makes a 1 page appearance in issue 1 and who i will explore more in issue 2 and 3). the comic, in essence, is 2001 fan-fiction. im taking an already existing character and exploring his life through different flashback and flash forwards. HOWEVER, what i did was start my story right at the point in the movie/book where he confronts the monolith and then ends up becoming the star-child, i erased that part out and instead had him go to an alternate dimension and deal with asshole aliens. ignoring what happens at the end of 2001, all of 2010, 2061, but i will feature references to the book 3001 in future issues.
i should note im a big arthur c. clarke fan.
2. You created an alien language in Bowman, what do you imagine it sounds like?
its hard to describe what it sounds like, i wish i could just send audio. its basically the weird chattering sounds i make to myself while drawing and riding bike. kinda like a fucked up russian, lazer and time travel sounds, lots of tongue rolling, a little bit of mandarin, and whale sounds mixed in.
3. How did you get hooked up with Retrofit and what is their story?
retrofit is amazing. they release an awesome comic every month and sell subscriptions to them! i truly think hes doing some sort of revolutionary new comic business plan with this, i want others to be inspired by him and do the same thing, if there were 5 publishers like retrofit out there today the industry would be a much better place. its run by my friend box brown, who is also a prolific cartoonist in his own right. him being in the comic world to begin with has a great advantage, since he knows whos 'hot' and 'on the rise' so every book retrofit has been releasing is a total knock out read.
i got involved, because like i said before, im friends with box, were both philly dudes, and have been hanging out and doing comic cons together the past few years, so its just kinda natural that he published me, so its kinda some sort of nepotism "im a shoe-in" situation, but if he didnt i wouldve been surly. ive gotten a lot of positive feedback from bowman so i dont think he regrets publishing me...
4. I really like the cover colors on Bowman. Can you talk specifically about how you colored the front and back covers?
thats a great question. i like that you picked up on the colors. i do have a very weird specific way of coloring, which, to me, is the perfect mix of analog and digital. i drew the initial drawing, then using a light box ill draw some more with smaller pens on a different sheet of paper (usually tracing paper or regular copy paper), then 2 more layers both with brushes, i then scan them all in and layer them up and turn the black ink layers into color via photoshop. my teachers in college called it 'digital screenprinting' because its the same idea of having different layers being different colors, except this time no inky mess and all the registration errors are on purpose.
ive started using this technique with josh bayer drawings as well, i colored his retrofit comic cover, RAW POWER amongst other things
5. In 2010, you did Abstracted Comics. Can you talk about the back story to that and the final outcome?
abstracted comics was my best failure. i originally came up with the idea doing some screenprinting, as most printers know, you do practice rolls, usually on newspapers etc. after a while they build up being multi colors and angles. i looked at some of these and thought they were cooler then a lot of the stuff being printed, all these fucked up looking gibberish of drawings overlapping each other. so i just decided to do this in photoshop, overlapping layers, taking elements of the drawings and repeating them over and over until they are indistinguishable, and just adding elements until it looks really weird trippy and colorful. i originally made all the images for an art show i had at a coffee shop and then later turned them into a zine that didnt sell at all. everyone seems to have thought it was boring and pointless since you cant actually read it, however i have had a few people tell me they really truly loved the way it looks, so does it make it worth it? probably not.
6. What is your most prized possession?
most prized possession? well thats a hard question, should i talk about what i use or the most things of actual value like my bicycle and computer because i simply could not live without those, or things i love like my 2 cats? or just things i think are awesome like my 80's michael jackson 3d comic or my found photo collection?
i honestly dont put much sentimentality towards objects and i dont ever really 'prize' any possession, in fact i always end up throwing out or giving away most of my possessions without a second thought. but yeah im gonna go with my bike, i built it myself over the course of 2 months and the parts cost around 2 grand and i ride it everyday everywhere since i never learned how to drive a car.
7. I am in a spirited debate with my friend. How do you determine what is and is not art? Good vs. bad art? Is it cultural? Can art be made outside of culture, or is it necessarily a product of culture?
He thinks I'm veering into an art as god model. He may be right, I'm afraid. I say fuck the gatekeepers. Art is too personal. Because I think there are cels from The Flintstones more beautiful than the Mona Lisa. I feel like he's veering into culture as church because he believes that culture decides the worth of art and whether something is/is not art.
What says you?
i dont think culture effects all art, but it does effect some, in my comics i use a lot of re-appropriated characters that were brought on by my upbringing on tv, movies and comics. however art can exist outside of cultures, however im coming to a loss in trying to name something that isnt. but most art you can look at and determine when it was made by references seen in techniques and styles.
a lot of 'fine art' things piss me off. theres quite a ton of stuff out there thats being sold for thousands and that took 5 minutes to 'make' and what there really selling is the name of the artist and concept of the piece. your friend arguing the church concept i can understand but now-a-days since there arent such a vast difference between educated and uneducated like the middle ages the only way to approach this is to say all art is subjective to the viewer. i may think it sucks, but other people may cry from the sheer beauty of it. so everything in the world is art and nothing is art at the same time. i do agree with the idea that there are things like animation panels that are more 'art' then any renaissance painting though, but again its all subjective to the viewer. however you can argue that people with education background in art and know art history, color theory, composition etc. should be able to determine what is art more so then a naive layman that cant articulate why they think art is good or bad. in the end i just know what i like and what i dont like and i realize no matter what someone somewhere will disagree with me. there will never be a answer to what is 'good' and 'bad' art.
8. Does Bowman have flashbacks or a fleshed out back story in any of the Arthur C. Clarke books? Did you take this information into consideration or toss it?
theres nothing about bowman's past in the books. it dives more into his future and present when he turns into the star child and travels the galaxy etc. my idea was to just show stuff you dont know about this character because we really were just aware he was a specially trained astronaut. i also was inspired by one of my favorite comics 'stray bullets' to do the flashbacks, for those not in the know, most issues of stray bullets jumped around in time and characters a lot, of course its not exactly what ive been doing with bowman but it gave me the initial idea.
9. Why do you have the need to fill up so much of the panel? Why do you want to kill all negative space?
when i was a kid negative space killed my entire family in a drunk driving accident, i promised to kill all negative space from then on.
10. What is Math Fiction?
math fiction is a genre name coined by ian harker that i have been workin in for the past few years. the idea behind it is that math fiction is the science fiction of science fiction worlds a few adjectives to describe it would be jack kirby on acid, ultraviolence without a conscience, cosmic lazer beams, space gods that rule your dreams, and the space you enter between time travel. i edited an anthology featuring ian harker, josh burggraf and will cardini that we titled math fiction and we gave the run down of this new genre that were trying to create, the entire comic was in anaglyph red and cyan 3D and went off without a hitch. since then ive considered all the work ive done math fiction.
11. What are you working on now?
im super busy!
im working on the 2nd issue of bowman right now which will be released in april in time for mocca by the new and upcoming hic and hoc publications. i should note that bowman is a planned 3 issues series that will be collected and expanded into a graphic novel to be released in 2013. the 2nd issue is going to take place 15 years after issue 1 in the year 2016 and shows how bowman has become a badass alien planet snake pliskin type dude. hes a complete loner in this world and will do anything to make his way up to the top. the 3rd issue will of course be his fall from grace.
im also working on another collaborative comic sequel to "the unforgiving blade of conon" with Josh Bayer, except this time also adding our friend Josh Burggraf in the mix. its going to be ultimate fan fiction, featuring a ton of marvel comic characters and weird non-sensical dirty jokes and styles flowing into each other. who knows when that will come out and how long it will be (possibly around 72 pages)
i have another comic collection of my anthology/unpublished work from the past 2 years called F'REAL REAL to be released by Drippy Bone Books, release date has yet to be determined, but look out for news on that, its all done and ready. im really pumped to be working with keenan keller (the publisher behind drippy bone books) i feel my work fits right into the aesthetic that he has been promoting with his releases. this comic will shine a light on the fact i have been using a lot of the same characters building up my 'wastedlands' universe and it will have all these comics back to back with each other, and it will all make sense finally. its almost a BOWMAN supplementary because it features solo comics on different characters from that universe.
you can see me next in the 2nd issue of suspect device, the josh bayer edited anthology, which im sure youll see being talked about all over the internet come january. it seriously features all the best and brightest alt comic people working today.
and on top of all that im going to be co-editing the next issue of secret prison with Ian Harker which we have some awesome surprises to throw at you. also we do have a rub the blood sequel planned for release next december.
friday january 6th were going to have a Rub The Blood art show at brave new worlds in olde city philadelphia. check it out if your in the area!
oh and i throw the annual Philly Alternative Comic Con, this being the 4th year, thats going to be in august, however i havent started working on it yet, but it will happen.
so i have a lot of stuff cooking right now, 2012 should be a big year for me!
Above is the first promo for Bowman 2016, can't wait.
Thanks to Pat Aulisio for answering my questions.
Here's James Kocholka's feelings on Bowman:
And here's a cool video of Pat Aulisio at work on Bowman: