Sunday, 25 July 2010

Send in the quacks! Philippa Perry talks Couch Fiction.

Philippa Perry is the wife of infamous Turner Prize winning transvestite Grayson Perry who once did a pretty good spot hosting Have I Got News For You. She is also a professional psychotherapist who growing up with dyslexia taught herself to read using comics such as Asterix, something which obviously cemented her love of comics right into her adult life where her discovery of Harvey Pekar showed her the true potential of the medium . She has recently written and published a graphic novel (illustrated by Junko Graat who Perry originally hired as her cleaner) concerning a fictional appointment between a psychotherapist and her new client, an upper class barrister with kleptomania . This along with Darryl Cunningham's effort 'Psychiatric Tales' is a book that helps dispel the myths surrounding mental illness, and in this case the process of psychotherapy. Written with humour, compassion, and insight, with captions underneath each page explaining terminology and techniques of the psychotherapy session. I spoke to Philippa through the wizardry of the Internet just after she had returned from the first interdisciplinary conference of Graphic Medicine in London (click here for more details).

1. You've just taken part in a discussion at the first conference of graphic medicine in London. How did you find it?

Being a writer is a lonely business so it is good to connect to others who care about your work, study the genre and/or do similar work themselves. The conference raised questions for me that are good to mull over. E.g. Darryl asked Sarah Lightman whether a graphic based art piece about self-harm glamorises self-harm and could this be potentially dangerous? Good to put faces to names. Good to learn about others’ writing process e.g. Brian Fies(*1). But for me the most rewarding aspect was learning about the wealth of stuff that is out there and what it is, learning about the history of doctors themes in Manga and of French medic graphic artists. This learning curve was well kicked off with Paul Gravett’s opening key-note. Also good to know how the graphic genre is becoming available in hospitals and psychiatric wards where there are health workers that understand it.

2. What do you think of the growing discipline of medical humanities which was the basis for this conference?

Mind blowing really. Medicine is about people and if it is only about science, it will be missing the point. Bring in the narrative people are their stories.

3. Your book reads like a 'how to' guide for understanding the process of therapy. Do you think a certain amount of ignorance on the clients behalf helps secure the therapists power over the client and speed up the recovery, or does a greater understanding of the process help the client feel like they are in control and coming up with solutions themselves?

There isn’t a recipe on this one. Although I must say, I’ve never found any sort of ignorance helpful and I wouldn’t want to nurture ignorance about the therapeutic process. I hope my book does a show not tell thing on the dynamics of the power relationship. Sometimes there does need to be a positive transference onto the therapist in order for the therapy to progress but it is important if the therapy is successful that the therapist doesn’t cling to that power. I like it in the last bit of my book that James takes control of the session, asks for what he wants and gets it. This is very different from the beginning where Pat is laying down the law.

4. The most obvious contrast between your book and Daryl Cunningham's book is perhaps that your book is more overtly humorous. It does this by showing the character of the therapist to have her own weaknesses (being over eager, absent minded, even slightly sexually curious about her own client), do you think that seeing your therapist as a normal human being helps in the process?

People often expect their therapist to be some sort of perfect human being. One client once remarked that she was surprised I was drinking a red bull, she had assumed I could self regulate without resorting to caffeine! No, therapists have weaknesses like everyone else does, which seems obvious but with all that positive transference flying about (see above) it is important to stress therapists’ normality.

5. Playing devil’s advocate here what do you have to say to those who would argue that mental illness is culturally constructed, that symptoms for certain illness are extremely arbitrary, and that mental illnesses such as ADHD are simply trying to treat normal childlike behavior?

I’m very fond of RD Laing and I think he made a good point about the patient is often the recipient of all the projected madness in the family. (For more on projected identification see Wikipedia, or my book). A human being is socially constructed. We develop in relationship with another and therefore, yes mental health or mental illness is, in the main part, socially constructed and therefore culturally constructed. However there are exceptions, e.g. a brain tumour can cause a patient to behave oddly.

6. How much do you feel that the increased visibility of medical based comics and graphic novels will help to humanise illness and teach tolerance and understanding and do you think this would be better achieved by going through non-comics channels such as the national health service and various medical charities? Do you feel the educational potential for comics needs to be further explored?

The great thing about a comic is you see it as well as read it. It is also usually a narrative even if it is only using examples and diagrams of cells, its graphic nature makes it far more accessible than just a printed word. I believe that you also feel a comic as you consume it. I hope for example, people reading my comic will get a message that people are not born annoying, they are trained to be that way by their upbringing. If people find Darryl’s strips useful and how could they not, there will be an increasing market for the graphic strip. However I think that Darryl writes from the heart and I know I do too and if a comic sets out just to be educational and not heartfelt the reader will not be as stirred and they won’t be as useful. So yes, lets have more, but keep the human aspect, keep the heart in, don’t just to diagrams. I did work out a formulas for this

(awareness + honesty) ÷ humour/heart = good comic

7. Darryl Cunningham mentioned in one interview that someone ordered two copies of this book in order to make their parents realise what they were suffering from is a real illness. At the risk of sounded cliched is the gratitude you receive both from the book and from your book, worth more to you then the reviews themselves? What kind of barriers do you consider yourself to be trying to break down with your book?

Gratitude, nice reviews – its good to hear, all of it because writing a book, a lonely long process is trying to communicate and when you get something back, you know communication has taken place and that is gratifying. The barrier I was trying to break down were the walls around my office. I wanted to show what therapy was like. It is a very private process, you can’t watch it you can only be in it, so I was trying to show what it was like to be in it, from the therapists and from the patient’s point of view.

8. And having just come from the Graphic Medicine conference are there any lesser known artists/writers/medical professionals whose stories and ideas particularly interested you?

Lesser known than me? I’m at the bottom of the lesser known pile! But watch out for Thom Ferrier aka our Ian, he is gonna FLY!

Thanks to Philippa for some really in depth answers. Her book is out now, published by Palgrave Macmillian. It reminds me of those New Yorker psychotherapy gag books you can get from the Freud Museum (just in terms of size and shape) but much better! Go buy it now!

P.S My apologies to Darryl Cunningham, this was meant to be a three way interview, but understandably his work load has got on top of him. I highly recommend Cunningham's myth busting work (he has recently published comics on the MMR vaccine scare and the so-called moon hoax which are well worth checking out. His site is here.)

(*1) Author of Mom's Cancer
(*2) Imagine a line over dilemma+tragedy - this is supposed to be an equation! (There's no underline option on Blogger)

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Review: New York Line By Line-Robinson

In the 60's a German Illustrator called Werner Kruse visited New York for the first time and fell in love with the city. He adopted the pseudonym of Robinson due to his childhood love of an illustrated version of Robinson Crusoe which set him on his path to becoming an artist. Having already turned his skills to Tokyo, Moscow and the Berlin Wall, Robinson set about the momentous task of committing the city to paper, not just it's buildings and monuments, but it's entire inner life. The book is brilliantly presented, a coffee table sized hardcover which is light on text and lets the wonder of Robinson's drawings speak for themselves. In his introduction to the book Matteo Pericoll talks about the deliberateness of each line in the book from the one in our centre of vision, to the ones that peter out towards the edge, and in Robinson's work each line is a thing of beauty. Robinson's view of New York is a work of art, but unlike a lot of modern art it seems honest, subtle, and unpretentious. Despite being drawn in the sixties Robinson's style is sometimes reminiscent of a classic era of American cartooning which I like to call the Jazz Age in the F.Scott Fitzgerald sense, and if I had to compare him to anyone it would be Steinberg, although his line work is altogether bolder and clearer, but they both capture the breath of the city in the same manner. But really Robinson is in a league of his own. Decades before computers made mass details in illustration available at the click of a button Robinson was creating these masses of detail by hand while at the same time displaying an amazing act for simplicity in his depiction of people that still got at the subtlety of their emotions and the fact that they were living and breathing. You may roll your eyes but for me this book is beautiful and escapist, it makes me want to visit New York more than any holiday brochure, and of course it makes me become an idiot nostalgic for New York at that specific time. Robinson most famously developed his 'x-ray view' in which both the insides and the outsides of the buildings were displayed at the same time. He utilises this best with his fantastic drawings of the UN building and the New York Subway. When I was younger I used to own a whole host of cross section books put out by the publisher DK and I absolutely loved them, Robinson set the seeds for this in a stripped down cartoon form and it seems this works equally well. If I had to pick some of my favourite scenes from this book it would be the views of New York at night especially the Chinatown parade in which his heavy use of black is outstanding and brave, and some of the scenes of Greenwich Village in its bohemian heyday. It would also feel a crime not to mention the scenes of people observing art in the Gugenhiem, MOMA, etc. It seems a crime to have to pick a favourite element of the book when it is all visual gold. My housemates joke about my porn being cartoons and comics, but for once they hit the nail on the head, this book is my porn, and I recommend it as top shelf reading for anyone who loves a good line.

One other thing I'm left wondering is whether the person who designed and illustrated the Beastie Boy's album To The 5 Burroughs had seen Robinson's work before he completed the cover, a panoramic fold out of the new york skyline done in black and white relatively simplistic line.

P.S The book is a bit too big to scan most of the images so I suggest you trust me and just buy it, you won't regret it!

Monday, 12 July 2010

Blog of the week: World Comics India

Not really a blog this time, but a fantastic website. I may sit comfortably in my flat reading comics like Palestine and Persepolis romanticising the struggles of people in oppressive situations and impoverished areas but World Comics India as part of the World Comics Network are actually seeking to use comics as a driving force for social change and to give those communities who could otherwise not articulate their problems a voice. Started in the early nineties when political cartoonist Sharad Sharma was producing posters for a literacy campaign in Rajasthan, after nine years of organising comic making workshops in the communities across India, they decided to go global and registered as an official organisation. World Comics India is a collective of grassroots activists, students, journalists, cartoonists, and artists, using comics as a communicative tool as well as a means of self expression. The groups main aim is to educate communities in creating their own wallposter comics for use in grassroot local campaigns. They provide training to staff and activists for NGOs (non governmental organisations), and have collaborated with Oxfam, Unicef, Pride, World Vision, Save The Children and many more worth while organisations. They publish anthologies on development as well as training and educational manuals in a variety of languages. Their site is pretty comprehensive but upon further investigation there is a blog too, where you can follow the progress of the project regularly. The blog is here and the site is here.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Review: Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder's Little Annie Fanny Vol 1

This, the first volume in a two part collection put out by Dark Horse Comics shows off the partnership of Kurtzman and Elder at its best. Little Annie Fanny (a direct parody of the Harold Gray strip Little Orphan Annie) was a strip that featured in Playboy's intellectual heyday after a bleak time of rejections and failed projects for Kurtzman. A former cartoonist himself Hugh Hefner wrote a letter to Harvey telling him of his undying belief but also gently guiding him in times when the humour of his material had dried up due to a dent in his self confidence. Presenting him with the Goodman Beaver strip Hefner rejected it due to it being unsuitable for his readership, but when Kurtzman proposed a sexy buxom blonde as the strips lead, Hefner was won over(*1). It was Hefner's insistence that caused the strip to be done in a full painted style as opposed to the pen and ink of the Goodman Beaver strips and I for one am glad. The colour and the depth breathes life, warmth, and movement into the strips and the amount of detail put into each panel is just stunning. As I have previously mentioned it was one of Elder's signature moves to fit as many visual puns into the frame as possible. What did surprise me however is how much more of a team effort Little Annie Fanny really was. Although you can tell that the majority of the writing process took place between Kurtzman and Elder, across the board backgrounds and other details were filled in by a whole host of Mad luminaries such as Russ Heath, Jack Davis, Arnold Roth, and Al Jafree, showing the professionalism with which these artists could mimic another style. Little Annie Fanny is nothing short of a visual feast, colourful, lively, with double page spreads, split panels and suitably mocking use of text, from OTT comic sound effects to tongue in cheek 'groovy' lettering.
We are treated to parodies of everything from Timothy Leary and Dr Strangelove, right through to the Klu Klux Clan, Bob Dylan and Pop Art, and when the humour hits the mark it's like a sucker punch. The Bob Dylan parody still resonates with us today, as he sings about the troubles of the world before going off in his limousine to see his stockbroker (replace Bob Dylan with Bob Geldoff and you get the picture). The Beatles parody is also pretty hilarious, as left alone in a room with Annie and a large amount of hay the only thing they can think of doing is making the hay into enormous long hair wigs that make them look like Cousin It from The Adams Family. Finally another joke of note is the clever take on the story o The Emperor's New Clothes Kurtzman gives us using the then popular fashion of see through dresses. The only problem for me is as follows. When I attended a talk recently by Gerald Scarfe he told us that his only problem with the cartoon format is that it becomes dated quite quickly. When he drew a picture of Harold MacMillian naked on the front cover of Private Eye it was shocking, but now nobody knows who Harold MacMillian is. With Little Annie Fanny it's a bit like being in a room full of people telling in-jokes to each other that you have to pretend to understand. Because there is so much detail and nothing is simply throwaway, the jokes have their own glossary, which although essential for a non babyboomer like myself, breaks up the reading process a bit. However this is only a minor hiccup as far as I'm concerned, and if you want to create a history of the world and culture using comic books, you can't go far wrong by adding Little Annie Fanny to your collection.

(*1) Which reminds me that despite Playboy selling itself as a magazine of sophistication and cutting edge literature at the time, was still just about naked women (it was Hefner thatmade sure Annie got naked in every strip)

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Comic Classics: The Passport-Saul Steinberg

Famous mostly for his work for The New Yorker Saul Steinberg is that rare breed of cartoonist who was accepted into the folds of the fine art world (see also George Herriman) due not only to the fact that his dabblings with abstraction were no doubt pleasing to the snobbery of the elite, but due to the fact that his highly individualistic and idiosyncratic line work was something to behold. At times painfully simple but always breathtaking, Steinberg turned a stamp or the act of a signature into something beautiful. He used collage to create busy schizophrenic yet subtlety humerus cityscapes and encounters from the little nuances of his party scenes, to simple optical illusions. It's all here in The Passport, a rare-ish collection of his drawings and collages that I first heard about through the excellent little 'Cartooning books of interest' guide by Seth available in issue 8 of Comic Art magazine. Finally owning a copy myself makes me extremely happy, and I probably get a bit too overexcited about the smell of the yellowing pages. The Passport is like a sketchbook with no dud drawings, a playful stream of consciousness that makes you smile. There is a wonderful childlike quality to some of his drawings while others remain solid and refined in their use of line. You can tell Steinberg is an artist, because he is good enough to make his visual approach primitive yet telling, rhythm and humour oozes from every squiggle. Obviously a big inspiration for the likes of Jules Feiffer, R.O Blechman, French cartoonist Sempe and countless artists of their ilk.
Due to the size and the delicacy of this book I have had to make do with pictures from the Internet rather than try and scan it and risk damage. (There are a few copies on Amazon, including a paperback one, but I am unsure of the price now).

Find of the week: Kveta Pacovska

The desire to absorb as wide a range of interesting art and illustration, mixed with the recent addition of a nephew to my family has caused the seeds of a passing interest in children's books and illustration to be sewn. Due mostly in part to the fantastic recourse that is A Journey Round My Skull, I have been looking for the odd yet beautiful children's books old and new to buy for my nephew even though he isn't yet at reading age. So along with your Dr Seus's, your Maurice Sendack pop up books, and your more modern interactive books by Richard McGuire, I have come across the illustrations of Kveta Pacovska who adapts a lot of famous fairy tales as well as writing her own children's books. Her style reminds me of a slightly more surreal version of the Elmer the Patchwork Elephant book you might remember from your childhood. There is obviously an artistic edge to Pacovska which makes her books enjoyable for both children and adults. She seems to take the best of modern artists like Paul Klee, Kandinsky, and Miro and apply it playfully with dashes of folk art and pop cartooning in the vein of animations like Mr Ben and Yellow Submarine. She has adapted Hansel and Gretal, Cinderella, and lesser known Hans Christian Anderson fairytale The Little Match Girl, some of which are available to buy off Amazon for varying prices. Her most well known book is The Little Flower King. I plan to review more interesting children's books if and when I buy them.

Comica Social Club

I recently went down to London to take part in a monthly social get together and networking event for comic lovers, writers, artists etc called Comica Social Club run by Paul Gravett and Peter Stanbury (who between them organise a whole host of exciting comic events under the banner of Comica, which are well worth attending). Held on the last Thursday of every month at the Royal Festival Hall Bar in London (next to the Southbank Centre) the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed and you are encouraged to bring along examples of your work to show to everyone. It's a great chance to let off steam about comics and make friends with some like minded people, like children's author/illustrator. Whilst I was in London I also got a chance to see Gerald Scarfe give a witty and informative talk at Tate Britain and check out the Comica Argentina exhibit, which acted as a nice introduction to some great work.

Check out the groups for both the Comica events and the Social club here and here, and the main Comica website here.

The next Comica event of note is the Hypercomics exhibition to be held at Pumphouse Gallery in London's Battersea Park between August the 11th and September 26th which will feature the work of Dave McKean,, Warren Pleece, Adam Dant, and Daniel Merlin Goodbrey.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Ron Rege Jr's Yeast Hoist Beer (issue 15)

Ron Rege Jr, artist/author (and musician) with his own very unique style of 'Utopian cartoons' and creative mind behind 'The awake field', 'Skibber bye bye' and his own hardcover collection 'Girls against pain' has been putting out visually unique mini comics for quite some time now, and has had his work has been published by Highwater Books, McSweeney's, Fantagraphics, Drawn & Quarterly, and Buenaventura Press. The latest issue of his ongoing minicomic series Yeast Hoist however, is a minicomic with a difference as it hangs from the neck of a luscious Beligium made (although designed by Rege himself) ceramic beer bottle. Due to the nature of this mini comic I can't image you'll be getting it in the UK anytime soon.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Happy 75th Birthday Penguin!

75 years ago the publisher Allen Lane disappointed at the lack of options for reading material for his train journey decided to set up Penguin a company that have enjoyed a rich history of cutting edge publishing and design from the likes of Alan Aldridge and Peter Blake, as well as illustrations by Quentin Blake, Nicholas Bentley, and Paul Hogarth to name but a few. To celebrate this fact Penguin, in association with their archives at the University of Bristol have just ran a series of illustrated lectures about Penguins rich history of design, which sadly I only heard about on the day and sadly I was working in the evening. However, the university have also just released a load of old penguin books to be sold at the Oxfam Bookshop at the top of Park Street, including a rare original copy of Quartermass and The Pit which I couldn't quite part with £15 quid with in order for own. So as my way of celebrating their birthday I have scanned some my favourite covers from my meager collection(*1). Enjoy! (Click on the images to enlarge)

(*1) The only book out of these I don't own is the Miles Van der Rohe book which I bought as a present for a friend.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Things I would buy if I had more money than sense...

Unfortunately like record collecting comics can be an expensive business. Thankfully I've not got a hankering to own the very first copy of Action Comics which will put you out of house of home to buy, but here's a list of comics/graphic novels that I want quite badly but that are a bit beyond my price range at this moment in time.

Marat/Sade & Life after Black (Journal #45) by Barron Storey

Currently going for about £56 & £250 on Amazon (although you can buy them cheaper from his blog, not sure about post and packaging though) . Barren Storey is the groundbreaking artist whose intricate mix of beautifully painted and sketchy collage art inspired the likes of David Mack, Dave McKean, and Bill Sienkiewicz. A regular cover artist for Time Magazine in its heyday Storey's existentialist and abstract journal comics mix politics and literature into Storey's own world view. Being a fine artist, art teacher, and famous illustrator (his most famous piece being a stunning cover for William Golding's Lord Of The Flies) he doesn't spare the details in his work. For those critics out there that grumble every time someone refers to comics as being an art form need look no further than the exquisitely imaginative and explosively energetic panels of Storey's journals. One of his journals Marat/Sade takes its title from and weaves snatches of dialogue from Peter Weiss's 1963 play-within-a-play of the same title* to describe his own mental states and the breakdown of the relationship with his lover. Storey is never one to make his comics simple and often there are several different stories going on at several different levels, but overall the effect is breathtaking and in my opinion more comic artists should look to him for inspiration.

Comix 2000 anthology-L'association

This 2000 artist strong millennium celebration by cutting edge french publisher L'association. In order to make it internationally accessible all the strips are wordless, and the anthology is laid out almost like a doctrinaire with 324 artists from 29 different countries, with an introduction in ten different languages, a bibliography for each artist.

Last time I checked there was one copy on Amazon going for about £50 but now it's gone sadly

Kramors Ergot 7

Probably the most expensive comic anthology out there, this oversized book that follows in the vein of slightly more artist comic magazines like RAW was priced at £100 pounds when it came out and now goes for about £300 used on Amazon. Edited by Sammy Harkham and featuring 60 cutting edge modern comic artists.

Lost Girls-Alan Moore&Melinda Gebbie

This three volume hardcover collection by Moore and his wife Gebbie (one of the original British Wimmin's Comix artists) effectively combines Moore's love of all things Victorian with his love of all things erotic. A return in part to the more artistic pornography by the likes of Audrey Beardsley (something he advocates in his book lenght essay '25,000 years of erotic freedom') Lost Girls is the 'what if' story of three famous fictional girls (Wendy from Peter Pan, Dorthy from the Wizard of Oz, and Snow White) as they meet up in adulthood and reflect on their various sexual adventures. The artwork is lusciously painted and features a host of unusual gadgets and uncomfortable looking positions to boot!

The complete Calvin and Hobbes
Three volume beautiful hardcover of probably one of the greatest newspaper strips there ever was? Enough said.

A decent Barbarella translation (Jean Claude Forrest)

I was incredibly jealous to hear out there in the world wide web that someone picked up a copy of a Barbarella comic last Free Comics Day. Looking on amazon the cheapest edition (1 new from £10, 1 used from £1,933!) is in German and the other edition is £50 but being published by the children's book division of Corgi I'm sure the content would be watered down. I pray every day for someone to do a reprint of this. Fantagraphics? Drawn and quarterly? Please hear my prayers.

Goodman Beaver&Hey Look-Harvey Kurtzman

Before Little Annie Kurtzman and Elder worked together on Little Annie Fanny they obviously sewed the seeds for her character in the Candide like naivety of Goodman Beaver. This strip showcased the glorious future of Kurtzman/Elder team with glorious splash panels (see the infamous Goodman Beaver Goes Playboy or his adventures at a university soritory) and the intense littering of countless visual puns. Hey Look is Kurtzman's stripped down but coloured pre-Mad work which is witty clever and borders on metafiction at times without being too pretentious, exposing the conventions of the comic book in order to form a punch line (another successful comic book in this line, albeit even more explicit in it's metacomic approach is Mort Walker and Jerry Dumas).

Dave McKean-Cages
Dave Mckean's first solo graphic novel in which he tones down his usual abstract in favour of luscious thin lines, graceful movement, moonlit atmosphere, and subtle silences. A simplistic story about the inhabitants of a single bohemian apartment building. Currently going for about £100, the good news is that cheaper reprint is due for release in October.

David Choe-Slow Jamms

I first came across this amongst the pages of Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics. David Choe is a Korean American graphic artist famous for his graffiti and murals (but who has also branched out into multimedia). In 1996 he self published a multi media comic entitled Slow Jamms which fetches between about £50-£100 and along with his later comic offering Bruised Fruit is pretty hard to come by. Stylistically he leans towards the artistry of Barron Storey but with the most obvious influence being his own immersion in the world of graffiti and hip hop culture. All the text is typed, cut out and pasted over the images, he photocopies images, uses found images, uses a lot of splash panels, and the whole thing is very non linear but nevertheless is a work of art and well worth owning.

Comic Classics: Cuba for Beginners-Rius

The book that kick started the For Beginners book series is a humorous cartoon history of Cuba by Mexican cartoonist Rius which is fiercely pro-Cuban and anti-American. Born in 1934 Rius (real name Eduardo del Río) is Mexico's most infamous political cartoonist, with a far-left viewpoint and a zest for activism . His two most famous comics Los Supermachos and Los agachados are humorous critiques of the Mexican government. In Cuba For Beginners Ruis uses a minimum of lines to create simple yet iconic imagery and despite their simplicity a cartoon by Ruis always stands out from the crowd. He comes across a bit like a Latin American Jules Feiffer at times with his playful use of stereotypes, rapid line work that somehow still manages to flow clearly and smoothly, and excellent comic timing and writing skills*(1). He also pastes in a rich history of editorial cartooning, art, advertising, and photographs surrounding the subject of Cuba for our viewing pleasure. Once again the power of comics to entertain and at the same time educate and inform is put to great use.

Ruis's work for the For Beginners book series continues with Lenin and Marx for Beginners.

For another classic of educational comics in this line see the 1976 Introduction to Chile (a cartoon history) by Chris Welch

(*1) Where as nowadays most of the Introducing/For Beginners books are formed by a two person team of writer/researcher and illustrated, Ruis wrote this entire guide himself obviously being passionate and well informed on the subject.