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Last, but not least on the list (too much, huh?) of interesting stuff I was somehow involved in busy 2013 was being featured in “Goodbye Topolinia” [Malcor D’Edizioni, 2013], a book on comics and architecture written by Laura Cassará and Sebastiano D’Urso. As Laura defines it, “the book is an essay, written side by side, on the mutual interferences between architecture and comics. It is not an encyclopedic compilation, in the sense that we had no intention to analyze all the episodes of the intersections between both disciplines. We were primarily interested in tracing the conceptual threads that make it possible to outline analogies between both artforms throughout their History. Obviously, the theoretical discourse was seasoned with countless examples, both of architectural and comic-book work, typically -but not only- in those cases where both categories converge in a narrative pertaining to one discipline or to the other.” [Excerpted and -freely- translated from a conversation between Andrea Alberghini and Laura Cassará in “Welcome ‘Goodbye Topolinia'”. Comics Metropolis, October 8 2013]

The book, which can be purchased online in different sites, for those not living in Italy, is certainly rich in examples, including most of the authors featured in our own MAS Context: Narrative, such as Chris Ware, Wes JonesTom Kaczynski, Jimenez Lai, Marc-Antoine Mathieu, François Schuiten, or Joost Swarte. On top of it, as the icing on the cake, the book opens with an introduction by Benoît Peeters, the other half in Schuiten and Peeters’ nearly mythical “Les Cités Obscures”. I suspect my inclusion in the book stems mainly from my presence at the 2013 Comicon in Naples, which makes me doubly indebted for the invitation. As usual, a big thank you to Laura, and Sebastiano for their interest [and an eventual follow-up this year. We’ll keep informing]. Below, you can check some pages from the book, and a short excerpt of the Klaus-related parts provided by Ms. Cassará herself.  For more information, provided you can read Italian, I would check the review of the book at Fumettologica.

And next week, back to cartoons.

Goodbye Topolinia 01

Goodbye Topolinia 02

“Comics relate to architecture also by means of irony and satire: so does Klaus, an architect who also draws comics. He treats serious issues posed by contemporary architectue with a light-hearted mood, and his drawings, while resembling cutting edge architectural projects, really call into question contemporary architectural statements. And so the competition for the Twin Towers reconstruction, after 9/11 attacks, is the chance to make fun of the entries submitted by archistars for the international invite-only contest. His analysis goes further, in search for similarities between archistars’ projects and cartoonists’ drawings, with quite a remarkable finding: in his own blog, he compares the House of Music in Porto, designed by Rem Koolhaas in 1995-2001, to the Metabunker megastructure, as conceived by Gimenez and Jodorowsky in 1992. The remarkable resemblance doesn’t mean Koolhaas project is not authentic; instead, it’s a proof that, using their imagination and creativity, comics creators are often forerunners of future architectural forms.”

Goodbye Topolinia 05 Goodbye Topolinia 06 Goodbye Topolinia 03 Goodbye Topolinia 04

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Klaus 01 copyOriginal photograph from The Cartoonist Project,

copyright Simone Florena

One of the highlights of 2013 -which has certainly been the busiest year in terms of Klaus-related events so far- was the unexpected invitation to participate in the 2013 Comicon in Naples, in late April. created in 1998, the Naples Comicon has evolved from a rather domestic celebration of comics culture into an event of Biblical proportions with concerts, hundreds of vendors, exhibitions, international artists, and hundreds of thousands of accumulated visitors (60,000 only in the 2013 event).

Since its third edition, in 2001, the Comicon also displayed a central theme that ran through the exhibitions, conferences  and guest artists. First, it dealt with comic book culture as developed in/by certain countries (the 2001 edition focused on Spain and Latin America). In 2007, the central theme changed to the more abstract field of color (starting with cyan, and ending with black in 2010), and in 2011 it moved towards the interactions between comics and the higher arts: Music (2011), Literature (2012), and, after being delayed for a couple of years, Architecture in 2013 (the 2014 Comicon will be focused on comics and cinema). Within this context, it’s difficult to start to explain how excited I was when Andrea Alberghini (author of the book Sequenze Urbane: la Metropoli nell Fumetto), who worked as a consultant in architectural-related issues for the organization, contacted me asking if I wanted to participate.

Other than giving me the chance to finally visit Pompei, the Comicon also presented the rather surreal opportunity to be sitting in a panel, “Building Comics”, along with two living legends I often write about, such as Joost Swarte and François Schuiten. The fact that both of them had a great role in shaping my interests in architecture just adds to the ‘over-the-top-ness’ of the experience.  Adding to this, a second panel, “Fumett(archi)tettando”, gave me the opportunity to rejoin Swarte, and meet architect-comic book artist Manuele Fior. The effects of all this can be seen in the special issue MAS Context: Narrative I was coediting at the time, which was already in the works, but certainly took a new turn after this (check the interview Swarte’s Mystery Theater’, ‘Images Come First’, a conversation between Andrea Alberghini and Manuele Fior, or Melanie Van der Hoorn’sSensing the Comics’ DNA: A Conversation with François Schuiten’).

01The Klaus Korner. Photograph by Cristina Cusani via Comics metropolis.

02_Building_Comics_IntroThe Klaus Korner. Photograph by Cristina Cusani via Comics metropolis.

02_Building_Comics_IntroSome of the works exhibited in the ‘Building Comics’ area. Photograph by Cristina Cusani via Comics metropolis.

Also, I have to thank Alino, Claudio Curcio and the rest of the organization for building an area dedicated to my work within the big exhibition “Building Comics”, where I was in the company of original artwork by Winsor McCay, François Schuiten, Joost Swarte, George McManus, Chris Ware, or George Herrimann. An experience both flattering and embarrassing. Thanks!

More info on the Naples Comicon, both past and present, on their website (in Italian).

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