Panel Borders: Ben Katchor, architectural strips

Panel Borders: Ben Katchor, architectural strips

Concluding a month of shows about comics and graphic novels drawn from elements of real life, Alex Fitch talks to award winning American cartoonist Ben Katchor about his weekly newspaper strips on tourism and architecture. Fitch and Katchor discuss the latter’s weekly strip from The Village Voice – Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer – and how it was part of a wave of underground cartoonists in periodicals, collecting his absurdist cartoons on tourism – The Cardboard Valise – and his oversized monthly graphic short story for Metropolis magazine, collected as Hand Drying in America and other stories.
(Originally broadcast 31/03/14 on Resonance 104.4 FM)

Excerpts from Julius Knipl, The Cardboard Valise and Handdrying in America by Ben Katchor

Excerpts from Julius Knipl, The Cardboard Valise and Handdrying in America by Ben Katchor

For more info and a variety of different formats you can stream or download, please visit the home of this podcast at

Links: Ben Katchor’s website and blog
Katchor’s pages on and

Recommended events:

Brains and Ink at the University of Brighton

Gareth Brookes and Woodrow Phoenix go head-to-head at 6pm in the Arts Lecture at the University of Brighton. Mr Phoenix will be talking about his 1m square graphic novel, produced for his MA at the UoB, and giving us a peek at the animated Rumble Strip. Not sure if Gareth will be able to speak and sew at the same time, but he’ll try. They will be in conversation about what makes a book, and the very different narrative techniques they have each adopted to generate empathy in their readers.

Tuesday April 1st, 2014
Sallis Benney Theatre, University of Brighton Faculty of Arts, Grand Parade, Brighton, 6pm. Details at

First Fictions Festival 2014

For those who like to mix their fiction with a dose of graphics there’s a heady mix of novelists with more than a cartoonist twist on the Saturday at the First Fictions Festival in glorious surroundings at West Dean College near Chichester. Nye Wright is holding up the flame in a panel on New Forms of Writing, while Broken Frontier’s Andy Oliver debates New Forms of Reading with Hannah Berry and the aforementioned Brookes and Phoenix. See the full programme here. The prices are set by the College, sadly, so you would need to think of it as pampering yourself with literature, good food, and beautiful spring walks: if, however, you are a student it all becomes deliciously affordable, so call the West Dean booking office on 01243 818314.

Gareth Brookes was winner of the First Fictions 2012 First Graphic Novel Competition, organised by Myriad Editions, and the long list for the 2014 competition will be announced on the same day, Saturday 12 April.

More info at

Sponsor UNFINISHED CITY by Ben Dickson, Sylvija Martinovi? and Robert Solanovi?

Unfinished City is a powerful, stylish thriller with a sharp, East-European edge. Nadja’s home town of Nikši? is a real place; many elements of the story are drawn from Sylvija’s experience of living in the city, and the stories that circulated at the time. This will undoubtedly be a controversial book in the Balkans – so much so that Sylvija and Ben had to consciously distance some elements from real life!

The book is being illustrated in glorious, shadowy black and white by cult Croatian artist Robert Solanovi?. A highly-regarded artist in the Balkans, this will be Robert’s first English language work.

Incentives include a first look PDF, signed paperback and hardback editions of the graphic novel, an exclusive T-Shirt and much more. Info at:

Bryan Talbot exhibition on Portobello Road

The Portobello Road in London, as well as being a well-known street market, also was the home of London’s first ‘Culture Shop’, Alchemy, run by Lee Harris. Harris is a unique individual, a White South African who was a member of the ANC in the early 1950s, he moved to London and in the 1970s and was highly active in the underground and counter culture scene; he also published Home Grown and Bryan Talbot’s early work Brainstorm Comix.

A wonderful circle is completed by this exhibition where from a humble starting point, when Bryan was first looking for work in comics, to this pristine gallery, the lovely Muse at 69, where he is the focus of an exhibition. The clean white walls of the gallery, the clever lighting and the depth of the space really help to feature the artwork well.

Brainstorm! The Art of Bryan Talbot
The Muse at 269 Portobello Rd., London W11 1LR

20th March until the 13th April / Opening Hours 12 to 6pm Thursday to Sunday