Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Influences on Seth: MC Escher


Again I am not sure "influence" is the right word for Seth's relationship with the work of MC Escher. He knew and loved Escher's work, and was interested in some of the same visual issues as Escher was. The Doom Patrol page that I have posted here shows different levels of reality, just as the beautiful Escher lithograph does.
In Seth's page we have first of all, the thing that Seth never forgot: that he was making comic books. This is not The Real World, ladies and gentlemen; it's a fantasy story. And the people on this page are not real people. So that's Level One: comic book. But on this page there is also Level Two: the giant TV screen where we see people from a more distant reality, talking to our heroes via monitor from (fantasy) France. The fact that the TV screen is slanted gives it a visual Level Three, where we see the people from France at an oblique angle.
The different levels of reality in Seth's art are less pointed than in the Escher, but the mind behind them was just as interested in visualizing concepts from Math and Physics, in playing with pen and ink on paper in order to show more than merely the progress of a story. Seth wanted to add something scientific and even spiritual to his pages to give anyone who was willing to spend time with his art an entree into depth of life beneath what is easy and obvious.

2 comments:

Richard said...

Hiya Vicki,

I haven't been by the site in a bit. I'm very glad to see you're still going strong. I have much reading & viewing of Seth's gorgeous art to catch up on. The reason I swung by is that I just saw this solicitation in the latest issue of Previews:

Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft Special Edition #1
Joe Hill (w) • Gabriel Rodriguez (a & c)
This special presentation of the debut issue of the Eisner-nominated Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft includes not only the actual script from Hill, but also a second bonus: an all-new 11-page story, “Freddie Wertham Goes to Hell,” written by Hill, drawn by the late Seth Fisher and presented in color here for the very first time.
*Retailers: See your order form for a special incentive
FC • $5.99 • 7 Pages • ISBN: 978-1-60010-629-3

Don't know if you were aware this was coming down the pike, but I for one am jazzed that we're going to get to see more of Seth's work. That said, I vow to go back & peruse all that you've posted since I've been gone.

Best to you & yours,

Rick Yankosky

PS... What more can you tell me about the 'Teaching English' book for sale on the site?

Vicki said...

Rick,
Thanks for writing!
The person who said that the Freddy Wertham story was drawn by Seth was mistaken. The pages were blocked out by Seth, but actually drawn by his friend Langdon Foss after Seth's death. It was always intended to be a collaboration between the two of them, but what they planned was that Seth would do the roughs, Langdon the pencils, then Seth would do the inks. Check out the posts on this site labeled "Freddy Wertham".

The English teaching book is one that Seth put together when he was working in Japan teaching English in a high school. He intended to have it published some day, and this is actually a prototype that he sent out to other Japan English teachers to use and critique for him. He didn't think he had quite enough material in it for a whole book, and so he hoped to add to it and get it published some day (but other projects intervened). It's full of truly useful and energetic lessons with Seth's sense of humor and his drawings. An ESL teacher might find it a great source of inspiration. It's pretty fun to look through for Seth's early artwork in any case.