I’ve read enough bad or lackluster anthologies over the years to know it’s not something you can just slap together. It takes real editorial vision and guidance to put together a solid collection of work, whether you’re talking about new material or older reprints.
Which is my roundabout way of saying just how impressed I am with Ivan Brunetti’s two Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons and True Stories. I had already known Brunetti was a first-rate cartoonist (Schizo, Misery Loves Comedy), but these books, taken together, show him to have a considerable sensitivity and thoughtfulness towards the medium, not just in his choices, but in their arrangement and layout.
While the first volume provided a strong art-comics overview for the uninitiated, the sequel casts a somewhat wider, though no less fascinating net. I was pleased, for example, to discover there were a few artists new to me, while the stories I was familiar came with a slightly new perspective due to their juxtoposition with other works.
I talked to Brunetti recently over the phone about the new collections, the challenges of putting together these anthologies in general, and the chance that we’ll see a new issue of Schizo in 2009 (sadly, probably not likely).
Q: What made you decide to do a second volume?
A: Besides insanity? At the time I put together the first book, my list of stuff I wanted to put in there got so huge I had 800 pages at one point. Actually the first book was supposed to be no more than 300 pages but I convinced Yale to let me do 400. And at some point I was thinking “500 pages would be good.” (more…)