The Landscape in Comics
Landscape is the forgotten hero of comics. At the most basic level it provides the scenery on which the stories unfold. At a more complex level it can be a character in itself. The landscape is not a neutral place in comics, but is loaded with meaning: we all know what Gotham signifies. Throughout the history of comics the landscape has served to underline the big themes occupying the minds of their creators: the American melting-pot in Krazy Kat, awe at the sublime power of science in The Fantastic Four, fear of apocalypse in Akira, the psychogeography of Watchmen, where “the most microscopic level of meaning is inherent in any place on any street corner”. These ideas have literally and metaphorically been the background to the world of comic storytelling I’ve been a fan of since I was a boy.
Building on the research of others and adding some new insights of my own as an experienced illustrator, I propose to deliver a twenty minute slideshow examining the ways comic artists have used landscape to frame some of the key narratives of our times, along the way creating some of the most memorable and compelling visions of the landscape produced in the last 100 years.
Andrew Baker is an award winning illustrator with an international reputation, working in editorial, design and publishing contexts. Originally from Yorkshire, he studied at Liverpool and the Royal College of Art, and now lectures part-time on the illustration programme at Middlesex University. Andrew recently completed 225 pages of illustration for BODY the Graphic Book of Us, written by Steve Parker, which is released 3rd November this year. He lives in East London with illustrator Linda Hughes, who dearly wishes to sell his dog-eared collection of vintage comics.