Two Dutch giants of illustration and comics have recently seen their complete comics work collected in major editions. And even though they have the same background, their output couldn’t be more different.
Joost Swarte is well-known as the inventor of the term ligne claire, and, with his extremely stylised version of the graphic style that Tintin creator Hergé debuted, is still of one of the uncrowned kings of the clear line. The publication of Is That All There Is, which will collect all of Swarte’s comics from 1972 to date, is announced for January 2012 (right on time for the Angoulême Festival).
The English edition will be published by Fantagraphics, and the book will contain, amongst others, “Swarte’s take on an episode from Hergé’s early days, a Fats Domino story, a tribute to the legendary Upside-Downs strip, and a story titled simply Modern Art.”
Early work of Peter Pontiac was published in Swarte’s Modern Papier underground comic, and in his own way, he is at least as impressive a virtuoso, but that’s as far as the comparison goes. Pontiac is the quintessense of the underground artist, heavily influenced by luminaries as Robert Crumb, Gilbert Shelton and Spain Rodriguez, with a baroque and chaotic style, filling up the pages right to the brim.
He is a master when it comes to typography and stylized renderings of debauchery, drug abuse and other tropes from the rock culture (many of Pontiac’s illustrations still are published in music magazines). Rhythm was recently published at Oog & Blik/De Bezige Bij, and collects all the comics Pontiac created from 1969 until 2001. And if this book is too extreme to grant it translation, maybe Kraut, his major opus about his father’s life, thoughts and disappearance, might make it…