Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Cinema Panopticum: A swell time at the movies

Here's a book I've been meaning to talk about:

Cinema Panopticum
By Thomas Ott



This is a weird collection of Twilight Zone-esque horror stories, done almost entirely without words (there are a few signs, and chapter titles, but that's all). In a framing sequence, a young girl is at the carnival, but the only attraction she can afford is the nickelodeon that shares the book's title (and it's an apt title too). She views four different films, and each one is a freaky, morbidly funny tale with a twist ending.

Ott provides a delightfully creepy atmosphere in his scratchboard renderings:



I'm really impressed by the level of detail he is able to convey using this technique:



I wasn't previously familiar with Thomas Ott; he's a Swiss cartoonist who has published several books similar to this one. Thanks a lot to Franck De Vita (click here for a Google translation), who sent me this book from France. It's published by L'Association there, but in the U.S., Fantagraphics handles him. You can get this book at Amazon, along with others. I'll have to try to find some more of his books someday.