Graphic Novelist Frank Santoro Revisits Work: “I'd Like to Think I Was Ahead of the Curve”

As comics-turned-blockbusters like "Watchmen" and "The Spirit" 

dominate the silver screen, graphic novelist Frank Santoro said last night his more than decade-old work "Storeyville" was ahead of its time.

“I'd like to think that I was ahead of the curve,” Santoro said Tuesday evening of his 1995 work that was originally published as a tabloid-newspaper-sized comic and recently reissued and mass produced in hardback. “It's just that now … there's a broader audience for comics and an acceptance of comics that aren't so straightforward.”

Speaking at the McNally Jackson Bookstore on Prince Street in Soho, Santoro, along with critically acclaimed artist Dash Shaw, spoke about their work and the techniques they used to keep them unique.

Shaw said his drawing style of “Sunday comics meets Hanna-Barbera” is what draws readers to his work. His newest book, “Bodyworld,” is uniquely bound from the top.

“I think the vertical orientation … helps in that you can just follow along,” he said. “You don't need to stop and start at the top of each page.”

Color is another factor that both authors say play a major role in their art. While many other graphic novelists stick to black and white, Santoro said he aims to use as much color as possible.

“As a painter I just find [monotone comics] strange,” Santoro said. “You're really limiting your options to only paint in black and white.”

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