Hignite, Todd

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Hignite, Todd

ADDRESSES:

Home— St. Louis, MO. E-mail— [email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, editor, scholar, and curator. Has served as curator of comics exhibitions at Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO; Pratt Manhattan, New York, NY; Yerba Buenca Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA; and Frye Art Muesum, Seattle, WA. Comic Art, founding editor, 2002-07.

WRITINGS:

(Editor, with D.B. Dowd, Gerald Early, and Daniel Raeburn)The Rubber Frame: Essays in Culture and Comics, Steinhour Press (St. Louis, MO), 2004.

In the Studio: Visits with Contemporary Cartoonists, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2006.

(With D.B. Dowd)Strips, Toons, and Bluesies: Essays in Comics and Culture, Princeton Architectural Press (New York, NY), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS:

Writer and editor Todd Hignite is a comics scholar and historian who has been a curator of comics exhibitions across the United States. Hignite is the founding editor of Comic Art, a magazine dedicated to the critical and cultural understanding of comics in both a contemporary and historical context. The magazine was well received by readers, critics, and comics creators alike and consistently "traveled the more admirable route of acting as a reflection of editor Todd Hignite's view of comics," observed interviewer and critic Tom Spurgeon on the Comics Reporter online. "It's a classy and intelligent view, as was apparent throughout the magazine's first-volume run." For his part, Hignite told Spurgeon: "My goal … at the outset was … [to] expand understanding of the medium by uncovering some things and looking at them in a different light. My focus is more on making sure that what we have to say about these cartoonists and their historically specific cultural climates truly expands understanding of the medium." Ultimately, "I just wanted Comic Art to be a smart, nicely done art magazine about comics that conveyed some sense of the medium's great range of possibilities."

The Rubber Frame: Essays in Culture and Comics, a volume that accompanied a Washington University exhibition of comics art and written by Hignite and D.B. Dowd, Gerald Early, and Daniel Raeburn, serves both as a catalogue and as a critical assessment of works included in the exhibition. Hignite himself, in what Tof Eklund, writing in ImageTexT: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies, called the "most narrowly focused as well as the most successful essay in the collection," examines the work of artist Jaime Hernandez in his series of "Locas" stories, originally published in Love and Rockets. The essay is accompanied by numerous Hernandez illustrations. "Hignite considers the intent and effect of the uncluttered art and uncomplicated paneling style and explicates the connection between Love and Rockets and the Los Angeles punk scene, whose aesthetic and independence are recuperated in its pages," Eklund noted. In the end, Eklund concluded,The Rubber Frame "suggests an appealing possibility for the future of comics scholarship even as it also struggles with some of the difficulties that are continually being faced by those working in it."

In the Studio: Visits with Contemporary Cartoonists contains in-depth interviews conducted by Hignite with nine prominent comics creators. Hignite visited the home-based studios of comics luminaries R. Crumb, Gary Panter, Ivan Brunetti, Art Spiegelman, Charles Burns, Seth, Chris Ware, Jaime Hernandez, and Daniel Clowes. In the interviews, the artists discuss their influences, explain their creative processes, and seek to put their work in context with other artists and with comics as a whole. Booklist reviewer Gordon Flagg called In the Studio an "idiosyncratic, if scattershot, course in comics history as well as a forum of top contemporary talent."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, September 15, 2006, Gordon Flagg, review of In the Studio: Visits with Contemporary Cartoonists, p. 14.

Bulletin with Newsweek, December 19, 2006, Tom Gilling, review of In the Studio, p. 162.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, April, 2007, K. Marantz, review of In the Studio, p. 1329.

ONLINE

Comics Reporter,http://www.comicsreporter.com/ (July 23, 2006), Tom Spurgeon, interview with Todd Hignite.

ImageTexT: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies,http://www.english.ufl.edu/imagetext/ (November 21, 2007), Tof Eklund, review of The Rubber Frame: Essays in Culture and Comics.

Reason Magazine,http://www.reason.com/ (December 13, 2006), Brian Doherty, review of In the Studio.

Yale University Press Web site,http://yalepress.yale.edu/ (November 21, 2007), biography of Todd Hignite.