Oloris Publishing will soon be releasing artist Cor Blok’s The Iron Parachute. According to Pieter Collier of Tolkien Library, “There is no ‘plot’ in the usual sense: the book is constructed rather like a building with many different rooms that may be visited starting anywhere.”
Blok began his career in 1967. Oloris has the privilege of bringing Blok’s body of work to the hands of fans who have waited years to see it.
Blok explains the process behind his work:
“Most graphic novel writers will start with a story they want to tell and then choose a pictorial language that best suits the narrative. But when I started working on The Iron Parachute back in 1967, I had no idea of a story I would want to tell. Instead, I was prompted by a long-standing interest in the various ways in which human beings have been trying to communicate through pictures, from ancient Egypt and Mexico, The Book of Kells, and Persian and Indian miniatures to Krazy Kat and Batman comics and the pictographs that direct you to the emergency exit. For years, I have been painting, but producing pictures that were mere incidents, so to speak, unconnected to everything else, no longer satisfied me. After all, I could fall back on a couple of years experience combining image and narrative working on my pictures inspired by The Lord of the Rings.
“When I decided, a few years ago, that The Iron Parachute was finished, it turned out that it contained not one but several stories, only loosely interconnected. Some of these are told in more or less traditional comic strip style, some in the format of an illustrated scientific magazine, or of a scene from a play; some are told in pictures only, without any text. Technique includes black and white pen drawing as well as collage.
“Putting so much stress on modes of visual communication does not mean that The Iron Parachute is all form and not content. On the contrary, the book just manages to sail clear of the danger of touching on ‘nearly everything,’ to quote Bill Bryson. It touches, in fact, on many things between cabbages and kings: from human microbiology to the Solar System and beyond; it touches on evolution and the history of man, on the arts and warfare, on myth and science. It explores possible ways to communicate on these subjects by means of pictures and poetic language.
“Next year there will be a centenary of Dada to celebrate. I think I can claim some of the members of this movement for my ancestors as an artist.”
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