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Patrick McEown Knits a Form-Fitting "Hair Shirt"

Patrick McEown Knits a Form-Fitting "Hair Shirt" Image
  • Posted on 15th Sep, 2022 03:03 AM

Cartoonist Patrick McEown spoke to CBR News about "Hair Shirt," his visceral graphic novel from SelfMadeHero, his background in comic books and animation, and actual hair shirts.

Patrick McEown is a renaissance man, a learned man, whose talent is abundant in both line work and storytelling. Cartoonist, storyboard artist, teacher -- someone who's been in the comics scene since the '80s. His latest project is "Hair Shirt," on sale now from SelfMadeHero.

The book is a whip crack to the senses, a picturesque black cloud in an otherwise blue sky. McEown evokes these feelings because he's managed to take the idea of wearing a penitent garment, unravel it, and re-knit it into a psychological, visceral feeling that we're all much too familiar with, and he's made a beautiful piece of art in the process. McEown sat down with CBR News and spoke about his book, his background and, naturally, hair shirts.


CBR News: Patrick, I had never heard of the term "hair shirt," but wow, those things actually exist. What's the idea behind the name, and how does it play to the story at hand in "Hair Shirt?"

McEown's style is a mixture of many influences, all combining into his own unique hybrid form

Prior to storyboarding, I'd begun playing around with a slightly different kind of narrative space that had more to do with lateral movement across the page ("Wanted Man" in "DHP" #130, "1998," and "No Escape" in "Weasel" #1, 1999) than an illusionistic, diegetic space. Animation took me away from that line of inquiry for a while, but I fully expect to reintegrate those dropped threads into future projects. Not sure how, yet. Again, that's trial and error.

According to your bio, you don't get around to reading too many comics nowadays, but which ones are you reading? And which would you recommend to your students?

Things have changed since the bio was written, but either way, that would be still be a long list and I can cover more territory by naming publishing houses. In addition to my own publishers, my personal preferences lean toward folks like Picturebox, Drawn and Quarterly, Pantheon, Fantagraphics Books, Uncivilized Books, Nobrow, Koyama Press, Kus, l'Association, l'Oie de Cravan, La Pastèque, and a number of other independents.

Hairshirt from SelfMadeHero on Vimeo.

"Hair Shirt" by Patrick McEown © SelfMadeHero, 2013, is on sale now.

Patrick McEown Knits a Form-Fitting "Hair Shirt" View Story

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