Doot Doot Garden: The Blog of Craig Thompson
Doot Doot Garden: The blog of graphic novelist Craig Thompson
scrolls and slumgutso July 28th, 2011

At the Shanghai Art Museum, I nerded out over the 320 meter “Scroll of Taiwan Scenery” by Taiwanese artist Hsu Wen-jung. In Wisconsin
(visiting family a month ago), I excavated from the attic a scroll I drew during Mrs. Kamenick’s fourth grade class. It puts HABIBI to shame.
It’s 77 pages taped together (70 feet!) blending text & visuals, and tackling every genre of boyhood fantasy — including race cars, fighter jets,
spaceships, monsters, and destroying the USSR! (I was ten…) Wish I could scan and share the insanity with you… instead, here’s a couple of slices.

And here’s some snippets of complex narrative from pages I don’t have room to show:
“Soon we were on our way to another universe to free the humans that were being held prisoners on the planet Slumgutso. But we cancaled [sic]
our trip because we found out that the humans were dead. We got back to earth just in time, because we had to spy on the USSR’s underwater city.”

Also this:
“We took the hottest quickest and slickest cars, to get away from the coppers faster. We were going 950,659 mph.”
My comics career could have careened off an entirely different trajectory. Speaking of which, thanks to you who said HI at San Diego Comic-con!

20 Responses to “scrolls and slumgutso”

  1. Jaybird Says:

    Wow, that could rival the Bayex Tapestry!!! Wish we could see the whole thing, sounds EPIC.

  2. Joan M Says:

    Definitely, I wish you’d do a comic about the spying on the USSR’s underwater city …
    I have a son around this same age and his fantasy is boundless. I’ve been keeping all his amazing drawings in boxes so he can enjoy them later in life, just like you’re doing with these.
    Good luck with Habibi!!

  3. jess smart smiley Says:

    Yeah, right. Even the hottest, quickest and slickest cars can’t even touch 950,659 mph. Nice try, though.

  4. jess smart smiley Says:

    Have you seen David Hockeny’s film, “A day on the Grand Canal with the Emperor of China”? It’s a great introduction to Eastern perspective and how it differs from the Western style. David takes the viewer on a journey through the image, describing and explaining the significance of the master scroll.

  5. Jeff Wofford Says:

    Several points must be made here.

    1) You are scary obsessive. And we love you for it.

    2) You are one of those people who was made to do what you do.

    3) You don’t seem to have been born with mad illustration skillz. That’s an encouragement to those of us who still draw like you did at age 10 and who hope to draw better someday.

    4) You absolutely, totally should do your next large-scale work as a scroll. How cool would it be to see a pile of scrolls on the shelves at Barnes and Noble, to take one home and slowly unroll the story?

    I just felt that those points had to be made in response to this fine post.

  6. David D. The Christian Artist Says:

    Wow, that scroll is amazing and well thought. It ought to be on display at an art museum.

    Or, do you think you could somehow put the entire scroll for us to see here sometime? :)

  7. Amanda Z Says:

    I was having a terrible day until I saw this masterpiece. Cheered me up immensely!

  8. Jordi Says:

    That was fun!

  9. Arianna Gordon Says:

    I am picking myself up off the floor. Those little snippets were very entertaining. I think you should publish that As is. Think about it.

  10. izas Says:

    jeez, that’s wonerful

  11. Luiz Says:

    this is really nice. My mom showed me last week something I drew when I was 8. It was a story of a swordsman. I think I was playing zelda a lot by the time. You should publish it, craig.

  12. Luiz Says:

    I’m sketching a Graphic Novel of my own. I would like to show you somehow.

  13. Barbara Treasure Says:

    I was mesmerized by a long scroll of Chinese poetry in expressive calligraphy at the Portland Museum of Art last August. I spent a long time with it, though i do not read or speak any Chinese.

  14. s. justice Says:

    I love the scroll idea. How was the Scroll of Taiwan Scenery displayed ?

  15. Chris Wood Says:

    i wish i still had some of the crap i made when i was ten. not to imply this is crap, my stuff was nowhere near this scale.

  16. rowan Says:

    finally got my amazon account set up and i’ve pre order habibi, and i’ve got ‘the midnight disease’ which you were talking about, which im reading at the mo. im really enjoying it, thanks :)

  17. Andrew Says:

    The Shanghai exhibit looks wonderful, and I’d love to see that in person. Was that a part of their permanent collection or a special exhibition?

    The scroll you made looks amazing, and I’d love to read the whole thing. Did your teacher ever comment on it? Was it part of something for school or just something you did during class (I would usually get in trouble for drawing in class)?

  18. Danni Says:

    That scroll looks great! I wish I had my old drawings but I think mine were not that awesome. It was great to meet you at SDCC and I’m really stoked for Habibi.

  19. Caleb Says:

    More than anything, I’m impressed by the composition of each page. It flows nicer than some comics I read today! The only thing I find it imperative to criticize you on is the lack of fart jokes, it’s a real shame.

  20. mike feher Says:


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