- After reading her short comic, “The Squirrel Mother,” I am a new fan of Megan Kelso. Check out this interview, where she talks about wanting to do something with pictures and words, but not finding the form of comics until her 20s.
- The ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive Project blog has cool posts on everything from drawing animals to creating storyboards for TV.
- I just got Craig Yoe’s book in the mail yesterday. Wacky stuff exploring the link between fine art and comics.
- Whitney Matheson loves Y: The Last Man, and points to an excerpt. I’ve been reading it on and off in the break room.
- You will be able to watch some of Bonnaroo via webcast.
- Search the plays of Shakespeare with Google.
- Graphic novels in libraries? Of course. But the 741.45 dewey decimal has got to go. They deserve their own section.
- Eduardo Galeano has a new book out. I can’t recommend SOCCER IN SUN AND SHADOW enough.
Josh Krajcik, Mitch Pinkston, Gran Bel Fisher, and Corey Gillen
Last weekend we went down to Wooster to see my best friend and best man, Corey Gillen, play drums with Josh Krajcik Band and Gran Bel Fisher at a little coffee house named Seattle’s. The place was absolutely packed, with an unbelievably good audience. Krajcik Band is filling as Gran Bel’s backing band on his current tour, but in Krajcik’s hometown, Fisher was opening for Krajcik.
“Krajcik Band always brings a packed house,” said Wilson, the owner of Seattle’s. “These people come in here to hear original music. You get a cover band in here, they’ll boo them off the stage.”
They’re playing the Cambridge room at the Cleveland House of Blues tonight and tomorrow night. Then it’s off to a sold-out Bonnaroo on Saturday, where you can see them at the Kat Nap Cafe in between Elvis Costello and Beck.
And if you ever get a chance to hit up Wooster, just hang out on Liberty Street: you can try the catfish dinner at CW Burgerstein’s, get ice cream at the Dari-Land, and browse the awesome selection at the Books In Stock bookstore. If you happen upon Seattle’s, ask them for a shot of Le-Bomb James: a Krajcik Band original concoction of Crown Royal, Sprite, grenadine, and sweet and sour mix. It won’t disappoint.
Matt Bell and Josh Maday, the two fellas who run Dancing On Fly Ash, asked me if I would like to reimagine one of their 100-word stories into a comic. I like the site, they seem like nice guys, so I said sure:
Go check it out.
a bar napkin sketch from this weekend…
- You should head over to Kevin Huizenga’s blog and see the booklet he’s working on for the Center For Cartoon Studies.
- NYTimes profiles Deadwood, ponders the influence of The Searchers, and Salon proclaims the Western will never die and provides a great reading list to catch up.
- Some of my favorite Westerns, courtesy of YouTube: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, Once Upon A Time In The West, Dead Man, Deadwood, and Unforgiven.
- LCRW #18 is out.
- I’ve never owned a video gaming console before, but the supreme coolness of the Wii matched with the stress of doing this book makes me think I will soon.
- My Bloody Valentine, 1992. For noise last week it was Black Sabbath, this week it’s Tool.
- At the Independent, Saunders talks Carver.
(click to make it bigger…)
A poem of mine, “I saw a man on my way to work,” was selected for the second year of the Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s MOVING MINDS: VERSE AND VISION PROJECT. The piece will be displayed on over 700 trains and buses all around Cleveland for the next year.
The card’s design was by Kayne Toukonen, a student from the Glyphix Design Studio at Kent State’s School of Visual Communication Design.
Here’s the Official RTA Press Release, and announcement from the Poets and Writers League of Greater Cleveland site (which, has scans of all the bus cards, including my favorite.)
Back in May, Meghan and I were invited to the RTA headquarters to celebrate the unveiling of the cards with a reception and poetry reading. They had a special bus parked out front, displaying all the cards. Here’s my ugly mug in front of the piece:
And hamming it up for the photographer:
And a great pic of Meg with the bus driver, who was cool enough to chat with us about the bus’s soundsystem, and let Meghan pull the horn:
All in all, it was a fun project. 200,000 people ride the RTA every day, and I love the idea that random people from all over the city will see the work. It’s like legitimized graffiti.
They altered the poem slightly for the card, so here’s the original (and an embarrassing video of me reading it):
I saw a man on my way to work
standing in the middle of his yard
hands in his pockets
watching clouds and traffic
He caught me looking at him,
and gave me the eye
as if to say,
“Son, what do you do that’s so important?”
…from a gag comic
I’m working on I just finished. My soundtrack: Little Steven’s Underground Garage.
- You can see a ton of that comics-only issue of Vice Magazine online. These reviews are hilarious! Anybody know where you can find this in Cleveland?
- A great post from Fantagraphics about all the comics-related videos you can find on YouTube.
- Chip Kidd guest blogs at Powells. It’s great to hear the king of book design bitch about idiotic marketing people testing book designs.
- Post on a Marjane Satrapi reading in Seattle. We’re going to do PERSEPOLIS as the first book in my new 20-30 something reading group at the library. (More about that later, but if you’re interested, please contact me!)
- Interviews: George Saunders and Kevin Huizenga.
Happy Weekend, all!
Some dewey decimals I am haunting:
SEAFARING LIFE 910.4, 910.45
SHIPS 387.2 623.82 387.209 910.45
SHIPWRECKS 910.45 910.4 904.7
I worked so much today that my eyes burned and my hand cramped up. The adventure continues…
For being 6-6-06, yesterday was an unbelievably good day.
Just one of the happenings: I keep a notebook and pencil on my dashboard, and once in a while I get lucky at a red light, and the inspiration strikes.
<---On the way to work yesterday, a clunker van turned left in front of me, and this guy gave me a dirty look.
I scribbled his caricature as quick as I could. Then I thought he'd make for a good character in TERRIBLE CALAMITY.
Engineer first mate, maybe?
our balcony is beautiful this time of year…
I was relieved to hear Gabrielle Bell in the Fall 2005 issue of MOME (take a sneak peek at the new one) confess to Gary Groth, “I’m not so obsessive about comics, actually. I don’t really read that many comics as much as I would like to. I’ve often been really impatient with most comics….The stories, in most cases, even if they’re good, they’re still not as good as most books, most novels are. So it’s frustrating to read a comic when I could be reading some great literature.”
John Hodgman quoted her interview in his “Comics Chronicle” piece in the recent NYTimes Book Review, and added his own two cents: “I have not been as brave as she to admit even to myself (never mind to Gary Groth), that many of the alternative fine-art comics that cross my desk these days are kind of boring. I’ve been quiet on this point in part because I do believe comics are literature, and do not wish to undermine the cause…”
So much of the past year has been about me slowly coming around to the fact that comics — and the graphic novel form in particular — is what I’m meant to do, and that my frustration with the form (the thin plots, boring characters, mediocre artwork) is really just a big blinking neon sign pointing to the void which I hope that my own work will fill. As Dylan Horrocks points out in his Scott McCloud essay, “The problem with comics is that people associate them not with what they could be, but with what they have been.”
Yesterday I read some great workshop advice from Kelly Link (via). Essentially, the advice was: don’t play it safe. There are way too many people out there churning out competant, respectable work. The only way to rise above it all is to push yourself to your absolute limits. Take big risks.
For me, making comics is turning my back on playing it safe. It’s about pushing myself to that terrifying yet exhilarating place where I have no idea what I’m doing, but it’s so much fun, and I’m right on the edge of my skills.
My old friend Jeremy is doing it right now with his music. Two years ago he was writing competant, respectable pop songs. Then one day he sat down and realized that it all bored the hell out of him. He started from scratch, totally re-invented his sound. Now he’s on the verge of having his first album out, and it’s going to be really, really good — but only because he pushed himself. (Check out his new single, “I Promise,” over at his website or MySpace.)
I’m about to start out on my first graphic novel. I have no idea how I’m going to do it. It feels dangerous. It feels scary.
And it feels great.