A Universal History of Iniquity, Jose Luis Borges
Fictions, Jose Luis Borges
Artificies, Jose Luis Borges
The Aleph, Jose Luis Borges
The Flamethrowers, Rachel Kushner
Cometbus 58, Aaron Cometbus
Comix School 6, Kevin Huizenga
Comix School 7, Kevin Huizenga
Angel of a Rope, Adam Buttrick
Now 1, ed. Eric Reynolds – Some really smart and interesting sequencing choices here. I’m always torn at editorial choices in anthologies than draw attention to themselves or are clever, but it works well here in my opinion. Underlines connections between the stories that already exist.
The Labyrinth, Saul Steinberg
Kept putting off the October entry so now I’m combining it with November.
Over the past several weeks I’ve become increasingly less interested in sharing my work online. At least for now. I hope I can say that without dismissing the people who have read my work in the past, all of whom I appreciate very much. I just feel more comfortable right now burrowing away, staying quiet, listening and reading – working hard and trying to emerge with something interesting. It’s important for me to keep reading perspectives different from my own, which is something I value a great deal about social media, so I definitely won’t disengage completely. But trying to pull back.
I’m going to finally build myself a real website in the next month. A nice, simple corner of the Internet where I can live in peace and quiet when I want.
I did have a few really nice phone calls with comics friends this month. What a revolutionary idea! Call your friends on the phone! It’s generally much better that sending them funny jokes on Twitter!
I wish I had more patience and self-control. This applies to many areas of my life, but it certainly applies to comics.
I need to read more. I’ve been struggling with the idea that this is a valuable use of my creative time – which of course it is, and especially so when time I would spend reading is instead devoted to staring at my phone or playing videogames. Again, wishing for more self-control here. It does help to have books that I enjoy; I got through the Borges and Kushner quickly once I had my hands on them.
I spend several weeks in these two months on a few stories that I’m happy with. I’m working very dense, trying to cut out all the fat, telling stories in 10 tight pages instead of 40.
In late November I started a daily practice of drawing, notetaking, and making short comics – after skipping 30 Days of Comics for the first time since I began doing it in 2012, just because I couldn’t think of a good constraint! I don’t plan to keep at this forever, but I’ll stick with it throughout December and hope it will lead me to some interesting places. Having a daily task is a good way to keep myself doing these activities. I’ll report back with my progress.
I also went to Paris in November, was gutted to just miss David Hockney at the Pompidou but caught a Gaugin exhibition with a strong focus on his printmaking. It led me to think about applying printmaking to comics in a way I’m not sure I’ve seen done before, so I’m going to give that a try next. Kevin Huizenga on Seth’s stamp diaries will give you some sense of what I’m going for. Of course I bought some comics while I was there as well; most interestingly, I found used copies of two Ego Comme X anthologies and one Frigobox. The Ego Comme X were worth it for 60+ pages of uncollected Fabrice Neaud (including Emile, arguably best viewed as a coda to Journal) and were otherwise remarkable for how astoundingly better Neaud is than everyone else in the books outside of Aristophane. This places Neaud’s anger and arrogance in parts of Journal in a different light; he’s…not unjustified to feel like he’s better than everyone else. At least in terms of his comics, when compared to his Ego peers, he clearly is.
The Frigobox is also interesting – I hope to write about these books if I can make time, largely to get on paper in English more of this late-90s / early-2000s period in Franco-Belgian comics history from publishers that are not l’Asso.