WEEK IN REVIEW :: Cambodia, Hodgman, Eng, Occupy

For the next several months I'm going to be posting comics much less, as I'm working on a Great Unannounced Project pretty hardcore. So most of my non-freelancing drawing energy will be directed towards that. In the meantime, I'm going to start blogging more, so that I don't go insane just drawing all day. I'll be continuing my series of how-to posts, maybe post some reviews of things I'm reading, stuff like that. And on Fridays I'm going to start doing some light link-blogging, just things I have liked or found interesting during the week. I like link blogs--my two favorites are Tom Spurgeon's and Sean T. Collins--I've discovered a lot of interesting stuff through those guys, so maybe you'll discover something interesting here. If you dare. Case in point: what the heck is this gorgeous thing? I found this through Kevin Dart's Google+ --I initially thought Kevin had something to do with it, but I think maybe it's just some brilliant amazing guy named Brendan Wenzel. You can click straight through to the full giant version here. Totally astounded by this thing. I can't remember how I got here, but whoa, I'm glad I did. Mary Kate McDevitt, illustrator and letterer. I did the wedding invitations for a friend earlier this year, and while I thought it would be super easy to do fancy script, it was actually super incredibly hard. Although the problem really was just letting go and not worrying about making everything perfect--the more organic, the better, right? I mean, why else would you hire someone to do something by hand, if you didn't want to see the evidence of their hand at work. A lesson that Ms McDevitt obviously knows well, and which I'm slower. I don't care much for Newsarama, but this interview with John Hodgman was surprisingly fascinating. Not that it's surprising that Hodgman is fascinating, but he hardly talked about his book, instead focusing on a lot of what he sees as wrong with contemporary comics, events, and the general thrust of comics as an industry and how they seem to carry themselves. Really great points in there--sometimes it takes someone from outside of your small world to comment on it honestly, with some degree of perspective that I think a lot of us in comics lack. This is old, but man--speaking of people discussing the "New 52" comics from DC: my new favorite writer about comics is Brian Chippendale. He's funny without being a goofball, critical without being simply dismissive, and engaged enough with what he's talking about to make things genuinely interesting, even though I'm not even slightly interested in talking about what's wrong with, say, DC Comics or whatever. Dullsville! And, while it's easy to focus on the more entertaining elements of Brian's take, he's also a cartoonist and painter who genuinely loves comics, so he has a lot to say about artistic and storytelling choices. If you're not already aware of Brian, he's both the author of If 'N Oof and the drummer/singer of Lightning Bolt. I got to see Lightning Bolt last year some time, and holy crap. Every time I read on of these reviews, I imagine Brian crushing a small drum set and screaming through a weird psycho microphone mask. *SHIVER* Also old news, but I never get tired of looking at Meg Hunt's "What Dinosaurs Ate" illustration. Man, she is amazing! Just as old, but also amazing, is John Porcellino studying a page from Yoshihiro Tatsumi's "A Drifting Life" and pulling out all sorts of different compositional tricks Tatsumi used. That book really floored me, especially because it's an autobiography of a cartoonist whose work I'd never read before. Just a great story, told well, illustrated beautifully. There are TONS of lessons like what John found in that book, but it takes a master of simple underpinnings like John to see a lot of them. This book featuring art by Killian Eng is debuting in a couple of weeks at the Brooklyn Comics + Graphics Fest, and even though I'm broke I'm already stacking up quarters to get one. Gorgeous, haunting, strange images. I'm not 100% sure of what I think of the #Occupy movement--I think there's a lot of good, and also some bad. It's not super popular these days to be less than 1000% for or against something. But this video by MK12 neatly sums up everything I think is great about it. Beyond using an amorphous demonstration to promote any of dozens of political/societal goals, of varying levels of possibility, the idea of the #Occupy movement as one that's basically about redressing huge structural inequities in how our society works is a great one. It's great that we all stick our thumbs up for The American Dream, but it's a lot easier to be rich when you start rich, and it's a lot harder to get rich when you start poor. This idea was a lot less popular back when we said "black" instead of "poor", and "affirmative action" instead of "Occupy Wall Street." Okay! Have a great weekend!

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