This is a guide to the writing that I did for my website, 73 this year. It was important to me to go back and look at everything that I’ve written this year, and sort of appreciate it in all of its strange quirks. I think it’s healthy to appreciate a body of work as you move through it. Plus, I know a lot of people just sort of randomly hit some of these, and there was a lot that probably fell through the cracks. I have decided to organize it first by the artists and books I wrote most about in terms of number of articles, this year. And then below that is all of the one-shot articles. As you can see, the stuff I spent the most amount of time writing about this year was Guido Crepax, Alberto Breccia, Hiroaki Samura, Sergio Toppi, Rob Liefeld, and the comic Pretty Deadly. I didn’t include a lot of the micro articles I wrote this year, that were just kind of quick snap shots on an image. I also didn’t include random bullshit that I thought was dumb five minutes after I wrote it. Literally re-writing history here I suppose. But if I did include the micro articles, you could include Emma Rios and Tsutomu Nihei to the above list. Which is worth mentioning.
Guido Crepax is one of the most influential artists on my own work in comics, and there is rarely a day that goes by that I don’t learn something new from his work. He is one of those artists who whenever I am stuck I go hit him up, like the devout hit up the bible or something. A lot of my work on Crepax this year was situated around his Anita series in the 80s. I have written about some of his other work on other sites in the past years. So that is all findable. I plan to at some point write a comprehensive article on Emmanuelle, which is one of my favorite works of his. So that’s something to look forward to for next year. One of the coolest things about all of this was seeing how I managed to turn heads of some of my artist friends, and it was funny to see random bits of Crepax pop up in some of their work this year. I pretend I have everything to do with everything, it’s why I’m both paranoid and arrogant. I would like to shout out Matt Seneca though. Seneca doesn’t really write as much criticism anymore, but I think it was one of his maybe greatest panel articles on Crepax that got me to really look at Crepax’s work. Seneca is an important critic for me in that he made me feel more comfortable with attempting to write about the visual side of comics. To try and explain in words the things which can only be explained by images. I also think the world of his comics is really interesting, and his visuals are extremely powerful. He says and does a lot of goofy things I don’t really understand, but it is impossible for me to say I don’t find the work he did as a critic important, and the work he does as an artist interesting. While we’re talking about these things, my favorite critics in comics are Joe McCullough, David Brothers, Darryl Ayo, and Sloane Leong. It is embarrassing to name names. And then there is all of the people I’ve forgotten, who I’ll have hurt in doing so. The praise game is a sucker’s gambit.
A lot of my writing on Breccia is hampered by the language barrier. There is not very much of his work that is available in english, and my spanish is high school level. But even with that, his work is another that has been life-changing. Getting to read Perramus in English this year was one of the big highlights in comics. Breccia is beautiful, and the comics he works on, they just feel more important than other comics. Comics that fight and stand up. And can never be forgotten. The power of his work transcends language, history, and culture. He is without a doubt one of the true Kings of the medium.
Sometimes I feel lame writing about Blade of the Immortal comics, because they are mostly just sort of base sword fighting actiony books, like I feel like they aren’t the cool manga that everyone else wants to talk about, nor are they like the popular stuff like Naruto or One Piece. They are almost relic. Maybe they are like Laser Discs. Or something. But it is undeniable that Samura’s work is important to me, and for me there is no one better–NO ONE–at depicting the movement of the body through sequential images, within the comics medium. Hands and feet too. Talking about Samura is like going to school for me. The principles of Samura can be applied to any kind of comic, and work just as well in a dramatic setting with no action. [Other hyperbolic superlatives here].
Sergio Toppi died this year. At the time I was sad that he wouldn’t get to see his work Sharaz-De finally make it to North American audiences–and get to see a new audience discover his work for the first time. Then I realized that everyone was just ignoring his work like usual and very few people even gave enough of a crap to write about the book. I think I originally intended for this Toppi piece to run in CA but CA closed down before it ran(it later re-opened, but I had already posted this). I thought Archaia was going to also bring out his Collector series, I even had it pre-ordered on Amazon for the longest time–but I guess Sharaz-De did so poorly that they decided not to. The business side of comics sucks, because it relies on the shitty tastes of a niche demographic of predominantly assholes, who don’t like the same things that I like. Like everything else. I basically just need to learn a second language and then just start picking these books up from european countries that actually can support the comics that I love.
I wrote about Rob Liefeld comics
I wrote about Rob Liefeld comics
I did it three times, I did it three times.
My writing on Pretty Deadly, has been a part of an attempt to follow a monthly serialized book with actual new critical content with each book that isn’t simply a plot synopsis. An experiment in proving you wrong. More than that, this was the most anticipated book for me this year, and it surpassed that hype. My interest in this book was initally just that Emma Rios was drawing it, and I consider her to be some sort of distant art-cousin who works through a lot of the problems I encounter in my own work in terms of composition, movement, and layout–but the main difference is she’s really really good at it. And while I knew that, the first time I turned the page in Pretty deadly to those thick black boxes paired across the page–it was a “wow, I didn’t know Emma had it like THAT” kind of moment. I knew I was always going to have something to say about the visuals of Pretty Deadly, but I was suprised how much I ended up having to say about the other elements of the work, particularly Kelly Sue Deconnick’s writing, particularly considering how awful I feel about most writing in comics, particularly at this level. But she’s really good, and more than that, the relationship her and Emma have on the page really works. I’ll be writing more about Pretty Deadly obviously as the new issues come out. I think the third one is on it’s way to me in the mail if my email is to be believed–so I might get an article on that out as my last thing for 2013.
This is an article on the Ridley Scott/Cormac McCarthy movie that you all refused to see, or hated when you saw it. Basically I judged you all as you chased this movie out of theaters. Found you lacking. 2014 will be a lot of me hurling insults at you. You suck.
My first interaction with art subcultures was with hiphop, and so one of the things that was beaten into me on message boards all through the late 90s and early 00s was that hiphop was more than just the music–it was the overriding culture, and one should have respect for all of the sides of it. So I approached comics with that same sort of rubric here. This is me calling you out on lame cosplay hating, fake geek girl, bullshittery.
An article where the title says it all, and I could have nothing to add. Beyond that my dog ruined some of my freakwave pages by drooling on them.
This was an amazing experience, and I will also be writing about Pink at some point, either on my blog or elsewhere, in 2014. Okazaki is pretty amazing.
I still am getting weird comments on this. Basically, I compared the experience of reading modern day X-men comics to collecting Alf Lunchboxes, and for some reason this offended some people. The comments section of this is actually pretty good. But yeah, this and the Liefeld article where my most commented on articles because fanboys talk a lot but they ain’t sayin’ nothin’. Basically.
I’m a snake wolf dragon monster.
If you ignore the part where I attack writers in comics, this is actually probably an interesting read. If you don’t ignore that part, you’ll probably either want to hug me or hit me depending on if you are a writer or an artist.
I kind of didn’t want to include this one, because I don’t really care that much about negative criticism, and it’s not like this book has a huge audience anyways–and I like that Gail Simone uses her spot in comics to create safe spaces for LGBT peoples. But I think the stuff I say here about coloring gradients working in opposition to line art textures was kind of an important moment this year in terms of how I explained my overall criticisms of modern coloring techniques.
With Picturebox leaving, this is probably the only Blutch book which will be in English. Which is dumb because he’s amazing, this book was amazing, and Blutch is why I started using so much dirty grimy dry brushes in my artwork.
This might be my favorite article I wrote this year. Or favorite title. I wrote about an obscure Jiro Matsumoto comic which will most likely never be brought over here. Rather than the Jiro Matsumoto comic I own which is in English–just because y’know…why not choose the more ethically dubious route of writing about scanulations.
Remember Edward Snowden? lol
Poor bastard. I hope Tom Hanks hologram plays him in the movie 20 years from now.
Can you imagine this generation’s woodward and bernstein digging through these reports like they thought we might give a damn? I can’t remember if this was Pre-Yeezus or Post-Yeezus. Everything is post Yeezus now.
Vampires with that lean.
The best thing about Uzumaki is the funny comics at the back, though.
I BELIEVE this was the last book Kim Thompson worked on. You want to talk about a death that sets comics back–that’s the one. We’re fucked now, people. Anyways. This was beautiful, and any end of year list that didn’t mention it is fucking stupid and not worth your time(psst: none of them are worth your time anyways)
I thought a lot about Nihei this year. I didn’t write that much though, weirdly. My big thing critically in the back of my head for next year or the year after is to write a big ebook on Tsutomu Nihei’s Blame! The audience for that is like…basically one person. But clearly I don’t care about that, I wrote about the Counselor for petesakes, and no one cares about that.
This was easily the best experience I’ve had in a theater for like a decade.
Did you write about Multiple Warheads? I wrote about Multiple Warheads. I have artwork on the cover of the re-release of the old Multiple Warheads book. The subtitle to this thing was this was the year I became good pals with Brandon Graham. Probably because he googles his own name a lot.
I think this originally going to be a CA piece, but didn’t. And instead started my blog. This is where it all started. I think the size of the review was one of those things where I was just like “uh, I need to not lose this down the tumblr void”
As good as 2013 was for me critically, I am ten thousand percent better at this right now than I was to start the year, so 2014 will make this all look like pale imitation.