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What stories, and why comics?

Updated: Jul 15, 2021

"Never get so attached to a poem you forget truth that lacks lyricism"

Joanna Newsom - En Gallop

Thinking about stories a lot lately (by virtue of working on at least 3 at any given time). Sometimes things happen in real life that are not meaningful, at least not by the boundaries of narrative artifice. Certainly not by the standards of a three-act film-style structure

But nonetheless, it's life. So there must be something there worth examining.

In other news, I taught a 4th year elective course on comics in the Sheridan Illustration program this semester. It's been a really wonderful privilege, to give a prompt and see what wonderful work comes back, and to talk to students who are solidifying their voices and starting their careers.

The experience has made me question again, "why comics?"

I've tried to write prose and at every turn I've thought about how I would really rather do this in comic form, even though the process of making comics is sometimes torturous.

Comics take forever to make, and then the reading process is fast, which means you might take years creating something that takes...half an hour to read. But for whatever reason I can't seem to escape the compulsion to make them.

For me, it's partially the ability to convey acting - probably why I like the works of Naoki Urasawa so much.

But the rest? Figuring out how and what to draw in order to get across the specificity of place, mood and time? I find it cartoonishly difficult. Maybe one day I'll succeed in writing and drawing a story that you can smell, if you know what I mean.

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