Thursday, 10 January 2013

Another Year, Another Pencil

Well, here we are. It's 2013, school is back in full swing and the human has once more successfully dodged the apocalypse (or 'alpacalypse', as one meme I saw claimed. Apparently South American camelids are an intergalactic threat. Who knew?) Over the course of the holidays I seem to have misplaced my favourite drawing pen, and am currently having to make-do with a mechanical pencil, which am enjoying immensely.

This year is shaping up to be something special. I dedicated my holiday time this year to stories. I wanted to return to school saturated with narrative and overflowing with ideas. With a lot of driving time on my hands (the length of British Columbia twice, in what looks a lot like Hell frozen over), I snagged some audiobooks and over the course of several days absorbed Homer's The Odyssey and Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. For a young man driving home for the first time through miles upon miles of wild, deadly, beautiful country, The Odyssey was a glorious and compelling journey. And for someone who likes to imagine that, perhaps, there's more to this world than what meets our eye when we glance up from our cellphones, Neverwhere was a treat. I went on to read through Grant Morrison's Final Crisis, which has in the past defeated me, and to re-read Mark Waid's iconic Kingdom Come, both of which reinforced a lesson I learned long ago: when you pick up a comic, always read the introduction. These were followed shortly by Scott McCloud's academic masterpiece Understanding Comics, a text I thoroughly enjoyed that was rather a long time coming. Finally, I read Tolkien's translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight before picking up and digging into my friend Jason Tondro's Superheroes of The Round Table, which I will recommend to anyone even remotely interested in the ways Arthurian myth has influenced the realm of comics.

And so it was exactly what I wanted it to be, a holiday filled with imagination and wonder and adventure. I read, and I wrote, and I drew, and I gamed, and I consumed large quantities of home-brewed black coffee and cookies. And to top it off, I was offered two sizable illustration commissions which I had to turn down due to school. If there's one thing that bothers me, it's turning down jobs because I need to get a degree that will help me get jobs. However, anyone wanting to kibosh my school career should approach me at Comicon this year and offer me a job, because if that happens I might just drop this degree on its face and go freelance.

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