Wednesday, 6 March 2013

A Thousand Stories, Yet One

I had the privilege this morning of sitting down with a group of illustrators over coffee and just letting our mouths and pencils run in various directions. It was, I must say, the most fun I have had in rather a long time. I have a new Wednesday morning tradition, I think. There was a TV on the wall hooked up to a character randomizer, giving us descriptions like "nervous, jealous, private detective, may or may not be a viking", at which point we'd all turn over a new leaf, set pencil to paper and go about extracting our version of this character from our imaginations. Tastes around the table ranged from cartooning to concept art, and the results of this exercise were a real pleasure to behold. I'm looking forward to these weeks to come, and the opportunity to foster connections in this newly discovered community.

I've started writing a lot for , an endeavour that is proving to be quite an adventure. After much reading and poking about I discovered that their wiki pages could, well, use a little help. For a crowd that passionate about reading, the grammar on that site is atrocious sometimes. So I've applied myself to editing, and what a rush it is! I love researching my favourite creators and learning the little ins and outs of their careers. I've also found the Vine to be a good forum for pouring out my thoughts on comics and having people listen, engage, and dialogue with me. There's a lot to talk about in the realm of comics; there always will be. I hope to be able to bring a more academic flavour to some of the Vine's discussions. I've also started a somewhat sporadic comics review, just opinions on what I'm reading in a given week. I posted one of them up here on February 22nd, but like my Daily Sketch entries it's a challenge to keep them coming on any sort of regular basis. Should be another one coming up shortly; stay tuned. until then, you can check out my Comicvine writings at, keep yourself entertained.

I finished reading a book today that's given me a lot to think on; Jason Tondro's Superheroes of the Round Table, a brilliant account of the various and sundry influences of heroic romance on the superhero genre. Primarily focused on Arthurian legend and the ways it has entered the world of comics, the book changed the way I think about my own narratives, the ways I play with existing events and literature. I've started writing more recently, started a list of story ideas in the back pages of my sketchbook. When those ideas in the back run into the sketches in the front, I guess it'll be time to find a new book. Hopefully by then I'll have some much more full-bodied stories to play with. I seriously considered spilling coffee on the book so the school library would let me keep it. It really was a great read, but better than that has been the opportunity to actually get in touch with Jason online over the past few months. I'd followed his blog for a while (you can find him writing under the monicker "Doctor Comics"), and I approached him a while back wondering if he'd have the time to critique an essay I'd written. He has since become a true academic inspiration to me, someone I can bounce thesis ideas off of and go to with questions about interpretation, and more recently someone to collaborate with in an artistic capacity. Thanks to Jason I've started to explain to people that my university career is "a major in Illustration with minors in English and Art History being used as an academic springboard for comics scholarship." My hat goes off to Mr. Tondro; thank you sir.

And now I must return to work, an essay in fact. If it turns out, maybe I'll toss it up here for the rest of you (however many "you" are; I have no idea who reads this). So au revoir. And here's the result of this morning's coffee. Don't ask what's going on in the top corner, I haven't a clue.

"...all experience - all literature - is to be swilled, blended, mixed in a cup and drank until we are a creature of many thousand hands, multi-colored eyes, a thousand stories and infinite shape, yet one."
-Jason Tondro


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