|Alexander Rothman (left) and Paul Tunis (right), looking about |
as stoked on life as they were when I met them at TCAF
The first issue of Ink Brick is a beautiful book. It's well-printed on sturdy paper, but it's not huge and it's not glamourous. That appeals to me. It's an object that doesn't get in the way of its content, which is important, because its content is wonderful. I found myself flipping back over pages, re-reading poems multiple times to try and unravel the threads binding word and image. I've read too few comics that build that desire for exploration in me. I'd like to see some critical work built into Ink Brick; the title, after all, is Journal. While I was in Toronto I took an afternoon to sit down in a pub and read Descant's recent comics issue, #164 - Cartooning Degree Zero, cover to cover. Sean Rogers was the guest editor for that issue, and he and I were presenting on the same panel at the CSSC conference. I had the opportunity to tell I thought he had hit the mark, struck a perfect balance of contemporary Canadian comics work and critical writing on the form. I would love to see Ink Brick find that same balance. If there's one thing I'm finding about the people involved in the small but passionate poetry comics community it's that they're respectful and well-informed. They understand the structures they're playing with, the existing traditions they can either build on or circumvent, and the work of other comics poets who have come before them. It's a strength that ought to be included in a journal of comics poetix.
|It's a beautiful book|
I look forward to seeing the work done in poetry comics these next few years, and I look forward to seeing it become something important to the field of Comics Studies. It's going to take a peculiar sort of comics scholar to tackle comics poetix (a term which, for the record, I think we should keep), someone who understands the intricacies and the basic tenets of language and image, someone who can get through a conference presentation without mentioning Scott McCloud. I've seen too much basic scholarship this last weekend, papers written from a perspective of literary review that do little more than recount the themes and structure of a narrative. We need to start building a focus on analysis, not regurgitation. This is not to say that there is no good scholarly work being done right now, but it is to say that we need to match pace with the innovations happening in comics creation if we are to maintain the relevance of our field.