Stuff I did today:
I joined a hashtag going around on Twitter. #fourcomics that were important to you as a creator/fan. I couldn’t keep it down to just four so I posted twice:
Thrice, actually, if you count me wondering if the Smithsonian Book of Newspaper Comics counted as one. Because man that really shaped my interest in the wild stuff done at the beginning of the 20th century back when people were making up the rules with entire broadsheets to play with.
And then I sprawled on the floor of my studio reading some of these, thinking about how more than a few of them were larger formats than the standard “comic book” size the American industry has settled on. Even the Howarth example I chose was slightly oversized, and had some beautiful examples of full-page designs going on, especially in the “Mad Empress” stories. This lead to pondering page formats for “Drowning City”; I’ve been trying to find the right shape for it, and I think I have arrived at “8×12 book, held sideways, so you see one big page at a time”. I shot off a quote request; if I can get that with lay-flat binding in paperback at a reasonable price, then that’s the shape of what I’ll be spending the next few years working on. (And I am kind of amazed that I’m casually making decisions like that. When did I start taking that long a view of my work?)
Ultimately I keep coming back to the thought that the climax of the story involves falling, and I want to be able to do some very vertical compositions to work with that. I scribbled down some other ideas of things to do with a One Big Page At A Time aesthetic that I think will contribute to the story; I even have ideas on which parts of the story I want to use these for. I may post some of these (plus some of the various doodles in the current Drowning City sketchbook) soon.
(Part of me wants to do something even bigger but (a) expense and (b) man it’s really hard to READ those full-size Nemos. Part of it is due to the way they were written to be read once a week, part is due to the fact that McCay’s plot and dialogue are really just excuses for him to draw whatever crazy architecture he’s obsessed with at the moment. But part of it is due to “holy shit this hardback book is half my height”.)
I then went out to the dentist and had a little bit of drilling and filling, and a lot of cleaning, happen. Did you know that if the light’s just right, you can see a wisp of particulate tooth enamel coming out of your mouth when they drill? Did you know that it has a uniquely unpleasant, slightly burnt scent? I did not know this until now.
And then I wandered downtown to have a late lunch and hook up with the exes for a movie. I had an hour to kill so I wandered through Barnes & Noble, and picked up a couple of books on Celtic myth, which I may be mining for weird little bits and bobs for “Drowning City”.
And finally, the movie. “Inherent Vice”, based on the Pynchon novel of the same name. We all enjoyed it; Nick was a bit worried because he’d noticed that it had the fewest stars of anything playing at the theatre, but all the reviews were bad in a way that suggested it was simply Not For those people. We were perfectly prepared for a stoner noir picture that never really laid out the crazy conspiracy running through it; if you go into that movie expecting to actually understand the labyrinthine affairs of the Golden Fang, you will be disappointed. But if you expect a bunch of really kind of insane people wandering around 1970s Los Angeles, you will get that. In spades.
I had a few moments of LA nostalgia. Unsurprising, really. Living in LA was complicated and stressful and kind of horrile in some ways, and I’m nto about to go back down there and try to hop into the animation industry again, but it can be gorgeous.
Anyway. Guess it’s about bedtime.