This day in Great Outdoor Fight history: Still waiting for the Fight to start; things really kick in tomorrow, though.
- Ordinarily, I’d have run the story that linked to the art as the first item, but this is too big to go anyplace but the lead slot; I trust that Kate will understand. Re: our call two days ago for book purchasers to push Raina Telgemeier from holding 60% of the New York Times Best Seller List to 70%; that didn’t take long. Thanks, book purchasers! Now hold on until Ghosts comes out and make it 80%!
- Now then: Kate Beaton, who all right-thinking folk regard as a treasure and one of the very best creators in both comics, and in any creative medium from the Great White North. Beaton was tapped to provide a show poster for TCAF, and it’s a beaut. More than all the geekly references, it’s also terrific because the message could not be any more clear: TCAF¹ is for everyone. Be sure to thank Beaton when you see her at the Toronto Reference Library on the 14th & 15th of May.
- I got a press release and some sample pages from a guy named Derrick Johnson recently, and I wasn’t going to do much with it — another first release of a webcomic in print form, I see those literally every day, and mention only the ones that grab me in the eyeballs and don’t let go. But something about Johnson’s missive did grab me, and I wasn’t sure exactly what for a couple of minutes. Then it hit me:
I’m a comics creator, that posted comics regularly to my website for a 4 year period in 2007-10. After a long hiatus, I decided to collect the best strips from that time and self-publish a book, The Best of Colored Comics, Volume 1.
Everybody catch that? 2007-10. Comics creators (like artistic types of all sorts) that I know have a definite tendency to be their own worst critics. The most well-balanced of them can stand to look at their most recent work without berating themselves, but maybe on an 18 month rotating cycle. That is, today’s work is pretty okay, anything from last year is barely adequate, and older than 18 months is fit only to be burned. Of course, 18 months from now, today’s work will fall firmly into the burn category. Thus does skill push itself to improve, on the back of total neuroticism.
So to read that Johnson worked at Colored Comics for four years, then to set it aside for five with plans to print, then to resume? That’s an act of supreme bravery. The samples that Johnson sent along, I can tell which are older and which are more recent; the new comics on the site reveal that regularly updating or no, Johnson’s been practicing and improving. I can’t imagine what it was like to go through work almost a decade old to prepare it for print, but it’s the most self-challenging and fundamentally optimistic act I’ve seen in quite a while.
Confidence is a major part of creativity, the feeling that putting a part of yourself out there won’t come back to bite you in the ass, that the random cruelties of a thousand internet griefers won’t drag you down. So yeah — if you’re looking for what early work (that improves as you read it, and gets better still past the end) looks like, Derrick Johnson’s your guy. Here’s hoping he continues to develop without falling to the 18 month neurosis, because I want to see just how good he gets. The Best of Colored Comics, volume 1 is US$15 from Johnson, and pay what you want at Gumroad. Check ‘er out.
- Oh, and 4000 is a hell of a big number, minus maybe a couple dozen guest strips, plus more than 700 for the newspapers. Happy Big Round Number Day, Rich Stevens. You’re a goddamn inspiration.
Spam of the day:
Discount COSTC0 MEMBERSHIPS
So I’ve gone from being on the sexy MILFs spam list to the bootleg warehouse-club membership spam list? Guess it’s just a matter of time before I end up on the oatmeal-and-diabetes-meds spam list, then the prepaid funeral services spam list. Welp, it was nice knowing you.
¹ Indeed, comics, and nerdery, and all fandoms you can think of.