It’s been a few months since I was last in your inbox, but I figured I’d give you an update since just about half the year is gone.
The reception to the first instalment of The Comics Creator’s Technical Handbook was nothing less than rapturous, by my standards, and I immediately wrote around half the next instalment, but then … well, you know what happened next. The second wave of the COVID crisis hit India, and it became very difficult to live and to care for my people and to get work done, let alone this thing that, while it gave me a lot of pleasure, was not the kind of thing I had any capacity for. I’ve also been dealing some chronic health issues this year, so I felt it was far wiser to take it off my plate rather than try to get more things done than I was able to.
It’ll be coming back, now that I’m doing better, but it’ll be a week or two as I finish the research I need to do about handling physical art for comics. In any case, it was meant to be a long-term project.
In the meantime, I thought I’d give you an update about stuff.
For one thing, I was surprised and pleased to be nominated for an Eisner Award for Best Lettering this year, for a variety of books, alongside some of my favourite letterers and artists working right now.
Other than that, of books I worked on, The Department of Truth was nominated both for Best New Series and Best Continuing Series, A Map to the Sun was nominated for Best Publication for Teens, Barbalien: Red Planet was nominated for Best Limited Series, and Hey, Amateur! was nominated for Best Anthology (I didn’t letter that one, but I did write/illustrate/letter a page for it, and lettered a couple of older strips that it reprinted from my Black Crown days).
And as if that wasn’t enough, my colleagues Chip Zdarsky, James Tynion IV and Jeff Lemire were nominated for Best Writer, my pal Hass’s PanelxPanel was nominated for Best Journalism again, and Anand RK and John Pearson were nominated for Best Painted/Multimedia Art for their work on our book Blue in Green.
What we can deduce from this is that I know some very cool people and for some reason they ask me to scribble over their work.
Other than that, let me get a bit weird with you. I’ve been reading the Bible recently, and it doesn’t have anything to do with spirituality. For a variety of reasons, I became interested in it as literature, and it’s been a fascinating experience, because it’s … really not the book you expect it to be.
I’ll write more about this when I have the time, probably in a separate edition of the newsletter, because there’s a lot to tease out between the perception I had on the Bible and what the experience of reading it is actually like, particularly with the help of the amount of ancillary material I’ve been reading.
Anyway, I decided it would be useful to keep track of my reading in a Twitter thread, so there that is, if you want to have a read.
I’m going to let that be it for now. We’ve got some words out. Let’s not jinx it by trying to force any more. I’ll leave you with a thought I just posted on Twitter, after a few days of thinking about what I want out of art:
An idle musing – I realise I’ve always sought out art that upsets me ever since I knew what that was, because it is somehow comforting to drown in something horribly intense, and then to come up gasping for air and find a world that is rendered benign in comparison.
This can sometimes be true particularly when I’m going through a bad time, because ugliness and helplessness within fiction can allow me to feel feelings that would make it difficult to navigate the real-life situation. Art that upsets you can sometimes be good for you.
Anyway, this isn’t about anything particular. Just something that concretised recently for me – this paradox of disturbance providing comfort.