June quickies

It’s been a bad period for the doodles & sketches — but not a completely dead one, and that is a bit heartening for me these days.

Comics remains the anchor for finding my way into a few minutes of drawing without second thoughts. Comics remains, and increases really, in my viewfinder as a way to keep track of what’s going on in the world, too. Still not reading a lot of actual comics, mind you, but I am listening now pretty faithfully to three podcasts about ‘the industry’ — David Harper’s Off Panel, which got me hooked to begin with, the Chicago Challengers comic shop (not my local store) weekly show, and now also Publisher’s Weekly’s More to Come. Of course there’s a great deal more that I could be tuning in to, were I more serious, and a great deal of comics-journalism reading I neglect besides. There’s only time for so much.

The fascination, in one sort of a nutshell: that people love this shitty, shitty business. Really, what a perfect little window the comics biz is on the stupid waste and needless pain modernity, capitalism, entails for the ordinary bought-in striver, whether producing or consuming, and also — just as much — on the things that keep it, this way of distraction and exhaustion, compelling for so many, structuring our work & play and tying them to our idea of belonging to something. I mean, I don’t deny loving it too, don’t get me wrong. I’m certainly part of the picture I’m looking at. The more I know about this little world, though, the more grateful that my geek side never fully developed.

That said (and lest I be thought to be acting the cynic), it’s time I got around to mentioning that I am reading one monthly series with real pleasure this year — a DC title, interestingly. They brought the John Constantine character in for a new round under the ‘Black Label’ (good lord, DC), ‘Sandman Universe’ umbrella. I feel fortunate to have caught it (a consequence of being a little more regular in local shop First Aid Comics since late last year), something I can’t say about almost anything else I’ve picked up in the several years of semi-regular browsing in Forest Hills, Winchester, and now Hyde Park. Simon Spurrier writing, Aaron Campbell (with a couple of issues, lighter in tone, drawn by Matías Bergara) and Jordie Bellaire illustrating, and covers by John Paul Leon (which alone would be enough, if I were the kind of person who bought on cover-art basis).

Haven’t reached being pulled into the little drawings to the degree exploring the Constantine character would call for, but it might happen yet. We’ll see. In the meantime, impulse to do something with a few of the more fun conventional colorful superfigures gets me going, here and there, in half-assed fashion. Thus Galactus, below. I don’t think I’ve ever given him a shot before this week. (Venerable Kirby character such as this deserves more focus, but oh well.)

UPDATE : Couldn’t resist adding a Surfer head.


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