Comfort those closest, entertain the rest.

July Reading

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work - Mason Currey

The lesson in Daily Rituals is that the life of an artist is just as mundane as the life of a non-artist. Or, at least, it had better be. Page after page, we see genius composers, scientest, arists, and authors daily routines written down in as great a detail as exists. In every case you see men and women who kept a schedule, who kept their days and nights route and predictable. Their work emeged not from flights of fancy, but from ritualistic adherence to a tight schedule.

I”ve been working on a project of my own and struggling to find time to work on it - so I’ve taken a page from a lot of the creators mentioned in this book - I’ve started getting up an hour earlier, when it’s quiet in the house and working alone with a cup of coffee. It’s been pretty great.

The Medium Is the Massage - Marshall McCluhan

What a fascinating book. McCluhan, a expert on communication posits that the way we communicate with each other has a lot more effect on us than what we actually communicate. Our actual alphabet has done more to change the way we think than anything we’ve ever written down with it.

McCluhan wrote this bbok in the late sixties, so he talked a lot about how unprepared we were, as a culture, to process our shift from the mechanical age to the electrical age. Those concerns are obviously more pertinent than ever as we move from the electrical age to teh internet age.

Wonton Soup - John Stokoe

Wonton Soup has been described as a space trucker, food opera. That fits as well as anytthing I suppose. Stokoe is perhaps best known for his series Orc Stain, these days, but he cuth is teeth doing comics about a young, punk who dropped out or intergalactic culinary school and started driving a space rig with a horny pothead. It’s good stuff and right in my wheelhouse as they say./p>

Inkstuds: Rob Liefeld

There are a lot of terrible comic book related podcast out there. A lot of them. So, I was thrilled to discover Inkstuds - partly because it fills the quality comic book-related podcast void and partly because it’s associated so closely with Brandon Graham, my current comic-book hero.

There are a lot of great episodes of Inkstuds. The best ones feature artists talking about why they love comics and how they work. The really, really best ones feature host Robin McConnell and Brandon driving around the country interviewing folks.

This weeks is particularly interesting as it features comics’ own 90’s infant terrible, Rob LIefeld. Liefeld is a controversial figure. Sometimes because of what he says, sometimes because of the perceived quality of his work. I will forever love LIefeld for letting Graham take control of his character, Prophet, and creating one of my favorite comics in years.

My big takeaway from the LIefeld interview is that he seems to lack a certain amount of self-awareness (if you can indeed determine something like that from a podcast). Everyone has a friend like Liefeld, the guy who’s fun to be around but laughs just a little too hard and clearly wants you to be impressed with him, even if he isn’t completely aware of how he’s’ coming across.

This episode is worth a listen, as is every episode of Inkstuds that I”ve listened to so far.

Listen here.

And here’s some drawings Brandon did during the interview: