pluto

TWO THOUSAND AND NINE: Was and Wasn't

I've never really had much luck with doing end of the year posts, mostly because I tend to forget what I've consumed/read/watched over the year (my Mom's taken to writing down everything she reads, which is something I'll have to do for 2010), but this year felt especially rich, so ... end of the year post, hurrah!

What Was Awesome in 2009:
1. URASAWAAAAAAAAAA!

Well, duh. My shelves are rapidly being taken over by his two continuing series, Pluto and 20th Century Boys. While I consume comics at an obscene rate, most of my reading material comes from the library, as I can't afford to purchase everything that I think looks interesting. I don't have a lot of money, and I've never had a comic budget before this year, but I made one in order to get my sticky paws on every volume of those two books, because they are amazing. I'm not a critic, so I won't sit here and discuss the intricacies of the storytelling at work, but to me there is nothing more satisfying than genre storytelling that is nailed every time. I think it's harder. I think that while sometimes artsy or challenging or autobiographical comics get a lot more press in what's left of the mainstream media, to me it is always more compelling when a cartoonist manages to magic a well done genre story out of thin air. The fact that Urasawa seems to be continuing to improve and define his art style (so much has changed since Monster) reminds me that good artists will always push themselves to do better.


2. Viz Signature Okay, so they released Pluto and 20th Century Boys so they're aces in my book, but I've noticed pretty much all the books that I read this year that really intrigued me came from that line. Children of the Sea was amazing, the best use of space on a comic page I've ever seen, and Solanin was deeply touching, even if it did star a bunch of 20something losers who I'd probably want to punch in real life. I bought Ooku the other day and while I had some issues with the artwork (the characters look far too similar), the writing was charmingly sly. I love that this imprint seems devoted to bringing quirkier fare over from Japan. Can't wait to see what they do in 2010.

3) Working On Comics Full-time
I did a crazy thing: I told the studio I'd worked at for the past couple years that I wouldn't be available for the next little while, and hunkered down to draw comics full-time, living off of money my publisher First Second was paying me to draw Brain Camp, and later Friends With Boys. It was kind of scary, but I figured if I was ever going to try and take a year to draw comics, this was the year. It turned out to be the right decision as the animation industry in Halifax nosedived, and at this point, most of my friends are either out of work, or moved away to jobs in other provinces. I don't know what the future will hold, if I'll have to go back to animation to pay rent (probably in another province), but for the moment, I'm doing okay and determined not to worry. As I've mentioned before, it's now 10 years since I started drawing comics (back in 1999 with Demonology 101), so it felt pretty cool I'd get the chance to take this 10th year to devote to comics.

4) 30 Rock
I have a reoccurring dream in which I'm best friends with Tina Fey. I've watched each 30 Rock episode about 30 times. I want to go to there.

5) Resident Evil 5 & Star Trek.
"SPOOOOOOOOOOOOOCK!"
"CHRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIISSSSSSS!"
They were fun.

Things That Weren't So Awesome in 2009:
1) I slashed my movie budget to buy Urasawa's comics, and I think I made the right move. I went from being a devoted movie nerd (movies every week! sometimes twice!) to seeing a total of seven movies all year, in a quest to not see a single bad one. Still saw a couple bad ones, tho. The strange thing? I didn't miss going to the movies. This does not bode well for Hollywood getting more of my money. I also didn't buy a single DVD. It makes me sad because I really loved movies once upon a time, but ... well, I don't know what to make of this development.

2) Anyone want my brand new copy of Stitches that I bought due to hype and kind of hated? Urg. I paid money for this thing! Money I could have spent on Urasawa's comics!

3) The animation industry tanking and most of my friends moving away to greener pastures. Anyone want to hang out in 2010?

4) No North American comics hit me the way the Viz Signature ones did. Closest was Swallow Me Whole, which was excellent, but it's a disturbing trend. I don't want to just read manga. What's up with that, colleagues? Which one of you's going to knock my socks off on 2010?

Comments

Ahh, what I would give to devote an entire year to comics...

I keep seeing Pluto in stores and at least every time I do, I sit down and read some, but alas, a lack of funds leaves me without books. Oh, I heard about stitches.... I never got to read it, but yeah, sorry about that.

Ha! Well, 2009 was when I became rekindled with D101 and was introduced to your other work (Zombies Calling) and I need to read the War at Ellsmere, I know I'm so bad, but with everything going on I haven't had the chance--with my extra christmas monies I'll have to pick it up somewhere, I've been kind of dying to read it.

Maybe I'll knock your socks off this year....it's unlikely... but 2010 is the year I want to do a lot more work for comics, considering I am finally graduating.

Man I kept recommending that everyone read Pluto when it finally saw the light of day on North American shores! Urasawa is definitely one of the most talented artists to come out of Japan in ages.

Also really excited for Brain Camp to come out next year!
Me! your socks will be knocked off by me! Also Ooku's writing is lovely
If you haven't read Atomic Robo, that is a pretty amazing comic. It has SCIENCE!!!
20thCB and Solanin: boo-yah right on hi-5. Thanx for further recommendations, too.

And almost all the comics I read now are manga, and this doesn't bother me. Not sure I see the problem...
I guess my problem with just reading manga is that it's limiting. It's a specific regional artform, and I don't want it to be the only influence on my work. I think it's important to be influenced by all kinds of comics, from all over the world, as long as they're good. Don't get me wrong, I read a TON of North American comics last year, they just didn't grab me the way Urasawa did.
I blame you entirely for the amount of Urasawa I read this year! Thank you!

Moving forward to 2010, I feel I should mention that you need to play Dragon Age: Origins. Srsly. All I'm gonna say is that it is *better than KOTOR* and I adored KOTOR. Trust me on this one.
Yessss, another one for the cult... I mean club. :D Sorry, video games aren't really something I do anymore, unless it's with my boyfriend (as Resident Evil 5 was). Just don't have the time.
I didn't get to read anything by you except for the Mountain Girl comic I bought at TCAF. :( I should get the library to buy the Wet Moon volumes I don't have...
Here's hoping this doesn't sound creepy: I'd love to hang out with you. I was an avid D101 fan back in the day, and it would be really cool to chat about that. Let me know if you'd be interested in getting together sometime. :)