Thursday, January 01, 2015

How 2014 Was Hornswoggled

This is a very silly annual tradition that began as a meme one year -- I think on LiveJournal, round about 2008 -- and which I've kept doing because I have the kind of mind that greatly enjoys doing the same thing the same way repeatedly.

(I'm not saying it's a strength of mine; I'm just saying it's true.)

So this is a look at the past year on Antick Musings, with the first and last "real" sentences (silently removing any of my standard listing posts with their boilerplate) of each month, as linked to those original posts:

I'm back.

But it has the kind of smile that -- to my mind, at least -- never touches the eyes. 

It's been four years since we saw the first two volumes of this odd series -- long enough ago that I reviewed volume one and volume two for ComicMix -- so you might have forgotten what this was about, if you ever gave it your attention.

This book is rabble-rousing in the best way, and it deserves to be read widely.

Guy Delisle is best known for his long travelogues about times spent in interesting places (in the not-actually-Chinese ironic sense of the term), including Jerusalem, Shenzhen, Pyongyang, and Burma Chronicles.

That might just be enough, even at this rate: good luck to her, and to all of the socially awkward geeks, all over the world.

As usual, the beginning of a month is a major time for exciting announcements of new projects, and April even more so, with spring blooming and bringing new energy to us all.

Though it's also probably the most British of his books, which may be why it seems odd to Americans like me. Perhaps Brits find it rather more sedate and homey?

Books that can surprise you once are a joy. Books that can surprise you repeatedly are even more precious than that.

It doesn't hurt that their collective art is gorgeous and evocative, of course: Moon and Ba draw a world we want to fall into, to inhabit with their characters, no matter what the risk.

You can make art about art. You can make art that incorporates other art within it. You can make art about the conflicts of art with politics, about art in a dangerous time, about art with an ulterior motive. But, above all, you must make your art mean something: if you tell a story, it must start from somewhere and lead somewhere.

Neither of these book are all that easy to find these days -- they're both out of print -- but I'd send new readers to Hoodoodad first by choice.

I don't want to claim that it's impossible to tell anyone's life story in a sixty-six page graphic novel: that would be too much.

If you wanted more stories about "moose & squirrel," you are very much in luck.

There are at least three Moyoco Annos -- and those are just the ones I know of.

But this is really just a book for serious fans of Cole or equally serious students of the mid-century newspaper strip.

I am about to commit dancing about architecture; I'm sorry up front but there's nothing else to be done.

But we're still close enough to its world that it has a crackling energy, and I expect a lot of people will keep reading it for a while for much the same reason I did: to remind them of when they were young and invincible and at the center of the world. 

Transitions are hard for any organization -- maybe you're being restructured, maybe you're going through a rebuilding year, maybe your funding was cut and everyone's on half-hours to ride it out.

(Really: I will continue to plug his stories until you break down and go read them. Might as well start now.) 

Some books inspire rituals. Ulysses created Bloomsday, and thousands of people read A Christmas Carol each December 24th.

I won't state absolutely that there's no such thing as a female magnificent asshole -- I hope someone will point me to one -- but I can't think of any, and the type is heavily coded male. 

This is not a comic, though it does have a few panels with dialogue, and a lot of Scott McCloud's essential marker: words and pictures juxtaposed.

After all of these years, it turns out my professors were right: who would have thought it?

2015 will continue in the same vein, I expect: though, as always, I find I need to see what comes out of my fingers when I sit here to really know what I think about things.

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