I’ve totally fallen behind on updating my blogs!
Things have become pleasantly busy with drawing,
and teaching, keeping me more than occupied.
But still, overdue!
I submit my messy studio
as proof of business.
How is everybody? I’m well. I’m planning an event in Montreal – sign up here to get news about that – There will be news very soon hopefully re guests and things, things are falling in place. It’s to be a night of Jamming and Jawboning for cartoonists and lovers of the form in Montreal.
In other news, The Patreon got off to a nice start but a year in has held stable for a while. Partly due to my intermittence in promoting it I fear. And a recent shift to mostly lower level pledges means the total has gone down a bit in fact, slightly offset by the dramatic decline of the Canadian Dollar recently.
Patreon is in USD, so I get a nice boost from the exchange rate.
Still though, I’d like more pledges for sure. The current goal is to get to $350 a month, most of my rent. That means about a 175 pledges at $2 each. Could take fewer if folks pledge more and I have a few reward tiers for that to encourage it. I’ve taken out formal “teaching” as I find that hard to do online. I teach privately at my home though, contact me if you’re interested. But there’s still the option to get postcards or convention sketches!
I did this fantasy illustration as a commision for one of my patrons recently. I’d be glad to do something for you if you pledge too! Once a year you’ll be able to request something like this for yourself or another for a consideration of $15 a month. That’s just 180 a year, a pretty good deal for original art to your specifications.
Even without more of those though, still 175 patrons giving just 2$ pledges monthly seems like a reasonable number to hope for in my audience? Certainly from some of the stats I’ve looked at, many can afford it! So I hope I can entice a few more in time! And I think it’s well worth the deal. Free access to a digital library of all my independent comics and bonus patron’s only content shared to the patreon blog!
I think getting a bit more focused about my posting regularly on my site blogs again would help for sure, both comics but other things too. I’ve probably been spending a disproportionate amount of time with the community on Facebook and neglected these platforms. Partly it’s due to mostly working on comics I’m sharingintherough–lots of process but have to hold back final work on for now. Ironically if you are a patron, you get to see that all sooner. But for now only Kickstarter and Patreon readers get to read Dracula first.
I’m doing a fair bit of posting and instagramming for my classes, and editing my teaching sites for Dynamic Drawing, and Making Comics. And there’s other stuff I could share too, work on commissions and things or just a bit of Blogging. But time is the shortage. I fear it’ll be sporadic this summer at best.
A Bastards Tale is currently holding up Revolver Four, I got it started but then hit a problem….basicly involving how to representmyself, and my dead father in the story! That sounds more dramatic that it is, but it was a tough problem and I ran out of time to get it done, had to get back to drawing Dracula some more, get a big chunk of Dracula done if not rap it all up before I can go back to it! Probably the latter as really, it’s much too late already.
Frustrating but making comes is often about deferred pleasure and keeping and eye on the long game.
So that’s it for now, I’ll post about my thing in April in a week or so…check in here or sign up to the list if you want to come to my MTL comix Salons!
Here’s some photos of the work in progress! Think that was the most standing i’ve done in a while. Been some time since I worked on a mural or painted. This time was three days, two full and a half wrapping up the work. Your legs get a good workout!
The main piece is on the inside of the main work area, the lobby is on the other side of it, with entrances on each end.
From the POV of the main wall, THIS is the right entrance wing to main wall. Very cool.
The staff seemed to enjoy the show as well. kept to themselves a fair bit, but clearly pretty excited by it. Folks taking their bike in to the room they have set aside for them will see this first thing every morning. — with Rupert Bottenberg, Raphaele Bard, Tyler K. Rauman and Mc Baldassari.
From the POV of the main wall, THIS is the left entrance wing to main wall. I did my version of old school Guilala coming in the door. Was my first bit of graph, as the others called it I think. Gave him Gigan mandibles, because.
From what I saw most people who don't bike or work in the front offices, will see this when they show up for work. — with Rupert Bottenberg and Tyler K. Rauman.
Media center wall. Vegetable head fueled workers have their tentacles in all the things.... — with Raphaele Bard, Tyler K. Rauman and Mc Baldassari.
And back in the Ad dept wall we left a cyber wolf hunting rabbits.. — with Rupert Bottenberg, Raphaele Bard and Mc Baldassari.
Also was nice to get to know the other artists a little bit. Would love to work with them again. Reminded me of the old monthly jams. It all came out really amazing & fun to do. When you’re up close to it it’s hard to say, but after the drop sheets came away, it all looked pretty great. I can see why Ruppert loves doing this work so much. The whole crew were pros.
For me it was nice to make it through the whole thing physically well. I’ve worked on something with them three times now.
First jumping in for a few hours during Henge, the En Masse project @Nuit Blanche 2011, which happened to be the night before I went under the knife for cancer! That was good for the mind and I knew I wanted to do it again.
And I did a year later as part of a huge team that worked together on a room at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. That time unfortunately I was wrecked from a severe bout of gastro and probably the onset of diabetes. It was hard to even hold my arm up for long! Ug.
This time? My stamina held out pretty well! All three days. Yay! And 48 hours later nothing to terrible has happened so it’s officially not a jinx.
Oh and I’ve confirmed I was using stupid brushes before, having picked up a proper set this time. So much better. Loved laying in the big lines with a freestyle paddle brush! Makes me want to prime something. And remember i’ve got a couple unfinished things hidden away…
Must stay on things with Dracula, just working on a new page now. But for sure up for doing it again too.
Hey, by the way. There’s a Patreon campaign for Spilt Ink in the way.
UPDATE: I have my table number now, I’m going to be at booth 2738! And look for the school I teach Dynamic Drawing at, Syn Studio, at table 2629 in Artist Alley. The floor plan is here on the Con’s site, and posted bellow is one with our spots highlighted!
Good news for Dream Life, we moved a nice chunk of books at the show in Toronto, including adding three new retailers to our distribution efforts! Hope to match that in Montreal at least in part. I have some home court advantage maybe, so that might help? Any rate, It’ll be primarily Dream Life, and prints on hand. Thinking about making some coupon code/gift cards for my digital comics? We’ll see if i can spare it the brain cells in the next few days.
If you want to buy some art from me, check out this page and order in advance, to pick up from me at the show? I’ll have some art there as well for sale. And if you’d like to pre-order a copy of my book to pick up at the show, buy it via this link and in the special instruction, mention you’ll be at the show, between now and the 12th, and i’ll make sure to have one ready for you there! I’ll be doing personalized portraits in the copies at request.
I’ll be up for doing commissions too, if you’d like to reserve one in advance the limit will be 4 done before the show! Contact me about the details.
I mentioned that I was able to utilize the closing hours of FanExpo, to present Dream Life to a few retailers in the Toronto area and persuade them to stock a hand full of copies of the first [Launch] editions! Here’s the list of my new good friends. :) Thanks for taking a chance on my book guys!
The venerable and recently reborn Silver Snail! Had a nice brief face to face with George about doing things in store in the near future. This would be fantastic. And with the copies he took from me that means i’m stocked at both stores now, assuming Ottawa still has one left.
The guys at Gotham Central in Mississauga seem really enthusiastic about supporting Canadian creators! Got a lot of interests I intend to follow up talking with them about, and they took 4 copies from me for their shelves.
For independent distribution, via a one man operation done when I have time over the summer, so too bad! A solid start anyway, in a long game.
So, i’ll see you at the Montreal Comic Con? Watch my twitter for the announcement of my table number, and i’ll be around the Syn Studio table as well at some point, and they will know where to find me too.
Steven Gilbert with his personalized copy of my book! Thanks Steven!
Still feel like I’m playing catch up after the trip to NY last month, closed out the first leg of the Dream Life tour.
I had some slow weeks after recovering from a pretty intense cold I picked up on the road. We were having a heatwave too, that didn’t help. And here in Montreal a lot of people went on the traditional summer “workers vacation” so not much was getting done outside my studio.
I just heard back from Lounak earlier today that the first batch of books I left with them–that were waiting on a passport renewal. and then the drivers vacation–will now head out this Wednesday! Yay. Was getting worried there.
Good news. Going to want to see the invoice from them for this batch, but this means the next batch should head out soon as well. I have classes to teach mid week, but probably next monday i’ll plan to make a run up to Lounak.
Though it would be nice to sell more books to help wrap up the last bit of shipping! unfortunately due to NY having been a bust when it came to sales at the shows – both cons there in June were super DEAD I found. Sold about 3 copies of Dream Life between them along with a few other bits and bobs. Most the other folks I talked to at both had the same story too pretty much. Bombs.
I ended up coming away $200 in the hole rather than with the average $500 profit that had come from many of the other shows/weekends on the tour. New York, Ottawa, and the second weekend in Toronto were all poor sales wise, but with NY being the worst especially, when you factored in the much more expensive tables and travel! I still came out in the black for the other two duds with just a few books sold, but not NY.
That was not good for the budget. It could have been worse — I was able to sell two thirds of the books I had on me to local retailers for decent wholesale rates sunday and monday before coming back. Covered most the losses and bumped the store listings for Dream life nicely in the process too! So I was happy about that. But fiscally it hurt my plan a bit. The shipping budget it just about $400 now, so coming out of NY -$200, not cool.
Covering the latest short fall will be doable, it’s not huge. As it turned out last week I learned I’d be covering for my friend and co-teacher at Syn Studio, Kelly Tindall. Doing a semester of his comics class as well as my regular semester of Dynamic Drawing.
The hours for that, selling some more books locally, and some freelance work in the works, i’ll be able to work it all out. But yeah, selling a LOT more books would be great for that and, just, in general.
It was over all good on the road, but online there’s been little pick up. I’d like to do more to get things going. Been writing retailers, have a few orders in the works. Also have some requests for books in town too at shops. Also been entertaining finding a way to set up in downtown Cafe’s, to sell the book during festival season?
I’m offering a summer reading sale right now, for the US editions. Need to get the word out more in general though!
[reminder kickstarter backers are getting signed first Launch Editions, printed on premium paper in Montreal. The books sold now from my site are the US editions, POD copies printed on good but coarser paper in the US, from CreateSpace.]
I’ve been reluctant to ask before everyone got their copy, but I’d really appreciate any help you can give me spreading the word about the sale, [ 0 shipping for physical copies and 10% off digital ] and generally sharing stuff about the book. To that end….
In other related news I had a chance finally to do some over due web work.
Also tell your favorite comic book or book retailer about it too! I can supply books to most places on the glob via the CreateSpace system!
Also the book is on Amazon, ComiXology, & Goodreads. If you can rate it there as well it would be a HUGE help boosting it’s visibility! Please help me pop it up the ranks?
And lastly, do you do a podcast or write for blogs? Chat me up about appearing on your show or check out the Footnotes section of Spilt Ink, and then write me some interesting questions? Some past interviews and reviews for my books can be found here on thepress page.
Ok, that’s the big ask for today.
Be my Street Team?
Thanks a lot!
I couldn’t have done this without you all!
Hey so i’m excited to announce i’m teaching a drawing class this fall, 10 classes at Syn Studio in Montreal, emphasising the physicality of drawing from technique to capturing motion and energy in your art.
Some unconventional aspects will be moving live models, field trips to events, and even a free 1hr T’ai chi class [included in base cost] to help you get into thinking about how your body and joints work both for tool use and relating to bodies in motion. Followed by an hour of drawing the T’ai chi instructor!
I’m hoping it proves to be a fun and engaging class! I’m happy to hear we already have a few students signed up, there’s still spots for open so consider joining us for it!
First class is Saturday the 5th of October 4:30 to 7:30pm.
Class dates are all at the same time.
Oct 5, 12, 19, 26
Sept 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
Dec 7th, final class.
Year end party & exhibit TBA Early Registration price is $410.
Regular registration rate is $470. *Early Registration Deadline: August 7th at 11:59 P.M.
Hah, that would be just my luck, as i’m finally getting half a hang of promoting myself publishing ventures at something approaching the pace it seems to take to get anyone to take your seriously online or noticed in the torrents of updates, the game would go and change from under my feet.
Being buddhistly inclined I liked a lot of what he had to say about applying mindfulness to your work in the digital sphere. I do try to do just that as much as my mind will allow. Also think I spotted some impracticalities too. Share Jim’s concern about the narrowing of focus and echo chamber effect [something he mentioned in passing in the interview].
Over time I do think they count more. But when you’re still one of many, and growing numbers of creators trying to raise awareness of our work, and have as eclectic a reader base it seems I have, I’m not sure how much liberty I have to choose to overly narrow band broadcast. I feel like on the edges of your media domain you need to have fairly fast moving streams to match the pace of the rest of the web, to draw in readers to your core presentation. I don’t post on the blog here rapidly. No way I could keep up with a even once daily rate that Warren thinks of as a lower gear, while maintaining a good level of quality of content, and keep on top of my artwork. Beyond the usual challenges of content creation being dyslexic makes the process of writing and proofing laborious.
But Facebook, mypages, and twitter, G+ to a degree too, I can post small bits of thought or just promote other people’s stuff – something I agree with Dean Haspiel about being a important and valuable role to play, not just as being a community builder but also being someone anyone cares to pay attention too as well. Rather than someone who only talks about themselves?
I suspect some aspects of the slow web Warren and Jeffrey talk about is in part the privileged cruising gear of those who’ve established themselves. For those that describes It makes a lot of sense to economize your efforts.
At this point I follow the feed-back, post more where I find I get responses and less where I don’t.
Never was all in for twitter, it’s always been a semi-automated branch of my blogs. Don’t have a phone attached to my hip so it was never practical for me and too much of a distraction from the drawing table.
For the moment I get far more attention to my work on Facebook than anywhere else. My computer is seldom far from me so when I brake to pace around, grab a coffee, or set up a show to half watch, I often check in and poke around, like or share something, post a bit of work i’m in the midst of.
I tried promoting a couple of posts on Facebook recently connected with RevolveЯ. They got a lot more views but I remain unconvinced if it helped all that much. I did notice that you have to watch it with that, need to look closely at how the options are laid out for you when you set up a promoted post. Seems like a default was to keep promoting and charging after the budget I had set was spent. Not sure what to make of that but I was not pleased to find I was getting charged again without first being asked. As is too often the case it feels like communicating is not FBs strong suit. Incidentally it’s been amusing to watch as twice as many people who’ve added me as a contact in the past 6 months, did so in the last week on Flickr post instagram TOS fiasco. All good, welcome to all. I was never on instagram so works for me.
Speaking of attention…
Having a hard time getting some key comics news sites to pick up my press for RevolveЯ. Others have, but a few of the key players are being tough nuts to crack. Another round of press needs to be done, hoping I can get more traction in the new year. Wondering if I rubbed some the wrong way along the line or something? For sure not really being part of the convention circuit has not helped. Last show I did was TCAF, and that just as a civilian. Ran into one former editor I once worked with who now blogs, it was kind of awkward, as is to happen at these hectic things, but has not replied to an email since?
Be nice to go to more shows and have more fluid relations with the comics diaspora at large, have a chance to build solid friendships in person. But my lack of funds aside, when am I supposed to make time for that and still draw my books, and do all the other shit we have to do ourselves these days eh? Would love to, but we have to have a successful book first. For that we need the book we have to get coverage so people know it’s there to order or buy. A dog and tail game.
Best is if the word gets out more virally, and becomes something the diaspora can’t ignore. If you’re reading this, do us a favor and check out the book if you have not already, mention it to a few someones, share it blog it and if you’d like to review it contact me about that, be glad to oblige. I have lots of visitors and followers these days but outside a core group not enough sharing what they find to get that fantastic fractal spreading pattern going yet. Needs more cowbell!
On the other hand and not to seem to only gripe, I have had some nice windfalls!
Making it a more entertaining experience than planned I got nailed by the flu about 6 hours before the interview, vomiting all over the place very suddenly and sending my poor Ange into a cleaning frenzy. Managed to clear out the pipes and get it together to do it all over the phone, thanks to some nice editing, I even sound totally coherent.
So that’s me for the year probably. Couple more retailers on board and some new distribution channels about to come online for RevolveЯ. I’m running behind on RevolveЯ Two right now due to last minute editorial decisions on my part, and the feeling like the slow moving soft launch is progressing well, but has not reached the sweet spot for the next Minimum Effective Dose. The next book dropping and it’s associated press releases, to help crank the series forward. Taking the time to color a story and add another to make it all that much cooler, less ignorable, and put it out in January instead of this month as I had planned originally.
Keep your eyes open for a kickstarter project from me and Mark Sable too in the new year.
As work on Dream Life book one gets done i’ll be jumping directly onto a story we have planned.
Multi-award winning Art and Adaptation by Royal Academy heavyweight Ramón Pérez.
Award winning packaging by Eric Skillman.
Ramón’s a friend, and it’s been inspiring to watch him become deservedly highly sought after. It may be laying it on a little thick calling this book one for the ages, but I just did. I will have no choice but to cop to being bias. But I’m confident you will agree.
A year or so ago it was while loitering around the Toronto studio he shares with the rest of the Academy gang that I first saw pages from this rather brazenly epic realization of a reputedly esoteric rich early script, by one of my all time heroes. The Muppet Man. Mr Fraggle. When he said what the spreads he was inking were for, I think I cursed under my breath for an extended period.
You could already see this was a gorgeous project. Leaning over Ramón’s shoulder when he’s working tends to be routinely rewarding, but all the more so in this case.
Reading the book myself this summer finally was an almost-unadulterated pleasure. I was initially thrown by the strange lettering phenomenon associated with old Melrose Mernly [his friends call him Sven]. But after it reoccurred a couple of times I got it, and recognized it for the bit of fun inventive surrealism it is, an echo of Henson’s own penchant for psychedelic audio phenomenon.
This book is filled with playful formalistic inventions that for me put it on par with Asterios Polyp and the like. I think many are fairly novel, but despite and often because of it, all still a fabulously smoothly reading, rolling, kinetic comic.
A race meant to take 10 minutes to Eagle Mountain takes a wrong turn into a maylay of chaos.
The large wordless sections can be pored over, but I encourage you to read it all at least once, in only the time it takes to get the story point and move on.
The ease at which you can register what has been drawn narrative wise is remarkable. Storytelling as sharp as you will find here, for a story so surreal is an impressive accomplishment. Ramon makes it look easy. I also happen to know it was completed in an impressively short time, too.
This is a jealousy inducing book. His discipline is always impressive, and it’s on full display here. What it brings to a quite recognizably worthy bit of the Henson legacy is worth every cent and minute.
Jimmy Beaulieu is the founder of Quebec publishing house Mécanique Générale, and an autobiographical cartoonist with a penchant for romantic angst. This was how I first encountered him.
I think it was at a Comic Jam hosted by Rupert Bottenberg, or a BD festival perhaps. He’s an extremely likable geeky guy who loves pop music, pop art and sexy ladies unabashedly. A fastidious editor and designer and easy maker of many friends.
He and a group of said friends were publishing great inventive self-published B&W comics when I first moved to Montreal. Several were even wordless so I could enjoy them without issue. I really loved checking out their latest stuff, and was always frustrated by my hopelessly poor language skills when it came to reading Jimmy’s auto bio work.
BDANG is a sub imprint of Conundrum Press, a small but prolific Canadian publishing house. Under it publisher and author Andy Brown is translating and publishing several French books
In 2010 one of them was the collection and translation of two of Jimmy’s extended works, Quelques Pelures and Le Moral des Troupes [winner of the 2005 Prix de l’Espoir Québécois], They document his life between the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. Additional pages were added to the collection, and Jimmy played with parts of the text of the second part to try to round out the story and smooth out his sophomore spots.
I’ve read it in fits, it’s got scope! Coming in at an impressive 250 pages of comics. It’s hard to read in a sitting, but perfect I think for browsing through on transit or keeping by the throne.
Jimmy adopted early an easy, fast, light-handed style of art, well-suited to a personal journal comic. It evolves visibly over the body of work, going from pleasantly naive to deceptively skillful. He often apologizes for his drawing, but I find it enjoyably expressive and his girls are adorable! Being so often the subject of his attention, this pays off for an appreciative reader. He captures people’s pantomime well. The tones and textures lend themselves to a gauzy soft focused nostalgic story about the coming of age of a shy cartoonist from Quebec City who slowly falls in love with Montreal, and moons over hot cupid-like young mothers and full-figured redheads.
There are many small gems, like one of the short, newer epilogues to act one. An entry titled ‘rocket man’ where Jim shares an internal monologue about waiting for his employer at a book fair in Autumn of 2000. Withdrawing from caffeine and suffering a night of poor sleep, on a day he marks as his 2977th of celibacy! Oh dear. He talks about the city landscape while imagining Mecha Kaiju destroying a Montreal industrial park, then that the underwear models on the billboards are there to distract him from the urban destruction. It’s subtle in execution and quite poignant.
I think one great target audience for this collection would be young adult and romance readers looking for sprawling, ranting, romantic, sometimes silly stories of transplantation. Finding love in lots of the wrong places, but finally one right. Feeling inadequate. Facing death for the first time. Raging over pop culture and ranting about popular culture. And being in love with the making of comics. I also know for a fact at least one American comics editor has confessed to having used this book to seduce a girlfriend.
Jimmy has matured a lot since this early work. You’ll find a lovely recent example of his work in Carré Rouge, a romantic fictional story set around the recent protests in Montreal, published in multiple languages online.
Rupert and I first met at a comics jam in Montreal in the ‘90s when i worked at Marvel and was chafing at constraints. Another cartoonist friend and I were talking during a NY convention, and he gave me a zine of Rupert’s, saying I should meet him. This is also when I first heard about Comic Jams, spectacular incarnations of which Rupert hosted in a svengali fashion at the time.
You may have noticed a trend in my book selections? Yes, well, it’s what I’ve been reading of late. Catching up on the work of many friends.
The title Traumstadtdenken is a German neologism, meaning “Dream-City-Thinking.” A reference to a painting by Paul Klee, “Traumstadt,” that had a significant impact on Rupert.
The book is a collection of comix, drawings and odds ’n’ ends spanning 10 years stitched together with bits of connective symbolically narrative sequences. My one complaint is that the packaging of the book seems to have been been poorly proofed, with the margin’s feeling too close cropped on some pages for my comfort.
It’s informative to know he also paints highly designed abstract art, collects and fabricates pop art sculptures and toys, and recently has been globe-hopping as a founding member of the breakout art collective EN MASSE which i’ve had the honor of being a guest member of.
Whatever he is drawing on–in a comic, on a wall or canvas–his rendering is always superbly skilled and highly graphically attractive. This book is filled with perfect cartoony chiaroscuro pages that often invite you to project your own meaning or interpretations. Rupert has always been a fan of wordless art that can be read by anyone. Several sequences here are examples of that. He provides rich symbolic visuals that suggest lots of ideas, and are just really fun to look at. There is no attempt to present an over-arching story here, page numbers are consciously dropped. There are times where narrative is very strong, a story can be found with ease. Is even clearly intended. But where words appear, it’s usually to cloud the issue and add new silly twists to things.
When I first saw his work I fell in love with his lines. We’ve shared an appreciation for improvisational doodling and abstraction. I hope more people can discover his work as I have. This collection is an excellent place to start.
You should also check out his webcomic with author Claude Lalumière, Lost Myths.
Been working though the last week of my holidays, but took the night off drawing and trying to fix a wonky wacom driver, and went to the ol’ Casa del Popolo [my first sign painting gig 8 years ago] with Ange. Watched Glass Passenger, who were foot lifting and fun.
But the night was taken by The Unsettlers [seen above in their ‘cabaret’ configuration] who stomped us late into the night. My second time catching the band, if they play in your neck of the woods be sure to grab someone and go see them raise the dead.
Found this on you tube about a project by a local artist i know. Emily Rose Michaud & company built it in the winter. Miss Janet made this excellent 6 min doc about the day Emily and a team of volunteers set it up together over the course of one very cold day. The Garden lived on, you can keep up with their progress here. It’s pretty damn cool.
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Local illustrator Salgood Sam and author Jim Munroe create a post-Rapture work in Therefore Repent!
by VINCENT TINGUELY
When prolific indie author, quick and dirty filmmaker and DIY organizer Jim Munroe got a grant to create Therefore Repent!, a full-length “post-Rapture” graphic novel, Montreal-based, long-time Munroe fan and sometime collaborator Salgood Sam jumped at the chance to render it. “I’d read an early Munroe novella at a zine fair when I was 19 or 20 and I really liked it,” says Sam. “I’ve been following his stuff ever since. When you really identify with a writer’s vision, they’ve tapped the voice you hear inside yourself, they’re appealing to you on that level.” Sam spent more than a year meticulously bringing Munroe’s ideas to life, drawing on skills honed in both the indie comics realm and through years of grunt work for the likes of Marvel. “Jim’s a good writer to collaborate with because he was into gearing it into what I was into doing,” Sam says. “I didn’t have to do any contortions to visualize the script as I was reading it.” Munroe agrees. “He’s perfect, because he can do the hipsters and the hellspawn,” says Munroe. “He can do urban settings very well and true to life, but also fascinating fantastical things.”
Therefore Repent! begins with the arrival of the fascinating and fantastical Raven and Mummy in a near-future Chicago. Munroe, who’s based in Toronto, set the story in an American city because, as he quips, “They go together like peanut butter and jelly, America and the Rapture.” 144,000 Christians have floated up to heaven, Jesus has joined George W. in the White House, and heavily armed angels from on high are descending to do the Lord’s dirty work on Earth. Things would seem quite hopeless for the rest of us godless (i.e. not fundamentalist) sorts, except that magic is afoot…everything from Eastern cosmic insights to transubstantiation actually works. Soon enough, a grassroots magical insurgency starts to form.
“I was inspired by this idea that the most powerful people in America purport to literally believe in Christians floating into the air, into heaven, which is what George W. Bush says he believes in,” says Munroe. “That’s pretty mind blowing, that in their own mythology they’d have something that wild-especially when the conservatives have problems with Harry Potter.”
After a more ambiguous approach to the idea of evil in An Opening Act of Unspeakable Evil, Munroe decided to go for a dark fantasy scenario in which, if miracles, angels and such were to be given free play, then other forms of magic would be just as valid. “Well, if people are going to float into the air, how about less top-down magical manifestations?” Munroe says. “Religion is very top-down, it’s God or who God specifically anoints. But if there is magic from on high, then it is going to emerge from below as well, if people are willing to explore it and not kowtow to the powers that be. I like the idea of it being nascent in all of us, but only if we embrace it-individual power, rather than waiting for other people to anoint us. The whole DIY, coming from the grassroots thing.”
Therefore Repent! launches this Saturday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Drawn & Quarterly Bookstore (211 Bernard W.)
This is the Atom feed for my work diary. This feed is published from my web site at www.salgoodsam.com