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In case you were wondering, I have still been drawing in the midst of all this writing.


Over the course of October and during my winter holiday break, I spent my time drawing classic Silver Age Marvel characters to benefit the Idaho Crisis and Suicide Hotline. I've been thinking more about this era as I've been reading through my giant Taschen hardcovers and appreciating the raw energy that Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Don Heck, and others committed to the Bristol board. Repeating and bizarre motifs


Presented here are the classic Avengers, with several having significant costume changes over the course of their first few years.


Captain America
The Original Iron Man Suit
The Hulk
Thor
Ant-Man

Wasp

The Red and Gold Costume Circa The Avengers Issue 5

Giant-Man

Hawkeye

Quicksilver

Scarlet Witch

Year in Review | My Reading Habits
  1. Reading by Author | I deep dived on Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, and Junji Ito. Of all these creators, Alan Moore came out on top as having the most satisfying experience in immersing myself in his work, while Grant Morrison and Junji Ito continuously returned to the same themes where I started entering a more subdued and relaxed state while reading them due to knowing what I was getting myself into.

  2. Keeping Up on Series | I think this was one of my best years for keeping up on series that I've started, especially manga. I used to think buying a whole series of manga was a waste of money, since I rarely reread as a younger person, but now seeing how highly inflated prices can get on random volumes of a series, I've started cherishing them more.

  3. Research Heavy | Most of the books on this list seem somewhat related to the projects I've been working on in some way, depending on whether it was for my MFA program or for personal research.

  4. Not Many Prose Books | It was a light year of finished prose books this year. I'm seeing several half finished on my shelves for this coming year, but for whatever reason, there was a lot of starts with few resolutions. My former professors are not allowed to look and see how many course texts I actually "finished" vs. skimming for content/ideas.

Intentions for 2023
  1. Finish My Alan Moore Kick | It's clear from the list below, but I read a LOT of Alan Moore and there's still more to come. There has to be an end in sight somewhere, likely when I finish Promethea or the Tom Strong compendium if DC feels inclined to finally release it.

  2. Catch Up On Delicious in Dungeon | I just realized I'm behind two volumes of Delicious in Dungeon. This must be remedied soon!

  3. Clear My Shelves | I have a lot of books on my poor shelves and even more in a stack of three boxes that I keep ignoring in the corner. It's time to finally admit that I need to suck it up and read them or let them go out into the universe.

  4. Finally Read All My Big Taschen Hardcovers | In keeping with my last one, I have a fat stack of these giant Taschen comics collections that need a reading. At this point, I'm wondering if I should invest in a lectern.

  5. Keep Track of My Film Consumption Again | In the past I kept up with the films I was watching and it was equally satisfying to review it at the end of the year to see the trends.

Comics and Graphic Novels | In Reading Order
  1. Heroes Reborn: America's Mightiest Heroes by Jason Aaron, Ed McGuinness, Mark Morales, and Matthew Wilson

  2. Beta Ray Bill: Argent Star by Daniel Warren Johnson and Mike Spicer

  3. Delicious in Dungeon Vol 3 by Ryoko Kui

  4. Delicious in Dungeon Vol 4 by Ryoko Kui

  5. Delicious in Dungeon Vol 5 by Ryoko Kui

  6. With Hat Atelier Vol 1 by Kamome Shirahama

  7. Just Roll With It by Veronica Agarwhal and Lee Durfey-Lavoie

  8. Strange Academy Vol 2: Bright Side by Skottie Young, Humberto Ramos, and Edgar Delgado

  9. Delicious in Dungeon Vol 6 by Ryoko Kui

  10. Delicious in Dungeon Vol 7 by Ryoko Kui

  11. Delicious in Dungeon Vol 8 by Ryoko Kui

  12. Delicious in Dungeon Vol 9 by Ryoko Kui

  13. Essential X-Men Vol 6 by Chris Claremont and Various Artists

  14. ¡¡Manu!! by Kelly Fernandez

  15. Blancaflor by Nadja Spiegelman and Sergio García Sánchez

  16. Wonder Woman: Earth One Vol 1 by Grant Morrison, Yanick Paquette, and Nathan Fairbairn

  17. Wonder Woman: Earth One Vol 2 by Grant Morrison, Yanick Paquette, and Nathan Fairbairn

  18. Monster Masterworks by Various Artists

  19. Wonder Woman: Earth One Vol 2 by Grant Morrison, Yanick Paquette, and Nathan Fairbairn

  20. Superman by Grant Morrison Omnibus

  21. Superman and the Authority by Grant Morrison, Mikel Janín, and Jordie Bellaire

  22. No. 5 Vol 1 by Taiyo Matsumoto

  23. No. 5 Vol 2 by Taiyo Matsumoto

  24. No. 5 Vol 3 by Taiyo Matsumoto

  25. DCeased: Hope at World's End by Tom Taylor, Marco Failla, Renato Guedes, Rex Lokus

  26. Marvel Graphic Novel: Daredevil by Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz

  27. My Hero Academia Vol 30 by Kohei Horikoshi

  28. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 5: Vol 3 by Hirohiko Araki

  29. DCeased: Dead Planet by Tom Taylor, Trevor Hairsine, Gigi Baldassi, Rain Beredo

  30. The Avengers: The Serpent Crown by Steve Englehart and George Perez

  31. Green Lantern Season 1: Vol 1 by Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp

  32. Green Lantern Season 1: Vol 2 by Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp

  33. Astro City Metrobook 1 by Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson

  34. Green Lantern Season 2: Vol 2 by Grant Morrison, Liam Sharp, and Xermenico

  35. Green Lantern Season 2: Vol 2 by Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp

  36. The Multiversity by Grant Morrison and Various Artists

  37. Spy x Family Vol 1 by Tatsuya Endo

  38. Headlopper Vol 2 by Andrew Maclean

  39. Headlopper Vol 3 by Andrew Maclean

  40. Saga of the Swamp Thing by Alan Moore Vol 2

  41. Saga of the Swamp Thing by Alan Moore Vol 3

  42. GenderQueer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe

  43. Spy x Family Vol 2 by Tatsuya Endo

  44. The Short While by Jeremy Sorese

  45. Headlopper Vol 4 by Andrew Maclean

  46. Demon Days by Peach Momoko

  47. The Tea Dragon Festival by Kay O'Neill

  48. Aquicorn Cove by Kay O'Neill

  49. Batman: The Adventures Continue Season Two by Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Rick Burchett, Ty Templeton, Jordan Gibson, Monica Kubina

  50. JoJo's Bizarre Adventures Pt 5: Vol 4 by Hirohiko Araki

  51. Shigeru Mizuki's Kitaro: The Birth of Kitaro

  52. Shigeru Mizuki's Kitaro: Kitaro Meets Nurarihyon

  53. Bug Boys Vol 3: Adventures and Daydreams by Laura Knetzger

  54. Pokémon Adventures: Collector's Edition Vol 1 by Hidenori Kusaka and Mato

  55. Mob Psycho 100 Vol 5 by ONE

  56. Dick Fight Island Vol 1 by Reibun Ike

  57. The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame

  58. Dick Fight Island Vol 2 by Reibun Ike

  59. Strange Academy Vol 3 by Skottie Young, Humberto Ramos, and Edgar Delgado

  60. My Hero Academia Vol 31 by Kohei Horikoshi

  61. Our Colors by Gengoroh Tagame

  62. Crisis Zone by Simon Hanselmann

  63. Pokémon Adventures: Collector's Edition Vol 2 by Hidenori Kusaka and Mato

  64. Hulk Vol 1 by Donny Cates, Ryan Ottley, Cliff Rathburn, and Laura Martin

  65. Thor Vol 4 by Donny Cates, Nic Klein, and Matt Wilson

  66. Ultramega Vol 1 by James Harren and Dave Stewart

  67. Spy x Family Vol 3 by Tatsuya Endo

  68. Fütchi Perf by Kevin Czap

  69. Pokémon Adventures: Collector's Edition Vol 2 by Hidenori Kusaka and Mato

  70. Mob Psycho 100 Vol 6 by ONE

  71. She-Hulk: The Complete Collection by Charles Soule, Javier Pulido, and Muntsa Vicente

  72. Fantastic Four: Full Circle by Alex Ross

  73. Spy x Family Vol 4 by Tatsuya Endo

  74. Spy x Family Vol 5 by Tatsuya Endo

  75. The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame Vol 2

  76. Smashed by Junji Ito

  77. Mob Psycho 100 Vol 7 by ONE

  78. Mob Psycho 100 Vol 8 by ONE

  79. Mob Psycho 100 Vol 9 by ONE

  80. Shiver by Junji Ito

  81. Deserter by Junji Ito

  82. Spy x Family Vol 6 by Tatsuya Endo

  83. No. 5 Vol 4 by Taiyo Matsumoto

  84. Spy x Family Vol 6 by Tatsuya Endo

  85. JoJo's Bizarre Adventures Pt 5: Vol 5 by Hirohiko Araki

  86. One Piece Omnibus Vol 11 by Eichiro Oda

  87. Venus in the Blind Spot by Junji Ito

  88. Sensor by Junji Ito

  89. Daisuke Igarashi's Witches

  90. Mr. Boop by Alec Robbins

  91. Love Machines by Josh Trujillo and Various Artists

  92. Dodge City by Josh Trujillo, Cara McGee, Brittany, Peer, and Gonçalo Lopes

  93. Lost Girls by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie

  94. Mirror: The Nest by Emma Rios and Hwei Lim

  95. Orphan and the Five Beasts by James Stokoe

  96. Improve by Alex Graudins

  97. Go For It Nakamura by Syundei

  98. Go For It Again Nakamura by Syundei

  99. Saga Vol 10 by Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughn

  100. Alan Moore: Wild Worlds by Alan Moore and Various Artists

  101. Alan Moore's Complete WildC.A.T.S.

  102. Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 by Zeb Wells, John Romita Jr., and Marco Menyz

  103. Dissolving Classroom by Junji Ito

  104. Black Paradox by Junji Ito

  105. Asadora Vol 3 by Naoki Urasawa

  106. Asadora Vol 4 by Naoki Urasawa

  107. Asadora Vol 5 by Naoki Urasawa

  108. Lovesickness by Junji Ito

  109. Arrowsmith: So Smart In Their Five Uniforms by Kurt Busiek, Carlos Pacheco, Jesús Merino, Alex Sinclair, and Comicraft

  110. Batman/The Shadow: The Murder Geniuses by Scott Snyder, Steve Orlando, Riley Rossmo, Ivan Plascencia

  111. Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow by Alan Moore, Curt Swan, George Pérez, and Kurt Schaffenberger

  112. Master Keaton Vol 2 by Naoki Urasawa, Hokusei Katsushiha, and Takashi Nagasaki

  113. Master Keaton Vol 3 by Naoki Urasawa, Hokusei Katsushiha, and Takashi Nagasaki

  114. Milestone Compendium One by Various Artists

  115. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol 1 by Alan Moore, Kevin O'Neill, Ben BiMagmaliw, and Bill Oakley

  116. Reinventing Comics by Scott McCloud

  117. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol 2 by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill

  118. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill

  119. Nemo: Heart of Ice by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill

  120. Nemo: Roses of Berlin by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill

  121. Nemo: River of Ghosts by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill

  122. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol 3: Century by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill

  123. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol 4: The Tempest by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill

  124. Dinosaur Sanctuary Vol 1 by Itaru Kinoshita and Shin-ichi Fujiwara

Books | In Reading Order
  1. Boss Fight Books: Earthbound by Ken Bauman

  2. Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain by Zac Gorman

  3. Everyone on the Moon is Essential Personnel by Julian K. Jarboe

  4. Ghibli Storyboard Library Vol 11: Princess Mononoke by Hayao Miyazaki

  5. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philya

  6. The Bear by Andrew Krivak

  7. The Last Kids on Earth by Max Brallier and Douglas Holgate

  8. How to Draw Manga by Katy Coope

  9. Barn 8 by Deb Olin Unferth

  10. How to Draw More Manga by Katy Coope

  11. Her Smoke Rose Up Forever by James Tiptree Jr./Alice B. Sheldon

  12. Having and Being Had by Eula Bliss

  13. All of the Marvels by Douglass Wolk

  14. Best American Essays 2021 Edited by Kathryn Schulz

  15. Refuse to Be Done by Matt Bell

  16. Bending Genre: Essays on Creative Nonfiction, Edited by Margot Singer and Nicole Walker

  17. The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi

  18. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

  19. An Introduction to Game Studies: Games in Culture by Frans Mäyrä

  20. The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen

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I don't know if you have realized this fundamental truth of drawing, but it turns out that all the old masters were right: drawing is hard.


I've just purchased a real drawing board after working on a shoddily constructed drawing board that I had to plunk on my desk and it felt like a breath of fresh air. Yet still I struggle to get lines on paper and find myself running into old ghosts and the knowledge that some of my finer muscle movements are lost to overuse in college.


For those also struggling, here's a few of my tips for getting back into the artistic groove, that I should work on following better myself.


A person in their underwear reclines on a chair. The painting is colored green with blue and white as accents.
This piece was painted over three hours at the Catalyst Arts Collective.

1) Figure Drawing

I've recently been going to figure drawing classes that are held an hour away and finding myself filled with joy at grappling with the complexities of depicting the weight and eccentricities of the human body. Live drawing away from the desk is meditative and in this most recent session I went to, I even tried my hand at painting. While figure drawing I can feel my muscles relax, breath deepen, and mind focus on individual strokes rather than my troubles.


2) Don't View Other Artistic Endeavors as Detracting from Drawing

This is one of my great dangers. As a writer, as well as an artist, I often find myself treating the two aspects of creative life as hungry baby birds, vying for the same worm...which is my time...the metaphor's a little wonky. However my most holistic approach is often found when both are operating in conjunction or I allow myself the grace to pursue both without thought of the impact on the other.


3) Drawing Your Passions

I'm currently working on a series of drawings of Marvel Silver Age characters. I initially started it as an Inktober exercise, but fell off midway through October. I'll be launching into it again after the holidays, but returning to my happy place - the Kirby and Ditko drawn adventures of ridiculous costumed characters - has never failed to reinvigorate me. How can you not have fun drawing the bulky and goofy original Iron Man costume.


4) Drawing That Isn't "Drawing"

This is another area where I have to offer myself some grace. I often work in different modalities - painting, calligraphy, etc. - that I don't necessarily feel are "drawing," because they aren't penciled comic pages, finished in ink, colored, and bound in a comic book. Yet am I not constantly using these methods to produce other worthy creative outcomes. Reconciling the disconnect of thinking carefully rendered calligraphic strokes as worthy enterprise is another growing point for me.


5) Keeping an Unfinished Drawing on the Board

This one has mixed results as an unfinished drawing can present an insurmountable peak after a certain waiting period, yet I've found as a short term stimulation, this approach can keep momentum going once you've built some steam. Right now I have a half-way finished Black Panther drawing that keeps calling to me as I anxiously finish addressing my holiday cards.


If you too are struggling my dear fellow artist, know that you are not alone.
 
This time I'm actually reading the back matter.
What I'm Reading - League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill

I remember trying to read this series as a teenager and being turned off by it's engagement with racist tropes and sexism. As a more discerning reader, I'm fascinated by how Moore seems cognizant of how vicious these stereotypes are, yet can't seem to keep himself from committing them to paper. It's a bizarre dance, that I can't come to a firm conclusion on. Now arriving at its finale The Tempest, the series has become clear as a series of experiments rather than a traditional narrative, seemingly aligning with the artistic direction of Jersusalem (which I haven't had the chance to read). When the books turn to prose it is DENSE, but I do find it ultimately enriching.


What I'm Watching - Playing It Straight

There is a level of homophobia in media that reaches such a majestic heaviness that you feel like you're in a sugar coma. That's exactly the feeling I experience while watching the short lived show Playing It Straight where The Bachelorette-esque lead is picking off homosexuals in succession so she can find true love? If you too enjoy witnessing atrocious early 2000s era homophobia, I thoroughly recommend this show.


What I'm Listening To - Nymphowars

How to describe Macy Rodman and Theda Hammel's whacky little podcast escapades? To be honest, nothing I type will capture the madcap improv/discussion/long haul trucker radio show that's emerged since the podcast's returned. Improvised segments that are initially cringeworthy become absolutely transcendent. I mean its impossible to describe how hilarious the transphobic ghost of Ann Dowd has become over the last few episodes, a character totally unhinged from reality.


What I'm Playing - Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

To relax at the end of the day, I've been having a beer and playing 200cc Grand Prixes while listening to a podcast, letting my mind go blank and giving into the hypnotic lull of turns and blue shells. I'm not a fantastic Mario Kart player, but the rhythms are soothing and playing against the computer makes me feel better about zoning out than when I play Splatoon 3 on autopilot. Of the new courses in the latest DLC release, Merry Mountain, Peach Gardens, and Maple Treeway come away as the most charming or braintingling.

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