I’m Here

To please Vincent, I am announcing that “left” is done and that I am at SPACE selling it this weekend.

Well, it’s not completely done.  I still have to do a few smaller things like put page numbers on and write a forward.  Maybe do a new cover (this one ain’t doin it for me).

I tell you what: I’ll throw in a copy of the 100% finished one if you buy one of these at SPACE.


4 Responses

  1. I’m seem to be left a little bereft of appropriate words at the same times that I feel most inclined to offer praise. Or, maybe I’m always bereft of appropriate words, and I don’t notice it until I attempt to offer praise. (I seem to remember earlier today blundering through a sarcastic remark about my wife’s miscarriage, which was actually true, but was probably neither legitimately amusing nor appropriate in my conversation with a virtual stranger and his pregnant wife.) But, you can see that the impulse overpowers the deficit.

    Left fulfills the promise made by l(a. This is true top shelf material. “Good” is good enough. “Good” is good praise. I am explicitly saying more than that.

    “Top shelf” doesn’t mean the best around. The point is that there’s only so much room on a shelf. There’s a fair amount of room, I guess, more than just a top ten or top twenty, but not a top 100. And I’m saying top shelf. Let me pick one shelf worth of graphic novels to have for the remainder of my life, no more, and Tiny Life is there.

    Actually, this whole shelf business is wrong, because some series can take up a whole shelf. Cerebus takes up like a half a shelf by itself, and I’d put some Osamu Tezuka stuff up there, Dan Clowes, The Frank Book–well, maybe it’s not going to make it on the top shelf. But I don’t have a lot of goddamm room on my bookshelves anyway, because they’re full of goddamm DVDs and fucking monkey figurines, so the point is that Tiny Life is in the same category with this other stuff. Jesus Christ, what a poor choice of words.

    And that doesn’t mean anything, I guess, really, to just say, “Very good. Very, very good.” Big fucking deal. What’s good? Why do you like it, son? Well, my thoughts fly out. I’m going to read Left again and think about whether I have anything meaningful to add with particularity. Who the hell am I, after all.

    Tiny Life Demos, on the other hand…what the fuck are you trying to pull?

  2. There’s a lot in that SimStyle rant, so let’s number everything:
    1) I think anything CAN be funny, even miscarriages. But since we don’t know each other, I didn’t know if I should say “I’m so sorry” or give you a high-five or – like I did – stand in silence while you make the next move. You seemed a bit embarrassed by it, so I imagine the high-five would’ve been more appropriate.
    2) I like your praise of “left”. I think Colacitti would agree that being “top shelf” without being published by Top Shelf is an honor. But then you retract it. But then you say you might need a bigger shelf. Either way, it’s an honor to be in the same neighborhood as Tezuka and Sim.
    3) I never read the Frank book. Is good?
    4) I told you you wouldn’t like Tiny Life Demos; it’s just a history of the series – an unpublishable history of the series. As a matter of fact, people regularly walked up to the table and flipped through it and I had to explain to them that the art in “l(a” and “left” is actually tolerable. It did, however, allow me to create a sort of pitch to people who looked at that particular book before the others (I’ve never figured out how to properly pitch Tiny Life).

  3. The Frank Book (Jim Woodring) is top shelf material, no qualifications or retractions.

    Actually, I was too quick to offhandedly dismiss Tiny Life Demos. At the time I wrote that post, I had read Left, but I had only read up to the last section of Tiny Life Demos. As it turns out, that’s the section that has the readable, presentable material in it.

    Tiny Life Demos ends up being a sort of interesting artifact. By “artifact,” I guess I mean “book.” I wrote this to Dustin Carson (author of No Gods) in response to his asking whether I found anything good at SPACE:

    “Tiny Life, by Nick Jones, is probably the best comic I’ve ever bought at SPACE, and one of the best comics I’ve read. [Jones is] not too far into it, so there’s plenty of time for it go south, but I have a feeling it won’t. If I were some kind of asshole liberal arts major, I would describe it as a post-Cerebus graphic novel. (I think you’ve gathered from my previous emails that I consider Dave Sim’s Cerebus to be the height of accomplishment in graphic novels.) It’s not that Tiny Life is much like Cerebus in terms of plot; it’s the the author seems to have a fanatical obsession with laying out a long, personal (though fictional) story in graphic novel form, over a period of many years. Nick Jones also employs a number of unusual devices, somewhat like the archetypal rule-breaker, Dave Sim. (Jones even breaks one rule that Sim never did, by including color in a black-and-white comic.)”

    That’s what TLD really gets at, more than the stories it actually tells: your obsession with telling this story. It’s not even close to the story you started telling, but you’re still telling it. You’ve started over before, you’re starting over again, but TLD gives some kind of closure to the attempts and failures that came before.

    I used to regret silently the fact that you didn’t just draw the damn thing yourself, feeling that any deficiencies in your abilities would be offset by benefits of the work springing from a single mind. (Or whatever.) However, while your previous artwork is better than you (or Sim) gave yourself credit for, I think you made the right choice in calling in the cavalry. Your last serious attempt at Tiny Life was good, and would have been on par, overall, with anything at SPACE. However, there’d be no avoiding that it was an independent comic. No matter the number of readers or your success or whatever, the comic did not look polished, did not look masterful, could not sit on the top shelf.

    TLD creates a prologue, not to Tiny Life, but to the creation of Tiny Life. l(a and Left turned out as they should have turned out. There should be no more starting over.

  4. I made Tiny Life Demos in between making the unpublished version without Colacitti and finding Colacitti. I think what I really wanted was a way to look at all my stuff in one place. I was pretty depressed artistically and I just wanted to prove to myself that I had accomplished SOMETHING in the last 10 years. So, you’re right, I made it as a kind of “artifact”. I thought if I ever had fans, they would want to see EVERYTHING. I know there are a few people like that with Cerebus and Bone (they had a table at SPACE).

    The reason I introduced color into a black and white comic is because my comic is not supposed to be colored. Cerebus was a grey character in a colored world; it was cheaper and faster for Sim to publish it in black and white (I seem to remember him giving some speech one time at a panel describing his success versus TMNT success).
    Jed lives in a black and white world. The color means something.
    Just like being a stick figure means something.
    Just like the introduction of Jared when he was introduced means something.
    Just like the order of the books means something.
    (I know you know this, but for anyone who might be reading this…)

    I’ll have to pick up The Frank Book if I can find it anywhere.

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