A Wrinkle in Columns
Hi, all. It's another all-in-one edition of Nexus Graphica, where we wax like columnists of
old (I'm thinking "Herb Caen," for all you old Bay Area mediaphiles, in honor of both the Giants and the A's
winning their divisions this year) with an item-strewn comics column that mixes in reviews!
Copyright © 2012 Mark London Williams
It'll be a marvel, true believers!
First up, I'm prepping for another comics-writing class. Online. Details will be forthcoming in late winter, but
this is for an established on and offline outpost of writerly teaching, and they've never offered comics-writing
before. I've taught this live, in rooms, and I've taught different aspects of writing online, but now I have to
develop an online curriculum for budding four-panel scribes. Your challenge: Send me any links you think are
pertinent or necessary for teaching the craft. I've developed some favorites of my own, but think that an
crowdsourcing some aspects of the syllabus might not be a bad thing. Direct email's always available at the
end of these columns in the bio section, but just in case:
firstname.lastname@example.org See? It's even easy to remember.
We'll alternate with reviews as interstitial items. Mr. Klaw and I are usually buried in more stuff than we have time
to read, so there's always some triage going on over here, especially as deadlines loom. But you know, we're not the
cold-hearted bastards you might think (in spite of Mr. Klaw having a rather funny anecdote about that turn of phrase),
and sometimes, when an indie company writes saying "we're an indie company, and it's hard to get the publicity that the
Warners and Disney-owned imprints do," well, sometimes we'll read that book or PDF for kicks and giggles. Thus I've
just read Archeologists Of Shadows, Volume 1: The Resistance which is indeed a rather grand title for what
seems like an ambitious work. Its by writer Lara Fuentes and artist Patricio Clarey, both out of Spain, in
collaboration with plucky Septagon Studios, with English adaptation by Dr. Park Cooper. The artwork is what's
perhaps most notable here, blending a kind of I, Spy photographic aesthetic (by which I mean the hide-and-seek
children's series of that name) layered under the dystopian greys and greens of the artwork, to give everything
an H.R. Giger kind of feel. There's a resistance, there are betrayals, there's a secret plan seemingly off-world. The
plot is still getting its ducks lined up in Vol. 1, and could become interesting indeed, but as it stands now, it's
certainly solidly done sf with a slight steampunk aesthetic (except without the retro-Edwardian angle). The tropes
aren't new, but the writing and artwork are intricate, and the storytellers seem to have an ambitious sense of
where they're headed. Grab a copy if you're in the mood.
Writer Gary Phillips (Angeltown, The Rinse, Bicycle Cop Dave) is a long-standing friend of
Nexus Graphica, and he's in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a graphic novel
about water. Which, if you're in the west here, is a pretty big deal, since the rerouting and theft of it has allowed
all our cities to expand past their natural limits (and helps get that cheap California produce to your table -- before
those levees bust in the San Joaquin valley). Here's the blurb about the project, title,
appropriately Big Water. We'll be interviewing Gary down the road to see how the project's faring (that
was nearly a nautical joke!) but I'm telling you now, toss a couple shekels their way. Not least of all because I
may be following in Gary's Kickstarting steps in the new year. But I get ahead of myself:
"Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink.
Big Water is a graphic novel project about water -- who owns it, who controls it. One part of the story takes place
in the fictional southeast L.A. town of Bell Park where a grassroots coalition of residents, including hometown
organizer Melinda Cruz, are fighting their water board seeking to privatize this most precious of resources. While
across town, Melinda's brother Jaime is working for a designer water label whose owner is making moves to acquire Bell
Park's historic aquifer.
"Sex, murder, political corruption, community organizing and redemption delivered in a script already written by mystery
and crime writer Gary Phillips. This Kickstarter campaign will pay the artist Manoel Magalhães (Bicycle Cop Dave and
Vincent Price Presents) and for publication."
Got that? You couldn't Kickstart the filming of Chinatown, but you can make up for it now. The link is in our link
section, on the side there.
A Wrinkle in Time. That's right. it's a graphic novel now. from Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, and adapted and
illustrated by Eisner-winner Hope Larson. Picking it up, I thought her style might be too cartoony to do the source
material justice. And after all, most of us (the one film version of the book aside) have been living with imagined
versions of these characters -- the Murry clan, Mrses. Whatsit, Who, and Which -- in our heads for years or
decades. So in a sense, the more "tabula rasa" aspects of the cartooning style still allows the reader to fill in
their own blanks, if you will. But more importantly, Larson conveys that palpable sense you get from the book -- of
characters being drawn together in cosmically inexorable ways for a Larger Purpose than they can fathom. I was
excited, reading the graphic novel, about the source material, all over again, which is perhaps the highest compliment you can pay.
And on that note, believers, it's a wrap. You will have already celebrated Halloween when next I see you in these
virtual pages, so the masking. And in particular, the unmasking that follows.
Mark London Williams wrote the Danger Boy time travel series,
and info on his work can be found at marklondonwilliams.com.
Meanwhile, Danger Boy #1, "Ancient Fire," remains a free download, and his story "Greystone" just appeared in
the Magical Mayhem anthology.
Mark gets Twittery @mlondonwmz.