Monday, December 21, 2015

On Being a Good Parent

The End was just translated into French and published by Atrabile. The life of that book has been curious. The first half came out in 2007 to fairly limited notice as part of Fantagraphics' Ignatz series. I'd promised them a book in the series years before my fiancee Cheryl had even gotten sick. in 2007 my time was up and I had nothing to give them. So I turned to various scattered ruminations on grief I was filling my sketchbooks with. When The End #1 came out it felt very much like half a book to me, even then. Material already existed for the follow-up, but I just wasn't psychically prepared to wade back into the material for a second issue yet. So I let it languish. But as an author, there is something pretty uncomfortable to me in knowing I have a kind of crippled, half-finished child out in the world struggling to get by without my full care and attention. It's not really a fair thing to do to a story. Time passed. In 2013 I felt like I had enough distance to go back to it.

And it's done pretty well, without its handicap. It's an unusual book, even so. But people seem to respond to it. Voices as diverse as Zak Sally and my own mother have ventured that it may be their favorite book of mine. Which is saying something – it's probably also the piece most likely to make you dissolve into a puddle. It was nominated for an LA Book award, and now for the Selection Officielle at Angouleme (along with like thirty other books, it should be said). It's remarkable to see one's work grow up, leave home and have a life of its own out in the world. As someone who started out self-publishing in runs of 20 or 50 it still feels magical and inexplicable to me that something so deeply idiosyncratic, made for my own reasons without an audience in mind finds that audience nevertheless.

Anyway, I'm doing my best to help it out, now. I'll be heading to France a week before Angouleme to be in Besançon for Goat Without a Face an exhibition of artwork from PFC5, the residency I helped organize at MCAD last summer (see below). Then to Paris to be on hand for the opening of an exhibition at Galerie Martel honoring D&Q's 25th anniversary (January 26th, I'll have pages from Big Questions in the show), and do a signing at Super Heros (January 27th). Then to Angouleme, where I'll be doing some sort of talk or workshop or something, (exactly what is yet to be decided).