Monday, 28 May 2012

Review: 'The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist'

I get sent a fair number of books for review. Some are so-so, some are good and a few are great. Then there's The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist. When I received this book my socks were knocked clean off. This monograph on Clowes (the man behind The Death-Ray, Wilson, Ice Haven and Ghost World) is a career-spanning beauty of a book that manages to capture the spirit and scope of the cartoonist's work over the past 30 odd years.

I liked it so much I decided to review it for The Comics Journal. It's up over there now -- and you should go read it. Then go acquire a copy. It's worth it for this alone. And for this photo:


Monday, 14 May 2012

It's an honour just to be nominated

While I was in Toronto last weekend I learned that a feature I had written last fall for the Canadian Bar Association's National magazine had been nominated for a magazine award, which is very flattering and reassuring. The piece, a profile of Ottawa immigration lawyer Warren Creates, was nominated in the Best Profile of a Person category at the Kenneth R. Wilson Awards, which recognizes the best in Canadian business/trade magazines.

The piece was a  joy to write in large part because of its subject. Warren Creates, as anyone who has been pulled into his orbit will tell you, is a larger-than-life whirlwind of a man who is the real-goddamn-deal. I interviewed Warren twice for this piece and the second time I asked him straight-up: What's the deal -- how do you stay so relentlessly positive? His answer gave me a chill; the kind you get when you know someone is giving you a great closing quote for your piece. But it was also a piece of advice that I have adopted in my own life in the hopes of staying as positive as possible.

Warren invited me to Ethiopia after the article came out -- which led a great friendship and another piece I wrote, but that's another story. 

You can read the Creates piece over here, and let me know what you think about the ending.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

My review of Guy Delisle's latest graphic novel

I'm just now getting over my trip to TCAF during which I conducted (trust me; that's the right word) The Doug Wright Awards. On Friday night I bumped into cartoonist Guy Delisle -- who seems super pleasant -- and it dawned on me that in my haste to organize the awards I forgot to update the blog with a link to my  recent review of his latest graphic novel, Jerusalem: Chronicles From the Holy City.

So, you know - I reviewed Jerusalem: Chronicles From the Holy City for The Globe and Mail a couple of weekends back. You should go read it and tell me what you think. This is undoubtedly the best of his series of comics dispatches from some of the most interesting places on the Globe. He really spends his time with the story and has thought about what he has witnessed. I hesitate to say he's matured (since that would imply that he was immature before), but there is a palpable maturity about how he approaches this material.

On the last day of TCAF I ran into Guy again on the festival floor and got him to sign my copy of Jerusalem. It ends up that we have kids that are around the same age (8 and 5) so I asked him what he had planned next, what with his kids in school. His wife and him have decided to stop traveling for her work, so he's going to stop doing travelogues -- switching back to his other comics-type work. That has got to be a hard choice to make -- what with Jerusalem debuting on the #1 spot on The New York Times Graphic Novels best-seller list -- and I really admire his choice.