Posts Tagged ‘meta’
* Comics Bulletin listed “Hottest Chick in the Game” by me and Andrew White as one of the Top 10 Online Comics of 2012. I really liked this part of Danny Djelsjovich’s write-up, which describes the atmosphere that attracted me to comics in the first place:
…this is comics, where budgets are low and creativity is high, where you can create something special and distinct and put it on the Internet at a low risk, in the hopes that it will find its audience. And it has.
* Ales Kot named me one of his favorite comics writers of 2012, in a paragraph that lists me alongside Michael DeForge, Grant Morrison, and a bunch of the biggest writers in comics. That’s quite unexpected and quite nice.
* I’ve updated the sidebar of this blog some, making links to some of my other outlets more prominent and updating the list of comics reviews I’ve done for the first time in a few months. The TV links should be complete as of today for all the shows listed, too. (I still need to go back through the archives and link to movie reviews and interviews and things like that. Someday.) Give it a look and give the links a spin.
* I can’t recall ever being sketched before. Thanks, Alex Nicholson.
* Finally, I’ve gotten Superheroes Lose, my tumblr where I post pictures of superheroes losing, up and running again. Tune in to watch colorful avatars of humanity’s brightest hopes and greatest strengths experience abject defeat again and again.
A while back I answered a question about the intensity of my A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones fandom that wondered whether I’d ever felt this strongly or invested this much time and energy into another author’s work. The answer was yes and no: felt this strongly, sure; invested this much of my life, no. (Not unless you count “comics” as a whole; writing and thinking about comics has basically been my life’s work.) Even today I think I could just as easily be operating a tumblr and opining professionally about Los Bros Hernandez, or Clive Barker, or the band Underworld, or David Bowie (hey, wait), or ’70s glam rock, or Chris Ware, orThe Sopranos/Twin Peaks/Breaking Bad/Mad Men/Battlestar Galactica/Deadwood, or or or. But A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones it is. And it’s really remarkable how quickly my little “career” as an ASoIaF pundit took off, given how vanishingly little effort I put into getting it started!
I started my ASoIaF blog All Leather Must Be Boiled in March of 2011. My daughter had just been born two months prematurely via emergency caesarean section following another two and a half months of pregnancy complications that required my wife’s repeated hospitalization and lengthy bedrest stays, during which time one of our cats was diagnosed with cancer and was also both hospitalized for surgery and confined to a bedroom for recovery. I’d spent a quarter of a year running from work to hospitals to home, caring for the beings I loved as they suffered. A work as grim as ASoIaF was an odd choice for “escapism” to be sure, but it seemed to do the trick, because it confronts serious issues — issues that truly haunt and hound me day to day — in a way that also helps blow off steam about those issues.
So one day I got back from visiting my daughter in the neonatal intensive care unit during my lunchbreak, sat down at my desk, and decided to fire up the old tumblr dashboard and launch a new ASoIaF-only blog. This way, the things I wanted to say about the series would neither spoil it for readers of my other outlets who were interested in catching up, nor drown out everything else I write about for readers who weren’t. Simply choosing to use Tumblr instead of, say, WordPress indicated, to me at least, how casual the thing was going to be. Most of my initial posts were written for an audience of one: me — stray thoughts, things I caught myself, passages I loved, a play-by-play of my journey of discovery through Westeros.org’s archives and forum, fanart drawn by cartoonist friends and acquaintances, anticipatory effusion about the then-upcoming HBO show. It was truly the tumblr of a fan, not a scholar, barely even a critic.
The point is, I learned as I went, simply through going. The more I wrote, the more I found myself able to articulate what was important to me about the books, to formulate coherent questions about the things I didn’t understand, to provide answers about the things I thought I did understand, to find answers on my own and put them in front of other people. Very quickly, “other people” expanded to include people who really were experts. Elio Garcia and Linda Antonsson from Westeros.org said nice things, popped up in the comments, and eventually got me hired to work on the official annotations of A Game of Thrones alongside Elio and the books’ freaking editor, Anne Groell. That happened within six months of me starting this tumblr. Stefan Sasse from Tower of the Hand liked what I was doing enough to suggest we start a podcast together, and voila, The Boiled Leather Audio Hour was born. The writing I was doing about the show (and other shows) was apparently solid enough that when I mentioned how much I’d love to get paid to do what I’d been doing for free to my friend Matthew Perpetua, who was an editor at Rolling Stone, he passed my name to his fellow editor Evie Nagy, who hired me to recap Game of Thrones within days of me just idly “wouldn’t it be nice”-ing this during a google chat. Because of the way I write, and the things I write about, and the place I write about it, I find myself in the central overlap of a Venn diagram that includes traditional, Westeros-style fandom, professional pop-culture critics, and the tumblr ASoIaF/GoT community. Best of all, this doesn’t only work in one direction: One day I clicked on a tumblr that had just followed this one, discovered an incredible, fully-formed music critic at the tender age of 18, and passed his name along to the right people, so that I think he was offered his first pro music crit gig within literally hours. (What up, Jaimeson?) To call All Leather Must Be Boiled the most rapidly rewarding writing I’ve ever done would be to understate the case considerably.
And the rewards, in the form of knowledge and enjoyment of that knowledge at least, never stop. As I said earlier, one of the best things about this blog is the chance it gives me to be wrong about things in public. That way, the people who know more than I do can provide me with the right information, and I can grow and learn and get more right in the future. What a wonderful opportunity! It’s a joy to be corrected by Elio, or enlightened by Stefan, or challenged or outright debunked by another tumblr. I want to get better, and that’s how you get better. I think that because I started this tumblr with no pretensions to expertise, simply the desire to talk about these fun books I read, I was responded to in kind. The vituperative, “SOMEONE IS WRONG ON THE INTERNET” responses I’ve gotten to anything I’ve ever said there can be counted on one hand; even then I try my best to put the tone aside and focus on what they’re telling me that I wasn’t seeing or hearing myself. Sometimes they’re just wrong, of course — hey, I’m a critic, I’m going to think other people are wrong, that’s what they pay me for — but most of the time they’re shining a light on something I could’ve used a clearer look at. You can bet your bottom dollar that I take that experience to heart and try my best to apply it to everything I do, online and IRL. There’s no better way to become an “expert” than to do, and do, and do, and sit back and see what comes of the doing.
It looks like I’ll be on WLNY TV’s morning show here in the NYC area (channel 10/55–it’s now a CBS affiliate) tomorrow morning, sometime between 7:15-8am, to talk about The Dark Knight Rises. I’ll be using MY BANE VOICE!
Click on over to the tumblr of music writer Jamieson Cox to hear him interview me for his delightfully titled writer-to-writer podcast series A Shot of Jamieson. Topics include David Bowie, Beyoncé, A Song of Ice and Fire, Internet generation gaps, and Tumblr itself. Enjoy!
My name is Sean T. Collins.
I frequently work as a freelance writer for DC Comics. I infrequently work as a freelance writer for Maxim and Marvel Comics.
Previously, I edited Abercrombie & Fitch Quarterly and Wizard Magazine, and was a regular contributor to Robot 6.
I’ve written about pop culture professionally since 2001 and on my blog since 2002.
I live on Long Island with my wife, daughter, and cats.
This blog was designed by the great Jason Ervin.
I’m always telling people that the most important thing to do as an artist or critic or what have you is to run hard right at the stuff that moves you, frightens you, upsets you, turns you on, delights you the most. I think I’ve done all of those things here and there, but I’ve never really run hard at the stuff I find/found the “coolest.” That’s just as big a part of who I am as any of those other things, but it’s more complicated and more interesting because it’s a construction. I don’t think I can really help my reaction to stuff I find horrifying or moving or joyous or sexy, but do think I have some control over how I respond to coolness, how I do or don’t see any given kind of cool as something to which I can aspire, or which I can incorporate into my own life. I think that’s why I’ve addressed this area so little: It’s like a magician revealing where the rabbit came from, only I’m not just the magician here, I’m the rabbit. That I’ve never done it is exactly why I’m doing it.
I started a new music tumblr called Cool Practice. I’ll be writing about songs and videos I found “cool,” and what that meant to me. So far I’ve done “So What’cha Want” and “Fight the Power.” For more information, click here.
Rolling Stone has switched from a Facebook-based comment system to Disqus. Everything looks and flows much better now, you don’t need a Facebook account to comment, and you can include links. If you were holding off on chiming in, go forth and talk to me!
Who wants to talk comics? Tweet me a book or name or creator or critic or topic or whatever and I’ll tell you what I think. #tgif
* I hope you enjoyed your holidays! While you were out, I kept pretty busy. Here are some links to what I’ve been doing.
* I posted my list of the 20 Best Comics of 2011. It’s exciting to me that old established Grand Masters are about as well represented on it as people whose first comics came out after Obama was elected, and of course there are plenty of people in between as well. It’s also exciting to me that many of the cartoonists represented there are creating huge, consistently high-quality bodies of work without a regularly published solo series as their main venue or even as any venue at all, instead or in addition turning to anthologies, minicomics, and the Internet to get their work to the public. And I haven’t felt this blessed by an abundance of genuinely bizarre and powerful sex-horror stuff since I first discovered Clive Barker’s Books of Blood in 1994.
* Robot 6 celebrated its third anniversary with a massive two-day blowout of exclusive interviews, previews, and assorted other features. I contributed several pieces.
** I interviewed Sammy Harkham about Kramers Ergot 8. I think this is my favorite interview of all the ones I conducted last year. Sammy and I slowly circled around the thinking at the core of the book before finally plunging right into it. It was an exciting conversation to have. (That’s from Takeshi Murata’s contribution to the book below.)
** I interviewed Michael DeForge about the absolutely tremendous 2011 he had, specifically about Ant Comic, Open Country, “Dog 2070″ from Lose #3, and “College Girl by Night” from Thickness. I asked a lot of questions about influence and intent, which is a hit or miss proposition, but I think Michael delivered.
** I interviewed the Press Gang triumvirate of Jason Leivian, Zack Soto, and François Vigneault about their plans for their publishing collective. They gave me a lot of exclusive announcements and previews; I think the top announcement is that Soto’s Study Group Comic Books is absorbing Randy Chang’s Bodega Books and taking over publication of The Mourning Star, but beyond that, Leivian’s publishing a book on magick, Vigneault’s Elfworld #3 looks rock-solid, and the line-up of creators contributing to Soto’s soon-to-launch sg12.com webcomics portal is just sick. (There’s no escaping DeForge!) (The page below is from the full-color Danger Country by Levon Jihanian that will be running on sg12.com.)
** And Annie Koyama announced some of her 2012 titles, including new books from Michael DeForge (natch), Julia Wertz, Dustin Harbin, Jesse Jacobs, and Tin Can Forest. You can see covers for the last three at the link.
* In case you missed it, I posted a four-volume mix of the best songs of 2011. (If you were wondering, songs from Underworld and the Game of Thrones soundtrack were cut due to time constraints, because as it turns out the time limit on CD-Rs is actually 79:50, NOT EIGHTY, YOU LIARS, while “Dance (A$$) Remix” was disqualified for the use of the word “anorexic” as a compliment.)
* Finally, I started an A Song of Ice and Fire podcast shortly before Christmas. I’ve posted three episodes so far, in which I’m joined by the Tower of the Hand’s Stefan Sasse in a discussion of honor, morality, and power in Westeros (and Essos). You can find links to all three episodes here. If you like the essays I’ve written about the books or the show, this should be up your alley.
Matt Rota and I finished our short graphic novel Cage Variations a couple months ago. (Seems like the sort of thing I should mention here.) We are currently looking into various publishing options. In the meantime you can read a few chapters of it here.
I am currently looking for artists for four comics projects. One is long, sleazy, and violent. One is long, sad, and violent. One is short, sad, and violent. One is short, sad, and not violent. If you are interested in working with me on any of these, please drop me a line in the comments or using the contact information available at this link.
I have also spruced up my Comics page, which contains links to all of my currently published comics. (This includes “Destructor and the Lady,” which is still in progress; it doesn’t include “The Amazing Spider-Man in…The Hundred-Story Hunt,” which goes on sale in Spider-Man #19 on October 26.) Please take a look and read some comics. Perhaps they’ll whet your appetite for working with me. Here are some images from them:
My A Song of Ice and Fire blog All Leather Must Be Boiled now has its own domain: boiledleather.com. Please adjust your bookmarks accordingly.
I’m pleased to announce that the Comics Reviews section of the sidebar is now fully up to date. All of my recent Comics Time reviews have been added, and all the links lead to the relevant review here at seantcollins.com rather than at my old site. That’s in the neighborhood of 500 reviews. Please browse and enjoy.
I’ll be attending the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland this year, hopefully with wife and kid in tow. As you can imagine I am very much not the star of the Collins Family Show, but on the off chance that you’re still interested in seeing me, I’ll be moderating a couple of panels with some of my favorite cartoonists on Saturday, September 10th.
Excruciating Detail: Drawing the Grotesque
1:00 pm | White Flint Amphitheater
Historical comics ranging from Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy to the horror comics of the 1950s have specialized in images of the grotesque. Sean T. Collins will speak with cartoonists Lisa Hanawalt (I Want You), Benjamin Marra (Night Business), Tom Neely (The Wolf), and Johnny Ryan (Prison Pit) about the act of drawing horrific, visceral, visual detail in contemporary comics that speak to horrors that are both timeless and contemporary.
Craig Thompson Q+A
3:00 pm | White Flint Amphitheater
Following on the heels of his sensitive tale of departure Good-bye Chunky Rice, Craig Thompson came to national attention in 2003 with his massive, autobiographically-based graphic novel Blankets. Eight years later, Thompson has completed his next graphic novel, Habibi, a love story set in the Middle East and patterned after the visual cadences of Arabic calligraphy and Islamic art. Thompson will discuss his work in a conversation with Sean T. Collins.
You can find the entire slate of programming here. Bill Kartalopoulos put together quite a line-up. Hope to see you there!
Written by J.M. DEMATTEIS & SEAN COLLINS
Penciled by CLAYTON HENRY
Cover by ALE GARZA
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SPIDER-MAN WIELDS THE POWER COSMIC?! The Silver Surfer is POWERLESS in New York, and it’s up to Spidey to set things right! Will Spider-Man be able to find the Sentinel of the Spaceways in time?! J.M. DeMatteis (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) and Clayton Henry (SPIDER-GIRL) stop by this month to bring you THE POWER COSMIC! Then, the hunt is on as Spider-Man goes toe-to-toe with KRAVEN in the heart of New York’s concrete jungle!
32 PGS./All Ages …$2.99
I wrote a Spider-Man comic that comes out in October. I really couldn’t be happier about it, and neither could Young Sean T. Collins, who would watch Spidey on The Electric Company and Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, and receive Spider-Man comics from the Te-Amo across from St. Catherine of Siena in Franklin Square, New York as a reward for behaving himself in church on Sundays. Thank you to Ben Morse, Warren Simons, Alejandro Arbona, Kiel Phegley, Steve Wacker, and especially Tom Brennan, who helped make this happen.
What I didn’t know at the time I wrote my story, which features Kraven the Hunter in the villain role, is that the man responsible for my love of Kraven, J.M DeMatteis of Kraven’s Last Hunt fame, would be writing the other story in the issue. No pressure or anything!
Keep your eyes peeled, or perhaps even ask your local comic shop to order one for you. I hope you enjoy it!
A brief programming note: Blogging will be very light until I finish reading A Dance with Dragons. I will not be using Twitter at all during this time, and will likely stay away from Tumblr and the bulk of the Internet as well. Thank you for your patience, and I’ll see you on the other side.
Helena Christine Collins came home from the hospital today, at the tender age of negative two weeks old. She’s not much of a co-blogger, as it turns out, so blogging will be sporadic and light for a while. Thank you for your patience.
I’m not sure if I’ll be able to write weekly “Game of Thrones thoughts” posts, but if I do, they will appear on my SPOILER-FILLED blog for people who’ve read all four volumes in A Song of Ice and Fire so far, All Leather Must Be Boiled. I’ll link to each post from here, but please, do not click through unless you’ve read all four books so far.
If I end up partcipating in a less spoilery discussion of the show somewhere, I guess I’ll link to that, too.
Over the past few days I’ve noticed that attempting to load this site was absolutely CRUSHING whatever browser and connection I used to do so. I’m not sure why — I suspect that a single video or image was the culprit, but I couldn’t figure out which it might be — so I placed the bulk of some of my longer recent Carnivals and music posts behind “read the rest of this entry” cuts. I really hate doing so, because I love scrolling down the front page and seeing 40 million images fly past, but needs must. Please let me know if you’re still having any trouble viewing the site.
Apparently a good way to while away the hours while your baby is in the NICU is to start yet another blog, so do check out ALL LEATHER MUST BE BOILED, my new site dedicated to George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, strictly for people who’ve read all four books. SPOILER ALERT, in other words. I think the best way to describe it is a “noteblog” — I’m just jotting down a few quick thoughts about the series and the show here and there as they occur to me. If you’ve read the whole series so far, I hope you enjoy it.