Monday, December 15, 2008  
Sequential Holiday Wish List: Diana Tamblyn

:: Posted by BK @ 12/15/2008 01:13:00 a.m.
skim floppy cover tamaki
Our next Holiday Wish List comes from cartoonist Diana Tamblyn. Readers are encouraged to send Sequential their own responses to our survey.

1. Name: Diana Tamblyn

I'm currently working on a full-length graphic novel entitled: "From Earth to Babylon: The Story of Gerald Bull and the Supergun". It's a historical biography based on the life of Canadian Gerald Bull - considered to be one of the most brilliant scientists of the twentieth century.

I'm going to be working on this for a few long years, but am looking to release a mini-comic of the first chapter for TCAF 2009.

2. What was the overall best book published in 2008? (comix/graphic novel/manga/strip/history/webcomic/floppy/etc)

It's hard to pick just one, so I am going to pick a few that cover off different categories.

Favourite overall graphic novel
Notes for a War Story - Gipi

Yes, I don't think this came out this year, but I read it this year, so I'm counting it. I find the whole First Second line-up is extremely strong with very few misses in their whole catalogue. Of their entire catalogue, this is my favourite though.

I bought it at Mocca at the behest of publisher Mark Siegel and it completely blew me away on all levels. I wasn't familiar with Italian artist Gipi, but his storytelling and artwork is fantastic and refreshing. Anything I try to say to describe it would be a disservice to the book as it is so subtle and smart by an artist who is clearly a master in the genre. This is one of those books that I will be pulling off my bookshelf and looking at several times a year. I loved it!

Favourite Art Book
Fables: Covers by James Jean

I recently picked this up at my local comic store, and I have to say it's stunning. It collects all of Jean's covers on the book in an oversized hardcover with beautiful production to it.

The best part is it shows thumbnails of his process from pencils to full-rendered finished piece. It also gives information on the media he used -ballpoint pen on oil? Crazy!

I also found it interesting to see that Jean started mostly using traditional media - pencils, acrylics, and as time went on he started using digital media more and more while the overall look stays the same. The only bad thing about this book is how untalented I feel flipping through it. I heard that when Eric Clapton saw Jimi Hendrix live in concert, he went home and cried because he knew he could never be that good. This book kind of makes me feel like that...

Favourite Super-Hero graphic novel/Guilty Pleasure

Superman & the Legion of Super-Heroes GN - Geoff Johns and Gary Frank

OK, I can hear some of you groaning out there, but I really loved this kick-start of the Superman books by Johns and Frank. This multi-issue storyline had a fun, intergalactic super-hero story, the Legion and fantastic art. Plus, you didn't have to read a big crossover in order to get the whole story.

What more could you ask for in a super-hero book? I'll tell you what - the Legion of Substitute Heroes! I LOVE the subs. Call me a nerd it's true. My favourite subs are Polar Boy and Night Girl and they both play key appearances in the story. Yay! Add to all of this, Gary Frank's great artwork and the fact that his version of Superman looks just like Chris Reeve and you have one great super-hero story on your hands.

2. Best Canadian book?

Skim - by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki

I picked this up years ago in comic book format when it was put out as a one-shot by Kiss Machine Presents. It had a really striking cover that really got your attention. Apparently it got publisher Emily Pohl-Weary into some hot water too, as some book stores refused to carry it since it had a swear word on the cover (Kiss Machine and Kiss Machine Presents are distributed in bookstores across Canada). I still have great fondness for this cover. I like it better than the graphic novel version in fact.

I wasn't familiar with the work of either Mariko, or Jillian, but the comic really blew me away! When the full-length graphic novel of it came out I read it with eager anticipation. Sure enough, it didn't disappoint. The storytelling was crisper than the comic version and Jillian re-drew pretty much the whole thing. At MOCCA, I was trying to get everyone who came by my booth to take a look at Skim (as Jillian and Mariko also had a booth at the show).

Both completely deserve all the accolades they got for this book. This very nearly got my vote as overall best book of the year.

7. What 2008 comic would you recommend for an adult woman 18-100?

Skim - for all the reasons mentioned above
V for Vendetta - a classic that a lot of non-comic readers respond to, especially since the movie came out.
Why I Hate Saturn - Kyle Baker
This is one of my all time favourite graphic novels, and is one of my go-to books to recommend to friends who don't read comics.
I've lent it out a bunch of times, and people do't like to give it back, so I've bought it at least 3 times now. It's laugh out loud funny, and so relatable in the relationship between the characters.

8. What 2008 comic would you recommend for an adult man 18-100?

Criminal - Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips
A really great noir comic. It's just so good. Storytelling and artwork are terrific and I like that it exists in its own world. You don't need to buy any other related books to know what's going on.

I buy it in comic book format as every issue has interesting back-up articles on film noir and pulp fiction by famous writers and directors. It's usually accompanied by a nice Phillips double-page spread. These bonus features aren't reprinted in the trades.

9. What comic would you most like to receive as a gift?

I've been wanting this for a while - I'd like to get Blake Bell's Stranger and Stranger book about Steve Ditko.

10. Was 2008 a good year for comics? Was it a good year for you? What effect will this recession thing have?

I think in terms of the quality of work - yes. I know I bought a lot of comics that I read and enjoyed. For me it was also a good year. I quit my full-time job, and moved to London, Ont from Toronto. The move has been great for the whole family and I have been able to spend more time on my artwork and comics!

I know publishing wise, a few companies went out of business and layoffs are happening at big and large firms - which is disturbing, especially at the big book publishers. I remain hopeful though. There are a lot of great artists in the comic book field, and I believe long-time the form will come through this recession (maybe a little leaner and meaner though).

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