Thursday, April 21, 2011
For the next month (let's say until June 1), you can read my 1999 story Sayonara for free on this blog or on ISSUU.com.
[UPDATE--this comic is no longer available for viewing, but it will be back someday! Meanwhile, read on for some background and history of this favorite story of mine:]
Sayonara is a wordless comic I wrote and drew while Jessica and I were living in Mexico City for the last two years of the millennium. I drew it all in a sketchbook as I walked around my neighborhood, Colonia Roma. My idea was to do an "on-location" comic with a very simple story, something that would capture a bit of the flavor of that wonderful neighborhood as well as the mostly pleasant dislocation of the expat's life. I was watching a lot of Wong Kar-Wai movies at the time (how I miss my moviegoing days) but excepting perhaps the night market scene, I don't feel I channeled him with any particular success. We happened to be friends with a bunch of Japanese students whom Jessica met at her language school and I very loosely adapted some of their likenesses for my comics.All the locations are real except for the Cervecería El Volcán (a nod to Malcolm Lowry*), which is a composite of a certain type of overlit Mexico City bar.
Sayonara was my contribution to a series of small comics called La Corneta that I developed with some fellow artists in Mexico City. Most of tem were then sharing a studio called Taller del Perro (The Dog's Workshop), then there was my friend Jazmin Velasco (signing as Jotavé) and her roommate Sayri Karp, who worked in publishing and was the main force in making this project see the light of day. The books turned out great--there were about 10 of them in the end, all with matching silkscreened covers on silver cardstock. If you scour (really scour) Mexico City bookshops you may be able to track most of them down. Unfortunately, the project basically lost steam after the books were printed, for no one particular reason, though the Kafka-esque bureaucracy involved in getting your books sold, even on consignment, in bookstores in Mexico certainly had a lot to do with it. I remember a few dispiriting tours with Jazmin around Roma and La Condesa trying with little luck to place a few of these books here and there.
I sometimes wonder if some Mexican teenager didn't find some of these lying around and got inspired to make comics. I would love to know...
This is an experiment in digital self-publishing. I'm curious to see if people actually read comics this way and would love to hear what you think or if you want to suggest other options or platforms. I chose this because it was brought to my attention by Adhouse books, who is featuring Afrodisiac for a short while using this embedded reader, which I thought worked pretty well. It's at least a step up (I believe) from what I've been doing up to now, linking to Picasa or Flickr albums. What I'm least happy about so far is the "glow" effect on the recto pages, the novelty wears off quickly to reveal a cheap 3D gimmick and I can't figure out how to disable that feature (anyone?). I do like the ease of page turning and the art looks good if you read this in full screen view.
*I had an idea for a story about an expat living above this bar which I would have titled "Arriba del Volcán"/"Above the Volcano". I may yet use that title someday...