portrait of gerald bull by diana tamblyn
First up in our Summer Reading Survey is cartoonist Diana Tamblyn:

1) Diana Tamblyn, cartoonist, web consultant, website – www.speedlines.com

2) My latest comic project is “From Earth to Babylon: The Story of Gerald Bull and the Supergun”. This is a historical based work on the life of Canadian Gerald Bull – considered to be one of the most brilliant scientists of the 20th century. His work on artillery led him across the globe, from Canada to the Pentagon, Barbados, South Africa and Iraq – where he ultimately developed the “Supergun” for Saddam Hussein. He was unable to finish it off as he was assassinated in Brussels in 1990.

3) This will be a big reading list because I’m a voracious reader and I’m in the research phase of my project so have been reading a lot of related material: Unholy Babylon: The Secret History of Saddam’s War; Golgo 13 – The Supergun – Tako Satto, Guns, Lies and Spies – Chris Cowley; Arms and the Man – William Lowther; Bull’s Eye – James Adams; Fist of God – Frederick Forsythe; Three in the Back, Two in the Head – Jason Sherman.

I went into this project knowing next to nothing about the middle east and as a lot of my story takes place there I’m really trying to educate myself about it. Reading all of these books has made me fairly discouraged about the state of the world as even though they all take place about 20 years ago now, all the themes are still very much in evidence today in terms of how the US deals with other countries, what subjects take priority on political agendas and all the back room dealing that goes on.

Comics-wise, I’ve recently read the following (many of which I picked up at Mocca ’08 in NYC): Freddie & Me – Mike Dawson, Street Angel – Jim Rugg and Brian Maruco, Emiko Superstar – Mariko Tamaki and Steve Rolston, Janes in Love – Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg, New York Four – Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly, Pride of Baghdad – Brian Vaughn and Niko Hendrichon. Also have re-read The Long Halloween – Tim Sale and Jeph Loeb, and The Killing Joke – Alan Moore and Brian Bolland.

Of all of these I was really impressed with Pride of Baghdad. Street Angel I loved because it was just sheer joy and fun on the page. It reminded me of why I like comics so much.

To still read this month are a mixture of more books for research and some for fun – The Places in Between – Rory Stewart, Paris Kanonen and Project Harp – Gerald Bull and Charles Murphy, In Search of Enemies: A CIA Story – John Stockwell, The Apocalipstix – Cameron Stewart and Ray Fawkes, Strange and Stranger – Blake Bell, When you are Engulfed in Flames – David Sedaris, From the Earth to the Moon – Jules Verne.

4) Upcoming I will have a booth at Word on the Street on September 28th in Toronto. Then on October 23, I will be speaking at MIT to a graduate comparative media studies class along with Jeet Heer and Ho Che Anderson about comics. I am really excited about this and plan to have some artwork from my Bull project to show.

That’s it!

(top image: portrait of Gerald Bull by Tamblyn)