“The Janus Project”

“We look at the present through a rear view mirror. We march backwards into the future.”
― Marshall McLuhan

Sequential presents The Janus Project. During the next few weeks of this shiny new year cartoonists and critics and retailers will sound off on their favourite comics and comics-related moments of 2013 while also looking forward to things to come in 2014. (Thanks to Mark Connery for the great Janus comics graphic! Mark has a new book that will debut at TCAF this May: Rudy will be published by the Minneapolis-based 2d Cloud.)

Next up at the Janus Project is Angela Drystek. A fine arts grad from University of Guelph, Angela is a triple threat: artist and zinester, roller derby champ, and curator of the Kazoo! Print Expo in Guelph, ON.
Here’s Ange looking back and looking ahead:
The Janus Project:
by Angela Drystek

It will be tough, but I’m going to try and write this little snippet on comics without mentioning Michael DeForge. Deep breaths. Here we go.
THE Best of 2013
To my knowledge, this was a pretty great year for comics. So I’ve got a tie.

SAGA is an incredible ongoing series that has already received plenty of accolades. Accessibility, sci-fi, romance, drama, and witty dialogue make this suitable for any type of comic reader (as long as they are a mature one). Fiona Staples is my new Canadian comic artist heroine. Her art and coloring is expressive and beautiful. She has also taken breaks on the book to work on other projects, not just churning out sludge to keep the book moving (like some other mainstream artists and publishers do all too well). Plus, explicit gay sex scenes on the first page of issue #12? Staples, you’ve done it again.

4PANEL by Mark Laliberte, multimedia artist and CAROUSEL magazine founder, is ingenious in its simplicity. The weekly comic features a bevy of collaborators (Tin Can Forest, Ethan Rilly, etc), who each create a short within the same four-panel structure. Each artist has a very different approach to comics as a medium, and the resulting collection is an evolving anthology of where Canadian experimental comics are headed. I’m sure 4PANEL will only expand its roster of artists in the year to come, so perhaps this is a good segue to…
THE MOST Anticipated for 2014

Patrick Kyle’s Distance Mover, collected. A second arc of the mini-comic series has been recently re-launched in a monthly subscription form. The series will be collected and released by Koyama press in Fall 2014. Visually, Kyle walks the line between abstraction and narrative that gives everything a dreamlike (nightmarish?) quality. The colours of distance mover are positively psychedelic and crisp, thanks to his risographic printing methods. His storytelling has a naive and simple appearance, ripe for the plucking of penetrative minds to plaster all kinds of philosophy and metaphorism upon it.
All in all, comics are on the up, crime is on the decline. I’m looking forward to curating the 2014 Kazoo! Print Expo once again, which I plan to have brimming with the area’s up and coming artists of image and word combined. We had a new venue, a new name, and a ton of new people coming out of the woodwork last year. Toronto-based Static Zine and Koyama Press tabled at the event, and I hope to have them back to see how they’ve morphed and progressed. I’m also excited to show off some of Guelph’s own, such as Gillian Wilson, Greggory Pepper and Mark J Stubbs!

Janus Comic Strip by Mark Connery