“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 is journalist and Doug Wright Awards organizer Brad Mackay.

The Janus Project
by Brad Mackay

My favourite comics-related event(s) of the year were TCAF 2013 and the DWAs. Meeting Los Bros Hernandez and Scott Thompson (and drinking with them), and watching David Collier win a Wright Award (and present a rough take of his one-man show) are about as life-affirming as it gets for me.
Seeing Thompson try and deal with Collier was pure gravy.

Battling Boy by Paul Pope
Even at a compromised size/format, Battling Boy feels like the book Pope has always had in him; but was never going to deliver. Pulpy, Kirby-fuelled, super-kid fun that actually lives up to the hype.

Woman Rebel by Peter Bagge
90s comics heavy-weight and comics #2 Libertarian Peter Bagge delivers a bio-comic (his first) focused on the life of pioneering free-thinker Margaret Sanger. Some of the dialogue is a bit too prescriptive, but it doesn’t detract from a great story, well-told.

Susceptible by Genevieve Castree
Patience is a virtue so they say: I know have the proof. I have been waiting on a major work from Castree ever since I was hypnotized by her comic/LP Pamplemoussie and her short works in the long- gone D+Q Anthology series. Her autobio GN channels a horrible childhood into a transcendent story that will leave you spent.

Lose #5 by Michael DeForge
New DeForge. Duh.

7 Miles a Second by David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger, & Marguerite Van Cook
I tried (and failed) to pitch a review of this deluxe reprinting of a lost 1990s GN to several papers, so I will try and remedy that failure here. Visually stunning and socially driven, this reissue of this memoir of the deceased visual artist and AIDS activists David Wojnarowicz is a trippy and challenging read that serves as a prescription strength antidote to the current glut of paint-by-numbers GN memoirs.

The Property by Rutu Modan
I missed the boat on Modan’s work, until now. The Property is funny, engaging and hard to put down. Full of well-developed characters it was a total eye-opener for me.

My Dirty Dumb Eyes by Lisa Hanawalt
Gut-busting and beautifully drawn. I’ve never met her, but I have an instant crush on Hanawalt.

Kitaro by Shigeru Mizuki
Fun, strange and dangerous, this book should be in everyone’s library (everyone who cares about comics that is).

Captain Easy by Roy Crane
These collections are in heavy rotation in my house. My 7 year old son sums it up perfectly “Captain Easy is cool, because he’s kind of like Indian Jones, except wayyy tougher.”

Little Tommy Lost by Cole Closser
A spot-on homage to classic newsprint comics, I am puzzled and stupefied by this book. I did not see it coming.

Hand-Drying in America and Other Stories by Ben Katchor
Comics are enjoying such a Golden Age right now that somebody can release a new Ben Katchor book and it barely makes a ripple. If you’ve never experiences Katchor’s work, this is the timer to jump on.

Blobby Boys by Alex Schubert
Weird bad-boy comics that feel like they were created in a laboratory. (That’s a good thing.)

Science Fiction by Joe Ollmann
Joe Ollmann (the Johnny Depp of comics) is like a boulder rolling down a steep hill: his increasingly prolific output continues to impress and crush anyone in its path. This one takes a slightly different take than his breakthrough Mid-Life, but it is equally impressive.

The Grey Museum by Lorenz Peter
Criminally under-appreciated cartoonist and artist produces criminally under-appreciated GN.

Paul Joins the Scouts by Michel Rabagliati
New Paul stories – Nuff Said.

In Love With Art by Jeet Heer
I haven’t read this book by my pal Jeet Heer yet (and it took my months before I realized the pun in the title), but you know that it’s going to be good. If it isn’t, blame Jeet.

Janus Comic Strip by Mark Connery