For the past month I’ve been down with the rather bizarre condition known as “Writer’s Block,” a state of mind that has pretty much affected everything I do that involves writing. It’s not the kind of condition that I can compare notes with friends and family. It’s not like the common cold or flu, something that is going around, and my doctor is certainly not going to prescribe anything for it. It’s more annoying than debilitating. Sentences are hard to form, coherence has no structure, organization goes no further than a list of topics. While inspiration and ideas are fruitful, it doesn’t translate to paper or computer screen, there’s this huge invisible obstruction like a winding weed from mind’s eye to eye to sheet of paper, and it’s impossible to rip away. E-mails are starting to trickle in. “Jim, how have you been?” “Where have you been?” Well, I’ve been fine, and it’s going well, and I haven’t been anywhere, but on the writing front, it’s been a real struggle.
Believe me, the last paragraph was willed more than written, forced more than flowing. Absolutely no fun to construct at all.
Fortunately, there’s no such thing as “Reader’s Block,” as far as I know, and I’ve been reading voraciously the past few weeks. There is also no such thing as “Compiler’s Block,” so I’m having no problem listing a wide range of recommended reading, works I’ve really enjoyed reading recently or over the past several months. Being a list without detail or explanation, it’s not at all exciting. But the stories cited below I found absolutely wonderful, so if you’re looking for a diverse and entertaining 2006 comics reading plan, you can’t wrong with these selections.
Ice Haven by Daniel Clowes
The King by Rich Koslowski
Top 10: The Forty-Niners by Alan Moore and Gene Ha
Infinite Crisis by Geoff Johns, Phil Jimenez and Andy Lanning
Mars by Mark Wheatley and Marc Hempel
Autumn by Tommy Kovac
Godland by Joe Casey and Tom Scioli
Seven Soldiers by Grant Morrison and various artists (Seven Soldiers, Shining Knight, The Guardian, Zatanna, Klarion the Witchboy, Mister Miracle, Bulleteer, Frankenstein)
Fell by Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith
Testament #1 by Douglas Rushkoff and Liam Sharp
100 Bullets by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso
Light Brigade by Peter J. Tomasi and Peter Snejbjerg
Graphic Novels: Everything You Need to Know by Paul Gravett
Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature by Charles Hatfield
“Same Difference” by Derek Kirk Kim
The Complete Peanuts 1956-1957, 1958-1959 by Charles M. Schulz
Kamandi the Last Boy on Earth Archives Edition, Volume 1
Seven Soldiers of Victory Archives Edition, Volume 1
Fables by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham
I apologize for this being not much of a column. I decided to kick off the New Year right and at least get something out, and while I do feel like I’ve certainly accomplished something, it’s not the kind of piece that has me jumping for joy and going, “Ya-hoo! I’m over it!” So we’ll see what the coming weeks bring. In the meantime, Happy New Year to one and all.