I made a new comic about finding out the place my girl and I used to go ice skating when I was a kid got closed down. It's pretty great. You can read it here. Below is the essay I wrote to go with it.
I guess it's hardly anything new to be making nostalgic comics about old buildings (hello Eisner, Seth, Ware, like a billion other dudes), but that's what makes it kind of nice. Not quite the same as covering a song, more like writing a new one around a familiar old chord change or something. It's fun to create subject matter that's nothing new in order to focus on finding a way to make it your own. And also, I mean... this one is all real, and it does hit pretty hard to come home for the first time in years and see everything torn down or shuttered. Just a while ago Berkeley had a big fire that took out the place I used to play pool as a teenager too. I guess this kind of thing has always been happening, but it seems to really have been in the air for the past few years.
Chris Ware was obviously a big influence on this comic: I drew it here in the Bay Area, where unlike LA there's actually a shift in the weather toward winter, so I really wanted to capture the cold tone Ware hits so beautifully. I'm not sure how well I did. Blaise Larmee's 2001 was another big touchstone; the ice-skating sequence was originally blocked out exactly like that comic is but I changed it up because it was really a little too close. Most of all though, this comic owes a big debt to Frank Santoro. Frank's new Blast Furnace Funnies comic tackles some pretty similar subject matter as this one with an incredible amount of elegance, something I tried to capture as well. He was also the one who told me I should start doing my linework in color, something I haven't really been able to do in Affected because of how regimented my process on that book has become after drawing hundreds of pages of it; but also something I've been eager to try. I'm going to do my next book with color linework, so this was sort of a "workshop" attempt at figuring out some of the basics. Finally, a recent talk with Ryan Sands about short stories and page size helped me think this through.
I'm fairly happy with how this comic turned out. I really like the layout, it all seems like one big motion to me. Some of the drawings are good, some could be better, mainly because I tried drawing on ultra smooth Bristol paper instead of the really toothy stuff I like to use. I don't like when it's too easy to make a line. I think it accomplishes what I was trying to do all right. Those of you who've followed my work for a long time will note that this is another comic about the same girl I always make comics about; "get over her!" I hear you say. Well, this is probably the last one like this now that I have rewritten the ending to Affected. As an unheard goodbye, I think I like it well enough. Go check it out!