It was not my intent to post anything on the site today, but I have heard from several sources online some very sad news regarding a TCJ contributor.
On February 21, 2022, the editors received an email from Evheny (sometimes "Evgeny") Osievsky, an anthropology Ph.D. student from Kyiv. He was interested in writing about the idea of nuclear paranoia in the graphic novel Watchmen. There are many essays in this world on Watchmen, but Evheny's particular approach to the topic seemed interesting, so I made a note to get back to him later in the week. It was a Monday.
It felt absurd, truly a bitter farce, when I hastily replied on February 24, the day the war 'officially' began. Evheny would later remark that my acceptance of his idea was "cautiously affirmative" - in truth, I had no idea if such things were important to him anymore, but I had felt moved to respond on that day, I suppose to let him know that this splinter of his interests was still a valuable thing. He would have had every right to tell me to fuck off—the war was suddenly a very 'hot' international news item, and my approaching him, let's say, didn't not look exploitive—but he responded in the affirmative. He cautioned me, of course, that there would be delays.
I did not think it took very long. The Fallout of Dreams, the Demonstration of Shadows: Watchmen and the Atomic Zeitgeist of the ‘80s, was drafted, edited and posted on May 18, 2022. It came out well, and we discussed some future work. One of these pieces came to fruition on July 20, 2022, in the form of an interview Evheny conducted with the artist Oleksandr Grekhov.
Soon after, in November of 2022, Evheny told me he had been conscripted. His communications were sparse after that, though we exchanged emails a few times. We talked about the future, a little, what he wanted to write. I last heard from him in late April.
I am told that he was killed on May 22, near the city of Bakhmut.
The photo at the top of this post is one I took from his Facebook page, which has laid still since May 19. This is what happens in war, of course: exquisite passions fade cool against the flush and bloody face of conflict. On one occasion he joked to me that he was going to bring some comics wherever he went, and I laughed because we want to believe we'll be the same people after. But I only knew him in the tiny way an editor knows a writer.
Our consolation is that we may rest, some day, retired from the troubles of this world.