Today at TCJ, we've got all the cold you can handle, thanks to Alex Dueben's interview with Alison McCreesh. Thanks to Conundrum and Alison, you can catch up with some of the more inaccessible parts of the world from the comfort of your own home, via her new book Norths.
You mentioned in the book’s introduction that when planning this circumpolar trip, you wanted to stay North of the 60th Parallel. What does this idea of North man to you?
I have a hard time talking about the idea of North or where North starts or what North is, because North is so relative. The further North you go, you always find there’s someone further North than you. No matter how far North you are, you’re always South of someone, I like to say. [laughs] I have been far North – way up North of the Arctic Circle, what basically looks like the top of the world – but even then, there were places further North.
In Canada we have provinces and territories. The 60th Parallel cuts across Canada and marks the end of the provinces and the start of the territories. The Three territories are Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon. We live in Yellowknife, in the Northwest Territories. Up here lots of things are “North of 60”. It’s kind of a branding thing that people brag about. Because we use that expression so much, the 60th parallel was a good parameter in terms of defining where the North starts for the purpose of this trip and book. I found out that depending on where you are, being North of 60 doesn’t always mean much though. In Finland, for example, the whole country basically starts at the 60th Parallel so being at the 63rd parallel doesn’t make you Northern Finland. In Iceland, there isn't even a thought for the 60th. Still though, for me it was my North.
That's not all of course: we've also got some of that hot review action you crave, via Rich Barrett. He's also on that Conundrum tip, with a look at their recent publication, Zach Worton's The Curse of Charley Butters.
While Worton’s art is a throwback to the early 20th century strips and the early 21st century cartoonists that emulate them, his story is also a throwback of sorts. The tale of a straight white man who runs away from all the responsibilities in life is a dying breed these days. Worton’s problem is that he falls into the trap of potential banality of his subject matter too easily. The opening scenes of the band vamping in the woods are so wonderfully drawn and such a dead-on replica of every cheesy metalhead ever that it’s a shame when we never see Travis and his bandmates interact like this for the rest of the book. The promise of a conflict between the world of metal music and Travis’ obsession with the diaries doesn’t really play out in any significant way. Death Metal, the lowest of low-brow music, would be the perfect foil to set against the high-brow art world that drove Charley Butters mad. but Worton doesn’t seem interested in examining art in any more meaningful or insightful way than he does mental health or alcoholism.
If you're starving to see the guts and bolts behind old super-hero comics, starve no further: Diversions of the Groovy Kind has your back with another Black & White Wednesday round up.
Not into the process? Only the finished versions for you? We aim to please: Gabrielle Bell has you covered, with her New Yorker comic called "That's What I Get For Trying To Find Love on Tinder". Wait, did I say New Yorker? Because they also published Leslie Stein, whose "Dreaming of a Reading Bar" is right up the alley of the sort of people who frequent the very sentence you are currently reading.
If you're still not convinced on giving Sabrina a shot, I don't know what is gonna sell ya. Maybe this Fast Company interview with Nick Drnaso will do the trick? Or this New York Times list of recommendations? Maybe you were waiting on LitHub to plug it. The wait is over!
Ah, but you want something with more of that in your face pop, I get it, imaginary complainer. Then how about this: Ian MacEwan drawing monsters getting beat to death with a tire iron? I'm into that, Image has something coming in September. The cover!
Tire iron is glowing. I bet if you cover it with blood it'll stop glowing though!