Warning: this is long and picture-heavy. But not sexy picture-heavy.
I read a LOT of comics in 2013, and my “to read” list is massive still, thanks in no small part to my new addiction to custom binding. As I had hoped, I finished binding all my back issues, then began buying back issues of books I hadn’t read yet but had been curious about but weren’t collected (and have little chance of ever being collected) and binding them.
What’s so great about this new hobby? Well, there’s the functional aspect of binding: it is not only easier to store bound books (putting a book of 20-30 comics on a shelf looks better than 20-30 bagged and boarded comics in a longbow, for example), they look better on a shelf, they take up far less space, and are a million times easier to read. But better than all of that, it’s the act of deciding what should be in each book, as well as designing art for the cover and table of contents of each book (yes, like many binders, I create TOCs for the books too.) When I worked for the newspaper in high school and college, it was the page design part I gravitated to, so getting to flex those design muscles has been fun, even if I’m not a photoshop expert, or even that great a designer.
And, like any creative endeavor, part of the fun is sharing the results. So below are some pictures of many of the books I bound over the course of the year. Crazily, this doesn’t include ANY of the Batman books I bound, of which there are quite a few.
The first big set of books I decided to bind was my Wally West Flash run. It’s especially interesting to see how my Photoshop and design skills progressed as I went, since I did them a couple at a time over the course of months.
I also made title pages in addition to a table of contents for each volume:
I can’t take credit for the TOC design, which was done by a poster at the Uncollected Editions message board. I simply had to change the text, logo, and images for each volume.
Like any creative endevour, there’s all kinds of things I’d go back and redo, though in the grand scheme of things it’s all negligible. For example, the color of the books changes slightly due to using different printers, and I learned various things as I went that made the newer ones match better, that kind of thing. But eh, whaddyagonnado?
But yeah, I now have a complete run of custom bound books for Young Justice, all of Birds of Prey, the Cass Cain Batgirl series, and crazily, New Teen Titans, Titans, and Outsiders (which was basically just a Titans book with a different name), among others.
A TOC created by another poster at the binding board, CanaryFarmer, who does amazing work:
With the New Teen Titans binds, I wanted to match the official releases. The first two volumes had all I wanted issue-wise (even if the first volume’s actual binding was not so great), and while it was nice to get some gorgeous George Perez art in a larger format in the third volume, the contents were terrible. Thus, I made a Volume 3 that contained what the official release SHOULD have included, and went from there:
I even tried to match the official release title pages and TOCs:
The Titans/Young Justice/Outsiders books (though Outsiders Vol 2 is still at the bindery…):
More fiddling with different TOC designs:
Diving into so many series I hadn’t/haven’t read before reminds me of when I was younger and discovering so much music I hadn’t heard before. I just become obsessive with trying out everything, devouring it, and looking for more. And with 80s/90s back issues being obscenely cheap, there’s little reason not to go whole hog.
There were also some less massive sets I did, like this Azrael bind:
Or these Robin books:
The “Hero Reborn” volume was done at a different bindery, who wasn’t so great with sizing, so the spine image/text is a little lower than I’d like but oh well.
I tried something different for the “Hero Reborn” TOC as well:
That volume was especially fun for the disparate sources I used, combining trades and back issues. I took the intro from a trade, for example, and put an appropriate image on the back of the TOC:
I also met artist Tom Lyle (who drew a big chunk of the issues contained therein) at HeroesCon and got him to sign the book. He was so excited that I not only knew who he was, but wanted his signature, and showed off the bind to the folks around him.
The last set of books I bound in 2013 were Superman-related. If nothing else, I will remember 2013 as the year I “got” Superman as a character. I had enjoyed a few titles here and there (Morrison’s “All-Star Superman”, Waid’s “Birthright”, “Superman For All Seasons” by Loeb/Sale) but on the whole didn’t get into the Man of Steel the same way I did Batman or, well, pretty much any other DC character. At some point a light bulb went off in my head and that was no longer the case. In addition to that, I went on a huge Greg Rucka binge and subsequently won a big lot of recent Superman books off ebay that included everything from the immediate Post-Infinite Crisis stuff up through Flashpoint. So I bound Geoff Johns’ stuff and all the New Krypton material in a 5 volume set:
I was (no pun intended) SUPER happy with how the spines came out, never having tried spreading an image across multiple books. It was a pain, but worth it.
The TOC was also a different design for me: simpler and cleaner:
So there’s my year-in-review of binding. I can’t imagine I’ll be binding anywhere near the amount of books this year as I did in 2013, but I do aim to have George Perez’s Wonder Woman, the original Suicide Squad, some post-Return Superman, and the uncollected post-Crisis/pre-Death Superman done.
Kudos to anyone who read through that insane post. If you’re a glutton for punishment, here’s more pics of the Young Justice stuff: VOILA
And my thread on the Uncollected Editions forum with more pictures: ZAP!
So I started out writing a big rambling post, and decided to break it up into a few different posts. This means there will be multiple big rambling posts. Sorry tumblr wash readers! First up: music stuff!
2013 was the first year since I believe 2006 or so that I have not released some sort of album or EP of my own songs. It was hard to make myself not feel like I was slacking, but there was no real reason to rush one out, and it seemed silly to do so if I didn’t have enough quality material (which I didn’t.) I let life get in the way, between buying a house and various other things, and I went for long bouts without writing anything, or even listening to much music, oddly enough. I did have one bout early on where I wrote a few tunes I am really happy with, and a few others I’m not as sure about, but it was by and large a year without writing. But if there’s one thing I’ve finally accepted, it’s that writing is a muscle that must be flexed and exercised regularly. To that end, I’ve begun leaving my in-progress songs up on my computer so that each day I can sit down, play through them and maybe add a line or two (as I tend to finish the music quickly and then spend days/weeks/months on lyrics). Some days I do, some days I don’t, but at least the songs are always being worked on, consciously or unconsciously.
I’ve also been playing and singing at home more than I have in years, learning songs I always wanted to learn, etc, to keep myself limber and learn some new chords along the way. Plus, I want to play music for pleasure more. It’s hard for me to remember that it’s okay to not have some massive goal in mind, be it a huge show, recording an album or whatever, when it comes to making music. Sometimes it’s good to just play for the sake of playing.
Performance-wise, Ice Gondola did do one show a few months back which was a lot of fun. Due to using a small lineup of professional, reliable musicians, it was extremely stress-free, unlike the CD release show of 2012, so I hope to do another in the Spring or Summer, playing the few new tunes we did at the last one, as well as some others. Perhaps I’ll even get around to doing another album, though I still have quite a few copies of Sailing Stones, so it’s not as if there’s tons of demand. Also been considering posting demos online but, again, I’m not sure there’s much demand for that. If nothing else, as previously stated, I’d like to just play more without needing a specific reason.
And of course there’s my job as bass player for Ted Stevens & the Third Rail. We recorded an album’s worth of his tunes awhile back, two of which we recently released on band camp here: http://tedstevens.bandcamp.com/
They’re killer tunes, well worth checking out, if you haven’t already.
But we’ve been playing out of town more and more which has been a blast, and I look forward to doing more of that in 2014. Just hanging out with Ted, Tony, and our roadie Dylan, on the road is entertaining, the performance part is an added bonus.
So, in summation, musical goals for 2014:
1) write more
2) play more
3) keep on keeping on with Ted & the Railers
One of the catchiest tunes from Paul McCartney’s latest album. Can’t believe this isn’t a single (though the current single, “Queenie Eye” is pretty darn great too, lackluster video notwithstanding.)
It’s hip to diss Paul, but I’ll always stand up for the guy. He’s my favorite Beatle for a variety of reasons, among them that he never stops trying to make interesting music, for better or worse. He’s never content to settle for churning out the same stuff over and over, and his work since 2005’s “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard” has been especially strong.
So, this happened.
Which is rather wonderful news.
I was late to Q&C, having binge read the entire series plus the three novels earlier this summer. I could not be more excited for this. Here’s hoping it stays on track and not only gets made, but is successful enough to spawn the film franchise this series deserves.Source: ruckawriter
It’s tonight folks! The long-awaited return of Ice Gondola - show kicks off at 9:00 with the excellent DR Country, followed by Nashville’s Judah & the Lion, with us Ice Gondola fellas closing out the night.
It’s been a year since I last had a band backing me and I’m super-excited to get back out there and rock out a bit. I can promise you you will be entertained, whether you like the music or not. And if you’re not entertained, well, it must mean you’re a soulless monster incapable of joy or happiness who will forever remain a prisoner of your own misery.
And look, the flyer has Roger Daltry fighting Mothra!