Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"Seeds", No Doubt

I just finished reading a preview copy of Ross Mackintosh's Seeds, c/o Com.X, and recommend it -- highly, in fact, especially if your own life has been touched by a deadly disease or the loss of a loved one. So...I highly recommended it to everyone, ya?

Seeds is certainly right up my cancerous, daddy-issued alley. The cancer was mine, but I happened to lose my father suddenly and traumatically in a way that this book manages to tap into in so many ways. Mackintosh expresses many feelings about his relationship with his father in life and death that I either wasn't aware of or didn't know how to express in relation to my own.

As a graphic novelist, Mackintosh's storytelling is tight. His distillation of an incredibly personal yet wholly universal experience down to its most essential, evocative moments makes for a powerful comic experience. His deceptively simple illustrations and script make for a quick read, but also a deep, emotional one.

Ross Mackintosh the writer presents Ross Mackintosh the character as a relatable, likable everyman dealing with the inevitability of mortality. Now this comes with the exception of one awkward spread where Ross discusses plans to make a graphic novel about his experience before the story has even resolved, painting himself as uncharacteristically insensitive and opportunistic. But from the rest of the tale, I suspect that it is safe to say this sequence of events was the truth of his experience, an honest admission that the slow trauma of losing a father to cancer got his creative juices flowing even before dad hit a terminal state. This moment bothered me until I thought back to my own experience and related...which bothered me even more, but with an added layer of appreciation for the book.

Seeds is a very good book. Short, but also priced reasonably for the length. Even if you don't relate to the story (you will), expect to be moved.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Com.X Planting "SEEDS" in April

If you like comics, you might like Com.X. The publisher has a knack for landing strong talent and an interesting eye for diverse, quality work. Cla$$War was the Indy Ultimates. Forty-Five was just ambitious as hell and world-building at its best. And next in the queue for the post-modern superhero company is...
...an introspective autobiography about a family's fight with cancer?

Hrm. Do go on, Com.X marketing summary.

I actually got to discuss the project a little further over e-mail with Com.X co-publisher, Ben Shahrabani, and I found it incredibly endearing how tentative he was about how to approach a story so outside his usual super-powered comfort zone and how exactly to go about promoting the book. I don't think Ben, Com.X, or Ross Mackintosh need to worry about that. The recent success of David Small's Stitches should serve as a fine model for them, and proof that there is definitely an audience for this sort of tale. In fact, the potential audience is probably bigger and more diverse than the one looking for yet another superhero punch-em-up.

I was already on his promotion list from my PopCultureShock days, so Ben didn't even realize that I had shifted gears to Comics Cure. When he mentioned his hope to donate a portion of the proceeds to cancer research, charities, etc, he was thrilled that I could connect him with one of the groups I have been working with over the past few months. (I hope to look back on this and see that I helped foster something that pays off for both parties.)

I have no doubt that Mackintosh approached the terribly personal subject matter with all of his heart and soul. That is his job and this is, of course, his story. But just as an added bonus, it is quite promising for the company putting the book out to be taking such earnest steps to see it through. In such a cynically profit-driven industry, this sort of possitivity and care has to count for something. I look forward to reading the book, which solicits in February Previews and is scheduled to go on sale in April 2011.