Friday, March 30, 2012

State of the Union

Taking some time here today to break down what's been going on in the diaphanous world of one J.T. Dockery (that's me), and note some changes for those of you out in radio-land. While I relocated to Vermont in May, I've spent the late winter and this nutty early spring in Kentucky, playing the role of "roving reporter" (that's me above visiting the birth/resting place of Bill Monroe: Rosine, KY).

It's been busy here on on this traveling desk. And when I say traveling desk, my vagabond ways were featured recently on the great Where They Draw blog. After contributing to the third & fourth issues of the over-sized newsprint anthology Pood, I also had a collaborative piece with Brine Manley in "Lies Grown Ups Told Me," an anthology edited by Caitlin McGurk, Nomi Kane & Jen Vaughn (which was nominated for a Stumptown Comics festival of this writing, you can go vote for it, if you like).

Here in Kentucky, besides being a featured guest at 21 Nights Art Happy Hours in Lexington (photo above), I was asked to write an introduction for UK-based Kentucky native Carey Gough's book of photographs. I have sent off a comic for Mark Rudolph's tribute anthology of artists doing the heavy metal band Mercyful Fate's songs as comics, along with artists like Ed Luce, Johnny Ryan, and many more. Also in the can is an article I wrote and corresponding illustration I drew for Zack Soto and Milo George's new magazine version/new issue of the award-winning Studygroup 12 anthology. The article concerns a visit I got to take to John Byrne's house, which becomes something of a summary of my feelings on Jack Kirby, in contrast to Byrne's own reality principle.

On the horizon and in process I'm working on two projects for artist/publisher, Tom Neely (whose Bound & Gagged anthology I previously appeared in). First, he has a new metal/horror magazine to which I'm contributing a collaborative illustrated/hand-lettered article with the aformentioned Manley. Following that, I pitched and Tom accepted a couple of scripts for the new "Henry and Glenn Forever and Ever" comic book series, which extends the peculiar universe of the surprise cult smash of Igloo Tornado's original Henry & Glenn Forever. I'll be drawing up my own scripts.

Really excited, as well, to be contributing to my fellow J.T.'s (Yost that is) vegetarian-vegan vs. carnivore themed anthology, Digestate, on his Birdcage Bottom Books imprint. I also hear-tale that much of book will be translated into a German language edition as well.

I'm about to wrap up my take on Chester Gould's Dick Tracy, "Dock Tracy," for the collection of comicstrip parodies for the third issue of the Atomic Books anthology, Mutants (oh, yeah, while we're on the subject of the indomitable Atomic Books, I also contributed to their Jackets & Sleeves show last October (and one other thing in regards to Atomic in a bit)).

In the not strictly comics deptartment: Curator Ashley Kolka asked me to do a piece for MacRostie Art Center of Minnesota for their forthcoming "Miniatures" exhibiton in May, and I'm knocking out a drawing that has something to do with Daniel Boone in the 21st century. Steve Baron of CD Central in Lexington asked me to contribute to their Records Reimagined show in June. I'm also doing something of a mini comic for Seattle based band French Letters forthcoming CD, one of their songs turned into a comic to go with the new album.

Beyond the assorted bits scattered out there far and yonder, I'm also working on two new projects directly of my own to be published in the next year. First, I have "J.T. Dockery's Despair," a series I will be printing in three consecutive volumes. It will feature new work by myself along with back up features and other goodies by guest artists. Outside of the end papers design by Julia Gfröer, I'm not at liberty to speak of the other artists who have committed just yet (a counting chickens before they hatch principle), but I hope to curate and present a series that will capture a certain mix of hybrid horrors and science fiction expressionism in which all the artists will be presenting genre in a personal fashion.

Speaking of things that can't really be spoken of just yet, I'm also planning an anthology with T. Edward Bak which I'm very excited about. What I will say is that I'm knee deep in research on Jose Clemente Orozco in the United States, specifically at Dartmouth, and, regardless of the proposed anthology, I plan to do a non fiction comic on the subject of Orozco. While in VT, I've visited his The Epic of American Civlization mural in nearby Hanover, NH many times.

As we round the corner on this round up, I wanted to address the subject of my own rounding up of new indie comics for review. I started reviewing comics informally at my former Transylvania Gentlemen blog (shared with co-blogger Jeffrey Scott Holland) which evolved into our Victorian Squares blog, with the concept of putting new indie comics in the mix of the various subjects we'd respectively write about. Due to both my own busy schedule, and Jeff's devoting more time to paid writing projects, neither of us has been blogging as much.

In addition to that, the passing of Dylan Williams caused me to somewhat stumble in regard to my comics reviewing mission statement. Dylan had sent me a big box of Sparkplug comics to review, some of which I did, but after his passing, it was just too much to go to those books he sent me. But now is the time to get back into it on the reviewing front. A change that I will be making is that I'll double-post on Victorian Squares those new reviews.

Back at the top of the year, Atomic Books asked me to contribute my top 5 comics of the year, in part because of the work I'd done on reviews previous. And things that I'd championed early on have gone on to be nominated and win awards in the industry, including the "Best of American Comics." I feel that I'm back on my game, and have several new reviews ready to go. I'm past the mourning now and simply ready to honor Dylan and anybody else who cares about comics.

To make it country simple:

General wordiness that takes more than a couple sentences, news and reviews, right here.

Images and short shout-outs: Tumblr.

If I take time to ramble about anything outside of comics, Victorian Squares.

And you can always visit my for the basic over-view and my previous work for sale, etc.

So there you go. I traded a piece of original art in barter so as to get my hands on that new Wally Wood book this past week. And I even almost forgot to mention Institute 193 will be releasing a t-shirt with my design soon. Life is good, despite or in spite of any obstacles. Things move fast, and I take it slow and steady.