Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Comics Shelfie: Sally Jane Thompson

It's Wednesday, it's been a fortnight, its Comics Shelfie time. This week we welcome the fab Sally Jane Thompson, author of graphic novel Atomic Sheep, the first chapter of which you can read for free at her site, along with other processy bits. I've long been an admirer of Thompson's bold, expressive, manga-influenced art work, and so it was lovely to meet her briefly at the Thought Bubble festival last year, where I purchased her travel-journal comic, From, which originally ran as a free web-comic. Thompson also did a great interview with Comics Alliance this week, which I'd highly recommend reading, particularly as it serves as an ideal introduction to her work, as well as current and upcoming projects.

For now, though, here's a look at her enviable comic collection:

Bookshelves

Auto-bio and teen comics

Fiction

General comics

Manga plus Scott Pilgrim

'Our books (well, mostly mine) are mainly crammed into two bookshelves in the living area, because we spend a lot of time there, and I want to be able to gaze lovingly at them while we do so. We're in a rented flat, so they're not the entire-wall-encompassing-bookshelves I dream of, but they're still a lovely sight!

I've moved a lot, and each time I move try to do a cull of as much stuff as I can. The books are what I'm worst at, despite being heavy items to haul around, and given how many books I've gained since the last move (I blame my proximity to Page 45 for that!), I rather dread the next one!

I adore organizing bookshelves. The rest of the house is messy, and I'm not great at order in general, so it's funny how much I enjoy it when it comes to my shelves. Novels are alphabetized, and other books are currently in the following categories: Comics – manga, autobio, kids and teen, anthology, general, floppies (I've only started following monthlies recently, and am struggling to store these!), and a few French language. (The comics account for most of the larger bookshelf.) Children's books. Poetry. Artbooks. Photography. Costume/clothing. Comics crit/related. Christianity. Philosophy/non-fic. Other non-fic (travel, history, etc) on a smaller bookshelf, and a few old books, artbooks, comics, etc, floating around. Minicomics in boxes/bags. And of course, piles on the floor because I've run out of room.

Old books

Poetry and art books

Teen comics and children's books

Picking only 3 comics to talk about is, obviously, painful, but here we go:

Yokahama Shipping Trip

Yokohama Shopping Trip, by Ashinano Hitoshi
I read this via online scanlations as a teen (when I didn't know any better re: creators, use of work, etc – sorry!), and I cannot overstate the impact it had on me as a creator. I had no idea one could tell stories so quiet, slow and meditative. I'm not even sure if it was one of those thunderclaps where you recognize in a work something absolutely like what you want in your own work, or if it just stayed quietly in my brain, before I was even really thinking what I wanted my work to be like, but it's one of those touchstone comics for me. I've now managed to get a whole set – in Japanese, because a translation's tragically never been released. One thing that amazed me, looking through it, was how much more sparesely rendered the landscapes were than I remembered them being - a lesson on how much lines can suggest, and how things can grow in readers' minds!

Sexy Voice and Robo

Sexy Voice and Robo, by Iou Kuroda
I got this one in my late teens while on a holiday in Oregon with my folks. I found it on the second hand shelves in Powell's (along with a copy of Craig Thompson's Carnet de Voyage, also one of my favourites), and was immediately drawn to the extremely loose, energetic inks. I read it over and over. It's brilliantly unique, clever, and personable, and is unafraid to balance its high-stakes story with those moments of pause and mundanity that I love so much. In fact, I'll just be in the corner here having a re-read if you need me...

Jane, The Fox, and Me

Jane, the Fox and Me, by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault
To show it's not just work you see in your formative years that can give you that jolt, this is a book I recently came across in a gallery bookshop. I've been raving about it since. Arsenault's art in particular has stunned me, and communicates the rawness and tenderness of the story perfectly. A book that I know will influence my future work.'

Many thanks to Sally for participating. You can view all the previous installments of Comics Shelfie here. Remember to stop by on the 12th for the next installment.

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