|Cover of Ley Lines by Annie Mok|
It's your favourite time of month: comics shelfie time! For any new to the blog the premise of comics shelfie is simple- ask a cartoonist to show and talk us through their comics and books collection, picking out three books to discuss specifically- work that may have influenced or been important (or not) to them in any way. This month it's the turn of the super Annie Mok, Rookie Mag staff contributor, author of my personal favourite, Stitching Together, co-creator of the excellent Swim Thru Fire with Sophia Foster-Dimino, and many more. So without further ado, over to Annie:
'Hi! Welcome to my studio/bedroom. This is a Virtual Tour, feels very 2009. I live with five other artists, in a giant three-story Victorian mansion in Philadelphia. We have a piano in the front room and my band See-Through Girls practices in the basement. It's great!
Here are the first books -- I took this a few days ago, when I was drafting my article about Tove Jansson and me for the ZEAL imprint Slept In Comics, so a few on the Moomin chapter books sat here under the hutch on my desk.
I place my bag on my side table, next to books I need to return to friends and to the library. Below is a stack of floppies, mostly, that I'm going to be going through for a big secret project that I'm co-editing with my friend the games maker/games critic/member of Dames Making Games, Soha Kareem.
This is my main bookshelf, a very grateful hand-me-down. My college friend Micah Lidberg's Rise and Fall adorns the top.
My room is not New York small, but it is fairly small, so just to show you, I can't actually get a straight-ahead shot of it unless I leave the room. Below my bed is.... is.....
Mordor. One does not simply......... That's where allllll my zines/floppies/"minis" live, along with my sketchbooks/notebooks of the past year or so.
A couple more books - Guptill on graphite drawing, Alice Neel monograph -- sit by the area where I keep paper and recent completed projects.
Bookshelf proper. First square sits right next to my head, and it's books I'm in the middle of and am theoretically actually reading.
Comics and planning-to-reference-or-read-soon prose books sit on the rest of the shelf nearest my person.
Below, but still grab-able, are art books and bigger comics.
Can't block the vent.
Below, on the lowest shelf, is a no-girl's-land where I store books that I don't want to get rid of, but I don't need to look at often. Dude cartoonists tend to live here -- Pope, Clowes, et al. Sorry/not sorry.
Above are prose books. CAN I TELL YOU ABOUT Casey Plett's book, and Samuel R. Delany's autobiography The Motion of Light and Water filled with delicious cruising, and Bad Reputation by Penny Arcade. Oh my god.
More prose books. I designed Rasheedah Phillips' book, and my hecking up of the spine (it's really hard to read) is my biggest artistic regret. Really, really, really shoulda made a little black-and-white proof on a regular printer.
More prose books. Jhumpa Lahiri feels v mannered to me sometimes but she also totally fucking breaks my heart. Just Kids, because I'm a cliché. Kidding, I love that book.
Willa Cather, A History of God, a book about Star Trek: TNG.
"Series" books. I got these Nausicaä and Akira books for 25 cents from the library. I want to like Akira more but it's just so aggro.
The Hernandez brothers, who I feel so conflicted over again and again and again... I think I'm putting too much on them, as a reader... I'm looking for that uncomplicated love I had when I read them as a younger person, and I'm not gonna get that anymore.
A couple more under the desk hutch. I draw a copy of a drawing every day, always a figure, usually a "master" drawing or a photo of a sculpture. This Master Class in Figure Drawing book is swoon-worthy.
Marilyn reads next to a college painting of mine on the desk.
Zainab asked me to pick out three comics and talk about them. I picked four because I'm (a loner, Dottie) a rebel.
The Voyeurs by Gabrielle Bell got me through the winter of 2012-2013.
Gabrielle's candor and humor hits my heart.
Everywhere Antennas, and Julie Delporte's work as a whole, had a big effect on me starting in 2012-13 with "Pictures of Candy." I've said it before, but her stuff, Maré Odomo, Cathy G. Johnson, Sophie Yanow, Sam Alden -- they changed everything for me.
The idea of a slick inked surface is boring and a tool of power, of men.
Another perennial pleasure -- ReMake 3xtra by Lamar Abrams. I found this for $3 at Bergen Street, and went and bought the first two books at SPX from AdHouse this year.
I hope Lamar gets to make more long-form work now that he's very busy at Cartoon Network. So many comics feel squirm-y uncomfortable -- Lamar's stories just totally put me at ease. Like hanging out with friends. Funny, goofy jokes, characters really interacting with one another, poking fun at each other, caring about one another. Lovely sense of light and time.
I LOVE how Lamar depicts women. His women are loud, they take up space, they're hot and they know it. It feels so empowering to read this stuff! I feel really seen.
I received two NEW Jillian Tamaki books in the mail within two weeks and I was like, break my heart into a million pieces why don't you, what did I even do to deserve this. Jillian is my #1 fave/comics hero, along with Gabrielle.
I interviewed Jillian for The Hairpin (you can read it here), so this shows you my notation process. The plastic post-its last for-fucking-ever -- I used them for books on Egon Schiele that I got in 2009, and used those same reference stickies four years later in 2014 when I did Unholy Shapes. Apparently paper post-its fall out pretty soon.
Jillian is a lighthouse-- her approach to character, light, composition, her breezy way of describing things visually...
And as always, D&Q makes the most perfect book objects of any publisher there is.'
A massive thank you to Annie for her time and participation. You can view all the previous installments of Comics Shelfie here. Next installment will be up in a month.