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The Indisputable Matt Maxwell Presents:



So I had a column written up and decided it ranked up among the worst things that I ever committed to digits, so it’s gone and I’m back to square one. I don’t usually do that. Either I can convince myself halfway through that it’s utterly terrible or that it’ll pass the smell test. I’d managed to talk myself into thinking it was acceptable and then decided that it simply wasn’t.

I occasionally have some scruples and smidgen of perspective that allows me to come to such grim conclusions. Sadly, it’s happened more often than I’d like.

More than five years out, it looks like it’s time for a break. On the level of Important Things to Do, I’m constantly wrestling with talking about comics and actually creating things for other people to talk about. Seems like it’d be much easier to simply go back to writing the comics.

As much as having a twice-monthly soapbox is theoretically beneficial for a publicity platform, perhaps the energy is better spent elsewhere. I have to do enough promotion as it is (more than enough – anyone want to step in and handle that for me? I pay in peanuts and beer and maybe a place to sleep under the Big Top, mind the elephant droppings.) It ain’t all glamour and rainbows and unicorns.

And, frankly, feels like I haven’t had that much to say that’s unique. Perhaps it’s because I’m tempering my opinions and not trying to go out of my way to be a firebrand. I don’t have a lot to prove, commentary-wise (“Good thing!” pipes up the peanut gallery.) I’m a simple guy. I prefer narrative over formalism. This excludes me from a lot of online discussion (particularly regarding comics since formalism is heralded as the flowering of the form’s maturity; an opinion I can’t support.)

I am neither fish nor fowl, like Jonathan Richman on the first Modern Lovers album, I’m an outsider’s outsider. Sure, I could rail against event-driven comics, but only because they’re usually not very good comics, not because events in and of themselves are stupid. Events give a chance for things to actually happen in the stories (even if they’re usually undone or those opportunities are missed). But when they become plot-driven juggernauts that trample notions of character, well, I lose interest pretty quickly. There’s a lot of comics out there that are innovative, but have nothing interesting to say. There’s a lot of comics that are beautiful but empty. There’s even more comics that are un-engaging on almost every level (whether it be in form or presentation or physical/mental ugliness, for lack of a better word.)

Ultimately though, it’s a simple equation of time/energy. And the equation keeps coming up with the result that it’s time to originate more and comment less. Note that this isn’t forever. I generally can’t go more than a few months without opening my big yap, though I did go for nearly two years between iterations of this column, so who knows.

Thanks always to Marc Mason, who suggested that I do this again, even I don’t have the stamina to do it forever. And praise or blame to Graeme McMillan who got me writing these in the first place, more than five years ago (which feels like an eternity sometimes.) I wanted to catalogue some of the changes that have gone on since I started writing, but I keep getting hung up on the artists and writers and friends I’ll never talk to again. So perhaps I should spend this time talking with those who are still around.

Take care, all. I’ll be back whenever. You never know, neither does tomorrow.

Matt Maxwell

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