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Apocrypha Entertainment Presents:









THE TOURNIQUET

Matt Maxwell is, first and foremost, my friend.

I’ve known him for a few years now, going back to our being involved in a private online community devoted to comics. I wasn’t sure what to make of him at first; he’s a tall fellow, thick head of hair, dry wit- somewhat intimidating when you first meet him. You’d think it gets easier after you get to know him, but not necessarily. Once you get to know him, you realize how ludicrously smart and talented he is.

Professional animator. Writer of clever fiction. Turns out non-fiction (such as his convention reports) that achieves legendary status. Oh, and his first graphic novel, STRANGEWAYS? Certainly reads more like someone’s second or third. Like I said: kinda intimidating.

Matt and I are close in age, and have been reading comics since we were both about the same age, but the one thing that stuck out to me most when we first started discussing them was just how much more he knew about them than me. Matt wasn’t just looking below the surface to examine the medium; instead, he was performing autopsies. I’ve never known anyone else who does what he does; taking the scalpel, peeling away layers of skin and fat, exposing the muscle structure of comics and then diving into the internal organs to start testing for disease and rot. Yet occasionally finding a patient worthy of sewing up and sending back out into the world- like a brilliant surgeon that’s spent fourteen hours hunched over a gunshot victim. For Matt, “alive” is not a floating definition in the world of comics. Either a book has a strong heart and a powerful will, or he moves onto the next patient.

That’s what being a good critic is all about.

This is starting to sound like a eulogy, and that’s not why I’m here today. Back on track, shall we?

It was back at SDCC 2007 that I casually mentioned to Matt that he was welcome to use my webspace whenever he wanted it. CWR wasn’t in its magazine format yet; we were still doing daily updates for the most part. I assumed he’d take that invitation, ponder it, and move on to the next thing. So it was to my surprise that I heard from him shortly after, sending me a logo, asking me about publication schedules… after I picked my jaw up off the floor, we polished off the arrangements and FULL BLEED returned to the world of comics discourse.

The column had run at a different site some years back, and it became Matt’s brand. Now? Now I was beyond thrilled to have CWR become the column’s new home. I whipped up a press release, spread the word, and brought a higher level of intellectual content to my site than I could have ever dared hope.

As we close out September 2009, and publish CWR’s 43rd issue, Matt is delivering a tremendous milestone: the 50th installment of FULL BLEED here at CWR. In comics, a 50th issue usually means a double-sized issue, big name guest-stars, changes in direction for the book, the beginning or end of an important storyline. And as comics go, so goes FULL BLEED.

With #50, Matt is stepping away from the column for a bit. He’s got the second and third STRANGEWAYS books on the way. He’s pitching new work to editors. He’s setting up at shows, making new fans at every turn. He might be the new Publisher at DC for all I know (they’d be lucky to have him). Hell, if he takes my advice, he might finally be putting together a collection of FULL BLEEDs, too. I know I’d love to get my hands on one of those.

He won’t be gone forever, I don’t think. Somewhere down the road, I think he’ll jump back in with the occasional column, schedule permitting, or in the event something seriously pisses him off. But for now, FULL BLEED will get sewn up and tied off and get a chance to heal.

I’ll miss it, that’s for sure. Few things are as enjoyable for me as opening up that email with the new column and diving into the challenging things Matt’s had to say. But even though I won’t have that to look forward to for a while, I’m still feeling pretty good. You know why?

Because, first and foremost, Matt Maxwell is my friend. Thanks, buddy. For everything. It’s been a pleasure, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Marc Mason  

Visit CWR at Unsungheroes!     
  

 

 



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