Workshoppin’ and Recommendin’

I’ve been preparing for a pair of workshop sessions I’m conducting over the next two weeks, as part of Sing Lit Station’s Words Go Round programme. I’m excited and nervous ’cause I haven’t done a workshop on my own, and in person, since before the pandemic.

I’ve been rehearsing and re-rehearsing and even got a new clicker and everything. So, here’s hoping that, after one last (re-re-)rehearsal today, my brain can shut up until the workshop and I can actually, y’know, enjoy it.

After these two weeks, I’m planning on taking a break. I’ll still be up to some stuff – some of which I’ll announce soon – but I’ll mostly be going for long walks, spending at least one day at the beach with Nadia, and generally just resting after what’s felt like a pretty busy couple of months.

Plus, there’ll be the last push for Work-Life Balance and Internal Damnation soon, so I wanna get some R&R in before barrelling forward at full speed again.

I was gonna save up all my recommendations and do a big ol’ post, but I need to talk about Chip Zdarsky’s Public Domain right now, since its first issues was just released.

Public Domain #1 by Chip Zdarsky

Here’s the issue’s official solicitation:

Syd Dallas is responsible for pop culture’s greatest hero: THE DOMAIN! But his sons Miles and David have a complicated relationship with both the creation and their creator. Can they convince their dad to fight for their family’s legacy?

This fun and heartfelt series written and illustrated by Eisner winner CHIP ZDARSKY (SEX CRIMINALS, Daredevil) explores a WILD ALTERNATE WORLD where comic book creators aren’t properly acknowledged or compensated for their creations!! Crazy, I know!!

Hi, it’s me, CHIP! I’m writing this solicitation!

I’m a sucker for the history of American comics, and stories inspired by them; books like Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay or Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Bad Weekend. Public Domain’s first issue already makes it a great addition to that category.

It’s clearly a love letter to creators and creators’ rights. It does a wonderful job of balancing scathing, heightened caricatures – of those that care more for paychecks than other people, of bigger companies that have become more IP farms than publishers, and of people who frame superheroes as “modern mythology”, without actually acknowledging the people behind that mythology – with a genuine look at a creator who’s taken a beating from this industry, but still tries to keep their head held high.

And all this in just this first issue.

Zdarsky’s visual storytelling is brilliant too. My favourite example of this is how he uses negative space to represent a character’s physical presence in a place, while also insinuating that character’s emotional distance from that very same place. His facial expressions speak volumes too. And, really, his art just captures the comedy and tragedy of this story perfectly.

I haven’t enjoyed a first issue as much as this in a long time. Zdarsky’s said he’d love for people to roll up each issue, “put it in your back pocket, head to your favourite spot, and read a story that will hopefully entertain you as much as it did me during the process of making it,” so if you can get it in single issues from your local comic shop, I think you absolutely should.

If you don’t know where to find a comic store in your area, you can use the Comic Shop Locator Service.

If you’re in Singapore, my personal favourite store is G&B Comics over at Lavender. You can…

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