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Becky Cloonan

Becky Cloonan's short story, Wolves, debuted at TCAF. She is currently drawing a 40-page comic to be released in Chinese, and after that she may or may not be working with Marvel. Who knows!

Blurbs

"Beautiful, haunting, and refreshingly mysterious."

– Mike Mignola

"Wolves has three of my favorite things- swords, blood, and beards. I can't grow a beard and this comic had me longing for more advanced genes. And by the way it's beautiful."

– Gerard Way

"Wonderful and haunting! Becky Cloonan's amazing brush fills in those shadowy places and dark recesses that go bump in the night!"

– Guy Davis

"I love Becky Cloonan's work - and never more so than when she's working on her own material. This stuff is just beautiful."

– Frank Quitely

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Wolves

and i hope it rains forever

11/14/11

A phrase without context, one I’ve written a thousand times and will write thousands more, in every language I know, backwards, forwards, inside out. It’s been in me for years and I’ve chased after it, even built a novel around it just so I could see it, feel it, be it. But it’s still here, elusive.

i am the moon tonight

this is the last night in my body

there are better worlds than this

 Words. Phrases that haunt me and I can’t place them. They may be mine, but likely they’re not, though they now are. They possess me and so I must push back, bend them to me, consume and integrate them, find a whole through the neverness. And then there’s the phrase I know I stole but has become so integral to me that it’s neurologically deep.

i remember you

There are so many things I should be doing today, like preparing to leave this country I’ve called home for the last year [ten more days?], packing my life into a suitcase again. 90,000 words into editing/rewriting a novel staring at me, challenging, singing, screaming, Finish me.

Instead I’ve spent the day watching cartoons — The Boondocks — looping this and this and this, wandering the internet, where awesome things like this exist. It’s been one of those days: scattered, incoherent, languid. Just me and my laptop, the mountains past my window, the rainbow of leaves, the skeletal trees. And pizza. I’ll miss these bizarre Korean pizzas.

It makes me restless, knowing there are so many things to be done, like finishing the novel, writing about my travels for my friend’s site, writing about ten e-mails, figuring out how to get to the national pension office, finding a place to sleep in Tokyo, but, instead, I’m living on cartoons, dropping pizza on my keyboard [which is, apparently, not terribly easy to clean], and thinking about images.

The problem of publication, even just the howevermany stories I have floating out there, is that some of my friends want to know more, and I find that awkward. But people want to know where your ideas come from, what drives you, what compels and feeds this disease. I know I do. When I read or see or hear the sublime, the desire to know grabs me. Where did this world come from? How did she ever think to use language this way? What makes a sentence into a character, a misheard song lyric into a novel?

This is where ideas come from for me: Images, visions, more than words or sounds. It’s the image that floods and then the words are just the way I translate because, despite all my best efforts and years of trying, I just never was very good with my hands, drawing or painting or molding, and my mother never bought me a camera like I always wanted, so I rely on a medium of communication I find crippling, because words are made to fail. But, yeah, images. That’s what today’s about and what, I think, has caused me to do nothing that I’m meant to be doing, spending the day lying down, emptying myself into the air, flooded by this and this and an epicene singing her stories over a man caught forever dreaming. And it leads me to comic books or graphic novels, whichever the preferred term is, and how I’m trying to get two underway, but, because of my artistic limitations, I’m collaborating with two of my friends who will make the images, which I’ll respond textually to, which is, apparently, backwards, but it’s the way that makes sense to me.

I’ve never been one to collaborate as I’m kind of artistically controlling and probably never would’ve considered it, but my sister asked me to write a book for her soon to be born son, her first, my godson. I thought it would be better as a picture book and then the world sort of opened up and I realised I could do that all the time, if only I had someone to produce the images.

And then Angie Spoto’s post last month solidified it for me, made it all shine a bit more, turn from an idea to a compulsion, showed me this medium I’ve [accidentally] largely ignored my whole life really has a unique and special quality to it. The way text and images not only exist together but the way they interact and affect one another keeps turning over and over in my head, opening possibilities that didn’t exist here before. And so I contacted two of my friends about joining me on a collaborative book project.

Another problem with collaboration, however, is that one must wait.

But then I came across the work of Natsumi Hayashi, The Yowayowa Camera Woman and everything kind of clicked. All these images, the nebulae, the floating woman, and then they tied to these words I hold within me and it’s all I can think about, how this could be a way for me to make the collaborative novel I want to make, driven by the language of visuals, housed by the language of english. And so I’ll take what exists millions of lightyears away, the peculiar self-portraits of a japanese woman, and the ghosts of me to make something, maybe, worth holding.

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2 Comments

  1. Chris Newgent said on 11/14/11 at 3:26 pm Reply

    Great review, man. I know what you mean about those phrases that linger on to the point of haunting. I’ve had one myself for a long while, “i wake to rain on my window, far off the slosh of traffic sounds like an ocean.” Rain.

    (Also, not sure if you know of them, but you should check out the band Receiving End of Sirens. Their album “Between the Heart and the Synapse” is built around the line “this is the last night in my body.”

    Reply

    ydde said on 11/14/11 at 4:05 pm

    Ah! Oh man! I used to love those guys back when I was sixteenish. So crazy and so cool to be able to place that finally. Thanks, though now I’ll likely be in another youtube hole, haha.

    But, yeah, certain things just kind of get stuck in you, and, if you’re lucky, there’s a novel or story or poem between them, waiting.

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