The Don Rosa Library

Sat 1/26/2019

My new year's resolutions were to read more and to write more. I've been making some progress on my "to read" pile and have been writing at least one blog post a week, so far mostly for my resurrected illustration blog. I guess this post will kill two birds with one stone!

Since 2014 I have been dutifully buying the beautifully-produced box sets of The Don Rosa Library that Fantagraphics has been reprinting. Last year the tenth and final volume of the series was released, thus bringing all of Rosa's duck comics into print in bound form, in America, for the first time ever (these comics have been widely available in collected form all across Europe for many years now). It has been one of the great reading experiences of my life going through this body of work.

Phase 7 readers may remember the moment in Phase 7 #010 when my Dad found a copy of Uncle $crooge #219 at a comic shop in New York. To this day it is my most cherished individual issue of any comic book - Don Rosa's first story, "The Son of the Sun." As detailed in Phase 7 #010, I stopped reading Disney comics in my teen years to briefly dabble in super hero comics before focusing intently on Bone by Jeff Smith.

So as I read through this chronological reprinting of Rosa's entire run of duck comics, an amazing thing happened. Around Volume 6, I hit the point in time where I had stopped reading Rosa's work. Suddenly, there were NEW Don Rosa stories - some of them amongst the best stories he ever crafted! Before now the only way to access this work would be to go back and buy individual issues of the comics from the early 2000s, and even then, I wouldn't have access to many of the bonus materials listed in the back of the collections, which were only ever published in Europe.

Reading volumes 6-10 and savoring these new comics was such an incredible experience for me. It was akin to the time in college when my girlfriend put on the album Let It Be by the Beatles which I had somehow never heard before. Suddenly, magically, at the age of 22, I got to experience 12 new songs from one of my favorite bands. Only this time it was hundreds and hundreds of unread pages by one of my favorite cartoonists.

I hope someday I'll get a chance to meet the series editor, David Gerstein, to thank him in person for all his hard work putting these collections together. Fantagraphics, of course, has my utmost respect and admiration for their continued impeccable editorial taste.

I have met Don Rosa a number of times now and have had a chance to communicate to him the importance of his work in my life, and its influence in me becoming a cartoonist. I give an annual lecture about Carl Barks and Don Rosa at The Center for Cartoon Studies, and Mr. Rosa has actually gone through my slideshow to make a few corrections! Previously, I would educate students (99.99% of which had never heard of Rosa) about his career, but then I would only be able to point them to one or two collections of his work which barely skimmed the surface of his accomplishments, so it feels amazing to finally be able to point them to his entire body of work. I look forward to the day when I will not need to give a Barks/Rosa lecture to American cartoonists, because they will know and respect their work as other cartoonists do around the world.

Anyway, all ten volumes of Don Rosa's work have a place of honor on my "best" bookshelf, right next to the thirty volumes of Carl Barks's life work. Like most kids who collected comics, I used to have the thought, "What if I owned a copy of every comic book ever made?" For me, the only comics worth collecting were those by Barks and Rosa, so it really feels like I'm now living that childhood dream!

2018 was a BLUR

Mon 12/31/2018

Well, somehow 2018 is already over. I shattered my previous low-blogging record of last year's 12 entries by only writing five this year, including this post! Yeesh.

This has been a year of frantic treading, just trying to keep my head above water. My time has never been more limited, so I've really had to focus on essential tasks: take care of my kids, work my day job, hit freelance deadlines, do chores around the house, sleep when possible.

I used what little time was left over to chip away at personal projects and for stress-relieving activities such as reading and making music.

Back in January I joined the Santa Fe Concert Band. For the last year I have attended weekly rehearsals and performed in a dozen concerts at various public venues around Santa Fe. It's been about 16 years since I played my trumpet seriously, and I've enjoyed getting back into it. I also met a lot of great people in the band.

Unfortunately, the time band has taken away from my work/personal duties has been adding stress to my life the last few months, so I made the hard decision to not join up again next year. I fully plan on rejoining again in the future when things feel less stressful, but for now it's just one commitment too many.

Yesterday I completed my 18th 24-Hour Comic. I once again used it as an opportunity to quickly dump out a first draft of a new picture book. Again, someday when time is more abundant, I'll have a nice little stack of books to draw.

I'm hesitant to set new goals for 2019.... I've put up signs all over my studio and office that just say, "SIMPLIFY." Instead of trying to take on new projects and getting spread too thin, I'm trying to focus on the projects that are still lingering from previous lists, or things I have been neglecting, or the day job and freelance obligations that are already confirmed. With that and my parenting duties, there should be plenty of stuff going on to keep me out of trouble next year.

Well, I hope everyone had a happy holidays and that all of your 2019s get off to a good start!

Seattle, Here I Come!

Tue 10/30/2018

This week my family and I will be heading back to land of my birth... Seattle! It is going to be a whirlwind week, not only visiting family and friends in the area, but also participating in two big events:

#1) On Saturday, November 3rd from 11am-6pm I will be exhibiting at the Short Run Comix and Arts Festival. I'll be at table Q-95 with some of my own comics, but also a ton of cool free stuff for The Center for Cartoon Studies. I will be conducting portfolio reviews, and giving away free sketchbooks to reviewees while supplies last. There will be so many amazing cartoonists in this one big room. If you are in the Seattle area, don't miss it!

#2) On Sunday, November 4th from 4-5:30pm my sister Galen and I will be signing copies of our new picture book Night is Nigh at the local bookstore from our childhood, Island Books. We will be reading the book, and signing copies. All are welcome!

At the end of the week, Galen is going to follow me back to Santa Fe so we can do another reading/signing at my local kids bookstore, Bee Hive Books. That will be on Saturday, November 10th, from 1-3pm, if anyone out here wants to join us!

After all the excitement listed above, I am going to settle down for my long winter's nap.

Archives for 2019