2014 in Review: Jen Breach

What have been your personal cartooning/comics highlights of 2014?

Scholastic Graphix acquired Doug Holgate's and my three book middle grade graphic novel series Clem Hetherington.  It's ridiculous. And awesome. It's ridiculously awesome.

I heard Lynda Barry speak and saw an exhibition of Richard McGuire's process notes and original art for Here.  Both were extraordinary and I'll be thinking them for the next year at least.  

What are some of the comics you've enjoyed in 2014?

I always answer this question without looking at my bookshelf, so there are inevitably things I have forgotten.  I'm okay with this if you are.

Jase Harper made two of my favorite things of the year - his book Awkwood and his mini On My 42nd Birthday I Was Washed Out To Sea, which was completely perfect. Pat Grant's nailing it with his Ambient Yeast chapters. Fulto's We'm was a delight, as ever.   

Olivier Schrauwen’s Arsene Schrauwen, Emily Carroll's Through the Woods and Eleanor Davis' How To Be Happy were excellent collections of excellent works.  I really dug Kris Mukai’s Commuter, Kerascoet’s Beautiful Darkness, John Martz’s Cat Named Tim, Luke Howard's stylistically diverse range of mini comics. Daryl Seitchik’s ascerbic yet vulnerable tone is completely compelling and Leslie Stein's water colors continue to make me giddy.

My favorites of the year might be Sophia Foster-Dimino’s Sex Fantasy minis which are perfect and Jesse Jacob’s Safari Honeymoon.    

What is something non-comics that you have enjoyed in 2014?

I feel like non-comics culture really stepped up this year - I saw amazing concerts, astounding art, shook what my mama gave me to some fun music and read some great books. Good job, culture, you done good.

I've been up to my elbows in post-apocalyptic stories as I write more Maralinga.  I've been particularly delighted by Dog Stars by Peter Heller, Far North by Marcel Theroux, Meg Rosoff's How I Live Now, Jeff Vandemeer's Annihilation and most extra especially Colson Whitehead's Zone One.

What are you looking forward to in 2015?

Doug and I will have a picture book called Something's Amiss at the Zoo out from Lothian Children's in the Australian winter and we'll be launching it at the Melbourne Writer's Festival, I think.  It'll be my first trip back to Australia in more than 2 years and I'm looking forward to seeing all my comics buddies in their shiny lovely faces.  

There are some other books that I'll be happy to meet - a collection of Dakota McFadzean’s Dailies and Max DeRadigues' Moose both from Conundrum, a new instalment of Ethan Rilly's Pope Hats series from Adhouse, Richard McGuire’s Here (is out in 2 days as I write this eeeeeeee!).  Max DeRadigues started a new Oily series in 2014 called Bastard and it's already great, more of that will be awesome.

I'm taking all of January off work to finish the first draft of Maralinga as a palate cleanser in between the second and third books of the Clem Hetherington series.  Just the idea of an entire month in the studio makes me swoon a little with happiness.  I hope Doug and I will be able to self-publish a little more Maralinga while we work on Clem Hetherington next year - it's been more than a year since the first twelve pages went up and we are nearly four months overdue on the second instalment.  I'm deeply embarrassed about both of those things and hope we can figure out that magical - and so far elusive - balance.

2013 was good, 2014 was better, 2015 will be best :)

Jen Breach