What To Expect From High-Low, or Life In The Paint

Posted by on January 4th, 2010 at 5:19 AM

Rob Clough offers a primer on what to expect from his corner of the TCJ blogs this year.

It’s been about a month since tcj.com became the primary home of my writings about comics, after a year or so of hanging out at my own High-Low blog, which came about after the demise of High-Low’s former home at sequart.com. This post will be about as meta as I plan to get in terms of talking about myself, my aims as a writer and what the reader can expect to see here.

What I mostly do is review comics. I review everything from the humblest minicomics submission to the glossiest of coffee-table books. I review everything sent to me. Sooner or later, I will get to every comic given to me for review (I’ve had an essay percolating in my brain comparing recent works by Drew Friedman and Mark Newgarden for quite some time). I should note that I prefer not to review standard superhero comics (there are lots of other people who do that sort of thing) or standard genre comics (Vertigo-type fare on down to Top Cow comics). I’m also a manga neophyte, though I’ve been trying to penetrate that corner of the comics world this year, in dribs and drabs.

I try to engage each work as fully as possible, to varying degrees of success. I am especially fascinated by comics that revolved around questions of identity, memory, and power relationships. At the same time, I am fascinated by humorists and feel that this is an under-studied area of comics these days. I also love to see comics from countries that don’t necessarily have a wide international reputation for having a big comics scene. Please contact me at tmc (at) duke (dot) edu if you’re interested in submitting something for review.

My blog posts will mostly concentrate on minicomics, while longer articles will appear as reviews on this site (like today’s review of SUBLIFE #2). I think I’m probably the “mini-comics guy” on this site, mostly by default at the moment. Look for my blog posts every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. I’ll link everything back to my blog after I’ve posted it, as some folks prefer to follow it that way. I will be doing a couple of big interviews in the next couple of months, and my goal is to do six long interviews and six short ones this year. Interested parties can contact me at the email address above.

It’s been an interesting experience to be part of this site, to say the least. Some of the writers here are among my very favorites, including legends like R.Fiore and Donald Phelps, not to mention Gary Groth. Marc Sobel is one of the best long-form critics working in comics today. Jeet Heer is another top-five critic,and I hope he posts something here soon. TCJ mainstays like Rich Kreiner and Kent Worcester are also certainly welcome presences. It’s also interesting to be amongst critics whose personal aesthetic and approach to writing couldn’t be any more different from mine, like Noah Berlatsky, RC Harvey, Tom Crippen and Shaenon Garrity. It’s a tribute to this publication that all of these voices have a place here, and I look forward to a critical discourse that favors light, not heat.

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