DeLillo is the laureate of terror, of modern or postmodern terror, and the way it hovers and shimmers in our subliminal minds. As Eric Hobsbawm has said, terrorism is a new kind of urban pollution, and the pollutant is an insidious and chronic disquiet. Such is the air DeLillo breathes.
[Maus] took me thirteen years to do without any map of how to do it. No matter what somebody says now about graphic novels, this was made without any instruction manual. I didn’t know how to make a comic that was built to be reread, and that held up as it got reread, and be built over such a large span of time. There wasn’t something for me to look at. I guess there were long mangas out there, but I wasn’t that into them. They weren’t translated back when Maus was made. So I didn’t have any way to structure this, and structure is so basic to how I perceive. So I’m stuck with something that took a lot of me to make. So what can one do after it without either betraying it or capitulating to it? It’s an ongoing struggle.
I was never under the impression that anyone was getting rich publishing the kinds of books and comics I chose to do but hopefully by staying a certain size, you can at least sustain the business and continue to break out new artists. I’m still figuring out what works and what doesn’t, but it’s nice to see others out there taking risks on new talent too.
Because I wasn’t saddled with preconceived notions of how things worked, I of course made some mistakes but I was also freer to carve my own road. In Toronto, where I’m located, most of the art bookstores have closed but we have one of the best and most supportive comic stores anyway, The Beguiling. I would still personally rather read a book that I hold in my hands, but you cannot ignore the digital content that’s available to anyone now. So, for now, I remain optimistic.
And while we’re on the subject of comics:
An obituary of comics historian Les Daniels, author of Comix: History of Comic Books In America, in the New York Times:
Mark Evanier, a comic-book writer and historian, said that before Mr. Daniels, “nobody thought to write the history of the industry,” adding that “back then, it was a sloppily run, disposable business that no one thought would exist for long.”
“He was a guy that publishers hired to come in and figure out the histories of their own companies,” Mr. Evanier continued, “and he produced major works upon which all future histories will be built.”
See also: Tom Spurgeon’s more expansive obituary at The Comics Reporter.