Strange Animals 25jun17: Life Happens

The newsletter for this time isn’t terribly detailed, but after a month away, I felt the need to assert that the newsletter isn’t gone, it’s just resting.

As I said on Twitter last month, Life Happened, and I had to choose a few things to put away temporarily, and as this newsletter is entirely an indulgence on my part, it was first on the block (after ‘Entertainment of Any Sort’).

Things are slowly returning to what passes for normal, and I hope to make a full-fledged post next time, but for now, I’m just here for some updates and a couple of recommendations.

Elsewhere But Still Me

There was a lot in this category, but I’ll keep it to the immediately relevant stuff.


Drifter ended. It was my first project as a full-time freelance letterer, so it holds a special place in my heart. I also very quickly became a fan, and was proud to help make this stunning piece of science fiction. (I would read it over and over to try and figure out its central mystery – Ivan offered to tell me, but I was damn well going to figure it out myself. I didn’t, but the revelation was all the more satisfying for that.)

I was thrilled to join Ivan, Nic, Sebastian and Tom on this book and while I continue to work with all of them on some project or the other, I’ll miss Drifter.


Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou – he of the excellent Strip Panel Naked YouTube channel – has started a new magazine about comics. Here’s the description from the website:

PanelxPanel is a brand new digital magazine celebrating the medium we love: comics. It’s edited by Strip Panel Naked host, Hass Otsmane-Elhaou, and features a rotating set of writers ranging from critics to professionals, fans and comic stores.

Each issue has two halves. The first, a focus on a particular comic and featuring a series of essays, interviews, process pieces and an exclusive Strip Panel Naked column all focused around that comic. The first issue covers Black Mask’s Beautiful Canvas, released on the same day as this magazine, June 28th.

The second half features regular articles, with creator-on-creator interviews, craft essays, a short comic, and a series of comic recommendations from a range of comic-related voices. The first issue features Rob Williams (Suicide Squad, Unfollow), Ollie Masters (Sons of Anarchy), and Aditya Bidikar (Black Cloud, Motor Crush) as well as a host of other writers and artists.

This is a true celebration of the medium with every issue, looking at all the elements that make comics an interesting art form and great place to tell visual stories. This is a magazine that cares about comics.

As you can tell from that description, I’ve contributed to the magazine.* Two articles, in fact – one about lettering, and the other about my favourite ending in comics. If you’ve been starved of my writing about comics for the last month, there’s no better place to find it.

* Also, this is the first time I’ve had the ‘Name (Books Worked On) thing done to me, and it feels quite odd.

But even if that doesn’t interest you, there’s a ton of excellent articles in the magazine, each of which would be worth the price of entry (which is a mere $2).

There’s nothing quite like PanelxPanel in the comics landscape right now, and you will want to get on this on the ground floor.

You can get the magazine at and you can read the glowing blurbs by industry luminaries while you’re doing so.


I did the “1 LIKE = 1 FAVE BOOK” meme on Twitter, so if you’ve ever thought of asking me for book recommendations, this’ll do you just fine.

Recommended Reading

Embassytown by China Miéville – I finished reading this book only today, so I’m still basking in its afterglow. It’s an utter thrill, and might have supplanted Un Lun Dun as my favourite Miéville book.

It’s partly timing. For the last few months, I’ve been exploring the different kinds of things I’d like to write, trying to figure out what I’d like to say at this moment, and so on. The delight Embassytown takes in exploring and inventing weird things, and in trusting that this is something you’ll actively enjoy, was a genuinely thrilling experience.

One might call this sort of thing ultra-speculative science fiction, but a lot of it is just a love for strangeness, and a willingness to explore it to a point where it because a lived-in world by itself.

And then there’s just the delicacy of the way Miéville uses language in a book about language. This is someone who takes genuine delight in words and wants to share it with you.

Overall, it’s just a joyful experience. This is the kind of book I’ve wanted to read for the longest time, and Miéville helped me articulate it to myself.

Next Time

Some stuff about lettering. But I feel a bit of a ramble coming on, I think, so we’ll see.