Sunday, February 6, 2011

SPX Revisited: Kevin Days a Week

My goal is always to get something written about an event, within a week or so of the event. With the Small Press Expo, I would love to get a nice report written, mention what I got and my general feelings about the event and who I met, etc. within a few weeks of the event. I did some of that, sort of on schedule. I kept putting this review off because of general anxiety based procrastination and the fact the the book is so chunky I wasn't getting through it very quickly. A lot of things I picked up last year were a bit longer than standard mini comic fare. SPX is not exclusively a mini comic expo, but I do sometimes define it that way when thinking about it.

I picked up Kevin Days a Week: Book 3, 2008 -2009 from Kevin Burkhalter. Burkhalter has a journal comic posted online at kevinsjournalcomic . It is a very nicely done Journal comic. Each day gets 4 panels. This translates beautifully into fat little square volumes filled with a year worth of daily goings on. I picked up the third volume as my introduction to the comic as I learned at SPX that an artists most recent project is usually their favorite. I often ask people to recommend a volume, or let me know what they think their best work is, etc. When the nature of the comic doesn't require you to start at a #1 to get it or enjoy it.

I recommend checking out the online comic. Start at the earliest stuff, but be sure to click through it and watch Burkhalter's progress as an artist. I don't know that everyone shares my enthusiasm for Journal comics, but I love them. There are certainly things out there that have been overdone, but as long as there is honesty and insight in the comic, I am probably going to like it. I tend to feel like an outsider, and seeing other people's lives and idiosyncrasies is helpful and enjoyable to me. I also think, that if done right, you end up with things that can be more unique than even the most original 'new idea' for a super hero comic, or detective story, etc.

A ton of people are featured in the daily happenings, and in pretty much every instance they are identified. I get excited when I see people in the panels that I have met at SPX. I also like that in addition to so much of the journal being in and around SCAD, there is also a lot of 'action' taking place in Virginia, which gives me more things to identify with.

Burkhalter is a pretty terrific cartoonist, and it really is interesting to see just how much a style can change and refine after years of doing daily journal comics. His earliest panels that are posted are very good, and work just fine, but following those through to the most recent postings is really just incredible. Check out his work and enjoy