Friday, October 1, 2010

Highwater Books, I salute you!

An art show about Highwater Books has inspired the interneterati to reminisce. I’d be remiss if I passed up the opportunity to add to the cacophony so here I go.

A quick background, I started making comics and had just dived into the independent/small press scene in the late 90s/early 00s. One of my gateways into this world was Brian Ralph’s Cave-In (published by Highwater). My enjoyment of that book steered me to more Highwater artists, mini-comics, and books at SPX. Highwater rewired my thinking about the comics making process,
it exposed me to the role of design in the experience of reading a comic, and it introduced me to a number of amazing and unique cartoonists such as Ron Rege, John Porcellino, Ben Jones, Matt Brinkman, Brian Chippendale, Megan Kelso, and many others that I’m sure I’m forgetting.

When Tom Devlin guest edited an issue of the Comics Journal (#238, well worth tracking down a copy), my favorite feature was an email group that he set up “to discuss what we thought made good comics.” The results of that discussion group ran across the bottom of the entire issue. The participants were Ron Rege, Jr., Brian Ralph, Jef Czekaj, Megan Kelso, Matt Madden, Ben Jones, Greg Cook, Kurt Wolfgang, Jordan Crane, Tom Hart, Brooke Corey, and Devlin.

I loved this feature so much that I copied all of the quotes, formatted them, and made myself a small booklet called “No more comics about comics”. Keep in mind this was 2001. I had done 100 pages of comics or so by then. It would be two more years before I had the confidence to even sign a comic with my real name. Highwater raised the bar and introduced a lot of ideas and values to comics that resonate to this day.

For those near Boston, go enjoy the show. Wish I could join you.


  1. That was really neat! Thanks for posting it!

  2. Yeah, I just read all the quotes... what a cool thing! Wish I could see the Highwater retrospective.