As a big fan of Simon Moreton’s work in Smoo and The Escapologist, news that his next work is his first long-form non-autobiog piece is something that fills me with anticipation. I love Moreton’s sparse, beautiful lines on the page, love his quiet voice that whispers with such intensity, love that a 10-page Moreton comic can take me 10x the time to read than a full-colour 22-page Marvel or DC comic ever does. So imagine how a 40-page comic from Moreton makes me feel? Exactly.
Here’s Simon to tell us a little more about Grand Gestures, before a frankly lovely and anticipation fuelling preview of the comic:
Grand Gestures is my first long-form non-autobiographical work. It’s one story, told in three parts. It’s 40 pages in length and has no dialogue and no narration. It does, however, feature the word ‘Coffee’ and a HMV shop. There’s also a chap in a tie and plenty of geese.
The comic is being published by Box Brown’s Retrofit imprint. Box first asked if I’d do a comic for him at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) after-party in May last year. At the time he was still midway through his first roster of inimitable artists, including Chuck Forsman, James Kochalka, Noah Van Sciver and our own Joe Decie. With company like that, how could I refuse?
I started working on the comic in January of this year. It was conceived a page at a time, with planning achieved by scribbling on a ream of printer paper, folded into 8 panels. I did borrow a few page layouts from my started-but-aborted attempt at #30DaysComics in November, but mostly it was all new material.
It was fun to work in this way: pages were quick to draw – I worked in soft pencil and not much else (you can read about my process for this comic in more detail on my blog) – and I could chop and change the direction of the story as it emerged. The drawings themselves are somewhere between stick men, scribbles and clear line.
Since finishing the book, I’ve come to realise what the story was about all along. It’s about a very specific moment of existential vertigo when you realise you’ve arrived at some place in your life and you don’t know how you got there, or what to do about it. I like to imagine that the comic has been drawn by the book’s protagonist himself in his attempt to work out to do next.
In many ways it’s the most personal thing I’ve ever drawn and I’m proud of it.
Grand Gestures will debut at TCAF 2013 in May.
Visit the Retrofit site to order the comic, and find out about all the other ace cartoonists on the 2013 roster, including Andrew White, Roman Muradov, Josh Bayer, Ze Jian Shen and Sophie Foster-Dimino.