October 21, 2013:
October 21, 2013:
Has it really been two months since I last posted here? Yes, I'm afraid so. I've been busy.
In late August, Phyllis and I flew to our old home town of Alexandria, Virginia, for almost a month of cat sitting and house sitting for former neighbors. That visit permitted me to do some valuable research at the Library of Congress and the National Archives (just before the shutdown) for Funnybooks, my book on the Dell comic books. I tied up a few animation-related loose ends, too, and some of what I learned may come in handy if I ever have the opportunity to revise Hollywood Cartoons or The Animated Man.
Once back home, I was consumed for a couple of weeks by work on Funnybooks, which I delivered as a more or less final draft to University of California Press on October 7. I'm now plowing through a lot of material that I set aside earlier as of secondary interest, just in case there's something that deserves to be noted in the book. In this phase I've pulled off the shelves material I'd forgotten I owned (early 1960s issues of the fanzines Comic Art and Alter Ego, for instance), and it has been a wonderful nostalgia trip. But so far nothing has suggested that I need to rethink anything more than a few details in what I've written about the Dells.
One unexpected side effect of my inactivity has been that not posting has become rather enjoyable. If you get into a regular posting rhythm it's tempting to think that a lot of people actually want to know what you might have to say about, say, The Croods; and so when you don't post anything for a while you get a little anxious about losing your audience. But I've come to believe that the most important reason for posting on a specialized site like this one is to put one's thoughts in order—not to try to attract an inevitably small number of visitors—and so I've suppressed the urge to say something, anything, just to freshen the site.
I expect to have a lot more to say in the coming months, though. Funnybooks is requiring less and less of my attention, and for the first time in many years I don't have another book in the pipeline. Among other things, I'll be reading or re-reading some important recent books, like Thad Komorowski's Sick Little Monkeys, and figuring out what I think about them. I expect that to be a pleasurable and stimulating exercise, and I'll post the results here, for my own benefit and I hope yours. I may even get around to seeing The Croods.