Rock Star Graphic Designers Anonymous

There are two graphic designers in particular who set me off on this path I now call my career. They both completely nuked my existence while simultaneously teaching me a phrase — graphic design — and then showing me how many different ways one could break apart and manipulate what that phrase meant both personally and professionally. One of these designers has continued on this path of restless discovery and constant re-invention while the other seems to have settled very much into what you could call a “classical” mode in that he basically churns out the same look and feel no matter the client.

The anonymity of graphic designers is absolutely fundamental to the service of a client. Without the client, the designer’s work is art or expression or hobby or creativity but it’s not graphic design.

We live, however, in the age of the rock star designer. Among other rock star upgrades to once humble professions like bartender, chef, and reality show moron.

To be fair, I feel that most of these celebrity pixel pushers are true Commercial Graphics masters in the sense that they imbue their client’s needs with their own problem-solving talents. There are however, the few, the proud, the rotten apples who cash check after check for receipt of their cookie-cutter style while dropping lip service references to storytelling and concept. All to justify the fact that their agency is nothing more than a one-trick pony, albeit a trick that is in vogue and that everyone is willing to pay through the nose for.

This is a homogenized travesty and one that will taint any honor or sense of duty we may have found over the years in the graphic arts.

Most of these so called rockstar designers seem to get it. Meaning firstly, they serve the client and secondly, they serve the client with their well-honed problem solving skills, not their trick bag of sloppy, faux-handmade type or naive pretensions about where their actual talents lie.

Basically, if I look at five different projects by the same designer, shouldn’t they all exhibit the traits of the client and their needs and not the style of the designer? At the very least they should be indicative of a healthy collaboration with that client’s needs.

If one trick ponies become too popular I suppose the endgame is that the waves of imitators eventually drown them out as their style becomes commonplace and easily recreated. By then though, the offending “designer” will have already cashed in his chips and split for the coast. Leaving the rest of us to endure carbon copies of their carbon copy’s copies.

It’s really as simple as doing an image search of each designer’s work and comparing them side by side. One is a beautiful tangle of different colors, textures, and type treatments; all dependent on the needs of the creative brief. The other? they all look like sketches for the same project even though they are from twelve different ones.

So this student hasn’t exactly become the master but I have figured out that one of my masters is a false prophet.

Bert BacchusComment
Winterhouse Interview

Portfolio Center’s Bert Bacchus interviewed Winterhouse's Jessica Helfand and William Drenttel during their recent visit to the school:

Herbert Bacchus: Describe a typical day at the Winterhouse Studio.

Jessica Helfand: We’re laughing because there’s nothing typical. We do a lot of divide and conquer. Like in any partnership or marriage, there’s a first line of defense that depends on the situation. If something happens with the kids, I run, and if something happens with a client, Bill runs. It also depends on who’s traveling. The one thing we could probably quantify is that when we’re all working on something together, which is more the exception than the rule, we have an exploratory, and we all work on things and try to get things up pretty quickly and talk about it as a group and rework it. But in general, I’m very often working on my own projects, and increasingly Bill’s doing more things with our designers in the studio.

William Drenttel: Well, the strange point is that Jessica gets up at five, and I roll into the office about…

JH: He goes to bed at 2:30am.

WD: I’m up until 2 or 3 every night.

JH: I have to be a morning person. I have no choice with school-age children. I always joke that between the two of us, we make one-and-a-half efficient persons — not quite two, but there is a kind of tag-team aspect to it.

HB: You mentioned just now that you try and get things up on the wall quickly, and I’ve heard that you two prefer to have some “un-precious�? projects to work on that you can do quickly without belaboring the process.

JH: It’s so important for us. I have to draw every day; I have to make things, and I can’t just be at the desk in front of my computer. And that’s hard, because there’s obviously a lot that needs to get done at the desk in front of the computer. Sometimes you just need something to break up the rhythm of big projects. We have some projects that go on for years, and I think that Bill would agree that we need things that keep us from getting stale.

HB: Bill, do you find that you work the same way?

WD: I think a lot of the projects stop being very interesting as design projects. Our role is so often on a long-term strategic, management, or consulting basis. And there are phases when the design work on some of these projects isn’t very interesting — or not as interesting as at the beginning, when you’re inventing it. So as a studio it’s pretty important to have a mix of projects where, at any given point, there’s some real design work. The ebb and flow of running a studio is managing this tension, both for your own creative juices as well as to keep our designers engaged. Sometimes we do a project for fun just because we need a shift in the work.

JH: Bill used to do this thing that really drove me up the wall: he would say, “I just can’t get to my projects,�? and what he meant was that we had a laundry list of things we wanted to do. We’d sit on airplanes and make lists of all these things we wanted to design, all these things we wanted to do — books we wanted to publish and write and design, exhibitions we wanted to do, all sorts of things.

And then, a few years ago we came up with this idea of forming the Winterhouse Institute as a kind of repository for all of those projects that were self-initiated. We found that once we’d made the Institute — a thing that had a name and an umbrella concept —all of those projects had a place to live. They all sort of inhabited that curatorial, imaginary space that after a while wasn’t so imaginary anymore. Below the Fold:, for example, was conceived as an opportunity for us to throw many book projects into a new context. And it became one way to get these projects out of the netherworld and onto paper.

HB: It seems your partnership has reached a level where you don’t have to be doing work you don’t want to. Do you remember there being a leap-of-faith where you decided, “We’re going to do these things that maybe nobody cares about except us,�? and once that gets out there, the client work becomes something that you want to do? Or rather you’re approached with work that hits closer to home?

JH: Yes, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

WD: Somewhere along the way, we said, "We’re not going to do corporate branding anymore. We want to work on other kinds of projects, mostly non-profit projects." Eventually, Fortune 500 companies don’t call you anymore, especially if you go on the lecture circuit and speak with a critical voice about branding. So certain things do actually become self-fulfilling. We have a portfolio of clients that are almost all exclusively non-profit, and that is the fulfillment of having said this is what we wanted to do, starting with Nextbook and then Poetry Foundation and then Teach For All.

HB: So it’s as simple as saying you want to be something and then being it?

WD: I think it is, yes.

JH: Of course, it doesn’t feel that way every day.

HB: Is the Rockefeller Foundation project something you can talk about?

WD: Well, I can tell you generally what we’re going to do. The goal is to get the best designers in America working with the largest foundations on the world’s most critical problems around poverty. So our job is, basically, to initiate some traction and momentum in the design world to get designers engaged with those issues. To create models that show what that impact and contribution can be, and to help designers find ways to participate through new models.

We’re going to run an Aspen conference in November. We’re collaborating with the Yale School of Management to develop case studies to formalize some sense of a knowledge system around what it actually means for designers to make a contribution, as well as to create business models for doing that in a more sophisticated way. We’re going to be on the road for the next two years, talking to designers and being champions for design contributions relating to social innovation and social change. Half of the challenge will be putting some meat on these terms so that they are not generic, not meaningless descriptions of design.

HB: You want to move design “upstream�? and link it with business strategy rather than just plugging it in somewhere down the line?

WD: Partially. But there’s also the reality that hundreds of millions of dollars are currently being funded through non-profit organizations. So it’s really not so much about giving designers a more important role in business; the real agenda is to get designers much more involved in the research methodology of non-profit funding, no matter where it’s going — rural Alabama or the Sudan. The largest design firms in America don’t yet know how to participate in these projects, yet the employees that they have coming to work for them want their companies to take an active role in theses issues. I believe that if you work at IDEO, you don’t only want to only be working on innovation projects at Procter and Gamble.

HB: So you’re not concerned with the Stefan Sagmeisters and the James Victores, the people who have maneuverability like you do; you’re only thinking about the huge design firms?

WD: No. We’re past thinking that only well-known designers can make a contribution. We’re modeling how large and small firms can participate, irrespective of location. There’s someone else (also funded by Rockefeller) who’s focusing specifically on the smaller firms — a smart designer named Manuel Toscano whose research will ultimately filter into our work. So there are a number of us collaborating on this initiative.

JH: You could take the position, as an individual, that your job is to make work that provokes ideas and discussion around social change, and you can even go down, yourself, and make something happen — like John Bielenberg has with Project M. I think our initiative, in working with Rockefeller and having their support, is also about looking at Design Observer’s next phase and actually amplifying our efforts to take it all to the next level. It’s not like there’s a recipe for success to make social change happen with good design, but it is about mobilizing and catalyzing the best of design and looking at how we can generate greater change in more and different kinds of places.

One of the things you quickly see, as you were saying earlier, is that Hale County, Alabama, is just one problem — with so many more across the country and the world. The question is, how do you talk about design, how do you think about design, and how do you educate designers to understand these challenges and work in tandem at the same level with the kinds of organizations that have the funding or the social knowledge or the working systems that we don’t have? And this does take the point of view that we are working in parallel disciplines. I think it’s interesting because we have in the past tended to think of the designer who engages in social change as being the iconoclast and inspiring us by example. But what we’re talking about now is not really about example; it’s about generating and putting systems in place that make real change actually happen.

HB: Since Winterhouse juggles so many different types of disciplines and endeavors, could you speak a little about time management and, more specifically, about how you change gears internally between something so seemingly disparate as writing and designing?

JH: I wish there were a simple answer but I don’t think there is. Yesterday I threw a complete fit because I have an art project due. I.D. magazine and Moleskine notebooks and two other organizations have sent giant Moleskine notebooks to sixty artists. The thing is due this week, and I have to fill it with fourteen pages of stuff, and I did a whole bunch of it, and then I stopped, and I was kicking myself for letting all these other things get in the way. I find that in the making of something — and this is how I felt in design school and this is how I feel twenty years later — you can’t just turn over the hourglass and say, "Okay, in this amount of time I’m going to be done." It doesn’t work that way. I can do it a bit with writing. I would say, when I was writing my book, “I’m going to research Chapter 5 today and I’m going to give two hours to it.�? Often I’ll start with rewrites from the day before and sort of get a running start. I think that there are occasionally these are little tricks that make writing a bit easier. Of course, writing’s never easy, but I can objectify and compartmentalize my time more easily. And the more I draw and sketch and think visually, the more facile I get as someone who can generate ideas visually and spin them out. I do draw a lot, and I always try to get my students to keep drawing, because there’s a danger that you’ll get so lost in that screen space that you get yourself into trouble. But there’s no rhyme or reason to it. If I’m writing and teaching and making things visually, I’m happiest, and if you take one of these three things out, I’m not as happy.

I would like to think I’m really organized, but while Bill and I are incredibly prolific and get a lot done, the studio’s a mess. Bill stays up too late; we work seven days a week. It’s hard to manage your time and still be really good. I think for me, personally, there is a disconnect between being really organized and being really good. You almost have to be disorganized and throw caution to the wind to do something great. So, in some ways, the busier we are, the more we get done, and the messy desk is probably a metaphor for how much is going on. It’s a pretty rich life, but no, it’s not always an organized one.

WD: I think there’s a real tension between running a commercial practice in which there’s pressure to think in hourly terms — it’s the way the business is structured and it’s how people get paid. But the truth is, really good design work takes as long as it takes. I feel like I should repeat that — or you should publish it in bold. There are a number of types of design practices — the worst example I can think of is making books: why anyone would ever want to be in the book design business …

JH: (He says this as a lover of books, and as a book collector with 10,000 books in his library.)

WD: …is way beyond me. Because after you’ve done the book, gone through a four-hundred page book twenty times to get to some final stage, you proofread it again, and then you redo the rags one more time. A four-hundred page book, even with minor fine-tuning, is still four-hundred pages at fifteen minutes a just can’t be looking at a clock. And you can’t be a young designer and want to work on those kinds of projects and want the glory of having done it, and the awards, and expect to work 9 to 5. At some point you just have to do the work.

Coming back to your original question, the balance in the studio is all about allowing for this kind of real work and time on our own projects, while at the same time trying giving our clients their due and our best efforts. I’ve always hated the syndrome where one gets corrupt clients to pay for good works: it’s a frequent and cynical response to how to manage a practice — too often articulated by leaders in the field. It’s insulting to clients. We’ve struggled with this paradox and simply want to say that one solution is to treat all work with the same seriousness, the same resolve, the same commitment. “I make money here, I do my real work here�? is not the same as “I think, therefore I am.�? It’s a sad commentary on the practice of design to fall into this trap.

JH: Book projects tend to be so all-consuming. I’m starting my next project, which I think will be in the thinking/sketching/meandering phase for a year before anything gets done. But it means I leave the office and make dinner, I get my children upstairs and get homework done, I take a shower, I get back in bed with my laptop, and I do research until I can’t keep my eyes open anymore. Now, is that working? It’s a labor of love. I’m with my children, I’m in the house, I’m not in the studio, I’m not in someone else’s studio, and I work for myself.

HB: There's nothing you'd rather be doing--

JH: And that’s it. The point is, it’s the difference between having a job and having a life. And for us, it’s our life. So we don’t feel bad about the house and the studio being connected and the house trickling into the studio and vice-versa. Because it’s who we are, and I actually think it’s made for a much richer life. I’m glad we don’t just come home at five o’clock or six o’clock or ten o’clock…it’s just an ongoing, organic, crazy but ultimately organic flow of a life.

Bert BacchusComment
Bill Callahan. Side 1. Track 1.

Setting out. Proclamations of setting out. When it happens you know it.
Bill Callahan is a master of the opening track on what we old folks used to call an album. Now you see kids, that’s a collection of songs all written and recorded around a similar time and place and mindset and ethos and vibe and aww forget it man. What I’ve really been wondering is if Callahan writes these opening tracks last. I see him as the kind of cool calculator who deftly places crumbs throughout his work so I imagine he writes these opening pieces with the full size and feel of the album already existing and known to him. They’re just too perfect.

This really begins in earnest with his last 2 albums under the Smog moniker, both of which are blatant harbingers of the Callahan records to come. It’s where “the voice” changed too. You can barely hear the higher register of Dongs of Sevotion and Red Apple Falls clinging to his baritone like lichen desperately holding on to a vessel headed for deeper, uncharted waters. And by the time Supper was served, it only took Mr. Callahan one more record to realize he needed to ditch the Smog moniker altogether and invite us all along for Mr. Callahan’s Invisible Republic train ride. It was a New Deal, if you’ll allow the low hanging fruit of an analogy.

“Feather by Feather”
This is a heavyweight song. Dylan-level craft and execution and released into a completely uncaring world. “Losing your wings, feather by feather” he even sings, a bleak glimpse into the ensuing Cohen-esque era. Callie is also clearly saying here to the indie rock nerds, “Get your head out of your ass, dick wipes. This is the real shit now. We ain’t tossing off 7” B-side ditties any more!” Or something like that.

“Winter exposes the nest, and I’m gone.” See, there’s the final goodbye to the indie rock scenester club. Not that he was ever in it. Not that it even existed.

“From the Rivers to the Ocean”
This one soars like he was actually released from a band named Smog and allowed to make his own album finally. Which is funny because Smog was just him you see? I always thought he said “Have faith in worthless knowledge.” but apparently it’s wordless. Whatever, both are cool and relevant. Doesn’t the doe-eyed Joanna Newsome show up somewhere around this point? Worth noting probably. I don’t subscribe to any sort of New Criticism when it comes to rock n roll or folk rock or pop or whatever the fuck this stuff is called so yeah, it’s relevant.

“Jim Cain”
“Cain” slowly unfolds with more checklist enumerations from the world-weary poet. What he thought would happen. What didn’t. What never will. It’s fucking great. One of the few guys around these days pulling this kind of Cohen/Dylan/Townes level of lyric exploration and reach. Downright epic considering it’s all been made in the last 20 years. Sounds older to me. But once again, there’s a ton of What if and Have to Wait and See platitudes in this opener as well.

“Drover” from Apocalypse may be the exception. It’s not focused enough on the task at hand. The once in a generation reply to “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes”, “America!” is a more likely opener in my humble opinion.

“The Sing”
I don’t know Dream River very well yet. Will begin processing it more thoroughly now. And upon doing so it’s hard to imagine this opening track is the hardest dick in the pack. But wait, I do remember this “Beer and Thank You” refrain. It’s really pretty good I have to say. A few time changes too. Well, it’s the only song on the record I probably know so we’ll just have to wait and see.

They’re all expansive and open with forlorn, yet thoroughly resigned feelings about the immediate past. They offer promise and potential but are very aware that they were just here a year or so back, promising the same thing.

It’s true that all great opening tracks herald the oncoming information like a well-designed poster or a slick-tongued barker pulling in passerby to the carnival, but Callahan’s are so spot-on, so eerily encapsulating of the savage and quiet beauty to come that I’d rather listen to the songs than even think about this anymore.

Fin. Bacchus

Editor’s Note. This piece originally appeared on Medium:

Bert BacchusComment
16 Albums
  1. Beatles, Let it Be. This could literally be any of their last eight records for me — excepting Submarine — but this one is messy and beautiful. I remember getting into this record with my girlfriend one fall and since it’s an “out there” and unpopular Beatles record we felt like we had finally discovered our own Beatles and not our parents “Love Me Do” mop tops.

  2. Nick Drake, Pink Moon. Everything I’ve ever wished I was as a musician. And obviously enough melancholy and midnight for the moping teenager still residing within me. Bryter Layter and 5 Leaves Left are just as good and totally different.

  3. Guided by Voices, Alien Lanes. A transmission from another planet, as if there crackling on the AM dial in the middle of the night arose this harmonious fuzz with incredible lyrics. This record reminds me of getting a good pre-buzz before heading out for a night on the town.

  4. Led Zeppelin, II. I am a shameless Zeppelin fan. Their powers are gigantic and evident so there’s no need for me to recount them here. Once again I could take any of their records really but this one was in my cassette walkman for the entire summer of my 14th year here on this rock and that means getting to second base with the most amazing girl I’d ever met and drinking warm beers someone stole from the damaged bin at Winn-Dixie. So it’s nostalgia for sure and there probably isn’t a white male in his 30's who doesn’t have the exact same experience but it was the suburbs in South Carolina so what did you expect? I should really get another Zoso T-shirt soon and solidify my standing as the old guy at the next rock show I attend.

  5. Jeff Buckley, Grace. I used to loathe him. He was on MTV constantly one summer just whining away in his oversized Hanes tee about lost love and I hated his voice. I have to be honest about that as a prologue to this record but something clicked one day and I couldn’t get enough. This record is my mid-twenties: unpaid utility bills, hardwood floors, hangovers, bartending, late-night ennui in a shitty old mill town with delusions of grandeur and nothing to show but smoker’s cough and pissed off ex-girlfriends.

  6. Smog, A River ain’t too much to Love. Fits nicely alongside most anything from Harry Smith’s germinated seed. One eye longingly hung up on the past and the masters before and one eye stubbornly honed on furthering the vision. His voice may be an acquired taste but once it gets you it never lets go.

  7. Neil Young, Live Rust. Once again, take your pick. Throw a dart at a wall of Neil albums and you’ve got a good shot at getting a record worth your time. He’s not as important or influential as say Dylan or Lennon has been on American music but he’s all I’d need on a desert island.

  8. Silver Jews, Bright Flight. Our Leonard Cohen makes a country record and the world is somehow lifted by its sadness. Actually Berman is more in the vein of American surrealist James Tate than Mr. Cohen. I listened to this record a lot with my dad when we were working together.

  9. Flaming Lips, The Soft Bulletin. I remember coming home from a boned existence in Williamsburg, VA to visit my closest friends and listening to this record from a copy I snaked from the record store I was slumming in. I didn’t even steal it either, nobody wanted it. It speaks of a time and of a mind to me that I share with three other people; by people I mean man friends.

  10. Pink Floyd, The Wall. Well this is another boring, predictable, and safe suburban cracker choice here but I’m trying to be honest about these records, not cool. I listened to a cassette of this in my headphones going to bed every night for about two years of my teen-aged life.

  11. Rolling Stones, Exile on Main Street. Unwashed jeans, an incredible amount of heroin, and a bunch of British rock-stars trying to be southern black musicians. Also a great record for pre-debauchery warm-ups (see №3).

  12. Television, Marquee Moon. Punk-rock poetry. Incredible lyrics, exquisite guitar playing, and inner-city swagger all rolled up in one messy bundle of catchy pop tunes.

  13. Bob Dylan, Blood on the Tracks. One of many masterpieces by the 20th century’s greatest songwriter. Once again however it’s all in the timing and this one along with Desire and Blonde on Blonde got me through a shit-load of heartaches, tribulations, and hangovers. It’s also worth nothing that I’ve never really tried to write a song that wasn’t somehow ripping this guy off.

  14. The Minutemen, Double Nickels on the Dime. In my opinion you’re just plain un-American if you don’t worship this band and attempt to summon D. Boon from the spirit world on a regular basis. Either you’re a Minutemen fan or you’re a fucking terrorist.

  15. The Complete Stax/Volt Singles, Volume I (1959–1968) The height of 20th century American music? How can these songs sound like Christmas and summer at the same time? I have no idea. Embrace it, learn it. Repeat it.

  16. Curtis Mayfield, Live. So tight yet so loose. So hip yet so political. So hot yet so cool. This man was a genius and the band he assembled for this tour…whew!

I could easily do 30 more but this is a good, honest start. I’m sure I’m completely ignoring huge gaps in my taste and life experiences with amazing music. Off the top of my head: The Velvet Underground & Nico, any George Jones Best of, Gram Parsons two solo records, Son Volt’s Trace (I can drive for days without sleep if I have that record), Kris Kristofferson’s Border Lord, Dusty Springfield’s In Memphis, Sir Douglas Quintet’s Mendocino, The Possibilities’ Way Out, Funkadelic’s Maggot Brain, Shuggie Otis’ Inspiration Information, The Pixies Doolittle, Bad Brains’ I Against I, the Misfits, the first 10 Kinks records, the Roger Miller box set, Sandy Bull’s E Pluribus Unum…..

Editor’s Note: This piece originally appeared on Medium:

Bert BacchusComment
To Comic Books I’ve Loved Before

The first merchant of fine readable goods I encountered as a child in Macon, Georgia was the comic book shop. I can’t recall for sure but I think this shop was called Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find and it was on a very busy street on the opposite side of town from my grandparent’s house. Due to this geographical reality and my Gran Gran’s reluctance to sit in traffic for a half-hour each way and then spend another hour or so waiting for me in the car to get my comics, I only visited Heroes on the rarest of occasions.

I remember a little of the store’s layout but my main memory is the smell.
The vanilla scent of aging paper in a used-bookstore was — and remains — an intoxicant of the highest quality for me, but the crisper printing press aroma of freshly-bound comic books is a treat unto itself. No matter the scattered detritus of one’s daily stenches such as the rotten smell of a paper mill before a thunderstorm or the layer of tobacco smoke that lay on everything in the 80’s, when I walked into a comic book shop I was gifted a clean slate, a freshness that promised and continually delivered new worlds to me,
un-tainted by a tween’s realities in the sleepy south.

Of course, my carefully selected stack of goodness would inevitably have to be mowed down due to merciless financial realities but I always started the crusade with fervor and aplomb. It’s pretty much the same as buying records now…if bands put out an album every month! The Bob Pollard Song Factory & Melody Emporium Monthly. Or Weekly. Or Daily! Aahh!

The Uncanny X-Men (and anything to do with Wolverine) and The Amazing Spider-Man were always #1 and #2. The perennial favorite in the #3 slot was almost always Batman, which was my only DC comic. Marvel all the way baby. Although at this point I’m just happy that comic book companies exist
I suppose.

After that it truly became about separating the wheat from the chaff, and quick! Gran Gran’s overheating the Olds in the parking lot under a July sun and the three other grandkids in the car don’t give a shit about comic books. The remainder of my stack consisted mainly of titles I occasionally dipped into but didn’t collect and new, weird stuff I wanted to try out or had heard someone raving about. But the real silent killers were the Crossovers. Of course I had to have all the X-Men issues from The Fall of the Mutants but that only gave you parts 1, 5, and 9. To get the whole story you had to buy New Mutants, X-Force, Excalibur, and Alpha Flight. This made things difficult indeed.

Did the powers-that-be know what they were doing? Were they aware of this excruciating choice wherein a 12-year old must rob Spider Man to pay Magneto? The answer is that of course they knew. In fact once I learned about that evil little bastard we call Marketing it all became acutely clear to me and I immediately felt a little used. It didn’t stop me from still trying to assemble my complete collections and Special Anniversary Re-Launch Annuals and Graphic Novels though.

Comic books invented the sequel that Hollywood has so shamelessly deployed ad hoc at every turn whenever the scent of a dollar to be made is on the wind, and it eventually ran me out of the comic shops. Playing music and buying records, skateboarding and buying decks, girls making fun of comic books just as you were starting to give a shit what girls thought…but the powers-that-be don’t care, they got fresh batches of boys and girls lined up behind your aging teenage wallet. And for what it’s worth, I don’t think I ever once heard a girl make fun of comic books, it was the sheer terror of imagining such a thing that convinced all of us dumb-ass dudes that they had to hate comic books. Right? Idiots.

So this all added up to a comic collection cessation on my part if you will. There are still too many things these days that I find myself ‘collecting’ or ‘hoarding’, depending on who you ask, so I know that I’ll never return to those crucial stack choices in a comic book shop again. I might slip in and see if there’s a crossover run of titles I can lose sleep over not having a full set of for the archives though.

Editor’s Note: This piece originally appeared on Medium:

Bert BacchusComment