Australian LitBlog Snapshot #20 - John Retallick

John Retallick's The Comic Spot weblog is based on his 3CR radio program of the same name.

1. How would you describe your weblog to someone who wasn't at all sure what this blogging business is about?

My blog is the place I can share information about events, books, items of interest that I think are worth sharing and that are related to Australian Comics and Graphic Novels. It started as an adjunct to my monthly radio show on 3CR but I've reimagined it in the last little while so that hopefully it will bring listeners to the show and the podcast. I write about what's coming up on the show and I'm also turning my hand at some written reviews of books I come across in between the programs. I would like it to be a rolling, living document of my interactions with comics and comics culture in Melbourne and to try to join up the many disparate arms of the form as practised here.

2. Have there been any major changes in your weblog's direction, theme or subject since you started?

Initially I had no idea what I was doing - now whilst that mightn't have changed a great deal - I have put some more thought into it. I want at least weekly updates - which I've managed to stick to since delting the entire blog and starting again a couple of months ago. I feel much happier with it now. I think it helps if you have some sort of structure in mind when blogging. If I can put 4-5 entries a month up then I'll be happy with it. A great feature of blogging is that it constantly grows. It's present and past existing simultaneously. In two years' time a new reader may come along and they will be able to go back and discover new books or listen to older podcasts and it will be fresh for them even though I may have moved on.

3. Do you have more books in your house than you can possibly read? If so, why?

I lived in Papua New Guinea for a couple of years and it really impacted on the amount of stuff I allow myself to own. We are so wasteful in developed countries. One of the things that changed was my relationship to books. I have a one shelf policy for prose fiction, one shelf for non-fiction. Books should be shared, passed around and moved on. Libraries are great repositories and so is lending things from friends. I've become a lot less precious about 'owning' books rather than experiencing them. My comic/graphic novel collection on the other hand is a little different. The long term plan is to establish a kind of comics culture centre and lending library. They already get lent out to friends and creators regularly but I'd like to set up something a little more formal in the long run. In the case of the comics I see myself as a custodian of a future communal community resource. Graphic novels can be expensive so sharing them is something that is encouraged in an area of literature such as comic creation that is often marginal and part time for the cartoonists involved.

4. If there were three things you'd like to include in your weblog if you had more time/money, what would they be?

I would be interested in creating some blog specific audio or video. It can be difficult describing the art of a book. Responses to visual art are incredibly subjective so some video could come in handy. I may describe someones art as 'surreal and illuminating' yet it may be totally banal for another reader. It's a tough one and something that is always a challenge in comics where the weight of the writing can be taken by the words or the pictures or anywhere in between. But to be honest the time needed really puts me off at this point. It may also have something to do with the dinosaur of a computer I own and the fact that handling video would push it past the point of extinction!

5. How would you eat an elephant?

It would have to be at gun point as I am a vegetarian! I would eat WITH an Elephant. Some shared bamboo shoots could be lovely with candlelight under the canopy of the rain forest.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on December 24, 2008 1:21 PM.

Australian LitBlog Snapshot #19 - Judith Ridge was the previous entry in this blog.

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