About the Comics

Though I’ve been doing this for many years, my work is mostly unread, unreviewed, uncollected. I’m sure this is my own damn fault. Perhaps some words of explanation are in order.

I’ve long felt and still maintain that comics is a young enough medium that one can sit over a cup of coffee any morning and list 10 things that have never yet been tried in a comic. So I’ve devoted much of my time, somewhat painstakingly, to working up prototypes for various directions comics might grow.

I’ve explored flash fiction, logic problems, fold-ins, multireadables, combinatoricsdeformations, miniatures, marginalspanels nested in panels and in balloons, and I’m slowly running the gamut of Oulipian constraints.

I’ve dabbled with Easter Eggs to amplify the reading for the attentive few, such as the morse code message snaking through these panel gutters, or the spots on this cow‘s back. I’ve played a lot with metafiction and various fourth wall breaks, such as  the characters in this post 9/11 funny paper who are too freaked out to speak their lines. And I’ve toyed with the possibilities for the page itself, putting the action in the gutters and margins, say. I like the tension you can get when the comics both move forward and stand still, when you tell the readers one thing and show them something different, or when you put panels on the page and direct the readers not to look at them.

And in this spirit of playfulness, I’ve touched on more shopworn approaches: autobiography, oneirics, graphic history, literary adaptation, allusions, homagesalphabets, rhymes, puns, science fiction, fantasies, allegories, fables, parables, parodies, advertisements, instructions, erotica, reveries, rants,… always with my own little twist.

So if you browse these pages with a view to their genre and structure, that might add to the fun. Of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. I’ve tried my very best to make pieces that are interesting to look at and entertaining to read. If the collection seems a bit, well, motley, that might be because I believe the style should emerge from within the idea, not be forced on the corpus from above.

That’s my thinking. Please tell me what you think. Thank you for your time.


fake self portrait

Fake self portrat, 1989.

T. Motley