I’m back at the Grünewald Guild, home of pottery studios, fresh-baked bread, old libraries, and handmade mugs by the dozen.
One thing I didn’t see coming was an odd self-consciousness about my art form. Comics! Reproducible by definition, home of capes and angst and autobiography. In the past, what I loved about comics was how they could be dropped on the floor or found in a used bookstore and would lose none of their power. The aura of a comic book is completely mobile, completely democratic, completely reproducible.
But the other artists here make beautiful bowls, mugs, teapots, wood carvings, stained glass...good and useful things, where design will make a person’s life better every time they use it.
In fact, at times “the Guild” feels like stepping back into medieval times, just as that sort of name would imply. One artist experiments endlessly with beer, much to everyone’s delight; another spins a set of sweet little mugs to drink it in; another strums away at an old guitar while everyone eats and drinks. My favorite art period of all time, rather clumsily called the “Arts & Crafts” movement, championed handmade products at the height of the Industrial Revolution.
And here I am, tethered to a laptop and a scanner!
Maybe that is why I chose this particular sort of story: an old, weird fairy tale that belongs in a setting like this. The Marsh-Wife’s terrible brewery and Inger’s wasted loaf feel quite at home here. Forgive my romantic language, but after all, comics are stories, and stories belong in our lives whether we are telling them by candlelight or reading them on a laptop with a decent Internet connection.
I hope this is a good story, and I hope I tell it well.