100 Days Of Winter
This is Azzopardi’s version of the 100 Days project that saw many people committing to do one thing, everyday, for one hundred days (see here for the background to the project). We’ve looked at Tom Humberstone’s 100 Days already a few times on the blog, along with the various problems he’s had along the way that meant a three month break.
And Azzopardi’s 100 Days suffered as well. He made it to Day 54 and found that there were simply too many things happening and he was simply unable to continue.
100 Days Of Winter is Azzopardi’s personal printed selection of 28 pages from his 100 Days project. As you might expect, it starts full of hope and expectation and slowly succumbs to the issues that saw the project falter and then stop. Similarly, the nature of the strips makes it a fractured and fragmentary comic, with each new strip dependent on not just the day’s events, but Azzopardi’s mood as he drew each page.
It takes place as several important events are happening in Azzorpardi’s life, and perhaps most importantly takes place in the middle of a complete creative slump, which is both the reason for his decision to start the 100 Days project and the explanation for a lot of the questioning tone on each diary page. It’s Azzopardi opening up, asking himself, and us, whether he’s good enough or not.
There’s also the stress of his job (which we’ve heard all about in his excellent 12 Hour Shift), his increasing concern over the publication problems of Necessary Monsters, Angouleme plans, house worries and worst of all there’s health worries, both for himself and his beloved 15 year old cat.
It’s Azzopardi’s skill in communicating the day to day ups and downs of everyday life, his worries and his eventual withdrawal from the project, that really makes the whole thing, especially the difficult and heartbreaking task of being forced to find a home for his aging and ill cat, incredibly engrossing and absorbing. As Azzopardi opens up and reveals himself he delivers a very touching and interesting autobiographical comic.
There’s much to enjoy here, not least in his artwork. The open, frameless pages, together with the conversational tone and the variation in his line, made me think of Eddie Campbell’s Alec work. Sean may not be quite at that level of greatness, but after reading this, I can’t help but think he may be on his way to better and better things. The 100 Days project may have been a failure but it may be that this is to his ultimate benefit. It’s the failure and his recognition of it, that generates the conflict found in the pages. That it eventually led to him re-evaluating and moving on, determined to keep going, is a real bonus.