Best of the Year – Sean Michael Wilson
Today’s Best of the Year guest is that round-eyed devil, the Scottish Comics Samurai in Japan and a man who knows how to wield a mean Ax, Sean Michael Wilson (you can read a recent Director’s Commentary by Sean here on the blog). Let’s see what our roaming in the Japanese gloaming comics ronin has been enjoying these last twelve months:
FPI: Can you pick three comics/webcomics/graphic novels which you especially enjoyed over the last twelve months and tell us why you singled them out?
Sean: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 1969, Alan Moore and Kevin O’neill (Knockabout/Top Shelf) – just wonderful to see these two still doing great comics and obviously enjoying it a lot. (if you enjoyed this too that man Pádraig talked to Alan Moore about the new book here & chatted to Kev O’Neill recently here on the blog – Joe)
(author and psychogeographer Ian Sinclair makes another appearance in LOEG 1969 by and (c) Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill, published Top Shelf and Knockabout)
WAR: The Human Cost edited by Sean Duffield – an excellent collection of shorts that show us more about way war affects ordinary people. The strips about Tibet especially affected me and in fact led to an argument with my Chinese friend about the role of China in Tibet!
(Camp X-Ray by Alejandro Alverez, from War the Human Cost published Paper Tiger)
Luchadoras, Peggy Adam (Blank Slate) – I like the frail yet resilient humanity of the characters and the female perspective of the story. The art is simple yet somehow distinctive and carries the emotion well.
(a scene from the hard hitting Luchadoras by and (c) Peggy Adam, published Blank Slate)
FPI: Can you pick three books which you especially enjoyed over the last twelve months and tell us why you singled them out?
Sean: Hitch 22, Christopher Hitchens (Atlantic Books)- I don’t agree with some of the views he has had about the Iraq war, but in many other ways Hitchens is very impressive – his erudition and love of language and literature, his personal style. This is a very interesting autobiography that has you reaching for the dictionary on almost every page (NB, Sean picked this before news of Hitchens’ recent passing – Joe).
A Man of Parts, David Lodge (Harvill Secker) – a biographical novel about H.G. Wells, which shows us more about the political and philosophical activities of the great writer – like his work in the Fabian movement and the practice of free love.
Alan Moore: Storyteller – Gary Spencer Millidge (Ilex). I enjoyed seeing more about Alan’s life and early influences, and seeing more about his story telling process. I also killed a huge cockroach with it here in Japan – the monster happen to scoot past me while i had the hefty book in my hand, and it felt the full fury of Alan’s might!
FPI: Can you pick three TV shows and/or movies which you especially enjoyed over the last twelve months and tell us why you singled them out?
Sean: Zeitgeist: Moving Forward – these and the other 2 in the series are interesting reflections on the problems of our current socio-economic system, although I don’t agree with everything in the films, they are thought provoking (NB: you can watch the entire movie online free on the official site here – Joe).
Rise of the Planet of the Apes – surprisingly good I thought. As a lover of the original series of films i was expecting to not like this (as is normal for remakes), but this one really is a ‘re-imagining’, rather subtle and sophisticated.
This is England 1986 – I got into mod music and style myself around 1986, so this has resonance on some things for me. And I’m still basically a mod… in fact I will DJ some 60’s music tomorrow. I’m looking forward to This is England 1988, which comes out this month.
FPI: How did 2011 go for you as a creator? Are you happy with the way you got your work out this year?
Sean: A big increase in stuff by me in 2011. Amazingly, I’ve been published in 12 different books and magazines, including in French, Chinese and Italian versions – a lucky coming together of various efforts. The AX book got me way more attention, interviews etc than I’ve had before and a Harvey nomination. Not that fame is my goal, f**k that – I’m here to make good books.
FPI: What can we look forward to from you in 2012?
Sean: Lots of good stuff – I’ve edited another great gekiga book, ‘Cigarette Girl’ by Masahiko Matsumoto (Top Shelf); our version of ‘Sweeney Todd’ (Classical Comics); ‘Parecomic’, a book about alternatives to capitalism with US economist Michael Albert (Seven Stories), another historical manga ‘The Book of Five Rings’ (Shambhala Publications), and my autobiography ‘Once upon a time in Morningside’ is coming next year.
FPI: Anyone you think is a name we should be watching out for next year?
Sean: Ben Dickson is a good writer who has not had his fair share of attention yet – but will soon. Him and I are about to sign a contract with a NY publisher to co-write a book called ‘Fight the Power’, and he has a book coming out with the great Mick McMahon.
(a scene from the very moving and personal Mum’s Body by Benjamin Dickson)