Tom is the creative director of Drawn and Quarterly, and as someone who provides the world with some of the spectacular graphic novels and comics you can only imagine what a treasure trove his bookshelf is. From typographic books found in thrift stores that he has “borrowed” lettering from, to a Sears catalogue from the 60s, Tom shows us which books have inspired him along the way. CHALLENGE: See if you can get to the end without eBay-searching at least one of these books.
Bud Fisher: Mutt and Jeff
This book was a gift from my sister and mom years ago and at the time I thought, “sure, I like comics but not these kind of comics. I like my comics serious!” But over the years I’ve gained an appreciation not only for how great and influential a cartoonist Bud Fisher was but just how beautiful these strips look at this size. The paper is good too and it really makes the nibwork pop. Considering that this book is over a hundred years old, it looks amazing.
Jason Shiga: Meanwhile
Years ago, I considered publishing this mini-comic by Jason Shiga. It was just a flimsy thing on white paper. At the time, I worked with a woman who was a book binder so I asked her to make a hard cover edition so I could see if it was possible. She did an amazing job reproducing the artwork, cutting new tabs and making a nice package for the book. I never published it myself but it remains a treasured object.
Sears Catalogue Spring/Summer 1965
I bought this off of eBay for research on kids clothing from the era for a comic I was drawing. I planned on buying later years as well and still should. Everything is in here, an entire life from that year—clothing, housewares, musical instruments, toys, oil heaters, on and on and on. Everytime I open this catalogue on a whim I’m lost for hours.
Paul Carlyle and Guy Oring: Letters and Lettering
When I found this book in a thrift store I promised myself I would use it to work on my calligraphy skills but the reality is that I just scan the cool display fonts I find and use them in ads and book covers. Well, I have used some of the tips.
John Stanley: Tubby and his Clubhouse Friends
My friend Seth recommended this comic years ago and I didn’t pay attention. Then when I was doing research on the writer and cartoonist John Stanley I picked this up and it quickly became one of my favorite comics of all time. Stanley really was the greatest comics writer until Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez came along and blew everything open. Hilarious, selfish kid antics that have become the template for what I look for when editing kids’ comics.