- Comic Writer Jason Walz
- Publisher Tinto Press
Shake up a bottle of champagne and pop its cork in the middle of a crowded party. As the bubbly spurts out and cascades, covering the room, know that each person touched by even the slightest drop of it will eventually die. A matter of fact, everyone invited to the party will, at some point, die. So too, those who were left off the invitation list. Even those whom the party host has never met, they too shall die in the not too distant future.
This is not a cause and effect relationship. It just is.
Everyone you ever met. That woman who caught your eye in a downtown bar half a lifetime ago whose image haunts you whenever you taste the black licorice zing of Ouzo. The guy who outran you in the 7th grade track meet and stole the accolades you were sure you deserved. Tomorrow's great epic poet who is bound to be misquoted on the internet leading to a fifteen second scandal nobody will remember ten seconds after that.. Today's master comic book letterer who captures a gamut of nuance in the way she forms the letter P.
Your grandmother. Your grandchild. You. Me. All of us. Gone.
What was that, Walt Whitman? Oh, yea. “Come lovely and soothing death, Undulate round the world, serenely arriving, arriving, In the day, in the night, to all, to each, Sooner or later, Delicate death.”
When we experience the loss of those we love, sometimes it sends us careening through emotions like a gyroscope on a roller-coaster in a theme-park during an earthquake. Sometimes it causes us to wail vociferously at the blood moon night and suck deeply from a bottle of 12 year old Irish whiskey stolen from Costco. Sometimes it causes us to get very quiet, push others away, and not bother to shave for a few weeks. Sometimes there is just a letting go, an exhale of all the responsibilities and burdens and worries which then necessitates an inhale of the rhythms intrinsic to a celebration of life. Elegy or Eulogy – Dirge or Requiem. Regardless of your reaction to death, all reactions are interactions with the self and are finally, fully, an act of creation. What death brings to us, we bring to life. The cycle continues. The energy is refocused.
Which brings me to Jason Walz's Homesick, a 2014 Eisner Award nominee for Best Graphic Album, published by Tinto Press. In this, Walz has taken a deeply personal story of loss and a rumination on love and has created art, pushing the idea of the graphic memoir further – he viscerally conveys a subjective perception through his linework and choices, and, in the act of controlling his medium, he unlocks the gates of that emotional sensibility and allows all of us entry.
And, from what I've heard, this is his DEBUT graphic novel.