Monday, July 11, 2011

Paying Too Much Attention: The Shelves! Think of the Shelves!

Books are constantly coming out. You can't stop it, and you'd be insane to try. When books come out it means there is fresh art to be consumed, and maybe another little wrinkle will form on your brain. This is an exciting possibility. Aside from the internal changes, the release of a new book leads to a much more pragmatic, and external change. Where the hell are you going to put this new book? Where to store them is something you have to deal with on your own. It's a lonely fight, but one you cannot imagine giving up. Right? Yeah, us either.

What we all can battle together is the emotional war zone that is dealing with aesthetics, and the mind splinters they cause.

If there's anything that's enticing about the digital revolution, and the slow, painful death of print media, it is undoubtedly the idea of an increasingly easier mode of storage, and thus not having to worry about whether the color schemes of all 20 of your "Ultimate-Spider-Man" collections match each other. You will have to worry about whether the covers match on whatever digital device you're storing them, but that is much easier to remedy than changing an actual physical copy. Trust me. I've seen David meticulously eye and measure - never with an actual ruler, but with the equally accurate comparison method, wherein a fingertip is used - his "Locke and Key" hardcovers, and I've seen him lament how his collection of "Powers" trades are partially published by Image, and Icon. This is a unique burn, a mental (and first world) ache somewhat akin to the familiar pain of realizing you accidentally have two different socks on. It's fixable, but not without going somewhere and doing something, with the latter of those two actions most likely involving money being spent.

We're not alone though. Not only do we have each other to use as crutches, but we now have publishers with a keen eye toward uniformity, and the warm, gentle blanket of satisfaction it can create.

Craig Thompson, the author and illustrator of "Goodbye Chunky Rice," "Carnet De Voyage," "Blankets," and the forthcoming "Habibi" recently posted these pictures of his new book, along with a new edition of his old book, and got us thinking about how much mental and emotional anguish he'll be saving us.

"The new editions of 'Blankets' are here in time for San Diego Comic Con (in stores in August). The hardcover is the exact same dimensions as 'Habibi' so they’ll mesh nicely on bookshelves. Check the stamped gold foil and spotgloss. They both have fancy smyth-sewn bindings to sprawl open in the sunny backyard."

More importantly they will be the exact same height next to each other, with a design sense that allows them to be their own, while still existing with a sense of togetherness. David and I will both have to sell our softcover version of "Blankets" in order to get this hardcover, but it'll be worth it for the years and years of zen-like peace we feel from not having one spine stick up higher than another. Every inch on that shelf is precious. Much less precious than our egg shell minds, which crack when one shade of yellow doesn't match another.


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