Monday, December 29, 2008

ZACH WORTON: Working Class Hero.

I know I have a very limited readership of basically people that know me personally, who read my blog because they see me in person at least once a week and are afraid I'm going to spring a pop quiz on them, all like, "Oh, this is just like that thing I wrote on my Blog... DID YOU READ THAT OR NOT, ASSHOLE!?!" So most people know that I hang out at and volunteer a lot of my time at my favorite comic book store in the world (so far... I haven't been to Japan yet), THE BEGUILING, and have health social interaction with the staff. One of whom is comic artist Zach Worton (whose other blog BALLAD OF A CROSSHATCH JUNKIE, I also link to at the side of this page).

Zach is currently splitting his time between working on an original graphic novel about the Gold Rush called "KLONDIKE", which looks to be a pretty sick piece of historical fiction, something I've only recently begun to take interest in, mostly because of things like DEADWOOD and ME AND THE DEVIL BLUES: The Life of Robert Johnson, and being resentful of how socially awkward nerds go around confirming all the negative stereotypes about comics that he hates.

Zach's a great guy, and I admire him greatly. He's the hardest working guy I know, and has a work ethic similar to mine, which I respect greatly, because when I really get worked up (heh... puns) and really get into that "workhorse zone", I tend to get frustrated with people that can't keep up with me; which is, most times, totally unfair, because I do a physically demanding job on a regular basis. I am also prone to taking any job I'm doing too seriously, because I'm afraid of letting anyone down. Thus, I like working with Zach because he can lift heavy shit, mostly uncomplainingly (you can't NOT complain about backbreaking phyical labor, no matter what your work ethic is like), for long periods of time, and with great speed. Zach is the kind of that that, when presented with a difficult task, does not hesitate or waste time voice the "injustice" of the task, nor does he tip-toe around it leaving it till th last possible moment, but rather tackles it head on and gets the fucking job done.

When he's not lifting the shit out of boxes at the store, though, Zach has me totally beat, because he goes home to his second job working on comics; something I've been putting off for far too long. Which is what brings us to the whole point of this post... I am utterly amazed that Zack is producing not only his graphic novel, but a series of short webcomics, which you can read at his new comics blog FLASHCITRUS.

I'm a little embarassed to admit that I just found out about this today, because I haven't been keeping up with people's blogs, but I'm glad I decided to do so today. I don't read any webcomics (well... I read NO PINK PONIES), mostly because... I fucking hate webcomics. It's irrational hatred based on broad generalizations and bad experiences I've had with webcomics, which, in theory, is a totally valid medium that just happens to produce mostly VAPID, DISHONEST BULLSHIT. Seriously, every since THAT WEEKLY stopped, I have not given a shit about webcomics. ENTER ZACH WORTON.

Now, a lot of this might be me projecting, as I actually know Zach and and can confirm it, but FLASHCITRUS, though only a few strips long thus far, is the most brutally honest and unforgiving observational humor strip I've ever seen. It's mostly about venting frustration, but there's a subtle self-depricating side to it as well. I'm also impressed with Zach's utter willingness to tackle uncomfortable subject matter, such as his feelings on growing old and death, after being forced to confront his mortality when visiting his girlfriends grandfather. The style he chose to draw the comic in, that psuedo-OWL magazine looking funny animal style, goes a long way to difusing what would otherwise become a total downer of a self-introspective story while at the same time adding a fun visual contrast between obviously cartoon visuals and the most serious, viseral, subject matter of the strips.

I really hope to see more of these in the future, and would like to maybe see them collected in a nice little book at some point. Good job Zach; you've made me not hate webcomics again.

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