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Jesse Reklaw's Ten Thousand Things To Do #2-4
posted June 24, 2009
 

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Creator: Jesse Reklaw (With Occasional Guest Strips By Friends)
Publishing Information: Self-Published, mini-comic, 64 pages, 2009, $4
Ordering Numbers: None, but orders can be made here.

I'm not sure that I have anything of great substance to say about the second through fourth issues of Jesse Reklaw's diary comic Ten Thousand Things To Do that I didn't say in my review of #1; then again, it's debatable how much of weight and import I said the first time around. Consider this more of a heads-up and a reiteration of support. I like these comics. I enjoy them. They're a very dense read, visually pleasing to a significant degree given the four-panel constraints, frequently funny (Reklaw and his girlfriend Andrice Arp share the best lines about 50/50) and ultimately enlightening as to the day-in, day-out professional life of the full-time, struggling creative person.

There are the usual joys of close-up autobiography here -- immediate reflection on just-past events, the specifics of culture no one could fake, the way that people in the comic admit that reading previous comics have changed their perception of the lead, and so on -- but it's really only when you read a bunch of these you realize how focused they are on creative process and its costs. As the title suggests, the main focus of Reklaw's life as portrayed here is simply getting things done, or dealing with the failure to do so. You don't get a spotlight on Reklaw's central personal relationships, say, or profound explorations of his past. To its credit, this approach captures the feel of how more mundane and more profound matters become crowded out by the treadmill that is moving stuff out the door and moving onto the next project. While it does provide some insight into the life of a Portland cartoonist in that city's great golden age of hometown cartooning, I'd suggest the greater value of what Reklaw accomplishes here is to make the creative process look like a substitute life at the same time it can be a center of one's life. I hope he keeps going.