Notables 2010: Jesse Reklaw’s Ten Thousand Things to Do

Jesse Reklaw, Ten Thousand Things to Do, no. 1-4. 2008-9

Autobio comics have been a staple of the indie comics scene since Harvey Pekar and R. Crumb first started going them in the early 70s. A more recent mode has been the diary comic. If it wasn’t invented by James Kochalka he certainly popularized the form with his wonderful sketchbook diaries, in which he has been drawing 4-panel observations of his life every day for more than 10 years. Jesse Reklaw (whose The Night of Your Life is featured in BAC 11)’s diary comics (originally published as minicomics and now available in book form) follow a similar format but are much denser with text and image than Kochalka’s haiku-esque strips. TTTTD gives you an over-the-shoulder look at the day-to-day life of a cartoonist of a certain age (mine and Jessica’s, basically!) and it’s not very glamorous, though the existence of the very work itself is a testament to the passion Jesse brings to cartooning. There are also helpful diagrams at the end of each strip diagramming mood, pain, and amounts of caffeine and alcohol consumed during the day.

What is this “Notable” thing all about? Matt and Jessica are the series editors for the Best American Comics, and are responsible for the Notable Comics list at the back of the book, which is comprised of virtually all the comics we sent to the guest editor that weren’t picked, as well as a number of others that we think are noteworthy for various reasons, but that we didn’t send to the guest editor.

We’ve always hoped readers will delve a bit into the list to find more great stories once they finish reading BAC. Realistically, though, we know that’s tough. What can you know about a story from a title and author? So this is one of a series of posts focusing on each of the Notables from the 2010 Best American Comics.

Have or know of a comic we should look at? Find submission info here.

The “age” suggestion is what we think might be the minimum age for reading and appreciating a work. All works on the list, though, should appeal to older audiences too. It’s a minimum suggestion only.


2 Comments to Notables 2010: Jesse Reklaw’s Ten Thousand Things to Do

  • by Jed Alexander

    On April 9, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    I really loved Jesse’s diary comics, but I’ve known both Jesse and Andrice for a number of years, and reading these always made me feel kind of bad for him. It’s one thing to read about some miserable experience that Ivan Brunetti or Crumb have gone through, but watching Jesse twist in the wind was kind of painful. It made me want to give him a hug. I really hope he takes better care of his health.

  • by Jahhdog

    On April 9, 2011 at 10:47 am

    This style of comic appeals to me but the amount of text can take me out of the comic.

    I wish more could be conveyed with more illustration and less text…


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