insect bath, a comic book in the underground horror tradition (bogeyman, skull, slow death, and of course insect fear), was to be co-published and co-edited by dylan williams and myself. dylan and i started talking about working together on such a project in early 2010. we slowly made progress through the year and began receiving art in 2011. and then dylan passed away. i don’t get the phase “passed away” because i’ve felt his presence every single day since i met him. “passed away” sounds and feels totally wrong when pushed up against the hours and hours of conversations we had about life and death. that’s what dylan and i talked about. life and death and how to organize and share it in a meaningful way. and out of those conversations came insect bath.
since dylan’s crossing to the other side, the unknown, the beyond, the whatever the fuck you want to call it (i’m pretty angry about it these days), i’ve also experienced the passing (see, i’m ok with “passing” but not “passed away”) of my grandma and grandpa (basically my parents) and my comrade, kim thompson. with all this dying, work on insect bath (and many other things) ground to a near halt (my love and respect to the contributors and their patience and understanding). i didn’t know if i should finish the book without dylan and after i’d decided to see the project through – much of the time i’ve been freaked out and anxious, struggling to move forward – worried i was going to let dylan down – because dylan and i didn’t agree on everything. in fact, we were both pretty cranky about our and each other’s choices and there were a couple of times when i thought we were going to cancel the project due to our differences. but our mutual inspiration, respect, and love for one another, and our faith in art, have kept it going and are continuing to carry it through to the end and beyond!
i wish i had a transcript of our conversations about insect bath (i wish i had a transcript of all our conversations). i’ve read our emails about the thing hundreds of times but they’re just names, trim sizes, page counts, and costs… nuts and bolts stuff. dylan and i were both bewitched by the threshold between life and death. and through our experience and searching we felt we’d found some faint transmissions from that indescribable place, and we were excited by how some of this art seemed at odds with each other. we believe(d) almost all of this stuff i’m referring to falls under 1 of 2 headings: nihilistic or spiritual. we’re talking about the type of stuff that scrapes razors down your skin or compels you to jump up and push your hands into the sky. it seemed to us that there is a very thin, perhaps crinkly, veil of paper between the nihilist stuff and the spiritual stuff and it made perfect sense to us that a cheap black and white underground horror comic book was the way to go about learning and sharing our discoveries, while also having fun.
and so here you and i are – my aim for this tumblr is to share previews from insect bath. a way to help keep me going while wetting your whistle, for when the book is ready for your eyeballs (end of 2013!). thank you, love, and enjoy!
jason t. miles 7/29/13