Where to start? Should be obvious, but somehow when I try to explain this project I end up tying the whole thing in knots. In the end I guess the best place to begin is with the comic. Thank you for showing interest and I hope you enjoy reading it.
Held Up #01 is the first in a series of comics which will run for 18 to 23 issues. The goal is to release an issue every 3 months.
This issue will most likely leave you with more questions than answers. Who is the black figure with the rabbit? What’s the deal with the piñata? I don’t promise any useful answers yet, but plenty of explanation.
I recently showed a rough draft of this issue to a friend of mine. Afterwards we discussed the merits of the word mnemonic, a word that makes an appearance on page 3. She admired the sound of it. The M followed by the N. It is a fascinating word even before understanding its meaning. It is also an appropriate word when applied to this comic. In a lot of ways Held Up is a complex system of mnemonic devices. Every element symbolizes something, just not always something relevant to its plot.
Held Up is structurally modeled after my personal translation of Francis Jammes’ turn of the century French novel Le Roman du Lievre. Each issue is based on a chapter of the book. Occasionally the text from this translation finds its way into the comic, sort of keeping pace. “He became brother to the skylark in their fast flight” on page thirteen is an example.
The first chapter of Le Roman du Lievre follows the wanderings of a Hare. It is all about travel and flight from those that hunt him. The reader gets little insight into Hare’s character until Chapter Three. It is this sort of structure that each comic draws from.
The characters, events and other content reflect everything but Le Roman du Lievre itself. It is a melting pot of the marginalia, anecdotes, and free associations that surround my relationship to the book and the many projects that have already emerged from it.
As some readers might be aware, I have been producing work related to Le Roman du Lievre for a while. These projects have taken many forms. A Group show, road trip, the cooking of food, documentation can be found at www.leromandulievre.com. A basic summary of the project can be found on this blog's Le Roman du Lievre page.
One of the most recent installments was a self-referential catalog containing the marginalia of the marginalia of a show titled Marginalia. What better next step than a Comic, right? From the esoteric to panels and thought bubbles. While drawing from this catalog for material, Held Up’s plot is largely based on events I have not been able to archive thus far. It attempts to tie up loose ends, which there is an endless supply of.
All said, this comic is still intended to be able to stand alone, though being aware of this previous work should provide some useful background and possible entertainment for those of you interested in that sort of thing. Held Up is in many ways the result of its history and the arbitrary rules that have been placed on it. But I hope it reads as much more.