N.Y.D.I. #1: A History In Publishing

N.Y.D.I. #1: A History In Publishing

by Jesse Reklaw

N.Y.D.I. #1: A History In Publishing (note: "No, You Do It) is a self-published diatribe from the author of Applicant, Ten Thousand Things to Do, and Night of Your Life, about the ills of self-publishing. Part one of a series. Says The Comics Reporter, "I can't believe there are a lot of artists out there that wouldn't benefit from just seeing someone like Reklaw confront the realities of what making art means when the making art part becomes an achievable thing, only at significant and sometimes unconsidered cost. I look forward to a second issue."


The Comics Journal 10/26/2011

TCJ: Okay yeah, you talked about your publishing history in the first issue of your new minicomic, N.Y.D.I. #1 (No, You Do It), your response to the ethos of DIY. The funniest part is your realization that doing it DIY might be pointless or even socially selfish: “The ultimate DIY self-publisher would also be the self-customer. I would write, edit, design, print, distribute, sell, buy, and read my own work. Why publish at all? Why not just sit on the couch and thing about stuff?!”

So what do you think, have you answered the question you posed yourself - “After self-publishing for 20 years, what’s next?”

REKLAW: If I told told you it would be a spoiler to the last issue of the mini-comic!

The Comics Reporter 10/26/2011

eklaw's focus isn't so much his own publishing history but using elements of same to pick at underlying assumptions that slip into place when one wants to make art on one's own. That simple act seems to have enough of an effect it might make the reader wonder how much of a group effort is being put into remaining as ignorant as possible about certain elements of the publishing business surrounding certain kinds of art. Reklaw digs into the economics of both self-publishing and low-level (four-figure) standard publishing book deals with a great deal of can-you-believe-this humor, and may be even funnier when he challenges his own abilities when it comes to wearing a lot of hats as effectively, or with the same desire, as he hopes to make art. It's dry humor, told with an admirably straight face as much as possible. It helps to have settled into his largely self-deprecating and amiable tone for a few pages, but when you do the piece moves right along.

The Daily Planet 10/26/2011

[Reklaw's] experience self-publishing taught him lessons that he would later call upon when dealing with publishers, agents, marketers, and so on. As he says near this comics’ close: “I know that I’ll always be on the fringe of the publishing world, but it doesn’t mean I have to struggle alone. I just need to find the right publisher, designer, agent, and marketing people to work with. Easier than doing it all myself, I guess.” Which is true, certainly; but in order to get there, in order to find those kindred spirits, most of us will have to self-publish first, at least for a little while.

High Low Comics 10/26/2011

The title is a gag on DYI ("do it yourself"), the traditional zine mantra, replacing it with "No, You Do It." Reklaw is a master of utilizing unusual structures for autobiographical comics. His Couch Tag stories frame deeper personal details around a list of the cats his family owned or the games that he and his friends created. The excellent Ten Thousand Things To Do is a diary strip that integrates his daily personal and social routines with the real physical and emotional pain he feels on a constant basis. N.Y.D.I slips in details about his father's post-divorce reinvention as a cross-dressing slam poet, his girlfriend's perspective on him becoming a published author and how actually sitting down to draw is a cheering activity. Those details add a richness to his primary narrative framework: a breakdown of how he managed to get various of his comics published over the years.