I am reading The Penguin Book of Prose Poems, an anthology of... well, prose poems. A nicely-sized paperback made out of stacks of typical cheap FSC paper. But my goodness, the book smells good. Almost vanilla-ish, earthy, subtle. And I think, man I wish comics smelled more like prose paperbacks.
Comics smell like ink: heavy, pungent. Like glue in effect. I'd know – the Carpet Merchant came out as a dense giant sandwich of CMYK; nearly every page is covered from corner to corner. Apparently people enjoy that smell. It's the first thing they would comment on, before they talk about the art or the story. I like watching people plunge their face into my book. It's funny, but sweet.
Unfortunately I don't like that smell very much. It's not my thing. I wish comics smelled more like prose paperbacks. I want vanilla. I want the smell that comes with yellowing pages. I want comics to compliment the atmospheric scent of my studio-bedroom, which is also a library. I want comics to smell like a dusty library. I don't know. I have memories of reading that's incongruous to the materials my books are printed with. My entire history is cheap FSC paper and brittle ancient sweet stock. But comics are a different medium, and until they make ink that smells like prose paperbacks (though if we had a choice, I'd prefer peach or brown sugar), comics will have to smell like comics.
Reimena Yee is a graphic novelist, artist and flamingo enthusiast.
She writes and illustrates quite a few webcomics and graphic novels. When not making books, she lulls away her time with essays on craft, life and experiences in the publishing industry. Some of her thoughts of art and life are rather unstructured and will evolve over time as this blog matures, as they should be.
Currently committed to being Alexander the Great's death doula. Is a nerd for all things spooky and historical.
Melbourne / Kuala Lumpur
French Book Tour, January 2024