The Heart and The Brain and The Body Give You

I guess we’re returning for another round of THR newsletter graphics, huh? It’s been two weeks already…? Time flies when you’re stuck inside all the time with nothing to differentiate the days anymore, creating a break with how we traditionally measure the passage of time…!

We start, curiously, with a number of graphics where the headline changed after the graphic was created — it’s not something that happens usually, yet somehow it happened a bunch of times in a row recently. File under “the process gets weird when everyone works from home.”

For the next two, it wasn’t that the headline changed, it’s that I literally couldn’t decide which color scheme I preferred, so I offered both. (The graphic went unused altogether, so I didn’t find out which one would have been chosen.)

I Can’t Make You Stop And Listen

The THR newsletter has been in a little bit of flux in these virus-ridden times as news slowed down and we started wondering what we’d even be writing about. Then, of course, things started to pick up again because of course they did — but here are the graphics from that slowdown period.

Don’t You Close The Door On Fate When She Comes To Call

And again, a bunch of graphics for the THR newsletter that ended up going unused this time around. To properly explain why this happens, because I’ve mentioned it a couple times now: the graphics are created a day or so before the newsletter itself, based on stories people think are going to be in there — but in the time between then and the newsletter being sent out, stories can and do drop out for any number of reasons: they’re not ready, they’ve already run on the site because things happened faster than expected, or simply that they’re no longer true.

So, sometimes, graphics get orphaned. It’s why I like to save them all here, so that there’s some kind of record, an afterlife that’s better than nothing.

All My Troubles Seemed So Far Away

One of those newsletter graphics entries where I’m not entirely sure how many of these were actually used — there’s generally some wastage, but I feel like in the last month or so, there’s been a bunch that disappeared before the newsletter has gone out, for any number of reasons. So, here are some debuts, I guess…?

If Happy Times Are Too Few And Far Between

Once again, it’s time for the joy that is the THR newsletter graphics. It genuinely is still one of the highlights of my work week to get to do these, as freeform and inexplicable as they may be.


And then, I had a change of heart and decided to use a logo treatment from the actual Strange Tales comic itself; it worked much better:

And Tell Him Twice

The first THR newsletter graphics of the year have finally arrived! I’m amused that there was so many similar subjects being covered. (There’s 2 — technically 3 — graphics for the movie version of Ex Machina being planned, and 2 for the new Bad Boys movie.)

And then, two variations on the same graphic, because no-one could work out which headline they wanted…

How Would I Know, Why Should I Care

There’s a rhythm to this site, although I’m not sure it’s something that anyone but me would notice. There are things I try to post at set times, or in “slots” that make sense to me but were never planned that way. To wit, this should be another collection of THR newsletter graphics. Except there aren’t any to post.

Okay, that’s not entirely true; I could, in theory, post the last couple of weeks’ images, but then I run into another internal rhythm problem — I’d eat up the buffer of time between the images running in the newsletter and my posting them here. For some reason, that two-to-three week gap is  important to me, although I couldn’t explain why properly.

What happened was that the newsletter paused for the holidays. We took two weeks off, which felt great at the time, but created a window here where there wouldn’t be a graphics post as usual. On the one hand, that’s not a big deal — I’ve been doing the 2020 Vision posts daily and posting photos from Brazil, so the site’s been image heavy as is, at least compared with before. But on the other hand…!

I’m a creature of habit. I wish that I wasn’t, and I can be very good in situations where improvisation is necessary, surprising even myself, but… I like knowing how things are, and not worrying about potential surprises or complications around the corner. So, not having a newsletter graphics post was something that genuinely weighed on me for days as I approached today. What was I going to do? What could I do? Should I ignore it? Post graphics and eat up the buffer? Write a long, self-indulgent post about the whole thing?

At the heart of it, ultimately, is how important and necessary routine and rhythm has become for me here. Knowing that I should post a particular thing on a particular day — even though no-one’s reading, even though it’s all self-imposed rules and barriers — makes it easier for me to keep doing this, somehow. It’s the difference between swimming an ocean or doing laps at a pool: if I know that I have newsletter graphics every two weeks, then I know how long each lap is in between, to torture the metaphor. That counts, for me.

So: no newsletter graphics, even though they “should” go here. No-one regrets that more than me.

Let Me Tell You Something Else

The final look at my graphics for THR‘s weekly Heat Vision newsletter is a weird one — instead of six or seven graphics consisting of two weeks’ worth of newsletters, this is six graphics from one week, and, like the graphics from the San Diego Comic-Con edition, six graphics created while I was a convention, in this case, Brazil’s Comic Con Experience. Because, you know, I wasn’t busy enough as it was, doing convention stuff. (Actually, I wasn’t, as it happened.)

These three images were created the night I arrived in Brazil, based on an email request from my editor Aaron; as I’ve said elsewhere, that was the end of 18 hours of travel, and was actually followed by more work, because of course it was. When you factor in the time difference, I think it was 38 hours of being awake more or less, with just a mild restless nap or two in between, all told.

Which explains why, two days later, I looked at that “SCOOP!” — intended as a placeholder for when there’s an exclusive and I’m not available to create a graphic for it, which looked like it may be a possibility at that point for that very week — and thought, “That looks illegible.” (I literally was having trouble focusing my eyes when I handed it in. Secrets from Behind The Scenes!) So, I fixed it.

The same day I fixed that, I got two more last-minute requests. Thankfully, it was the one day of the Brazil trip that I wasn’t at the convention.

At this point, I’ve been doing these newsletter graphics for a little over a year, and 2019 was the first calendar year where they were a constant. We only missed two weeks of the entire year. It’s been a pleasure, really, to do them. I feel like they scratched an itch I didn’t know I had, and I feel more… awake, creatively, as a result. I’m really grateful for the chance to do them, this far in.