I first fell under his spell during a casual encounter with The Yiddish Policemen’s Union and then descended into hopeless obsession this summer, between the pages of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Here’s a brief passage from the first essay in Manhood for Amateurs, on the sheer hubris of trying make art in the first place:
“Every work of art is one half of a secret handshake, a challenge that seeks the password, a heliograph flashed from a tower window, an act of hopeless optimism in the service of bottomless longing…Art, like fandom, asserts the possibility of fellowship in a world built entirely from the materials of solitude. The novelist, the cartoonist, the songwriter, knows that the gesture is doomed from the beginning but makes it anyway, flashes his or her bit of mirror, not on the chance that the signal will be seen or understood but as if such a chance existed.”
See what I mean?