So for the next month or so people will tell you all the reasons why you should read The Comics Journal #302. It has the last interview with Maurice Sendak, an amazing How to Draw section with Roy Crane and his ghost artist (it's worth at least one semester of comic book school credit), a tribute to Dylan Williams, an extensive interview with Jacques Tardi, a new Joe Sacco comic, a Percy Crosby examination and so much more. But I'm here to tell you how you could use TCJ 302 to sweat. At 672 pages, this tome is not just a brick of knowledge, it's a heavy-ass brick of knowledge.
While the matte cover could potentially soak up a lot of sweat, wrist bands and occasionally toweling yourself will keep your TCJ 302 fighting fit.
The single arm row is a great workout for your back. Kneeling over a chair or bench, place one knee and hand on it. Hold TCJ 302 in other arm fully extended towards the ground. With your back parallel to the ground, slowly bring the book up to your midsection and then return to the starting position. Remember to keep your back still as you shakily lift up TCJ 302.
Now the triceps are a problem area for most Americans. Standing completely straight, feet planted firmly hip-width apart on the floor, start with your TCJ 302 in your hand extended straight up in the air. Using not gravity or momentum but your own muscles, bend your elbow and slowly bring your forearm behind your head. If you do this move too fast, you might get a papercut on your ear as the pages flip around a bit. Make sure not to move your elbow or upper arm. Then return your arm to the fully extended position. Feel free to place your free hand on your hip or wrap it around your face to cradle your elbow to ensure it doesn't dip down during the rep.
Now, some of you think you can just read TCJ 302 on the bus or in bed without any training or conditioning. Unless you want a repeat of the late 90s-2000s "Harry Pottered Nose" or to generations before that "Unabridged Les Mis" we suggest you read sitting upright until you've conditioned your forearms to proper reading strength. Be alert and well-hydrated while reading.
Now don't think I've forgotten about cardio! Run your usual one mile, three miles, sprints or what have you, but while holding TCJ 302 and imagining Maurice Sendak's mischievous beasts breathing down your neck. For added horror, run while holding the TCJ 302 above your head.
Some of you might be cartoonists yourselves who have a love of history, the craft and critical analysis. Bully for you! This excersize will whip your arm into shape. Strap TCJ 302 onto your drawing arm and work on your 1000 pages of bad comics until the good ones show up (per Dave Sim's advice). Soon you'll be one-arm push upping your way to glorious two-page spreads and switching from nib to brush to tech pen with the greatest of ease.
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