January 1, 2022

Here’s a look back at what HILOBROW published in 2021. I’m very grateful to our hundreds of contributors, and also to stalwart series editors Peggy Nelson, Adam McGovern, and Matthew Battles. — JOSH

BEST OF HILOBROW: 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022 | 2023 | 1Q2024 | 2Q2024 SNEAK PEEK | 2Q2024.

Also see: HYPOCRITE IDLER 2021.


Drawing by Ena Nealon.

In 1Q2021, Matthew Battles introduced a new series, BESTIARY, via which HILOBROW friends and regular contributors offer idiosyncratic investigations into how animals show up in human culture. Here’s a sampling of the lineup:

James Hannaham on CINDER WORM: They’re prey; that puts them on our side. | Heather Kapplow on SHREW: You cannot tame us. | Chris Spurgeon on ALBATROSS: No such thing as a lesser one. | Charlie Mitchell on JACKALOPE: This is no coney. | Tom Nealon on PANDA: An icon’s inner carnivore reawakens.


Adam McGovern continued to deliver over-the-transom, on-tangent essays, dialogues and subjective scholarship via his monthly-ish series OFF-TOPIC. Here’s a sampling of the lineup:

RANK AND FIRE: Meanings of life and death with THE BLACK PANTHER PARTY’s graphic biographers | FLESHTOMES: The depths of skin in JOAN SEMMEL’s newest paintings | WHO RESCUED ANYBODY: Swapping minds with Mac Rogers as GIVE ME AWAY comes to Earth | BUILDING A METAPHOR: Sheltering in space with ALMA BAYA’s creators and enactors | THE HERO’S DETOUR: ALL OF THE MARVELS and other never-ending series.


A Toast to Burning Desires: Summer Treats

Peggy Nelson continued to investigate art and the virtual life through her two irregular series EYE CANDY and SIMULACRA. Here’s a sampling of the lineup:

GODZILLA NIHONGA: Gaze upon Murakami’s Majestic Sea Elemental and see the god in the beast | TEA PARTY: Bagging that cuppa – the tiny tea bag art of Ruby Silvious | JELLO AND AI: Janelle Shane trains a neural net on recipes | 100 STAIRWAYS: Tom Compagnoni’s mashup masterpiece of 100 YouTube covers of Stairway to Heaven | FOR #NOIRVEMBER: Max Zorn’s packing tape noirs.


During 1Q021, we wrapped up the first phase of Josh Glenn’s long-running BEST ADVENTURES PROJECT, which since 2013 has involved publishing one hundred 10-part series of posts, each one dedicated to surfacing the best adventures from a single year of the 20th century. A thousand posts later, Josh published the final decade-specific list: 100 Best Adventures of the Nineties (1994–2003).

Josh also extracted 2–3 favorite adventures from each year of the 20th century in order to arrive at a list of the 250 Best Adventures of the 20th Century. In May, we were grateful to Fortune for suggesting that this list might help folks combat the tedium of the Covid-19 epidemic.

During 4Q2021, Josh started gearing up for a 21st-century version of the BEST ADVENTURES PROJECT by assembling a preliminary list of his favorite HADRON AGE SF titles — which is to say, science fiction adventures from 2004–2023. Beginning in 1Q2022, watch for weekly HADRON AGE SF installments.


During 1Q2020, we published FERB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, a 25-part “enthusiasm” series dedicated to animated cartoons. (Josh Glenn was the series editor.) Here’s a sampling of the series lineup: Miranda Mellis on STEVEN UNIVERSE | Mimi Lipson on THE FLINTSTONES | Sam Glenn on BIG MOUTH | Mandy Keifetz on ROAD RUNNER | Ramona Lyons on SHE-RA.


During 2Q2021, we published a 25-part series — titled FIVE-O YOUR ENTHUSIASM — dedicated to some our favorite TV shows from the Sixties (1964–1973). (Josh Glenn was the series editor.) Here’s a sampling of the series lineup: Lucy Sante on SECRET AGENT/DANGER MAN (1964–1968 seasons) | Carlo Rotella on MANNIX (1967–1973 seasons) | Michael Grasso on UFO (1970–1973) | Adrienne Crew on BEWITCHED (1964–1972) | Greg Rowland on THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY (1970–1973 seasons).


Illustration by Carolyn Raship

During 3Q2021, we published a 25-part series — SWERVE YOUR ENTHUSIASM — on the topic of our favorite unfinished masterworks, legendary obscurities and cherished almost-weres. (Adam McGovern was the series editor.) Here’s a sampling of the series lineup: Douglas Wolk on BIG NUMBERS #3 | Lynn Peril on 70, GIRLS, 70 | Ron Wimberly on SHIRATO SANPEI | Heather Kapplow on LORD OF LIGHT | Carolyn Raship on BURNT BRONTË.


During 4Q2021, we published a 25-part series — NERD YOUR ENTHUSIASM — on the topic of our favorite nerdy obsessions. (Peggy Nelson was the series editor.) Here’s a sampling of the lineup: Andrew Sempere on NERDING | Nicholas Rombes on OLD GEOLOGY SURVEY BOOKS WITH MAP INSERTS | Vanessa Berry on NEWSAGENCY AESTHETICS | Eric Weisbard on SUMMATIONS | Kio Stark on LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CLASSIFICATION CODES.


In 2009–2010, Rob Walker and HILOBROW’s Josh Glenn collaborated on the literary/economic/anthropological experiment SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS. Over a decade later, they’re still working together — via PROJECT:OBJECT, here at HILOBROW.

During 2Q2021, PROJECT:OBJECT presented SEMIO OBJECTS, a series of object-oriented nonfiction narratives contributed by commercial semioticians from around the world. (It was cross-posted from HILOBROW’s sister site, SEMIOVOX; Josh Glenn was the series editor.) Here’s a sampling of the lineup:

Lucia Laurent-Neva on SPONGEBOB BUS | Samuel Grange on SALT & PEPPER HOLDER| Gabriela Pedranti on MAFALDA DOLL | Serdar Paktin on NEY | Sónia Marques on CABBAGE TUREEN.


Photo courtesy of Maria Swisher

During 2Q2021, PROJECT:OBJECT presented PROJECT:OBJECTIONABLE, a 25-part series about personal objects that sparked alarm, outrage, and bewilderment. (Adam McGovern was the series editor.) Here’s a sampling of the lineup:

Lisa Levy on TOILETTE-À-TÊTE | Maria Swisher on STEALING GENIUS | Lauren Curtis on NAILED IT! | Crystal Durant on LICENSE TO SHOCK | Michele Carlo on THE MANY HATS OF CARMEN MOFONGO.

More info at the PROJECT:OBJECT homepage.


This spring Hat & Beard Press will publish LOST OBJECTS, a print version of Project:Object’s series of that title first published here at HILOBROW. Josh Glenn and Rob Walker are the book’s editors. There are nearly 100 talented writer and/or artist contributors; and Debbie Millman has contributed an introduction. The book’s design is by Leone Design Associates. Tentative release date: April 5. Stay tuned!


Click for closer view.

During 2021, we invited several HILOBROW friends to share their research, artwork, collections, and more with us. These one-off series included:

  • Wayne Chambliss’s NAPLES explored the sculptural, architectural, and historical marvels of Naples.
  • Lynn Peril’s CONSTANT CLOSET shared vintage items of clothing that she’s continued to wear for decades.
  • Lawry Hutcheson’s LINOCUT 2020 showcased linocut block prints from his 2020 calendar project, with commentary.
  • Adam Netburn’s CHALK.PRESS showcased — and helpfully interpreted the unspoken significance of — his garment and accessory label’s pandemic-era creations.
  • Max Glenn’s PARAMAX guided our listening to his latest release, Maxtape II.
  • Theo Ellsworth’s DRAWING TABLE WORLD provided a glimpse into his studio, with commentary.


Frontispiece to Fridtjof Nansen’s In Northern Mists: Arctic Exploration in Early Times, 1911

We continued to serialize proto-sf stories from the emerging genre’s RADIUM AGE, c. 1900–1935. (We began serializing Radium Age stories in Spring 2012; we’re now in our 10th year of doing so.) Here’s the 2021 lineup:

We also serialized THE MOON POOL, a 1919 proto-sf novel — often cited as an influence on Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos — by Abraham Merritt. We’ll wrap up this serialization during 1Q2022.

HILOBROW’s Josh Glenn is editor of the RADIUM AGE series of reissued proto-sf stories forthcoming from MIT Press. More info here.



During 2021, we asked a few HILOBROW friends for permission to cross-post their work from elsewhere on the Internet.

  • Marc Weidenbaum, Ethan Marcotte, and Blanca Rego were included in the CROSS-POST series edited by Peggy Nelson.
  • Peggy also went to great lengths to bring Toby Ferris’s ANATOMY OF NORBITON project to HILOBROW’s readers.
  • Yuko Oda’s YUKO ODA presented her works (and works-in-progress) from her Instagram feed, with commentary.
  • Rick Pinchera’s PLAGUE YEAR shared 2020 artwork from his Instagram feed, with commentary.
  • Joe Alterio’s GOOD WORK JOE shared short comics from his Instagram feed, with commentary.
  • Mister Reusch’s LI’L REUSCH showcased childhood drawings from his Instagram feed, with commentary.
  • Erik Davis allowed us to cross-post DISTENDED ANIMATION, a series featuring a few “favorite, mostly West Coast, experimental animations,” from his newsletter Burning Shore.
  • Finally, we published new installments in the 2020–2021 and 2021–2022 volumes of 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE — which reprints stories originally contributed to Josh Glenn and Rob Walker’s SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS project.


On to 2022… Here’s a SNEAK PEEK.