Archive for October, 2009

And in Honor of Halloween…


Have a great weekend!

Aaaah! New Beanworld!

Larry checks in on his blog (and in yesterday’s comments) to report that he’s received advance copies of Beanworld Book 3, with the all-new stories we’ve been waiting 15 years for!

From the catalog description:

Fifteen years in the making, Remember Here When You Are There! completes the “Springtime” cycle of stories, in which the perfect harmony of the Beanworld is interrupted for the first time.

The official pub date isn’t until December 23, but DH says it’s available for pre-order here.

Can the completion of Big Numbers be far behind?

(Yes. Yes it can.)

There and Back Again

The road between analog and digital is a two-way street for a lot of cartoonists these days.

Bringing it home this week: A shop talk video featuring Doug TenNapel (via a tweet by Kazu) and an email from artist Nate Simpson about his use of the Cintiq.

TenNapel’s video covers many of the same techniques my generation was using 20 years ago—right down to the Windsor-Newton finest sable #3—but with a difference. Mr. T. is perfectly comfortable using digital tools (has in the past, might in the future) he just prefers the traditional ones right now, and his affection for them shows in the video.

Meanwhile, Simpson has fallen head-over-heels in love with his tablet monitor and has been producing some amazing art and discussing process over at his blog for a while. 100% digital and happy as a clam.

Both are talented artists. Both have set foot on both analog and digital soil. Now they’re settling on whichever patch of land is making them happy. And if they ever want to pull up stakes and go back, they know the way.

I remember when that two-way street was a dirt path.

Guarded by Trolls.

What is Monkey Punch Dinosaur?

No seriously, what is it? I don’t even remember anymore. It’s been too long. Did I contribute at some point? Explain yourself, The Internet.

Anyway, it’s still there, I guess, and nearing the #100th drawing of, well…

Monkeys punching dinosaurs.

Alex Fellows: Spain and Morocco

Alex Fellows checks in to let us know that his new comic Spain and Morocco has begun its online serialization. If anyone wants to get in on the ground floor, now’s your chance.

Looks like a good start to me, and the cover is pretty cool too.

General Update: Drawing, Typing, and Talking

In the next few weeks, I’ll be finishing the first draft of the layouts for my graphic novel (working title, The Sculptor). Then on to revisions through February and production of the actual artwork over the course of two more years (it’s about 400 pages). It’ll be done in early 2012 (and yeah, 3 years for a GN may be a long time but hey, at least it’s still quicker than Habibi).

I’m not talking about The Sculptor much on this forum yet because it’s too early, but I’ve been more consumed by this project than anything I’ve ever done, so it’s definitely on my mind night and day. If First Second and I decide to share any of its progress visually next year, you’ll read about it here first. For now though, enjoy all the other great GNs on the market and know that I’m working seven days a week, eleven hours a day on this book when not answering email or traveling.

Speaking of which: My email inbox remains an ongoing avalanche, so please forgive me if my responses have been sluggish. I really am trying to answer all those various requests and urgent messages as fast as I can, there are just so many of them. Seriously, picture Ringo Starr in that Simpson’s episode where he gets around to Marge’s fan mail. That’s me.

I’ll be updating the travel sidebar soon, with upcoming engagements in Portland, Pennsylvania, Indiana (again) and London (twice). Not all are public, but I’ll try to give you fair warning if I’m coming to your city or school.

Back to the tablet!

I Love the Web

Well, here’s something that took a long time to make and was totally worth it.

As someone working on a three year graphic novel project, I find this sort of thing encouraging.

(via Ian Gilman)


Kate Beaton sums up her experience at APE this year with a drawing of fifteen characters, cartoonists, and friends from the event plus URL’s. It’s a fantastic drawing that makes you want to see Ms. B draw everyone’s comic for a month (if you didn’t already), and a great way to commemorate the event.

I could see it being a little more than that though. I’m betting that in ten years or so, it’ll also serve as a snapshot of a moment in a comics community, frozen in time like that photo of the sailor kissing the nurse in Times Square.

People are always coming and going in comics. Communities are accidents that happen once in a while when a critical mass of like-minded artists stay in one physical or virtual place long enough to fall into each others’ orbits. They’re never permanent, but you can tell when they start generating the kinds of shared memories that will eventually earn that time and place a name—at least for those who were part of it.

This one doesn’t have a name yet, but it has a snapshot. Let’s just print it, put it in a envelope, mark it “Open in 2019″ and see how things shake out.

Take Two—With Legos

Yesterday’s topic, cross-posted over at my Facebook page, prompted reader Håkan Storsaeter to remind us that Crumb isn’t the only one to take on Genesis in comics form in recent years.

The Rev. Brendan Powell Smith, since 2001, has been chronicling the entire Old and New Testament using Lego blocks at The Brick Testament. Check it out for some funny and genuinely creative visualizations of countless Bible stories.

And if you know of other attempts to comics-cize the Bible that we can read online, let us know.

Visualizing Religion

Today is the release date for R. Crumb’s massive, fleshy, and strangely literal adaptation of the book of Genesis. It will make some people happy, other people mad, and still other people shrug, but from a purely comics perspective, all you really need to know is that it’s 224 pages of new Crumb artwork (Hell, I’d buy it if it was the official R. Crumb adaptation of the Boise, Idaho Yellow Pages).

Coincidentally, on NPR this morning, I heard this depressing story about “feuding” Atheists. Apparently, even though I’m a sometimes “angry” atheist myself, I would actually be classified as “old school” according to this story. The idea of going out of one’s way to offend believers seems pointless and self-defeating to me—a resounding demonstration of how religion can dominate a person’s life instead of a good case for a compelling alternative.

I don’t know about you, but I always thought the alternative to blind faith was knowledge. If some people insist on ignoring scientific evidence (150 years of research on evolution for example) maybe it’s because we’ve done such a bad job of teaching that science. There are no quick fixes, but I can’t help thinking that simply getting knowledge out the door by any means necessary is our only way out of the swamp.

In a way, Crumb’s Genesis is a step in that direction, because it makes visible a document that even the faithful are sometimes a bit sketchy on as they cherry-pick the lessons that sound warm and fuzzy and conveniently forget all that weird, crazy, ancient gibberish. I can think of one instance where actually reading the Bible finally convinced one Catholic to give it all up.

Note that I have no idea if that was Crumb’s intent or not.  All I know is that I’d be much happier if everybody had a fuller understanding of all religions and all sciences and could simply make up their minds based on information instead of merely taking sides among warring tribes of fanatics.

I’ve said it about art, but I guess it applies here too:

We can’t define ourselves by what we’re not.