Every so often you get the proverbial offer-you-can’t-refuse. For me, sometimes that’s work with a creator or for a project that I love. Sometimes it’s when somebody you respect needs help. Sometimes it’s a fun artistic challenge, and sometimes it’s a really cool opportunity to make contact with a new audience.
And sometimes it’s all of those things, because maestro Scott Kurtz needs somebody to write and draw a guest story for his wonderful flagship strip PvP while he heals up a sore back and gets ready to launch a big new project. So! For the next little stretch here I’m happily dropping (almost) everything to do just that.
I’ve been sweet on Scott’s work, and on PvP in particular, for years now – and especially since the story moved to Seattle, my old hometown. That means that I also get to depict some of my favorite landmarks from around the city. Tough gig!
So I’m having an absolute ball taking Scott’s lovely, silly, brash, sincere characters out for a spin. If you’re already a fan of PvP, I think you’ll probably enjoy this little story; if you’re new to the strip, well, you have some very fun archive-diving ahead of you! Either way, head over to site, check out the first strip from my run, and (hopefully) enjoy.
I’m taking the week away from Family Man to compensate for producing a weekday strip; I hope to be back next week! It’s a small price to pay for having such a ball.
In the meantime, if you peruse my store, you might notice that I have soft-launched two new books! I’ll make a big deal about it later, but if you missed your chance to get in on my Kickstarter project from 2012, you can now purchase your very own copies of Outfoxed and Danse Macabre. I still have a lot of orders to fulfill from backers, so expect a slightly longer turnaround than usual, but…they’re HERE!
Another page with the Roma family, although we’re almost done with this scene. Too bad; I love drawing mustaches, and the 18th century was otherwise a very clean-shaven era.
Now that election fever had passed (and thank heavens for that), it’s on to cheerier parts of the year. Coming up early on the world schedule of Festivals of Light is Diwali! It’s actually a little late this year – normally it falls in October. To celebrate, here’s my sixth goddess illustration – the Hindu goddess Lakshmi. Click to see her at full size!
Like many Hindu deities, Lakshmi has literally dozens of different forms, incarnations and names, has complex relationships with other deities (like Vishnu and Ganesh) and plays many roles. She’s probably best known for being a goddess of abundance – and that can mean simple good luck, personal fulfillment, or material wealth. Lakshmi is the one who fills your cup.
In most devotional images Lakshmi is depicted standing or sitting in a giant lotus blossom, floating on a tranquil sea – a bit like Aphrodite, she was born from the ocean. She has four arms (the better to distribute wealth!) and holds lotuses in two of them. She is sometimes attended by two white elephants. This is an illustration, not a traditional devotional image, so she is behaving a little less formally here! Lakshmi is generous of spirit, so hopefully she won’t hold it against me.
Detail from Page 271 of Family Man.
Things are heating up a little in this scene! Settlement – forced or “chosen” – was tantamount to giving up Romani identity. Children were often forcibly taken away from their families and made to speak the local language exclusively – a cultural death sentence. Adults were often forced to live in conditions that went utterly against their strict purity laws. In many Rom cultures the lower half of the body is considered very impure – to the extent that living in the bottom floor of a house could be considered unclean because of the lower parts of the people walking above – thus the comment about “living on top of each other.” Ancient family trades dating back to life on the Indian subcontinent would have to be abandoned in favor of subsistence living.
Many families who did concede to settlement (rather than being forced by local law enforcement efforts) had virtually no choice in the matter; losing your horses or wagons or being cut off from a traditional trade route could be a crippling blow. This particular family has had a rough year for its patriarch to be giving thought to the matter.
Cheerful stuff! Check back next week, I promise that things will perk up a bit.
Detail from Family Man, Page 270.
This is the second page of a little scene in Family Man that I’ve been looking forward to for awhile! You can catch up over at lutherlevy.com.
A detail from page 265 of Family Man, new this week!