September 30th, 2009

This past weekend I was at the Small Press Expo (SPX) in Maryland, frolicking with my fellow cartoonists and other assorted comics industry folk and their associated people.

It was a dang good time, which I needed very sorely since it has been, shall we say, a challenging six months.  I sold out of books on the afternoon of the first day – and in fact I only have 30-some books left in this printing.

So it’s back at the printers for another round, and I’m keeping those 30 in reserve for APE, where I will be splittin’ my table with Ms. Kate Beaton (history nerds unite).  If you order a book online before Halloween – which is when I’ll start shipping the second printing – I will throw in a snazzy extra Bite Me! print that I am devising this week.

Anyway.  Next week will see a new page of Family Man, but in the meantime, here is my brief and fragmentary convention report for SPX, in cartoon form, drawn 30,000 feet in the air on only three hours of sleep and a cup of airplane tea.  DOES IT SHOW.


Seriously, the Miss Teen Maryland USA pageant orientation, right next door.  Hundreds of long-limbed, insectile lasses with no visible pores and heels higher than the Empire State Building.  The contrast between the pageant girls and the females of SPX was enough to suggest that the human species is actually sexual trimorphic.


I am sure that Kate appreciated my help a whole lot, especially that bit where I frightened all her customers.  Seriously though, she is a classy lady.  Once or twice she was convinced that she had been horrible to somebody when really she had said “thank you” in a gentle voice and then politely excused herself to attend a panel.

We’ll be shackin’ up together at APE, so be sure to come witness the amazing power of the Goofus and Gallant history show. (hint: I am Goofus)


Apparently next door at the beauty pageant they were introducing themselves under hot lights, and the AC had to be cranked up to guarantee that no make-up would run or sweat stains would appear.  The result was several thousand shivering nerds.  I myself resorted to wrapping a pashmina around my head to save my frontal lobe from icing over completely.


The party outside of the Ignatz awards was very enjoyable.  Towards the end of a very strong hotel martini I wound up spending some quality time with Jim Ottaviani.  A few years ago, Jim O saved me from the purgatory of temping at the local hospital by having me draw Wire Mothers for him.

I rewarded him by failing to realize that 9 by 12 inches is not the same proportion as 6 by 9 inches, but luckily he is a forgiving guy.  The conversation then segued into a discussion about how much we like secular humanism.

Pastries:  the Comics Bakery table was overflowing with delicious homemade treats, and still further veggie pastries were fetched from the pastry shop a few blocks from the convention.  Also I stayed at Carla Speed McNeil’s house, and her fabulous husband Mike kept doing things like making biscuits, chocolate cookies (”to go with the sorbet I made”), scones, etc.   The result was that I probably took in a whole stick of butter over the course of the weekend.


Before she took me to the Metro to catch my flight, Carla left me unattended in her studio.  The result is that I now know more about her upcoming projects (Finder and otherwise!) than any of you sorry fools, and she has some inexplicable stains on her penciled pages.  Also I got to see her Eisner award.  You could use it to kill a man no problem.

And that is all I had the energy to draw on the flight home.  It was a really great time – I will be back again next year if it’s up to me.  Thanks to everybody who stopped by or who shared my company over the weekend.  I’ll see some of you in San Francisco in a few weeks!  (with the last copies of the first edition…)

Family Man update! Plus other stuff!

September 23rd, 2009

preview of page 155

Page 155 of Family Man now online!

WARNING:  NOT SAFE FOR WORK.  Unless you live in one of those European countries where you regularly see ads on the sides of pharmacies that are more explicit than this.

No page next week because I will be at the Small Press Expo this weekend!  I’ll be hunkering down at the table of Carol “Klio” Burrell of SPQR Blues excellence.  Look for her in the program and come sample our exciting historical fiction wares.

Among the wares I’ll be selling is this new 7×10 print, which you can click to see at full size:


Other than the page prints, this is the first bit of genuine Family Man merchandise I’ve created.   I hope to have more such things this year while (my agent and) I determine how I’ll be making Volume One, aka Chapters 1 & 2, available in print.

I’ll see some of you in Maryland!  And the rest of you, in the virtual funny papers.

Family Man update!

September 15th, 2009

Page 154 preview

Page 154 of Family Man now online!

And here’s a new setting for you, my dears.  Bit different from the library, eh?

Also of note: you can now buy a giclee print of any Bite Me! page.  Perhaps obvious considering that I already do this for Family Man, but it honestly didn’t occur to me to offer this until now.  Enjoy the possibilities of displaying a beautiful print of Claire’s thigh above your desk at work.

Monday Morning Poetry: Lord, it is time.

September 14th, 2009

. Autumn Story - The Liquid-Rust Ship .

Lord: it is time. The huge summer has gone by.
Now overlap the sundials with your shadows,
and on the meadows let the wind go free.

Command the fruits to swell on tree and vine;
grant them a few more warm transparent days,
urge them on to fulfillment then, and press
the final sweetness into the heavy wine.

Whoever has no house now, will never have one.
Whoever is alone will stay alone,
Will sit, read, write long letters through the evening,
and wander on the boulevards, up and down,

restlessly, while the dry leaves are blowing.

Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. Stephen Mitchell.
Illustration by 3amfromkyoto

Posting this poem whenever I first start to feel the onset of autumn has become a sort of tradition for me. The leaves here are turning; the light has changed. Pumpkins are shedding their umbilical vines. School has started again.

I’m not looking forward to the greyness and the dark of the Pacific winter; but autumn offers some fine consolations. It’s a magnificent last meal.  I always thought that Rilke (and Mitchell) did a fine job a catching that thin, golden membrane between their fingers.

The opera, she is universal

September 8th, 2009

Hi all!  As I mentioned last week, I’m taking this week off of updating the comic to celebrate my birthday on the 9th, and to spend this past Labor Day weekend visiting my family. And also to catch up on store orders, and all that paying work that I had to postpone due to an exciting bout of Mystery Food Poisoning-esque Illness.  (good news, though: ginger beer and saltines are just as delicious as I remember them being.)

But, as promised, I’ve uploaded a new batch of notes for page 14o-150!  What do microbats, Immanuel Kant, and Catherine the Great’s choice of saddles all have in common?  They are totally tangentially related to Family Man!  As is everything I potentially find interesting.

In other things that you should be reading, I recently received a copy of Volume One of Skin Horse, the wonderful comic by Shaenon Garrity and Jeffrey Wells.  It is beautifully produced and just as delightful as everything I have come to expect from Ms. Garrity and her collaborators.

I mean, god, the storyline with the silverfish alone is worth its weight in gold.  I mean, where else will you find a single panel like this, in which a silverfish explains their finest silverfish opera:


The entire damn storyline maintains this grade of lunacy, and I don’t think I have ever seen ten more expressive lines than what Shaenon does with those freaking silverfish.

So, seriously, shoo.  Go buy.

Family Man update!

September 2nd, 2009

Page 153 preview

Page 153 of Family Man now online!

Back to the lady and into the woods, to points unknown and previously unseen.  The end of the chapter’s coming up…think I’ll answer any questions?  Either way I’m looking forward to the next few weeks.  This is the last page I’ll draw as a 25 year-old; starting with the next update I’ll be the same age as Luther.  God help me.

I’m taking next week off to celebrate Labor Day weekend and my birthday (09/09/09 tell me that isn’t rad) with family and friends.  But I will be uploading a brand spanking new batch of notes, so check in next week!

And now, bed.

    {blog in Livejournal flavor}

    News Bulletins.
    Bite Me! will go out of print for a few months soon as I reprint the book. Order your copy before I run out!


    Upcoming in 2011: Toronto Comic Arts Festival, Toronto ON, May 5-6

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