Family Man update!

October 28th, 2009


Pages 159 & 160 now online.

This concludes Chapter Two of Family Man – and therefore Volume One.  Starting today I get to research potential costs for a print edition.  I’ll be shopping it to publishers as well, but since this is, after all, Volume One and therefore presents a bit of a risk, I’m anticipating the need to self-publish it until I have the structure for Volume Two mapped out in a format understandable by other human beings.

I’m expecting that Volume One will be pricey to print; the comic loses legibility when printed in fewer than four colors (even though it LOOKS like the only color is sepia-green).  So stay tuned for a possible pre-order fundraising drive.  If you’ve had a great experience getting a color project printed, please refer me to your print vendor!


…I’ll be taking three weeks off of updating the comic to get a head start on the next chapter.  In the meantime I’ll be updating with drawings, a podcast, and other extras.  When I come back, Family Man will move onto a single, cohesive self-hosted website.

The comic itself, blog updates, notes, gallery images, cast page…all brand-new and all at  The site will have a complete (and extremely sexy) Comicpress overhaul courtesy my slightly unhinged design skills and the eternal patience of Comicpress guru Tyler Martin.

No ads!  No subscription fees!  Still free as always, just lots prettier and in one place.

I’d like to thank Joey Manley and the other folks who’ve pitched in at Webcomics Nation for providing a really great service.  WCN has saved me a lot of hair-tearing in the past few years.  If setting up your own webspace and installing Wordpress and Comicpress and customizing your theme and all that just feels utterly daunting to you, I totally recommend wandering over to WCN and checking out their features.

And now, back to the drawing board!

Sketchpost: Evan Dahm’s Bottle Woman

October 27th, 2009

I’ve realized lately that I haven’t been drawing much outside of comics and freelance work.  To heck with that!  If you’re going to draw for a living you need to find ways to preserve the joy, experimentation, and spontaneity inherent to the act.

At the same time, if you’re a goal-focused person like me, it’s hard to just sit down with blank paper and goof off for an hour (unless you’re on hold with tech support).

So once a week I’m going to try to doodle a character from somebody else’s work, starting with comics and maybe later branching out into prose fiction.  Perhaps this can also serve as a sort of Recommended Reading list.

This week:  Bottle Woman, from Order of Tales by Evan Dahm (of Rice Boy fame). Watercolor, oil pencil, colerase pencil.


What a wonderful character design!  That stopper head is just brilliant, and the simplicity of her features belies a complicated and moody character.  (the same could be said for Evan’s art overall!)  I don’t think she’s actually green, or that her contents are blue, but it was the palette that seemed like fun.

I picked up Order of Tales at SPX on a personal mandate to Read New Things, and I can wholeheartedly recommend it as strange and absorbing.  It’s rare to pick up a story that’s so immediately distinctive.  A lot of people doing fantasy comics can spend a million years designing political systems and special ceremonial corsetry and researching weather patterns in an attempt to create a world so dense and realistic that a reader can immerse themselves in it, but Evan manages to suck you in with just a few brush strokes.

Family Man update! (NSFW)

October 21st, 2009


Family Man page 158!

Okay, those of you who scoffed at the mild semi-nudity in previous weeks of Family Man pages, this time you really DO need to be concerned for your employment.

Sorry it’s late (APE tripped me up a little), but I didn’t want to just crank this one out.  Beyond that, I won’t say much about this week’s page; sorry.  It’s up to you, kids!  And I’ll see you next week, possibly with a multiple-page spread.  (ooh la la)

Folks waiting on me for commissions and/or products, never fear, tomorrow I’m back behind the retail wheel and will be sending out pictures and grammar labels galore.

LASTLY:  After I wrap this chapter up I’ll be putting together an incredibly belated podcast; I’ve been avoiding doing one in the strange certainty that there nobody could possibly have any questions left to ask me that weren’t just Family Man plot spoilers, but who knows. So if you have a burning question, throw them my way in the coming weeks, and I’ll answer as best I can in mp3 format!

Before then I’ll also be posting about some of the other projects I’m working on right now, so maybe folks will get intrigued about those.

Family Man Update + APE

October 13th, 2009


Page 157 now online!

Hm, I wish I had a little more time to fidget around with this one, but a rampant cold, a sudden and violent rush on Grammar Nerd stickers, and preparing for APE got in the way.  But regardless, this page is a change of pace even from all the pace-changing that’s been happening of late.  So close to the end of the chapter, guys!  Sooooo cloooooooose.

APE! You’ve heard all this before, but just in case you missed it – I’ll be at Table 440 with Kate Beaton l’infame. Topatoco have carefully delineated where we will be on this handy map. Thanks, lads! Bless them and their ways.

I’ll be there all weekend, with the last thirty or so copies of the first printing of Bite Me! (plus special deals for those who pre-order the 2nd printing) and all kindsa merchandise and original art and also I will do sketches for a low low price until my hands fall off.  I also have work up at the Cartoon Art Museum.

This is my last convention of the year thank goodness, and it looks to be a very fun one.  I’ll see some of you there!

Monday Afternoon Poem: Common Cold.

October 12th, 2009

fungal cultures

Go hang yourself, you old M.D.!
You shall not sneer at me.
Pick up your hat and stethoscope,
Go wash your mouth with laundry soap;
I contemplate a joy exquisite
I’m not paying you for your visit.
I did not call you to be told
My malady is a common cold.

By pounding brow and swollen lip;
By fever’s hot and scaly grip;
By those two red redundant eyes
That weep like woeful April skies;
By racking snuffle, snort, and sniff;
By handkerchief after handkerchief;
This cold you wave away as naught
Is the damnedest cold man ever caught!

Give ear, you scientific fossil!
Here is the genuine Cold Colossal;
The Cold of which researchers dream,
The Perfect Cold, the Cold Supreme.
This honored system humbly holds
The Super-cold to end all colds;
The Cold Crusading for Democracy;
The Führer of the Streptococcracy.

Bacilli swarm within my portals
Such as were ne’er conceived by mortals,
But bred by scientists wise and hoary
In some Olympic laboratory;
Bacteria as large as mice,
With feet of fire and heads of ice
Who never interrupt for slumber
Their stamping elephantine rumba.

A common cold, gadzooks, forsooth!
Ah, yes. And Lincoln was jostled by Booth;
Don Juan was a budding gallant,
And Shakespeare’s plays show signs of talent;
The Arctic winter is fairly coolish,
And your diagnosis is fairly foolish.
Oh what a derision history holds
For the man who belittled the Cold of Colds!

Ogden Nash
Photo by petrichor

Family Man update

October 6th, 2009


Page 156 of Family Man now online!

Ariana’s mysterious doings continue in their mysteriousness.  Let me tell you, the research I did for panel four was one of the more stomach-addling things I’ve researched yet for this comic.  There will be others!

Appearances:  unless this incipient cold takes me down, I’ll be at the Wordstock Festival here in Portland this weekend with Erika Moen.  I won’t have books to sell (I’m reserving my stock for APE, so that California folks get a shot at the last of the first edition), but I’ll have prints and minis and buttons and stickers, and if you order the book from me I’ll send it to you with free shipping as well as a limited edition  print.

Then I’ll be at the Alternative Press Expo (APE) in San Francisco on October 17-18, gossiping about dead people with fellow history cartoonist Kate Beaton at Table 440.

I’ll see y’all there!

Monday morning poem: Stray

October 5th, 2009

The Fence - Lost Dog (Large)

oh my poor little creature
poor creature
you are too blithe
for your own misery,
you would let pus run rivers
from your fox’s ears so long as they heard
the faintest mumbles
of good,

you do not have sense
to whimper when I tug green scabs
from your belly.
You kiss me through
broken teeth.

We return you to your
home and through a screen
we see the frail
decrepitude that is your
(euphemism) mother
and while we
burn with indignation on your
behalf you
run blissly to her

oh would that we all were so
sweet in our suffering
that we might feel relief of
pain as only a
multiplying of the
sufficient love
which we received even in our most broken
and that the
Bad People
proved to be only
elderly and

we might all then slip
at our time through the back
gate and into the
arms of a
loving god who will
wash our wounds and say

oh my poor little creature
poor creature

photograph by Pete Millis

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