Don MacPherson of Eye On Comics (the dapper fellow pictured here) gave a very kind and in-depth review of "Old Man Winter & Other Sordid Tales" (click on the link to read it). I'm not just saying this because he gave me a good review, but I really appreciate how closely he read my stories. He picked up on some subtleties that some have missed and was able to find merit in some of the stories that weren't necessarily in line with his own beliefs (I actually care more about whether a non-vegan/vegetarian gets something from my more "activist-leaning" comics than a vegan/vegetarian).
My great hope and greater purpose behind making the majority of my comics is that I'll be able to get a message out to an audience that might not be inclined to pick up literature or books about factory-farms, vivisection, etc. I don't expect someone to make a huge lifestyle change from reading a comic, but I do want to plant a seed in their brain. It could inspire them to seek information, or it could just add another layer to what they've already learned elsewhere. Believe it or not, a "Bloom County" comic strip in the newspaper was the seed that got me thinking. I credit that strip for my decision to abstain from meat and, soon after, all animal products almost 20 years ago!
Who says comics are mindless entertainment?
Brian Cronin wrote a very flattering review of "Old Man Winter & Other Sordid Tales" on the Comic Book Resources blog Comic Books Should Be Good! (click to read it). You never know how your comics will be received after toiling over them for months at a time (I am an especially slow worker. I'm always impressed by prolific artists that consistently put out quality work).
Way back in the early nineties when I was in college I had this amazing sculpture teacher (Carolyn Henne) who helped teach me the difference between what you THINK you're saying with your art and how others ACTUALLY perceive it. In our very thorough critiques she wouldn't allow the artist to speak about their piece. They had to just listen to everyone else's take on it without interference. That was a humbling and informative experience. It drove home the point that others don't necessarily make all of the connections that you've made in your own head before (or during) a piece's creation. They aren't necessarily familiar with your past work or themes. They're viewing it through the prism of thier own experiences, which are not the same as yours.
That's not to say you should dumb your work down so that it's accessible to everyone. It's just something to keep in mind, I guess.
We finally got moved into our new place in Brooklyn! I mean, yes, there are boxes piled everywhere and I can't find anything, but after the bed-bug fiasco of '08 I'm used to that.
I love the neighborhood(s)...we're kind of straddling three different ones. Officially we're in Cobble Hill. But just a few blocks away there's Carroll Gardens & Brooklyn Heights/Downtown Brooklyn. Our little section is mostly Middle-Eastern, so I've been discovering a mind-boggling amount of vegan-friendly groceries and restaurants. The best part, though, is the cost. Dry goods & produce is roughly half the cost of what it was in Manhattan.
Did I mention that there's a Trader Joe's TWO BLOCKS from my home? Not only do I no longer have to lug my food twenty-something blocks and up five flights of stairs, but the line didn't wrap all the way around the store and only took thirty seconds! Plus, it's in an old bank that looks like a train station, so the aisles are really wide. I no longer have to basically be inside another human to reach my salad greens.
We miss our roommates, but the trade off is that we can (and do) walk around naked. Plus, we don't have to restrain our insane chihuahua every time a roommate walks by the couch or pee in a bottle while waiting for the bathroom (although I might do the latter every so often for old time's sake).
While moving in I learned that my mom has a brain tumor (just like my mother-in-law!). Fortunately it turned out to be benign. She had it removed on Friday and is now out of the hospital. I'm going to fly home to Georgia to help take care of her and give my step-father a little break this weekend.
I got my first official order for "Old Man Winter & OST" from some dude in Missouri (or Montana...which one has the postal code "MO"?). Thanks, guy!
I'm doing a weird little drawing for a realtor's roadside billboard (He says he got the idea from the movie "I Love You Man"). He wants a guy kicking himself in the ass. After kind of working out the logistics of it, the client requested that the character be more buff, but adding musculature proved difficult. Obviously one's joints don't bend backwards to allow one to kick one's own ass, so those limbs have to be rubbery to allow for a proper ass kicking.
Once I got a little closer to what he wanted, it was time for a wardrobe change. He requested jeans and sneakers, so here you are. Now I've just got to work a few little kinks out, redraw the skunk better, ink it and paint it. I'll post the finished piece when it's done.
In other news, we're moving into our new place in Brooklyn officially on Tuesday. I brought a vanload of stuff over on Monday and had a few friends and Karen help do another on Tuesday. In the process I've pulled some muscles in my lower back. I've been walking around all gimpy and scrunched over all day. I hope I can get everything packed by Tuesday despite the throbbing pain!
My books and bookmarks came in! Once the mailer envelopes show up I can start sending out review copies.
Tell your friends (and your enemies) to buy a copy at www.BirdcageBottomBooks.com
I also got the good news that Diamond will be distributing my comics, so you will hopefully be able to find them at comic shops nationwide as well.
We found a new apartment in Brooklyn, so we'll be moving in on May 1st. I will now be officially running around like a chicken with its head cut off (speaking of, thanks to Bea Elliott for sending me TONS of slaughterhouse imagery to use as reference for my "Slaughterhouse" comic adaptation!).
My old pal/ex-bandmate Marty Key works at a record store and snapped up this gem for me. I love not only the stylishness of the Yost ladies, but the clumsiness of the graphic design. Can't wait to get my turntable unpacked to give it a listen. It appears to be some down-home gospel music from the song titles and photo of "Evangelist Jack Yost" on the back cover.
In other news, I've finished my second painting in the "creepy baby" series. I don't mean to imply that either my neice or my good friend Matt's baby are in themselves creepy. It's just that baby portraits ALWAYS look a bit disturbing to me. That's my own cross to bear, I suppose.
Now I've been commissioned to paint three more kids' portraits. Since they're not offspring of my friend or family, I hope they don't come out creepy as well! I much prefer painting animals, to tell the truth.