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I'm Cathy Leamy, an East Coast cartoonist. Check out my comics! They're mainly about autobiographical stories and health care.

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Category: Comics

Monday, February 17, 2014

Comic: New Library, Old Friends

Comic about an amazing I HAD THAT! moment at the grad school library


Buy a Dimensional Man of your very own!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Comic: Unexpected side effects

Comic about the unexpected physical side effects of graduate school


Monday, January 27, 2014

Comic: Motivation that works

Comic about what actually motivates me


Monday, January 20, 2014

Comic: Zero surprise

Comic about what happened during my first week of grad school


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Comic: I am going back to school

Comic about my returning to school


Hello there! You may remember me from such comics as Whole Lotta School and Whole Lotta School Still. Fun times, huh! Happily, my relationship with school has gotten a lot healthier since then.

OR HAS IT? Letís find out together as I go to graduate school! Starting this week, Iím studying towards a masterís degree in health communication. Watch for more health comics here and follow my Twitter account (@metrokitty) for hopefully even more gross medical stuff than usual.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Comic: Mindful Drinking

DRINKING! How awesome is drinking, you guys. But just like cats, caramel, and all the other cool stuff in life, sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.

If youíre looking to scale down the drinking a little, especially before it turns into A Problem, try mindfulness! Check out my comic "Mindful Drinking" for thoughts on being in the moment while boozing it up and autobio reflections on how habits get out of hand. Plus: THEREíS A SLOTH.

Read the whole thing for free online! Share it with pals on Tumblr! Order print copies from my comics webpage!

Cover of the comic *Mindful Drinking*, an info comic about applying mindfulness to drinking


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

This weekend: 2013 Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo (MICE)!

Hometown indie comics pride!

This weekend, Sept. 28-29, my pals in Boston Comics Roundtable are hosting the fourth annual Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo in Cambridge! TWO DAYS THIS YEAR, WHAAAT



Poster for the 2013 Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo, art by Bob Flynn

What I love the most about MICE: Free admission! Anyone can stop in and get a taste of indie comics without having to lay out a huge chunk of cash.

I’ll be there and I’ll have new comics for sale! Check my new health info minicomic Mindful Drinking, a fun little thing about drinkin’ and cutting down a little by using mindfulness. Half auto-bio, half self-help, guest-stars a sloth.



Cover for *Mindful Drinking*, a health awareness comic by Cathy Leamy

And I’ve got a 4-page story in the latest issue of the Roundtable’s indie-flavored local superhero anthology, In a Single Bound! Look for my "Nuttin’ But Trouble!" which touches on two of my favorite topics: LADIES and ALLERGIES.



Cover for *In a Single Bound* issue 3

Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 11am-4pm, all in Lesley’s University Hall at 1815 Massachusetts Avenue (Porter Square), Cambridge, MA. MICE 2013: See you there!

Friday, August 2, 2013

This weekend: Boston Comic Con!

This weekend, August 3-4, it’s Boston Comic Con time! Swing by the World Seaport Trade Center on the Boston waterfront, Saturday 10-7 and Sunday 10-6.

Come and see me at Artists Alley table AA343, right near my Boston Comics Roundtable pals. Minicomics, art, lots of chatter about comics and health care - all this can be yours! Possibly hugs as well; hug action pending on whether my gross mucus-fiesta head cold clears up.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Boston Nerd Nite: See me talk on comics and healthcare!

I am speaking tonight on comics and healthcare at Nerd Nite Boston! The fun starts at 8pm, and Iím the second speaker (probably on around 9:30ish).

For attendees and anyone else whoís curious, here is the list of resources, titles, and citations from my talk:

http://www.metrokitty.com/comicshealthcare.html

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Ultimate Powers Jam: Worrybird

Logo for Andrew Weissí Ultimate Powers Jam; logo by Dave Lartigue

I got to participate in Pal Andrewís Ultimate Powers Jam!

Hereís how it goes: Andrew Weiss uses the character creation rules from the Marvel Super Heroes RPGís Ultimate Powers Book to roll up a random character description. Then he hands them off to artists and writers to flesh out.

One of those handoffs was to me! Check out Ultimate Powers Jam #6, with art by me and writing by Fake AP Stylebookís Ken Lowery. Who is Ö WORRYBIRD?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Comics and healthcare interview with me on Diabetes Mine!

I got interviewed about comics and healthcare! You can check out the conversation on the diabetes advocacy site Diabetes Mine, and you can enjoy this little April Fool bonus comic collaboration between me and the interviewer Mike Hoskins!


Short comic about glucose monitors, written by Mike Hoskins, illustrated by Cathy Leamy

Monday, March 4, 2013

MGH Diabetes Views webcomic: No Exercise Excuses

Panel from exercise excuses webcomic on the MGH Diabetes Views blog

My latest webcomic for the MGH Diabetes Views blog is up!

It’s about taking common excuses for not exercising and finding ways around them! I am the master of looking at speedbumps in my path and treating them like they’re mountains, so believe me, this comic comes from the heart.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Diabetes is After Your Dick! A health comic you may benefit from reading

Hey you! Do you own a dick? Or are you a fan of dicks? Then do I have some health information for you!

You know diabetes? The disease? Well, one of its potential side effects is erectile dysfunction (a.k.a. trouble getting it up)! ... I KNOW, RIGHT! What the hell?

But it’s OK! Read my comic "Diabetes is After Your Dick!" to get the scoop on what exactly diabetes is, how it can cause stiffy problems, and what you can do to take control and keep things healthy down there!

You can read the whole comic for free online! And you can order print copies from my comics webpage!

DICK HEALTH 4 LIFE!

Cover of the comic *Diabetes is After Your Dick!*, an info comic about diabetes and erectile dysfunction


Sunday, November 18, 2012

MGH Diabetes Views webcomic: Three Hot Habits for Healthy Holidays

Panel from stress tips webcomic on the MGH Diabetes Views blog

I did another webcomic for the MGH Diabetes Views blog! This one’s about three easy things you can do to cut down stress over the holidays!

The MGH Diabetes Views blog focuses on diabetes education, but you know what? It’s also a cool source of wellness information in general, like nutrition tips, playlists for working out, health basics like "what the heck is a stroke, exactly", and more. Thumbs up!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Geraniums and Bacon #6 - now for sale online!

Cover of GERANIUMS & BACON issue 6

Itís here! The sixth and latest issue of my autobio/good times minicomic Geraniums & Bacon is now on sale!



Four bucks gets you stories about:

Wanna pick up even more autobio and good times? Visit my comics page to snag the previous issues of Geraniums & Bacon! Previous issues are $2 each; contents may contain travel, bees, and/or nudity.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

This Saturday: Mass Indie Comics Expo in Cambridge, MA (free admission!)

Poster for Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo 2012 - Sept. 29, 2012

Now it’s time for some local show love: This Saturday, it’s the third annual Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo! My comics club Boston Comics Roundtable and Lesley University will team up to host this FREE indie comics fest in Cambridge, Mass.!

MICE website: www.masscomics.com (@MassMICE on Twitter)

I’ll be tabling there, selling Geraniums & Bacon #6, Diabetes is After Your Dick, and full-color prints of Edgy Comics Bingo.

And! I’ll be moderating a discussion panel on Comics and Medicine at 11am!

This past Saturday’s Boston Globe featured a fantastic article on MICE and Boston Comics Roundtable with quotes from me! The print edition also included panels from Geraniums and Bacon #6, covering delightful topics such as pee and math.

The exhibitor list is stuffed with great creators and pals of mine, and the list of panels and workshops is mindblowing (it makes me sad to be tabling and have to miss them).

This Saturday, September 29, 10am-7pm, second floor of the Porter Exchange building (upstairs from Bluefin), Porter Square in Cambridge, absolutely free admission. Come on over!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

This weekend: Small Press Expo

It’s Small Press Expo time! Come and enjoy indy comics fun this weekend in Bethesda, Maryland!

I’ll be tabling there and selling lots of new-ish stuff:

The latest issue of my autobio comic Geraniums and Bacon, #6!

A little health education comic about diabetes and one of its unpleasant complications, Diabetes is After Your Dick! (as seen in my presentation at July’s Comics and Medicine conference)

And ... full-color print versions of Edgy Comics Bingo! Now you really can play along at home!

This year’s Expo is lining up to be a massive good time - so many amazing creators all packed together like the world’s most creative sardine tin. See you at the show!

(And if you can’t make it, don’t worry - the Mass. Indy Comics Expo is just a couple of weeks away! Sept. 29, free admission, loads of comics!)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Edgy Comics Bingo

Edgy Comics Bingo - a Bingo card poking fun at ultraviolent comic books

Click to pass this around on Tumblr!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Comics and Medicine 2012 conference

It’s the Comics & Medicine conference again!

That’s right! Remember last year when I attended an academic conference in Chicago on comics and medicine? Well, the momentum keeps on going - the third annual conference was held this year in Toronto! More attendees, more discussion panels, and more events! The 2011 gathering completely blew my mind, and I’ve spent the past year in a whirl of projects, processing, spreading the word, and frenzied enthusiasm. I was really looking forward to revisiting this brain space. And this time I’d be talking! At this year’s conference, I was a participant on the "Comics in patient education" panel!

What went on this year?

The two day affair kicked off with a pre-conference reception party and screening/Q&A session of the short documentary The Paper Mirror (no relation to my own short comic of the same title). Like last year, the organizers arranged a gallery-style display of comic art by the conference panelists. My contribution was the anxiety fiesta ďThe Loop" from issue #6 of my autobio minicomic series Geraniums and Bacon (available for sale online very soon).

Then - day one! Keynote talks by Paul Gravett and Joyce Brabner, followed by panel discussions and workshops, capping off with a casual on-stage Paul Gravett/Joyce Brabner/Joyce Farmer chat at the bar The Central and a trip to the famed comic shop The Beguiling.

And then - day two! More panels and workshops, finishing up with a keynote talk by Joyce Farmer that I sadly missed because I had to catch my plane home. Next time I’m planning my schedule better.

What’s up party people are you ready for a Comics and Patient Education panel YEAHHH

One of the first discussion panels on day one, and I was on it! The other panelists included Lydia Gregg, speaking on a combo comic-and-treatment-diary for pediatric patients with retinoblastoma; Alex Thomas and Gary Ashwal of Booster Shot Comics, walking through the process of their asthma medication awareness comic Iggy and the Inhalers; and Allison Zemek, going into depth on a graphic novel for kids on healthy food choices.

And me? I was up there talking about diabetes ’n’ dicks. OH YEAH.

I’m not kidding. A project I’ve been working on is a diabetes awareness minicomic directed at men, pointing out that one of the conditions that diabetes can cause is erectile dysfunction. This fact really hit home with a lot of my guy friends, so I decided to make a funny comic about it and then do a short survey about its effectiveness as an informative tool. The comic’s goals were to get attention, bring readers up to speed on what diabetes is, and then give them easy next steps for reducing their risk.

The overall panel was absolutely fascinating to me. Despite my project being aimed at a completely different demographic than the other three panelists’, the points made by our talks tended to overlap: Comics are a much more inviting reading format than plain text, facts delivered by our comics tended to stick well in readers’ heads, storytelling and characters can be powerful tools to engage the reader, and so on. I’m really glad to have met the other panelists and to have learned about their projects. I also appreciated getting to snicker about stiffies in front of an academic audience. Man, I don’t know what I’m gonna do with myself now that I can’t go around saying ďGotta go work on my dick comic!" to everyone.

* Watch this space - I’m planning to post the full comic online and to have print copies for sale at comics festivals this fall!

Other panels and events I liked
Cartoonists Take Up Smoking

Dr. Alan Blum, physician and long-time anti-smoking advocate, took us on a whirlwind historical tour of cartoons/comic books against smoking and the tobacco industry. The one thing that will really stick with me is the effectiveness of humor instead of rage as a weapon against big enemies. Blum quoted Thomas More - ďThe devil, the proud spirit, cannot endure to be mocked" - and talked about his group’s successes with parody ads and images. It reminds me of the Fataki campaign in Tanzania - awareness and engagement through poking fun rather than through lecturing or scolding.

Clinical skills, Cancer Vixen, and CanMEDS: The graphic novel in pre-clerkship medical education

Dr. Jim Connor gave this presentation as part of the Comics in Medical Education panel. Excellent example of the power of comics for teaching, engagement, and empathy-building, not just for patients but for anyone in a learning position in medicine.

Use of comics in medical education: Teaching evidence based medicine

Another cool example of using comics as teaching tools, this time from Stefan Tigges of Emory University. He slams together his own funny comics using clip-art, animal characters, pop culture references, and goofy jokes; they serve as supplemental material for his statistics course, helping to defang the intimidating material and present it in a different format. I love this kind of thing! Reminds me of when I used to draw little comics to help teach my teammates back in Academic Decathlon.

A form of comic relief: HIPAA in graphic detail

It’s a follow-up from last year! Back at the 2011 conference, Rose Anderson from the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation presented her brainstorm on translating the standard patient data privacy form (a long, boring, overwhelming ďlegalese" document) into a comic that patients could easily read and comprehend. Well, she made it happen! This year, she and co-creator Leah Eisenberg talked about the process of drafting prototypes of that comic and getting feedback and reactions from example patients. I can’t wait to see if there’s even more progress next year.

Assorted shout-outs, observations, recommendations

Leading up to this conference, I read Special Exits (semi-autobio about aging parents), and afterwards, I finally got around to reading Cancer Vixen (breast cancer autobio by glam NYC illustrator). Damn, those were some great reads, especially for getting a different perspective. ďOh, huh, I guess I can appreciate why the old guy didn’t call his daughter for help, even if I don’t agree with it." ďHmm, yeah, if I were in her place and dealing with what she’s dealing with, I’d probably make that specific chemo choice too."

Microcosm Publishing plug from Joyce Brabner! They really do have a stupidly huge array of material on health and activism and community. Zinesters are doing it for themselves.

Man, it’s a good thing I decided not to go into academia because I have zero interest in academic jargon. The minute I hear the words "contextualizing" or "engendered," I shut down and beat a hasty retreat to my inner chalet.

The organizers provided swag bags with blank sketchbooks! Absolutely brilliant!

My thoughts and reactions

God, it’s so exciting to see more applied comics, comics actually being used in healthcare settings! I’m a practical person. I don’t want to analyze. I wanna DO. I wanna MAKE STUFF.

But all my Action Jackson aside, I also feel humbled. I left last year’s conference full of piss and vinegar. I was gonna change the world with comics! And it was gonna be so easy - I’d just swan in with the comics and everyone would recognize their usefulness and the road ahead would be strewn with rose petals and SweeTarts. This year, I got to hear reports from other people trying applied comics and some of the obstacles and attitudes they face, especially ďWhere are the cold hard stats to show that this approach works?" It was a good reality check for me. I haven’t changed my mind; I still know that comics have amazing potential as a tool for health care. But now I have some more appreciation and respect for the work that will need go into establishing them. I can’t just rely on my hyperactive bluster and charm and on individual testimonials in places where evidence-based medicine rules the school.




And hey, lemme tell you some things about Toronto

Hot damn, did I enjoy finally getting a chance to visit this place! I had a blast just haunting the neighborhoods and walking all over. Thumbs up for the HI-Toronto Hostel - very convenient location, loads of activities, nicely reliable wi-fi.

I could’ve just sat in the CN Tower for hours watching planes take off from the Toronto City Airport just across the way. Little toy things going wheeee into the air.

Kensington Market is possibly the coolest neighborhood I have ever visited.

I don’t shop for fun. I’ll walk around shopping areas for hours, but I don’t tend to go in and browse the merchandise. On Queen’s Street, I realized that the only shops I actually do walk into are comic shops, organization shops, and sexuality boutiques.

It’s just maybe kinda sorta slightly possible that Tim Horton’s does a better Boston Creme donut than Dunkin Donuts? oh god dunkie’s i’m so sorry

Thursday, June 21, 2012

HeSCA 2012 conference talk

Logo for Health and Science Communications Association 2012 conference

This Saturday, Iíll be delivering a talk on comics and healthcare at the annual conference for the Health and Science Communications Association!

Conference participants (and other interested readers): Here is the list of references from my talk!






Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mindful Eating: Learn all about it from my guest comic

Two panels from my comic about mindful eating for the MGH Diabetes Education blog

I drew a comic about mindful eating for Diabetes Views, the MGH Diabetes Education blog! Click on through and check it out!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Comic: FOCUS

Comic - Whatís the Word? Focus

The documentary in question is HBOís four-part obesity special The Weight of the Nation, which you can watch online for free. Seriously worth investing the time.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Spring/Summer 2012: Comics fests and medical conferences!

Check this exciting spring and summer lineup! Iím gonna be hitting a funky fest or conference in May, June, and July - you should come too!

May 20: Maine Comics Arts Fest
Portland, ME

This coming Sunday, itís time for that annual Downeaster train ride up to Portland, Maine, for the Maine Comics Arts Fest! Come down to the waterfront and enjoy an amazing lineup of indy comics creators (Kate Beaton! Raina Telgemeier! Renae De Liz of Womanthology! My pals Boston Comics Roundtable!). Iíll be there selling my new Geraniums and Bacon issue #6! Only five bucks to get in, FREE if youíre 12 or under. Do it!

June 20-23: Health & Science Communications Association annual conference
Providence, RI

Comics and health care! Youíve got questions, and Iíve got an overview! On Saturday, June 23, Iíll be giving a featured talk at this professional conference on the comics format and why itís such an excellent mode of communication for health care. This talk will cover comics basics, social media and production tools, the graphic medicine movement, and next steps for further reading and trying it out yourselves.

And speaking of trying it out yourselves, Iíll also be holding a hands-on comics workshop on Thursday, June 21, for conference participants! No drawing experience required - just be ready to doodle and jam!

You can register at an early bird discount through May 25. The conference program looks fantastic, and Iím honored to be a part of it.

July 22-24: Comics & Medicine: Navigating the Margins conference
Toronto, Canada

The comics and medicine train keeps on rolling into July! Iím a speaker at this yearís conference - Iíll be on a Monday morning panel talking about my upcoming minicomic on diabetes and erectile dysfunction. THATíS RIGHT YOU HEARD ME. Iím making a comic full of dick jokes and diabetes metaphors and Iím gonna talk about it in public. This is possibly the best thing EVER. Then again, the rest of the conference schedule looks equally astounding and hilarious! Man, this is the coolest conference. You should come. Last yearís conference was mindblowing.

Hope to catch you at one of these! Drop me a line if you want to meet up there!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Yes! NEW issue of Geraniums and Bacon this weekend at Boston Comic Con!

It’s showtime here in Boston! This weekend, Hynes Convention Center hosts Boston Comic Con, a big ol’ bazaar of artists, writers, comic books, and collectibles. I had a blast at last year’s show, especially thanks to the huge Artist Alley full of local cartoonists and creators. Here’s hoping this weekend’s show is even more awesome!

Look for me this weekend at table AA305! And guess what I’ll have with me?

Cover of issue 6 of autobio/humor comic Geraniums and Bacon

THAT’S RIGHT! It’s the all-new issue 6 of my autobio and humor minicomic Geraniums and Bacon! It’s been a long time coming - man, too long. This one’s a dense one: Ballroom dancing! Mountains! Fortune-telling! Anxiety! A werewolf!

The new issue will make its debut at Boston Comic Con. Look for it for sale online and in local comic shops soon afterwards!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Womanthology now in stores! March 31 signing at Hub Comics in Union Square, Somerville!

Hey! You know Womanthology, the massive book of comics by women creators (and Kickstarter phenomenon)?

It’s on sale now now, and I’m in it!

Panel of Womanthology story by Lisa Fortuner (writing) and Cathy Leamy (art)

I illustrated a story written by Lisa Fortuner (@Ragnell on Twitter), comics blogger and real-life military heroine. Our four-page full-color tale is chock full of robot punching, secret identities, ray guns, and more man thigh than is honestly necessary. YEAH!

You can purchase Womanthology online or at comic shops around the country. And if you’re a Boston-area local, you can swing by Union Square’s Hub Comics this Saturday (March 31) from noon to 4 and get a signed copy! I’ll be signing along with Womanthology creators/pals Ming Doyle, Ellen Crenshaw, Stacie Ponder, and the project founder Renae de Liz! Even if you don’t want to pony up for the book itself, come and visit anyway! Hub Comics is a fantastic shop and there’ll be plenty of other excellent comics to check out.

See you on Saturday!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Comic: Spider-Hyphen-Man!

Comic about the fact that Spider-Man is spelled with a hyphen; you can remember it by pretending that the hyphen is his web!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Now on sale online: Buy my diary comic mini!

Cover of minicomic *Whatís the Word?* by Cathy Leamy

Hey! Remember the print mini of my diary comic series What’s the Word? Now you can buy it online!

This minicomic collects all of the What’s the Word? strips through Spring 2011 and includes three bonus strips not published online. If you like my autobio series Geraniums and Bacon, you oughtta like this autobio-lite mini that strolls through a lot of the same territory: Travel! Disco! City living! Girl accessories!

Two bucks. Go for it!

Hungry for more? Check out my other print minicomics available for sale. They’re all awesome. I can vouch for them.
















Thursday, October 27, 2011

Comic: OBSESSING

Comic - Whatís the Word? Obsessing

And a hearty hello to Gilad Ratmanís The 588 Project, which I gawked at in a dark room in Chicagoís Museum of Contemporary Art this past summer.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

This Saturday: Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo (MICE) 2011!

Yes! Itís time for a local comics fest! Letís show íem how we do it in Massachusetts:

Promo image for MICE 2011 - Mass Indy Comics Expo

This Saturday (9/24), itís the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo (MICE)! 10am-6pm at 1815 Mass Ave., Cambridge MA (Porter Square) and admission is free!

Come and enjoy a marketplace of local talent selling their comics and artwork, hands-on workshops with comics pros, a full day of cool discussion panels, and a gorgeous art show complete with behind-the-scenes peeks at the process of making comics. (Not to mention itís in the same building as Bluefin, so you can snag some sushi as well). Itís a fun show thatís friendly to kids and adults, comics newbies and comics vets alike.

Iíll be there with my comics and sketch cards of robots and monsters (and sometimes robomonsters). Hope to catch you there!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Comics conventions this month! SPX and MICE!

It’s that time! Fall comics convention season is GO!

This weekend (Sept 10-11), catch me at Small Press Expo (SPX) in Bethesda, Maryland! I’ll be at table B7, near a bunch of my pals from Boston Comics Roundtable.

And in just over two weeks, I’ll be at the second annual hometown show MICE, Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo! Saturday September 24, Porter Square in Cambridge, Mass. Free admission!

Come by! Say hi! Pick up some comics!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Comic: YANKEE

Comic - What’s the Word? Yankee

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Comics and Medicine 2011 conference

I went to a conference on comics and medicine.

Thatís right! This was the second annual Comics & Medicine conference, held from June 9-11 at Northwestern Universityís Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois (they held the first one last year in London). Check out the New York Times write-up and the Publishersí Weekly article on this yearís conference for a quick intro.

Get out! For real?

Everyone I mentioned it to did a double-take. "Ha ha, itís a conference on what?" And maybe theyíd chuck in a Rex Morgan, MD reference.

I admit that even I went in with preconceptions. I thought it might be all public service announcement comic books and maybe some illness memoirs.

But I was still pumped! Iíd be going there under two of my identities - indy cartoonist and health care IT developer. Iím fascinated by medicine and Iíve actually been looking to do more in the realm of medical comics. Itís like the event should have been subtitled "HEY CATHY WE MADE A CONFERENCE JUST FOR YOU". And when I got there, I found so many more discussions and applications than I expected! I came home buzzing like Iíd marinated in a vat of coffee for two days.

What kind of stuff happens at a thing like this?

Panels, workshops, and talks
So many excellent panels ranging from research ideas to on-the-ground applications. So many compelling speakers, including comics historian Paul Gravett, author and illustrator David Small, cartoonist Phoebe Gloeckner, and comics theorist Scott McCloud. And quite a few hands-on workshops, but I couldnít hit any due to cool panels at the same time.

An opening reception party with an art display
What a smart idea - a meet-and-greet with blown-up pages of medical-themed comics. It gave people something to talk about, and it introduced us to many of the works that would be covered at the conference. (See these comics on the conference exhibit website!)

A wrap-up party at Quimbyís Bookstore
Iíd never been to the legendary Quimbyís comic shop. My god. Minis, zines, indy comics, design books Ö I wouldíve just handed over my ATM card except I couldnít carry too much back to Boston. Saved by my small luggage, phew.

Tell me about some of these panels!

Comics in Medical Education
How cool is this: A comics course for medical students, teaching them how graphics and text can be used for communication! This is the story behind Penn State College of Medicineís seminar ďGraphic Storytelling and Medical Narratives", which went from introducing comics right through the students making short comics of their own. It also reminded me of this art appreciation course taught to police officers as a way of improving their observation skills.

Bearing Witness to Illness
Three comics creators talked about how their works express, interpret, and just plain give a voice to the creatorsí experiences with sickness (as a doctor, as a partner and caretaker, and as a grown child of an ill parent). An emotionally-charged panel, but also one with practical questions about issues like patient confidentiality.

Picturing Disability
Unexpectedly, this entire panel wound up being a discussion about how traumatic brain injury is portrayed in Gary Trudeauís strip Doonesbury, complete with a clinical psychologist pointing out specific details. Fascinating talk about the power of raising awareness through stories and media depictions versus public service announcements.

Comics as Education
Here we go, the informative comics I expected! But thatís a good thing - I love Ďem when theyíre done well! And this panel brought up ways of achieving this that I hadnít considered, like doing localized research so that a comic teaching food safety to AIDS patients includes examples of foods they actually encounter every day. Little details like that drive a message home.

Comics as Process and Method
This panel blew my mind! Taking a complicated patient consent form and redoing it as a comic? Exploring geriatric ethnographic research data through comics? Man, this is going beyond plain storytelling Ö weíre getting into crazy Inception territory here.

Hear about any good comics?

Stitches by David Small - the award-winning memoir of childhood and thyroid cancer
I am Not These Feet by Kaisa Leka - incredible and funny autobio by a cartoonist who opted to have her badly-formed feet amputated and replaced with prosthetics
Comics by Thom Ferrier - autobio and drama from a British doctorís perspective
Comics by Comic Nurse - autobio from an American nurseís perspective
Tangles by Sarah Leavitt - a daughterís memoir of her familyís struggle with her motherís Alzheimerís disease
Something Different About Dad by Kirsti Evans (writer) and John Swogger (illustrator) - a comic guide for children who have a parent with Asperger Syndrome

What struck a chord?

#1: Minority representation in the media is a topic very dear to my heart (see my short comic ďThe Paper Mirror" for more on that). So I was energized and inspired by all the different examples of not-typically-heard people and experiences getting out into the world via comics: the discussion on TBI in Doonesbury, the metaphors for Parkinsonís Disease from the illness panel, tales from Type 2 diabetics and hospice nurses and people living with STDs and newbie rural doctors and on and on, all these people showing up on paper, telling you what itís like in their world and telling you that youíre not alone in yours. Man.

#2: Attention, people making comics to educate: Donít think your creative team is complete just because you have a writer and an illustrator! If your comic is meant to communicate, make sure youíve got someone in there with graphic design skills. Chucking in panels and artwork doesnít magically create a teaching tool. Layout, font choice, text arrangement - these affect how well your message will be understood.

I know youíre aching to bust out some public speaking critique.

Ahaha, I totally am! Ever since I joined Toastmasters a few years ago, Iíve been more aware of what goes into public speaking that really works.

Like that Scott McCloud! He was a hell of a speaker! Prepared and practiced, loaded with good and relevant slides, entertaining, engaging, and rolling with the punches to keep that audience engaged during technical problems. Iíve seen him speak before, but only now am I really appreciating the level of professionalism he brings to his talks.

Presenters, take a page from his book and really think about how visuals work with your message. Even if your whole presentation is just reading a paper aloud, something visual on the overhead can drive the message home (and keep us audience members from zoning out). And hey, if youíve got any visuals? Put íem in a single presentation file. Itís kinda embarrassing for us to watch you hunting through desktop folders on the overhead during your talk.

Quotes of note

"Sprouts are basically the devil of food poisoning." Food safety fella, I am taking you to heart right now.

"I have to write my dissertation of 15,000 words Ö and they say a pictureís worth a thousand words Ö"

"Happy birthday to you!" -- the entire auditorium singing to Scott McCloud

"I wanted to figure out what was wrong with me, because it was a challenge, and I donít like that." - from David Smallís talk

Any other thoughts?

One constant refrain rang out for the whole conference: "Whereís the proof that comics are good educational tools? Where are the studies?" Could somebody get on that, please? Youíd have a slew of grateful people citing your research.

I want more comics creators to get into this field and be engaged in it. I want people to collaborate. At my previous job, I worked in IT in education. The researchers sometimes thought of us developers as the "mechanics", only there to take instructions and implement their vision without an appreciation for what we brought to the table. Anyone out there looking to make a comic, donít approach it with the attitude of "I have it all planned out and just need some grunt to make with the pictures." Be open to collaboration and learning. Make it a partnership and the end result will be the better for it.

I was psyched that there was so much panel and workshop material, but I was bummed that I couldnít attend it all! Somebody switch on my mutant powers and make me into Multiple Man.

What a great idea to include an attendee feedback session at the end of the conference. It felt appropriate given how many of the daysí discussions centered around reflection and processing.

Hereís your Comics and Medicine drinking game! Take a shot every time someone says that the pain scale is the original medical comic.

Whatís next?

Tangles is getting published in the US, David Small is speaking in Boston in July, audio recordings from the conference are being posted online, and Iím itching to find out when and where next yearís conference will be. Summertime Chicago was a blast to explore!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mike Little Pony, Mike Little Pony

When your office finds out that you draw cartoons, sometimes you wind up getting tapped for tasks slightly out of your normal job description.

... like drawing your Java developer coworker as a My Little Pony!

Drawing of a My Little Pony with the Java mascot Duke as its cutie mark

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Comic: YUCK

Comic - What’s the Word? Yuck

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Now serving ... guest art!

It’s an Agreeable Comic, and I helped!

Check out this week’s strip of restaurant comedy The Line - regular writer Kevin Church brings the words and I’m popping in with guest artwork!

And if you’re in Charlotte, North Carolina, this weekend, swing by the HeroesCon comic convention and say hi to the Agreeable Comics crew and buddies Action Age Comics (the team behind Awesome Hospital) in Artists Alley. Cheer their panels, bring them drinks, and buy their crap!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hey, I got interviewed by MTV Geek at MoCCA Art Fest 2011!

Who was that up there in the rafters getting interviewed by MTV Geek at Aprilís MoCCA Art Fest? It was me!

Tags: Geek: Event Coverage, MTV Games



Goddamn am I a hyper fast-talking chatterbox. Next convention: WILL TRADE MINICOMICS FOR íLUDES.

* * *

And from news to reviews, check out some kind words from people around the web:

Johanna Draper Carlson had great things to say about Geraniums and Bacon #1-5!

Michelle Schnaars of the Menses Today blog is a fan of my menstrual 411 mini Greenblooded!

Cheers to Brian Cronin of Comics Should Be Good for enjoying Reggie & Brian and the Lousy Nickname!

* * *

If you havenít read the 5 Minute Marvels blog before, youíre in for a treat. Tim and his daughters spend five minutes at bedtime drawing comics characters, creators from all over join in by sending their own drawings, adorableness ensues. A short while back I got to dive into the fun too - take a look at our Starman (Ted Knight), Starman (Jack Knight), and Stargirl!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Free Comic Book Day 2011 - see you at Comicopia!

Free Comic Book Day 2011 is almost upon us!

This coming Saturday, May 7, catch me at the FCBD celebrations at Comicopia, Boston’s home for all kinds of comics! I’ll be doing monster sketches and I’ll have plenty of my minicomics on hand.

And I won’t be alone! My pals from Agreeable Comics will be there too - boss writer Kevin Church and amazing artist Ming Doyle, the creative team of The Loneliest Astronauts!

Kenmore Square’s Comicopia, this coming Saturday: BE THERE!

Monday, April 25, 2011

This weekend: Boston Comic Con 2011!

What’s up, locals! Convention season rolls on, and this coming weekend the fun will be close to home.

Come on over to Hynes Convention Center for Boston Comic Con, this Saturday (10-7) and Sunday (10-5)! This will be the biggest Boston Comic Con yet, with all-star guests and a crazy amount of vendors.

I’ll be in the Artists Alley, hawking my minicomics. This includes the newly-released What’s the Word? diary comic collection - if you haven’t gotten your copy yet, stop by this weekend and grab one! And don’t forget to wander around the con and check out other Boston-area comics talent (especially my pals at Boston Comics Roundtable and Agreeable Comics). See you there!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

MoCCA 2011: Check out my new diary comic collection!

Cover of minicomic *Whatís the Word?* by Cathy Leamy

MoCCA Art Fest is this weekend! Come on by the Armory in New York for loads and loads and loads of indy comics!

Iíll be there tabling with my buddies from Boston Comics Roundtable - swing by and pick up some New England quality from us out-of-towners.

AND! Iím debuting a new minicomic!

Whatís the Word? is a collection of the diary comics Iíve been posting here on Metrokitty over the past year, with bonus strips available only in the print edition! Travel stories, disco, Coney Island, hair accessories, and much much more - get yourself a copy this weekend at MoCCA!
















Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Comic: THURSDAY

Comic - Whatís the Word? Thursday

When I got the email announcing a disco Zumba class with special guest fairies from The Donkey Show, I signed up so fast Paypal got whiplash.

Whoa whoa I did not just hear you say that you live in the Cambridge area and haven’t seen The Donkey Show yet. UNACCEPTABLE!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring 2011 comic convention schedule!

Brace yourselves, everyone - here comes comics convention season!

Look for me at these upcoming shows and festivals:

MoCCA Art Fest (I’ll be with Boston Comics Roundtable)
April 9-10
New York, NY
http://www.moccany.com/content/mocca-festival

Boston Comic Con
April 30-May 1
Boston, MA
http://www.bostoncomiccon.com

Maine Comics Arts Festival
May 22
Portland, ME
http://mainecomicsfestival.com

Come and get some minicomics! Or just say hi. That’d be cool too.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Comic: INEVITABLE

Comic - What’s the Word? Inevitable

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Comic: REPEATS

Comic - What’s the Word? Repeats

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Roundtable comic in the Boston Phoenix!

Local ink for me and my Roundtable pals!

Check out the latest issue of the Boston Phoenix - their "Future Boston" feature includes a collaborative cartoon by the Boston Comics Roundtable, "The Future, Illustrated"!

Pick up a print edition before tomorrow’s snowstorm, or check out the Phoenix’s website for a special full-color online version of the comic with bonus material. My glimpse of future Boston is the one with the caveman! Full creator credits are on the BCR website.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Comic: PANTO

Comic - Whatís the Word? Panto

And a Happy New Year to you too! Resolutions written, to-do list jotted, cup of tea at the ready. 2011 - I GOT THIS ONE.

What else is going on?

I did a guest strip for The Loneliest Astronauts, a webcomic by pals Kevin Church and Ming Doyle! Scroll down that page to find a bonus arts-and-crafts project to let you join in the fun at home!

C. Chť Salazar, a buddy and colleague of mine from the Boston Comics Roundtable, has kicked off a series of interviews on his blog, Production 3C. I was very honored to be his first interviewee! Check out this two-part interview: Part One, where we talk about minicomics and autobio, and Part Two, where we hash out thoughts about gender and superheroines in mainstream comics (with a focus on the Women of Marvel anthology). Chť is a great guy with a lot of thought in him - Iím looking forward to reading more of his interviews.

Comixology ran a great review of my menstrual 411 minicomic Greenblooded, and pal Isaac "Satisfactory Comics" Cates posted a lovely writeup of my kid-friendly comic Reggie & Brian and the Lousy Nickname. Thanks, guys!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Women of Marvel: Celebrating Seven Decades ... with writing by me!

Cover of *Women of Marvel: Celebrating Seven Decades* paperback collection

Check this out! I helped contribute to a Marvel Comics anthology!

This summer, my pal Jeph York and I researched and wrote introductions for Women of Marvel: Celebrating Seven Decades. This paperback collects comics from each decade of Marvelís existence that showcase female characters: Golden Age Black Widow, Ms. Marvel, Lorna the Jungle Queen, Elektra, She-Hulk, and more. Gorgeous artwork, funky vintage storytelling, and more asskicking women than you can shake a plasma bolt at.

The process was a fun collaboration - Jeph has the comics/publishing background and I have the pop culture/feminism background, so our co-written introductions for each decade are a neat mashup of comics facts and real-world framework. If youíve ever wondered where Storm, romance comics, and the bad girl trend fit in history with Margaret Thatcher and Rosie the Riveter, man, is this the book for you! Also, you and I should get coffee sometime.

Itís the gifting season - pick up a copy for your favorite comics fan today!








Sunday, November 21, 2010

Comic: VACAY.

Comic - What’s the Word? Vacay

A big hello to the lovely ladies of the Drag Asylum on Duval Street and to the awesome staff of the Coffee and Tea House who hooked me up with tasty breakfast each morning.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Inbound 5 is here! With a cheese story by me!

Cover of comics anthology Inbound 5

Do you like cheese? Do you like comics? Do you like them together?

Then pick up a copy of Inbound 5, the brand new lip-smackingly awesome fifth issue of Boston Comics Roundtableís comics anthology! This issueís theme is food, and the stories cover every tasty angle possible: sardines and autobio, corn and mythology, onion rings and magic, and plenty more. And Iíve got a story in it about CHEESE! This issue includes my 2-page comic about Englandís annual Cooperís Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake, a fine example of how my countrymen come up with some crazy-ass traditions.

Buy a copy of Inbound 5 online or in Boston-area comic shops today!











Sunday, September 19, 2010

This Saturday: MICE, a indie comics show in Boston!

Another weekend, another long trek to a faraway comics show - WAIT NO HANG ON THERE. Thereís no long trek! This comics show is right here in BOSTON!

This coming Saturday, September 25th, come on over to Kenmore Square for MICE: Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo! Free admission! The show is co-organized by my pals in the Boston Comics Roundtable, and the lineup is great and diverse - webcomic creators, minicomics and zinesters, small press, and more. Iíll have a table for hawking my minicomics, so drop by and hook yourself up with some good-times autobio cartoons.

WHAT: MICE - Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo
WHEN: Saturday, September 25th 10am-6pm
WHERE: The Art Institute of Boston, 700 Beacon Street, Boston, MA
WEBSITE: www.masscomics.com

Promo poster for Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

See me at SPX 2010 this weekend!

This coming weekend is the indy comics fest Small Press Expo 2010 in Bethesda, Maryland, and Iíll be there!

Come and visit me at table A10 - Iíll be selling my minicomics Geraniums and Bacon, Greenblooded, and Reggie & Brian and the Lousy Nickname.

Iím excited - thisíll be my first time attending SPX. Maryland, treat me kind!

Monday, September 6, 2010

GladRags and Greenblooded are spreading the word!

Neat menstrual news, people! GladRags, my favorite makers of cloth pads, are now offering my minicomic Greenblooded for sale on their website (read their review!). Now you can get a copy of my cartoon intro to eco-friendly feminine products AND buy some for yourself at the same time!

I’m also September’s Monthly Friend on the GladRags Gab blog! LET’S HEAR IT FOR MY UTERUS! Check out the rest of their blog for cool links, advice, and more writing on sustainability and other green topics.

In all seriousness, I really can’t say enough good things about GladRags. They were the ones that introduced me to the world of cups and pads and healthier ways of ladyliving, way back in the day, and their pads are still the ones I use every month. Kudos to them and the work they do!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Comic: MERMAIDS.

Comic - Whatís the Word? Mermaids

So this is the year I finally got to hit the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. HELLA BONKERS YOU GUYS. The creativity (and exhibitionism!) behind the costumes bowls you over. That and the two hours of standing in the hot New York summer sun. We cooled down afterwards by going to the dark theater of the carny-style sideshow.

Afternoon constitutional

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

This Sunday: Mass Market DIY craft fair!

Whatís up this Sunday? A craft fair!

Come on over to Mass College of Artís Pozen Center on Sunday, June 27 for Mass Market, a DIY flea market with art, jewelry, bookbinding, baked goods Ö and comics! Iíll be there hawking my minicomics along with a few other pals from Boston Comics Roundtable. 11am-5pm, $1 entry fee, 621 Huntington Avenue (Longwood stop on the MBTAís Green E line). See you there!



Poster for Mass Market, a DIY craft market held at Mass College of Art on June 27, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Comic: UNPLUGGED.

Comic - Whatís the Word? Unplugged

If youíve never seen the Harry Potter-themed band Harry and the Potters do a live show, youíre missing out on one of lifeís greatest delights! Why not watch the documentary We are Wizards online for free and get a flavor of it?

Harry and the Potters acoustic show

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Maine Comics Arts Fest - fun times for all!

Maine Comics Arts Fest

Convention season rolls on, and last weekend this lucky kitty got to be one of the exhibitors at the second Maine Comics Arts Festival in Portland, Maine!

This show has been such a great addition to the comic show schedule, with its focus on indy creators, its outstanding organizing crew, and its setting in a fun-as-hell city that I love exploring.

What were some of the best parts?

Once again, huge kudos to Rick and the Casablanca Comics organizing crew for putting together a fantastic weekend. Count me in for next year!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

This Sunday: Maine Comics Arts Festival

Fun times this weekend in Portland, Maine! Come to Portland’s Ocean Gateway this Sunday, May 23, for the Maine Comics Arts Festival - meet loads of comics creators and buy loads of cool stuff to read! I’ll be there selling my minicomics (including the latest, my all-ages story Reggie & Brian and the Lousy Nickname), and my pals from Boston Comics Roundtable will be selling our group anthologies Inbound and the shiny new second issue of Outbound.

The festival also includes a full day of free workshops on Saturday, May 22, and a gallery show of original comics art in the Portland Public Library’s Lewis Gallery.

Come and check out the festival on Sunday from 10am - 5pm - admission is $5, and kids 12 and under get in free. Catch you there!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Good finds from MoCCA Art Fest 2010

Another year, another MoCCA Art Fest, and another pile of comics to pore over on the bus ride home. Panels from some of my favorites of this yearís batch:

Panel from Pat Lewisí *Cragmore* book two

Pat Lewisí Cragmore, the tale of a billionaireís brush with death and how he avoids ending up in the Devilís hands. Patís art is beautifully polished, and the story unfolds into weird little turns that always surprise me. The whole graphic novel will be available this summer; in the meantime, buy volumes 1-3 from Patís online store or read the first 20 pages for free.

Panel from Bill Roundyís *The Amazing Adventures of Bill*

Man, Bill Roundyís journal comic The Amazing Adventures of Bill makes me want to live in New York! Or at least visit it more often for drinks. Bill was selling issue #12 of the print minicomic collection of this comic, but you know what? You should plunk down cash and buy his massive paperback book of strips from 2003-2008. Itís worth it for the bonus newsletters included in the back.

Panel from Chris Brownís *My Goddamn Upstairs Neighbor*

Iím usually the sourest jerk about 24-hour comics, but Chris Brownís My Goddamn Upstairs Neighbor made me chuckle, especially the fun way he used the panel borders.

Panel from Dan Mazurís *The Way it Crumbles*

Dan Mazur is a local pal from Boston Comics Roundtable, but did you know that heís also the king of sadness? His latest minicomic The Way it Crumbles is a heartbreaking tale about capitalism, exploitation, innocence lost, and the Keebler elves.

Panel from Colin Tedfordís ííSpin the Spinnerí from the Trees and Hills anthology *Play*

The Roundtableís New England buddies Trees and Hills have been turning out anthologies left and right, and MoCCA saw the debut of their newest, Play. I liked Colin Tedfordís exploration of an alternate version of Twister, which seemed like it would be tee-hee-touchy-feely and actually turned out pretty thought-provoking.

Panel from Betsey Swardlickís íFailwolvesí from the Team Werewolf anthology *Werewolf!!*

Between Being Human and the Kitty Norville series, Iím on a slightly embarrassing werewolf kick lately, so no surprise that I zeroed right in on the Center for Cartoon Studies minicomic anthologies Werewolf! and Werewolf!! (available on the I Know Joe Kimpel site). And what a treat - both of them had hilarious little stories by Betsey Swardlick, who cracked me up a few MoCCAís ago with her minicomic Poor, Poor Angsty Hungarian. I wanna see more of these two little vegan werewolves! Hope thereís a Werewolf!!! in the works.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Reggie and Brian all-ages minicomic - now on sale!

Sample panel from *Reggie & Brian and the Lousy Nickname*

Whoís ready for some fishing fun!

My new all-ages minicomic Reggie & Brian and the Lousy Nickname is now available for sale online! Seashores, boats, waves, more English fishermen than you can shake a stick at, and one stinky nickname that gets stuck to poor Reggie. Can merman buddy Brian help him to shake it? Find out inside! $3.50 gets you 20 pages of seaside storytime:



And check out my comics page for other fun cartoons and minicomics - autobio wacky scrapes, metal concerts, womenís health, and plenty more.






Thursday, April 8, 2010

MoCCA Art Fest 2010 and a new all-ages minicomic!

Itís MoCCA time! This coming weekend is the annual NYC indy comics celebration MoCCA Art Fest. Iíll be there along with my pals from Boston Comics Roundtable, and Iíve got something new!

Iíll be debuting my new all-ages minicomic, Reggie & Brian and the Lousy Nickname. The crew of fishermen all have nicknames, but when the fishing boss picks one for young Reggie, itís definitely not appreciated! Can his little merman pal Brian help him ditch it? Pick up a copy and find out!

Cover of *Reggie & Brian and the Lousy Nickname

Iíll also be selling the usual array of minicomic awesomeness, from autobio fun (Geraniums and Bacon) to menstrual 411 (Greenblooded). Check out the Boston Comics Roundtable area, too, for the newest issue of the sci-fi serial anthology Outbound and our recent anthology hit Inbound 4: A Comic Book History of Boston.

And if youíre in the Boston area and canít make it down to NYC, head to the waterfront this weekend for the ever-expanding Boston Comic Con and say hi to other members of the Roundtable, pals from Agreeable Comics, and other hometown and out-of-town creators.

Look for Reggie and Brian to be available for purchase online soon, and hope to see you at MoCCA!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Join me for some upcoming conventions

The official start of spring is nearly here, and with it comes the comics convention season! Iíll be bopping around a few shows from now through the summer. Hope to see you at one of them!

March 20: Boston Zine Fair (Cambridge, MA)
-- This show is a mini zine fest in collaboration with Whitehaus Family Recordís Blastfest music celebration. Come for the comics and DIY, stay for the rocking out.

April 10-11: MoCCA Art Fest (New York, NY)
-- The classic indy comics show has a new timeslot this year and a ridiculously neat guest list. And if you decide to stick around the Hub instead, stop by Boston Comic Con, also being held that weekend!

May 23: Maine Comics Arts Festival (Portland, ME)
-- Iím so looking forward to the sophomore showing of this event (the first one last year was a well-organized blast). This year, the festival will expand to include a Saturday dedicated to panels and workshops. Canít wait!

July 18: New England Small Press Assembly (NESPA) (Warwick, RI)
-- The first time for a new Northeast con! EAST COAAAAST!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Love is green

Like Minnie the Minx, spend Valentineís Day with the ones you love.



Panel of *The Beano* with Minnie the Minx loving on green jelly babies

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

This Thursday: Inbound #4 creator talk and signing!

Let’s rock this New Year with a local comics event!

On Thursday, January 21, join Boston Comics Roundtable at 7pm at Porter Square Books for a (free!) talk by some of the writers and artists behind Inbound #4 - A Comic History of Boston.

Come and learn about comics creation - we’ll be talking about working from a script, using thumbnails, creating cartoon versions of famous historical people, and more. I’ll be speaking about thumbnails and going from drafts to the final version of my burlesque theater story "The Old Howard". You can expect me to say "James Michael Curley" about 40 times.

And come to just hang out! Say hi to New England comics creators and fans and pick up a signed copy of Inbound #4 of your very own. (And take the opportunity to enjoy some book shopping and coffee from a great independent bookstore!)

WHERE: Porter Square Books, 25 White St, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02140
WHEN: Thursday, January 21, 7pm (free event!)
WHO: Boston Comics Roundtable and writers and artists from Inbound #4

Sunday, December 6, 2009

This Saturday: Comicazi Con! Also, comics parties are awesome

’Tis the season for buying comics! This Saturday, come on by the Comicazi Con in Somerville’s Davis Square - I’ll be there selling my minicomics and (seasonal bonus) holiday cards!

Boston Comics Roundtable will also be there, selling our new anthology Inbound #4: A Comic History of Boston as well as books and minis by BCR members. One-stop holiday shopping!

WHERE: Saturday, December 12, 10am-4pm
WHEN: George Dilboy VFW, 371 Summer St, Davis Square, Somerville, MA
DETAILS: Admission fee $4, hosted by Davis Square comics shop Comicazi

Comics parties!
Fun times this weekend with two release parties for New England comics! Boston Comics Roundtable held a coffeeshop party to celebrate Inbound #4 as well as the opening of an exhibit of original Inbound #4 art at Cambridge’s Atomic Bean Cafe (on display now - stop by and see it!). I’m always amazed by how many people manage to squish into that place, and the coziness was a very welcome escape from the snow clumping down outside.

Afterwards, a bunch of us made our way over to Somerville’s Hub Comics to hang out with a few buddies from our northern pals Trees and Hills, in town to promote two new books: their group anthology Shelter and Marek Bennett’s Nicaragua Comics Travel Journal. Two dogs and a ukelele on the premises - always a guarantee of good times. Pick up Trees and Hills’ comics if you get the chance - you’ll never meet a nicer bunch of comics activists.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Inbound #4 is now on sale!

Promo image for release party for Inbound #4, the Boston comics anthology

Theyíre here! The Boston history comics are here!

Boston Comics Roundtable is thrilled to announce that Inbound #4 is now on sale! This special book-length issue of our comics anthology is packed with dozens of stories from Boston history, brought to you by the minds and pens of local creators.

Including me! This is the one with my comic about Bostonís burlesque theater, the Old Howard, as featured on Radio Boston. If youíve only heard the radio drama version, youíre missing half the story! The full comic has much more - MORE strippers! MORE hot dogs! MORE Sammy Davis Jr.! Pick up a copy of Inbound #4 to get the whole scoop.

And if youíre in the Boston area yourself, come and hang out with us! Weíre celebrating the bookís release this Saturday, December 5, from 4-6pm in Central Squareís Atomic Bean Cafe. Meet comics creators from around New England and see original art from Inbound #4!

Inbound #4 is now available for purchase on the Boston Comics Roundtable website, in Boston-area comic shops, and at a bunch of upcoming Boston-area holiday and craft fairs. BUY IT. LOVE IT. BOSTON IS AWESOME.

























Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Comics! Space Cabby and Boston history comics

I drew Space Cabby for Dave’s Space Cabby collection! If you’re not familiar with Space Cabby, all you need to know is right there in his name. He’s a CABBY. In SPACE. There you go! And if that’s not enough, every Sunday Dave’s blog highlights one of the guy’s stories Ö IN SPACE!

And now for some comics a bit more down to Earth: Boston Comics Roundtable’s upcoming Inbound anthology of Boston history stories is now available for pre-order! Get your name on the list for over a hundred pages of historical awesomeness: the Great Molasses Flood, Sacco and Vanzetti, the Athenaeum’s most infamous book, and my story about Boston’s world-famous burlesque theatre. $12 plus $3.50 shipping and handling - order yours today!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

On the air with me and Boston Comics Roundtable!

Hey Boston, youíve got comics on your radio!

Last week, 90.9 WBUR (Bostonís NPR affiliate) invited Boston Comics Roundtable to be interviewed on their weekly show Radio Boston. The episodeís theme was "Literary Boston", tying in with that weekendís Boston Book Festival.

We talked about the Roundtable and about our upcoming fourth issue of our comics anthology, Inbound - the issue devoted to stories from Boston history. They love the concept of comics set in Boston, and we love talking about our creative work, so it was a blast all around!

You can listen to the entire program on Radio Bostonís website. The BCR interview begins just after 40:00.

As a bonus, the WBUR team and Boston Comics Roundtable joined forces to put together a little radio drama based on my story from Inbound #4, "The Old Howard". Kudos to Braden Lamb for adapting the comic for the radio, the BCR for voice talent, and WBUR for sound effects! And extra solid gold kudos to WBUR for assembling an online version including graphics from the original comic - check out the YouTube clip below (narrated by me!).

This is an abridged version - the actual comic is four pages long and includes so much more awesomeness. Strippers! Censors! Hot dogs! James Michael Curley! Godalmighty, you guys, Boston is just the coolest, except for the times when theyíre knocking down funky parts of town to put up office buildings.

Want to read more? Stay tuned for the release of Inbound #4, coming later this fall! Boston Comics Roundtable is accepting pre-orders for this book - visit the website to send in your order, to sign up for our news mailing list, and to see preview art.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Radio Boston interviews Boston Comics Roundtable!

Weíre on the air!

This weekís Radio Boston show on 90.9 WBUR has the theme of "Literary Boston", and it includes an interview with Boston Comics Roundtable! Weíll be talking about Boston-based comics and the upcoming fourth issue of our anthology Inbound, which will be a special extra-large edition devoted to tales from Boston history.

And as a bonus, the show will include a short radio drama based on my story from Inbound #4, "The Old Howard"! Thrill to the true story of the rise and fall of Bostonís own burlesque theater!

Catch the show: "Literary Boston" will air on 90.9 WBUR at 1pm on Friday, October 23, and again at 1pm on Saturday, October 24. After the Friday airing, the show will be available for download on the Radio Boston website.

You can also get a sneak preview of the radio drama on Radio Bostonís blog, complete with visuals from the comic itself (and me narrating with my best "NPR voice")!

Inbound #4 is slated for release later this year. Read more about it on the Inbound #4 website, where you can also sign up for email announcements about the project or pre-order the book. This one is jam packed full of awesomeness!

Monday, October 19, 2009

This weekend: Boston Comic Con!

Boston Comics Roundtable logo

Are you in the Boston area? Are you into comics?

If youíre shouting "Yeah!", then come on by this weekend for Boston Comic Con - bargain reads, guest artists, and more! Iíll be there with local comics posse Boston Comics Roundtable, selling our anthology Inbound and minicomics by our members.

Come by, say hi, and buy a few comics!

Where: Back Bay Events Center, 180 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA
When: Saturday & Sunday October 24-25, 10am-5pm
Admission: $10 each day







Tuesday, October 13, 2009

One last trip to *Planet Wifey*, and one guest stint on *Sordid City Blues*!

Logo for *Planet Wifey*, a webcomic by Clarence Smith Jr. and Cathy Leamy

Slip into the orbit of Planet Wifey one more time, and check out some incredible news! Things will never be the same!

And with this earth-shaking chapter, my part in telling the tales of Planet Wifey draws to a close. Thanks to Clarence and PW herself for inviting me to join in on this project - itís been a fun trip! Iím looking forward to reading whatever Clarence works on next (like this), and most of all Iím looking forward to seeing what becomes of that great big news!








Panel from a guest strip of webcomic *Sordid City Blues* written by Daniel Barlow and drawn by Cathy Leamy

Meanwhile, in another orbit of the internet, webcomics guy and all-around cool fella Charles Schneeflock Snow has tapped me and writer Daniel Barlow for a guest strip in his webcomic Sordid City Blues. Check out the results in "I Owe You Everything"!













Wednesday, September 30, 2009

News flashes!

Whoa, brace yourselves for lots of news!

Boston 

Comics Roundtable logo

Boston Comics Roundtable has a brand spankin’ new website! Head over to www.bostoncomicsroundtable.com and check out the handiwork of designer and illustrator Shelli Paroline - nice job, Shelli! Look for tutorials, discussion, and art from Roundtable members as the site continues to grow.

And keep an eye on that space for news of the upcoming fourth issue of Inbound, the Boston Comics Roundtable anthology. Kudos to everyone who attended our fundraiser in August! Thanks to the "Fastest Artist" improv-style competition, I can finally say I’ve seen a drawing of Danny Devito wrapping Christmas presents at the Crucifixion. At last. This fast-approaching next issue of Inbound will be packed with tales from Boston history, including a story by me about a very special and, sadly, vanished site in Boston entertainment. Spoiler alert! It features ladies without many clothes on.

And who else is up to something new around here?

Friday, August 21, 2009

An extended trip to Planet Wifey!

Logo for *Planet Wifey*, a webcomic by Clarence Smith Jr. and Cathy Leamy

A few spins around and weíre back in the orbit of Planet Wifey! Catch up on all the antics: fun and games around the house, Twitter-based romance with a Star Trek bonus, squirrels who mean business, gorgeous guest art by Chris Piascik, and the first two parts of how Clarence met Planet Wifey! Woooo!









Monday, August 10, 2009

Event! August 20 - WILD INK, a Boston Comics Roundtable fundraiser

Boston Comics Roundtable logo

Come and hang out with Boston’s cartoonists!

Our local crew of comics creators, Boston Comics Roundtable are hosting a fundraiser night to benefit the fourth issue of our comics anthology, Inbound!

Come on over to P.A.’s Lounge in Somerville, MA, on Thursday, August 20 for a night of caricatures, sketch battles, raffle prizes, and live music from the band Rotary. The fun starts at 9pm (doors open at 8), tickets are $12 at the door, and the event is 18+. [ press release with details ]

Inbound #4 will be devoted to stories of Boston history - strange tales, naughty memories, and inspiring characters galore. It’s going to be a rock solid collection of fun reading, so join us at P.A.’s Lounge and help make this issue happen!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

NOW ON SALE: Greenblooded, an introduction to eco-friendly feminine hygiene

Cover for *Greenblooded*

Itís here! My newest minicomic is available for purchase online!

A good read for ladies and fellas alike, this nonfiction mini gives you the rundown on more eco-friendly approaches to handling your period. It covers the basics of several alternative products, the facts of the menstrual cycle, greener disposables, and discussion about why this is an important issue. 12 pages, $2, good for teens and up!

This has been a bit of a departure from my usual autobio-based storytelling, and Iíve enjoyed the heck out of it. Iíd like this project to start conversation, so if you have feedback, corrections, advice, or funny stories of your own, please share them with me!


And if youíre looking for more fun stuff to read, skip on over to my comics page for a list of my other print minicomics and some web-only stories!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Reminder: MoCCA Art Fest 2009 in NYC this weekend!

Donít forget - this weekend is the annual MoCCA Art Fest in New York City! 11am-6pm Saturday and Sunday at the 69th Regiment Armory, 68 Lexington Avenue, between 25th and 26th Streets. Look for me and my new comics!

Flyer for MoCCA Art Fest 2009

Also this weekend is the birthday of Sir Tom Jones. 69 years young, ladies! Celebrate by watching this video and chucking your panties at the monitor.



Wednesday, June 3, 2009

This weekend: MoCCA Art Fest and NEW COMICS!

Itís that time of year again!

This weekend is the annual MoCCA Art Festival in New York City, and that means itís time for some new comics! Come on by my table and check out the debut of my new minicomic, Greenblooded: An introduction to eco-friendly feminine hygiene!

Cover for minicomic *Greenblooded*

This comic is an educational effort, straying a bit from the autobio wackiness I typically write. Itíll give you the basics on greener ladyproducts with plenty of background on the menstrual cycle and the environmental impact of handling it. If you like ladies, if you are ladies, if you just want to learn more about an issue thatís usually kept on the hush-hush, pick up a copy and start the conversation! If you canít make it to MoCCA, look for the comic to be on sale on this website next week.

Update: This comic and others are on sale online! Check out my comics page!

This weekend will also see the debut of two new Star Wars fanbooks from the group that brought you Harvest is When I Need You the Most (with even more creators this time)! Look for Only What You Take With You and And Donít Forget the Droids, including a two-page story by me! Itís about R2D2. That little guyís made of awesome.

Promotional image for new Star Wars fanbooks from the crew that brought you *Harvest is When I Need You the Most*

Forget this coming weekend - do you want to read some comics right now? Then check out the latest trip to Planet Wifey, where black girls rock!

Logo for *Planet Wifey*, a webcomic by Clarence Smith Jr. and Cathy Leamy

And never mind comics - are you hankering for up to 140 characters of rockiní? Good news for you, then - Iím now on Twitter under @metrokitty. Look for comics updates and plenty of disgusting medical facts.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Maine Comics Arts Festival: Conventions done right

This past weekend, I had an absolutely lovely time attending the Maine Comics Arts Festival. A bunch of pals from the Boston Comics Roundtable and I made the trek up north for the one-day show, where we peddled our wares and hung out with comics buddies and luminaries like Trees and Hills, Becky Cloonan, Kean Soo, and plenty of others.

Iím blown away by the fact that this was the festivalís first time around. Rick of Casablanca Comics and his team made the event run so smoothly and with such organization that Iíd think itíd been going for years. Iíd like to break down what I thought was successful, to take away for other events.

Organization


Support


Kid-friendliness
As BCR member Alexander Danner points out, the place was flooded with kids and their parents - way more than any of us anticipated. I think my sales wound up lower than usual as a result, since all of my comics are geared for older audiences (I had to shoo a lot of little fingers away from I Survived GWAR), but Iím happy to shrug this away to celebrate kids just loviní on comics and bringing new blood and energy into the scene.


Social opportunities
In addition to putting on the show itself, the MeCAF crew provided some great get-togethers for the creators to meet and mingle.


Attractions
My weekend in Maine ended up being flat-out fun and pretty to look at. Some of that was intentional from the MeCAF crew and some was just a side result of the locations, but in any case, I walked away having enjoyed where Iíd been and actively looking forward to the next show. This is a factor in my choosing conventions - what else can I do while Iím there, and will the space be comfortable?

Again, I canít get over how well-organized and on-the-ball the MeCAF crew turned out to be. My whole experience at this con was effortless and very enjoyable. Hereís hoping this will be the first show of many!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sunday: Maine Comics Arts Festival

If you like indy comics and you like Maine, come on up to Portland this Sunday for the Maine Comics Arts Festival! It’s a full day with a huge list of comics creators and great selection of workshops and discussions. Look for me and plenty of Boston Comics Roundtable members as well as our pals from Trees and Hills!

Where: Ocean Gateway in Portland, Maine
When: Sunday, May 17 10am-5pm
Details: $5 admission (free for kids under 12)

If you’re a city kitty like me and don’t have a car, the Amtrak Downeaster train runs from Boston’s North Station to Portland with trains leaving at 8:50am and 11:10am and returning at 3pm and 8pm.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Promo: Inbound #3 and Planet Wifey!

Cover for *Inbound* #3, a comics anthology by Boston Comics Roundtable

Itís here! Check out the brand-new third issue of Inbound, a comics anthology by the buckets of creative talent at the Boston Comics Roundtable! 72 pages about love and relationships from local creators: Youíll laugh, youíll cry, youíll admire the zombies and dinosaurs. If youíre new to Inbound, catch up with the bundle deals on our back issues (issue #2 has a story by me!).



Logo for *Planet Wifey*, a webcomic by Clarence Smith Jr. and Cathy Leamy

In the mood for more comics? Hop on over to Planet Wifey, where peeps are gettiní hiiiiiiigh.



Thursday, April 16, 2009

Promo: Planet Wifey - Sexy When Mad (and more!)

Logo for *Planet Wifey*, a webcomic by Clarence Smith Jr. and Cathy Leamy

Take a trip to Planet Wifey, where the consequences of lost luggage are sexy!

And if youíre looking for more reading awesomeness, check out The Chronicles of Solomon Stone, the face-kickingly cool adventures of the Worldís Greatest Half-Vampire Private Detective (brought to you by Chris Sims, Matthew Allen Smith, and Benjamin Birdie!



Still looking for more? Pop on over to (postmodernbarney.com) for the heartache of Uncomfortable Plot Summaries. Sick burn, Hollywood.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Comics events for April 4-5 - Party! Convention!

Plenty of comics news today!

Inbound #3 release party this Saturday
Boston Comics Roundtable is celebrating the brand-new third issue of our comics anthology Inbound! Come hang out with Boston comics creators and check out a coffeeshop exhibit of original artwork!
where: The Atomic Bean Cafe, 902 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA (between Harvard and Central Squares, where Mojo Records used to be)
when: Saturday, April 4, 2009 † 7-9pm

Boston Comic-Con this weekend
Stop by the Boston Comic-Con this weekend to stock up on comics and meet local creators (including members of Boston Comics Roundtable and Trees and Hills). Iíll be there hawking my comics - hope to see you there!
where: Back Bay Events Center, 180 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA
when: Sat-Sun April 4-5, 2009   10am-5pm ($10 admission fee)

Fall into the orbit of Planet Wifey
Belated shout-out for the latest Planet Wifey! Go check it out - it involves bras and squirrels.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Scrooge Down Under

And it was after three oíclock in the morning

Panel from *The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck*, the Australia story

and I found this story about Scrooge McDuck going walkabout with a shaman in the Australian outback

Panel from *The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck*, the Australia story

whaaaaaaaaaat

Panel from *The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck*, the Australia story

The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck is blowin’ my mind, guys.

In other news, bop on over to Planet Wifey for everything you need to know about Clarence buying sneakers!

And a HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Mike Sterling!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Promo: Planet Wifey - Kangaroo Smackdown

Logo for *Planet Wifey*, a webcomic by Clarence Smith Jr. and Cathy Leamy

Check out the newest strip at Planet Wifey, where you can learn all about wailin’ on kangaroos.



Friday, February 27, 2009

Captain Haddock Party: REVENGE

Captain Haddock

Tintin panels where Captain Haddock is crying out for revenge

is a man on a mission

Friday, February 13, 2009

Promo: Planet Wifey now in orbit

Logo for *Planet Wifey*, a webcomic by Clarence Smith Jr. and Cathy Leamy

Start the Valentine’s Day lovin’ a day early - check out the debut strip of Planet Wifey, a webcomic with writing by Clarence Smith Jr. and art by me! Look for a new trip to Planet Wifey every other Friday.



Thursday, February 12, 2009

Vintage Beano Party: The Potato Marriers

Panel from *The Beano* of Fatty marrying a potato

Everybody we know loves to read The Beano! íCause it was made of 100% coked-up crazy.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Promo: I Saw You ... Comics Inspired by Real-Life Missed Connections

Cover of Craigslist-inspired comics anthology *I Saw You*

Check this! The Craigslist-inspired comics anthology I Saw You... is finally out and in bookstores near you! Itís packed like a sardine can full of excellent indy comics creators, including a one-page comic by me. Youíll know it. Youíll love it. Itís about colonoscopies.

Kudos to Julia Wertz for bringing the book together. Look for it in bookstores or order a copy online!



Thursday, January 15, 2009

Arisia 2009 - now with added Boston Comics Roundtable content!

If you’re a Boston-area geek looking for a weekend of nerdpartying, come on over to Cambridge this Friday to Arisia, New England’s largest sci-fi and fantasy convention!

This year’s comics panels include appearances by members of the Boston Comics Roundtable. If you’re interested in learning more about indy comics in Boston and our current/upcoming projects, this is the place for you!

To prep for the weekend, why not have a refresher on stuff geeks love, the worst comic this guy owns (NSFW), the entire run of The Prisoner, or the classic geek hierarchy?

Monday, December 8, 2008

This Sunday: Comic show in Davis Square

If you’re in the Davis Square area this Sunday (December 14), come on over to a comic show!

Comicazi will be hosting the Comicazi-Con and Bad-*ss Christmas Bazaar at the Dilboy VFW in Davis Square. 9am-3pm, $3 admission (includes free comic and toy). Get ready to buy loads of comics! And come and say hi to the Boston Comics Roundtable - we’ll be there selling copies of our anthology Inbound and minicomics by our members!

BeaucoupKevin.com has a lovely flyer for the event.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hooray for the Boston Zine Fair 2008!

We had a ZINE FAIR. And it was AWESOME.

Boston Zine Fair 2008 has come and gone already, and it left a big pile of stuff to read in my living room.

This was my first year of helping to organize the fair. I was pretty nervous - we were dealing with a sack full of new factors: different location, different time of year, a two-floor layout instead of a single floor, and a new group of organizers.

But the fair came together, and I ended up having a blast. Loads of tablers came in from all over New England and beyond, and the fair wound up being crammed full of creativity and dozens of points of view. Fair attendees got the chance to sign up for membership in the Papercut Zine Library, get a sneak preview of the newest issue of Boston Comics Roundtableís anthology Inbound, pick up the latest Trees and Hills collaboration Seeds, and buy/swap for plenty of other zines, comics, and books.

And me, I managed to sell a pretty decent number of comics, I got to hang out with creative friends all day, I attended some mind-opening workshops, and I drank a lot of coffee (Dunkin Donuts REPRESENT). Woo!

I also learned that there was a freaking skeleton on the second floor, Charlie Cards can be used for devious purposes, Newbury Street keeps going after it hits Mass Ave, and Jay is actually a ninja. The more you know, people!

Iíd also like to give a huge thumbs up to a couple of great Trees and Hills creators: Anne Thalheimer, who led a fun crafts workshop and shared thoughts on her approach to crafting (including a "zero discard" policy for her new effort My Monster Hat); and Marek Bennett, who led an inspiring workshop and discussion on comics and education/activism. Marek has posted notes from his talk over on his blog - itís worth the read.

Cool finds of the zine fair!

I enjoyed the fair so much (and Iím not the only one), and Iím really looking forward to the next one and doing more to grow this excellent Boston alt-media event.

Sign for Fred the Skeleton and also more zines

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

This weekend: Boston Zine Fair!

Logo for Boston Zine Fair 2008

The Boston Zine Fair is this weekend!

Come and check out the crazy array of zines, comics, crafts, and more! Dozens of tablers and a great lineup of workshops are waiting for you this weekend just around the corner from Kenmore Square in Boston. And look for the second issue of the Boston Comics Roundtable anthology Inbound, making its debut at this event (with a nine-page story by me)!

Where: 601 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
When: 10am-6pm, Saturday and Sunday, September 20-21 2008
Admission: Free!

Check out the Boston Zine Fair website for full details including directions and the workshop schedule. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Comic: Sounds of Doctor Who

A comic about Kitty attending a Doctor Who festival

(You can support the Brattle Theatre and help them to keep bringing fine programming like "Genesis of the Daleks" to the big screen! Click here to find out how.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Boston Zine Fair 2008 seeks vendors!

The dates for this year's Boston Zine Fair have been announced!

This year's zine fair will be held on September 20-21 in a new location: Art Institute of Boston's building at 600 Newbury Street, Boston.

We're looking for vendors to make this a fantastic event: zine makers, comics creators, writers, artists, and anyone interested in independent publishing. Registration is open and table space is cheap! Go to BostonZineFair.org to learn more and to register to table at the fair.

Want to learn more about zines? Read the Wikipedia writeup, or if you're in the Harvard Square area, stop by the Papercut Zine Library and check out their enormous selection.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Inbound - a new comics anthology from Boston, now on sale!

Cover of *Inbound* issue #1, a new comics anthology by the Boston Comics Roundtable

Fresh hot comics straight from Boston!

Inbound has arrived! This is the first issue of a new comics anthology by the Boston Comics Roundtable, and it is a gem. It's packed full of a variety of cool stories (Astronomers! Plague! Can openers!) and features a stunning cover by the crazyskilled Shelli Paroline. This is the first issue of many - look for a story by me in issue #2!

$7.95 an issue for some rock-solid New England quality! You can buy Inbound on the Boston Comics Roundtable website or in Boston-area comics shops including Million Year Picnic and Hub Comics.



Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Geraniums and Bacon #5! Now on sale!

Cover of *Geraniums and Bacon* issue #5

It's here, everyone!

The fifth issue of my minicomic Geraniums and Bacon debuted at last weekend's MoCCA Art Festival, and now it's available for sale online!

This one's 20 pages of black and white comic awesome: decrepit expired Halloween pumpkins, medieval English mecha, bra shopping, and Kitty's completely unneeded trip to Filene's Basement's Bridal Sale!

$2 dollars gets you all this and more, so pick up your copy today!



Tuesday, June 10, 2008

MoCCA 2008: The awesomeness goes to 11

Photo of our MoCCA signs

Another year, another MoCCA art fest!

This year, we had a posse: me, Charles, and the rest of the Boston Comics Roundtable. All of our tables clustered like a New England colony out in the wilds of New York City. We're pilgrims in an unholy land!

And we brought some amazing goods to trade with the natives. I debuted the latest Geraniums and Bacon, Charles sold out of his two collections of Sordid City Blues, our pals sold out of the Star Wars fan comic Harvest is When I Need You the Most, and the Boston Comics Roundtable hit the ground running with the first issue of our new anthology, Inbound (now available for sale online). Rock solid!

The sun didn't like us and kicked out some fierce upper-90's heat. We skated through most of it due to our table sitting directly underneath a ceiling fan, but the inevitable struck on Sunday: a fire alarm and evacuation of the building. Kudos to the poor firefighters in their pounds of full-body protective gear.

I love the amazing selection of indy comics every year at MoCCA. It's like strolling into a walk-in treasure chest. It can be overwhelming, though. You risk the coolfinder's anxiety: "There could be hidden gems that I'll never see again at every single table! I must examine all of them! Wah!" Coming in as a creator, too, is a different level of social fun. You get to meet up with rarely-seen friends from around the country and immediately swap your latest creations, like little kids trading Halloween candy.

The social kept on flowing in the afterhours. We hit the Friday party at Rocketship, got copious drinks with new and old buddies, and laughed our heads off at karaoke. Comics geeks rock out like you'd never believe. And comics geeks shout out too: I had great times running around with or just running into Ed, Kevin, Birdie, Neilalien, Gina FirstSecond, Bill Roundy, Joe Rice, Mildly Astonishing Mike, the Satisfactory Comics crew, the Trees and Hills gang, Bully the Little Stuffed Bull and his human pals, and the Karaoke All-Stars. Not to mention dozens of other people I'm totally blanking on because my weekend was filled to bursting with comics and no sleep and gin and tonics. Take my word that they are all made of awesome as well.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Coming soon: Geraniums and Bacon #5

It's coming! Are you ready for this?!

Geraniums and Bacon issue #5!

Panel from *Geraniums and Bacon* issue 5



This one's got something for everyone!
BRAS!
BRIDAL GOWNS!
BUDDHISM!

The next issue of Geraniums and Bacon will be debuting at the upcoming MoCCA Art Fest in New York City on June 7. Come by my table on the upper floor and get yourself a copy!

And in the meantime, catch up on the awesomeness by ordering issues 1-4!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Iron Man: Random links and random thoughts ... built in a cave

Grab-bag of Iron Man awesomeness

Spot Tony's MIT class ring

FAA's regulations on alcohol and flying planes

Newsarama: Iron Man sequel planned for April 2010

Tony Stark will make you feel ... like a customized Lego figurine

Comics Worth Reading conversation: What Iron Man comics should I pick up?

Pandagon: Pepper and Tony = Jeeves and Wooster

And my own two cents on it

I can't get over how much I enjoyed Iron Man. I mean two screenings in just the opening weekend enjoyed it. Regret not sneaking into another showing immediately after the first one enjoyed it. And I've never been an Iron Man fan in my life, though I had a good time reading the first Essential collection a few years ago.

The movie was just a lot of exhilarating fun, and Tony Stark was the kind of bright, fast-talking, arrogant-but-can-back-it-up character I just like spending time with. It's the same mindset I have in reading Starman and the Vampire Files novels for the sake of spending time with Jack Knight and Jack Fleming. It's not so much that I like the plot, but damn, I just like this guy's company, and I'll put up with a surprising amount of bad story to hang out with the guy. Plus it doesn't hurt that Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark is total hot sauce.

Johanna had a good observation about the contemporary feel of the movie. The sci-fi in it comes off to me as pretty believable and pretty achievable. I live in a world where a buddy of mine has the internet in his pocket and my mom thinks about buying an electronic picture frame that cycles through digital photos.

On the level of fun-as-all-hell standalone summer movie, this flick was aces. But when I think on some of its themes or the overarching trends of current movies, I get a little less gleefrenzied.

The movie has no real women characters except for the everything-gopher secretary (admittedly awesome and indispensable), and if we're being generous, the one bangable reporter who shows up in a few scenes. Women are just there to get Tony's coffee and drive him through warzones and sexydance in his private jet. The movie's kinda like a James Bond film on Red Bull, so it's understandable. But when you look at the overall trend of hey-ladies-no-hero-movies-for-you, it's frustrating that there's no female counterpart movie to balance it out. You could show this flick to a Boy Scout troop and they'd walk off completely pumped about making robot kits and growing up to go to MIT like Tony Stark. What do I show to the Girl Scout troop?

It also frustrates me that Tony works to make up for years of warmongering by building ... a super-awesome warsuit. Yes, I can spin this by pointing out that it's the tool he needs to zip around the world and put a stop to misuse of Stark Technologies, but still: super-awesome warsuit. Tony Stark wants to make the most of his life as Yensin urges him to do, but I didn't once hear anyone suggesting the Alfred Nobel route of compensating for a career of industrial destruction.

I'd also like to see someone with more cultural analysis chops than I have explore how this movie fits in with the American cult of the individual and how the USA often opts to go it alone in international conflict. Maybe they could also touch on the USA's military-industrial split personality: with the left hand (Stane), we'll sell you the explodies, and with the right hand (Stark), we'll come back and smash you for using them. And they might have a few words about the storytelling of replacing the original yellow peril villain with a burlap peril villain. You could wring a entire doctoral thesis out of this movie in the right frame of mind.

Monday, April 21, 2008

So long to the Long Box

Funeral scene from *Hitman*

Sad clouds overhead today for the closing-up-shop of Dave's Long Box, one of the funniest comics blogs out there. The guy is one of the greats, and though I'm happy that he's still writing elsewhere and has more up his sleeve to come, it's still a bummer to see the end of the blog that brought us Airwolf: the Adjective, Boob War, Dude Looks Like a Lady Week, and The S.H.I.E.L.D. Powerpoint presentation.

Oh hey Dave? If you're looking for something else to do, you could always go back to writing The Velvet Marauder. Just puttin' that out there. 'Cause it's made of awesome.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Things of beauty

The art in the latest Perfect Stars is exquisite.

Bruno 9Li creates astounding ink drawings.

Dishfuls of Doodles' wares are delightful.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thoughts on League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier

To me, reading League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier was like reading an issue of Wallpaper*.

Wallpaper* is stunning to look at. The colors and design are rich and immersive, and the writeups touch on a variety of locations and pieces. But the end result of reading the magazine is me poring over a list of places I will never see and furniture I will never own. It's beautiful, but a bit hollow and unsatisfying.

And that's how I felt reading The Black Dossier. It was an exquisite catalog of pointers to stories that I will never actually get to read. The pastiche was hilarious and convincing, the artwork was striking, and the ideas were fascinating. But on page after page I found descriptions of amazing tales - Orlando's life story like a bullet point list, Fanny Hill's new escapades in synopsis form, postcards with throwaway references to adventure, casefiles summing up dramatic episodes in quick bland paragraphs. It was a frustrating tease, high on concept but not that high on actual realized content.

The book is a great success as a literary exercise, though. It has loads of fodder for thought and speculation, and it has some amount of content and resolution for the series characters. The Lovecraft/wodehouse short story cracked me up (and reminded me of the old story collection Scream for Jeeves), and I enjoyed all of the references to the Big Brother government (especially the bizarre naughty minicomic).

But ultimately, I would trade the massive list of literary plotbunnies for even just a few of the fully-realized stories themselves. What would it be like to see an immortal gender-changing warrior learn to fly in World War I dogfights, for example? A single-sentence mention of that concept just doesn't do it for me.

In other news: I've been away for a bit on vacation. Pictures to come shortly, glad to be back.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Diary comic typos

This morning's thought topic: Typos in diary comics.

On the one hand, they're an honest reflection of the creator, and they can give the work a touch of down-to-earthiness. You could even go as far as arguing on the side of wabi-sabi and the beauty of small imperfectations making the work more real and less plastic or artificial.

On the other hand, they still come off to me as less "intentional imperfectation" and more "I couldn't be bothered to copyedit my stuff." Damn, people - if you're going to the trouble of printing your work in a perfectbound book and distributing it to a wide audience, you obviously care enough about the contents to treat the artwork with love and make it shine. Why not take a few minutes and tend to the text as well?

I'm torn. I can't stand typos in professionally printed work. They jar my reading experience and speak to a lack of attention to detail. But the book I'm reading really is a diary comic - it's a reproduction of a sketchbook journal. So the typos are not just easily-tweaked type boxes; they are part of the original art. Then why not fix the typos in Photoshop when the art is being scanned and manipulated for the reprinted version? But then the work would not be entirely authentic. Argh! I'm turning in circles here. Maybe I'd have more tolerance if this comic weren't completely peppered through with misspellings. Man, this cartoonist can't spell for beans.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Linkage: Jenny the Military Spouse

Via Journalista: Check out the comic strip Jenny the Military Spouse, carried by The Stars and Stripes with strips available online. Man, reading the archives is taking me back to my military brat childhood. That is a big pile of terminology I haven't heard in years.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

This weekend: SPX (where sadly I won't be)

The Small Press Expo is going down in Maryland this weekend, and I'm the saddest kitty on the block that I couldn't be there.

If you're there or if you're at home and want to read along, check out The Beat's ongoing coverage.

And if you're there, look for my friends from the Boston Comics Roundtable selling loads of minicomics and creations from New England talent. And you can pick up a copy of Geraniums and Bacon or I Survived Gwar for yourself!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Friday Night Fights are not fully dressed

Panel of Abby Chase from *Danger Girl* totally giving some guy the business

Who's on board for fighting tonight? Why, it's ABBY CHASE. And HER GIRLS.

Are you woman enough for this?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday Night Fights: Division X Reporting for Duty

Panel of George Harper kicking a guy in the balls

Ladies and gentlemen, sharpen your pencils and take notes: George Harper of The Invisibles is teaching you HOW IT'S DONE.

Step up, son!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Friday Night Fights: Fear the Panther

Panel of Black Panther totally knocking the bejeezus out of Mephisto

Oh, I'm sorry, Mephisto, did you have something to say to Black Panther? I'm afraid it may have to wait.

Bust some heads!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Yay for Comics: Scutmonkey

I love finding comic stories from completely different perspectives, especially when they have a bit of an educational edge to them. So I am both learning and laughing my ass off at Scutmonkey, one student's minicomics about medical school. The first paper issue appears to be sold out, but the site offers loads of online storytelling: surgery, OB/GYN, types of med school students, and more. Recommended!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Night Fights: Fu on You

Panel of kung fu fighting

Tonight, The Big Book of the '70s brings it on home ... TO YOUR FACE!

Watch your back!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Friday Night Fights: Tiegel Brings It

*Hitman* panel of Detective Tiegel completely wailing on a coworker

Did someone order a pizza? And by "pizza" I mean "utter smackdown"? Because Hitman's Detective Tiegel is serving them up fresh this evening.

Can you stand the heat?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

promo a-go-go

So much is going on!

Cover of the Friends of Lulu anthology, *The Girls' Guide to Guys' Stuff* Friends of Lulu has an anthology (with a cartoon by me)!

Friends of Lulu has released their new comics anthology, The Girls' Guide to Guys' Stuff. This book is bursting with great talent and female cartoonists of all kinds ... including me! Pick up a copy and check out my four-page short comic on neckties (and get a sneak preview on the anthology's MySpace updates page). If you're going to the San Diego Comic Con, look for the Friends of Lulu booth, where the book will be on sale; otherwise, you can order a copy from their website.

Marek has a blog!
Cartoonist and comics activist Marek Bennett has a blog: http://marekbennett.blogspot.com. Check out this guy's adventures in comics in New Hampshire and his own comic strip Mimi's Doughnuts, which is a delightful read!

Satisfactory Comics has a blog!
Check out this new blog by Mike and Isaac, the jam-masters behind Satisfactory Comics and a number of other collaborative and experimental comics: http://satisfactorycomics.blogspot.com. And take a look at the comics themselves - they're fun stories with surprising amounts of layers to peel and explore.

Trees & Hills has an anthology!
Trees & Hills, the comic group for creators in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Western Massachusetts, has released a new anthology, the Field Guide. This thing is 52 pages bursting with mad cartooning skills - order a copy on their site!

Sordid City Blues is on sale in Cambridge!
The first print volume of Charles Schneeflock Snow's webcomic Sordid City Blues is available for sale at my favorite comic shop, Cambridge's Million Year Picnic. If you're in Harvard Square, stop in and pick it up!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday Night Fights: Tokyo Sac Kick

Panel of Vertigo Pop: Tokyo

What day is it? Friday!
What time is it? FIGHTIN' TIME!

Today's nads destruction is brought to you courtesy of the lovely and underrated Vertigo Pop: Tokyo!

Edit: I am on the crustiest internet cafe browser in the world right now and I can't tell if that image is loading. If it's not, my apologies! I'll fix it when I get back to civilization.

Edit: Image repaired. Wow, that was embarrassing.

Edit: DELAYED FIGHTING ACTION!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

promo: MoCCA Art Fest this weekend, June 23-24

This coming weekend is the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) Art Festival in New York. I am very excited for this - the exhibitor lineup looks fantastic, and it's a great chance to socialize with comics creators and readers and pick up some excellent reads.

I'll be there at a table hawking copies of Geraniums and Bacon and I Survived Gwar. Come and visit, and buy some comics!

Details:
When? June 23-24, 2007, 11-6 both days
Where? Puck Building (293 Lafayette at Houston), New York City
Website? http://www.moccany.org/artfest-main.html

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday Night Fights: Jack Knight's Innermost Thoughts

Panel of Jack Knight taking out one of the Mist's henchmen

Why I love Jack Knight, example #153: Thinking about 1960's consumer items while battling henchmen baddies and hunting for his clothes at the same time.

From Starman: Night and Day

Bring it, Bahlactus.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Boston Globe blurb on comic stats

This small stats blurb from last Sunday's Boston Globe interested me.

Listing of comic sales from Boston Sunday Globe, March 25

Assuming that these stats are reliable, four of the top-selling comic collections in New England that week were manga. The only Western comic was one that is tied to a recent multi-million dollar feature film.

Admittedly, I know jack all about the publishing industry and sales stats. But as a comics reader and customer, I'm inclined to yell "Preach it" for Dirk Deppey's commentary on the purchasing appeal of manga versus Western comics. When I heard good things about Antique Bakery and Paradise Kiss, I looked up Volume 1 in the bookshop and started reading. When the X-Men film came out and a friend asked me where to begin reading the X-books, I was completely stymied. What was the correct order? Which were the bad writers to avoid? Which stories required reading other Marvel stories to understand? I still don't know the answer to this question.

Monday, March 26, 2007

new! Geraniums and Bacon issue 4!

Cover of Geraniums and Bacon issue #4

It's here, everyone! The newest issue of my minicomic, Geraniums and Bacon! This one's the travel issue: Boggle at what Kitty and pals do when luggage goes missing! Explore Dublin on a solo trip! Crush on public TV travel writer Rick Steves! Plus travel snaps, Milo Mercury and Ginger, and more! 20 pages of good times!

Check out a sample short from this issue: We're Gonna Have a Rick Steves Party Tonight!


Friday, March 23, 2007

Friday Night Fight Club!

Bahlactus puts out the challenge!

The Beano answers!

Comic panel of Dennis the Menace attacking Walter the Softy

Sorted!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

this weekend, March 24-25: Boston Zine Fair!

Do you like zines and minicomics? If you do, make time this coming weekend (March 24-25) to visit the Boston Zine Fair, the annual event for small press, self-publishers, and anyone interested in expressing themselves. I've attended this for several years now and every time it's more packed and even more full of amazing writing and artwork.

I'll be there hawking my minicomics, including the brand spanking new issue of Geraniums and Bacon (soon to be for sale on this website)! Come on over, say hi, and get yourself a copy!

I'll also be sharing a table with pal Charles, who will be selling the first print volume of his webcomic Sordid City Blues. Stop by and check it out!

What: Boston Zine Fair (official website)
When: March 24-25, 10am-6pm both days
Where: Massachusetts College of Art, Pozen Center (621 Huntington Ave, Boston; MBTA Green 'E' line, Longwood stop; more directions here)

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

upcoming: Geraniums and Bacon #4



Currently hacking away at the latest issue of my minicomic Geraniums and Bacon. Coming soon, issue 4: the travel issue! Wish you were here!

Keep an eye on this blog or join the comics mailing list for further news!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

For you to buy: Sordid City Blues, volume 1

Are you looking for slice-of-life comics? Good news!

Cover of Sordid City Blues, volume 1

The first volume of my pal Charles' webcomic Sordid City Blues will be available in print format in early March. It's currently up for pre-order, so go and get your name in for a copy!

SCB is great fun to read - it goes from relationships to religion to rock'n'roll, and then there are pretty girls and a chapter about skeeball. Something for everyone!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

comic: Medical Terminology

A comic about Kitty taking a night class in medical terminology

Saturday, December 16, 2006

comic: The Paper Mirror



I'm still thinking about DC's upcoming Minx line and the reaction to the gender makeup of its creative teams (i.e., not many women for an imprint aimed at young girls).

From a business sense, there's nothing wrong about this. DC isn't building some FUBU girlpower collective. Their goal is to get girls to buy DC comics, full stop.

Good creators can build stories about people who aren't like them. Men can write about women (Whiteout), women can write about men (Finder), $apples can write about $oranges, and so on. And DC has hired some great creators for this venture.

At the same time, I wonder about Minx's potential lack of paper mirror moments, especially for an audience who really needs them. Sometimes only the people who've been there can really capture the mood and, maybe even more importantly, the details. Hacker movies sporting fakey Hollywood OS, on-location tales with incorrect or mishmashed backgrounds - the devil's in the details, and when the details are wrong, my conviction in the story falters and sometimes I even feel disrespected. "Hey, I'm glad that me and my kind are such great story fodder for you guys - now could you take five minutes to actually talk to one of us and get some facts about what we're really like?"

Friday, December 1, 2006

minxing

After reading the blog discussion about DC's new girl-oriented imprint Minx, I still have just one thought jumping out.

I wish it were all about this minx.

The Beano's Minnie the Minx

That's right, Minnie the Minx, keepin' it old school Beano-style!

If some kindly publisher ever turned out Essential collections for characters from The Beano, I would be short a lot of cash the following day. I suspect that reading that comic throughout my whole childhood was a major factor for how I turned out today. Hell, I know it's what got me into drawing comics.

A sample Minnie the Minx comic page

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

dracula's essentials, part 2

As you saw previously, I recently finished reading Essential Tomb of Dracula, volume 1 and discovered that it's all about the macking and smacking. We already covered the smacking.

What does that leave? That's right, MACKING.

A collage of moments in Tomb of Dracula where people are kissing

These vampire hunters and vampire victims are lovers, not fighters, baby!

Damn right they're not fighters. You should see how often they fail at taking down easy enemies, or how many times they fall for "Hey, come on into this dark alley for a second."

Except for Blade, that is. Him and his battlin' jodhpurs.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

dracula's essentials, part 1

I finally finished wading my way through another Marvel brick, Essential Tomb of Dracula, volume 1.

I learned that the Dracula comic is all about two things: macking and smacking.

Today's highlights: SMACKING!

A collage of the many moments in Tomb of Dracula where people are all about smacking each other

I guess it's expected. Dracula is horror, not superhero fiction, so instead of some dude in tights blasting plasma rays from his hands, you just get old-fashioned backhanding.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's highlights: MACKING!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Cliche Clinic: The Stressful Situation

All this talk of Heroes and Clichť Bingo brings up something I've had bubbling in the back of my head for a while. In general, I'd like to be more positive and proactive, critiquing constructively instead of just hurking up gripes and snark. If what we're seeing is crusty overused clichť, what could storytellers substitute to make it more fresh and interesting?

So, Cliché Clinic! I'd like to tackle the "my superpowers in action" scene. You know the one - the stressful situation where Our Heroes put things on the line and save others (or even themselves), maybe by using their powers for the first clumsy time, or maybe by admitting Spider-Man 2-style that they can't deny their own heroism. It often ends up something like this:

When I wrote this list off the top of my head, I didn't intend for most of it to mirror how Heroes has been unfolding, but it turned out that way. If you count their online comics, they've even done "save people from a fire" twice. That's a clichťbag and a half.

So what are some alternatives? What different stressful situations could be applied and not feel overused? Help me build this toolbox! Please add your own ideas in the comments section below if you'd like to join in.

Possible non-clichť situations :

Monday, September 4, 2006

Comic: Switzerland



Monday, August 28, 2006

let's pass the hat, everyone

I finished reading Phoenix: Endsong

and now I would like to start a fundraiser


to buy a shiny new magazine for this guy's lightbox

one with more than one woman in it



and a little bit less pornface this time.




Monday, July 24, 2006

the cover most likely to

A bit of odd Invisibles synchronicity ... or a lift ... or nothing related at all.

Cover of The Invisibles, volume 2, issue 6:



Advertisement from the back of The Books of Magic, just over a year later:



Or I could do the usual and just blame it on aliens.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Comic: Whole Lotta School Still



And yet I keep entertaining the idea of grad school. What the heck?

SCHOOL: "Aw, you come back to me, baby, I won't hurt you so much this time, you know I love you."

ME: "Awright, honey, just this once more!"

Saturday, June 24, 2006

alerts and webcomics

Promo!

If you're hooked on blog carnivals like I am, you'll be psyched to hear about the new Carnival of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy Fans, organized by Ragnell. The deadline for submissions for the first edition is June 29.

Webcomics!

I'm also getting increasingly hooked on webcomics, which is great considering how many excellent examples are out there. The comedy of it is that even though I work in IT and spend most of my day on the internerd, often it still takes my finding the comics in tree-corpse format to appreciate them. Here are a few I've enjoyed lately.

Achewood
Exhibit A. "I do like time like I was pluggin' the meter" is the best thing I've heard in ages.

Dinosaur Comics
Exhibit A. Bought the collected edition at MoCCA, kicked myself for having known about it for years but not getting around to diving in.

The Amazing Adventures of Bill
Exhibit A. I picked up the print version of this strip at MoCCA and laughed the whole subway ride back to the hostel. Aces!

Perfect Stars
Exhibit A. This is like my Velvet Goldmine of comics (and not just because the Exhibit A strip stars Oscar Wilde). Rich artwork!

Linkbloggage!

One fan's customized action figures of the Invisibles

Coming soon: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier

The Boston Police Department has a blog.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

mocca artfest 2006

I attended MoCCA Art Fest last weekend. What a time! Beautiful weather and comics as far as you could look. This was my first time there, and it was a bit overwhelming. So much going on, so much talent and self-expression crammed into one small place, and from the plain building exterior, you'd have no idea that it was happening. I get the impression that a lot of New York is like that.

I met and met up with dozens of cool people, including Kevin, Neilalien, Chris, Ed, GinaFirstSecond of First Second Books, Jim, Miriam, Colleen, Keith Knight, Bill, and so many others it makes my brain bleed. I also walked away with a ridiculous amount of comics. I'm stocked through next year and beyond!

I saw an emphasis on the handmade and handcrafted: silkscreens and Gocco works and hand-printed minis and illustrations, real objects of lovingly created art. It's a pleasure to see these works in this era of mass-manufactured everything. This must be how William Morris felt.

And unrelated to the art fest, I stood in line for ages to meet Grant Morrison in person at comic shop Forbidden Planet. Woo! I ended up meeting some nice people in line, to boot, and got to see mock-luchadors roam the sidewalk promoting Nacho Libre.

In other observations, I officially have only one smile. That's it! One! I look through my photos and they might as well be Photoshopped. I'm like that one girl that BoingBoing featured a while back. That does it, I'm scheduling some mirror time to work on some new smiles. It's at the point where other people remark, "You can tell Kitty's happy because she's squinting." This must change! Maybe I'll be like the guy in Men Behaving Badly, the time when Gary explains how roommate Tony had him rate his smiles to figure out which looked the best.

A final recommendation: when in New York, crash at Manhattan Inn Hostel, right downtown and much cheaper and more entertaining than normal dull hotels.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

See you at MoCCA this weekend

Coming up this weekend in Manhattan: MoCCA Art Festival! This is my first time hitting this cartoons and comics fiesta, and I'm really looking forward to it.

If you're there, hit me up for a free Geraniums and Bacon sampler issue! I'll be giving away a minicomic with shorts from G&B issues 1-3 and oh crazy! sneak preview material from this year's upcoming Geraniums and Bacon #4!

Hope to see you peeps in New York!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

u for underwhelming

It's funny that the latest post on the blog Creating Passionate Users discussed Intermittent Variable Reinforcement, the training of behavior through inconsistent rewards. Kathy Sierra uses it to describe the behavior of constantly checking email in hopes that you'll be rewarded with new messages. Sometimes you get them, and sometimes you don't, and you repeat the behavior, like a slot machine player.

It reminds me of how I felt watching V for Vendetta yesterday. It was a thoroughly inconsistent experience, with poor writing, cheesy dialogue, and clumsy messages, and I kept thinking "Why am I still sitting here watching this?", but then something fantastic would emerge (the Valerie sequence, a nifty fight scene, a clever line, a breathtaking visual) and I would go right back to sitting through the chaff and hoping to be treated to another good bit.

On a related note, I would like a love bomb. Why do creators keep cluttering up perfectly good stories by jamming in a romantic subplot? Why don't they think we can identify with characters whose motivations aren't romantic in nature? I would love to see more movies about people driven by curiosity, a sense of adventure, the need to create, a rebellious streak against conformity, a passion for anything beyond their own personal interests, but instead I always find myself mired in movies where people act based on romance and sweethearts. I saw V for Vendetta looking forward to people confronting a stifling fascist hierarchy, but instead the movie was more about one particular man and Evey's passion for him, which completely undercuts the whole theme of empowering ordinary people and making government less about following one specific person. I feel like I see that over and over in movies: "scientific curiosity" swapped out for "trying to get the girl back" (The Time Machine, which I still can't believe I saw), struggles for independence watered down with lovey subthreads and "you touched my stuff" personal motivation (Braveheart), and so on. It just gets old, and it makes me want to hurl a love bomb right at the screen.

Monday, February 6, 2006

essential doctor strange!

I finally finished slogging my way through Marvel's Essential Doctor Strange, Volume 1. That was surprisingly dense! You really get your money's worth of story with these Essential collections.

This was completely trippy stuff. After reading several volumes of the usual Marvel superheros-punching-things stories, it was a treat and an utter headtrip to read these stories. Spellcasting, astral projection, alternate worlds, interdimensional baddies, and Doctor Strange striding into the middle of it all like the take-charge guy in a big silly cape that he is.

The collection has its share of bizarre mystic "F*@% Yeah!" moments. Not many other comics would have situations where the hero has to astrally lead his own incapacitated body out of the baddie's fortress. AWESOME!

Panel - Dr. Strange astrally projects himself

Plus the occasional moments where it's just not worth it to bust a few Crimson Bands of Cytorrak when you can just bust some heads:

Panel - Dr. Strange busting some heads

And the strange little side bits like this, when things in the world went topsy-turvy due to malevolent influences:

Panel - Milk is green! What gives!

I enjoyed the hell out of the first half or so, but after a while, it felt a bit repetitive. There's only so many times you can watch Doc Strange point his hands and boom "By the toecheese of Tarragon!" before you start hankering for a bit more. With stories on such a cosmic scale, the writers kept having to up the ante, and after a while it felt a bit Authority-esque with the stream of successively larger baddies.

For one moment I thought that story was going to take a typical Stan Lee turn and Doctor Strange was going to have all kinds of real-world problems:

Panel - Dr. Strange cannot pay his pharmacy bills

But I think the editorial smackdown must've landed, because this segued into a different story, and a few issues later, Doc was back to being above it all. Financial issues are so bourgeois.

Panel - Dr. Strange thinks money problems are for losers

And, of course, there's got to be a girl, even if it's a twisty-haired one from another dimension.

Panel - Clea wears silly shoes

Look at those heels! Even in faraway dimensions, women's shoe design is lame.

I'll tell you this about Doctor Strange stories - they're really not big on girls.

Panel - Dr. Strange senses a female!

What few women there are, they're either in need of rescuing or they're completely evil biotechs. Of course, I'd probably be a bit biotechy too if writers kept calling me a "female" all the time. "Woman" isn't a copyrighted word, guys! Feel free to use it!

These being old-school Marvel, there was a fair amount of meta-silliness to the comics. I kind of miss that these days. You'd never see a panel like this on the cover of a NuMarvel comic:

Cover panel - Dr. Doom is not in this issue

Or these kind of interior credits:

Panel - Marvel creators love their crazy credits

Or this cover blurb:

Cover panel - Dr. Strange is in this issue, we swear

Or this storyline, which, as Sweet Toasty Jesus is my witness, I have got to find:

Cover panel - The Thing and the Human Torch with mop tops!

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Comics artist Seth Fisher has died

Aw, NO. Today's bad news is that comics artist Seth Fisher has died.

This is such a loss. He had a strange style unique in comics - there was nobody like him. He did a lot of work, but to me, he's always going to be "the guy who drew that one disco bit in The Big Book of the 70's and "the guy who illustrated Vertigo Pop! Tokyo." Those have a special spot in my heart.





Monday, January 23, 2006

lex luthor is love

I am an efficient kitty and smack two birds with one Photoshop.

Lex Luthor pic of Legomancer

Sunday, January 22, 2006

in the year 3000

Out-of-context panels from Archie 3000:

Panels of Reggie kissing Moose in *Archie 3000*

Oh, Reggie! You don't have to wait until 3000 to be true to your heart. You come up to Massachusetts, fella, they've got your back.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Fill-in City Blues

Panel from a fill-in strip for *Sordid City Blues*, written and drawn by Kitty

Go and check out pal Charles' webcomic Sordid City Blues - the page for Monday, January 16 is a fill-in piece guest-created by me!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

visualized

I read an interesting little blog called information aesthetics, and a short while back they posted on the "emotional wardrobe", clothing that responds to the wearer's body through sensors and translates changes through light displays.

Every single thing in my head wraps back around to comics, because when I read this, the first thing I thought was, Oh man! That's just like that issue of that sci-fi Archie book Archie 3000, when Veronica bought the synthesizer that let her change her outfit using her thoughts!

Panels from *Archie 3000* showing Veronica using a thought-based outfit transformer

And because it's an Archie comic, naturally, hilarity ensues: Veronica's outfit synthesizer starts to respond to her emotions as well. Comedy gold!

Panels from *Archie 3000* showing Veronica's outfit  unexpectedly changing to match her emotions

I only ever bought three issues of Archie 3000, but man, it wrecked my head. That was one strange comic.

Monday, December 12, 2005

new! Geraniums and Bacon issue 3!

Cover of minicomic _Geraniums and Bacon_ issue 3

It's here! The latest issue of my minicomic Geraniums and Bacon is now available! Pick up a copy and gawk at Kitty's true confessions: adult ed addiction, inappropriate thoughts, ethical grooving, and more! Plus fun stories, quirky cartoons, and new adventures with Milo Mercury and Ginger - 20 pages of rock-out fun!

Here's a sample short from this issue - Miss Manners' Guide to Ethical Grooving!

Get your copy today with the power of Paypal!


Thursday, November 10, 2005

rant fiesta

Spotted in Young Avengers issue 8, a full page of art devoted to a Daily Bugle article on the regrouping of the title team.

Scan of a page from Young Avengers issue 8

But if you look down at the text to read the article, and why wouldn't you, when they've printed it at a fully readable size and they've made this page the first page of story content in the issue, you find that it's just filler, greeked text to simulate an article.

Close-up of a page from Young Avengers issue 8

So sloppy, especially when you look back at page 1 of issue 1 and see that a similar newspaper article page sported genuine written text and not just greeked filler.

Come on, creative teams. It'd take you ten minutes to come up with phony article text, and readers wouldn't focus on it that much. The greeked stuff stands out more for its lack of effort. And listing the byline as "Lorem Ipsum" is not a clever inside joke, it's just irritating.

* * *

Spotted before the absolutely loveable and crazy Wallace and Gromit movie, a trailer for Disney's latest feature, Chicken Little. Apparently (and I say this not having seen the film, so there's your caveat), the title character's father is a widower. Another dead/missing Disney mother? Seriously, should there be an Animated Women in Refrigerators website for these ladies?

* * *

Dear enlightened modern parents: Please stop bringing your under-12 children to the live show of Rocky Horror Picture Show. Really. Love, Kitty

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

it's milk ... to the EXTREME!

Brought to my attention by Veg Blog, it's just what the world needs: Marvel branded Slammers Ultimate Milk Shakes.

Ultimate Milkshake, Spider-Man version

Apparently, each drink is "specially fortified to match the Super Hero's super powers." Not clear on exactly what that means ... according to the nutritional information, you'll get your Spidey powers by downing a combo of low fat milk, no fat milk, cellulose gel, cocoa processed with alkali, and acesulfame polyunsaturated fatty acid. My Spidey gag reflex is tingling!

I don't know what's my favorite aspect of this - the names (Wolverine Fierce Caramel!), the art (Spidey crotch cam!), or this glowing testimonial from the website:

"Your brand guys have really captured the essence of our property in your packaging and product."
- Former Marvel Executive

You tell 'em, Former!

If these drinks really want to be true to the Marvel brand, though, they should repackage the drinks under new titles every year or so and put the Wolverine fortification in all of the drinks. That should do it.


Monday, October 17, 2005

a farewell to rampage

Fanboy Rampage is closing up shop after two years of hilarious blogging. Hats off to Graeme for a great time and many awful, awful memories. I never thought I'd be sad to see a day when I couldn't read snarking about FMK and buying three copies of something. Rampage has broken my head. You see a crazy lady huddled in the corner of the train station yelling "Kurt wins!", that's me. Pat me on the head and throw me a spare Street Angel, willya?

Sunday, October 2, 2005

essential iron man!

I don't usually tend to pick up the Marvel "Essential" series, but I've already chomped my way through many of the graphic novels at the library, and now I'm going through the remainders. Plus, I just like to know things. Everyone in Blogistan goes on about genius drunkie Tony Stark and his fighting robot suit, and I feel like a kid at the grown-ups' table. "What? What? I wanna know!"

Sample panel of Iron Man flying to New Jersey

Essential Iron Man Volume 1 samples stories from early in Iron Man lore, back when he was still a highlight in comic Tales of Suspense. Right off, the old-school Marvel break-the-internet-in-half promo copy sucks me in: "Watch his awesome approach! Listen to his ponderous footsteps as he lumbers closer ... closer ... for today you are destined to encounter - - the invincible IRON MAN!" Cripes! That's solid gold hyperbole with a chaser of SAT vocab. AWESOME.

The premise of Iron Man is also primo old-school material. Science genius millionaire playboy Tony Stark (played by Errol Flynn) develops revolutionary transistor-based military weapons, which will be used in Vietnam. On location on the jungle outskirts, he stumbles across a booby trap, takes life-threatening shrapnel in the chest, and is kidnapped by guerrillas. Forced to create weaponry for the enemy, he secretly creates a robot suit to artificially keep him alive and to enable him to go all jackbooty on his captors. Which he does. Cue return to America, return to military R&D, and a new Marvel-brand tragic and secret nature ("No one can ever know that I wear this hidden iron chest plate to keep me alive!") and matching secret identity as Iron Man, Fighter of Baddies and/or Commies! Take that, gangsters and Reds!

Sample panel of Tony Stark, whiny millionaire

Eventually, the story acquires more of a supporting cast in the form of a cute girl and hapless buddy, and that's when it turns into a Stan Lee mad lib:

Hero: "How could $female ever love a man with $ailment? She'd be better off loving $schlubby_guy_buddy."

Female: "Why doesn't $hero love me? Sob!"

::insert a few scenes of beatin' on peeps, saving lives::

Caption: "He's the most tragic hero EVAR!!!11!"

Seriously, I liked the original premise behind Iron Man, but didn't anyone back then notice that it was turning out exactly like the other Stan Lee comics of that era: Daredevil, Thor, and so on? Hero has fights, maintains unrequited love with girly girl, ends issues with the obligatory "I'm so tragic" panel? Then again, years from now, people will probably look back and say that about our pop culture. "Didn't those fools notice that all their movies were pretty much all the same movie? Volcano and Dante's Peak, Deep Impact and Armageddon?"

Iron Man also gets his own cheesy Yellow Peril techno-villain in this volume. Enter ... the Mandarin!

Comic strip where Kitty makes fun of The Mandarin's costume

I enjoyed the cameos by other Marvel greats: Angel, Hawkeye and the Black Widow, the Avengers. Shared universes like that play havoc with tragic heroes' woes, though. Actual Iron Man quote: "Nobody can help me! Nobody can repair my damaged heart! Nobody can guarantee how much longer it will keep beating! Nobody can ever know the torment felt by Iron Man!" Meanwhile, he's a member of the Avengers, where his teammates are a Whitman's Sampler of gods and science genius types, and he lives in the same world as the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, and god knows who else. You're telling me he can't find someone to teleport/magic/science-ify that piece of shrapnel out of him? Mm-hmm. I'd buy it if it were written more as "Tony Stark is a stubborn SOB with an ego the size of Maryland and wants to prove that he can fix himself." That kind of pride-failing is more convincing than "rich bastard with robot suit surrounded by super-super types has woeful pity party every night."

Saturday, August 20, 2005

breakfast with the JLA: issue 140

JLA #140, March 1977: "No Man Escapes the Manhunter"
Breakfast: Buttered toast and blueberries. Mmm.

Cover, JLA issue 140

Sadly, another jump in my collection, so I'm unlikely to find out what happened to Bates and Maggin. I'll just assume they made it home safely.

The plot for this issue was long ("A new double-length thriller"), and I pretty much stopped caring about four pages in. Scary foe Manhunter shows up, unleashes whup-ass. He kidnaps Green Lantern, who, instead of resisting, folds like a travel brochure. Blah, blah, fighting, capture, Manhunter turns out to be new at the job and actually working for some other guys, escaping, and so on.

Green Lantern confesses his immense guilt: he accidentally blew up a planet. His bad! A group heads out to the closest surviving planet to investigate, and they find the residents hassling a Green Lantern Guardian and a governor who is drawn like a bad ethnic caricature. Checking things out, Superman, Batman, and company visit the dead planet's remaining moon and end up in a Nonsense Fight with a one-eyed dragon thingy called a "Magnosaurus".

Scanned image from JLA issue 140

In the most weird-ass logical leap possible, Batman adds 1 + 1 and gets Toronto, apparently. He sees that the space monster has a neck and therefore must have arteries leading to a brain, and so he tries strangling the monster. Swinging around on the batwhip makes him notice that the moon they're on is still in its orbit, even though its parent planet was supposedly destroyed. And then - seriously - disbelieving the monster makes it vanish, and they realize that the planet is still out there but invisible. And, uh, the whole thing was a plot by the Manhunter society to discredit the Green Lantern Guardians, mumble mumble. And then it ends. That's it.

Ah, I wish I cared more, but it mainly came off as a flimsy plot to act as coat hanger to a few fight scenes.

The sci-fi aspects of this story - the alien planet, the battle with the Magnosaurus - remind me of a conversation I had recently. Buddy of mine had just seen Revenge of the Sith and was immensely frustrated by the underachieving science fiction in the Star Wars universe. Why did so many beings in it have first and last names, just like we do? And why were so many of the beings humanoid or bipedal? Where was the truly alien stuff? These creatures evolved on completely different planets - shouldn't they show a bit more physiological and cultural variety?

I felt the same way reading this story. The aliens speak the same language as the members of the Justice League and look just like a green version of Fred Christ's followers in Transmetropolitan - human with a tiny tweak. The Magnosaurus looks like a dragon with one eye. Batman's great detectively thoughts make all kinds of Earth-based assumptions about arteries and brains, though the monster comes from freaking outer space. I guess you don't come to JLA looking for really imaginative sci-fi. These issues are really more about the punching things.

Scanned image from JLA issue 140

Oh snap, Superman!

Scanned image from JLA issue 140

I'd happily read a comic about the Mighty Meat Snack.


Best Quote: "Now just lay my friends down, and we'll get out of Bruce Wayne's shrubbery!"

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

fan art: yay for luther

Drawing of Luther from *Sordid City Blues*

Fan art of Luther from Sordid City Blues. Hooray for web graphic novels!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

the power cosmic which is my birthright

Magical Techie Dean's comic collection turns up the most mind-bending weirdness possible:

What If Ben Parker's Nephew Was Galactus?

I am absolutely speechless, except for the fact that I really want to irritate all my friends by talking like Galactus all day now. "Verily, which among you mortals wishes to partake in the cosmic fried cheesesticks which shall imminently be upon the plate of Kittylactus?"

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

swipe-tacular

So I was reading the local alternative paper, and I stumbled across an advertisement featuring an illustration that seemed strangely composed and vaguely familiar.


Scan of advertisement for Beach Dig 2005

And I stared at it for a moment, thinking, That looks like a drawing I've seen before. Like that girl's fist is oddly posed, like she should be holding something in it. Like that's actually Natalia Kassle holding a big knife in Danger Girl.


Scan of panel from issue 1 of _Danger Girl_ illustrated by J. Scott Campbell

Yup. And there's a tinge of further irony given that Natalia looks like she's wearing a swipe/homage copy of Honey Ryder's swimsuit-and-knife ensemble from Dr. No. But it's not like Danger Girl was ever passing itself off as much more than fun genre-based homage and pastiche, and at least all of its art was original (as far as I can tell, anyway).

I can't believe I spotted a Danger Girl swipe cold like that. I haven't looked at the series in months at least. Man. Sometimes I really wish I could harness my memory powers for good or for profit rather than for just comics and movie quotes.

Sunday, August 7, 2005

comic reviews: another library haul

Spoiler alerts! I like talking about the specific details.

Punisher: Welcome Back, Frank
Written by Garth Ennis. Art by Steve Dillon.
Fast summary: The Punisher shoots a bunch of people. Also featured: his neighbors, mobsters, copycat killers, and the cops assigned to his case.

So, we've got a tough guy on a mission, a family matriarch who dispatches a nearly indestructable bully boy and who ends up dying in a house fire, an unlucky and disrespected cop, an enemy who loses limbs and suffers head scarring, a young guy whose face is severely mutilated and who creates an identity out of it, and a massively fat man who squashes someone to death.

This all seems strangely familiar.

Seriously, though, even if it is a bit of a Garth Ennis remix, it's a really funny read. I laughed the whole time, especially at the wannabe Punisher-inspired vigilantes. The supporting cast of neighbors in the Punisher's building were a nice touch; they made the story oddly accessible in a "yeah, I suppose that's what I'd do if my neighbor were a murdering vigilante" kind of way. I'd probably give him a nod and say "Keep on punishing!" too.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Batman: Black and White, Volume 2
Written by a whole ton of folks. Art by a second ton.
Fast summary: Anthology of Batman-centric stories. Laughs, tears, punching things, being the World's Greatest Detective.

A collection of black and white shorts about Batman, this book had its ups and downs. I'm in the "Batman is deadly serious, you there stop laughing" camp, so the comical shorts that poked fun at the guy or that put Bruce in silly situations mostly just irritated me. Not that I'm going to get all Byrne-style irate and demand worshipful respect, though. If you're into campy Batman, this collection has some stories you'd like. Happily for me, it also had stories in the vein of super-stern, super-stoic Batman. Not to mention a bunch of stars: Warren Ellis, Gene Ha, Kyle Baker, Tim Sale, Mike Mignola on cover art, and so on. Paul Pope knocked out a surprisingly cool short about Batman's early years, and Paul Din provided an adorable Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy tale set in Arkham Asylum. Definitely worth reading (though a bit uneven, but I feel that way about pretty much all anthologies).

Memorable quote - Paul Pope's Alfred, providing first aid: "Pardon me for saying so, sir ... but for someone in your profession ... isn't your first broken nose a little like losing your virginity?" I would so love to hear Michael Caine record this and have it mixed into a song a lŗ "My Name is Michael Caine" by Madness. It would be the weirdest frigging thing ever but it'd be on constant loop in the Kitty house, I'll tell you that.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Sunday, July 31, 2005

comic reviews: the library haul

My local library has reopened. I'm back to scarfing down their graphic novels like Pez.

1602
Written by Neil Gaiman. Art by Andy Kubert
Fast summary: The Marvel Universe centered around London of 1602.

What an intriguing story! It was a fun read, and not bad for a not-quite-What-If-What-If story. I would've liked to have seen more actual historical figures, though.

The art did the trick, with some really outstanding spots (like Daredevil's sonar power). Overall, though, it came off as a bit too shiny and colorful for my taste. Also a bit too modern for the 17th century - Cyclops' glasses, the X-Men's fighting costumes, and Doom's outfit felt very out of place.

I liked the twists on played-out characters. Regular Nick Fury? Eh. 1602 Nick Fury? Oh, I like this guy. And I would happily read an ongoing series about 1602 Daredevil. Hell, I'm tempted to take a look at the upcoming sequel just to see if he has another starring role. I felt that the story suffered a bit from having too many characters featured, though. The multiple storylines were great, but did we really need Bruce Banner, or Toad?

By the end of the story, the whole thing wound up seeming a bit too one-to-one - plenty of story development, surprises, and red herrings, but nothing really unpredictable. I know it was meant to be "the Marvel Universe started too soon", and in that it was successful, but still. Really predictable. Of course Doom will end up scarred, and Banner will become the Hulk, and Peter will be bitten by the spider. But what did I expect? It's like reading an Arthurian story and complaining that things fall apart for the guy in the end. Still a very enjoyable read, though.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Batman: Detective 27
Written by Michael Uslan. Art by Peter Snejbjerg.
Fast summary: In 1939, Bruce Wayne does not become Batman; instead, he joins a secret government group of detectives and must thwart big-time catastrophe.

First off - damn, that's some lovely art. When Peter Snejbjerg is on, he's on!

The story, though ... ehhh. It was the opposite of 1602: plenty of historical cameos, but not much of a story to ground them. It was a mystery, but there just seemed to be too many roundabout red herrings and twists. This guy's a baddie, wait, he's not, this guy's a traitor, ah, no, he's not, we think it's this guy behind everything, but oh psych, it's this other guy, and so on.

I just didn't see the point. It's a fun Elseworld exercise to see how Bruce Wayne's life would change if he took Path A (be a detective for a secret government agency) instead of Path B (become Batman, boot criminal ass), but then it's not a Batman story any longer. It's a completely different story with the same names, and it's right up there with Alternate Universe fanfiction ("An AU where Obi-Wan Kenobi is a young midshipman in the service of Horatio Hornblower, if you know what I mean!").

... and then at a comic show I found a copy of Gotham by Gaslight, and I groaned at how similar it felt to Detective 27 (except for the fact that Bruce does become Batman in this one). Someone out there in the bloggysphere once complained that Batman was nothing but origin story, and the more Batman comics I explore, the more I'm inclined to agree. I really want to read more Batman stories, but constant remixes of the same single story get pretty old after a while.

And I'll tell you this: if I never see another historical character, especially Sigmund Freud, psychoanalyze Batman, I will be the happiest kitty on my block. It's such a clumsy way of adding historical gravitas and validating the writer's take on Batman. It reminded me of when I watched the first episode of The Sopranos and the first episode of Six Feet Under. It's good storytelling when you write characters with motivation and psychological depth and twists. It's poor storytelling when you then add characters skilled in psychoanalysis just so they can speechify about all that depth. Show, don't lecture!

That Mike Mignola did some damned good art for Gotham by Gaslight, though.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

Thursday, July 14, 2005

ECB - it's on now!

East Coast Bloggaz logo

Fear has a new name, and it's the East Coast Bloggaz! Best not step to us, or we'll dispatch you post-haste.


Monday, June 27, 2005

breakfast with the JLA: issue 123

JLA #123, October 1975: "Where on Earth am I?"
Breakfast: Half a grapefruit, toast and jam

Cover, JLA issue 123

In this issue, actual JLA writer Cary Bates accidentally steps on the Cosmic Treadmill, gets transported to the the homeworld of the Justice Society of America, develops superpowers, puts on an attractively bikini-cut costume, and becomes a villain. Meanwhile, other writer Elliot S! Maggin tries to follow by taking the Treadmill and ends up on the JLA homeworld, where he can't do jack.

Sweet Jesus, it's a Mary Sue fiesta. I don't know whether to hate it outright or to appreciate it for its balls-out approach to writer insertion. I have to admit, it's refreshingly honest compared to the usual Mary Sue stories I come across ("Jayne Darkflower, American transfer student at Hogwarts and Draco's secret lover, by Jane Smith").


At least now I know whom to blame for all of the cheesy slang. Damn you Maggin!

Magginslang at work in JLA

The characters actually toss around some fairly risquť chatter here. I counted one "Bulldinky" and two "Freakings," plus this crack on Aquaman:

"Wonder why old Flipper's late -- maybe found himself a lady porpoise with a pair of dynamite fins?"

Yes, because I really needed the mental image of heroes gettin' all Smoove B with undersea creatures. It wouldn't be the first time, though.

The inevitable "please demonstrate the heroes' powers" fight scene turned up, showing a typical combo of boldfaced catch-up exposition and superhero ass-kissing (thank you, Howling Commandos, for sensitizing me to this. YAY).

"There you go, Wildcat. Wish I had that karate prowess of yours!"
"Your utility belt mini-torch ain't a tinker toy either, Robin!

Suddenly, we find out that poor Cary Bates is actually being manipulated by the Injustice Society of the World (though the sign in their lair says "Injustice Society of America"). DA-DA-DAAAAHN! They look like they mean business: the Wizard, the Gambler, the Huntress (the villain one, not the midriffy one), the Icicle, the Shade, ... and the Sportsmaster? Ah ha ha ha! He looks like the kind of guy they let on the team because his dad bought them a superhideout and all the Bugles they could eat.

And the Shade! Oh, Shade, hide your goofy shame! James Robinson has ruined him for me by giving him spooky dignity in Starman. The black bodysuit he's sporting in this issue is mortifying! I want to swap it for a smoking jacket and brandy snifter, and then I want to write him an excuse note. "The Shade can't fight heroes today because he's at the opera being dignified. Love, Kitty."

After a goodies-vs.-baddies fight that turns out to be a sneaky goodies-vs.-goodies fight, the issue ends on a cliffhanger. How can anyone stop superpowerful Cary Bates? This isn't the question that concerns me, though. I just want to know if the next issue will be as wanktacular as this one.

Best quote: "Last one at 'em had an insecure childhood!"

Demo of Cary Bates' utter evil

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Reading some comics, hooray for comics

recent comic reads

Bone - This was adorable and exciting at the same time. I'm not usually into epic fantasy quests, but this story was balanced out with plenty of homey, day-to-day situations. Sure, there are dragons and omens and the King of the Locusts trying to bring himself back to life; there are also bar squabbles, markets, cow races, and crushy attempts at love poems. I read the first three books in one sitting and the next three in another. It's engaging!

Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life - This was a lighthearted read with a simple (and cute!) art style. Lots of fun little continuity points, silly characters, and total gem joycore moments (like how characters' first appearances sport ratings for them - "T for Teen", "Awesome!"). I wasn't a huge fan of the plot, though. I can't get into slacker stories. I usually just end up shouting at the page, "Get off your ass and do something, for God's sake." This was the same source of my irritation about Demo #11, which was so the wrong issue to pick up as an introduction to the series.

You know what I'd rather read? Never mind joycore - I want to see jobcore. I really prefer reading stories about people who do things, who pursue careers. I'm tired of finding not much beyond relationship dramas with incidental jobs, or job stories about temp workers and drudge retail positions. This is why I like manga like Firefighter - stories about people actually doing things, not just complaining about their jobs or kicking around chasing romance.

vacationKitty

Going to Iceland for a week. Anyone want a postcard? Let me know!

Monday, May 2, 2005

cover story

Cover, Sin City Book 1: The Hard Good-bye Cover, Sin City Book 2: A Dame to Kill For Cover, Sin City Book 3: The Big Fat Kill

Count me as one of the people who is underwhelmed by the new covers for Frank Miller's Sin City books.

I do like the idea of a uniform trade dress. Now the books look like part of the same series or family. The type and layouts aren't too bad either; it's a change, and they give the books a little bit of refinement, an amusing contrast with the subject matter.

But viewed as a group, they blur together. Especially the first three, above - with the same type treatment, artwork treatment, and shade of red, they could do with more prominent individual titles to set them apart a bit.

Cover, Sin City Book 2: A Dame to Kill For Poster of Goldie from Sin City

This could be just my personal taste talking, but I feel that one of the strongest elements of Frank Miller's artwork is the stylized shapes he creates, almost like sculptures. They are dynamic and they in turn form stunning shapes in the negative space around them. Sometimes they seem to me like snapshots, almost freeze-frames of choreography. And they stick in your head (or at least my head) like retinal afterimages. I've never been a huge fan of Sin City, but there are times when I've been seriously tempted to buy the poster of Goldie's first panel (right). I mean, wow. That's memorable!

So to me, the treatment of the artwork on these new covers removes that dynamic element, flattening the art. The negative space is cropped away, eliminating the movement. The pictures are pretty, but they lack the iconic quality of the previous covers.


Compare the original and the new covers of Booze, Broads, and Bullets, for example:

Cover, Sin City Book 7: Booze, Broads, and Bullets Cover, Sin City Book 7: Booze, Broads, and Bullets

Also, I feel officially stupid. Can anyone tell me what that is on the cover of the new version of Family Values? I've never read the comic and I can't make out what that image is. Is it a box? Is it someone's clothing?

Cover, Sin City Book 5: Family Values

Edit: One cover image removed and one cover image replaced after it was pointed out that they weren't the official covers. Thanks for the heads-up, Dorian!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

meme-alicious: 100 things I love about comics

I'm usually not a meme person, but this is a bloggy bandwagon that looks like a lot of fun: 100 Things I Love About Comics!

Creators

  1. Grant Morrison
  2. Sean Philips, especially on Hellblazer
  3. Paul Grist
  4. Jhonen Vasquez
  5. Joe Sacco
  6. Philip Bond
  7. Phil Jimenez
  8. Brian Talbot
  9. Alan Moore
  10. Jill Thompson
  11. Edward Gorey
  12. Gene Ha
  13. Brian Michael Bendis

    Characters

  14. Daredevil (Bendis era)
  15. Jack Knight, Starman
  16. Jack Hawksmoor (Stormwatch edition)
  17. The Five Swell Guys
  18. John Constantine
  19. Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man
  20. Fade from Blood Syndicate
  21. The Shade
  22. J. Scott Campbell's guilty pleasure chicks of Danger Girl
  23. Jenny Sparks

    Comics

  24. Why I Hate Saturn
  25. The Invisibles
  26. Dork!
  27. Finder
  28. Persepolis
  29. Peanutbutter and Jeremy
  30. Stinz: Charger
  31. Really old Beano annuals that I've read so often I can recite them
  32. The Misfits
  33. The Books of Magic
  34. Sandman
  35. Action Girl
  36. Too Much Coffee Man
  37. Strangers in Paradise: I Dream of You
  38. Black Panther
  39. For Better or For Worse
  40. Power Pack
  41. Scud the Disposable Assassin
  42. Skeleton Key
  43. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
  44. Dykes to Watch Out For
  45. Hellboy
  46. Dignifying Science
  47. Nausicaš of the Valley of Wind
  48. The Big Book series
  49. V for Vendetta
  50. School is Hell
  51. The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath adaptation
  52. Animal Man
  53. Sam and Max
  54. Watchmen
  55. Peter David's X-Factor
  56. Issue #1 of The Children's Crusade
  57. The "Ramadan" issue of Sandman
  58. The TV issue of Transmetropolitan (especially the "I Hump It Here" bit, hee hee)
  59. X-Factor Annual #1 - one of the ones that got me into it all

    Imprints and Styles and Panels and Things

  60. Milestone Comics
  61. Indulgent yaoi like Fake
  62. All the swearing in Bendis' Alias
  63. Forgotten Vertigo miniseries like Mobfire
  64. Pleasant surprise comics like Street Angel and Vertigo Pop Tokyo
  65. Crossovers that poke fun at icons, like the Green Lantern appearance in Hitman
  66. Barbelith - the satellite and the message board
  67. The original covers for Sandman collections
  68. "Wet Jimmy's gourmet assmeats!"
  69. Letter columns with a personality of their own, like those in The Invisibles and Preacher
  70. Green Lantern's logo
  71. Seaguy's masthead (especially the bubble "g"!)
  72. Characters leaping or flying happily over city rooftops
  73. Superheros with day jobs
  74. That weird sooty smudge that used to show up on Vertigo comics' artwork
  75. Ridiculous complicated and laughable Silver Age plots
  76. After-school-special-style storylines, like the time that Power Pack encountered teens on drugs
  77. Public service announcement comics, like the Luke Cage/Storm/Spider-Man comic against smoking

    Everything else

  78. The blogosphere
  79. Million Year Picnic and Comicopia
  80. Quoting rude catchphrases from Preacher between friends
  81. Going to conventions and finding primo old-school comics like The Hacker Files
  82. Ninth Art
  83. My local library's ridiculously huge collection of comics
  84. Swapping minicomics
  85. Reading comics alone in my apartment and yelling like an irritating pantomime audience. "Look behind you, Wolverine!"
  86. Looking forward to New Comics Day
  87. Underoos
  88. Teen Titans animated series theme song
  89. Reading Italian translations of Wildstorm comics and getting into Planetary as a result
  90. Loaning out comics to friends
  91. Blogosphere catchphrases and inside jokes, like "Pal So-and-So" and the infamous FMK thread
  92. The X-Axis
  93. Gail Simone's old "You'll All Be Sorry" column
  94. Sequential Tart
  95. The absolute thrill of finding a comic you've been seeking for ages
  96. Vertigo trading cards
  97. Static Shock, the animated series
  98. Fanboy Rampage
  99. Quarter bins
  100. Advertisements in old comics. It's like pop culture archaeology!

Monday, March 7, 2005

rage against the genre

I feel like the more of them I read, the less I enjoy stories that are explicitly flagged as "genre stories." Stories that stand on their own without needing a defining pigeonholeóI love reading those. But when they're specifically described as a genre story, they often feel to me like the focus is on running through a checklist of conventions rather than coming up with an original, engaging tale. "It's a genre story" comes off as an excuse for predictability and clichť.

Like if someone says "It's noir," then right off the bat I can tell you it'll probably have a city setting; a Dame; a criminal Łberboss with one or more henchman minibosses who will spar with the hero before the confrontation with the big boss; a protagonist who narrates every second, right down to moments of near-death like something out of Lovecraft; and one of the following plots: Retrieve my stolen thingy, retrieve my kidnapped woman, or somebody gets murdered.

I know a lot of people who really get into genre stories. They definitely have merit. But to me, the genre elements just feel so done before, so tired. Instead of getting excited about the detective meeting the dame, or the chosen one receiving the powerful relic, or whatever, I just end up rolling my eyes and checking off the mental checklist.

The ObComics angle to this is that my genre boredom is why I wasn't the biggest fan of the recent Madrox miniseries. I hate to say this because Jamie Madrox the Multiple Man is my all-time favorite X-character, hands down. Peter David's run on X-Factor was the one that got me into comics. Even Grant Morrison on scripts couldn't get me to buy X-Men regularly, but the minute a friend of mine mentions Madrox guest-starring? I'm shelling out cash. Shameless fangirl!

When I heard about Peter David getting the chance to write a Madrox miniseries, my heart turned over like a pancake. Sweet! His take on Madrox is novel and one that I can relate to: Having the potential to duplicate himself and send his dupes off to do anything in the world, Madrox can't decide what to do with his life, what direction to take. That touches a chord in me.

However, this limitless potential also makes him a candidate to be shoehorned into genre stories for the reason of "that's what he's trying this week." The Madrox miniseries had great characterization, inventive uses for Jamie's abilities, awesome moments of introspection ... and the checklist of predictable genre tropes. The dame, the henchman, mob baddies, guns and kissing, and the chatter of non-stop narration. I really wanted to get into the story more, but most of it felt like a retread of a dozen other stories I'd read before. Nothing felt new.

The miniseries had an open ending with the possibility of more stories in the future. I hope that Marvel's up for this, because I would love to see the character explored further but without the genre baggage, without the hackneyed checklist trappings. I'd like to see stories that are more about Jamie Madrox himself and less supernatural-noir that happens to have Jamie as the protagonist. Jamie love!

Sunday, February 27, 2005

odds and ends

Review of Geraniums and Bacon over at Yet Another Comics Blog. Thanks, David!

Polite Dissent's comments section comes up with the one concept that would actually get me to read a copy of The Mighty Thor. (Click here if you want to know about Thor's early days and get the joke).

shock horror department
I laughed out loud at Sunday's Family Circus today. John must have written something about this in Revelation, I swear. (Edit: Correct link now in place thanks to thrillmer!)

Thursday, February 10, 2005

thinking about comic strips

Reading Websnark on the recent events in the comic strip Cathy, I found myself agreeing with him. Ordinarily I can't stand that strip, but I do have to offer up my props on making such a big change to the whole premise. Nice!

But thinking about comic strips, I realized that I don't dislike Cathy for the content as much as I thought I did. Yes, it's cheesy stereotypical single girl territory - shopping, bathing suits, moaning about being single, overbearing moms, and purses. Maybe I'm not such a fan of this kind of content, but that's like complaining about Tank McNamara because I don't like professional sports.

What irks me more is the repetitive formula approach. It's something I notice especially in Cathy but also in many other comic strips, which could explain why I don't read as many strips these days as I used to. Similar formula setups, similar pacing. Even with completely different characters and premises, many strips have ways of pitching gags that feel boringly familiar.

Formula 1: The list
Panel 1: Character starts narrating a list - observations, possessions, whatever. (e.g. "Three pairs of high heels. Four pairs of mules.")
Panel 2: List continues.
Panel 3: List continues, possibly to an absurd extreme.
Panel 4: Character makes bumper sticker-esque observation. ("Some people have X. I have Y.")

Formula 2: Squashed idealism
Panel 1: Statement of situation.
"Here we are at the art museum."

Panel 2: Observation.
"Look at all of this culture!"

Panel 3: Idealistic statement.
"What a noble housing of artistic pursuit! Imagine what you could glean about the nature of humanity here!"

Panel 4: Crass counter-statement from second character.
"Dude! I found the room with the naked statues!" First character smacks own forehead.

Somewhere along the line, I became more accustomed to reading longer stories, like graphic novels, or strips longer than four panels with more room for storytelling, like Too Much Coffee Man or Carol Lay's Story Minute. Reading regular gag-a-day strips now feels strange. The pacing is like an EKG readout - setup, punchline spike, setup, punchline spike, setup, punchline spike.

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

breakfast with the JLA: issue 122

JLA #122, September 1975: "The Great Identity Crisis"
Breakfast: A bowl of Total

cover of issue 122

I'm missing a bunch of issues of JLA, so the next issue for brekkie is 122. Now I'll never find out what happened to the Doodang!

The title of this issue is "The Great Identity Crisis," and the plot involves Dr. Light and messing with super-minds. My jaw hit the floor and I mentally prepared for rape and flamethrowers. Happily, that wasn't the case, but it did drive home something I've thought before. Anyone who says that you can still go back and reread earlier innocent stories and ignore the events of contemporary grim-and-gritty tales? They're talking only to pre-existing fans who've read them before. New readers who have never read the early stories before are inevitably going to have their readings colored by having been first exposed the recent ones. I'm a Jenny-Come-Lately about the JLA. I've read only The Nail, various miniseries, and, of course, Identity Crisis. So whenever I go back and read early issues, I often end up thinking things like 'She's acting pretty happy. Didn't she just get raped recently?'. It's like watching The X-Files seasons 6 and 7 and then going back and watching season 1. It'd be a lame experience watching those early shows and knowing that they spiral down to a scattershot ending and "Hollywood A.D." (Edit: Seasons 7 and up. I blanked out on there being nine seasons, because the last were so poor.)

Anyway, the JLA story is inventive but lame. Dr. Light tricks all of the JLA members into meeting up near Superman's fortress of solitude, where he uses "amnesium" to swap their memories around and mix up their civilian identies (Batman thinks he's Oliver Queen instead of Bruce Wayne, and so on). Aquaman saves all their asses (go Aquaman!) and then there's a huge team-up fight back at the fortress.

What a difference three years makes in writing style! Well, that and different writers. The characters have real personalities now. They use slang and nicknames. Green Arrow says "freaking!"

Way too many epithets in this guy's writing, though. "The Sea King," "the Man with the Ring", "Cowled Crusader", "the Green-Clad Bowman" - give it a rest! Just use their names, for crying out loud. Reminds me of the fanfic pet peeves list that complained about the same thing. It was a slash fan's list, though, and her example involved "The Assistant Director" and "The FBI agent's mouth".

Plot gripes for this story:
1. Once again, the plot hinges on the JLA doing their job suckily. They get mysteriously called to the Arctic, and they never follow up on who summoned them? Slackers! Gonna hit them with my Total Quality Management stick. Do your damned job!

2. The underlying problem was that they didn't know each others' secret identities. Except, uh, Aquaman saves the day because he does know their identities. Weirdness.

3. Like the previous issue, the story involves an unexpected fight against monsters outta nowhere. I'm calling this a Scorpion Stadium plot twist, after the deus ex machina critique of a bad Dungeon Master technique I read once: "Suddenly, your party is transported to a stadium where you must fight ... GIANT SCORPIONS!"

It was just way too elaborate a plan. If Dr. Light can set up all of these ridiculous snares and gimmicks to take out the members of the JLA, he can just wield a shotgun or something. Listen up, villains: If you can set a trap, you can bust a cap!

like you love it, Hal!

"Hey fun boys, get a room!"

Quote of the issue: "A booby trap! And I was supposed to be the booby!"

Bait and Switch Cover Count: 2. Cover shows JLA mourning at Aquaman's grave. Inside story has Aquaman pretending to get killed at Dr. Light's hands, and nobody ever actually finds out about it because he shows up and saves them all shortly afterwards.

This is the best letter column entry ever.

dude. It's just the JLA.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

comic: school

Read more...

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

going house

House just aired. It looks like a compelling, quirky drama airing on Fox, so I give it about eight episodes, tops.

Gregory House is Spider Jerusalem if he'd gone through med school. He's aggravatingly outspoken and honest, he conspicuously pops pills all the time, he's obligated to work in a place he hates, and he lets everyone know how much he hates it. And yet everyone crows about how he's the best, including people who despise him, and he's gathered his own gang of filthy assistant Houses-in-training. I'm half-expecting to see a scene in a dark bar where House beats a guy down and yells that he's searching for the Truth the Diagnosis.

Let's see how this series turns out. It just aired and already it seems on the knife's edge. Tip the good way and you get quality crazy like madman Alan Shore and Boston Legal; tip the bad way and you get the Adventures of Dr. Mary Sue (okay, Marty Stu), the sympathetic curmudgeon whose greatest flaw is Telling the Truth. At least the American accent Hugh Laurie puts on isn't as grating as I thought it would be.

** Spoilers **

And oh, S.F.F.! Any show that premieres with the plotline of a tapeworm in the brain and then shows you tapeworm-cam gets thumbs up in my book! And what I didn't know until just now (thank you IMDB) was that Bryan "I rock the X-Men so hard" Singer directed this episode, but only this episode. For future ones, maybe we won't end up seeing infectioncam. (*kitty is sad)

in comics news
I finally broke down and bought the final volume of Fake. Unlike all of the others, this one was sealed in plastic. I suspect I won't be winning any donuts with this volume. Cha-ching!

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

minicomics!

Are you a fan of minicomics and other small press comics? If you are, then swing on by Small Press Swap Meet, a new online clearinghouse for minis, small press, and comic swag. I've got a few of my own minis up there for sale, if you're looking for something fun to read.

total distractions
The guy who played Chainsaw in Summer School has his own website.

X-Entertainment has a funny review of The Worst Witch.

Delicious Library has been launched. It reminds me of the collaborative library database project that my friends and I were planning: "Project Giles". The big difference is that these guys actually wrote the code. Our project is still in the "sketched on legal paper, and then we went bowling" stage.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

breakfast with the JLA: issue 53

JLA #53, May 1967: "Secret Behind the Stolen Super-Weapons"
Breakfast: Cup of tea with lemon, half a grapefruit

The cover shows several members of the Justice League being attacked by their own weapons - Batman getting beaned by a batarang, and so on. This doesn't reflect the story at all, so let's hear it for the first instance of cover art bait-and-switch I've encountered. I'm keeping score.

The actual story involves a machine that can swap items with other items at long distance; "being attacked by their weapons" is actually "finding out that their weapons have been swapped with dummy versions." Detective work and impromptu fighting with non-standard weapons ensue.

That summary makes the issue sound much cooler than it actually is. It's actually a big freaking mess. It reads as though it were written Exquisite Corpse-style, with one guy writing a bit, and then another guy writing the next part without looking at the first part, and then an uninterested guy slapping on an ending. The first part of the plot shows JLA members finding out that their toys have been replaced with useless replicas. Not bad. Then the plot train gets derailed; when they confront the master thief in his lair, he - here it comes - animates stolen folklore statues to fight them while he gets away.

Hawkman battles the Monster of Leeds

Ignoring for the moment the totally inexplicable animation zappy device - holy crap, I have rarely seen a more blatant citation dropping sequence (and I was an LOEG fan). It's like Foucault's Pendulum for a nickel. The guy might have well have just written "I swear to God I read the following books, no really." Folklore creatures fought include the Doodang from Uncle Remus stories, the Monster of Leeds a/k/a the Jersey Devil, the Ring-Tailed Roarer from Davy Crockett's tales, and Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. I know this because each one got a large footnote citation panel, right in the middle of the fight. This on top of allusions to Yehud coins and Minoan bull-leaping elsewhere in the issue. Cripes, just because you get a copy of a Time-Life book on monsters and mythology, you don't have to jam it down my throat.

Once the folkloric ass-booting finishes, the third part kicks in, and you can tell that this guy just doesn't care anymore. Some nonsense about the tool-based heroes starting to disappear because they absorbed radiation from the replicas, and then we find out that these other random guys swiped the switchy device from the original baddie, only they've modified it to freeze people, and just when you think the new baddies are about to triumph, Hawkgirl gets a cool extended action sequence and busts a mace in their ass.

What junk. A lot of potentially neat ideas, but they were slung together like goulash. I liked Hawkgirl, though. She socked a few jaws. Plus she's pretty cute. The fact that "Hawkman" is married to "Hawkgirl" is a bit creepy, though. Pedophile.

Batman does some minoan bull leaping

Best Quote: "This is like wedging a cork in a bottle! The Doodang will fit in here so tightly -- it won't be able to wiggle out!"

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

kitty's parents rock so hard

Kitty's parents rock so hard
do dahhh, do dahhhh
Brunching in our sweet backyard
la da do dah dayyyy

Kitty's parents rock so hard
do dahhh, do dahhhh
Gave me kick-ass birthday card
la da do dah dayyyy

Kitty's parents rock so hard
do dahhh, do dahhhh
Kitty makes a lousy bard
la da do dah day. Hey!

In other news
Do you like a cappella? Are you in the Boston/Cambridge area? Local singers Integration By Parts are hosting Vocal Band Aid, a benefit concert to support music education in schools. An all-star collection of bands is on hand, and it's for a good cause. Come on by the Somerville Theater (55 Davis Square, Somerville) at 7:00 on Saturday, September 18 for a fun time!

recent comics
Green Arrow: Straight Shooter
This was a fun find at the library. I've never read any Green Arrow before, so this was a nice little introduction to Oliver Queen and the way he works (even if it involves wearing a bright green outfit to be an urban vigilante). The art was clean and the dialogue was snappy, but I wasn't fond of the predictable instances of Disposable Secondary Character syndrome. Two great characters are introduced and then casually offed in this trade, and for what? A story about trolls! What a waste of potential.

Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Kitty on Global Frequency: Planet Ablaze

I finally got around to reading the first trade of the Warren Ellis-written sci-fi craziness maxiseries Global Frequency. As usual I'm about ten hundred years behind the curve.

I love the concept behind it. A massive worldwide network of over 1000 operatives, any of whom could be tapped in without notice to come and deal with insane sci-fi catastrophes. It's like those Puma commercials with the Jamaicans, where Joe Average is having a beer until TAP! Now he's running the relay. So much personal projection potential. That could be me! That is, if I actually had useful skills beyond making granny squares and quoting Law and Order.

And I love the ideas. Warren Ellis reminds me of H.P. Lovecraft. Both offer stories with such mad ideas on cosmic scales of pure ballsy incredibility. The first time I heard about the "an infectious meme gets downloaded through SETI@home" plot, my jaw just about hit the floor. AHH SO COOL! Warren Ellis is the king of pop sci-fi, world-threatening concepts that could easily show up in next month's Discovery magazine. The differing ideas and varying tones of writing are also served by rotating artists, who help to keep the presentation fresh and new.

Overall, however, the execution feels a little too disposable for my taste. An issue opens, the Ellis Device is explored and defused, the issue ends, let us never speak of it again. It's a constant stream of "Monster of the Week" episodes with a new cast every time. I don't have any emotional investment in these people, and I never see any aftereffects. What happens after the Evil@Home meme is destroyed? Will anyone start investigating to make sure that no other Norwegian towns are located on top of crazymines, or training Guardian Angel-style leagues of Le Parkour runners to keep cities safe since the one in issue 6 was successful?

I had similar issues with Ellis' run on The Authority. There was all this talk about more realistic superheros and how actual cities were being destroyed, but after the Ellis Device of that story arc was addressed, we never really saw much of the rebuilding, so the stories never had much resonance with me. Where's the aftermath? Do these people ever get proactive about things rather than just waiting for the next big explody? Maybe in Global Frequency, this is addressed in the next volume and all of this trade is meant to lay the ground. Even so, I don't tend to have the patience for manga-style extended episodic plotting like that.

An additional negative aspect to having a new Ellis Device every issue is the need to explain it, which results in a lot of chatter among people who are meant to be in tight situations. It was great to hear the ideas explained, but so much talking took away from the sense of danger. For example, I would have been more tense if Sita Patel the Le Parkour runner hadn't been constantly accompanied by expository chatter about the bomb she needed to reach.

In short? Definitely an outstanding read, especially if you are a science fiction or cyberpunk fan. My personal tastes lean toward longer stories with more character development and I felt it while I was reading this, but quick pop teases with madcap ideas are also tasty every now and then.

in other news
Thanks to Magical DJ Sileni's colossal skillz, my bike's repaired. Hooray! I spent some nice biking time this weekend zipping around and visiting places like Mount Auburn Cemetary.

Biking in one of the worst biking cities, though, reminded me that I hate everyone and everything. Oh yeah. People who toss lit cigarettes out of car windows. Pedestrians who cross against the light. Bikers who don't wear helmets. Double-parking in the bike lane. Complimentary groin-mashings courtesy of all the potholes on Mass. Ave (read: Ass Ave). Gigantic SUVs. Spotty bike lane markings. Arrrgh, roiling with hatred! I'm gonna take it out on some hapless bystander and get popped in the jaw, I just know it.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

breakfast with the JLA

Through a long backstory, I've come into possession of a stack of old issues of Justice League of America. I'm usually not a JLA reader, but I like to give things a chance (and also give myself the knowledge creds to praise or slag 'em), so I figured I'd read them before jettisoning them on eBay or some other outlet. And I figured I'd read them over breakfast. I need something to read over my toast now that I've finished Learn German in Ten Minutes a Day.

Justice League of America, issue 52 (March 1967)
This issue's title is "Missing in Action -- 5 Justice Leaguers!" This makes it sound cooler than what it actually is: a bunch of quickie stories to illustrate why the entire JLA roster isn't present at every single meeting. Each of the highlighted members is shown embroiled in some sitch that prevents him from returning to headquarters when the JLA emergency call is sent out - namely, fighting some baddies.

My take on this? Irritated! Seriously, it's the freaking Justice League. If the JLA Emergency fire alarm is going off, the problem is probably HUGE. I'd much rather Hawkman and Green Lantern stop mid-fight and (for example) go help prevent Cumbre Vieja from wiping out the Eastern Seaboard than have them ignore their pagers and continue stopping manuscript theft and fighting giant dogs (and not just because Cumbre's resulting tsunami is probably going to take out my house).

I also noticed a trend. In all of the mini-stories, JLA members used this strategy against the baddies:

  1. Hit them.
  2. (optional) Tweak things a bit (e.g. coat hands in yellow paint).
  3. Hit them harder.
I have a feeling I haven't seen the last of this strategy.



Best quote:
"My first move is to pulverise their toe-cubes!"

Best WTF moment:
The Atom can't make it to the emergency meeting because he's in 1783 saving the life of Ben Franklin.

Other notes:
Public service announcement "Countdown on Excellence" taught me the value of a job well done.
Cooper Black used in GI Joe "Capture Hill 79" ad.

Ladies! How can you resist the utter sexiness that is Martian Manhunter?
sex bomb, sex bomb, jonn's a sex bomb

Please wipe down the Emergency Signal when you're done with it.
that tickles!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

underlining

Anyone else feel a bit bugged by the visible panty lines on the cover of the new comic Manhunter? Can't say I've ever seen tighty-whitey lines on any of the mainstream super menfolk. But maybe that's worse. Now that's got me thinking of things like The Flash wearing some kind of special streamlined super-thong.

In other news, the Boston Center for Adult Education is offering a class on learning to draw manga-style.

Monday, August 16, 2004

for sale or trade: Uzumaki volumes 1-3

I have volumes 1, 2, and 3 of Japanese horror comic Uzumaki. I'm all set with them and I'd like to make them go away now. Anyone want to trade other comics for them? If so please contact me.
Update - they've been claimed. Thank god. I'm a big wussy with an overactive imagination and I want them far away from me.


click for artbomb.net's rundown

in other news
Let's take a look at some of the searches that bring people here.

Monday, August 9, 2004

now available: Geraniums and Bacon issue #2!

It's minicomics a go-go with the latest issue of Geraniums and Bacon, now in print! 20 black and white pages of unadulterated good times!

Cover of Geraniums and Bacon, issue 2

Highlights include:

If you're interested in buying a copy ($1.50 per issue) or swapping for a copy (bring on the zines and minis!), please drop me a line via the minicomics contact form. Copies are also available in the minicomic section of Million Year Picnic. Thanks!

Friday, July 23, 2004

everything's coming up spider-man

I've come to the world of Spider-Man about five hundred years too late - didn't read it when I was a kid, don't read the titles nowadays, everything I know is from reviews and second-hand chatter. The most exposure I've had to Spider-Man was the occasional guest-appearance in Bendis' Daredevil and crossovers with Power Pack (you in the back there - stop laughing). So after having a great time watching Spider-Man 2, I decided to catch up on spider-lore a bit by borrowing Marvel Encyclopedia: Spider-Man from the library.

Conclusion: Godalmighty, I have no idea what they're going to do for the next film, because Spider-Man's rogues gallery is crap. A lizard in a labcoat ... a guy in a rhino suit ... a mobster who hits stuff with his head? Plus I think I'm one of the three people in the western hemisphere who can't stand Venom, so rumors I've heard about the filmmakers not wanting to bring him to the screen are extremely welcome to my ears. But at the same time, he's one of the very few genuinely cool or creepy Spider-villains. What's the alternative - the Vulture? Kangaroo I? Kangaroo II?

And you learn something new every day: Sweet christ on rye, Spider-Man fought a villain named Typeface. No, really. Typeface. A guy who wasn't content just being a disgruntled former sign-maker, he also went and built letter-themed weapons. This is THE SHIT. I want a petition to get this guy in Spider-Man 3. I want to be a member of Typeface's Whiteletter Advancement Team. I want t-shirts.

Ah, in all fairness, they did a great job with Doctor "Check My Manly Shirtlessness" Octopus in Spider-Man 2, and some his original comics content can be shite itself - observe:

Doc in Aunt May near-marriage shocker!
Doc cowers before newly-corporeal Hit-Stuff-With-My-Head Guy!

Anyway. Here, check out a bunch of Doc Ock-related news stories and mini-interviews with Alfred Molina:

Troublesome Doc Ock
Alfred Molina interview: "Maybe I'm just mean inside"
Alfred Molina interview: "I sang. The tentacles just watched on adoringly." (bonus: mentions "middle-age man tits")
Ode to an Octopus: One Girl's Confession of Love

And in completely unrelated news, whinecore band Nickelback is having a Clone Saga of their own ... check this to mock!

Sunday, July 11, 2004

minicomics: part of this nutritious breakfast

Currently working on the second issue of my minicomic Geraniums and Bacon and having a great time. Weather beautiful; wish you were here. Love, Kitty.

If you're interested in issue 1 of Geraniums and Bacon or any of the other minicomics I've been working on, please check out the new minicomics page. Thanks!

in other thoughts
Watching The Blues Brothers is ten times funnier if you pretend that the two leads are agents from The Matrix.

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

fandom and design: when titans clash!

Apart from all of the sweet action and Doctor Octopus' white undershirt, one of the things that really caught my eye in Spider-Man 2 was the opening title sequence. Neat design! I liked how it took what was done in the first movie and built on it, adding Alex Ross illustrations to show "Previously, on Spider-Man."

Wired Magazine ran a bio/interview with Kyle Cooper, the designer of this title sequence (and those of Se7en and Arlington Road, among others). Speak Up had a good discussion going on movie intros a while back, too.

Meanwhile, I'm not having any luck finding out what typeface was used for the text in the Spider-Man titles. Rats. I did find out that Mata was used for the promotional material, but it isn't the same as what's used in the movie itself.

In other news, Jim over at Unqualified Offerings has been writing up a food-for-thought series of spidery analysis blog entries. Worth reading!

And finally, in non-spider chatter, here's a great radio interview with Alfonso "Director of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" Cuaron, in which he talks about subtext in PoA, his influences, and contemporary Mexican cinema. He also busts out with the best quote ever:

"Even if they're wizards, ultimately their emotions are very human. And from the get-go, we established that relationship with the actors. For instance, Professor Lupin, played by David Thewlis...we said that he's your favorite gay uncle that does smack."

Hah! Brilliant! :: does a slash canon dance ::

Friday, July 2, 2004

does whatever a spider can!

Some thoughts on Spider-Man 2. The Surgeon General warns: May contain spoilers.

Read more...

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

fandom allsorts

Courtesy of Moon and Serpent, the best Chris Claremont rumor ever:
click to laugh

Street Angel is a hysterical new comic and the darling of comics bloggers all over the place. Check out Grotesque Anatomy's contribution to Street Angel lore:
The Street Angel Squid Contest
The Street Angel Squid Contest Winners

Get your anger on at Fandom Wank!
click to grouse!

Uncanny X-Sprites is cute and up-to-date with recent plotlines:
click to snicker

You too can purchase your own knitted Spider-man costume. It's art!
click to be dorky and support the arts

Anyone out there who hasn't seen "They Fight Crime"? If so, go and take a look.
click to see them fight crime!

In other news
This neck of the woods had a bomb scare yesterday. I was out running errands when I found a part of the street that I needed to visit cordoned off with yellow police tape and peppered with cops and firemen. I asked one for information and he responded with some vague information about a bomb having been found in a box on a table. Suddenly there was a "crump" from over near the area of activity, and the cop piped up with, "Ah, sounds like they detonated it." I tried darting around and pestering others to find out more, but with no luck. The strangest part is that I can't find any information about it from any local news sources. Not even a "Community Alert" from the usually knee-jerk mailing list that sends them out. Odd.

Update: Good news - it wasn't actually a bomb. Phew.

Friday, June 4, 2004

it's the little things

I picked up the first collection of Wildcats Version 3.0 a little while back at the library to see what all the hype was about. The guy behind the desk said, "Did you hear that it's been cancelled?" I think I've found out who it is who keeps buying their graphic novels. Seriously, they have shelves full.

So I'm reading along, taking in all the story about CEO Jack Marlowe and his enormous corporation and their plans to buy up just about everything and corner markets and things. And then I got to this panel.

What kind of business card is that? Damn, Marlowe, lay off buying up the accounting firms and multimedia conglomerates and invest in a decent graphic designer. That card looks like it was slapped together in WordPerfect.

The rest of the trade was okay. I'm still baffled by the corporation's product - batteries that never run down. How would they get repeat customers? The company mascot was hideous, too, but I think it had some kind of plot linkage to previous comics that I hadn't read.

Friday, May 14, 2004

smellblazer

Watch and cry:
Constantine movie trailer available for download

After that, head on over to The Ultimate Hellblazer Index to read up on the original John Constantine, the basis for the upcoming film. You could also read this Sailor Hellblazer! crossover fanfic story if you're up for it.

recent comics: haiku review
Green Lantern: Brother's Keeper
Tonight's episode:
A very special Blossom -
I mean, Green Lantern.

Hellboy: Conqueror Worm
Great character piece
With some Lovecraft-esque baddies
And Mike's art? Gorgeous.

But I feel a bit
Like it's warmed-up leftovers:
"Mom! Nazis again?"

ps. I have enabled comments on all previous blog entries now. If you have something to say on any of them, now's your chance. Wahey!

Thursday, May 6, 2004

slightly more free at last

I survived Advanced Typography. I want some kind of badge.

recent comics: haiku review
Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia
Fanwanky excuse
For her to beat down Batman
(Plus some Greek-ish stuff)

Meridian vol. 1: Flying Solo
Spunky, not half bad!
What issue is it on now?
Cancelled? Typical!

A Jew in Communist Prague
Very impressive!
Clean art, convincing conflict -
Wait, that's it? Too short!

Great Teacher Onizuka, vol. 1
Slacker-turned-teacher
Pervs on short-skirted schoolgirls.
Think I'll skip the rest.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

two minutes of manga

Tokyopop announces new Star Trek manga in the works

Comics journalist Tony Isabella on manga and the comics industry

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

oh snap update!

According to Neil Gaiman, the news piece about Alan Moore being unhappy about Constantine movie decisions is not entirely true. Yes, Alan's removing his name from the film, but it's because of some frankly rather insulting legal issues involving the LOEG movie - I think he doesn't want to risk being put in that kind of situation again.

This explanation makes more sense to me than the previous one. From what I've read, he really isn't bothered by changes in adaptations of his films at all. Look at the massive changes made in From Hell and League - why would changes in Constantine cause such a reaction?

Wednesday, March 3, 2004

oh, snap!

According to Ain't It Cool, the script and casting for the Hellblazer movie are so bad that John Constantine-creator Alan Moore has asked for his name to be removed from the credits (Moore's beard unavailable for comment). Ha ha ha, damn! Let that be a lesson to you: don't revamp successful English creative properties by making them American, casting prettyboy actors, stripping out most of their original qualities, and resetting the stories in Los Angeles. Are you listening, you folks who are working on the American version of The Office?

This newsflash courtesy of comics blog Fanboy Rampage!!.

In other news, here's another part of the magazine assignment I was working on. Check out the Hot Air travel magazine Japan cover:
click to see Hot Air Japan issue cover

Thanks to the Cool Runnings crowd for their input on this project (they know who they are). IN JAMAICA WE GOTTA BOBSLED TEAM.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

the girl's got class

And the old term ended, and the new term started, and in place of the one big timesink of a course I got ... two lesser timesink courses! Hurrah! :: stabs self despairingly in eyes with Wacom stylus ::

The worst part about procrastination is the mind-whirlwind of regret, self-confidence, and self-doubt:

Oh no, I did it again. I left all this to the last minute. I won't do that next time.

But wow! Look at these great ideas I managed to come up with at the eleventh hour! I rule!

Wait ... would I have come up with them if I'd started my work earlier? What if I hadn't been in this same mindset at an earlier time? What if that random event today (seeing that particular color sweater, reading that article, etc.) is what spurred this great idea, and if I'd started before now, I wouldn't have been able to come up with it? Do I need to procrastinate to come up with ideas?

Well, in any case, I definitely won't procrastinate on next week's homework.

repeat weekly

media intake
Just finished volume 2 of Fake. I can't put it down - it's really pretty bad, but it's strangely fascinating at the same time. It reminds me of all sorts of slash fanfic I've read in the past, except that the two guys in this book never get anywhere beyond kissing, and most slash stories go something like "Paragraph one: the two guys from The Sentinel show up at the police station for work. Paragraph two: they go at it in the station's supply closet." I've started taking bets in my head every time Fake gets anywhere near actual action. "Oh, there's some kissing ... let's see, when I flip the page, will the two obligatory cute kids interrupt, will the one guy back off and say there was a misunderstanding, or will it be the end of the chapter? ::flip:: Ah, it's the kids! I win a donut."

And maybe this is a manga convention, but I keep running across spelled-out sound effects, like "push" when someone pushes someone else. Weird! It reminds me of the sound effect words I used to see in The Beano when I was a kid. Minnie the Minx would be shown sneaking down the street accompanied by squiggly sound effect lines and the words "sound of sneaking around," things like that. The best ones were always in "Calamity James". Actual example: "uneasy flapping of flowery little drawers!"

In other news, I didn't know I needed it until I found it, but sweet jebus I need a Totoro ear pick.

Friday, January 23, 2004

first thought

Call me cynical, but when I heard that the latest issue of Elektra involves her battling a disease, the first thing I thought was "She's got breast cancer. Greg Horn is going to have a field day with the cover art now."

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

geek, geek, geek senora

Big shout-out to all the fellow geeks from Arisia - damn, that was a good time. Here, have some obscure references that only a handful of people will get:

The Orange Room! Secret Con Rave! Guerrilla Dance Party! The wishbone thing! Coin Operated Boy! Byzantium! Goth Macarena! Foam weapons! Glowsticks! Stripy tights! Not finding coffee anywhere but the gaming room, dammit!

I also learned of the existence of the Man-Faye. Fear him.

And then I came home when it was all over and sat on my ass eating kettle corn and reading comic books.

The Golem's Mighty Swing - I usually don't like stories about baseball, but this one about a Jewish exhibition baseball team back in the early 20th century was riveting.
click to read about this

Jar of Fools - A stage magician down on his luck, his ex-girlfriend, his elderly mentor, and a con man and his daughter. Beautiful art from the guy who did Berlin, but I wasn't such a big fan of the story overall.
click to read about this

Wednesday, January 7, 2004

rehash browns

According to Newsarama, Marvel is starting up a new campaign called "Marvel Age" which pitches existing characters at younger readers, retelling their original stories "in a modern way."

This sounds fairly similar to what the "Ultimates" line was supposed to do - retell the original stories in a modern way (shedding 40+ years of convoluted continuity and providing outreach to new readers). It sounds like they're anticipating this comparison - in the Newsarama interview, the distinction is drawn between the more mature, cinematic Ultimates line and the new kid-friendly Marvel Age campaign.

Don't get me wrong - I'm in favor of reaching out to new readers. I thoroughly approve of trying to build a new fanbase in their formative stages while they still have many potential years of comic buying ahead of them. But sweet jebus, another retelling of Spider Man? Another relaunch of the Fantastic Four? "House of Ideas", my ass! They've got about five! How many times are they going to rehash, relaunch, and otherwise tool around with the same overused set of characters?

Still, it's pretty sneaky - there's some efficiency in simply reusing the same idea pool over and over again under different campaigns. You get at least a few readers who've never seen it before, and you get the fanboy contingent who will eagerly reread the same stories in hopes of seeing how their favorite characters fare under the revamp. Crafty!

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Comic Books in the Media - Drinking Game

The headline or lead-in is "Splat! Bam! Pow!" or similar.
1 drink

The topic of the article is "Comics aren't just for kids anymore!"
1 drink

Namedrops of Superman or Batman
2 drinks

The article's sole purpose is to plug an upcoming comics-based movie; all other comic-related news will promptly be ignored afterwards.
1 drink

Confusion between comic books and comic strips
1 shot

Bingo buzzwords: Tights, capes, masks, words with the prefix "X-", "graphic novel" (double points if it's misused)
1 shot per word

Friday, July 18, 2003

good league news, sports fans!

This just in from the San Diego Comic-Con International: LoEG Volume 3 is green-lighted. Sweet! Here are the details:

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen vol. 3 is a go. Set in 1910, the next storyline will feature Mina Harker heavily, while the remainder of the original team will go to the wayside. The new volume will go back in time to an earlier League, and may, according to artist Kevin O'Neil, travel forward to the 1950's.

Score! Click here to read the article and discussion (hosted by Newsarama).

(although - "Mina Harker"? She goes by "Mina Murray" in the book, guys, and quite deliberately. Quit using the movie as your info source.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

cos I'm LXG, I'm dynamite

I went to see The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen tonight. I will now talk at some length. Warning: massive spoilers!

Read more...

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

a league of one ... enormous scary beard

A neat interview with Alan Moore that focuses more on the man and not as much on his works:

"Give Me Moore", courtesy of the Sunday Herald (Scotland)

And when I say "the man", I mean that tiny portion of him that isn't entirely taken over by his beard and hair. Swear to god, I think it's the beard that's doing the writing nowadays. Alan just follows its commands inbetween holding services for the Sock Puppet God. ... damn, I love this guy.

The film adaptation of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is scheduled to be released this coming Friday. I don't know what to make of it ... they've veered so much from the source material that I expect to be disappointed, but at the same time James Robinson can be a good writer when he needs to be, and it looks like a fun campy action film. And I'm the one person who actually enjoyed Wild Wild West. So maybe this'll be good. Or not. Stay tuned for happy skipping and jumping or else full blathering rants.

Also, a side note to anyone groaning about Tom Sawyer's inclusion in the film as an adult, I have to point out that Mark Twain did in fact go on to write sequels Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective, so there is some literary source to the new version of the character.

Review of Mark Twain's other works

Thursday, June 26, 2003

oh, how cool is THAT!

From Pulse:

MARVEL 1602
Written by NEIL GAIMAN
Illustrated by ANDY KUBERT & RICHARD ISANOVE
CARDSTOCK COVER by Scott McKowen
All's not well in the Marvel Universe in the year 1602 as strange storms are brewing and strange new powers are emerging!
Comics writing legend & bestselling novelist Neil Gaiman (SANDMAN, AMERICAN GODS) and Andy Kubert & Richard Isanove (ORIGIN) bring to life a rich new vision of the Marvel Universe that Gaiman promises is NOT a 'What If" story. But how do Spider-Man, the X-Men, Nick Fury, Dr. Strange, Daredevil, Dr. Doom, Black Widow, Captain America & more Marvel stars appear in the year 1602?

Wow. WOW. I'm doing a fangirl dance right now. That is so freaking cool! I absolutely love this idea. Imagine how many neat takes you could do on the Marvel Universe by setting them in different time periods?

In sixteen-hundred-and-sixty-six
Cyclops used his optic blasts on Magneto while fighting the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants ...
... and London burned like rotten sticks.

Monday, May 26, 2003

I'm speechless

Once again, thanks to the Internet, I'm at a loss for words.

The Amazing Adventures of Gambit's Ass

Thursday, May 8, 2003

ohhh, damn, I wish I'd thought of that.

Dr. Moreau bioengineered Rupert Bear and Mr. Toad! Ha ha ha!

Damn, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen kicks ass.

Monday, April 21, 2003

Nurse, while you're at it ...

... please up Mr. Lee's dosage.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

Nurse ...

... please get Stan Lee his meds.

Friday, April 18, 2003

I read a buncha comics recently.

Comments on recently-read comics:

Stinz - Charger: The War Stories - It could just be my usual interest in WWI talking, but jeeze, this collection had me absolutely transfixed. You know how the old Superman movie posters had the tagline "You'll believe a man can fly"? Lemme swipe that: "You'll believe a centaur can be drafted into the German army to fight in World War I." This collection is one in a series and follows Stinz LŲwhard, a centaur farmer, through basic training and a few later war stories. Donna Barr does an amazing job in writing historical fiction, creating believable characters, and building fantasy societies and species to the point where I'd just nod and say, "Yeah, that'd be likely." Thumbs up!
Note: I just read more about the series and found out that it's not specifically set in WWI - it's an unspecified war that combines aspects of several of them, apparently. Oh. My bad.

Daredevil - Underboss, Out, issues 38-45 - I'm usually the last person on earth to enjoy superhero comics. I like 'em when they have well-developed characters, but more often than not the characters are just cardboard props with powers. "I am Zap Man! I will zap you! *zap*" The exceptions (e.g., James Robinson's Starman) are pretty rare, in my experience. But Brian Michael Bendis is writing a fantastic streak over on Marvel's Daredevil. The gist of the plot is this: Through various crime family drama, the information about Daredevil's real identity (blind lawyer Matt Murdock) has fallen into the media's hands. There's no quick magical fix here - the effects to Matt's legal and superhero careers are still being shown and experienced. The pacing is subtle, the artwork is gloomy and moodsetting, and the dialogue lives up to its reputation.

Oh, and I thought that it was great before reading issues 38-40, which involve a courtroom trial and Matt defending a costumed hero accused of killing a policeman. Then I read those issues and was impressed by the opening and closing arguments and the cross-examination. Damn! I'd pay good money to see a crossover between Law and Order and Daredevil. Really.

Alias - I recently picked up the first two collections of Marvel's Alias collections (no connection to the television show). It's another title written by Brian Michael Bendis and shows Jessica Jones, former superhero turned private investigator, as she works at various cases while barely keeping her own life together. Again with the character development and dialogue that rings true - although I wasn't overly enthusiastic about the actual plots (good buildup, less-than-stellar resolutions), it's the characters that keep me interested. I like Jessica Jones. She reminds me of me a bit, with the turned-up nose and the swearing too much. Not as much with the super strength and the alcoholism, though.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the world ...

The new sport of kings is a-coming:
Bar Stool Racing

Saturday, March 29, 2003

all the zinesters in the house say ohhhh

A big shout-out to all of the folks who stopped by my table at Beantown Zinetown today - thanks for purchasing or trading for my minicomics! I've already started to go through the big-ass stack of acquired zines and man, there is some serious talent out there, and it's covering a massive range of subjects.

For anyone who couldn't make it to the zine fair or who just wants to hear more on these minicomics I'm talking about, please check out the Comics page - I've posted a list of comics available for sale/trade (this includes new minicomic versions of issues 1-3 of Between the Lines and the fresh-this-week fourth issue!).

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Minicomics, fanzines, and Between the Lines issue #4!

Hey everyone! Beantown Zinetown, Boston's zine and minicomic convention, is coming up on March 29, 2003 - it'll be running from 11-6 in the gymnasium at Mass. College of Art. I will be there hawking my minicomics, including Geraniums and Bacon, Invitation to Madness, and Between the Lines (now in minicomic format and including the just-finished issue #4!). Please stop by, say hello, and check out all the awesome offerings!

Update: I'm not sure what's up, but the usual BTZT page linked above seems to be temporarily blank. In the meantime, here is another site with information about the zine fair.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

All I need to know in life I learned from doing the opposite of

Warning: Minor plot-related spoilers.

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