Sketchbook Completed

I completed another sketchbook. I have a “lovely practice,” as my friend Christopher Kardambikis puts it, when I mentioned it during my interview on his podcast Paper Cuts. This sketchbook was given to my comics mentor Ariel Bordeaux. Ariel was my thesis advisor at the Center For Cartoon Studies and was very helpful in getting through my second year by being, “the supportive comics aunt” (her words, but a spot on description). We’ve been close ever since.

I hope she likes it!

Here are some of my favorite pages:

This is based on the way  Aline Kominsky-Crumb  (who I wrote more extensively about  here)  and  Roberta Gregory  draw their mothers in their comics.

This is based on the way Aline Kominsky-Crumb (who I wrote more extensively about here) and Roberta Gregory draw their mothers in their comics.

My go to doodle: buff or fat naked ladies.

My go to doodle: buff or fat naked ladies.

Self portrait.

Self portrait.

Various kinds of souls that leave the body.

Various kinds of souls that leave the body.

SAD SAD SAD.

SAD SAD SAD.

SAD SAD SAD 2.

SAD SAD SAD 2.

Saw this smoking hot babe while tabling at  DINK.

Saw this smoking hot babe while tabling at DINK.

Lady from a music video I watched while waiting for a friend at  Dukem  Ethiopian restaurant.

Lady from a music video I watched while waiting for a friend at Dukem Ethiopian restaurant.

Drawings I did at  Golden West Cafe   (waiting on the same friend, oddly enough). The girl on the left I saw on my walk there and the guy on the right was someone I saw in the restaurant.

Drawings I did at Golden West Cafe (waiting on the same friend, oddly enough). The girl on the left I saw on my walk there and the guy on the right was someone I saw in the restaurant.

That’s it! See ya!

A Conundrum: Art I Love By People I Loathe

I recently did the above piece for The Nib- five cartoonists talking about their problematic favorite pieces of media:

The site I refer to in the comic is called Red Letter Media, and the TV show I refer to in the third panel is  Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

The site I refer to in the comic is called Red Letter Media, and the TV show I refer to in the third panel is Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

I love these properties even though they are problematic. I would never want to hang out with the creators, because they are no doubt misogynistic and racist. I take what I like out of their work and leave the rest.

But then there’s a subset of art that always give me pause: Autobio comics I enjoy by people I find obnoxious women. Unlike the properties mentioned earlier, these aren’t inherently offensive. But the authors portray themselves in ways where I know they would be irritating to be around, even though their stories are so good. I have a few examples of this on my bookshelf, but the one that I think is the best example is Cancer Vixen by Marissa Marchetto.

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In this book, the Marchetto is works as a cartoonist living in NYC and writes pieces for Glamour and the New Yorker. She’s thus the kind of woman that is thus invested in the bullshit Glamour sells, like getting the perfect haircut and bikini waxes. She also really cares about status in a way that is off putting; for example, finding it important that she and her friend are at a party that Sarah Jessica Parker is also attending. The book, however, is fantastic. It talks about her cancer and treatment in a really accessible way. The visual metaphors for cancer, it’s treatment, and a lot of the toxic culture and infighting among women (especially in the kind of circles that Marchetto runs in) are amazing. She tells the story beautifully, and she makes personal growth (kind of). The book ends with her realizing that her priorities are fucked up, but even after her battle with cancer she still values things that show off her status as a cool New Yorker. All that being said, this is one of my fave books that I own. It’s a compelling story with great cartooning, but man, I think Marchetto would irritate me, and I think I wouldn’t be chic enough to even be on her radar.

This leads me to the ultimate example of an autobio cartoonist whose work I love but who I would NEVER want to hang out with is Aline Kominsky-Crumb:

Aline Kominsky-Crumb is the wife of Robert Crumb, which should give you some idea of what kind of woman she is. Robert Crumb was a huge influence on underground comics in the 1960s, but his work is sexist and racist as all hell (and actually, so is Aline’s but that’s a discussion for another time). It’s been fascinating seeing the tides turn on opinion of him (in SOME circles). Old straight white dude cartoonists see him as a god while younger queer, poc, and femme cartoonists (or any mix there of) who now dominate the indie comics scene REVILE him. Him and his underground comic pals’ sexism is one of the reasons Wimmin’s Comix was created. Aline actually started doing comics in Wimmin’s Comix but was cast out of the book for being a bad feminist when she started dating Crumb.


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In Need More Love (My copy is missing, along with a bunch of my other books, AND I’M STILL REALLY PISSED ABOUT IT!!!) she gossips about her drama with the Wimmin’s Comix Collective 30+ years later (the book is from the late 90s/ early 00s) in a way that makes it sound like it’s happening as she’s writing the book. While I bet there was validity to her side of it, when she recounts it in her comics she draws the artists at Wimmin’s Comix as gross, fat, completely undesirable femininazis. Her work is in some ways, insufferable. In her collected comic anthology by Drawn and Quarterly, she rehashes the same incidents that were traumatizing to her over and over in basically the same exact way. You can tell comics are cathartic for her, but it’s interesting how she doesn’t seem to grow as a person over the 40+ years collected in that book.

That being said, I adore her work! She is starved for male attention like I still am, she is obsessed with looking good (which I try to hide but I desperately want to be conventionally attractive again re:thinner), she loathes herself in ways I really relate to, and she is neurotic in a way only New York area Jews can be (she is from Long Island, my mother is from NJ).

That is something I should mention. While I did not grow up in a fully Jewish household, my mother is Jewish and I consider myself a cultural Jew (meaning I’m not into the religion but and tied to Judaism ethnically and culturally). So a TON of the stuff mentioned in this book resonates with me hard core, in a way I don’t usually see. A great example is how Aline recounts being pressured into things like getting a nose job and straightening her hair to look less ethnic (plastic surgery, nose jobs specifically, are a big thing in rich Jewish high schools).And then there’s just basic stuff like the food and Yiddish terms used where I go, “Ah yes, this makes me feel really at home.”

The Jewish culture (and neurosis) combined with the self loathing depicted with raw honesty and vulnerability (along with being kind of casual and flippant about it) is a rare mix that makes her one of my favorite cartoonists. THAT and she was doing autobio comics way before almost anybody (the only comics I like by her husband are the comics they did together that were based in reality or his retelling of Genisis- which he obviously didn’t write). She really doesn’t get enough credit for that. I’m not sure if the reason is because she is overshadowed by her husband, or that the only reason she is on anyone’s radar is because of her husband (it’s probably a mix of both),

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There is something I have only realized as I do a third run through of this blog post. Another core way I identify with Aline is that she is desperately wants to identify as an artist, which is why (though very sporadically) she ends up making comics. While my main incentive to create comics is the community it’s given to me, a big reason I keep doing art even while I feel disillusioned with it at various times (I’m getting through one of these periods right now, that’s why I’m taking a break from making stuff. I can see the light as the end of the self doubt tunnel though) is because I now see being an artist as a part of my identity. It took years for me to start accepting that I’m an artist, I had always associated all artists with the pretentiousness that comes when dealing with the fine art world. But when I found comics I started to get more comfortable self identifying that way.

There is one final person I want to mention that is in no way related to comics, and that is comedian Nicole Byer.

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Byer has a couple podcasts that I listen to. There is one called Why Won’t You Date Me? in which Byer explores relationships and talks about how she has never had a relationship even though she is 33. While I’m in a relationship now, I still often identify with the whole, “I’m alone and single forever,” message that this plays her podcast plays into. I find Byer to be charming and interesting as the host of her podcasts. She also is one of my fave guests when I hear her on other podcasts (I subscribe to her on Laughable). That being said, her personality is A LOT to handle. It took a long time for me to even be able to get behind her on these shows, but the conversations were always so interesting that I eventually got used to her, and then endeared to her. But, I can’t imagine having a real conversation with her; it would be difficult to be around someone so loud and gregarious.

So, that’s pretty much all for this post. Obviously, I’m only judging these people by their art, so maybe they are actually lovely in person. But yeah, it’s weird when women talk about their lives and I am VERY interested in what they have to say, but am put off by who they seem to be.

Lastly, in case anyone is wondering why these examples are all women, it’s because:

1) Unlikable men don’t entertain me the vast majority of the time

2) Men’s art in general doesn’t resonate with me, so it’s not even worth writing about.

Bye bye!





News and Updates

Hello, hello!

I have been kind of all over the place lately with comics, my creative practice, and my life in general. However, things are pretty good. I just have been, I don’t know, kind of into other things more than actually making a lot of art and comics.

A big thing that happened recently is I got a bunch of my books out of storage, where they have been since August 2014. I am helping organizing an event with Square City Comics where members will be selling comics they don’t want. So, a big thing I’m tackling is culling my collection to see what I’m willing to sell.

This is my “maybe” pile.

This is my “maybe” pile.

I also have been really trying to exercise more and eat better, which is also time consuming. And I’ve got an ongoing full time temp gig as well. So, yeah, doing comics has not been at the top of the list.

However, I am slowly working on my newest zine, even if progress is slow. It’s a collection of art and comics related to dreams I’ve had since college. So far, I’ve completed 8 pages of work out of the who-knows-how-many. This zine is really an excuse for me to stretch myself artistically, so I’m experimenting with a lot of different styles of art and various mediums. I’m not sure how long the zine will be, but it will be a mix of black and white and color images and will be standard comic size.

A drawing from the best dream I ever had about a dream roller coaster, done in charcoal.

A drawing from the best dream I ever had about a dream roller coaster, done in charcoal.

Pages from two comics appearing in the zine. These dreams also took place in college. One is my typical ink and one is done in graphite.

Pages from two comics appearing in the zine. These dreams also took place in college. One is my typical ink and one is done in graphite.

Also:

1) I finished a zine about my three terrible dogs. It’s called Three Terrible Dogs. You can buy it on my Gumroad or my Etsy. The best part of this zine is that it was entirely funded by my Patreon! All the money I make off my Patreon goes directly back into my art, so it’s worth checking out if you are interested in my work.

The zine.

The zine.

The first page I ever made for the zine.

The first page I ever made for the zine.

The stars of the zine.

The stars of the zine.

2) I have NO IDEA how I didn’t write a post saying I finished Everything’s Fine Volume 3, but I did. It’s about how my relationship with my boyfriend has affected my mental health. It’s good! It’s also available in my store.

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3) I am currently part of an art show hosted at By The People and Monochrome Collective. It’s a very fancy art show and I did not know that when I applied. The link above and my calendar have all the info for showtimes, and the pieces are for sale.

Here’s some photos of some of my fave pieces, which I can’t attribute because I forgot to take photos of that and I’m a bad artist to my fellow artists:

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This was done by a 19 year old and it was their first show. Along with them, I was one of the very few artists that wasn’t like, I don’t know, REALLY REALLY involved in the DC fine art scene.

This was done by a 19 year old and it was their first show. Along with them, I was one of the very few artists that wasn’t like, I don’t know, REALLY REALLY involved in the DC fine art scene.

There were a series of pools paintings (like the one at the top) by  Elyse Harrison  that were fantastic and she was very nice to boot.

There were a series of pools paintings (like the one at the top) by Elyse Harrison that were fantastic and she was very nice to boot.

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And here’s my piece:

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Along with taking the opening SUPER seriously:

A sweaty mess after working a full work day then driving 1.5 hours to the opening (thanks DC traffic!)

A sweaty mess after working a full work day then driving 1.5 hours to the opening (thanks DC traffic!)

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4) I was interviewed of the FemiNerd podcast. You can find it on Soundcloud and iTunes, and possibly other places, as well as on their website. I name people in my interview that I never should have, I regret it!

I think a reason I’ve been so slow to make comics is because I’ve been feeling under appreciated. My stuff hasn’t really sold well recently, my audience hasn’t really grown much lately, I have a obnoxious underdog complex, etc. I tabled at three shows in May and they were ok; seeing friends was good but I hate tabling. I’m thinking of taking the year off after this BUT THAT BEING SAID, I’ve got at least four more shows coming up this year, including SPX and MICE, even if they’re not on my calendar yet. The rest of the shows are on my calendar, which keep updated really consistently ( the reason the two shows I mentioned aren’t listed is because I don’t have my table info yet).

ANYWAY, YEAH, THINGS ARE STILL HAPPENING (even if they are slow). Let’s end this with a goofy ass photo of me tabling at DINK in May:

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Bye, until next time!

Quick News

I have had a hell of a last couple months so I’m not in a great place. As such, I haven’t really been working on comics but here’s some quick news:

I am part of a gallery show running through May at Atomic Books. Come on out and maybe buy my art!

I am tabling at Atomic Books tomorrow for Free Comic Book Day from 11:30 until ??? (I’ll be there probably at least two hours). I’m gonna try to table as much as possible this year and then probably take a break to reevaluate my life and my comics.

I got into another art show, more info on that as I get it.

My newest zine, Three Terrible Dogs, is available at my store and Gumroad.

THAT’S IT!

A Sort of Half-Assed Post About Wimmins Comix

Hello!

I don’t feel like working on comics right now, so I thought I’d do a blog post. I have been reading the Collected Wimmin’s Comix (published by Fantagraphics). I’ve had it since August, but am only now getting around to reading it (shout out to all the people out there that have stacks of books they need to read while still buying more books ALL THE TIME).

Anyway, I started reading Wimmin’s Comix and I’ve been blown away. Here are my thoughts:

  • I would say the vast majority of these comics don’t hold up, as with most underground comics from the 1960s-1980s (there are a few exceptions to this, for example Bitchy Bitch or Dykes to Watch Out For by Allison Bechdel. Allison Bechdel actually talks about how in one of her collections that her earliest work is pretty rough, but gay publications were so desperate for comics they would publish practically anything. The editors interviewed at the beginning of Complete Wimmin’s Comix say the same thing, especially for early issues). The overall quality of the comics definitely improve over time. While the early issues are rough but by the late 1980s issues there is some genuinely entertaining comics included in the issues.

  • I can’t believe how much sexist bullshit women put up with in the past. I don’t know how they handled it! While it’s true that sexism hasn’t gone away, you can see how it’s evolved and become more subtle through this collection. I have always cognitively known this, but seeing it written in the authors’ first person perspectives has made me internalize it in a way I never have before. I am really thankful for the hard fought battle that women from previous generations have fought on my behalf.

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This is the cover of the first issue. This and the above image are from a comic about women comic characters from the time rebelling against the sexist men in the comics they appear in.

This is the cover of the first issue. This and the above image are from a comic about women comic characters from the time rebelling against the sexist men in the comics they appear in.

  • The way these authors want to fall in love and find husbands while at the same time being part of a movement that calls out their oppression at men’s hands is interesting to see. Dating back in the 1960s must have been horrendous. The author’s views on sex are crude and raw in a similar way to their male underground cartoonist counterparts.

  • I will say there is a lot of racism in this collection. There is a letter mentioned in the beginning of the anthology by one of the editors that was sent to them accusing the collective of not really being women, as women would never publish such racist and sexist material. The sexist material isn’t really apparent to me (minus small things, primarily that occasionally the authors tear other women down instead of lifting us all up.)

I think people are much more sensitive to mocking people for their appearance than even five years ago. It’s one of my pet peeves anyway, as someone who is uncomfortable with her appearance and is worried for being mocked for it.

I think people are much more sensitive to mocking people for their appearance than even five years ago. It’s one of my pet peeves anyway, as someone who is uncomfortable with her appearance and is worried for being mocked for it.

However, the racism really is present. The editor interviewed in the introduction was flippant about this letter as though the accusations were ridiculous. There is a lot of fetishizing native american and east asian cultures, and many of the black people portrayed in the comics have a racist phonetic accent (you literally have a comic celebrating Harriet Tubman saying things like, “no sir, masta”). To be fair, phonetic accents are much more common back in early comics than today (primarily because they are irritating as fuck to read), so these accents may not be seen as quite as egregious.

  • The comics from the 1960s and 1970s genuinely have characters saying, “groovy,” and I found that funny.

  • There are some LGBTQ comics in these issues as early as the 1970s, when being gay was still a crime. Seeing accounts of that lesbians dealing with that level of homophobia is both heart breaking and really compelling.

That’s all I can think of at the moment! I have a number of blog posts I want to write, but I need to focus on making more comics and am about to start another temp job next week, so that probably won’t happen in the foreseeable future.

Anyway, bye until next time!

Quick Update So I Can Get Back To Work

Hi!

I haven’t really posted here in a while because I am desperate to actually WORK ON COMICS vs doing back end shit like updating my website (which takes a long time when combined with other stuff like tabling and doing social media). I’m starting to form SERIOUS imposter syndrome so I want to plug a few things really quick and then go back to actually making work. 

- I was on the Paper Cuts Podcast. This was recorded at SPX but was put out this week. Feel free to marvel at how much I sound like a dumb bro. Listen to it here or download it wherever you listen to podcasts.

- My comic My Mother’s Story (originally part of the Comics For Choice anthology) was reposted to MUTHA Magazine earlier this year and was one of their top posts. Feel free to read all of their top posts for 2018 here. 

- I did a comic about food and memory for The Nib. Read that here

Alright, back to work on the next volume of Everything’s Fine. To get that zine when it’s done, you can sign up for my Patreon

Happy Holidays!

 

 

Binging

I have been going to a nutritionist for a couple weeks to work on binging. With my apartment flooding, going to doctors non stop, hurting my back, driving 2.5 hours a day (my boyfriend lives 40 minutes away from my current temp job + going to doctors and my apartment every night to clean more of it since the flood) I’m really burnt out. So my progress with this has been slowed down. But I’ll keep working at it.

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Homework from the first chapter of my DBT work book.

Homework from the first chapter of my DBT work book.

I relate to most of what this book says, except I tend to get over my feelings pretty quickly.

I relate to most of what this book says, except I tend to get over my feelings pretty quickly.