New Minicomic – Just In Time For Locust Moon!

Can it really be that I haven’t published a new minicomic in over a year? Obviously, that situation needs to be remedied immediately – and it shall! I will have a brand new minicomic debuting at the Locust Moon Comics Festival next weekend. Trepanation: Elective Surgery You Need Like A Hole In The Head is the print version of a comic originally published on The Nib. It explores the history and practices of the International Trepanation Advocacy Group, a small group of people who believe that drilling a small hole in your skull may be beneficial or even necessary to full brain function and mental health. This is a 16-page black and white comic with a full color cover, and will be sold at the show for $4 each.

Not going to be at Locust Moon this weekend? Fear not! After I return from Philadelphia, issues of this comic will be made available through my Etsy shop.

Interested in minicomics? I will be teaching a minicomics workshop in Philadelphia on Thursday, October 23rd. We’ll discuss various production methods, look at examples, and each student will have the opportunity to make a minicomic of their very own! The workshop will be held from 7-9pm at the Kelly Writers’ House (3805 Locust Walk). To sign up, email wh@writing.upenn.edu with subject line: MINICOMICS, yes!

Upcoming Philadelphia Events

Philadelphia! In the coming weeks I will be traveling to your city to spend a few days there for a brief residency at the Kelly Writers’ House at the University of Pennsylvania. I consider this to be a huge honor and am very excited. The residency will involve several events, and I can’t wait to meet all of you.

My trip will kick off with an opening for a show of my work at the Brodsky Gallery that will include the pages from my most recent completed comic, “From The Beyond,” a ghost story that I drew for the upcoming Then It Was Dark anthology. The opening will take place on Wednesday, October 22nd, at the Kelly Writers’ House, located at 3805 Locust Walk. The event starts at 6pm, when I will give a short presentation on my work and process, to be followed by refreshments and socializing and general merriment until 8.

A page from “From The Beyond” to appear in my show @ the Brodsky Gallery.

On Thursday, October 23rd, I will be teaching a workshop on how to make minicomics! We’ll discuss various production methods, look at examples, and each student will have the opportunity to make a minicomic of their very own! The workshop will be held from 7-9pm at the Kelly Writer’s House in the Zises Seminar Room (Room 203). To sign up, email wh@writing.upenn.edu with subject line: MINICOMICS, yes!

While in town I will also be exhibiting at the Locust Moon Comics Festival, on Saturday, October 25th. The show is open from 10am-6pm at The Rotunda located at 4014 Walnut Street. There I will be selling comics, including a few copies of Unknown Origins & Untimely Ends, the anthology I edited for Hic & Hoc, as well as a brand new minicomic of my story about trepanation that recently appeared on The Nib. I’ll also have tote bags and buttons and other ephemera for sale. This year’s show is bringing some pretty awesome guests, so I definitely recommend checking that out.

My stay in Philadelphia will be concluded with an appearance on a comics-themed episode of the radio program LIVE at the Writer’s House, alongside Box Brown, Hawk Krall, JC Cloutier, and Josh O’Niell, with a musical performance by Lantern. We’ll be talking about comics – making them, reading them, studying them – and the recording of the show is open to the public. If you’d like to attend, the event will be held at the Kelly Writers’ House on Monday, October 27th, and taping will begin at 7pm. If you are unable to attend, you can listen to us the following Monday, November 3rd, at 8pm on WXPN, or download a podcast version that will be made available sometime after the initial broadcast.

If you live in the Philadelphia area, please come to one of these events and say hello!

“From The Beyond” Reference Selfies

I have posted my often ridiculous reference selfies on this blog before. Once again, I have been discussing the importance of photo reference with my students and showing them the silly photos I have taken of myself to help me work out drawing problems for various projects, and feel compelled to share them here. My current project involves a 1920s séance, which has created a necessity for photographs of many hilarious gestures and facial expressions.

Another tricky aspect of the séance scene is its unique lighting situation. Lighting faces has always been a bit challenging for me, and I’m especially not accustomed to drawing faces lit from below, as they would be from a candle in a typical séance. A few nights ago I lit some candles in my living room and took some reference shots to help me figure this out.

There aren’t any streetlights in the neighborhood where I live, so I didn’t have to close my blinds to take these photos. It occurs to me now that it’s entirely possible my neighbors saw me through the windows, making faces at myself in an empty candlelit room, and likely think I am insane.

“From the Beyond” pages are nearing completion! Check the Then It Was Dark tumblr blog for periodic updates and previews of other stories in the upcoming ghost-themed comics anthology.

“From The Beyond” In Process

Lately I’ve been hard at work on a short story for Then It Was Dark, an upcoming anthology of ghost story comics. My piece focuses on the tale of Thomas Lynn Bradford, a Spiritualist who committed suicide in 1921 in an attempt prove the existence of an afterlife by contacting the living from beyond the grave. A woman named Ruth Doran claimed to have received his message.

Pencil drawing from “From The Beyond.”

This has been a really fun story to work on. Anyone who has read previous posts about my process will know that one of my favorite parts of research is finding amusing titles of old newspaper articles, and research for this piece has been no exception. Below is my favorite of the articles I discovered for many reasons but especially for the “GIVES OUT A STORY ON IT” subtitle, which seems pretty self-evident and hilariously unnecessary.

I also now have a pretty extensive library of reference photos of 1920s fashion, and older buildings in Detroit, where the story takes place.

I have exciting plans for these pages, which I will post more about in the coming weeks. For now, they are slowly coming together:

At this point I was cursing myself for drawing so many windows.

Needs some whiteout, but otherwise finished title panel.

Photo reference (Detroit, circa 1920).

Stay tuned for more updates on this and other stories. To see process photos posted in real time, follow me on Twitter!

Two Interviews

In case you missed it, I was interviewed a couple of times earlier this summer at the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE), and now both interviews are online for your viewing/listening/reading pleasure. Below you can watch the video interview between myself and Big Gay Horror Fan about Unknown Origins & Untimely Ends, the Hic & Hoc unsolved mysteries anthology I edited last year.

You can also listen to a brief interview with me from The Two Page Spread. The sound quality isn’t great because it was recorded amidst the bustling convention, so click the link if you’d rather read a transcript!