November 11th, 2012 | Other Projects

comiket drawing with screen in background

Today I visited Comiket, the alternative comics event associated with Comica, the London International Comics Festival. It was a lovely, small exhibition of independent, alternative cartoonists. I got to take part in the “live drawing parade,” where cartoonists draw for a half an hour while a video camera projects what they’re doing onto a large screen.

I created a superfast sketch-o-vision comic for the audience. That is to say, I quickly inked the pretty tight pencil I had spent a lot of time on beforehand. At first I thought the “drawing parade” meant totally spontaneous drawing for the audience, which I’ve never done before, and felt a lot of trepidation about. Then I learned that it was okay to work from a pencil sketch.

I drew a nine-panel strip about the slight mishap that befell Hol and me upon our arrival here Friday morning.


After Comiket, Hol and I made our way to Bloomsbury. Hol asked this squirrel to lead us to the bust of Virginia Woolf in Tavistock Square.


Then we went to Gay’s The Word for a booksigning. There was a big crowd of lovely people. Afterward we went for drinks with some of them, including Lenna Cumberbatch, who used to work on my website for me,


…and Pam Isherwood who comments frequently here on the blog.


In fact, Pam chided me a bit about how I’ve completely stopped blogging. So I am making this post to prove her wrong.

31 Responses to “London”

  1. Eva says:

    Sooo, thanks for the blog post and all…but we don’t get to see the whole strip that you made, only two of nine panels? What’s up with that? (Concluding her whining and going back to wandering the interwebs…).

  2. Pam I says:

    We’ll be watching….

  3. ms. jacque says:

    your pic of Tavistock reminded me of paddington where i lived when i was there in 2004…lovely.

  4. Anarcissie says:

    I am curious about the purple light in fourth picture (Lenna Cummerbatch(?)). Is that a more or less permanent work of art, a temporary work of art, a happenstance of the environment at that moment, a lamp, etc.? It occurred to me that I don’t often see light used as a medium-in-itself for domestic art (unless you count neon etc. sculpture).

  5. Kate L says:

    Anarcissie (#4) After watching my fill of The Dead Files and Ghost Adventures on American cable television over the weekend (while awaiting Severe Strom Brutus* to come sweeping down the plains), I can answer your question. The purple light is ectoplasm! A phantom! Somebody call Amy Allen, right away!

    * The Weather Channel in the United States has just started naming severe winter storms. Severe Storm Athena is what hit the East Coast after Hurricane Sandy. Additional sever winter storm names for this season include Godzilla (!) and Nemo(!!).

  6. Robin says:

    I’m with Eva, I want to know what happens in Rising Damp!

  7. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L

    Having just endured Nor’Easter Athena right on the heels of Hurricane Sandy, I’d say, et tu, Brute? to the next pseudo-named storm.

    Today was actually a lovely day, weather-wise, here in the Big Apple, it felt more like spring than late autumn. If you had just dropped in from elsewhere and never followed the news, you’d never know many folks are still displaced from the hurricane, and faced further damage and hardships from the snowstorm which followed a few days later. There are folks who lost power in the hurricane, regained it, and lost it again in the nor’easter, and are still without power.

    My body still hasn’t recovered from working so many hours so many days straight, climbing all those stairs and walking my tuchas off. My back and legs are a painful mess. I thank the universe for ibuprofen and heating pads (and electric power to run the heating pads).

    So, to AB and Hol, if London is too damp for your tastes, try NYC. It’s positively delightful, if you can successfully duck the storms.

    (… goes back to the supine and unlocked horizontal position …)

  8. RedRowan says:

    Whoa, must check in here more often – if I’d known you were in London I’d have made a trip into the city! How long are you over in the UK for?

    Hope you enjoy your stay in good ol’ Blighty… Shades of Michael Tolliver on his fictional London jaunt, in your dank accommodation experience. May we expect a visit soon from Nanny Treves?

  9. Pam I says:

    @ RedRowan, AB is in the UK all week – see Events in RH column above. eg Foyles, tonight Monday.

  10. nic herriot says:

    yeh, look out for the small Welsh contingent coming to see you in Kings College. we were coming to your Bath gig until number 2 son said he has booked his flight to Australia on the 14 so we are coming to london. I hope there wil be book signings afterwards

  11. Alex K says:

    Went to the GOSH! signing event this evening (see listing elsewhere on the AB webpage) and met AB and Holly! **starstruck** I watched as AB dedicated a book to Thomas. “The usual ‘Thomas’?”, she enquired, looking up at the young man. I suppose that there are Tomas and Tamas and who knows what orthographic oddities rattling around out there… And then once that was sorted out, scritch scritch went the pen and there was the AB avatar-icon with a friendly inscription. **STARSTRUCK**

    They kindly admired photographs of the cats. This has endeared them to me FOR EVER. As has Holly’s sense of humour. She bowls her wisecracks low and fast, on the inside. Very difficult to bat against.

    A couple of parcels of food scraps (from the “garden apartment”?) made their way home with me for composting. (I did not look too closely at what I tumped into the bin, so no inside clues to AB and Holly’s dietary lifestyle from me.) Holly is a committed composter! And I am happy to have helped out.

  12. RedRowan says:

    Thanks, Pam I – unfortunately work commitments mean the only date I could’ve attended was the Kings College shindig, and that’s now fully booked. Hope it’s a great week, Alison, and that you enjoy your visit here. 🙂

  13. Colin says:

    Hi Thanks for attending the Comiket event and signing/sketching my copy of Fun Home. May get another chanceto catch you in Leeds this w/e and try your new book too, lucky me!

  14. rinky says:

    Are you going home via Australia? Pleeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaase

  15. Alex K says:

    The King’s College event, held in the Great Hall of the college, left me intrigued, confused, perturbed. Not unpleasantly; instead, wanting to read RUMM again and to think about it more.

    AB looked marvellous: Crisp, well-turned-out. She engaged with the audience, leaning forward, interested, signalling openness and communication. The presentation couldn’t have been better. But this encounter with AB and her work of course took place at many levels, and the hour’s intricacies of offering and withdrawal will keep me pondering for a long while to come.

    Mencken is supposed to have responded to all letters from his public with pre-printed postcards that read — Dear Sir or Madam, You may be right. Yours, H L Mencken.

    Yesterday evening AB often dealt with her interlocutors, Phillips at the dais and auditors in the two-story, white-columned, brightly lit and echoing hall, in much the same way. Yes!, she would say, or That’s an interesting idea!, or Ah!, with a pause: Good question; what do you think?, after a conversational or interpretational proposition was lobbed at her, high and slow — she returned service, as did Mencken, but, as did Mencken, she declined to volley.

    Not all her strokes simply dribbled the ball just over the net, to roll a few feet and then to stop. Some carried a top-spin that seemed to surprise even her. The self; the presented self; the real self; the achievement of reality through fame… these engaged her. But she hung back, worked the baseline, never charged the net. When she did, rarely, deliver an overhead smash the follow-through was fascinating — a statement, emphatic, and then… “Or maybe not.” The superimposed caret of the childhood journals, I thought as I watched and listened.

    The analysand must answer her own questions. The reader must write her own book.

    AB’s mother, AB told us, was presented with RUMM’s manuscript before it went to the publisher. May I?, AB asked. Do you approve? Is it all right with you? Her mother said only — This, pointing to a tiny fragment, involves a person outside the family. And AB removed that tiny fragment. Beyond that, no “It’s all right”, no “I approve”, no engagement, no self-compromise from AB’s mother. Return of service, but no more.

    This, she said, turning her back, is not my book.

    The evening’s epigraph was from Woolf: “For nothing is simply one thing.” It might have been from Eliot: “That is not what I meant at all; / That is not it, at all.”

    Or maybe it was.

    Or maybe not.

  16. Serena says:

    I felt for you at the King’s event last night. The conversation with Mr Phillips was interesting but the questions from the audience were mostly so weird as if those asking just wanted to show off or perform their vulnerability rather than attempt a human connection. Maybe it was a sort of mirroring as you had just laid on the table some of your vulnerabilities. In a strange way it was interesting, but just in retrospective. On the moment I so wanted it to end as it made me cringe. I just wished someone would come up there to the stage and say: “Enough please, can you stop asking silly questions?”. But then that’s very silly as well as you don’t need anyone to “save” you.
    Oh well, guess I am rambling. All the best for the future and thanks for coming to London. Hope you enjoyed your stay here.

  17. Eva says:

    Alex and Serena,
    Thanks for the overviews of the event last night. Your perspectives provide food for thought.

  18. Kate L says:

    … I’ve got to ask, what did the folks you saw in London think of the U.S. election just past? A friend of mine wore her Kerry campaign button on a flight to London following the 2004 election. She said that people she met on the plane extended their sympathies. I’m guessing the mood is different, this time…

  19. Fester BesterTester says:

    Speaking of trans-Atlantic tours:

    We got the Beatles. They got AB.

    I feel so ripped off…

  20. nic herriot says:

    i was at the kings event and asked what I thought wasnt a wierd question but a more freindly les academic question. a lot of us couldnt hear Adam phillips as he mumbled a lot and every question seemed to be an essay that could only be answered with a yes or no answer. and yes I didnt understand some of the audiences questions either but i always knew it was going to be an academic event

  21. nic herriot says:

    but then.. i was only there to see alison 🙂

  22. Alex K says:

    @16 – Serena – AB seemed discomfited, yes. My partner and I both felt for her.

    @17 – Eva, were you there? What did you think of the evening? The excitement of seeing the book differently (through Phillips’ eyes, through speakers from the audience’s eyes, through my own eyes) is still with me. So many ways to look at this blackbird.

    @20 – 21 – Nic, I can’t imagine which question was yours. Phillips was indeed difficult to hear. I hope that you took part in the signing that was to follow.

    I did not see videocameras, specialty lighting, that might encourage me to hope that the event was recorded visually. A shame, that, if it was not.

  23. Anarcissie (# 4) in watching my fill the dead files and ghost adventure in the United States cable TV on weekends (waiting for serious siteluomu brutus * to strike down the plain), I can answer your question. Purple light ectoplasm! A ghost! Someone call Amy Allen, right away!

    * the weather channel in the United States just started named severe snowstorm. Athena is severe storms hit the east coast after hurricane what sandy. Additional server name winter storm this season including godzilla (!) And nim (!!).

  24. Eva says:

    Alex K – I meant my comment to reflect my sincere appreciation of the perspective of people who had been there, as I was not.

  25. Kate L says:

    jersey cheap (#23). Interesting.

    For our overseas readers who might be interested in how the recent U.S. election unfolded for the G.O.P. (Group of Old People, also known as the Republican Party), HERE is a visual approximation, although I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the translation.

  26. suzanonymous says:

    One of the things I admire about squirrels is their warm trust — bravery — approaching a gigantic towering creature who for some crazy reason is offering them food. But I do know two people who have been bitten by them. I recommend tossing food to them over Hol’s approach.

    Spiders are cool, too, I notice one in the cartoon above and kept noticing them in Are You My Mother?

  27. hairball_of_hope says:

    @jerseyscheap… WTF?!?! Looks like autospambot junk to me.

    (… goes back to wishing her keyboard sported an interrobang …)

  28. Andrew B says:

    Hoh, it is spam. Similar comments have popped up at the ends of a couple of other recent threads. Download an older comment, modify it slightly (and meaninglessly), upload the result. The real payload, I assume, is the link back to their website. Whoever wrote the script was smart enough to ignore posts with very few comments (e.g. the one on the Rich event with only two comments).

  29. hairball_of_hope says:

    Completely off-topic…

    I was randomly cruising through the xkcd comics archive when I stumbled upon Randall’s utterly amazing US Congress poster ( If you thought he was limited to those stick figures with in-jokes only geeks could appreciate, think again. Wow.

    (… goes back to calculating what size paper she’ll need on the engineering plotter at work to print that poster …)

  30. Anonymous says:

    Interrobang = ?

    You can just copy/paste it over, if you like. I grabbed it off the Wikipedia page for interrobang.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Oh, sorry the interrobang didn’t copy over after all. It looked fine in the preview. But, yes, it will work in Word and so forth. I guess the font here won’t support it.

    Many apologies.

    [In short, the software underlying the Comments page tries to “massage” the input and limits the kinds of thing the comment-er can type. Basically you can use “normal” alpha-numerical characters and a select set of HTML “tags” (see some examples below). It sometimes limits the creativity that the writer can use (and, in some cases, you can bypass the limits with a little work) but it is helpful for protecting against malicious attacks.

    So, as in so many cases, the few bad apples ruin it for everyone else. –Mentor ]<>