Archive for December, 2006

sketch diary, Sat. 12/16

December 17th, 2006

Actually, before I did the Friday cartoon posted below, I did another one based on something that happened to me today.

But before I show you that, let me just say that the main rule of the sketch diary is that I can’t spend much time on it. I can’t do any photo references, or look anything up at all. I can only draw stuff that comes right out of my head. Well, I can do one quick pencil sketch. But that’s it.

So I went out for a hike this afternoon after putting up the Gentle Reader post, and it was while I was hiking that I got the idea for this little story. And then later on during the hike I got the barbershop idea.

I don’t know if I’ll keep this up. I might not. But it was really fun to do these little stories. (NOTE: I’m having some trouble getting the art to display properly. It might take a while to get that figured out. Sorry. ) Read the rest of this entry »

sketch diary, Friday Dec. 15

December 17th, 2006

barber closeup

No sooner did I post that guilt-ridden message about blowing off my strips this month than I was seized with a new idea. I could post other kinds of cartoons here, like a sketch diary, until I’m back on track with strip.

I think I was inspired by Roz Chast’s new book, which a very kind reader of this blog just sent me. I was looking at it last night and envying her free ‘n’ EZ drawing style and wide-ranging subject matter. Well, it was a combo of Chast’s influence and James Kochalka’s. I’m also envious of his simple, haiku-like American Elf sketchbook diary.

I just thought it might be fun to try something like that, and it would make up for slacking off in the DTWOF department. I know, I know, everyone’s been making these very kind posts about how Read the rest of this entry »

Gentle reader…

December 16th, 2006

before and after

Here I am Thursday, facing my staggering workload. And here I am today, after having decided to send out re-runs of my comic strip this month.

It’s the third deadline I’ve missed this year. I feel pretty bad about it for many reasons.

1.) I only feel like I deserve to live if I’m actively producing work.
2.) Remember that episode of the Mary Tyler Moore Show where we learned that Ted had never taken a vacation? He was terrified he’d get fired once the network saw how smoothly things went without him.
3.) You guys just chipped in all those donations to the website, and now I’m stiffing you two episodes.

But Wednesday evening I received an email from a reader entitled “your sabbatical.” I opened it in a panic, assuming it was someone telling me the strip had been getting stale so I should give it a rest. This person was, in fact, telling me to give it a rest, but she didn’t mention anything about staleness, just suggested that a little time off might be rejuvenating. I think my haggard Family Zone photographs alarmed her.

So I mulled over her message for a day or so, and decided she was right. I’m well and truly fried to a crisp. I have a billion things to do. They’ve just been piling up all year while I’ve been flying hither and yon promoting Fun Home. Already I’ve had time to get a much-needed haircut. And a Christmas tree. And to install SpamSieve, which has caught 80 of those @#&*$ penny stock emails in the past 24 hours. Even without the spam, my email inbox is utterly out of control.

Plus I just found out I’ve been invited to the Angoulême International Comics Festival in January. This is great, a really huge honor. But it means another big intercontinental schlep that I hadn’t accounted for in my schedule. Lewis Trondheim is winning the Grand Prix this year. Here’s what his Lambiek page says:

Lewis Trondheim is one of the most prolific authors of his generation, and has published more than thirty-five books in a period of ten years.

Fuck. Maybe I better crank out those strips after all.

more Fun Home news

December 12th, 2006


Okay, I’m feeling a little perkier after finding out that Fun Home just got two really nice end-of-year mentions. One in NY Magazine–I’m on their top 10 books of 2006 list. My name occurs in the same sentence as Alice Munro’s! Really! Look. “Alice Munro came up with a new kind of memoir, and so did Alison Bechdel.”

And Salon called it one of the best debuts of 2006.

Not too shabby.

DTWOF episode 501

December 12th, 2006

I’m nearing the end of my family visit.

fish eye

Here’s the next DTWOF episode. I made this a couple weeks ago. I was supposed to write the next

Read the rest of this entry »

my own private pennsylvania

December 9th, 2006

victorian mom

Here’s my mom, in Victorian drag, as she puts it, for her stint at the Library and Historical Museum. She thinks she looks mean in this photo, but gave me permission to post it anyway. She’s keeping me pretty busy. I had to take her to church last night. It was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, for godsakes. Now I have to take her again in half an hour for Saturday evening mass so we don’t have to go in the morning so we can go to my brother’s house and see my nieces and nephews.

Here’s my latest PhotoBooth portrait, entitled “family zoned.”

family zoned

a hat and a review

December 8th, 2006

I’m still hanging out at my mom’s. We just went up in the attic to retrieve a hat from her collection. She’ll wear it tomorrow when she greets people at the County Library and Historical Museum as part of the town’s Victorian Christmas shindig. She wouldn’t let me take a picture of her until she has her whole costume on. I’ll do that tomorrow, but for now here’s a preview with me in the hat. Read the rest of this entry »

The past recaptured. Then disposed of.

December 6th, 2006

asbestos mask

I’m still at my mom’s. Tomorrow she’s getting a new hot water heater installed, so this afternoon I thought I’d just go down to the basement and clear a path for the plumber. Here I am three hours later. Everyone in my family collects or has collected things. Between my mom’s costumes and hats, my brother’s cars and planes and trains, and stray antiques left over from my dad–plus twenty years of entropy–it was pretty rough sledding. I hardly made a dent.

But look at this. I unearthed this intact jar of pens and pencils from circa 1984. My mom apparently just packed it up and stuck it in a box when she sold our old house. I remember the jar as clearly as I remember my own hand. I even remember each marker in it. Some are from a cool set of Marvy Markers I got when I was eleven. Others my dad stole from the high school where he taught. There’s also a pair of children’s scissors, and one of the red marking pencils that both my parents used to grade papers.


I kept the stoneware jar and the red pencil and tossed everything else.

Bryn Mawr College

December 5th, 2006

The panel at Bryn Mawr was really fun. God, that was 5 days ago already. I’ve lost track of time because I’m visiting my mom in Pennsylvania for a while. I’ve fallen into that strange dimension of reality known as the Family Zone, where time passes erratically. If at all.

family zone

(Don’t worry. Soon I will tire of the PhotoBooth feature on my new computer.) Read the rest of this entry »