change of plans

June 28th, 2011 | Uncategorized

My editor had an intervention with me last week…remember the book I’ve been working on for the past five years? Well, I finally really have to turn it in. By the end of the year. So my editor suggested gently that considering how much work I have left, perhaps going to Chicago for the fall semester was not the best idea, and could I maybe switch my visit to the spring?

Fortunately this seems to be okay with the Chicago people.

I’m working hard, though. Here I am posing as my therapist for a scene I have to draw.


Today June’s fascinating gay bar series on Slate takes an in-depth look at Stonewall. Plus there’s a funny slide show about gay bar names.

62 Responses to “change of plans”

  1. Raffi says:

    Can’t wait for your next book!

  2. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    Why, AB, Chicago is lovely in the spring, simply lovely! Stop reading responses to your blog and put your entrancing nose back on that grindstone. When can we preorder the book about your moiokther from Medusa?

    I know there’s a preview tab on potential responses, but I’m leaving that typo for all to see. Where’s Dr. Freud when you need him?

  3. 'Ff'lo says:

    The therapist’s in Crocs now, I see. You know, that early DTWOF with the therapist & client in matching Birkies cracked me up, and it cracked me up all over again when I found that my therapist now has the same Birkies I do. The relatively less common Granada model. Ha!

  4. Alex K says:

    Every picture that you post I check for baseboards.

  5. Pam I says:

    Uh-huh (nodding). Uh-huh.

  6. Aunt Soozie says:

    Uhm, Can your editor do an intervention with me? Just wondering… seems we all need that sometimes… and some of us more than others…

    [OK Aunt Soozie, shape up. You have readers/fans here to think of.
    –Mentor Ps[eudo]yD]

  7. Aunt Soozie says:

    I didn’t get the porcupine/hedgehog one… is that a common name for a gay bar or am I slow on the uptake today??

  8. Anyone here from Colorado? Contact the Denver Post and beg them not to drop all their best comic strips, including Hilary Price’s Rhymes With Orange, and Doonesbury!

  9. Calico says:

    Alison, if you feel like it, post your request on JF’s blog too-we are always voting/trying to convince these editor people to keep certain comics in various newspapers.

  10. Calico says:

    On a different note, this makes me heartsick and so sad. Maybe they can relocate to
    O Canada…wishing for the best and I pray they can stay together.

  11. Andrew B says:

    Alison, it was going to be one hell of a hectic fall. I’m glad you were able to reschedule. That will be better for both projects.

    One of my very favorite commentaries on therapy is the before/after panels in “Serial Monogamy”.

    One thing I have wondered about your technique, which you remind us of here, is: have you ever looked at Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills? You’ve probably known about Sherman’s images for years; at any rate it might be new to some blog readers. If you’re not familiar with Sherman, take a look. I think the selection of images at that link goes a little heavy on the sexy side of the project. That’s not all there is to it. What you’re doing is not at all the same as what Sherman’s doing, but I think the comparison is interesting.

    There is also a book. I won’t include a link because I don’t want to get stuck in the spam filter, but if you go to Powell’s and search for “Cindy Sherman” in all books, the Untitled Film Stills book should be your top hit.

    Aunt Soozie, 7, look at the caption to the top right of the porcupine photo. I agree, the photo by itself is confusing.

  12. Kate L says:

    Oh, A.B.! 🙁 Just when you thought that you were out of the cartooning industry for a while, they drag you back in! And, I thought that it was tough working for a multi-faceted, multi-national international oil company! You know what would make you feel better right now? One of those delicious crenshaw melons! (Kate L heads off for the Smallville Piggly King Food Giant Emporium….

  13. Anthony says:

    Smallville has a “Piggly King Food Giant Emporium?” I thought they bought their groceries at the Kent General Store or some locally-owned supermarket (per the old Superboy comics)… :-p

    Re: Chicago in the “spring,” depends on when the “spring” semester starts for how nice it’ll be. If it starts in January, AB will be experiencing a Chicago winter (not sure how different from a Vermont winter that is, though…).

  14. rinky says:

    Nice hand pose, you could be a hand model!

  15. Ginjoint says:

    Bullshit, it’s shitty here in the spring! Muddy, slushy, and everything outdoors covered in salt. It doesn’t start to shape up until May, fer chrissakes. And I say that as someone who dearly loves my hometown of Chicago. As Anthony alluded to, though, January through March? Yeah, winter. Nothing you can’t handle, Alison. And I do think it’s a great idea to postpone the fellowship. More room to breathe that way.

    From a previous thread: Feminista, congrats on the remarks from Marge Piercy! I’d FLIP if something like that happened to me! That must’ve felt great.

    Lastly, that’s the exact same pose my therapist does, sans Crocs or notepad. I’ve imitated her as well. To her face. As we tend to wear very similar work drag, the scene was two women in a room, same pose, almost same clothes, staring at each other. But was it art?

  16. Bridget says:

    Alison, Lordy, it’s easier being a fan than a writer! I guess I always knew that, but sitting on the sidelines for a while has made it even more obvious. So I find myself rooting for that naggy(sp?) editor because Deanne knows how happy she’ll make us. Well, maybe she has some other reasons to push you, but I’m certain fan happiness is the #1 regard:)
    Love to you both.

  17. Antoinette says:

    Aunt Soozie, haven’t you ever been to The Stud (named for a pointy thing) in San Francisco? Back in the day, it used to be a fun dance bar.

  18. Kate L says:


    Lavar Burton, host of Reading Rainbow, wants to organize a flash mob to sing the Reading Rainbow song! Reading Rainbow was on the air from 1983 to 2009. Many of you young ones may have known the host simply as “Lavar”.

  19. Acilius says:

    @Anthony and Ginjoint: The U of Chicago’s Spring Quarter for 2012 begins on 26 March and ends on 9 June, so it includes a couple of weeks when Chicago usually has pleasant weather:

  20. My therapist doesn’t really wear crocs.

    And the only reason I keep wearing these hideous blue ones is because they’re so insanely comfortable. I keep shopping for a sedate black pair, but all the new ones I try on have this inert, dead feeling. My blue pair, purchased in 2006, are like magic cushions with every step! I guess the Croc people have downgraded their rubber formula.

  21. Ginjoint says:

    Forgive me Gaia, for I have sinned: I actually have the same color Crocs, Alison.

    And hey?! I just bought a great book (a graphic novel), The Influencing Machine. It’s NPR’s Brooke Gladstone dissecting “the media and its discontents,” according to the back cover. I’ve only just started it, but it includes facets on the history of media, on bias, and how we take in all the media messages around us. Alison has a complimentary blurb on it, and I’m quite enjoying it so far. It’s illustrated by Josh Neufeld, and it actually has a look similar to Fun Home. Gladstone’s writing is smart and witty. If anyone’s looking for something to read.

    Acilius, that means that Alison will enjoy about four weeks of good weather, plus or minus two weeks. It was glorious here today. Friday, though? 100°F (38°C). It’s how we roll.

  22. Ginjoint says:

    One other thing – I noticed the canvases and easel in the photograph. Who’s painting?

  23. spoilsport says:

    I must say I am looking forward to your forthcoming book. I came to the book event at Joseph-Beth in the Cleveland area where Harvey Pekar and his wife showed up.

  24. Kate L says:

    A.B. (#20) Happy feet! Happy feet! 🙂

  25. Acilius says:

    @Ginjoint #21: Of course, a lot depends on just where you are in Chicago. I’ve spent a fair bit of time over the years staying with UChicago-based friends who live in Hyde Park, and several times I walked into the neighborhood feeling miserable about the weather. By the time I reached Blackstone Avenue, precisely the same weather began to seem romantic. A few blocks later, I’d be humming “April in Paris” or “On the Street Where You Live.”

    (Alison, you should insist that the university put you up in Hyde Park!)

  26. Cathy says:

    Thanks for the link to gay bar names. When I was in college, a nearby bar for gay sailors was called “The Oar House.”

    Gay bars and hair salons have had some of the coolest business names I’ve seen.

  27. Feminista says:

    #15 Ginjoint: Gracias!

  28. Kate L says:

    I saved a dog from the blazing summer heat and humidity yesterday. He was all tangled up in a leash his owner had used to tie him up in his front yard. I untangled him, refilled his water bowl, and waited with the dog on the porch until his owner showed up. The guy has a fenced-in backyard… I don’t know why he didn’t just let the dog run free, there.

  29. Cathy says:

    Kate, hurray for helping that dog. Glad you posted this. BTW, I’m friends with an ER vet who told me that whenever anyone sees an animal at risk from the heat, the first thing to do is dump water on the creature’s HEAD–the brain is most in danger and needs to be cooled quickly.

    Once during a 100+ degree day in my D.C. suburb, I saw a gasping pug tied up at a strip mall in a 100% sunny spot on a broiling sidewalk. I ran into a deli, got a small bowl filled with water, and rushed it to the dog. The dog’s owner soon arrived and scolded me for giving the dog water, “which makes it sick.” I didn’t know then to dump water on the dog’s head. I suppose that if had done that, I still would have gotten a scolding. Too bad–I’ll always “err” on the side of rescuing the animal.

  30. Kate L says:

    I drove past the dog’s house over the noon hour today, both driving to my house and driving back to work. The owner’s car was there the first time, and not the second time, and the dog was not tied outside either time. I assume this means that he was inside.

  31. Kate L says:

    This just in… the High Plains may have just joined the 20th century*! A federal judge in the Big City (Kansas City, Kansas) has stayed the closing of abortion clinics in Kansas that could not meet the extensive new regulations that the now very, very conservative government of the State of Kansas issued earlier this week, then gave the clinics 48 hours to comply with. Regulations more extensive than those regulating actual surgical theaters in Kansas. The Secretary of the Kansas Dept. of Health and Environment unsuccesfully argued that, “They (the clinics) do not want to comply with the statute — ever… We could have given them nine months, and their objections would have been identical.” But the State of Kansas did not give them nine months. It gave them 48 hours to comply with new regulations governing such things as the square footage of custodial closets in the clinics.

    * – Yeah, I know the 20th century is over and done with. But when you live in Kansas, you take what you can get!

  32. Kate L says:

    This just in. Kansas governor Sam Brownback apparently has much more important things on his mind than improving the job situation here in the Sunflower State. Check out this article about Governor Bronwback’s marriage initiative* that appeared in Saturday’s Topeka Daily Capitol-Journal.
    * – Straights only need apply.

  33. Ginjoint says:

    Kate, thank you for saving that dog. Thank you.

    And that article. So Brownback has a $13,000 closed-door meeting with all the major shitstains of the Right, trying to drum up ways to “save” marriage. I couldn’t even finish reading it. They are “people” who wish gay folks real harm. Maggie Gallagher is Dolores Umbridge’s evil twin.

    Today is Independence Day in the U.S., so there will be fireworks and flags and yadda yadda yadda. (It’s what we’re good at, like dentistry!)As much as I love my country despite its many, many flaws, I’m just not feelin’ it today. Between that evil bastard DSK getting away with sexual assault because he’s white & rich & powerful, to the analysis of media and history I’m reading about in The Influencing Machine, I’m…fatigued. And that’s exactly what They want me to feel, isn’t it?

  34. Ginjoint says:

    Just as I was making myself feel better by remembering that marriage got passed in New York, comes this. A ten-foot-tall statue of Ronald Reagan has been erected near the American embassy in London! British Foreign Secretary William Hague was at the dedication, and he said: “Ronald Reagan is without question a great American hero; one of America’s finest sons, and a giant of 20th-century history. You may be sure that the people of London will take this statue to their hearts.”

    *clank sound as jaw hits floor*

    Ian, Pam, anyone else in London, I’m counting on you. You know what you have to do. I’m here with bail money. (Um, does the UK do bail?)

  35. Kate L says:

    Ginjoint… Rocko the Dog (his owner told me his name) has not been tied out in the sun since that first day I saw him. I did hear Rocko barking in his house when my dog and I walked by his house yesterday. I called to him, and he quieted down, the way dogs do when they recognize someone.

    And, yes, the Malefactors of Great Wealth (Franklin Roosevelt’s words, not mine or Feminista’s!)want to wear us out, so we don’t disturb their lifestyles. But we must comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable, in Mencken’s words!

  36. Pam I says:

    @ Ginjoint. We are feeding the pigeons in Grosvenor Square. They have the correct response.

  37. Kate L says:

    Ginjoint, Pam I… don’t worry! The ten-foot-tall Ronald Reagan has been apprehended! Londoners can rest easy, once more!The fifty-foot-tall Rupert Murdoch is still at large, however… 🙁

  38. Monkee says:

    Here’s a link to Sara Drake’s and Anne Elizabeth Moore’s cartoon “In Comics World, Women Are Invisible – Except When They’re Naked” on Truth Out. It of course has a reference to AB in it.

  39. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Ginjoint (#35)

    It seems the Reagan hagiographic movement is active in multiple venues on the other side of the pond.

    Perhaps Alex K can feed the pigeons in Budapest during one of the good doctor’s treks into Hungary for szalonna.

    I am reminded of Pablo Picasso’s entreaties to visitors (presumably male) to his studio to urinate on his bronze sculptures, saying it was good for the patina. Perhaps we can establish a movement to improve the patina of the Reagan bronzes – Piss On Ron.

    (… goes back to wondering where the line between politics ends, and culthood begins …)

  40. Mrs. Tarquin Biscuitbarrel says:

    Alison, you have both relieved my mind and given me a solid jolt of anticipation… Another book of yours, sooner rather than later! Huzzah!

    Just think how much more you will ENJOY being a Chicago fellow without a deadline hanging over your head. All right, that was a TO-tally self-serving remark… but it comes from someone who owns every book you’ve published, including some in translation. Cheers cheers…

  41. Ginjoint says:

    So Ronald Reagan gets statues, Strauss-Kahn gets away with sexual assault, and the women who wrote the comic in Monkee’s link get to read amazingly offensive comments directed towards them. Beautiful. Just effen beautiful.

    P.S. Thanks, Pam!

  42. Kate L says:

    I went to the annual meeting of the local human rights group that fought for the short-lived inclusion of LGBT in the city human rights ordinance. The question was, where do we go from here? I mentioned that, often in the aftermath of a rejection of some advance for LGBT people, unstable individuals see it as permission to commit hateful acts against the LGBT community. I said that we ought to stand ready to speak out about such acts before the Smallville city commission, even if they don’t want to hear about it. I thought this was something for the future, but I was shocked to hear that three hateful incidents against the LGBT community have already happened in Smallville, since the new city commission repealed the addition of LGBT to the human rights ordinance. In the latest, a lesbian who was the victim of an assault because she was lesbian is now in trouble because she fought her attackers. Can you say, “Blame the victim?”. 🙁

  43. Acilius says:

    @Ginjoint 42: It’s a pretty gruesome collection of news, that’s for sure. Then again, it is still possible that Strauss will face prosecution in France for assaults he may have committed against women there. If a man in his position had been accused as he has been as recently as 20 years ago, I very much doubt that the criminal justice systems in the USA and France would have done nearly as much as they have been doing to investigate him. Even though there is still a huge amount of work for feminism to do in both countries, it’s important to remember that the work feminists have already done has not been in vain.

  44. Andrew B says:

    Ginjoint, 42, you’re braver than I am to have read those comments at all. There are certain blog posts where I decide in advance I’m not looking at the comments, and that was one of them. You’re right about the news lately. If you want to get really depressed, try following the economic news.

    And yet, Acilius, 44, has a point. One of my favorite Katha Pollitt zingers came from her comments on the William Kennedy Smith trial, about twenty years ago. Paraphrasing, she said that whenever a wealthy, famous man is accused of rape, the press is careful to consider both sides: the side that says the victim asked for it, and the side that says she just made the whole thing up. (It stuck with me because it’s such an excellent comment on the whole concept of “balance” as it’s applied in contemporary reporting.) That the DSK case was not initially reported this way is a positive development, however limited.

    Pam I, is there an address where I could send donations of bird seed?

  45. Kate L says:

    Calling all embattled DTWOF bloggers, women cartoonists everywhere, and the embattled LGBT community of greater Smallville, itself! Aussie Alex Cherney comes to our rescue with footage set to music of the night sky as seen from Australia’s south coast! Most obvious in the video is the disk of our galaxy, the Milky Way, with its hundreds of billions of stars seen edge-on to the galaxy’s disk. I also noticed two bright objects to the right of the Milky Way that must be the Magellanic Clouds, small, “dwarf” galaxies never seen from the northern hemisphere because they are far south of our horizon. And, I think at 1 minute, 9 seconds we see Alpha Centauri, the closest star next to our own Sun, close to the right side of the Milky Way disk!

  46. Kate L says:

    The above link works here:

  47. Kate L says:

    …and, from Russia, an even more profound video can be found at . It has all the characteristics of high drama!

  48. Dr. Empirical says:

    “Of the last 30 titles from the 12 biggest comics publishers in North America, there were approximately 1649 identifiably male main characters with no identifiably female main charcters.”

    This is utter bullshit.

    I’m not disputing the ideaz that there are more male than female characters, or even that the female characters are more likely to be depicted naked than the males, but the quote above is such a blatant fabrication that it undercuts any other point she attempts to make.

  49. Andrew B says:

    Dr E, it would be helpful to some of us if you could cite some specific examples. I am primarily a dtwof fan who also is familiar with the the basic highbrow comics (Maus, Persepolis). I haven’t looked at the mainstream superhero comics since I was a kid, and I don’t even really know much about the Hernandez brothers and others who would be well-known to a serious comics fan. For me it’s your word against Drake and Moore’s. I’m inclined to believe you because I’ve interacted with you here, but it would help if you could cite some examples.

    The point applies in the other direction, too. It would have been very helpful if Drake and Moore had told us what their actual data set was, since they claimed to have specific numbers.

  50. Dr. Empirical says:

    Well first of all, the phrase “12 biggest comics publishers” is highly suspect, because there simply AREN’T 12 publishers that could conceivably be described as “big”. If one were to count the “last 30 titles” of comics published, all, or nearly all, would have been published by the top two, DC and Marvel. All of the language is quite vague, and is contradicted in the same panel by the contention that 40% of main characters are female. So, according to Ms. Moore, zero out of 1649 equals 40%.

    I’m sorry, but if she’s too stupid to do basic math, why the Hell shoud I believe anything else she says?

    Off the top of my head, DC is currently publishing several comics in which women are the lead characters, including Birds of Prey and Gothem City Sirens, which are favorites of mine. The team books, including Justice League of America (of which I believe Black Canary (female) is currently the leader), Secret Six (which currently appears to have 9 members, of whom three are strong, confident women), and of course Legion of Super Heroes, all have a strong female membership. The Legion in particular has had boys telling the girls to stay home because the mission was too dangerous, and the girls telling the boys to fuck off, since the early sixties.

    Currently I believe Wonder Woman, Batwoman (a lesbian, btw), Zatanna and Madame Xanadu all have their own monthly books, and the Barbara Gordon Batgirl will be getting her own book this fall.

    That’s just off the top of my head. I’m sure Marvel could boast similar stats if I were to bother looking them up. Moreover, that’s just superheroes. If one were to consider other genres, including Japanese Manga titles and, of course, the Archie line, female main characters become even more prevalent.

    Ms. Moore states that there are NO female main characters. Ms. Moore clearly hasn’t bothered to look.

    Again, there is no question that there are more male than female characters in superhero comics, and female characters, expecially minor ones, are more likely to be depicted nude. An embarrassing number of female characters (Batgirl, Supergirl, Hawk Girl) are simple spin-offs of male characters, although others that may appear to be so, like Spider-Woman, are really similarly-named characters who are unique in their own right.

    Still, if Ms. Moore feels she has to lie to support her argument, it can’t be much of an argument.

  51. Dr. Empirical says:

    I should also say that I’m not trying to make a personal attack on Ms. Moore. I’m simply holding her to the same standards to which I hold Bill O’Reilly.

  52. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Dr. E

    I’m with you on the bogus math ruining the credibility of Drake & Moore’s argument. You know what they say… 92.87% of all statistics are made up on the spot. And it seems that the more precise the number, the more likely it is to be believed.

    How did I miss that Batwoman is a lesbian? I still think Eartha Kitt as Catwoman was HOT. Yeah yeah, I’m showing my age, I know. KERPOW!

    (… goes back to her Batcave in Gotham …)

  53. Acilius says:

    Shame about Drake & Moore. My view is that if you want to point out that men are overrepresented in the comics, you should take this person’s lead and keep it simple:

  54. Ginjoint says:

    Dr. E, I have to admit, I tripped up over that panel as well – to the extent that I wondered if it was a typo (in a hand-drawn comic?). If that’s the case (it was a mistake), then it doesn’t say much about Drake and Moore’s copyediting skills. I should’ve brought up that panel instead of as well as complaining about the crappiness of some of the comments.

  55. Dr. Empirical says:

    The lesbian Batwoman was big news when she was introduced a few years ago, Hairball. There was a lot of juvenile sniggering at the time, but that seems to have died away. In contrast, Lightning Lass and Shrinking Violet of the Legion of Super Heroes have been lovers for years without anyone raising a fuss.

    A development that’s currently in the news is that DC Comics is rebooting their Universe this fall. That means, basically, that they’ll no longer have to live with the consequences of bad editorial decisions. Sadly, it also wipes away some good decisions.

    Barbara Gordon was introduced as Batgirl in the late sixties to coincide with the TV series. She was actually the second Batgirl in a line of about half a dozen. (There have also been at least two female Robins, but I digress.)

    She was never a very interesting character, and efforts to make her more so (e.g., having her run for congress) never succeeded. In the late eighties, writer Alan Moore had the Joker put a bullet through her spine, putting her in a wheelchair and ending her career.

    Later, John Ostrander took the character, re-invented her as a master computer hacker, and she became the information broker and superhero dispatcher known as Oracle. Still wheelchair-bound, Oracle is a more unique and interesting character than Batgirl ever was.

    Sadly, with the reboot, the Joker incident will have never happened, and Gordon will become Batgirl again. I consider this a very bad decision.

    Okay, geek mode off.

  56. Kate L says:

    Gosh, I can remember trying to buy a comic book at a bodega in Arlington, Virginia, at age 10 back in ’66 (yes, 1966), and being criticized by the store owner because I was still reading comics! If only I had known that I was not alone! And, if only I had kept those comics… including the the original X-men comic (no Wolverine… he was a later addition).

  57. Dr. Empirical says:

    Careful, Kate! Walking into a comics store and saying “If only I had kept those comics…” will get you pelted with action figures, or worse.

  58. Andrew B says:

    “DC Comics is rebooting their Universe this fall.”

    I wish I could do that.

  59. Renee S. says:

    Hi everybody. Have missed all of you. And glad to see my friend fflo here.

  60. Patrick M. says:

    I can’t wait for your next book!

  61. Leonora says:

    Yay! Can’t wait to read it! Good luck with the deadline.