I asked Bonnie Jo if it was OK for me to share this anecdote, which I can do because she was my master’s thesis advisor 12 years ago and she still answers my text messages. I offered to change her identity, and she said, “Don’t you dare.” She also insisted that I name her mother, Susanna Campbell, and suggested that I give the donkey’s name, which was “either Jack or Don Quixote,” but it didn’t really fit in the panel.
Bonnie Jo was also the person who told me about the sitcom moment of the day, which is her idea that in every day something extraordinarily funny happens, and you just have to look for it to keep your spirits up. Pretty often, the sitcom moment of the day informs my comics. This situation with the author’s mother standing always strikes me as an ultimate example of a sitcom moment. If you’ve never read Bonnie Jo Campbell, I highly recommend her work, which is often about the salt of the earth people of the American midwest, but also about other things, and always fresh and unusual and provocative. In addition to the above link to my interview with her (long story), you can also read my reviews of all 5 of her books, or purchase them from Amazon.
The text for this comic practically wrote itself, except for the last panel, which took an extra day. The images of Bonnie Jo were easy; she’s all over the internet and I think I captured her likeness. I’ve met her mom once or twice, plus I knew how to find a reference picture of her. No idea what her uncle looks like, though. I Googled “redneck reading” to find a source image. Please let that be OK. The donkey might be overly complex; whenever possible, I like to use my own photographs, and I always found that image funny, but it’s so close up that it required a lot more details than the others. The final panel also took me a while; originally it was going to be someone crying, but this is better.
My mom loves me, but she doesn’t understand my work. That’s OK. I’m a niche experience. Not everyone can get into me.