This card is from my stepdaughter’s birthday a couple weeks ago, before the end of the civilization as we know it. It’s fanart from a newish Netflix cartoon called Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts, about a post-apocalyptic Earth where most of humanity lives in underground burrows because the surface is rules by mutant animals. If you are trapped in your own home and enjoy that sort of thing, I highly recommend it.
This started out as a much more ambitious idea in which lion-wizard and lion-scientist were in a lion-workshop/lab with all kind of arcane equipment and books and whatnot, but this is what came out of the paper. The kids loved it. Due to scheduling issues, I wanted something that could play through All Souls’ even though I had to put it up mid-September. The lettering isn’t my greatest because I had a time crunch and had to the entire thing in 1 day. It took about 6 hours, but some of that time was me discussing a commission with someone else in the building.
Wizard lion and scientist lion, learning forever.
May seems to happen so fast, I completely forgot to post this little gem to my blog: Bonnie Jo Campbell Comics: Volume 3 (Women and Other Animals) exists! We distributed some at the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature’s symposium earlier in the month, and then most of them are being held back until WW Norton reprints Women and Other Animals in 2020. However, if you’re a follower of this blog, you can totally order one (or more) direct from me. Just contact me through this blog (email address is on the About page) and we can exchange details. I also have copies of the back issues for sale.
Prices as follows: 1 comic=$4, 2 comics=$7, 3 comics=$10 + $3 postage.
I’m going to post my presentation from the SSML symposium this week, too. It was a really great experience for me. The organizers want my work for an anthology they’re putting together, and, even better, the comics themselves are going to be added to the comic book archive at MSU. It is the academic comic book collection. The definitive scholarly repository with over 300,000 titles. It’s the place to be if your research requires comic books. It’s a good honor.
When you have 2 comics that you started weeks ago and never finished because of reasons, the thing to do, of course, is start a whole new comic. But that just means there are definitely 2 more comics coming. Obviously, I haven’t been drawing any comics lately, and it’s been a while since I drew any of my own, or any without a political agenda: last year was almost entirely Linda Addison, Bonnie Jo Campbell, and my personal fear and loathing regarding the state of the union. So let’s see what it’s like to be a webcomic again.
Obviously, shout out to Archer here. I almost drew Archer or Mallory into the comic. Then I just decided to give the dude Archer’s hair. Then I gave up on that and just tried to get the characters to look like the same character in every panel, at which, I calculate, I was 66.6% successful. Anyway, I assume this guy’s the dad and he’s just gearing up for the day that his children are sufficiently fluent in the English language for him to drive them insane. He’s practicing for the triplets.
Actually, The Man is the ultimate dispenser of dad jokes and I’m pretty sure I’m the target way more often than the kids are. You simply cannot tell this man you’re hungry, thirsty, tired, dirty, damp, whatever you’re feeling or experiencing, unless you want him to introduce himself to you. “I’m starving.” “Nice to meet you Starving, I’m Daddy.”
He is lucky I haven’t stabbed him during a low blood sugar crisis.
Loneliness, or fear of loneliness, is probably the number one reason people make regrettable choices when it comes to marriage. People like Mary Beth figure that out, and accept the loneliness rather than make the same mistake twice. People like Harold double down on their mistakes, try not to think about it, and commit ever more intently to a course of action. Harold knows that he will never leave Trisha, even though she’s a sloppy drunk who’s in love with his best friend, even though there’s a girl who loves him more and is probably better for him waiting at the farm store. He’s made his choice and he won’t hurt Trisha. And then there are the Trishas of the world, marrying in haste, repenting at leisure, and not really having any degree of self-reflection about it.
And Pauline, of course, will probably always be lonely. Why didn’t she say something to Harold before he married Trisha? Fear of rejection, right?
For a while I had trouble pulling visual symbols out of the story; I didn’t want to draw Harold and Pauline kissing in the farm store. The best image is the memory of Harold and Pauline walking home in the blizzard, holding hands and still wearing their skates. Lucky me, I didn’t read the passage correctly the first time and spent quite a while drawing their skates slung over their shoulders. But they wore their skates back to Pauline’s house, where Harold has been living because his dad is not OK, and took them off in the mudroom. Ultimately, the story is called “Winter Life” and all Harold is thinking about is the spring, even though for Pauline the most important moment was the winter. But Harold loves his garden the most, he can’t wait for growing season to begin, and this year he’s going to get a jump on it with cold frames. He’s shopping for ice melt. What happens in winter stays in winter.
Whew! This is my favorite story in the book so I wanted to do it justice. Do you see how lovingly the seeping wound in panel 4 has been illustrated? That little white poof between the women in panel 6 is a cat if you zoom way in.
I ended up cutting out the first 5 pages of the story, which can be summarized as, “Jim is having a particularly frustrating Friday night.” That allowed me to start with what, in my opinion, is the linchpin moment of the story: when Jim sets himself on fire. Because women are confusing and he can’t get one and he’s so sure that having one is like having a direct line to god, which makes his inability to score that much more frustrating and emasculating. It’s ridiculous. And then he sets himself on fire and it all comes out into the open. Everything about it makes you want to laugh and cry at the same time.
The use of water in the story is really nice too, as a counterpoint to fire and as a symbol of healing and compassion. There’s a lot to analyze here, if you want to write an English paper. I just used some of my favorite moments and motifs.
A pretty easy text to comic-ize. The only real issue was deciding which 2 of the 7 list items to combine into 1 to fit the 6-panel format. Math! I guess this story would also be considered experimental, in the sense that it really is a list of possibilities. Some of them offer pros and cons. For some of them, the pros and cons are obvious without being pointed out.
It’s not just relevant to drugs: it’s about anyone who’s ever stayed in a terrible relationship with a terrible person because love causes you to see people as you wish them to be, or as you think they could be, or they way they used to be, rather than who they are right now, and who they are likely to be in the future. It’s easier to keep doing the same thing than it is to change. But Brian’s tolerance is crazy high. The line in the book is, “last week your wife stabbed you in the chest while you were sleeping, that she punches you, too, giving you black eyes that you have to explain to the guys at work.” She stabbed him in the chest! (I presume it was with a steak knife.) But his instinct is still to protect her from the rest of the world, if not from himself.
There’s another story in American Salvage that reminds me of this one, “Bringing Belle Home,” where the guy will still do anything for the girl, even though she’s cruel to him, even though she doesn’t even seem to want him anymore. Love makes you crazy. That’s the only explanation.