Tag Archives: fairy tales

Dreams of Sushi

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It’s just a matter of motivation. It’s hard to made decisions on an empty stomach.

A fish dinner is a fish dinner, but if you start messing around with wishes, you might end up with nothing, which is less than a fish dinner. When I was a little kid I made wishes all the time: on the evening star, on dandelions, on birthday candles. Not on coins thrown in fountains, though. My mother did not condone the throwing of currency into pools, or anywhere else. But I noticed a trend, which is that my wishes pretty much never came true. I’ve had the same wish for decades and even with concerted effort, I can’t make it come true. Maybe in another 20 years I’ll make some progress.

Although I feel like I failed to complete any of the things I set out to accomplish today, I did draw a comic. And I guess I did some other, possibly meaningful things that were not on my list.

If I had wishes, I probably wouldn’t use them on personal things that I really want. In the long run, I think we’d all be better off wishing for peace, for people to be less greedy and more empathetic, for equality and liberty and justice and safety.

Charming

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It’s a family name. 

Please understand that this comic in no way reflects my relationship. The Man would never a) keep a pair of socks with holes in them, b) wear tighty whities/a tank top, or c) own a La-Z-Boy. He would also not miss his mouth if I made him nachos. He is too fond of nachos to treat them with such disrespect. Also, I don’t think I could get him to wear a crown no matter how many beers I got him. Well, maybe, but it would have to be a lot of beers. Anyway, he never claimed to be a prince.

I should have given the prince a 5 o’clock shadow. You get the picture.

Today I applied for a job, one that pays money. Got a callback right away because–yo! I gots mad writing skillz. At least where those skillz pertain to the writing of cover letters. Also, I have 20 years of experience. But I still have to take a test. Between that and making a new bulletin board for the elementary kiddies (the old one blew away and the librarian replaced it with a sign that read “This sign is out of order. Please do not read this sign.Oh, no, now you’ve done it. You should stop reading this! Why are you still reading this broken sign? Now you must go back to the top and start over”) and trying to finish 2 books and write articles about them, and of course, draw a comic and maybe work on a novel, Dragon will be a busy Dragon tomorrow.

Now Dragon is a migraine-y Dragon. No more screens.

The Hermit and the Coyote, a Cell Phone Case, and Marketing

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Keep your phone warm and fuzzy.

Some people fail. Some people fail spectacularly. Kaija failed mythically, and now she’s trapped in the part of the fairy tale when the monster appears.

When Kaija couldn’t find contentment in the human world, she checked out, turned in the key, and went off the grid. For fifteen years, she’s lived between worlds, hiding in the desert, holding herself apart from nature just as she has from civilization, but when disaster strikes, she finds that no woman is an island. She is dragged, kicking and screaming, to the realization that no woman is an island.

The Hermit is a novel for adults who still love fairy tales, people searching for transformation and magic, readers open to contemporary fantasies with elements of horror and romance, grown-ups who still wish they could talk to the animals.

Not that Kaija wants to talk to the animals–she’s a hermit, after all, and hermits don’t want to talk to anyone–but she can’t make them stop talking her. She can’t force them to quit sharing their fears about the legendary monster stalking the Sonoran Desert. She can’t run away anymore; she’s run as far as anyone can go. If she wants to maintain her sliver of solitude, she’ll have to shrug off the hermit’s mantle, gather allies from both worlds, and go on the offensive to defeat the true monster.

The paperback version of The Hermit will be available this Thanksgiving, but if you want to read it now, it’s already available in the Kindle store ($4.99 for 426 pages of delicious mythopoetic rampage) for your reading pleasure.

If you just love the cover, you can purchase the image of Kaija and her coyote companion on this cell phone case (and pretty much anything else on which you can emblazon images) in my RedBubble shop.

Confidential to all the people who, according to my stats page, woke up this morning, visited QvD in search of a new comic, and got nothing at all: better 15 hours late without a comic than no update, right? If people love my comics as much as they say they do, I hope they’ll consider laying out $4.99 for my book. It’s like reading my comics, but you create the pictures with your brain, so they’re much better drawn, and the word part lasts a lot longer.

 

 

Communication

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Pretty sure that would be a hard limit for me. I don’t care how big your paws are.

The couple in a the marital counseling office is a pretty common comic theme. I wouldn’t call it cliche, because there are so many places you can go with it, but it is a trope, because two people who ostensibly love each other but still fail to communicate at the most basic level is such a common occurrence in real life that it’s natural comedy fodder. I was thinking about comedy fodder because tonight The Man and I attended a live improv performance, which I’m pretty sure I’ve never done, even though I’ve seen a million standup comedians in a wide array of venues. To my eyes, it appears pretty universal that one half of a couple will state their ideas or feelings or desires and the other half of the couple will interpret that in a way wholly unlike what was intended.

I was also thinking about fairy tales, because I’m always thinking about fairy tales, and I wanted to do Little Red Riding Hood, even though every single one of my fairy tale comics bombed. They were funny to me. The one-panel comics are actually the hardest for me. My inclination is to pile words upon words. So I deliberately kept this one simple, and then spent an inordinate amount of time trying to shade things, which I never do, because it takes forever and always looks terrible. This time it only took sort of long and only looks kind of bad, so that’s an improvement. Usually I erase the entire layer. The nightgown and the pillow came out OK.

My favorite version of Little Red Riding Hood, is the very, very old one where the wolf kills grandma, and forced Red to eat her meat and drink her blood, which is arguably, more twisted than what’s going on here. But I also like the sexual aspect of the story about a girl who goes into the woods and comes out, if she makes it out, a woman.

Actually, I think the real theme of this comic was inspired ny something I wrote yesterday in a comments forum. Someone wrote a letter to Dear Abby  a couple days back, about her mother wandering around her house at night, putting her ear to the married adult daughter’s door. The daughter had stopped sleeping with her husband because she was terrified of her mother hearing their conjugal relations taking place, but she hadn’t told her husband that was why she was shutting him down. A lot of commenters didn’t really understand that course of action, myself included. I wrote that if I thought my mother was deliberately listening at my door to catch my husband and me in action, I would make more noise. “Oh,” someone commented, “to show her how great it is?”

And I said, no, it was to be respectful, because if someone if straining to hear you, the polite thing to do is to speak louder.

Of course, in this comic, we don’t know that Grandma’s participation is consensual. Fortunately, it’s only a comic, and no fairy tale characters were traumatized in the making of it.

 

1000 Times More Fair

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So the good news is that she’s not really dead. The bad news is that she has to spend the rest of her life with a pedophile necrophiliac. 

Given the continuing unpopularity of these fairy tale comics, it was definitely imperative to write a third. Basically, I could go on for a while, because when you look at this kind of story through a modern, scrutinizing lens, ignoring the magic, they’re all subject to ridicule, and there are 250 of them in Jack Zipes’s Grimm translation alone.

According to Zipes, when the prince sees the beautiful dead girl he said, “Let me have the coffin, and I’ll pay you whatever you want.” The dwarves reply, “We won’t give it up for all the gold in the world,” and the prince answers, “Then give it to me as a gift.”

Of course, the dwarves are already complicity in the objectification of the dead girl, having interred her “in a transparent glass coffin so that she could be seen from all sides.” All the better to transform you into the object of the male gaze, my dear.

The illustration in the Zipes edition goes one better, omitting the glass entirely, showing the dwarves laying flowers on her midriff and kissing her hand, while forest animals weep.

Creepy. But it all works out for her in the end. I guess. Except for the part where the prince likes to play that game where she lies very, very still and doesn’t respond to anything. Happily ever after. The End.

The Great Brush Off

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Yes, is this Locks of Love? I was wondering if it would be possible to schedule a pickup. No, actually, the postal charges would be kind of astronomical. 

Given the utter failure of my last fairy-tale based comic, which was reviled and downvoted across a wide variety of Internet platforms, I naturally decided to do another fairy tale based comic, this time omitting any references to cannibalism, my stepchildren, or the putative desire to combine the two.

Just to set the record straight: I don’t eat children. I was a vegetarian for half my life. I’ve never even eaten veal, or suckling pig.

Oh, OK, lamb, yeah.

Anyway, my interest in Rapunzel is of 2 parts. Part the first is the historical derivation and evolution of the story. Most of us know a tale in which a girl is held prisoner by a witch, who punishes her when she inadvertently lets slip that she has a boyfriend. The Grimms cleaned it up a bit for their middle-class, proto-bourgeois audience. The version they originally collected was about a fairy who finds out her young charge has strayed only once the kid is so super-pregnant that her clothes don’t fit anymore.

Part the second is my obsession with long hair. According to my Internet research, being obsessed with hair can be referred to as chaetomania. If you’re sexually obsessed with it, it’s usually called trichophilia. But I just like having it on my head, and I like it on other people’s heads too.

Truth be told, I haven’t even had a trim since autumn of 2011. Of course, Rapunzel should call Locks of Love or Wigs for Kids and have her discarded crowning glory reworked to crown a child with none. (I’ve heard some rumors about Locks of Love not being on the up and up, but according to Snopes it’s either a malicious lie or a lack of understanding about how charities work or how human hair wigs are made.)

What I like about this comic, aside from the puns and the hair, are the ways that Rapunzel’s oppression is bound up in her hair, which is what a lot of modern reworkings of the story conclude. By severing her own bonds, Rapunzel liberates herself, removing the prince and the witch from the equation. There are quite a few stories set in the 1920s in which this is a theme. Cut your hair and fuck the patriarchy!

That said, I’m not cutting my hair. The patriarchy can go fuck itself.

The calligraphy in the last panel isn’t 100% to my liking, and I was going to redo it, but the Fox said he liked it and I have a headache, so I guess I’ll let it stay.

 

Comics! Part 2

Early 2010, around the time my husband and I first moved in together and I had just started the mandala project. Some of the gold plate/lettering has turned green because my gold Crayola was VERY old and some of the old Crayola metallics used actual copper to get the metallic hue. So, literally, this drawing has begun to tarnish.

Early 2010, around the time my husband and I first moved in together and I had just started the mandala project. Some of the gold plate/lettering has turned green because my gold Crayola was VERY old and some of the old Crayola metallics used actual copper to get the metallic hue. So, literally, this drawing has begun to tarnish.

My natural style, I guess, is a bit cartoony. My people never look like real people, my subject matter runs toward the fantastic, and I tend to add a lot of words. I wish that my work looked serious, but this is what I have. The artist Phil Foglio (whose work I didn’t appreciate when I first saw it in conjunction with Robert Aspirin in the 80s, but later enjoyed on Magic: The Gathering cards, and now, naturally, adore on Girl Genius) is famously quoted as saying that his art career originally stalled because publishers found his work “too cartoony” (except for cartoon publishers, who told him he wasn’t cartoony enough) after which he and his wife won so many Hugos that they had to refuse the nomination to give someone else a shot at the award.

Absent-minded sketching during the world's slowest Scrabble games. Jack and Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, a random chick on a dragon, and proof that I usually win at Scrabble.

Absent-minded sketching during the world’s slowest Scrabble games. Jack and Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, a random chick on a dragon, and proof that I usually win at Scrabble. Rapunzel is wistfully dreaming of a prince, which suggests to me that I was probably single when I drew this. I’m guessing 2007 or early 2008.

Even when I wasn’t doing a lot of art, I was always doodling in margins. This kind of work is less polished, but sometimes it seems to have more life to it than some of the stuff I worked at.

Another little piece of fantasy from the edge of a Scrabble scoring sheet.

Another little piece of fantasy from the edge of a Scrabble scoring sheet. I won that game, too.

It’s almost a nervous habit; if there’s a pen in my hand, I want to use it. I think this is actually some of what Bantock was getting at in The Trickster’s Hat. If you can draw like this, without any attachment to the outcome, but a unshakeable attachment to the process, then you can keep yourself from getting hung up on whether or not it’s good enough and just make art all the time.

I’ve dated a lot of engineers. The mechanical bit in the center here is something that a guy I dated was working on. When he finished, I added me as an angel and him as a devil to the design. Just draw on everything is my point here.