Tag Archives: fire

A Cozy Pretend Fire

I was asked to create a cardboard “fireplace” for an event that will involve children drinking hot chocolate before school. While it usually isn’t cool enough for daytime fires in Arizona, lately it kind of has been, but I guess you can’t have a real fire at an elementary school, so they still will have to sit around the pretend fire.

This piece took a little extra time because it had to fold flat, meaning that I couldn’t just wrap the whole thing up, but had to keep each panel separate. There’s one piece of tape on the back and the whole thing collapses if it’s removed. The fire itself comes out: the grate isn’t attached to anything, and the flames and the wood are stuck into grooves cut into the grate and can also be removed.

Currently, the cozy pretend fire is sitting in the front office next to an artificial Christmas tree. Maybe I should make a pretend Hanukkiah to go along with it. There probably aren’t that many Jewish kids at this school—guessing we have more indigenous kids than Jewish kids—but not everyone is cool with Christmas stuff. I never do overtly religious designs, although I’ve done culturally relevant adjacent imagery, like luminarias.

Welcome Back 2021-22, a Phoenix

We’re all constantly rebirthing ourselves from the flames of our own destruction

Obviously this would have looked waaaaay better with a black background, but for some reason they’re not stocking that color anymore. Only gray. Gray. For an elementary school. I feel compelled to use it up so we can rectify the issue.

This should have been posted a month ago but I spaced it and now it’s about time to start the Halloween one. With no black paper. Wonder how that will turn out. There’s still construction paper, just not big butcher paper for the background.

The Perfect Lawn

waoa 8 the perfect lawn_edited-1

Hope springs eternal, especially when you’re optimistic and delusional.

This kid is great, so thoroughly convinced of ideas that are so patently false, so willing to act on those beliefs. He sees the couch in the basement catch fire, and his instinct is to run to the bedroom on the first floor and carry a girl out of the house. And this is after she warned him to stop following her. She refuses to eat in her own house if he’s there, and he still thinks that she’s going to marry him if he just keeps kissing up to her mom.

And the girl: all she can think about it getting away from him, from her mom, from that house, from that town. She’s destined for urbane sophistication, she just knows she is, and all of this is beneath her. Otherwise, she’d be more worried about this crazy, obsessive kid.

The mom is special. I considered drawing her and Kevin making out in Madeline’s bed (omg yes) for the last panel, but the smoldering cigarette is such a big image in this story and I wanted to give it more air time.

If you can, you have to zoom in on the first panel. I drove myself crazy trying to draw the house, the kids, the mom, and the girl all in one panel and it looks tremendous up close, but it’s perhaps a bit jumbled when you shrink it down.

The Burn

american salvage 6 burn_edited-1

It’s a true comedy of errors, but he really shouldn’t have run that red light. Never a good idea.

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.

Morning in America, 2017 (part 2)


According to my interpretation of the data, the impact of house fires is both small as well as beneficial. For example, we could be roasting marshmallows over there right now.

To get the wording of this comic just right, I Googled “climate change deniers” and found the wiki, which is chock full of mind-bogglingly specious reasoning and really has to be read to be believed. What is clear is that, for some years now, certain factions have achieved leverage in their fight against reality by accusing their opponents of doing the things they themselves are doing. For example: stating that the 97% of scientists who have studied the phenomenon are lying for their own personal profit (clearly bunkum: anyone who knows a decent sample size of scientists knows that scientists very rarely profit off of anything) when in reality, the people behind climate change denial (ahem…the fossil fuel industry) personally profit from squashing good science.

When I was a little girl, in the early ’80s, I remember reading about anthropocentric climate change for the first time. “Hmm,” thought little Dragon, “this looks like something that requires more data.” By the ’90s, data trends indicated, to me, a reasonably skeptical person, that there was something going on with greenhouse gases and the environment. By the ’00s, there existed enough information that no rational human being could dismiss the danger. But, instead of shrugging and turning away from a small percentage of irrational ostriches behaving in a dangerously self-centered, ignorant, and short-sighted fashion, we gave them a seat at table and an equal voice in a discussion that had been settled to the satisfaction of everyone who bothered applying rationality and logic to the question years earlier.

Guess what? Just because they let you talk on TV does not mean your argument possesses validity.

Admittedly, there’s a little Fox Mulder to me. I want to believe. I’d love to believe that there are aliens, fairies, and beautiful golden carp that grant wishes to those who pull them from the water but spare their lives. It would be wonderful to live in that world. I’d love to believe that, in the next 20 years, we won’t see the continued melting of the ice caps, the continued rising of the ocean, the continued trend in extreme weather, or the continued dying off of countless species (including large numbers of our own species dead as a result of climate based disaster).

I want to believe that so bad. But there’s. No. Evidence.

The house is on fire. Whether or not you believe fire exists, whether or not you believe the fire was started by bad wiring or an anomalous lightning strike or spontaneous combustion, whether or not you think there’s any point to fighting the fire, the fire will still burn.

This comic should probably link to my other comic about climate change denial and my other comic that uses a house on fire as a metaphor for people being married to their irrational beliefs.

Obstinence Only Education

It's my religious right to allow my toddler to set herself on fire and she'll live with the consequences.

It’s my religious right to allow my toddler to set herself on fire and she’ll live with the consequences.

Giving advice is one of those things. I’m not sure, exactly, why people come to me for counsel, but I definitely like telling people what to do, and usually they find my words enlightening. So…sometimes I like to seek out and answer strangers’ questions on the Internet.

Every time I find myself on some site where people are asking for advice, I end up giving desperate teenagers straight talk sex education, because kids in this country seem woefully uninformed about birth control, pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, not to mention their basic sexual rights as human beings. It’s surprising how ignorant some of these kids are. They definitely shouldn’t be having sex at all, but since they’re going to do it anyway, it behooves them to go at it armed with all the information they need to do it safely.

Why are they so woefully ignorant?

Abstinence only education is an oxymoron. The vast majority of Americans will have premarital sex. Most of them will do so for the first time before they’re 21. Half of them will do so by the time they’re 17. Some of them are younger. The ones who’ve learned to protect their bodies and respect themselves will learn and grow and stay safe throughout their experiences. The ones who have been taught nothing will end up like this. Or this. Or this. Because one of the most harmful things you can do to a child’s psyche is alienate that child from their body.

People like to have sex because, if you do it right, sex is awesome. But to do it right, you need to start with the right knowledge, and that information takes years to acquire. Toddlers need honest information about their bodies, and so do grade school kids, and so do teenagers. It’s a long conversation. If you think that you are somehow protecting your family by not having it, try checking those 3 links in the last paragraph again.

People who receive abstinence only education are much more likely to experience unplanned pregnancies and contract STIs. The only proven way to reduce the incidence of abortion in any community is to ensure that everyone receives comprehensive sex ed and access to affordable birth control.

Or, conversely, you could hide your head under a false pretext and pretend not to notice when things start catching fire.

Disaster Movie Sequels

Clearly, the way to prevent all these explosions is with even *bigger* explosions.

Clearly, the way to prevent all these explosions is with even *bigger* explosions.

According to Aristotle, of the six components of a tragedy, spectacle is the least important. The most important is plot, followed by character.

In the typical big budget, special-effects heavy blockbuster action adventure disaster film, plot is irrelevant, characterization is perfunctory, and the only feature that matters is the spectacle. Much like a circus, but with death. Escalating quantities of increasingly gruesome death. Explosions, monsters, blood, that’s what people pay to see. They don’t care if it makes sense: sound and fury, signifying nothing.

That is to say, the kids talked me into seeing Jurassic World and it gave me a headache. Not since Pacific Rim have I so fervently wished that someone would recut a film so that I could watch the 30 minutes of CGI without suffering through 90 minutes of pat stereotypes and cardboard dialog holding up a flimsy excuse to showcase primal violence and random explosions. This movie was very stupid. I read that it had one of the highest grossing opening weekends of all time.

Sketchy Stuff

You didn't hear it either.

You didn’t hear it either.

Submitted for your approval: a few more degrees of weirdness from my fevered brow.

The idea of invisibility is a tempting one, but obviously, people don’t use it for anything other than breaking the law. Sure, some of us are Harry Potter and we’re just employing our ultimately power for the purpose of sneaking into the restricted section of the library, but, by and large, people want invisibility for the purpose of spying. By and large, people want invisibility for the purpose of spying on people in various states of undress. The Invisible Man is not, in fact, someone you’d invited into your home. Of course, if I were invisible I would totally Robin Hood it. Stealing from the rich and giving to the poor would be my calling in life. For real.

I like his leather boots and gloves, and his trench coat and empty scarf. He’s totally inconspicuous in that getup. No one would ever look twice.

Practice makes perfect

Practice makes perfect 

Here comes Tax Day. This year I swore that I would file early. I really have no idea what to expect. We have with withholding incorrectly since we got married and there’s a strong possibility that we’re going to owe the federal government some sum of money we do not actually have on hand. The worst part is that I hire someone to do my taxes every year, because it’s cheaper than spending 3 days crying about how much I hate doing taxes. And I’m still not ready to file, even though I brought him our 1099s and W2s in February. This is 97% my fault.

Anyway, this ballerina, with her oddly muscular arms and her surely uncomfortable thong leotard had to settle for her second choice career. Stay in school, kids!

Clearly, we're missing out on a lot of things that excite dogs.

Clearly, we’re missing out on a lot of things that excite dogs.

Fire hydrants are like newspapers for dogs; everyone knows that. They read smells. I think I read that a dog’s nose is 10,000 times more sensitive than a humans’. I guess this dog is maybe a dalmatian/beagle mix. A dalmeagle? Or a beaglematian? At any rate, he’s picked up on something, recalled that it’s something he’s picked up before, but decided to resmell it. You know, just like some people do with books.

The hot and the cold are both so intense, put 'em together it just makes sense!

The hot and the cold are both so intense, put ’em together it just makes sense!

See, the fire spirit is hitting on the ice cream cone. And the ice cream cone is interested, but ultimately knows how things will end between them. Better safe than sorry, ice cream cone.

Yep. I have like a million of these things. And it absolutely doesn’t matter if anyone else likes them, or even understands them.

Dragon Comics 55

This reminds me: maybe I should change the batteries in the smoke detector. Also, I should clean my oven.

This reminds me: maybe I should change the batteries in the smoke detector. Also, I should clean my oven.

Any excuse to draw cartoonish illustrations of things on fire is all right by me.

Of course, this comic derives from my very exciting Christmas cold, which was made more exciting by the fact that I had literally just recovered from my epic Thanksgiving cold. That seems sort of unfair. Why can my body not create sufficient antibodies to ward off all the virulent viruses in the air? Why am I exposed to so many viruses when I hardly talk to other people? Why isn’t the plural of “virus” “virii”?

Some questions will never be answered.

In panel 2, that’s a pretty original sound effect. In case you’ve ever wondered, the sound of a dragon sneezing due to a head cold is ker-CHOOFSH. Obviously, some part of the sound has to do with things catching fire whenever a dragon sneezes.

In panel 3 and 4, The Man is, of course, wearing a University of Arizona T-shirt because he is, apparently, some kind of wildcat.

Don’t worry about the table. Being magic, it cannot be harmed by dragon fire.

Too Cute!

QWERTYvsDvorak is just about to go on vacation. Wednesday’s Dragon Comic will be the last update of the year, but we’ll return in 2015 with all new ridiculousness for your wasting-time-at-work pleasure. Today, please enjoy these images of our RedBubble merchandise in the wild.

You too could look this happy, if only you had ordered an "I Can Get Better with Practice" Dragon shirt.

You too could look this happy, if only you had ordered an “I Can Get Better with Practice” Dragon shirt.

My nephlings got QWERTYvsDvorak shirts for the holidays, those lucky kids. Pictured here, this handsome fellow models the Dragon Comics “I Can Get Better with Practice” panel T-shirt, kids size, gray. “I can get better with practice,” is, of course, our motto. Words to live by, folks.

Princess Sealestia of Aquastria reigns supreme over the underwater world.

Princess Sealestia of Aquastria reigns supreme over the underwater world.

This lovely little lady is obviously enjoying the glamour and style of the kids pink “Princess Sealestia of Aquastria” T-shirt. There’s still a little time to order for Christmas, if you get express shipping. Your children could be almost as adorable as these kids. I mean, being incredibly good-looking and unspeakably talented runs in the family, obviously. I can’t guarantee that your kids will be just as adorable, but they can certainly be just as well dressed.