Tag Archives: girls

Running

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I miss those ’90s flare low rise jeans, but I don’t miss belly shirts.

To me, “Running,” feels like the precursor to “Daughters of the Animal Kingdom,” with its discussion of motherhood versus not-motherhood and its frequent reference to animals. “Running” is rife with birds, and I could have drawn a bird in every panel, as I drew only animals in “Daughters of the Animal Kingdom,” but I got hung up on the part of the story that describes the pattern of a male wood duck as looking like a map of the world, because I kept looking at photos of male wood ducks and couldn’t see a map of the world in there. Plus, I really liked the juxtaposition of the prematurely aged mom smoking a cigarette while complaining about her daughter smoking cigarettes.

I also enjoyed drawing the redwing blackbird. Male redwing blackbirds are super territorial and will attack anything that remotely resembles another male redwing blackbird. My mother has a story about one attacking the head of my black-haired brother when he was little. As for panel 4: ducks are jerks. Duck rape is a thing. As for panel 5: I couldn’t fit many more baby ducks in there. I wanted to draw 40. In the last panel, I tried to illustrate the good form/bad form the narrator talks about in reference to running.

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The Sudden Physical Development of Debra Dupuis

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My only regret is that I didn’t have enough room to draw a pair of helium filled flesh dirigibles.

This story is almost entirely about this seventh grade girl’s breasts, which is great and empowering, but at the same time, a tiny bit problematic. In Mothers, Tell Your Daughters, in the story “Tell Yourself,” the mother is supremely uncomfortable because her teenage daughter owns a belly shirt with cupcake printed over each boob, and I did draw the controversial cupcake shirt. Plus, I busted out with the totally naked uncovered middle-aged mom boob in last week’s “The Perfect Lawn.” I’m kind of surprised that mom boob didn’t end me up in Facebook jail, as I’m pretty sure it violated their terms of service.

So that’s the trinity of naked people parts: mom’s boob in “The Perfect Lawn,” Big Joanie’s kid butt in “Circus Matinee,” and Uncle Cal’s doomed appendage in “Family Reunion.”

Anyway, I knew one thing for certain, and that was I was not going to draw 6 panels of adolescent girl tit in this comic. Fortunately, Bonnie Jo writes these lovely but insane breast metaphors to discuss just how proud Debra is, how wonderful her development feels to her. So I just drew the metaphors.

“The Sudden Physical Development of Debra Dupuis” is one of the more joyful stories in the canon, I think. A terrible guy does a terrible thing to Debra, and the adults’ perspective is that Debra brought it on herself and what kind of fallen twelve-year-old shows off her bounty like that (a lot of them, I would imagine), and for a couple hours Debra is broken by this treatment, but then her joy in her appearance—her self-love, at least for one part of herself—is powerful enough to wash that all away. She becomes, again, clean and perfect in her own eyes. How many of us solve that issue in middle school?

The Trespasser

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Can’t imagine what Google must think of me after some of the queries I ran to get source images for this comic. The worst part is that I didn’t get any relevant results for “cum stained mattress” and had to improvise anyway. 

When I told the Fox that I was gearing up to write volume II of Bonnie Jo Campbell Comics, he told me that after I finished the first one I swore I would never do anything like that again. I literally have no recollection of saying that. It’s probably like having a baby, where your brain blocks out the level of pain you experienced so you’re not too terrified to do it again. I’m not terrified at all. After spending 300 hours drawing 8 pages for Linda Addison, an estimated 56 hours to draw 14 pages sounds like a cakewalk.

It seemed important to keep the style consistent between the 2 books, meaning I’m back to hand-lettering, which is very time consuming, but didn’t take as much time as I remember it taking. At any rate, I realize that even reverting to conventions like drawing most of the lines with a massive weight of 4 pixels and making people’s eyes look like tiny dots in any face that doesn’t take up the whole panel, I can’t revert entirely to the style in which I draw last year, because I learned so much in the process of drawing the first book that no matter what I do, the drawings are going to look better.

Another thing I noticed as I wrote the text was that my brain let go of the idea of summarizing. I’m not telling the story the way I did with “My Dog Roscoe.” I think this is Linda Addison’s influence, because everything she does is about poetry, including her prose. This comic seems to have more poetry to it than the early comics in the last set. It’s about “The Trespasser” but it doesn’t exactly tell you everything that’s in “The Trespasser.” It seeks to communicates the feelings and theme of “The Trespasser.”

To my mind, it’s a story that functions through juxtaposition. There are 2 girls who never meet in person, but who are heavily influenced by the artifacts of each other’s lives, and we’re forced to compare and contrast the characters while they are comparing and contrasting themselves, so that dictated the layout of the comic. This story is really rich in symbols, too, and it was hard to choose which ones to use. In particular, Bonnie Jo spends a lot of time describing the objects moved by the 16-year-old, but I think the portrait of the 13-year-old with her gymnastics trophy surrounded by bronze animals gets at the heart of it. I didn’t realize that bronze figurines of dinosaurs and farm animals were common things to collect, but according to Google Image Search, they must be.

A lot of people think of American Salvage as being a more androcentric book, but this story feels connected to the themes of Mothers, Tell Your Daughters. Don’t worry, we’ll get to the plethora of dudes who don’t understand women soon enough.

Tell Yourself

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I think we’d all jump off a bridge if Amber dared us to. Am I right?

This comic seems a little graphically threadbare to me, compared to the previous ones, and I think it’s because “Tell Yourself” just doesn’t have as much definitive imagery as some of the other stories in Mothers, Tell Your Daughters. “Playhouse,” yesterday, for example, has the peonies and the playhouse and the alcohol and everyone’s hair and the rabbits and the fruit stickers and the Tasmanian devil tattoo. The central visual feature in “Tell Yourself has got to be Mary’s clothes, and frankly, I also find the idea of a barely-adolescent girl wearing low rise jeans and a crop top with a pair of cupcakes over her cupcakes slightly discomfiting. I didn’t want to spend too much time focusing on her “darling new breasts.”

My mother would have done anything to persuade me to dress in a more feminine fashion when I was in 8th grade, but she never in a million years would have let me out of the house in that outfit, even when I was in high school. She would have been highly critical if she saw me dressed that way when I was in college. But I see little kids dressed like that all the time. The supply seems equal to the demand.

After the outfit, the only big visual symbol is the rocking chair, because I couldn’t figure out how to work in the gum-cracking or the terrible baby perfume. For the first time in this project, I was really at a loss for how to illustrate the final panel. I settled on the potatoes; it locates the narrator in this role she has created for herself: being a mother comes first, even though Mary’s already gone. But she did change her shirt. And I’ve left mom with the knife. She’s not wholly defenseless.

Crystal Power Mandala

Feel the power rising within you!

Feel the power rising within you!

For once, I’m ahead of the game! Here’s Monday’s mandala, all sparkly and intense, rosy and blossoming, like the gem of wonderment from a cartoon quest for the empowerment of little girls in 1984. Gotta love it. Plus I’ve just finished Tuesday’s comic, and I managed to sketch out another page and a half of the big black and white story in the spaces in between even though I spent the rest of the weekend immersed in my typical rarified debauchery. I didn’t quite accomplish as much as intended but a good time was had by all.

This is a sweet design.

The only other art news is that, as the end of September appears, my mind tends toward thoughts of–my Halloween bulletin board. I’m thinking: black cat. But who knows? My schedule is so relaxed right now I could probably spend 10 or 12 hours, at least. Maybe something 3-dimensional? The need for something powerfully good seems apparent. You don’t get that many thrilling ways to celebrate Halloween once you’re old enough to buy your own candy.

Dragon Comics 110

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I mean, there are options, but not if you’re constructed entirely of pixels and whimsy.

It’s half past midnight and I’m sitting in my car, parked outside of the public library, because Cox Cable is far more vested in sending me almost daily dead-paper communications trying to sell me cable for the TV I don’t own and long distance for the hard wired phone line that’s not connected to my house than they are in maintaining the Internet connection for which I pay them nearly $70 a month. They’re just a massive bunch of Cox over there. It’s incredibly frustrating, how often our Internets simply disappear for no reason–sometimes it’s for 15 minutes, sometimes it’s for 2 hours–and you know they never reimburse us for that lost time, even though you can be sure I’ll be hearing from them if I forget to pay the bill.

Anyway, the library Internet is slow–it took 5 minutes to upload that image–but functional. I’m pretty sure it’s not illegal to park outside the public library and hop on their network at night. This is certainly not as terrible as it was for me to actually use my key (I worked there in the 90s and had to open on Sundays) to go into the library at midnight to use the network and also sometimes to borrow VHS cassettes without checking them out. I probably would have lost my job if I got caught doing that. Probably the worst thing that could happen to me here is a cop telling me to move along.

Not to brag, but The Man and I had a pretty raucous weekend, with multiple pool parties, a vision quest in the desert, and dinner for 16 at a revolving sushi restaurant with no revolving sushi. It was basically nonstop from Thursday night until he went to bed, and even then he kept getting up and eventually ate half my waffles, so I didn’t get to work until after 11. This is my lame explanation for the low quality artwork today. However, the Owl wanted a Dragon Comic, so here it is.