Tag Archives: storytelling

Crimes against a Tow Truck Driver

american salvage nonfiction_edited-2

All about being all about American Salvage

Bonnie Jo wrote this script and provided the pictures of the junkyard. She also wrote the following text:

Why Write Fiction?

Most of the stories in AS were all inspired by real life, but I ventured far from actual characters and events.

Sometimes we fictionalize a story in order to make more sense out of it

As Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson said, “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.

There are some stories that can be told ONLY in fiction. In “The Inventor, 1972,” I write a guy trying to rescue a girl he’s hit with his car, and while she’s lying there in the road, he has a fleeting thought of molesting her. No man who hoped to survive the night could dare admit to such a thought.

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Stories Start with Characters

Got 3000 words written today, and hope to get another 1000 before bed. Also finished reading Will Eisner’s Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative, which is among the most delightful instructional manuals I’ve ever read. Eisner had an intricate understanding of not only drawing and writing, but of human psychology, and this last was effective to two ends: it allowed him to tell compelling stories about believable people (even if those people were caricatures of regular people, or more amazing than regular people), and it allowed him to tell those stories in such a way that readers remained interested in the work.

Eisner's "Contract" with the Reader

Eisner’s “Contract” with the Reader

Above is one of my favorite panels from this book, illustrating the contract with the reader: the artist may safely assume that the reader lives in the same reality and shares many of the same basic understandings of the world. This allows the art to work as a form of shorthand: i.e., you don’t need to explain to your reader that a coconut released from a tree will descend in the direction of the earth’s core, or that coconuts grow on trees, or that trees drop seeds.

This book has vast quantities of things to recommend it, and even if you’re not interested in drawing or writing or storytelling or human psychology, some of the reprints will certainly be worth your time: Eisner’s beautiful new ending to Franz Kafka’s bleak The Trial, and an example of “compression” by R. Sikoryak comprising Dante’s Inferno retold in 10 Bazooka Joe comics were my favorites.

If you’re here for my art, and particularly if you’re here for my dragons, never fear. I’ve got a couple of compelling characters for you right here:

Sophia Violetta Regalia, a heraldic dragon

Sophia Violetta Regalia, a heraldic dragon

Obviously, there need to be as many, if not more, girl dragons than boy dragons.

Pentalara, a serpentine dragon who could probably benefit from some orthodontia, if she could find an orthodontist willing to work on a dragon's mouth.

Pentalara, a serpentine dragon who could probably benefit from some orthodontia, if she could find an orthodontist willing to work on a dragon’s mouth.

These lovely ladies certain exude personality.

Comics! Part 1

Characters from Bloom County: I never did a lot of copying of other people's work, but there are ways in which is can be useful/interesting.

Characters from Bloom County: I never did a lot of copying of other people’s work, but there are ways in which it can be useful/interesting.

Secretly, I’m really into comics, and always have been. Publicly, you’ll only see me with books of course. I didn’t have a lot of exposure to comics as a kid; there was no one to share them with me. Of course, I was lucky enough to grow up in the time period when Bill Watterson, Gary Larson, and Berke Breathed were writing dailies, and I still own many of their collections, but I never had access to comic books when I was little. I remember owning maybe one issue of Superman that a babysitter gave me.

Detail from Little Nemo by Winsor McKay. My theory is that everybody is influenced by Winsor McKay, whether they know it or not. So much of what we know of fantastic art originated in his pages. This drawing is from the early 90s, when I was in college. 

In high school and college I developed an interest in the history of comics: Robert Outcault and the Yellow Kid, the Katzenjammer Kids, Krazy Kat, and all that. I read everything the library had to offer me, and I did end up reading some classic comic books. A volume of the first Wonder Woman comics stands out in my mind.

Another college-era sketch. I had done a stunning poster for a guy I liked: it featured 3 views of Death looking adorable. I put it in a poster tube to keep it safe and my mother threw it in the trash because obviously if I put a poster tube on the mantle it must because I wanted her to destroy it, and there certainly wouldn't be any point in opening it up to see if there was maybe a poster inside it. I never could recreate that work. I gave the guy a less awesome picture of Death I drew, and later we dated for almost a year.

Another college-era sketch. I had done a stunning poster for a guy I liked: it featured 3 views of Death looking adorable. I put it in a poster tube to keep it safe and my mother threw it in the trash because obviously if I put a poster tube on the mantle it must because I want her to destroy it; it’s not like I was capable of throwing out my own trash, and there certainly wouldn’t be any point in opening it up to see if there was maybe a poster inside it. I never could recreate that work. I gave the guy a less awesome picture of Death I drew, and later we dated for almost a year.

Sandman was probably the first graphic novel I ever read, and of course the storytelling and the artwork are both stunning. After that, I read every graphic novel anyone gave me, a rather eclectic assortment. It wasn’t until grad school that a guy introduced me to Alan Moore. I read The Watchmen first. Talk about amazingly good storytelling! I’ve read a fair amount of his work. My favorite is definitely Promethea, which might not be as objectively good as his other stuff, but which I adore. It’s the catalyst for my Alphabet of Desire.