Tag Archives: war

Bringing Home the Bones

waoa 16 bringing home the bones _edited-2

The family the exhumes together…blooms together? Zooms together? Resumes together?

That’s a wrap onĀ Women & Other Animals. The great sense of accomplishment I feel is only mitigated by the fact that I still have to draw 4 more supplemental pages to finish this comic book before I convert the pages to black and white, remove the boilerplate text, and send it off to the printer. Along with all the proofread text from the blog. After which I have to prepare 15-20 minutes of remarks on the subject of “I turned every single short story in all of Bonnie Jo Campbell’s short fiction collections into comics” for this presentation I’m giving to the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature.

Whew.

For “Bringing Home the Bones,” I decided to use Susanna Campbell, Bonnie Jo’s mother, as the model for Charlotte, except I made Charlotte frown in every picture, which Susanna does not do. The more I thought about it, the more right it seemed. First of all, this whole project started with Susanna, with a comic I wrote about Bonnie Jo and Susanna, called “Understanding,” about how sometimes even your mother doesn’t understand you. And second, of course, there is a lot of Susanna in these books. Most people’s mothers influence their lives a lot, but Susanna, I think, influences the work a lot.

And then, only after I worked through all that and finished the page did I realize that I’ve come full circle. This comic actually ends with the line that Charlotte knows the hope of “being understood by her daughters at last.” Maybe your mother doesn’t understand you, but you can understand your mother, and you’ll feel better about the rough edges if you do. I don’t know why that is, but I feel like it’s often the case.

Good thing I’d already worked out how to draw people doing things in the dark when I drew “Storm Warning” or panel 5 might have defeated me tonight and I’d be a day behind schedule again. That ice cream maker in panel 4 is pretty sweet. We had a hand crank ice cream maker when I was a kid but it was plastic and made in the ’80s.

Beyond that, this is just another great story. I could compare many elements of it to Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use.” You’ve got the mom still living the old way, and the daughter who stayed, and the daughter who left and embraced the new and can’t understand the value of the things to which the mother clings. But in “Bringing Home the Bones,” the daughter does come to understand, a little, and in return the mother gives her something back, that piece of herself she had withheld. Not the actual memory, I don’t think, but some emotional availability that she felt compelled to keep hidden away since her parents’ deaths.

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I Love Endless War

i <3 war_edited-2

I forgot the very best part, which is how war enriches those who already have power and inflicts suffering on the people who are already marginalized.

There’s this old story–I can’t recall the origins–about a righteous man who is given the opportunity to see hell, which is presented as a long banquet table, weighted down with the most scrumptious and delectable of foods. Everything looks tasty and enticing, but the sinners, seated along both sides of the table, have their arms encased in rigid sleeves. They can see the food, even touch and it and pick it up, but they can’t bend their elbows, so they can’t get it into their mouth.

The righteous man then asks for a glimpse of heaven and is surprised to find that it’s the exact same scenario–table, food, unbending sleeves. The difference is, in heaven, people are feeding their neighbor across the table.

That’s the world we live in, actually. It’s heaven when we care for those around us, and it’s hell when we selfishly think only of ourselves.

But this is all beyond the people with the power to make big decisions, it seems. Being hugely sarcastic seems to be my only remaining defense in a world increasingly populatedĀ haters and those with zero regard for anyone else. More guns, more war, more class stratification, more needless consumption of nonrenewable resources. Why not?

Many of the people with the power to make big decisions–a frightening number, really–want war, for financial or religious reasons. The only defense against this type of thinking is to point out, repeatedly, how ridiculous it is, how the suffering of some brings suffering to us all.

Trying out some different cartooning styles. Photoshop makes it easy to get lazy and my intention is to become a better artist. I don’t need any practice being lazy. I saw a comic where the artist drew black and white characters with colored hair and it looked pretty cool there, and here, too. This is me, of course, and Mrs. Kitty with her unicorn hair.