Thursday, November 26, 2009

(Have You Seen My) Childhood

Seasons Readings from this little future librarian!

Don't worry: Bibliowhining hasn't been eighty-sixed. I've just been busy cooking and dining and sitting around the old homestead checking out some retro photo albums.

Sit tight! I'm taking a little break, but I'll whip up more underground comics and other art and/or library related writeups sometime after the first major snowfall...or before!

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful holiday!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I Just Can't Stop Loving You

For a relatively unknown stretch of woodlands, my home, the New Jersey Pine Barrens, has a decent share of folklore. Most famous is the Jersey Devil, a.k.a. any one of the mutated animals that the nearby Fort Dix army base releases into the woods after military biological warfare experimentation. There's also the legend of Ong's Hat, which is not only the name of a diner that employed me as a dishwasher/busgirl/waitress one summer, but is also the location of a fabled portal to another dimension. Wikipedia is there for you if you wish to explore these so-called myths further, but in this blog entry, I will perpetuate an urban legend far more chilling in its subject matter -- it's about those insane Pine Barrens girls, of which I am one. You've heard the expression, "You're out of your tree," as a metaphor for craziness. But the thing that makes us crazy comes out of the trees. Read on!

"Tales from the Stix" by Chrissy Spallone
Does this cartoon look even a little bit cleaner and more slick than my usual fare? Perhaps that's due to my purchase of these neat, convenient, India-ink filled pens I purchased at Syracuse's Art Store (located on the corner of Crouse and Erie Blvd.). In the past, I always used "loose" Higgins India ink and Hunts nib pens. For the lettering, I couldn't write steadily enough with these tools, so I used regular black felt-tip pens filled with some non-India ink, which isn't as dark, and also fades in bright light and doesn't write over China White (a superior Wite-Out like substance).

I still use the quills and some watercolor brushes with the Higgins ink, but it's nice to have these pens to use as an option for areas where I want more control and fine detail -- for example, it's nice to be able to draw people's faces in a less gruesome way. Gruesome is good sometimes, but not all the time.

The cashier at the Art Store asked me if I found everything I needed, and when I said "Yes," she replied, "Good deal!" What a pleasant lady.

After awhile, bibliophile.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Big Boy

Christmas is just around the corner, and yet, amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I've found the time to conceptualize and pen a brand new comic (available under the cut) starring one of my classic muses. We'll call him Charles Blarney. Don't let all the text and background story chase you away -- If the comic is all you want, by all means click on that link, scroll down, and it will be there for you!

In my senior year of high school, I was voted "Shyest", for purposes of a senior superlative yearbook photo shoot. Were I not quite so shy, I might have also won the titles of "Most Artistic" and/or "Funniest," having received a decent chunk of votes in both categories. But the blonde young Philadelphian who won "Funniest Male" was -- aside from our varying degrees of sociability -- the male version of myself, "Charles". He and I were so much alike, it's like I could read his mind. We both liked orange juice with pulp, cheese-less burgers, memorizing secret scripts ahead of time for use in (thanks to us) surreal classroom discussions, poking fun at our schoolmates through creative writing, not making eye contact...the similarities were uncanny.

"Charles" and I became good friends in the 8th grade -- before becoming his friend, I earned his positive attention when I started featuring him and his pals Aigy and Mat in a short-lived underground comic series: "The Devil's Triangle". He and his friends used to make fun of me in class, and I sort of returned the favor by bashing them in cartoon form. Mat and "Charles" thought these comics were hilarious -- "Charles" enjoyed them so much that he stole the first issue and held it ransom until I created more. To this day, he owns the full set of original "Devil's Triangle" comics, as well as the concurrent, more superhero-based sister series, "Satan's trio".

Actually, issue #2 of "The Devil's Triangle" is missing, since Aigy ripped it up.

Well, "Charles" and I are in two different places now, but we didn't grow apart, really... in fact, he still feels close enough to me to reveal plenty about his personal life -- enough for me to realize that he's a grown-up now, and, like most young men, engages in the popular mating ritual known as picking up chicks at the bar -- and I don't mean religious tracts!

Being the hopeless romantic in the parade of weirdos who comprise my closest friends, I've never hooked up with someone I just met at a bar, an apple orchard, church, the library, or anywhere else. Not even through a sheet of saran wrap. But I'm glad "Charles" is there for me to live vicariously through -- he's as fascinating now as he was at age 13. And it's been quite a while since I've featured him in his own comic story, so let's see what he's up to now, shall we?

That charming story is, in typical "Devil's Triangle" fashion, true yet exaggerated.