Saturday, March 27, 2010


Dunkin Swine joins us again today on the Bib. They say write what you know!

"Slob Interview" (c)2010 Chrissy Spallone

As a disclaimer, I love my school and the opportunities I've been given here. This comic has been a humorously-intended exaggeration of some composite experiences that my colleagues and I have had in our travels. Please don't let this bit of satire dissuade you from choosing the greatest, most highly ranked information studies program in the world.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Lost Children

Before there were LOLcats, there was Li'l Cat, an Easter-themed children's book of my own invention that I wrote and illustrated at age 6:

I know that the cover says, oddly enough in my handwriting, "by Stevie", but my brother didn't write the story, he just acted as a transcriptionist for my narration. After hovering over me, correcting my every spelling mistake for the first few pages, he grew impatient and took over the lettering, despite the fact that I had initiated this bookmaking activity and had never explicitly asked for his editorial assistance. I suppose that after the fact, he somehow brainwashed or coerced me into giving him authorship credit with my own hand.

Click here to read the whole story...try to guess when my brother takes over the lettering!

A couple of these pages have little side gags and can click on the images to enlarge them and benefit from this.

I haven't changed much in the last 20 years, have I? Though I'm more of a dog person now. Pages 10 and the last page are the best...I think I was a child prodigy. The year was 1990, I remember it well.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

You Are My Life

Spring is in the air, and what's spring without a couple of bunnies? The new seasons of our favorite TV shows are starting up again, but it's reruns here at Bibliowhining. Reruns for the old-time fans, that is. Schoolwork beckoning and spring break in the near future, this entry features a fan favorite: 2008's Bun Home, my parody of Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, which also satirizes intellectual posturing. I hope you enjoy this bit of sequential storytelling. I hope to turn it into a graphic novel someday.

You can tell this is old material by my naive use of the blue pencil. Blue pencil is the devil, and turned my early self-publishing endeavors into a nightmare. I recommend clicking on the below image to enlarge it and make it more readable.

It seems that many who didn't grow up reading comics have a hard time understanding them. It's no longer the case that everything that comes out must be approved by the Comics Code Authority, so cartoonists have as much freedom as filmmakers, and many have taken advantage of this. Unfortunately, looking at the available comics/graphic novels in libraries and even many comic book stores, it would seem that there are only three options: Manga, Superheroes, or long self-pitying memoirs completely drained of any humor or imagination. Once Fun Home won Time Magazine's "Book of the Year," comics -- I'm sorry, "graphic novels" were suddenly on everyone's radar, inspiring many copycat books, depressing and uncreative autobiographies about someone's failed hipster romance or experiences with the AIDS virus or physical abuse. While it's fine that these books are published as they are surely a comfort to some people, they aren't the only genre available in the adult comics medium. Libraries typically order only these new books which appear in the reviews they read, and the history of comics is ignored. There is a lot of autobiographical stuff that is interesting, and Fun Home, though not my taste, is at least very well drawn, but a lot of the bios and nonfiction that have come out since just don't do it for me.

In general, libraries started to collect movies only in the past 20 years. And yet, all the DVD and VHS collections I've seen represent the entire history of film, in all genres -- classics such as Night of the Hunter and Taxi Driver and The Wizard of Oz are available on the shelves right next to the new releases. I wish that the comics medium was given the same respect in libraries. I don't enjoy reading the trendy autobiographical comics that are being churned out today, and it's frustrating not to see my old favorites on the shelves for others to discover. Fun Home may have come out recently and catalyzed a mainstream popularity of alternative comics, but that doesn't mean that the medium suddenly came into existence in the year 2005, or that there is no older material of value. Also, even new titles that are humorous/satirical/literary are being ignored for some reason -- maybe they aren't being reviewed?

I encourage librarians to order a greater variety of adult comics for their collections; older titles, and also different genres besides superhero, manga, and autobiography. Fantagraphics is constantly coming out with a variety of quality titles, and they also publish reprints of classic comic strips which I'm sure younger readers will find fascinating. The librarian at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum (formerly the Cartoon Research Library) is a very helpful person to ask about "key" comics that should be in the collection. I have emailed her for several class assignments, and her responses are always incredibly quick and thorough. Or just ask me!

Though I guess I was sort of an underground cartoonist since age 8, drawing strips which lovingly made fun of other kids in class, I first became aware of "real" underground comics when I was a 13-year old kid browsing the stacks of a public library in South Jersey...I checked out the book Comics, Comix & Graphic Novels: A History of Comic Art by Roger Sabin, and became fascinated by R. Crumb. Of course, the Internet being off my radar at the time, and the library being lacking in actual comics (the title I mentioned was more of a history book about comics), I was unable to explore the medium more. I mean, I probably shouldn't have been reading R. Crumb comics at age 13, but you get my point, right?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Another Part of Me

Art has become a lost art, but I guess I'm about due for another "Hey, look, I'm a legitimate draftsman" entry. A few projects/presentations were due last week or are coming up, so I haven't had too much time to work on my favorite of all hobbies. A picture should say a thousand words about my exhaustion, and here I am slumped in a chair, the Saturday morning after a hectic week. Fanboys, for you, a rare glimpse of me wearing (Oberlin College) shorts, which I never do in public, not even at the gym. I'm also wearing a Syracuse University t-shirt. Go Orange! #1 in the nation!

I drew this in the "building up" fashion with multiple pencils, just like in the self-portrait I posted earlier. Hopefully this one is a better likeness. Would anyone else like to model for me? It would be nice not having to adjust my small mirror and chair all the time, and it's kind of difficult drawing my own right hand, for example.

This year I learned, largely thanks to "The Face," that I have a great aunt who is also an artist (a painter), only I think she actually makes a living off of it. I previously didn't know that I was related to another artist. Thank you, Facebook, you otherwise loathsome invention, you. Check out my Aunt Debbie's paintings -- do you see a "family resemblance" in style or theme?

Come to think of it, I'm also directly related to Benjamin Franklin (people think I make all this stuff up, but is it REALLY that hard to believe?). He was a cartoonist, too, you know.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)

In this post, I'll finally show you the illustrations I was talking about earlier. Here they are in their rough, pre-Photoshopped form, completely out of context!

Some backstory, as well as the cleaned-up versions of these images the way they'll appear in The Salt Hill Journal, are available under the cut.

Looking for places to promote my comics and artwork around Syracuse, I came across the Website for The Salt Hill Journal, a biannual poetry/short story publication put out by SU's Creative Writing and English departments. On the Website, a need for black and white artwork was expressed. Perfect!

As per the submission guidelines, I sent the links for "Tales From the Stix" and that comic I wrote about my friend "Charles" in China to the Journal's art editor. She thought my style would be a good fit for Julian Zadorozny's short story "Upper Volta," which was already set to appear in an upcoming issue, and asked me to do some illustrations for it.

So keep your eyes out for Salt Hill #25, available at finer coffee shops/bookstores around the country. 

Anyway, here are the cleaned up versions of the illustrations -- I just adjusted the curves, contrast, and brightness to make them more pure black-and-white rather than greyscale. Though consistent with my recurring themes of violence and nature, these are scenes from "Upper Volta." It was a good match, I think.