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Color Sonnet coming tomorrow

About 15 years ago, I got interested in the format of comics wanted to push the boundaries of how comics were made. 
At the time, Neil Cohn, Matt Madden and Derik Badman were creating comic “poems” and trying emulate the structure of poems with their comics or creating their own structures that were completely native to comics.
Matt Madden made a “Comics Sestina” and Derik Badman experimented with “Comics Haiku” and “Comics Pantoum”. Neil Cohn created forms that were native to comics such as the “Reducto”. 
One of my earliest experiments with these ideas , was to make a “Color Sonnet”. I made a 14 page comic book much like a sonnet has 14 lines. At the end of each page there was a panel that was supposed to “rhyme” with another page. 
This comic was eventually published in Abstract Comics: the Anthology in 2009, but since the book is long out of print, I figured it would be OK to share here.
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Announcing: Mini Comic Mondays and Summer Hiatus

I love collecting little ‘zines, small press comics, and hand made comic books. Over the next few months, I’ll be posting pictures of the more interesting parts of my collection with a short write up about each piece.

Secondly, June 13 will be my last comic I’ll be posting until October 10. I’ll be putting patron payments on hold while there are no new comics.

I’ll still be posting public posts over the summer about mini comics and little glimpses of my drawing process.

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My Life in Records is Back!

My Life in Records began as a webcomic in late 2005.  My original plan was to draw an autobiographical comic about each album that had been important in my life.  I made a “short list” of 50 albums and set to work making a weekly black and white comic strip.
After a year or so, I decided to print up one fo the stories to give away as Christmas presents to family members.  AS I browsed options for sizes of books, I stumbled upon the square format book.
Now I had a comic about music that looked like a little record sleeve.
After completing the third chapter, I redrew the whole series in a square format and added color.
Along the way, I decided to change the scope of the project from “autobiographical” to “thinly veiled autobiography”. I changed the names of the characters and excised the second chapter, which now seemed convoluted and out of place.
I hope you will continue to enjoy the adventures of Tom and his brothers as they discover more music.
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Today is the final Desert Fathers Comic

Today will be the last Desert Fathers comic for a while.  I have many more in various phases of completion, but they are pretty labor intensive, so this is the last one for now.
I’ve always thought that illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages and comics were distant cousins.  Both combine typography and images to convey stories.
I love looking through books about illuminated manuscripts and found an in illustration recently in a book from the Museum of the Bible* that I used as inspiration for the demon. 
Next week, I’ll be back to posting My Life in Records stories again for a few months.
See you bright and early tomorrow for new comic book day

*The museum has seen its share of controversies, such as forgeries of Dead Sea Scrolls and looted artifacts from Iraq, but the book seemed to be just a guidebook of European Illuminated Manuscripts.
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The Tale of Agatho

Sayings of the Desert Fathers

As someone who has trouble putting his foot in his mouth, I resonated with Agatho’s quest to silence himself.  Once again, I used the pantoum form to convey the monotony of time passing.  Each frame roughly represents a month in the life of Agatho.

Ethopian Manuscript page

This is one of the manuscript pages I used as inspiration for the page layout.

See you bright and early tomorrow for new comic book day!

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Temptation By A Thousand Insect Bites

Demons are usually depicted as serpent-like or goat-like creatures.  However, I chose to make my demon have insect characteristics to show how the demon could persistently pester the hermit like a mosquito in the ear.  In my experience, temptation is rarely a big showdown with the end boss of a video game, but more like the incessant needling that you finally cave too after thousands of little pinches.

One of my favorite depictions of St. Anthony’s temptation is by Albrect Dürer.  First, because I love anything by Albrecht Dürer, but secondly, because of the sheer imaginative diversity of monsters attacking poor St. Anthony.

Temptation of St. Anthony by Albrect Durer

See you bright and early tomorrow for new comic book day!

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Visions are coming tomorrow

Tomorrow’s comic is one of the first ones I made based on the Sayings of the Desert Fathers and it was originally publish in black and white in Dodo Comics #1.
Besides being a very visual story (and thus easily lends itself to comics), I love how Arsenius is so chill about being interrupted during a moment of such intense mystical fervency.
I put some visual references to Monastery of Saint Pishoy in Wadi el Natrun, Egypt even though the monastery wasn’t built until long after Arsenius was gone.
The image above is probably more like what the Desert Fathers would have lived in.
See you bright and early tomorrow for new comic book day!
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Introduction to the Sayings of the Desert Fathers

For the next 5 weeks, I’ll be posting little short stories that I’ve made over the years based on a group of Christian ascetics from the 4th century called the Desert Fathers.

The Desert Fathers were a reaction to the legalization of Christianity in the Roman world.  A lot of them felt that Christianity lost its edge when you didn’t have to hide in tombs for fear of death if you wanted to worship.

Like most reactionary movements, there were some extreme members with some pretty radical (and sometimes unhealthy) ideas, but I resonated with them ten years ago when I first discovered them in my early twenties as I tried to find out what my faith would be for me in my adult life.

I’ve returned to them in the past year or so as I’ve seen most prominent Evangelical Christian leaders choosing to support a  Christian Empire (see Walter Brueggemann) rather than commit themselves to works of caring for those in need.

Anthony of Egypt is the most famous of the Desert Fathers, so I’m starting of the series with him.

See you bright and early tomorrow for new comic book day!

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There’s a Place for Us?

Passing Through by Saburo Murakami 1956

“You were not expected to aspire to excellence: you were expected to make peace with mediocrity.”

James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time.

Capitalism, as the story goes, was economic system that our country was founded on.  The story also tells us that to be a buyer or producer is the paramount experience.  If one is consuming and living well, one is doing well.   Alternatively, if one is producing things that are consumed and creating capital one is doing even better.

Recently, I reflected on the lunch counter sit-ins of the early 1960s and more recently, the controversy over baking cakes for same sex weddings.  For if the story of Capitalism-is-Paramount is truly correct, why would someone deny another person the right to buy something for them?  Therefore, Capital is not indeed the highest priority in America.  In fact, discrimination is most likely the highest priority.

Recently my young daughter has told me numerous time that “I just don’t fit in”.  She is unhappy in this world we have created for her and feels pressures of conformity and conventionality.  From a young age, I too felt the pressure from the world to be squeezed into its mold.  I chaffed at the idea of a life of normalcy.  When my 8th grade English teacher showed us “Dead Poets Society” I felt something unlock within me.  Like Knox, I longs to escape on my bike and ride through a flock of geese causing them to fly away in distress.

Until my daughter expressed these things to me, I thought my experience was uncommon.  From Henry David Thoreau to James Baldwin, the artistic experience in America has been to kick against the goads of mediocrity.  Yet, I fear that even amongst the all the diversity of experiences in this country, the common theme seems to be “you don’t belong here”.

So how do we build a world where we belong?


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Relaunching My Patreon Account

I’ll be relaunching my Patreon account next week.  I plan on having new comics up each week.  Some of these will be new and others will be “re-runs” from my mini comics that haven’t been online in years.  Each story will be available to the public for 28 days, but Patrons will have access to the stories forever and will get access to them a week earlier.

Please consider becoming a Patron for even as low as $.25 a week.