Ganges title concepts:

interrupted sleep

phrases from musical forms

word that most people don’t know


("absurd, tickles funny bone, makes her happy" --A’s criteria for what she likes in art)

  Story ideas:
cockroach bells - tie and then the cat.

stealing from the man, and thieves code
not harming individuals, harming the system

civil defense old guys who were in charge of nuclear codes, and evacuation routes, 


    for books

(simple, fun to say, international english, not descriptive except aesthetically; may not even fit. Hard consonants--K's criteria for good titles. ex. Moby Dick, or The Whale. --makes it obvious. Other (also book cover): The Nix.)

dark house. Dark House. DARK HOUSE. (no)



    for characters

Daniel Noodleman / Edelman

Bella Thorne (as example)

Reneesmee (as example)

Samuel Hall (as example)

Kendrick Jenkins (as example)

Jermaine Rydell

Chunk the doll (a Rabbit) (made up)

José the doll (doll with sombrero) (actual)

(with Amara Hark-Weber)

Time Capsule Sunday Reading Links 1/1/2016

The Current Problems at the Shops
The problems being articulated to me are the following:
  • DC’s prices are too low
  • Customers disappearing
  • Customers are switching to tpbs/book format
  • Customers don’t like Marvel’s output
  • Rising cost of doing business
  • Diamond credit crackdown
Let’s do this by the numbers.

Cyber Panic - The current panic uses a definition of hacking that rates very low on the scale of cyberattacks, and blurs the line between actual security breaches and the dissemination of political propaganda.

-images via (link). Adorno everyday (see link). Adorno reading the internet, looking at ads from old comic books. Imagine that what if this is the redeemed world. Thanks to Lambert Zuidevaart.

Currently Reading: I Hate the Internet. Leaves Of Grass. The Organized Mind. New Yorker Magazine. Baron Bean.

Comics 2016 (part one)

-Comics Workbook
-Parsons School of Design Illustration (dir. Ben Katchor)
-UW-Madison (Lynda Barry)
-CCS? Lost touch with it this year. Same with Wash U (Dowd, Zettwoch, Tim Lane)
-MCAD (where I, Zak Sally, and Tom K. teach, among others (link TK). Anders Nilsen also taught there.)
-The school that hired Sousanis/
-Yale? I don’t know that much about comics skools, to be honest

Pap Pap (and which I paid money for)
-Last Look / Patience / Ware’s Guardian strip and NYer work / Spiegelman’s one pager
-Blammo #9 (moustache, also see: Johnny Ryan)
-Baron Bean / Krazy Kat 1916
-Jim Woodring on Facebook, 
-Kim Deitch on Facebook, 
-Carol Tyler on FB 

CARTOONIST TYPES: Princess vs. Old Grandpa vs. Street Punk vs. Sage/Witch vs. Dad/Mom vs. Content Provider models 
-Method: have a relatively large audience, give them free content every once in a while, keep a few levels distance between oneself and them (be cool), stay on top of the Latest Topics, draw big checks from big cities, somehow.

-Would like to see the new Ben Jones zine, where can I get one? I need to put aside a weekend to read that interview with N. Rudick and think about it.
-CF’s CALL Magazine. 

Deep Level Moves
-My life being what it is, I’ve lost contact with some of the cartoonists I’ve learned the most from over the years. I see them, but not much of their work. When they do put work out, it’s too dense, somehow, and I can’t penetrate. If anything, I draw less from a deep knowledge of their work and I just skim off energy what I know is going on deep in the comic, because I know how deep they are seeing, beyond what I see. Their body of work helps sustain me as I drew Ganges #6. cf Anders, Sammy, Marc Bell, John P, Ron Rege, G. Bell, Clowes, Burns, Ware, etc.

Health of the Elder Ones, Careers of Peers, Middle Managers, and Caretakers
-Who is on what medication, who is helping, who is working on retrospectives, who is working on archiving, who has new work, who got divorced, how everyone is doing. Dealing with Alvin’s death.

-Santoro’s influence dominates my tumblr, but there are so many other spheres of comics on the internet now too. Need ethnographic data.
-4 Color scans of old comic book pages with sharpness on the dots, pages from the Heritage Auctions

-RIP Big Brain, Peace to Drivas
-Anders moved to Portland
-Nostalgia Zone and Dreamhaven are incredible, stores of my dreams. Minneapolis is a book lover's dream, it's almost too much for me. I may bury myself in books here.
-Magers and Quinn (best simple comics selection in Minneapolis?)
-trying to get a weekly thing going! (Shout out to STL Drawing Crew)
-Sam Gould??? Univocal??? 
-Wish I had talked to Eddie Campbell when he was in town. His line was too long at the Book Fair, is my bad excuse.

Bargain Bins:
-DreamHaven (p. good, bw boom, manga, mid 90s)
-Midway Books (89-92 junk, kind of shitty actually)

Comic Books (via The Source in St. Paul)
-Klaus by Grant Morrison
-something about demons, Rafael Grampa mixed with Kerascoet Woman’s face
-Sergio Aragones
-thinking about the career of John Romita Jr
-thinking about when Cerebus was monthly in the mid 90s

The Hosmer Library’s collection, and the MCAD Library’s collections (worth a visit)

New Wave/Grimy Keyboard Krew, Pacific Rim and Genderwave
DeForge, Klaus, Breakdwon, Landfill, Dane Martin, A Degen, BMW

Critical Discourse
-I don’t really follow it, but I’m interested.
-Issues of Morality and Art. Groths of Twitter? Nadel is focused on NYC issues. Tisserand’s Herriman book. Twitter is brutal but necessary (like TCJ and the TCJ Messageboard, maybe?).
-In comics, critical discourse often is mixed in with a lot of Outraged Fan Ranting, as it should be. Outrage lately about sex and superheroes, of course. What others should be doing instead.
-Don’t know what goes in YA Librarian or Parent or Walking Dead, Brian K Vaughn, Saga, circles, but that’s another huge part of comics I often wonder about—what’s that all about? Near enemies.

-D&Q and Fanta Anniversaries. 
-Breakdown/Landfill, the best UK comics publishers
-I like a lot of Retrofit comics
-Self Made Hero and No Brow are interesting. NoBrow will last much longer and seems more smart. Interesting how both sidestep US/UK Comics history for the most part, and go either France or Japan.
-2D Cloud and Uncivilized, MINNEAPOLIS
-Canada. Annie and Peter and Devlin/Burns. Chester Brown and DeForge/Tamaki lifestyle cartoonists. Patrick Kyle. Marc Bell spending most of the year in Minneapolis and not seeing him enough.
-YA and Children's comics, the stuff I see at the Hosmer library. Toon Books

-I didn’t read as much as I used to, but I read a ton, relative to most people. I read a lot of Olde Canon Comics (The Best Comics): Baron Bean, Wash Tubbs, Gasoline Alley.
-I put out 2 zines, Comix Skook USA #4 and #5. I drew most of Ganges #6, but a lot of it was first written in 2014. A lot has changed in my life since then. I may be losing my mind, but I also think I’m drawing the best work of my life (the question is how much is that saying?).
-The Internet: my daily life is full, so I don’t look at it that much anymore. I don’t like it that much. I prefer books and magazines and reading things in print. I still draw a lot of inspiration and energy from it, though. I’m trying not to tell anyone about how they should live their life, other than to buy my comics. Dealing with spam is like a major thing in our lives, what a world. Who will read all the spam? Who will speak for the spam? Who will collect the spam and archive it for future historians? Who cares that I posted this on my blog?

I just read the new Blammo and it was amazing. Everyone should read it. When I clean up my apartment in a few days maybe I’ll upload a longer list of things in Part 2.

Dec. 17, 2016

Final Week of the Semester (first draft)

Well, here we go. Time to see what they did this semester. It's a somber party, with everyone getting a chance at the dj booth. It goes on for over 5 hours each day.

If you are interested in my new zines, COMIX SKOOL USA, there are now 5 issues. They are notes and handouts I've used in my classes at MCAD, where I teach 6 separate courses over the course of the year.

Visual Storytelling
Intro to Comics
Comics 2
Advanced Senior Seminar
Experimental Comics

Watch this space for more info, but if you would like to order them, they are available from Quimby's in Chicago, or Spit and a Half.

If you would like to order them directly from me, send money to me in Paypal. It's $20.00 for all 5 issues, $5 for each one individually.

Email me for more information and to order.


PS Destroyer's Rubies is 10 years old! Canada!
PPS Remember when Todd McFarlane gave all his favorite bros like $100,000 or something to write a few issues of Spawn? Remember how awesome they were?! Canada! I would like to offer $100 to Michael DeForge, Seth, and Marc Bell to write the next few upcoming issues of GANGES. Email me.
PPPS Minnesota. Congratulations to Tom and Jordan and everyone for the ODOD line. Gabrielle's new book is out next April. Sorry I've missed the two events for your book, Anders and Jay. It's a good book!

Notes to Myself, by various

“This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.” (WWhitman)

“We must clear [our minds] of preconceived notions, we must suspend judgement, we must open ourselves to the situation, take in as much data as we can, and wait patiently for some kind of order to appear out of the chaos. In short, we must think like a little child…. Remember what you have learned about learning. Be like a child. Use your eyes. Gag that teacher’s mouth inside your head, asking all those questions. Don’t try to analyze this thing, look at it, take it in…. The only thing to do [is] to turn off the questions and watch—like a child. Take it all in. See everything, worry about nothing.” (teacher, I'm not totally on board with everything that teacher says, but OK, something to think about, link from Kleon's tumblr)

“People deeply concerned about self-fulfillment and self-expression are often alien to [meaningful and deep] discovery. Instead of seeing phenomena through limpid glass, they must look through their own reflected images. Discovery instead suggests the temporary immersion of subjectivity, the dissolution of the membrane that normally separates self from other. [not sure about this metaphor. Rather, "subjectivity" and "objectivity" come together and transform into a new, third thing?]. Similarly discovery more often waits up those who conceive of achievement as part of a communal effort than upon those who want it as a personal prize. The best-kept secret about real achievement is that it is synonymous with contribution.” (GG Things)

And-Then vs. Therefore

…the distinction between "and then" storytelling vs. "therefore" storytelling. The reason I'm writing is because I think that while it's true that your story is more of an "and then" kind of thing, and while I think that is FINE, maybe the story should maybe take on more of the characteristics of poetry? It could more directly announce itself as "not a story." That way the reader isn't misled and becomes confused and hostile: "what is up with this story? It just drifts around...what's the point???” I was reading Walt Whitman this morning and I remembered that poetry is a classic place for the "and then" storytelling. It’s a rhythmic musical form for language, consciousness, order, etc., instead of the "logic" of character. When the story’s form arises more immediately and primarily out of the characters’ wants and personalities, the logic of "why did they do that?" that you find in the classic 3-act dramatic form of storytelling and in general folk psychology…

…comics can be thought of as lists, and lists can be thought of as chants. W is associating a bunch of things together not according to therefore-logic, but in a ecstatic union-in-time, with rhythmic or musical logics, like a good DJ at a good party…

…still, you should learn the "therefore" style of storytelling…experiment with it, because it's a very valuable tool and generally more popular form of $torytelling. In general I think we read things for the story, but we remember the music. I don't know—I'll have to think more about this…

…look at the forms of the great poets and musical forms and think about how to translate those forms into comics… 

7/3/15 - Notes on Method - Comics / Typography

"...I think you should try thinking about clarity[...]A crucial place to focus is on your lettering. In your sketchbooks, copy typography that appeals to you, and approach your cartooning the way good typography is designed, balancing positive and negative spaces so that your panels "read" quickly and clearly. Cartooning can be thought of as graphic design, and as a typography of icons, or maybe just as having good handwriting, if your handwriting also includes a system of complicated emojis. In your sketchbooks try developing your own fonts—nothing fancy, just letterforms you like—and then play around with using them in non-sequiturs and to say offensive things, whatever gives them energy and keeps it interesting. Create your own "fonts" of  imagery too–instead of drawing a character from scratch each time, create a system in which you limit poses and character sizes to a only a few standard sizes and views, then trace those into panels before customizing the figure to whatever the needs are of that particular moment in the story (e.g., BushmillerNeil Jam, Segar, etc.). Another recommendation is to use graph paper (e.g., G. Bell), or (I prefer this–>) paper with dots in a grid pattern (link). This will keep you on track with at least the horizontal and vertical lines. Grids are very important for clarity..." 

"...the greatest cartoonists often have their own individual "feel" for typography, their own "font suitcases." When we think of the great cartoonist X we can also usually think of what is [X]-ian, their style or aesthetic that includes more than just the comics—there's also the "types" of typography they tend to use, a sense of design ..."

"...a general rule to remember is that if your hand-writing is difficult to read, your cartooning is probably difficult to read. Experiment with shrinking and enlarging your panels to get a sense of what size is ideal for legibility in different contexts..."

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Hot and Cold

Drew this last Thursday, the day after the C. Hebdo attack. This tweet struck me in part because of the hot take vs. cold bodies setup, as a way to measure time, and as a way to allude to the aggression human beings feel as they try to communicate with each other, urgently, aggressively, clumsily, and also because the other hot topic of conversation on the internet that morning in my internet social media "circles" was how the weather was across much of the country was extremely cold. It struck me that there are different times for everything, and at the same time, of course, timing is everything. When it's cold and dark, like in the winter, or in times of fear and violence, one of the things it's good to do is to just sit together, rest for a while, silently or just saying what's necessary, nothing more, giving everybody as much space as they need to heal and be sane, but maybe sitting a little closer than usual, to fit a few more, come on in, sit down, there's plenty of space. Taking everything a little more slowly, sharing things, good food, warmth, pleasant sounds or silence, seeing and being seen, in a sort of animal togetherness, out of the wind.

(link to original tweet)


Years ago I was very fortunate to follow along with some friends who were visiting Moriarty's studio/apt. in NYC. Seeing his work and how he lived in his studio and hearing him talk about it was extraordinary. He also has an incredible collection of jazz records, colorful shirts, and colorful Chuck Taylors. It wasn't until I saw heard him talk about his work, much of it hanging right there on the brick wall, some of it freshly worked over, that I really saw what he was doing in these paintings (these were some of the paintings that were in the big Kramers). 

He was painting memories from his own life, but changing them—painting his older self in place of his younger self, or changing himself into a girl instead of a boy, etc. Through this process, and through living every day in the same space with these large paintings, he wasn't just working on the paintings but also working on his own mind, his own life, drawing out and calling upon powerful forces—memories, especially of painful childhood moments, or of his parents who had passed on, and pivotal moments in his own life—and then sitting with them, living with them, the ghosts and echoes of them. 

I was already an "artist," I guess, by this point in my life, and I was playing around with comics a bit, but I'm a slow learner. It wasn't until this moment that I really in my bones understood that making art can be a technology for actually magically affecting reality, working with your life, through the transformation of memories and suffering and whatever else needs new life, into new symbolic forms, into meaningful objects, that we can sit with and look at and live with. 

There's that line from a Robert Penn Warren poem that David Milch is always quoting:         
is the process whereby pain of the past in its pastness
May be converted into the present tense

Of joy.

Check out Jerry Moriarty's tumblr (link) and UPDATE: (YouTube channel).

Gift Ideas

No exchanges allowed. – Human beings are forgetting how to give gifts. Violations of the exchange-principle have something mad and unbelievable about them; here and there even children size up the gift-giver mistrustfully, as if the gift were only a trick, to sell them a brush or soap. Instead, one doles out charity, administered well-being, which papers over the visible wounds of society in coordinated fashion. In its organized bustle, the human impulse no longer has any room, indeed even donations to the needy are necessarily connected with the humiliation of delivery, the correct measure, in short through the treatment of the recipient as an object. Even private gift-giving has degenerated into a social function, which one carries out with a reluctant will, with tight control over the pocketbook, a skeptical evaluation of the other and with the most minimal effort. Real gift-giving meant happiness in imagining the happiness of the receiver. It meant choosing, spending time, going out of one’s way, thinking of the other as a subject: the opposite of forgetfulness. Hardly anyone is still capable of this. In the best of cases, they give what they themselves would have liked themselves, only a few degrees worse. The decline of gift-giving is mirrored in the embarrassing invention of gift-articles, which are based on the fact that one no longer knows what one should give, because one no longer really wants to. These goods are as relationless as their purchasers. They were shelf-warming junk from the first day. Likewise with the right to exchange the gift, which signifies to the receiver: here’s your stuff, do what you want with it, if you don’t like it, I don’t care, get something else if you want. In contrast to the embarrassment of real gifts, their pure fungibility still represents something which is more humane, because they at least permit the receiver to give themselves something, which is to be sure simultaneously in absolute contradiction to the gift.
In relation of the greater abundance of goods, which are available even to the poor, the decline of gift-giving may appear unimportant, and reflections on it as sentimental. However, even if it became superfluous in a condition of superfluity – and this is a lie, privately as well as socially, for there is no-one today whose imagination could not find exactly what would make them thoroughly happy – those who no longer gave would still be in need of gift-giving. In them wither away those irreplaceable capacities which cannot bloom in the isolated cell of pure interiority, but only in contact with the warmth of things. Coldness envelops everything which they do, the friendly word which remains unspoken, the consideration which remains unpracticed. Such iciness recoils back on those from which it spread. All relations which are not distorted, indeed perhaps what is reconciliatory in organic life itself, is a gift. Those who become incapable of this through the logic of consequence make themselves into things and freeze.
- Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia (21)

Pretty Good Review

"But it is in his poems that Dr. S_____ most vividly expresses the vitality of his realization of the Universal Life. The remarkable scope of his vision, the fertile yield of past centuries to his condensingly-interpretative thought, and the mighty swing of his fragrant censer of realization of essence combine to produce a picture in which all the past and the present display their dominant notes and colours in a harmony so glorious as to open forth to us a dazzling glimpse of the onward coming future. The superb melody of the ages as sung on earth by the characteristic events of the evolutionary progress of humanity follows a rhythm which, once perceived, is entrancing and illuminating beyond compare; and it is much of this that Dr. S_____ has put into the most prominent of his poems. He grasps and holds universal things before us for interpretation as they may be seen when partially expressed in transient periods, movements and thoughts of human beings on our earth; and through it all rings prophetically the clarion cry of man's inevitable and glorious destiny." (1902) (link)