Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Little Surreal Holiday Visit from Santa Dali

Happy holidays! I hope you are having better luck at getting into the spirit this year than I am. With the retail stores putting up decorations in early October and the non-stop commercials trying to brow beat us into shopping now! I was burned out before the Thanksgiving turkey was cut. Bah!

So in an effort to find some Xmas spirit, I was looking back over this three page bit I did for Dan Taylor's mini comic, "Pork Belly" called "Santa Dali". I connected with Dan through the Poopsheet Foundation, answering a forum board "submission call" notice. It had been a long while since I had done any comix work, so it felt good to throw some ink down again. Check it out;

Have a Merry Ho-Ho!


Monday, October 22, 2012

King-Cat Comics

The world of self-published comics and zines is stronger then ever because of the internet. It's never been easier to create your own comic and distribute it. Way back in the 1980s and 1990s when I was doing "Reluctant Sadist", everything was done through the mail. A zine artist would connect with their readers by sending out review copies to pubs like "Fact Sheet Five" and "Small Press Comix Explosion". Now you can draw a comic streaming live or collaborate with other artists all over the world. There are no boundaries.  I got to admit though that I like reading comics the old-fashioned way in a hard copy format. I like the artifact and intimacy of "reading it real". Somehow reading it on a screen makes it too easy to forget, gives the words and images less meaning. I use the net to find new comics and when I do, I send off my dough and eagerly await getting some "good mail".

I don't recall when or how I found John Porcellino's zine, "King-Cat Comics", but I've been following his blog, "Maybe Blogging Will Help" for a few months and decided it was time to get my hands on some King-Cat. The photo above is my "de-enveloping" of issues #65 and #71. John also included a hand-written note and doodle which was a nice touch. When I read comics, I prefer to read auto-biographical stuff and King-Cat fits that. The stories and art are minimal, but personal. There's a zen quality to the stories that often focus on simple experiences that could easily be overlooked in this busy world. I like being reminded of the simple things. Here's my favorite panel from issue #65 called "Places".

I relate to that idea. Sometimes I see myself in some second floor apartment above an old store front in some small, quiet town reading a thrift store copy of "The Dharma Bums" while lying on a hand-me-down couch. If you dream of simple things, then check out King-Cat Comics.


Monday, October 8, 2012

"Dry with the Threadbare Towel" - Issue Seven

Many shit words
hangover filled mornings
grabbing at the alarm clock 
shower with the empty shampoo bottle
wash with the thin soap
dry with the threadbare towel
no breakfast
rice lunch
home to empty kitchen
cut off notices
more beer
more beer
can’t find a pair of clean socks
always had clean socks at home
What happened to meat and vegetables??

-Michael Wingfield

That piece comes from one of my favorite RS stories that was in issue number seven and is called, "Dry with the Threadbare Towel". It was born from a writing collaboration with my friend Michael Wingfield. Back when we were young bucks, we'd often spend nights hanging out in bars playing a writing game we called "Poetry Tag". Basically, we'd throw out some random phrases and both spend a few minutes writing something around it. We'd stop, read out loud what we had written, swap notebooks and try another phrase. Needless to say, a lot of bad crap was scrawled, but now and again, some gems would break through the chaff. "Threadbare Towel" was edited from one particular round. This bit, the combination of Mike's words and this drawing I did of him, is my favorite panel in the story.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hey You Kids, Don't Put Your Lips On It...

In an old skit on Saturday Night Live, Steve Martin and Bill Murray stared into the camera and asked, "WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?" So what's the connection with RS you ask? Recently I was chatting with a new friend on Twitter and she asked me what my book was about. That stopped me cold. What the hell is, was RS about? I've been digging back through the journals trying to reassemble my thinking from that time (sometimes an exercise in terror and humiliation. Jesus, the 80s was a scary time in many ways), so I have a fair handle on why I was doing the comix (the usual, an odyssey of spiritual growth and a cry for attention), but what was it about? There were themes of friendship, alienation, suicidal tendencies, angst, surrealism, attempts at humor, confusion and drinking. I didn't have a conscious agenda, rather I went wherever my damaged little muse would take me, usually somewhere dodgy with lots of broken glass and rusty nails laying around. When you finally did turn the corner and saw the thing, you damn well didn't want to put your lips on it.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Image for December 3, 2011 - How These Things Get Done...

I have mentioned on here from time-to-time about a project I am working on to collect my old underground comic from the late 1980s called "Reluctant Sadist". Considering the glacial pace that I have been moving on this project, I should just call it "RELUCTANT" and turn it into a performance art piece. I was going great guns gathering materials and scanning all the art work and contacting folks from the past securing permissions to use their words and images and then I came to the hard part of the project; ACTUALLY WRITING THE DAMN THING. Through the years, I have grown lazy in my creative work habits and throw on top of that distractions like the internets and the sad result is not much to show. Part of my problem too is I haven't been able sustain the effort. Sure, I have been able to achieve little victories here and there, but then I'll have a gap of months with no work and I lose the flavor of the thing. Today, I decided to commit to half an hour a day to the project, even if it's just research or reading, I need to keep my ass in the chair with the materials in front of me for that thirty minutes. Now, that doesn't sound like a lot of time, but you'd be surprised at how much can be accomplished in those thirty minutes. I also find that I often work well beyond that period, as I did today, because the hardest part for me is often just getting started. Here's my work table. I need to spread out. I also have three different notebooks open for other notes because I usually get ideas for other projects; short movies, comix stories, this year's Xmas card, etc; and I make sure to capture them all.  I also took this photo to document how I work, as I enjoy seeing other people's work and studio spaces. What's your workspace look like?


Note: This first appeared on my other blog, Weaverwerx on December 3, 2011.

Image for 4-18-11 - peep

I always liked this frame. It's from the fifth issue of my old underground comix, "Reluctant Sadist". I need to get back working on the book project I started that will collect all the issues together and also other work from that time. The "peep" is because I got no excuse. I must get ass in gear.


Note: This first appeared on my other blog, Weaverwerx on April 18, 2011.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Image for 2/17/11 - Reluctant Sadist book project

Today, another panel pulled from my old comic "Reluctant Sadist". I am making some solid progress on my book project to collect all that old stuff. Here's a little taste from issue five.


Note: This first appeared on my other blog, Weaverwerx February 17, 2011

Monday, March 12, 2012

Image for 2-13-2011 - Progress

I got a fair chunk of writing done yesterday (I know, I'm a day late) on my "Reluctant Sadist" book project. Worked on Chapter eleven that collects underground comix art I did for other publications. I was surprised at how much I did and I wonder if I had stayed with it, where I might be today. I suffer from the jack-of-all-trades curse. I can do a lot of things moderately well; well enough that I could make a mark in any one area. But, as it has gone, I've dabbled. I did devote myself to sculpture for a number of years, but even then I explored different styles and subjects. In the past twenty five years I have gone from comic book style drawing and monster make-up work to sculpture and writing (poetry, non-fiction articles and a feature film screenplay) to painting and acting. I love it all. So, here I am back 'round the horn and writing about the old comix work. Will it lead to my return to that world? Stay tuned to find out...


Note: This first appeared on my other blog, Weaverwerx February 13, 2011.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Image for Feb. 7, 2010 - Art from the archive

Another piece of art from the mighty Weaverwerx archive, that I recently scanned for my "Reluctant Sadist" book project. This was a cover I did for the long gone and long missed local magazine "Catharsis". Ah, those were the days.


Note: This first appeared on my other blog, Weaverwerx February 7, 2011

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Hard Part Begins...

I have been tracking down folks and publications whom either contributed to my old comix "Reluctant Sadist" (remember the book project I'm working on) or reviewed it to get permission to reprint their work. It's been a fun and enlightening bit of detective work. Everyone has been very supportive and cooperative so far and that has been encouraging me to get more done. My biggest enemy right now is negative inertia. It's too easy to let the job, socializing and household duties eat up all of my time (not to mention the TV and the intertubes). Getting all the material cleared is a huge step. Now the hard bit begins. I have to actually start writing something. To jump start that creaky chunk of grey matter, I have dug out the old journals from that time period and have been reading through them trying to get back to that time and place. Sifting through the petty gripes and endless blathering to find a live wire that reconnect me to the heat. Help me understand why I was doing what I was doing and why I stopped. Examining each issue again is setting off smoke bombs and bottle rockets, flashes of memory and insight and I know once I get the hand moving the words will lay down.

I added a link on the sidebar to the right to Brad Foster's web site Jabberwocky Graphix. Brad contributed a cool one page piece to the fifth issue of RS and has agreed to let me reprint in the book. Thank you Brad.


Note: This first appeared on my other blog, Weaverwerx on April 29, 2010

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Progress Report from March 31, 2010

I have actually been moving in what could be mistaken for a forward direction on my "Reluctant Sadist" book project. "Reluctant Sadist" was an underground, self-published comic that I did back in the late 1980s'. I printed seven issues before I got distracted by sculpting, but that's a story that'll be saved for the book. All the artwork has been scanned, plus loads of stuff that I did for other comix and even a nice chunk of scribbles and sketches. It's been a lot of fun to dig back through the piles and look at all that old stuff. I've finally made my pack-rat tendencies pay-off, as I have plenty of material for the book, including old reviews from "Factsheet Five" and "Small Press Comics Explosion". Next up will be getting folks who contributed to my old comic to sign release forms, so I can use their stuff. Then the hard part, I have to start writing.


Note: This first appeared on my other blog, Weaverwerx on March 31, 2010.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Night Vision

"Night Vision" was my second student film made as a final project for Film Making 102 at TCC Virginia Beach. This time we had to edit and have sound. This was back in the late 1980s, so editing meant physically cutting the film and using either tape or cement splices to join the new pieces. If you made a mistake, you were screwed, especially if you were working on your only copy of the film as all the students doing this project were. There was no "undo", no easy to make digital back-up. You rolled the film back and forth in the moviola and thought very carefully about the artistic choice you were about to make because there might not be any going back. Of course it was easier to think back then because there wasn't the consistent interruptions of Facebook or e-mail or cell phones, etc. The sound was accomplished by laying down all the music and dialogue to cassette tape and playing it back while projecting the film. It was closer to performance art, then cinema.

The original story of "Night Vision" was taken from an underground comic book that I published for awhile called "Reluctant Sadist". I had a ready made story already storyboarded so that gave me a big head start for this project. I also had an advantage in my then room friend and long time friend Colin Martin as he was (still is) a gifted musician and willing to take a run at acting, so I also had a star and music composer in house. Colin played "Sam" the nightmare-suffering lead and I took on the role of "Speed", his less-than-helpful, hyperactive roommate donning the hair farm. We shot all the interiors in our apartment with the black & and white dream sequences shot in and around the abandoned waterfront warehouses (long since torn down for luxury condominiums) in downtown Norfolk, Virginia. I couldn't afford the time or money for black white film, so I hit upon the idea of shooting the dream sequences on video, then filming them off the TV screen. This also allowed me to play with the brightness and contrast to give the footage a more dream-like quality. The final touch was looping the dialogue and Colin's fantastic music. As I recall, the student audience responded very well and the teacher was thrilled. Ah, glory days....


(NOTE - this was originally published on my Weaverwerx blog on January 18, 2010)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I Was a Reluctant Sadist...

Way back in the 20th Century, in the eighth decade, I used to publish an underground comic called "Reluctant Sadist". It ran from 1986-1989 and was "digest-size" which is a regular piece of paper folded in half, so you get four pages per sheet. I did everything, write it, draw it, occasionally invited other artist to contribute. I had a blast. Recently, an old friend from that scene, Ralk Schulze of Aardvark Farms, hipped me to a "social network" devoted to the underground/self-publishing/micro-comix realm called The Poopsheet Foundation. I was amazed to see so many artists from back in the day, still doing their thing. I had recently begun to scan all he original artwork from RS, to be used for a future, to-be-disclosed-at-a-later-date project, so have been tripping down memory lane and enjoying seeing my old art. Poopsheet is the perfect venue to share that stuff, so I uploaded the covers of the first five issues. Check it out:

Here's the link to the gallery. Find more photos like this on Poopsheet


Note: This first appeared on my other blog, Weaverwerx on September 20, 2009.