zco.mx - a non-profit sharing site for small-press cartoonists - just launched! I am excited to share more comics with more people through this site. Check it out HERE. There's no doubt about it: there are tons of mind-blowing, funny, provocative comics out there, that you and I haven't had a chance to read yet. I expect that zco.mx is going to make them a lot easier to find!
So far, I've been especially enjoying comics by Inés Estrada, David Lasky, David C. Mahler, and Andrea Tsurumi
Check out some of my previously hard-to-find-online-stories electronically at the site. I'll be adding more in coming weeks. You will see great new-to-you work from around the world at zco.mx, and most importantly you can contribute to support work you like. All proceeds go directly to the artists!
I am glad to say that I've been lax about updating this site because I've been extra busy making comics. So far, Non Partum at Mutha Magazine has been my most gratifying creative project ever! I hope that you will read the series as it grows through 2015. I feel sure that I'll never run out of ideas for comics about motherhood, and that we all can't help but be interested in mothers - everybody has at least one! As always, it's super satisfying for me to gather the pieces that will make up each story - some directly from my own life, some I've invented completely, and others derived from my constant worrying about everything. I like building the scaffolding that will hold that story together convincingly so I can send it out to you.
Of course, comics are nothing unless they are being read. That's why I rely on feedback from readers to know if I am being heard and making sense. I think of myself as a print cartoonist, but it's clear to me now that online comics can reach more people more quickly than any of the print comics in my shop. The best part of being part of Mutha Magazine's comics roster is knowing that people are hearing me, sharing the same fears and joys, and bringing their own experiences to reading (like you can help that!)
I am especially honored by these reviews, recommendations at shoutouts from
Scott McCloud -Understanding Comics is the reason I actually sat down and consciously decided to make comics
Comics Reporter - a "Go, Look" from the site I read the most for reviews, news and interviews about comics
Women Write About Comics - the most thorough analysis of one of my comics ever, and it's right on target in every way.
Please keep commenting and sharing - it means so much to me.
None of the comics I drew in the 1990s were autobiographical. When people wrote me letters (real letters - to a P.O. Box!) many of them assumed that my comics were completely autobiographical. One reader asked "How much of these stories come from your own life?...I guess you must be an 11 year old-grandma-newlywed on maternity leave!" I take that autobio-assumption for what it is: a compliment, but I think it also says something about comics and the way we read them with such trust. When you read a comic, you are complicit in making it happen - it feels true.
I've only written a couple of completely autobiographical stories, and I find the responsibility confining. In my non-comics time, I am a librarian. That means that I have tsk tsked my way through anti-plagiarism presentations, discretely explained the difference between fiction and non-fiction to all kinds of people, untangled mangled citations, and identified valid information more often than most people. I am obsessed with proof and documentation, and even more obsessed with the limits of documentation to represent reality.
This has been on my mind while working on my new series Non Partum at Mutha Magazine and reading this discussion at The Comics Journal. I am honored to have my comics up with some of my favorite cartoonists and nuanced, funny, diverse, intelligent writing on motherhood. Non Partum is turning out to be the most autobiofictionographical work I've ever done. I am being very truthful and precise about many things, but I am also mushing some people together, inventing others completely, pretending some things have happened, and not mentioning others that did. One thing I love about the lies is that they might be what makes the story feel true to you.
I'll be joining Katherine Arnoldi & Russ Fedorka tonight for a panel discussion sponsored by the Pittsburgh Collaborative for Working Class Studies. The event will be in Room 602 in the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh - 6-8PM. We each use comics to address class, feminism and activism in different ways - it will be a lively and enlightening conversation. Plus there will be a display of feminist/working class/queer/alternative comics out front!
I imagine that all small press cartoonists entertain similar daydreams. Being interviewed by Terry Gross - answering the MacArthur "genius grant" phone call - and having work reviewed in The Comics Journal are my top three. So, I might have passed out for a second when I saw my name in Rob Clough's review of the Dog City # 2 anthology in The Comics Journal this week.
Working with Dog City Press has been so fulfilling and exciting. Like most people, I love comics, but I've become too lazy to spend time digging in bins, and flipping around online to find the next comic that's going to change my life. Dog City box sets recognize the need for curation to make small press comics shopping less daunting, while preserving that giddy feeling of discovery when you unearth your next favorite thing.
As an artist, the best part of contributing to Dog City has been seeing my work operating in an environment with other innovative cartoonists. Rob Clough captures the excitement of unwrapping, flipping through and reorganizing the set. There's nothing like a review - from someone who reads, thinks and breathes comics - and "gets" what you are trying to do. I don't expect the other daydreams to come true...ever...so I'm definitely reveling in this with all the Dog City Artists!
I had so much fun presenting comics at the Bonfire Reading Series last month, that I decided to post these three short comics from the event as a slide show here.
I sometimes tell people that I decided to become a cartoonist because I want to be a storyteller, but don't want to do readings! I've even been working my way away from read-out-loudable comics over the years too - either by using unpronounceable symbols or eliminating words all together. Of course, I still want you to hear my voice - for real! If you are in Pittsburgh on Friday, February 21, 2014 - 6:30-9:30 PM, I hope you will come and hear some comics from me at this month's Bonfire Reading Series. I am so proud to have been invited to read with this group that supports boundary breaking contemporary writers.
I have a new comix slideshow cycle - Down the Shore - included in the first ever issue of Long Division. This project was a lot of fun. Founding Editor, Lareese Hall, asked different kinds of artists to respond to Ed Ruscha's Twentysix Gasoline Stations on its 50th anniversary. The result is a whole new kind of artist's book.
Ruscha's project started me thinking about my home state of New Jersey and New Jersians' odd relationships with cars and driving. While I was working on this last summer, my favorite boardwalk town, Seaside Heights, burned. This panel is my little goodbye to the most recent Seaside Heights. Since it's already survived Snooki and Sandy, I know it will be back in a new form by summertime.
I am honored to be included in the current Aster(ix): a journal of art literature and criticism. It's a thrill to see my comic, Las Cuerpas, in conversation with the work of amazing artists and writers.
Dog City 2 box in process!
I am honored to be a part of the second Dog City anthology/box of awesome that will be hot off the presses for SPX. My piece is Selfies - a collection of rarely seen and brand new material that circles around two things that need to be taken more seriously: comics and young women. Juan Fernandez, Luke Healy and Simon Reinhardt are all talented cartoonists, and - even better - they are excellent editors and curators. I'm sure this collection will even smell good!