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ii .a. and have had a hundred intimate conversations since then. People might not remember you. TITLE PAGE: “Air Quotes”—watercolor pencil on paper. The Reason She Left and other stories by Kristen Baumgardner Caven (a. without a face.k.com www. Kristen Caven) isbn-10: 1451587813 isbn-13: 9781451587814 © 2011 by Kristen Caven all rights reserved www. since they were altered that time you had that intimate conversation.” “a freelance editor.com 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 First Edition LITTLE PIG PRODUCTIONS Operas and stuff* Feel free to sing along. Or one who cannot be seen or deﬁned. *(mostly stuff). Introduce yourself enough times as “Brad’s roommate.littlepig. In the Big City.kristencaven.COVER: The ﬁgure with the rays of light where her face should be is from the part in The Reason She Left when Nettie arrives in the Big City and realizes she is not deﬁned by anyone or anything. a young single has access to lots of other young singles. You may never see the same people twice. But socializing can leave you feeling emptier than being alone. Or who feels like a blank canvas. inspired by the song Freezing by Suzanne Vega & Phillip Glass. This picture also can be seen as a young woman whose mind is being blown.” or “an art student at City College” and you can start hearing your own quotation marks. Or one who is pure consciousness. Or having a religious experience. Or a person who is full of light.
table of Contents
INTRODUCTION 1 2
a bRIef hIsTORy Of The aTOmIC TheORy kIDO COmICs 8 12 16 20
sIx TRUe sTORIes IN GOD’s COUNTRy
lIT-CRIT lOve IN pO-mO TImes The ReasON she lefT 22 55
NOT exaCTly a faIRy Tale eGO sUm 60 63
afTeRThOUGhTs 65 (notes on the opera)
Make yourself comfortable.
I drowned my sorrows in volunteering (sacriﬁcing my feminist ideals for historical fantasy by modeling expired fashions and dancing in a bathing suit on stage) and design work. and of witnessing a hystoric revolution.. A Wimmins Comix editor invited me to submit to issue #18. Personal computers arrived and everyone got busy being graphic artists. My boxes of art soon acquired the classic “California basement” smell. The book you are about to read releases my secret collection of personal rhapsodies on life’s mysteries. sisters of the ink had elbowed their way into the growing alternative press movement as Wimmin and Grrrlz. the last issue of each. A tsunami of manga arrived from Japan. published whenever a free copy machine appeared on my path. Deeply in love with my sketchbooks. women have been drawing them. I was busy meandering through my college career. targeted towards girls!)—and slowly but surely the graphic novel became a mainstream literary form. (shockingly. In the 1980s. Perfectly Revolting: My Glamorous Cartooning Career. When superheros arrived in the 1930s. I became fearful of publishing my work. but enough nerve in my glamour days to put them the heck out there. But it could have just been that the times were changing. the last issue published was #17. In the nineteen-nineties. I ﬁnally touched the edge of a circle of women artists. and by the 1970s had squeezed a lot of interesting heroines and women writers out of the industry.. and my Atomic Comic was printed in it’s ﬁrst ‘zine.C. tells my tale of cartooning in and after college. just moments before the times changed.. Publishing their writings in supportive and collaborative environments. I made up almost as many pen names as characters. I was oblivious to this.INTRODUCTION THE REASON SHE WROTE the things in this book Since comics began... My ﬁrst book.I. #3. they opened a seam of awareness (and sometimes anger) that women and girls have their own stories to tell. and like to read. I was reading Garﬁeld between bouts with the Great Books. outlining ideas and questions with black lines.take us away! 1 .. Muses. I was a founding member of Friends of Lulu when it was just an APA (amateur press association). People had kids and had to ﬁnd real jobs. lest I kill off more collectives. Exploring identity as well as narrative. A few years ago I realized that I’d not only developed enough skills in my years of desktop publishing to pull my works together. but alas. I looked for excuses to turn stories and essays into sequential art that pleased my audience of one: me.. besides..C. Discovering the opportunities of the times. and learning how to shade them so they looked real outside my head. exploring the nooks and crannies of my brain with a pencil. The Reason She Left began serialization in Grunge #5 and W. some went on to invent blogs and webcomics.A. they sort of took over the place.
A Brief history of the Atomic theory
“In the beginning, Man did not ask questions.”
The first comic I ever drew is dedicated to Lucretius, a Roman philosopher who walked the earth a few decades before Christ but many centuries after the ancient Greeks. He wrote this beautiful poem called De Rerum Natura, or The Nature of Things, which presented the history of scientific ideas, and also disguised some very radical concepts about the knowable world by wrapping them in a beautiful love poem to nature.
“...newborn lambs gambol on wobbly legs through tender grass, their baby hearts tipsy with winy milk.”
In capturing the adore-ability of the natural world and maintaining very firmly that “Nature is Beauty,” Lucretius was able to coax those who believed “Nature is Magic” to understand that “Nature has its Reasons.” He couched his “bitter doctrine” of scientific inquiry in the “pleasant honey of the muses,” so superstitious readers would not freak out about things like atoms and the void. I thought this was such a cool idea that I wanted to ride on his coattails. I wanted to convey the adorability of science by drawing my term paper on the Atomic Theory in cartoons instead of dull, scientific text. I made the main character “Man” and dove right in, letting the art and words flow naturally together.
In ake the must d.. a cien e answ ns?” An tiovidualell-k ic perrce present in each an lid m s. ri when you ad one thing a va (C) to a co d mbination two things of (A+B). the first thing displaces one of the (C) two. Clau ees of affin typewriter to skip ahead a de Louis Be ity this idea. weight that amount paper with words only. es s. To ex ern Bergma e part of pa 1 rm ld ntu ce. wo ean rnst Nat g t urop rg E actl n n wa s. alpeci o . It w her th long do justice to the subject ly t y l ta to t theor t worke ory ra a very y as smal tists matter by next Monday. for heor to n t w d scie how ho show t ticul as not ither when the paper was due. It nation tion of le. the combin ation as much of if there ha Well. fatheor still.But every step of scientific knowledge is made through an infinite number of smaller steps. it f e wer o identified go fore Lavois ned a d th oxygen as s. one to h nuous ce enou ely st importa er—and that t k i — n cont evide en a li was so for mat matter open. in her d step matter y be d nhe a uses st blin d: “If uld the t scie ure he fir s aske y. a n pursued fo ce fuou her in e c rt n th hi the questi tan the . is n er By the end of the owev f atom for s. ation?” teen-h eches. ach ance o es than e Sometimes. e v time . suit en it er inqu Just a few ithe e part year y bs be wh eep en. mostly. o orm have a grea les of some pa id ter attrac liqu transf f the s particles of othe tion to ce r substanc rtain others do.f o . of the indi isi abl bur was ent te ler a so icles. If s Disserta ee on subs take traction: tion of El betw gas n Apparently ective Atuld substances r a atio the partic co ces . Th mposed ruth somewh n expla nipula as simp ere co ng in a t w w a ma t oi star nswer. “ coe Lavo teentuld a gas be contin nces k t mp uous if ch f s li g sti ent d osed hof pa y ve tist finall ks. (B) than (C d been twic ). I sadly turned to my nces can for one an lative degr other.. f Give i x B u been on part in sit ate si achim oa ilook at ad e nes stuf n this.) sought to prove that competitiv e affinitie of pre-atomic substances acting s depend no t Ch ap tw er t o out the Charles Atlas ninety-five pound weakling drama. ex dred and Ge y of t q w un ga r rther a ing cles. e s s ha er w ar and ble to ze a p there int to proces scov di po ules he ssi thesi . Or e ere. I realized I ne eory it e a th t as th it was with fa it was ugh had created a problem: no rove p an re e. Bergma this occurr n called ence a “sin gle electi and can be ve attracti explained on. the hat i ar the . rn e ier lai waher be rb p rticle the combustibl bega ry. substa by their re ancient ideas. thousand years and finish the ne of ques He realized tioning ly. but r T o o po the nt t gh t ypo ory. o y work theory cessar h alone introduction. there so e of at tah t Gre er to ine n th actinown s: must be so S ve fo ture to me sort a n i w part . E o he taki uestio hat.) 6 3 .” by the seco having a gr nd substanc eater affin e (C) ity for th the one (B e first (A) So after the first chapter on ) displace than d. — made a di — specifica fference to process! (F lor example. To p import is cas rst ste k befo easy e a there was no way I could fi th as so an wor one sk. h . then (B e might not ) have been bumped away Berthollet (I did manage to work in the idea . Lavoisier to h th g st si ok ick to re d e l ann Jo e phl stlennia gether oe xt er tuation: how do rta h ce ? isi wo h substa Why th In t e Joh il we whe re ted or mit on. whi he que much rspace? e-ei answ a rticles separated by t l -Lau tre lat The that er. By t diffe t ter. And th be compared us.. rthollet li and contin ked ued the li on his own.
e unite to mak nt recula th And ar atom of oxy o s salt. tthe s that. Gay-Lu substances Ame a for all s. humbled by the medium and infected by the desire to put more big ideas into pictures. He wei t six e three of r he combined gen two ghsance . B them. sumin te laini emai were d e pros. 7 ferent substance will ze pa pe. i s one base e For exampl of hydrogen. prov me ve y s ea span of ! ts mo d. at and y one ex sug ina didn’t lik there is onl his beight. bases. ma ate) certain su Su gf b e ac 577 s in which nce. suc l in ld di tom o el na ht ow th ce H fl volume’s wor on would fill the spa in a mens rave wou ch a trav mig om ts. st. ato trous gas. potseph oPrine Jo assi mb ou s nd 1 rather nast ine t to l A um n we wi 000 l also isnd. Ae d. nd. d? ed th gen. tes it to f pot of ining powe y constitu o lf s rmines comb of C rm two ash” (a Suitur affinit ations of ic mass is what dete a the implic pota rbonic neutral form tiveacid ac of varys st thought c y. 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T at ca wothat rnenableific comm iston of cu e rk ie og s c sidu s u al he e nd ropean sc s in phol ow se the re tire den ay-L f sub y di met ific fou Eud n relaomd th leaving e en t e G l c ll nd e couthat f a hu wion. as Pie d to illy disc en and thus. 1605 and 10 mass. vide. Cered uld sten es. chem e. the degree but on quan the iplied by traction.. 57 shed a dif with two of d n Gay-Lussac alwa rticl combo tions! For observed Alumi3 Joseph-Louis ms when he es ys u same propor 525 mg of res ory of Ato nite . ar t a ho s what. is n ts co ic Lou goofi ientis e atom eir No sc rre bestanci. and sa e acid and has three porng t n his ht unig t sub iscoid y mig s box B ned ac e hat combined on h another water. they ar tion laws ore how matter ead . The ygen. 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A little ChiKung/XiGung/QiGong and a few acupressure treatments revealed the secret lines of incorporated energy that. A hybrid. I found teachers who helped me discover the grace and power of my body’s own movement. Many traditional quests for knowledge lead students across the bridge from Western philosophy to Eastern.The Kido comics “From your center comes your power. “Make it straight. I ran faster. cure illness.. soft-style Tae Kwon Do showed me how to employ gravity and use physics along Geometrical planes to give my punches and kicks more power.. I fell down less. Who would think the position of your feet could affect the way your neck feels? Or your stomach? Or your heart? I breathed better. when flowing right. unable to carry a thought from minute to minute. “But it naturally goes at a 45-degree angle. as well. I started paying attention to the position of that foot. can alleviate pain. After landing caddywhompus on the final whirl of The Beautiful Blue Danube. I learned simple techniques to keep my body healthy. Avoid sleep long enough and the mind loses its integrity. or even check out on you—just when you need it most. He shambled up and frowned at my right foot while I was standing in a neutral position. Ignore your vitamins. “It’s broken. and erase disease.” I explained.” he demanded.. So my mind could continue its mischief. and from the knowledge of the mind to the wisdom of the body..is that the mind can’t do all the work alone. kicking it straight. A terrible ballroom dancing accident put my first foot on that bridge. and your mind can take you on trips of paranoia and self-pity.” The thing about a life of the mind. Drink too much wine and your body turns it into an open culvert for the flood of your whims and emotions. Over the next few years. 8 .” he growled. I twisted it over and over again just by walking or putting my socks on. invoking the Magic of Nature. My science teacher invited me to take his morning T’ai Chi class to strengthen my ligaments. and became aware of where my elbows and chin showed up at any given moment. Re-learning how to stand completely changed my perspective on life. my ankle was never the same.
Ki-Do * Comics * or LIteraLLY. “the waY oF ChI” 9 .
Do MeaNS 'waY'. * 10 * The big asterisk is to note that different ethicities have different Natural curves in their lower backs. Try these if you like . . Tae Kwon Do was invented by and for Koreans. “the waY oF ChI” KI IS ChI. KIDo IS the waY oF eNerGY.but find your own center of gravity.Ki-Do * Comics * or LIteraLLY. LIFe eNerGY.
“the waY oF ChI” DISCoVer the CIrCLeS aND LINeS.Ki-Do * Comics DISCoVer the INterpLaY oF oppoSIteS wheN You MoVe. 11 . * or LIteraLLY.
. Always investigating my own connection with nature. even though I’d already met and lost my greatest love—it felt like my life had yet to begin. 12 . my life as a cat. that story’s not in this cartoon. (We never went anywhere. I wanted to write a cartoon about my relationship to animals. great stuff! With your drawing talent and my brains and sense of humor. yeah. even though I was working two jobs and starting my lifelong business. “Wow. Though barely in my twenties. I walked around with a very heavy feeling of just how OLD I was.” Um. This was my first memoir. which had compounded year after year.) In so many ways. It put me in such a mood. which had been so important to me a child I wanted to grow up to be a vet.we could really go places. This dream ended the day I watched my horse’s shoulder get stitched back on after she wandered through a barbed-wire fence. about a boy who moves around from home to home and nothing seems to make much sense. one of them martial art)..six true stories Or.) I had seen this great Swedish movie called My Life as a Dog. It felt like I was just standing still.. (Relax. How could I ever begin to sort out the strands of story and figure out who I was? People were always giving me great ideas about what I could do with my life. I had already had so many interesting and confounding experiences in my life. Be an English teacher overseas! Do caricatures on the mall! Get a Fulbright and study Capoiera! Work on an automobile factory assembly line! Be an accountant! One roommate said. even though I was attending the third of the four schools I’d pass through on my way to a college degree (one of them art..
he weighed ﬁfteen pounds. at the park.. We named him Godzilla. Plucked and dressed for cooking. One rooster grew up to tower over the rest. 1 2 Sometimes.From the sketchbook: Three random musings on poultry breeding. He was gorgeous. I must resist the urge to run around and pat people on the head.. and took him to church for bless-the-pets day.. My dad bought a “variety pack” of adorable. gentle and friendly.. When I was a kid. 3 What would you get if you crossed Jack Canfield with Steven King? 15 . ﬂuffy chicks in all different colors and styles.
a tradition for lone travelers since traveling began. I was serenaded by Solid Gold Hits for a few miles. then the music slowed and the pitch went down. but always with regard for the emptiness of the Great Basin... rock me sl-l-low-l-ly. (After that there were portable DVDs.and a few years later found its way into this story. The January day I drove the eight-hour stretch of America between Salt Lake City and Reno... a cold snap was keeping the western states well below freezing. the tape froze in the player and I couldn’t get it out to play the radio. I had found it at a garage sale. 16 .. The cinematic sweep of the sparse desert. and the comforting presence of the giant cowboy at the casino in Wendover became part of my own internal landscape. and for all the profound empty spaces of Earth. I moved to the West Coast to start a new life. the only broadcast I could enjoy was the stream of my own thoughts.in god’s country A Wee tale of the Wide West In 1987. never as uncomfortably as the first. the eerie floating mountains on a hot day. After a final line of Rock me gently. For the rest of the day. which seems to have ended with my generation. cell phones and satellite radio. I made this trip many times. halfway through my college career. I tucked my sleeping bag over my legs so the pitiful heat my old VW Bug could produce would at least be trapped around my freezing feet. I have a lot of different radio stations in my head. I popped the only 8-track tape I owned in the player.) Fortunately.
One night. where I encountered the version of twenty-somethings who came to big colleges to party. but why spend my nights erasing the brain cells I’d spent all day building? I saved my money for other things. and everyone was all quite smug about it. where did men fit in? At the end of the millennium. the preponderance of meaning made it the shortest of short relationships. I liked a drink now and then. Even philosophy had a new name: theory.. Things that had once been sacred (like making love) (I mean having sex) were now casual. But alas. Maybe there’s a really smart guy out there (is he still handsome?) who might remember this conversation. As if the books were closing on all known history and thought.” Into an urban wilderness I went. I had a high-concept flirtation in a club. The snappy dialogue was right out of a black-and-white movie from an earlier. so I could spend more time drawing and writing. where—I wondered—did ‘Man’ fit in now? For that matter. The guy may have been in an altered state. more knowable time. I had to capture it on paper. fix this ephemeral moment forever.. after it seemed all of Lucretius’ questions of nature had been asked and answered. In a world of man-made experiences. I never understood this. social practices that had once been considered radical (like tattoos) were now de rigueur. Or not.Lit-crit Love in po-mo times “My knees went weak when he said ‘semiotics’. in a world where I was so busy trying to make all the ends meet. Like to buy myself time away from a job. 20 .
the reAson she Left
“All men desire knowledge.”
As a college senior, I read a speech by the post-modern German writer Christa Wolfe. She wondered about women of literature who are left outside the place men build with their words, unprotected, “made to believe that the only mode of rational thought is the entrenched one.” Like a third-act turning point in a noir thriller, in which everything that has transpired previously is suddenly seen in a new and terrible light, Wolfe’s wonderings opened the door to a new paradigm for me, and I chose to write on this topic for my senior essay. But once again, I endeavored to make art out of my learnings, rather than express them with just plain words. I conjured Nettie Olsen from the swirl of my imagination and set her free on paper to give voice to the demanding questions that kept me up at night. Like me, Nettie was an intuitive, emotional, and (we assume) menstruating creature who wanted to find some connection between the lofty things she was learning in school and the reality of her life. Unlike me, her life was pretty clear-cut, with a real place (the Citadel) symbolizing what is, for the rest of us, a subtle state of mind. The only things clear cut about my own life at the time were the scraps of paper cluttering my apartment (see Afterthoughts). While writing about freedom of thought and self-definition, I became a “slave,” my roommate would tease, “to my creative urges.” For three months I tried, with my pencils and pens, to keep up with Nettie’s iconic twentieth-century journey of self-discovery. Her wonderings and wanderings built a bridge for me between the female dark-side-of-the-patriarchy on the one hand, and an authentic, brightly-burning, self-motivated humanwith-boobs on the other. With a matter-of-fact libido and an even more matter-of-fact desire for friendship, Nettie’s journey is not so much through a plot as through a series of intense conversations...a favorite experience I had never found in a comic book, but thought might be served by the medium. (Remember, comics is a medium, not a genre...and every known form of art was once just a crazy idea.)
A few words to the reader: please forgive Mario’s short shorts and the gang’s knee-jerk reaction to the military. In 1990, the world was pre-Shaq and preIraq, in spite of the gals’ belief that it was post-everything else. It was the end of a millennium, and that doesn’t happen very often.
NOTE: Yes, there will be footnotes. For what is postmodern literature without subtext?
NOTE: Read the fine print in the first panel. Girls tend to get better grades than boys in the early years, then fall behind in this world of opposites.
NOTE the presence of the geometrical proofs on the board after the wall of words has gone. Nettie longs for the harmonic relationality of mathematics yet, it seems to have been ‘proven’ that her voice is sub-liminal. Learn about how women contributed to the famous and gorgeous Pythagorean theorem. 29
NOTE: Although it seemed like they dreamed the same dream. 33 . But that’s another story: his. Eric awoke thinking of what he was leaving behind.
or Ideal Figure is actually 36”.NOTE: Other reliable sources say the Perfect. 35 .36”.24” .
I wanted to live the unexpected life. my feminine power.. My psyche chose it to offer me a glimpse into the delicious world of friendship I would soon enter. But my soul had it’s plans and sent me a dream that. Within a year I’d make a new friend who resembled Melissa Steadman from thirtysomething (the tv show). at the time. He bought me the gown.. A guy who listened to my dreams and understood me. 55 . transformed me in my own mind from a sweatpants-wearing college nobody into an iconic figure from a more glamorous era.. There was even a prince at the end. a dress—that would mysteriously open up doors for me and help me find my birthright. kind of like how Reid understood Nettie (but differently). But that’s another story.) The Cinderella myth was a good container for my childhood issues with housecleaning. authority figures. blended families. And I would begin a relationship with a dress—yes. and move on to a new and more harmonious reality....not exactly a fairy tale “Freudian slippers that only I could wear. I never really wanted to grow up. the kind that lasts a lifetime. The real gown. was anything but cliché. and personal power. As if right out of a dream. which would prepare me for love. today’s princesses all seem to know Kung Fu. sparkling with glass beads and fringed with ostrich feathers. (Nowadays it would be. I wanted to avoid all clichés. I wasn’t ready to take the next step...even the big ones like marriage and family.. After college.” Romance and happy endings are about being able to let go of one reality that doesn’t work anymore.
Which is a book in a book You can make it yourself. And follow the directions on the back. But they’re all steps on a journey to the last page. or tear it out or copy it (or download it free.” There are many words in this book.... 60 . It’s the story of Consciousness Growing up On planet earth The school we all attend. Words and pictures. Turn it sideways and then around. 69). see p..ego sum “An insight.
Borges. A Brief History of the Atomic Theory comic was made possible by and is also dedicated to Jack Lincoln. Insights and funny personal culture bits from many friends and boyfriends. The Olsens are not my real parents. 27 Book: Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes. More special thanks to Jack Lincoln. Sherry and Snuffy. with help and inspiration from many. But mostly Greeneyes. probably. Yes. Eco. Da Da Da by Trio. Rolfe Humphries tr. p. DeBeauvoir. classmates and comrades made it into this piece. 33 Images: Betty Boop by Max Fleischer. written. Lyrics: Lady Marmalade by Bob Crewe. and the patience of Eric Sanford. The Reason She Left was made possible by Dr. designed and published by Kristen Baumgardner Caven. LeviStrauss. Mickey Mouse by Walt Disney. John’s. with inspiration from and conversation with Barbara Roseman. KiDo Comics were made possible by Brian Lee and Annie Lee of the Dragon Well School of Kung Fu (formerly the KiDo Institute). Ninety-ﬁve pound weakling trope © Charles Atlas. Kafka. Joyce. wherever he may be. The Odyssey by Homer. and a lost dream of St. Kraft logo. that’s Shaquille O’Neal referenced in the intro. Based on Lucretius. Lasse Hälstrom is awesome. And Johann Strauss II. Barbi- 63 . and of course. p. Christa Wolfe. the foot-kicker. Daisy. and Radar. Lyrics quoted in the intro to In God’s Country © Andy Kim. Six True Stories is dedicated to Greeneyes.ROLL CREDITS This book was drawn. Kenny Nolan. De Rerum Natura. Kazantzakis. Richard Gray at Mills College. and my brothers way cooler than Ricky. who is mistaken for Neil Diamond by 9 out of 10 people. Others are listed below. A jam on Barthes. Lit-Crit Love mentions American semiotician Charles Sanders Pierce.
and corporate cultures that okays violence against men. 64 . with a special shoutout to Felix Boomerang. The Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci. Books: The Far Side by Gary Larson. and thinks ‘misogyny’ is better. p. Born in the USA album cover by Bruce Springsteen.. 37 Images: Whistler’s Mother by James McNeill Whistler. Bettie Page. Frank Gehry. architect. p. and everyone else who encouraged me along the way. Young Woman in White Reading by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Words: My brain hurts by Monty Python’s Flying Circus. 48 and 49 Lyrics © Bruce Springsteen. p. and an image similar to the one his artists created. p. Fonts used in this book are Avenir. Thank you to mom. One huge feminist author came down hard on this word. Chartres Cathedral. dad. 54 Lyrics © Sting In Not Exactly a Fairy Tale there’s a lyric © Walt Disney Co. 32 Book: The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera. and other natural beings as well as women. Le Model Rouge by Rene Magritte. p. 36 Images: IAC building. X-Men © Marvel Comics. Programs used were Adobe Photoshop® and InDesign®. ®. animals. p. How do you collect royalties on the subconscious? Also. thank you to all those people whose names come up in the credits. p. but I think a rapist philosophy exists in prison. thirtysomething is probably © ABC. p. girlfriends. and everyone who brought culture and pop culture to my particular brain. Woman with Book by Pablo Picasso. Levis®. brothers.p. Blackjack. 39 Movie: Brother from Another Planet by John Sayles. Ragni. criminal. 46 Images: Coke®. and kbc comic caps. Dave. 40 Books: Heavy Metal Magazine. NBC® are just words. 35 Images: Wheel of Fortune. ex-specially my own personal superhero. p. p. Hair musical by Rado. p. Ricky’s Images: BUD is a trademark of Budweiser®. and MacDermot. 38 Images: MTV logo © MTV. 44 I actually thought of ‘rapism’ myself and wondered why no one else used it. Thank you to my readers for helping me see my work more objectively. 50 Images: The White House. aren’t they? p. 45 Books: The Boyscout Handbook and The Anarchist Cookbook.. Madonna and Child by Joe Ortiz. The Persistence of Time by Salvador Dali.
Afterthoughts 65 .
a fingernail moon might end up back on the artwork somewhere and then show up unexpectedly on the Xerox® copy. Sometimes. I used ink washes and watercolors in my early works. or an inch-wide wedge. I’m telling you: drawing is dangerous business. I drew most of these comics with the Rapidograph® pens my architect boyfriend gave me. (When using this stuff. To add some depth and details. I switched to cross-hatches and dots when I realized copy machines and printers can’t see shades of gray. and then try to re-thread the wire through the tube. So you got it: my full-page comic opera. They’re these high-tech instruments that serve up a steady stream of ink around of a thin wire that fits snugly inside a tube of a precise diameter.) 66 . Then I’d whip out my razor-sharp Exacto® knife and trim off the excess. a grass-thin sliver. for example. you have to keep track of the scraps. biting your lip. When I undertook my Opus Maestro (The Reason She Left). The wire is attached to a barrel that makes a gentle knocking noise when you shake the pen. and business cards stored in precarious piles. these Little Scraps of Paper got transferred into a more meaningful format. I got into the serious stuff: pre-printed pattern sheets by Zip-a-tone® and Chartpak®. hoping not to bend it. You can kill a $40 pen if a mosquito lands on you wrong. and covering the paste-up lines with Liquid Paper®—or strips of correction tape after they invented that. Bear’s shirt. I assure you I burst into song once or twice! (Didn’t you? While reading it?) People often ask me how I did stuff. I’d cut a piece of zip-a-tone in the approximate size of. when the Gods rewarded me for cleaning my desk. You have to clean the pens when you’re done with your project. backs of receipts.Notes oN the opera The arts and the crafts Were you actually hoping for an opera? An actual opera? Opera is the plural of opus: Latin for work. Like drawing paper. here’s how. learning to cut and paste using brushfuls of rubber cement. When ideas for my operas (plural of plural of work) appeared. they usually got stored in some sophisticated system of postits. say. Using scissors. I got a lot of practice when doing my weekly panels (See Perfectly Revolting). notebook pages. then peel the back off and stick it down. leaving a little dent in the paper along the black line.
more than you ever imagine when the idea first strikes. before I could afford a proper drafting table. from somewhere on the scale from amusement to patience to white hot rage. interchangeable fonts. then and rub dry transfer lettering around it for a snazzy graphic design. On the worst days of the biggest projects.I wasn’t a very neat person when I was working. I’d draw on any available hard surface— coffee tables. illustrators who wanted to make reproducible art would simply engrave their pictures right on to a printing plate using metal tools and hammers—which were pricey but they’d last a lifetime. sizable. reduce it.. David Berggren. and finally copy machines. even the nicest of them would smile good morning through clenched teeth. In the really olden days. expressive. Robin Briggs and all the others whose names pop up whenever you open a design program. Sometimes I’d need to leave my pages. I’d focus on the project and everything around it would blur. Plus. be—for a small investment of only 67 . Which meant the detritus would stick to my elbows and socks and get tracked around the apartment for days. Parviz Banki. bed time always comes too soon when you’re on a roll. Then copy it again to create a master. Along came MacPaint® with twenty builtin. here’s the second most annoying thing about creating art (the first being the need for sleep and food. Oh glory. and even became an artistic tool with the amazing enlarge/reduce. with their drying inks and cut-out edits laying around overnight when I was working on them. In a simple thirty-one step process I learned to ink a drawing.) keep inventing newer and better ways to do the thing you just mastered. Then the world’s innovators invented cameras and lithography. Those were the glory days!– Then Jobs and Woz went and invented the PC. Steven Balensiefer. kitchen tables. reverse. copy it again.. the backs of books. and dark/ light functions. the third being that need for space): living in technological boom times means the powers that be (yes I mean you. cut and paste it. And art takes time. The Xerox® machine made publishing accessible and easy. Different roommates would respond differently.
. goodbye photostats ($15 each) and blue-line paper! Click a little tiny paint-bucket and you’ve got 55% screen without the stickyness! Goodbye dangerous Exacto® knife ($6). I could now save tens. say. in the future. that his steel etchings could be found. hello little graphic symbol of an Exacto® knife (inclued FREE)! Time spent on the learning curve now included knowledge of a new language made up of abrasively un-poetic acronyms like SCSI and TIF and JPG.well. I caved in to the excitement. for the days of Rubylith™!) Thank goodness for the For Dummies® books ($39 each)! I wanted to stay a pen-and-paper purist but eventually. in a virtual world where they took up no space.$1500 (plus $600 for a laser printer). (Oh.. And if you tell me. 68 .. maybe hundreds of dollars by not buying Letraset® rub-off type! Then they invented scanners ($350).. And everything I’ve ever written or drawn or painted can fit on a single tiny silicon chip. then turned his back and started banging on his scratcherthings. I never have to leave the house. The temptation to go with the flow gets us all in the end (even grandma’s on FaceBook®) and now we’re slaves to the upgrades until who knows when? In many ways the appearance of a monitor looming on my desk stemmed the tide of comics from my brains and hands. No more rubber cement ($3. If you’d told.50)! Hello Photoshop® ($600) and Pagemaker® ($300). The Rapidographs® can stay safe and dry and unused on their way to becoming antiques. yet could be instantly reproduced at will from the comfort of an art lover’s home on a printer no larger than a loaf of bread. that my comics are being seen as movies that readers watch on the inside of their eyelids from the comfort of their own brains. some day (I expect I’ll be able to get email in the world beyond by then). I’ll pat my dream horse and thank the atomic theory and wish I’d written something more useful.. Gustave Doré®. he’d probably have tossed his natty scarf over his shoulder and coughed politely. And I’ll also hope they’re singing along. and now that there’s email and FTP.. resentfully. Including this whole book. the tilting artist’s desk is gone forever.
KristencAven. Sammy Sperm’s Guide to Safe Sex Sammy Sperm demonstrates techniques both for highly unsafe AND truly safe sex. A tiny book about a big idea. featuring emily egg. Set contains Sammy Sperm’s Real World Adventures AND and Emily Egg’s Guide to Fashion. and of realizing the power in her pen. order or download a free pdf at.. a cartoon history of the historic 1990 student strike. of independence and identity.. of course. much to Emilly Egg’s chagrin.. . “An insightful. tied together with a narrative memoir of her journey from college to “The Real World.. enthusiastic. a visual poem that puts human development in the continuum of cosmic consciousness.” ISBN: 9 —Mills Quarterly 78-1-4 414-15 43-1 mini-comics! ——————————————————————————— A Match Made in Utero A double-duty gender-exploration paper doll and coloring book set! Sammy and Emily are the dynamic duo of grinning gametes..ALso By the Author Perfectly Revolting my “glamorous” cartooning career A collection of over 100 cartoons from Kristen Caven’s ten years of ‘tooning.com 69 . each with their own paper doll & coloring books.. ISBN: 9 78-146 106185 4 WWW. It’s fascinating and entertaining to follow Caven as she grapples with ideas of feminism and femininity. and often downright funny portrait of the artist as a young woman.A charming and honest memoir of growing up with a creative mind.. Ego Sum an insight..” Contains Inside the Mills Revolution. open.