May 2003
Journal Notes Archive
Back To Bruno

5/3/3 - It's Saturday, and the sun is out. I'm very happy with this week's Sara's strips. And for the first time I've been feeling I've been getting the verticle strips to feel "right" (before I did sometimes, it was just more of a hit-or-miss).

And I really want to give you all something extra this week for being so supportive with the whole book-printing thing. But I'm not sure what. I've been a little too stretched and stressed to draw much extra. And I posted all my "extra" stuff (aside from what's in my dad's attic) a couple years ago. Hm.

Well, I'll try to think up something. BUt yes, have a great weekend. :)


5/5/3 - So, a few annoucements:
(I actually think there were more,
but this is all I can think of right now)

1. - a reading, of which I'm part of in Portland this Saturday
2. - San Diego for the July con.
3. - Who the hell are Corey and Danielle?
4. - some thank you pics.

1. - there is a reading and book signing at Reading Frenzy (921 SW Oak, Portland), this Saturday, May 10th, at 7PM. it is featuring Ezra Claytan Daniels, who has a new graphic novel out, but also will have Tait Bergstrom(a.k.a. "Adam White"), and Leland Purvis (who I vaguely remember from the drunken new years), and myself.

I plan to read a bit from my novel, perhaps a few bruno strips (to give the feel to listeners of how it sounds in my head), and maybe a poem or two. Not totally sure why I'm going to be there, as the new Bruno will probably show up mere days after the reading, but I plan on enjoying it. :)

And also, allow me to ask anyone coming, to bring all large brown paper grocery bags that you have. You know, the standard large size, with or without handles (and generally unsoiled). I use them as part of packaging books, and so I'm going to need a lot of them in the coming weeks. What a great way to recycle!

2. - Speaking of which, I'll be at the San Diego Comic-Con, July 16-20. I'll be sharing a table this time with Jenn Manley Lee. I'll get you more details as they arise.

3. - Some of you may have wondered about the link I've put on my site recently:

The story is this, for years, Corey (and later I found out, Danielle) have been hosting Bruno on their business servers, because they felt strongly about doing so. They asked me about the idea of putting up a small "Biz-Fu" button, but I wanted to make sure people knew what was up, know how much they've done for me over the years. I am soooo grateful to them. So if you have any of these web-related needs, please, consider them, as thanks. We're all working this thing together.

4. What to give, from a man who has nothing but stress these days? Still not totally sure what to give you all in thanks for the pre-sale period, I'm just overwhelmingly grateful to be able to cover the printing bills this time. So for starters (and maybe "all", if I can think of nothing else), I thought I'd put up two pics I drew. The first is a pic I drew recently for Dylan Horrocks as part of an art-trade/purchase, the figure was drawn with a brush, and the background with my usual rolling-ball pen. The second is just from a model class, which I did a while ago, but I love it. it was my first real attempt to draw a live figure with a brush. Anyhow:


5/6/03 - Dana and Samantha are so much fun to write. I think I got dazed and forgot totally what I was writing about, and just decided to cut it off after the fifth punchline or so.


5/8/03 - I was thinking yesterday, you know, I do that sometimes.

Umm... oh, right. I was thinking about, the "Dana and Samantha in the hot-tub" strip. And I was thinking about the first time I showed Bruno's nipples, three years ago on 07/15/2000. I was so afraid back then of the backlash I'd get from readers. I don't know why I've always been so concerned about that. I guess I was just trained that way, to play by the rules (even when you're outside of them), and it's taken me years to unlearn.

But yeah, it's a hard line to keep clear, to show the body as it might be seen in real life, and not cross the line to exploiting the body for the erotic effect. Not that a situation shown can't be erotic, but erotic to the situation, not to the reader. Am I making any sense? And the same even applies to language and other content.

But so, the hot-tub strip, it just felt natural. Somehow more so than anything I've done before this. It felt utterly convincing (to me) that I was watching this real human interaction. Not as a voyour, but feeling enough for the characters that it felt like somehow I was intrinsically a part of it.

Now, I'm not sure if this is because I wrote and drew it, but it made me feel really good inside to see this. Really good that I created this thing. proud even, hopefully in the good sense of the word.

Anyhow.... I digress.


5/9/03 - So, the books are scheduled to arrive on monday the 12th, I'll be shipping out pre-orders then, and then on the 19th, I'll do the "actual" release for Book #8 and my novel at the Moodycow Store. So, hope you can hold your pants on for it. And thanks again to John Allison for writing the forward and providing some art. Yay!

And also, maybe see some of you tomorrow at Reading Frenzy with yer paper bags. :) (To which if you sez, "huh?", looks below ats the 5/5/03 post)


5/12/03 - Everyone has been terribly kind these last couple of weeks to not mention that the whole "bruno text" issue has been a bit... overwhelming. Sometimes I just feel, not only like a donut, but also... plain wordy. In today's strip, I easily could have deleted out the middle section about stopping in for "water and bread", but I just liked it. I liked the character and dimension it gave to the situation.

But anyhow, I do believe that everything in good turn and good balance, and I'm aware I've been going overboard, and I can't promise to change away from it quickly (especially since I've been aware of it for a bit now, and it comes and goes like strange seasons), but I'm aware, and will do what I can to pare it down while still feeding my own narcissistic soul.

I shouldn'ta said that.... man, I could go for a donut right now.


5/15/03 - I was up in Olympia Washington yesterday, and we got back much later than anticipated. So this is as far as I got. So this is the third incomplete strip I've posted. Not a good sign. But the ball keeps roling (and I'll try to have them done eventually (soon?)) :)


5/16/03 - Tomorrow! Saturday! Just a sudden thing upon strange circumstances, I'll be in Olympia, WA, where I'll have a table at the "Olympia Comics Festival" on Saturday, May 17th from 1:30 until around 6.

So yeah. The Bruno books did arrive this week and all orders have been sent out and should be to their destinations (exceptions excepted) by the end of next week. I'll be doing the "official" release next week.

And I finished yesterday's strip, could you believe it? Although my scanner chose this evening to die, and so I ran to Kinkos, and got there 8 minutes before it closed, where my online email program wouldn't let me email files to myself, and then they shut out the lights, and when I made a pitiful mewl in response, they cam and helped me. I do admit, although I have reservations about Kinkos as a corporation, they seem to hire awfully nice people a lot of the time.


5/19/03 - So, Bruno Book#8 and The Novel (and #1 reprint) are now available at the Moodycow store. Officially. I mean, they're here, they look good, and it's all there and stuff.

Oh, and I want to mention thanks again to John Allison of Scary-Go-Round, for his great forword to Bruno Book#8 (and for the enjoyment of his own wonderful online cartooning).

The Saturday Comic-Con was a fun show, Danger Room Comics has a level of geekdom I very much appreciate.

Oh, and Bethanne and I got to sit at a table next to Indigo again, who does Circle Weave, and who I shared a table with at the Portland Comic-Con (and who's also just a swell guy).


5/21/03 - I didn't expect so many people to ask about tight crab, and unfortunately, I don't have much to tell you. I met Ben Ashford when I was in England, who taught it to me, and I can't seem to find his email. In fact, I don't recall the rules at all, just a "feel" of how one plays it (and that it involved math, dice, etc.), and so that's what I based yesterday's strip on. Sorry!

Ben, if you're out there, email me. Thanks. :)

Not much else going on this week. trying to catch up on some emails, a couple pieces of art I need to do for other people, that sort of thing. Sleep. Always good. :)


05/23/03 - So, full circle. A year or so ago I saw the Royal Tenenbaums with Jenn and Kip. A wonderful movie. And afterwards, Kip said "That was like watching the children from From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler when they grew up." A year later (wednesday night) I found myself in the bathroom at the Regal Cinemas between movies, in order to sneak into a second show. I brought a book, and it happened to be that very one, of which, the irony of hiding in a bathroom did not pass me by.

I first saw The Dancer Upstairs, and it was georgeous. The review i read said that it was pretentious in never showing emotions outright, becuase it felt it was above that. I love dit because it didn't slap you silly with everything in that Hollywood way. It was just the story, based "Very closely based on Guzman and the Shining Path Maoist terrorists in Peru", this cop, who's just kinda' a guy, not a great guy, not a bad guy. But even though it is clearly a "cop movie" it isn't. No real chase scenes, and when he has to go into a building where he knows he may get shot, he's hesistant, sweating, everything you'd actually feel rather than Hollywood's pumped up "Oog. let's do it!" But it's not about good or bad, it's just about a situation, and the slow time watching it unfold. And then the final dance scene with Nina Simone in the background performing Sandy Denny's Who Knows Where the Time Goes I about died, it was so beautiful.

Anyhow. The next film i saw was Nowhere in Africa Which I quite disliked. Perhaps I simply have not enough interest in history, and too much in human emotions. Esentially it's the story of jewish family escaping the nazis by moving to Kenya, with family staying behind who die. But I felt it like this, say a story says that someone is very sad because they're lover just died. And you spend two hours watching them moan about it. I have a hard time caring very much (in cinema now, not in real life). But if you show the details, the stain on the counter from a mug they would always leave there for a sip of water when they'd get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, how they would listen would listen to your geeky ideas, how you nicknamed the geraniums. Details. Stuff to make me feel sad that they're gone as well. Or at least motivation enough in the survivor's story to show why it's affecting them so much. I mean, yes, I know from history why these people were so upset, but we all feel things a million different ways. but I still want the details, which I found it didn't provide. Perhaps they were simply being true to the characters and I can't identify with them. Who knows. Although it did distract you with plenty of beautiful shots of Kenya with drumming so that you knew you were in kenya.

Anyhow, and so that was it. Stayed up way past my bedtime, and felt bored for the last couple of hours. It happens.

And so, the next day at work, I told my story to Kip (who's my supervisor as well as my friend, simply because fire is such fun to play with), and in fashion of full-circle, when I mentioned that i had been reading From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler while hiding in the bathroom, he said, "Hm. have you seen the Royal Tenenbaums?"


5/24/03 - Well, they're using terms from Krishna religion, or you may know the Bhagavad-gita. Anyhow, I'm in a nice mood, so I'll tell you what they mean. Sukha-Duhka means pleasure and pain or happiness and distress. Moha means distraction, perplexity, delusion, or illusion. Moksa means liberation or salvation. Not that this makes anything here particularly funny, they're just being geeks. Whom I love too (and am one).


5/26/03 - (Monday) So, a few announcements:

1. Todays strip didn't get done, but I will catch up at some point this week.

2. I've changed my email.

3. I'm going to raffle away the cover drawing for Bruno book#8

And now in more detail......

1. Okay. So i spent the weekend drawing non-stop. And it's been great, but it wasn't Bruno. I planned to do Bruno on Sunday evening, but I ended up being enticed to see The Man Without a Past (Finnish film, delightful and deadpan dark), and now it's 11:00 pm, I finished the script, which would mean at least a couple hours to draw plus another to go to kinkos (new scanner has been ordered, but is in transit), so I wouldn't be to bed until about 3:00. And so I am going to bed now instead. But I promise tomorrow is a Bruno day, and hopefully both Monday and Tuesday will appear on Tuesday.

2. I've been recieving lately, upwards to 500 emails per day, and usually 499 are spam. I have therefore changed my email address. So if you have it in your addy book, click on the email button to the left, it will give you details, and then change it. Otherwise, don't worry, if you go to email me, that link will be kept up at my current address.

3. Okay, response to this current book release was really helpful in making the last payments for the books and printing them and all that. I am really grateful for the support you've all given me. And so, I have the mostly-hand-drawn cover for Book #8 (it's like 9"x14") (and it's "mostly-hand-drawn", because the outline of the railing, and the outline of Bruno were drawn smaller and then blown up with a printer, and then all the detail, cross-hatching etc, are what are hand-drawn, which created a pretty nifty effect), and on Wednesday I'm going to randomly select someone who bought Book #8 and give it to them. (And yes, I'm now making this note on Tuesday night, it is now too late to get in on the fun, sorry!.) --- :)

And what else. Happy memorial day for all you Americans. And my apologies for my tardiness.



5/28/03 - First off, I wrote and drew a substitute comic strip today for John Allison's Scary-Go-Round, and so check it out. And check out the archives too, to see John's work. I love the quirky world he's created, and even his first book of strips is beautiful, and he also wrote a wonderful foreword (with an amazing drawing to go with it) for bruno book#8. Thanks again, John!

And speaking of which, I'll be announcing the raffle winner (for Book#8 cover art) sometime today or tomorrow.

And yes... Okay, so. Sophia. Hrmph.

Sophia is being so difficult to write. You know how I posted that I had a script ready Sunday night, but hadn't drawn the strip? Well, the next morning I rejected that script. And after hours and hours on Monday, I finally had almost enough basic rough texts to fill the week. And so, on Monday, I drew two strips. But right before bed, I deleted one. It just.... it just wasn't right. And then I looked at the texts I wrote, and rejected all of those except for one. Crap crap crap crap crap.

I'm not sure what it is. Perhaps I've had the secondary character weeks go for too long and I'm burning out from defining and redefining a new character, with depth, every week. But i don't think that's it. Maybe it's more that the more I do it, the more I really find I'm able to dig to their depths, which of course just takes a hell of a lot more time and thought and effort to do. Or maybe it's just that Sophia seems to be difficult to get a handle on.

I wanted to emphasize that her mathematical and actuarial side has a fair play in her life, but the strip I deleted was all lame actuarial jokes. And I didn't want to put such a negative spin on the profession. it's too easy and it's been done too many times before. the stereotype, like the parody, is too easy because you don't have to create hardly anything and it's strength is based on the strength of whatever it's mimicing (not that either can't be done well or poorly).

Yeah. And i didn't want a week simply stating that she's polyamorous and an actuary, which those two topics could EASILY fill the week. I mean, I anted to touch on those things, but you all already know this about her. I want to give a real feel for what those things are, and what her life is like.

Christ, in 6 strips, right?

But yeah. So today, about 2-3 hours researching actuarial websites, reading about the profession, assimilating the information, and still nothing. And so today's I simply drew it, not even sure if I'd put in any text at all, and then my mind did that magical thing I'll never understand which it occasionally does: out of nowhere it made something work. And so there it is. I'm very very happy with today's strip. It feels right.

But it's gonna' be a long week.


5/28/03 - First off, this is my second post today, read the first one above especially about visiting John Allison's Scary-Go-Round.

But I just wanted to announce that Cari Y. has won the raffle for the cover for Book#8. She's local, which is kinda' cool, because she's be familiar with the scene in the background. yay!

And now, back to trying to write tomorrow's Sophia strip, nothing so far. :-/


5/30/03 - Okay, what's on my mind today.

The raffle, an odd thing. I really have wanted to give something back to you all for all the support I've received (in book orders, donations, and kind emails) this last long while, and the raffle seemed like a good gesture. But at the same time I'm kinda' like, "hm, it only benefits one of you." And I am very happy to have done it, and am glad that Cari is happy to receieve it, and am glad to have given many of you this lucky chance (just not-so-lucky for those who aren't Cari, which is everyone else), but I am finally contenting myself that the support is because of work I've already done and will continue to do. And that is a fine thing. I will continue to reach and expand the caliber and deepness of this strip which myself (and so may of you) have fallen in love with.

So yes. And oh, on email again. Thank you, many of you, for suggesting spam filters. The thing is, that I don't like spam filters because I get random emails all the time from random people saying random things. And the few filters I've looked at have directly said that every once in a while you should scan the deleted ones to make sure none you want were deleted. but, I was receieving, seriously, 500 a day. I had to "scan" all of them every day to even have a chance of keeping up. but now that my email can't be gleaned except by human eyes, I am happily recieving about 3 per day (those 3 because I kinda' use a double-email account). Once it reaches 50 or so, I'll change the name again. Perhaps not the best method, but for now, I prefer it.

Sophia writing is going slightly better. I feel I'm a bit more directioned now. I think part of the problem as well was that I just had to create two totally new characters, and have them feel like they would be the right people who Sophia would be dating. Plus describe 95% of their personality within the constraints of one strip. heh. Yeah.

I am still a day behind, however, and since Sophia's week may actually spill into next week, I may not get to the catching up until Monday or so. We'll see.

Oh, and my new scanner arrived today (old one broke a couple weeks ago), and I am sooooo happy that I don't have to trek over to Kinkos every frikkin' night. Phew.

I know there was other stuff, but I'm drawing a blank right now. Been a bit overtired, although last night I caught up on sleep a little. So for now, I'll leave it at that.


5/31/03 - I finished reading From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler earlier this week, and began reading Bridge to Terabithia (for some reason I had gotten both out to the library). I remembered nothing from the book except that it dealt with coping with death. And as I began reading it, I really detested the style, the metaphors that Katherine Paterson used just rubbed me horribly, although later I started to realize that I think she was using them becaese they were the types of expressions the protagonist would use, which is totally fair

So, this morning I start getting emotionally hooked on reading it before I go to work, and so when i get home, I get out some cheese, Nutella, and saltines, and sit down to read the second half of it.

And it moved me. Tremendously. Not intellectually, simply emotionally. I was sobbing from it. And that's something I cannot for the life of me understand. Is the book that powerful? Am I just that sensitive? or am I simply suppressing a lot of emotion on my life which needs some "justification" to spill out?

And like all of these questions, it's probably some of all three.

But anyhow, you're here about Bruno. So today's strip, as you may realize is referring to "Matrix Reloaded", which I saw a couple weeks ago. or maybe last weekend. Everything's been rather blurry lately. And I have little to say on it. Hollywood sheen. Fun, I enjoyed it. It tried to keep on an intellectual bent rather than simply have it a latex and action flick, which I apprectated the intent, and it even accomplished on some levels, but mostly just came across as some kind of buddhist Joseph Cambell silliness. Some of the action scenes were incredible, the highway scenes and such, but mostly the action scenes were surprisingly a bit tedious. But the funniest one (and I don't think it was supposed to be funny how I thought it was funny) in which Neo was fighting a mob of Smiths (as I reference in today's strip), and as he started getting pummeled more and more, you're just thinking, "Idiot, you can fly." That's when I started laughing. The intentionally silly martial arts moves didn't help the matter. Left me with giggles for the rest of the film.

Oh, but also, (and I'll end the post on this) that scenario reminded me of a running gag from Kyle Baker's Cowboy Wally, which I highly recommend (although I'd recommend Why I hate Saturn more). "Doh! Oh Yeah! This is a Fort! Lock the Door."


May 2003
Journal Notes Archive
Back To Bruno