Thursday, July 10, 2014



I tend to collect a lot of minicomics with medical, health, and/or anatomical themes when I go to comics events, bookstores, or even just open the mail. Many of them are remarkable for better or worse. So I thought perhaps I would start sharing some from my bookshelves with you. My comments aren't so much review as description.

Brescia Birdthroat Bloodbeard
This is not a rhetorical question. It's the title of a charming mini I picked up at Blue Stockings bookstore. This mini is a semi memoir visionary dream romance between the narrator and her lost placenta. A recipe for a placenta smoothie is included as well as speculation about the commercial uses of placenta.

Box Brown

Beautifully illustrated in trendy risograph technology, a young man engages in medically induced memory recall for therapy he's not willing to complete. Highly recommended.

Sophia Wiedeman
A data entry tech grows claws where her hands once were. The claws have willful personalities and are not always cooperative. She comes to live at the Deformatory, a haven for people with deformities which include physical characteristics of non-humans. We follow other people and their stories. I don't want to spoil anything so I'll just say that our protagonist takes things a little too far with her claw hands. Great line illustration.

Sunday, June 29, 2014


I just got back from this year's Graphic Medicine conference in Baltimore. Yes, you read me: Graphic Medicine - comics about health, medicine, and body sciences. There's actually a thriving community of cartoonists, healthcare professionals, academics, and people acting in combinations of those professional roles. 

The days were filled with panels and talks. Here are some excerpts from my note/sketchbook.
Megan Kirkland gave a fascinating "Lightning Talk" about
using comics for educating youth with spina bifida about
sex and sexuality. Simple idea and an elegant solution to a real problem.
(The Z's are my notes from another (boring!) talk.)

Leah Eisenberg is looking for graphic methods of explaining
the rights of children to them when they are involvedi in medical studies.
My representation of Bio Banking has nothing to do with reality.

Just when you think you've heard it all about Fredric Wertham,
Carol Tilley comes along and he gets interesting once again.

Cathy Leamy fights the good fight: Make educational
comics INTERESTING and ENTERTAINING --- please!
I got so excited that I wrote "create" instead of "creative."

Booster Shot Comics is Alex Thomas and Gary Ashwal.
They gave a presentation  describing how they anthropomorphized asthma
medications to educate children about dosage and asthma self care.
Do not confuse my notes with their graphic skills. The pill with the smiley face is my own pathetic design.
These guys are medical comics geniuses.
There was oh-so-much more than just my visual list, here. James Sturm, ET Russian, Ellen Forney, and many, many, many other people gave excellent presentations. (Okay... some presentations were boring or not quite hitting the mark for solid comics making, but I don't want to talk about them and harsh my post-conference buzz. But I will say that the rumors about Nancy Silberkleit are true!)

Words fail to describe how exhilarating it is to be in a crowd that doesn't require explanations of the humor I use in Pathology Laffs. I sold a copy of Pictorial Anatomy of the Cute to Shelley Wall who got the title reference (Pictorial Anatomy of the Cat) at first glance! (She studied with the author, Stephen G. Gilbert.) My world is complete!

Saturday, June 14, 2014


Ninth Art Press (i.e. Whit Taylor and Dan Mazur) is publishing an anthology called SUBCULTURES. Guess what it's about?

Happily, my comics will be appearing in the book. Friction is a series of strips touching on the life of massage therapists. Yes I made a pun. And yes, massage therapy and the health sciences all have their own professional and personal subcultures.

An excerpt/preview from Friction.

Why one comes into a profession, where your interests lie within your practice, how much you compartmentalize your professional and private life, your ambitions within your profession, the relationships you make in your area and adjacent areas, how long you've been at your area of interest, etc., etc. all contribute to a world view and behaviors that you share with a group. That's your subculture. 

As you can see from this blog, my very focused interests bleed out all over the place. Just writing this makes me think about a number of subsubcultures I can belong to: body science and medical narrative cartoonists, art/science artists, art/science educators, body science themed needleworkers (this one probably has about 20 people in it in the entire world.) The list goes on.

What happens when a subculture hits a critical mass? They have a convention! I'll be going to the Graphic Medicine Conference in Baltimore at the end of June. More later.
I think Lydia Gregg did this great artwork. I will double check!

Monday, June 2, 2014


While at TCAF this year I spent some time catching up with Joan Reilly, a wonderful cartoonist and illustrator. I hadn't seen Joan in awhile so browsing through the work on her table was a real treat! That weekend she had sold out of her book "The Big Feminist But" but (ha!) was offering some other great stuff including a print of an anatomical sequence she had worked on in our (R. Sikoryak's and my) anatomy class at the Society of Illustrators/MoCCA a couple years ago. I think she did an exceptional job.

Monday, May 19, 2014


If it's on the web or in PowerPoint it must be true!
I know seems impossible, but some people (mostly non-drawers) assume I'm kidding when I tell them I present workshops about injury prevention for cartoonist. How could you get injured from drawing? Think about it- spending long hours over a drawing board (or screen), compounded by time out for texting and computer work means daily hours of potential hand, wrist, arm, and back torture. If you take breaks from drawing by relaxing hunched over your stamp collection or balled up on the couch gaming (is that what the kids call it?) you've got the equivalent of a big "injure me!" sign taped to your back or other parts.

It's surprising to me that cartoonists aren't injured more often.

As a part of the workshop I give a tour of some of the parts that get injured.
The good news is that comics fests and cons are starting to work self-care into their professional practices programing. I've lead injury prevention workshops at M.I.C.E. (two years in a row) and on May 9 presented at T.C.A.F. as a part of their Word Balloon Academy professional events.

I hear a lot of injury and pain stories from comics artists. Some have a happy ending and some don't.   I am thrilled to say that more and more artists are interested in actively reducing their chances of injury. 

No matter what your medium, your most important equipment is your body! At this point in time, you still have to physically interface with your materials in order to put marks on paper or virtual paper. If you damage your body you can reduce your ability to draw. 

Here I am using images from my minicomic, (NO) PAIN! 
to scare everyone straight. I might make jokes about them, but
nerve impingements are not funny, people!
Drawing is an endurance event. Drawing a comic is a 15 K race. Drawing a graphic novel is a marathon. If you're going to put your pencil in a drawer and retire at age 40ish like many professional athletes, then don't worry about self care. However, I'd like to point out that athletes retiring at 40 have been training their whole careers and leaving nothing to chance. But for those of you interested in drawing comfortably well into your dotage you should consider how you're going to care for your most important drawing equipment (you!)

This is not an interpretive dance. I'm leading everyone in some neck stretches.
I'm not going to give you the whole 45-60 minute illustrated spiel here in this post. (Too long! You wouldn't make it 1/4 of the way through.) But the gist is: Have a regular exercise/movement practice; eat right (or at least better); sleep right (or at least better); perform a physical "warm up" before you draw; take breaks while drawing; stretch afterward; if you think you're injured and it's not getting better, see a doctor.

You don't have to make huge changes all at once. Little cumulative alterations in drawing, exercise, and general health habits can snowball over years into a lifestyle that gives you a lot more time to draw pain free.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Here are some photos of R. Sikoryak's and my Anatomy for Cartoonists classes at the Society of Illustrators/MoCCA. We have a great group of participants with very different backgrounds in drawing. Over the past few weeks we explored the skeleton, muscles, and weight gain. We'll be wrapping up the class next week with weight loss and aging from birth to death. Why don't you see Bob Sikoryak in any of these photos? Because he took the pictures.

The class emphasized drawing the body from the inside out and layering muscles on a bony framework.

Our model, Wendy Chu, has a lot of patience. Here I am drawing hip and leg muscles onto her skin. 

It's important to carry a spare set of knees at all times. Joan Rivers from Drew Friedman's 
"Old Jewish Comedians" exhibit will come in handy when we start the lesson on aging.

Drawing anatomy is much easier when the model is standing. Once she starts to reposition her joints, 
sitting cross legged for example, there are some big changes to the skeleton

Saturday, April 19, 2014


What's Carousel? It's the comics/cartoon/sequential art slide show produced by the multitalented R. Sikoryak. With each show, Bob (R.) invites a mix of artists to present and read their work. Some of the work has musical accompaniment, some artists invite friends to do voices with them, sometimes there is live drawing. It's never the same group of people and always a great show!

Back in the old days, Carousel was actually performed with slide projectors or various types of overhead projectors using slides, filmstrips, transparencies, or what-have-yous. Now it's typically done with some kind of presentation hard- and software.

Last week, I premiered the performance of my newest mini Pictorial Anatomy of 007 at the Asbury Park Comicon. If you didn't make it to New Jersey, don't worry! You can catch me in a Carousel performance as a part of the Remix Festival:

Saturday, April 26, 2014    12:00 – 12:45 PM
The New School, Theresa Lang Center
55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor
The amazing Lauren R. Weinstein, Jason Little, and R. Sikoryak will also present. 

The RE/Mixed Media Festival is a celebration of collaborative art-making and creative appropriation. It’s the artists’ contribution to the ongoing conversation about remixing, mashups, copyright law, fair use, and the freedom of artists to access their culture in order to add to and build upon it. RE/Mixed Media Festival IV will be held on April 26-27, 2014 at The New School, in cooperation with the School of Media Studies, and Parsons The New School for Design; and at CultureHub, in NYC's East Village.
Other RE/Mixed events all day, Saturday & Sunday.  The Festival schedule is posted on line at

Here's a photos (taken by Danny Hellman) of the Asbury Park Carousel...
Somewhat unusual in that we used a monitor instead of projections.
The Pictorial Anatomy of 007 was one of my best sellers at Asbury Park.  How do you get your mitts on a copy? You can purchase them from me at the Carousel show, and I will try to get them offered online within the next week or so.