Monday, March 28, 2016

MoCCA FEST 2016

IT'S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR!

If you like Daniel Radcliffe as an Arabian horse, 
wait till you see who I paired Elijah Wood with!

That's right! It's time for MoCCA Fest! This year I am tabling with my spouse R. Sikoryak at Table B128. It has been a year or two since I vended at this super-fun event. As usual I expect it to be a blast. In addition to the anatomized kitten comics and tales of your digestive system for sale, I will be offering some postcards and an entire poster that reek of physiognomy (see above). Although it is poor science to associate a person with a breed of horse and attribute a personality to them based on the temperament (cold, warm, or hot blooded) of the breed, I couldn't help myself.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

MINI COMICS, THE BODY, HEALTH, AND MEDICINE

SHOWING AND TELLING

Last night I took the subway uptown with a grocery bag full of mini comics to show and discuss with a monthly Graphic Medicine Workshop that I attend regularly. 

The Workshop is facilitated by Pat Stanely and Marsha Hurst, both of the Columbia University Narrative Medicine program. Typically we read a graphic novel or memoir in the realm of graphic medicine, and when we meet, have a conversation somewhere between a close reading, an analysis of writing and/or drawing, and a discussion of anything else that might catch someone's eye. 

The group varies, but attendees are often faculty teaching narrative medicine; students and graduates of the program; writers; people with social work or other healthcare backgrounds; and/or cartoonists. The groups is as interesting as the books we discuss. I learn at least 3 new things every time I go.


This month, as a change of pace, I brought my medical/bio/health- themed mini comic collection for the group to look over. Graphic novels are a rich resource, but minis offer an incredible range of topics and insights, too!

The authors of the minis included Emi Gennis, David Lasky, Whit Taylor, Box Brown, Mindy Indy,  Georgia Webber, Kate Lacour, Anuj Shrestha, Liesl and John G. Swogger, Shing Yin Khor, Joyana Mc Diarmid, Andy Warner, Sarah Mink and Corinne Mucha, Claire Sanders, Cathy Leamy, and many more...!

I think minis can be underrated as dynamic teaching tools. My collection ranges in topics from mental health to cancer diagnosis to genital mutilation to science fiction. They are memoir, instructional, fiction, and journalism  or manifesto. Most of them are not for children. 

Many minis in my collection weren't drawn with education or bio/health/medicine readers as a target market. They just happen to fall into that category. ANY topic you can imagine is likely addressed in a mini comic. They're (usually) cheaper than comic books or graphic novels, the art and writing are comparable, and are an excellent way to target an individual short story rather than wading through an anthology for the work of one particular cartoonist. 

Minis often are self-published and don't go through an editorial process. If you are interested in public perceptions of science, health, and the body, minis will give you a more diverse sample than graphic novels. Some of them are very opinionated (to put it mildly!)


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

PRETTY CONAN

PEER PRESSURE
Last weekend was The Lost Weekend. Lost to drawing that is! Because of a conversation between friends that I wasn't even in the room for, the Pretty Conan mini comic became a plan and is soon to be reality. I admit I didn't know who Barry Windsor-Smith was until Bob (R. Sikoryak) told me all about this talented artiste. Behold one of three Anatomy of Conan The Barbarian drawings anatomized from the comics by BWS.
Why anatomize Conan? Because it's fun to see how anatomy can fit inside a body drawing in any style. Plus I like the challenge of drawing anatomy in action which is how we usually appreciate it. Notice Conan's tibia vara in the right leg. That shinbone is pretty curvy! 

Yes, Conan gets migraines. You didn't know that? Says who? Me! That's who. They're triggered by many things including all the wine he likes to drink.

This drawing and two others will appear in a mini comic masterminded by Stephen Destephano. Or was it Greg Benton? Or Robbie Busch? Whatever. You can get it when you come to the Society of Illustrator's MoCCA Fest. Bob and I will be tabling. See you there!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

VIRTUAL MEMORIES INTERVIEW

TALK, TALK, TALK
A few weeks ago I had a chat that happened to be an interview with Gil Roth for his Virtual Memories Show

Curious about the origins of my Pathology Laffs series? How about some opinions on how people learn, or strategies for making science funny? Maybe you're curious about my past dance career. Follow this link to Virtual Memories, click on my interview, and brace yourself for an hour of fun! (The first 12 minutes are an interview with writer Paul Di Filippo) My Interview (#154) starts at minute 12:45 on the download.

I thought it might be fun to post some images and links to accompany my conversation with Gil. Here's your program!

MINUTE 12:45 MY BIO AND INTRODUCTION
Dura Mater (Dance and Anatomy Projects before 2010)

MINUTE 14:20 CARTOONISTS AND DRAWING INJURIES

First Aid, part 2 of my self care series.

MINUTE 18:20 THE PHYSICAL STRESSES EFFECTING CARTOONISTS

MINUTE 21:20 THE CHALLENGES OF TEACHING GOOD HABITS
It's much easier to teach people interested in what you have to say. 
The trick is to find a way to get disinterested people interested!

MINUTE 23:35 MY HISTORY WITH COMICS AND SCI FI
Welcome to my 10-year-old-world!

Andre Norton, Dark Piper

My Sci Fi tastes have matured, I guess.
Love these guys! (James SA Corey)

MINUTE 26:00 GROWING UP IN A WORLD OF NERDS

Dragon etching from Junior High.

MINUTE 30:30 HOW PATHOLOGY LAFFS AND LOUISE THE LOUSE CAME INTO BEING
The gag cartoon that started it all.

The earliest Carousel Cartoon Slideshow poster I could find. 
My illustration is the cancerous mice, bottom right.

MINUTE 35:00 DANCE, PERFORMING, DANCING COMPARED TO DRAWING
This pic got me a page in Dance Magazine.
For more about past dance projects see DuraMater.org.

MINUTE 41:00 NEEDLEWORK, MEDICAL IMAGERY, AND COMICS
Two in-progress pieces I will be submitting to 4Panel.
The bottom images are from a SciArt Center workshop.

Catherine's Knee, photo by Tom Henning.

MINUTE 52:37 TEACHING ANATOMY: BACKGROUND, VISUALIZING ANATOMY, SPECULATIVE ANATOMY
Joan Reilly created some incredible anatomy images based on class homework.
Drawing on a body helps us visualize structures under the skin.

MINUTE 59:30 MORE ABOUT SELF-CARE FOR ARTISTS

WOW! YOU MADE IT! TAKE A BREAK.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

BODIES!

Photo: John Beaman
"BODIES" THE C.A.B. PANEL

Sunday November 8 was the second day of the Comic Arts Brooklyn festival. Day one was the marketplace and day two was panel day. Karen Green was invited to curate day two by Desert Island Comics' Gabe Fowler, producer and chief of the whole event. Karen, in turn, invited me to moderate a panel called "Bodies."

What a dream job! The artists were Andrea Tsurumi, Jennifer Hayden, and Michael DeForge, three unique artists who incorporate themes of physicality and the body into their comics in distinctive ways and with distinctively separate visual and narrative styles.

Research was a dream!* There was too much to talk about. To get as much in as possible I decided to divide a PowerPoint slideshow into body-themed categories that all three artists share. There were plenty!

Here's the (shared) list with only a few of many example images...


ANATOMIZED BODIES
Michael DeForge describes "Spotting Deer" in a style reminiscent of the
Naturalists and their diaries and anatomical tomes.

THE SEXUAL BODY
If you think this is Sexy, you should see what can be done with the other days of 2014!

TRANSFORMATIVE BODIES
Young Jennifer Hayden fantasizes about the breasts that would transform
her and her life, if she only had them. In The Story of My Tits.

THE AGING BODY
A young Peter Parker's dream of witnessing his Aunt and Dr. Octopus having sex.
A head 1/3 the size of his body infantalizes Parker and the wrinkles 
and sweat on the bodies of the Aunt and the Dr. age them. 

Andrea Tsurumi really knows how to "render" fat in the elderly!

THE BODY IN MEDICAL NARRATIVE
Jennifer Hayden and her husband look at prosthetic breasts to 
determine what size her post-mastectomy new breasts will be.

We made it through a discussion of the shared BODY themes, but to be honest, I was so excited to be sitting on stage with these three, that I'm not going to try and paraphrase what the artists said. I don't want to misrepresent them. If the video becomes available, I'll let you know. 

BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!
I also prepped three categories in which an individual artist was clearly the doyen. We had such a good conversation that we didn't make it this far. I thought I'd share these, and my perceptions of these artists' works in each...

Andrea Tsurumi: THE EXUBERANT BODY

In this way, I feel that Andrea's rendering of physicality is the most traditional of these three. She often represents the body in motion or stillness to communicate emotional narratives. Posture, movement, and expression bring humans and inanimate objects to exuberant, animated life in her work. In Andrea's worlds pastries go to war with gruesome results, and the Liberty Bell, sauerkraut, and rubbing alcohol get sexy!

Michael Deforge: BODY HORROR/BODY DELIGHT


When you read a review of Michael's work the term "body horror" will inevitably be used to describe the tone of his comics. Michael shares his awareness of the body through his anatomized drawings, attention to physical and structural minutia, and transmogrification of sex and body functions. But one (wo)man's horror is another (wo)man's delight. 

Jennifer Hayden: SACRED/SPIRITUAL/ENERGETIC BODIES


The Story Of My Tits is Jennifer's autobiography of her life in relationship to her breasts (and much more! But I'm focusing on the body, remember.) Aging, sexual maturation, and patient narratives are themes that many cartoonists use in graphic memoirs about their bodies. Jennifer combines these themes with her perceptions of the body as a vessel of life force and her rituals for celebrating the breasts she loses to cancer. Her story is very touching.

I'm simultaneously thrilled and bummed that we didn't to these topics during the panel, but on the other hand there just wasn't room for everything. Jennifer, Michael, and Andrea are not just talented artists, their smart AND articulate. Thanks to them and Karen for making this my BEST PANEL, EVER!


*To be read in the same lilting tone as an actress in "The Lady Eve" who says to Henry Fonda, "The fish was a poem!"

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

SKETCHBOOK FROM GRAPHIC MEDICINE 2015

Yes, it's October and yes, July was ... in July, but look what I found in my sketchbook! Sketches (duh) from the July 16-18 Graphic Medicine Conference in Riverside California. There are a lot. In the interest of keeping things moving, I'm only showing a few pages.


 These two pages are from Jared Gardner's inspiring talk the night the conference opened. As with all of these sketches, some of the text is from the speaker and some is me riffing off the presentation. Don't let these pages fool you, Gardner is brilliant.
 I can't remember who was responsible for the presentations represented by these two pages, but you can see I admonish myself to read "Death, Disability, and the Super Hero" by Jose Alaniz and "Chronically Me: Flushing Out My Life And Times With IBS" by Joy Spencer, and more!
 Frank Ramos used Allie Brosh's Hyperbole and a Half to in his presentation about depression. Somehow I was inspired to draw a Wonder Woman costume on a hypodermic while listening to Dr. Stacy Leigh Pigg.
These two pages are from Justin Green-the-cartoonist-not-the-quarterback, one of the keynote speakers. He's a fascinating guy!

Friday, September 25, 2015

UTERUS GRAFFITI

SOPHISTICATED HOOLIGANISM
(Before you read this let me explain that I have been cooped up at home with a cold for four days and am phlegmy and stir-crazy.)

A couple months ago I took this photo in the restroom of one of my favorite restaurants. 


I am struck by the way in which graffiti of reproductive organs reduces them to their essential elements. In this case the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus. No cervix, no vagina. No parts directly involved in sexual intercourse, only those necessary for generating an ovum and housing it after fertilization. 

Why did the artist (named "Tooth" perhaps?) leave out the overtly sexual parts of female anatomy? I'm used to seeing simplistic penises, breasts, and labia scrawled on bathroom doors. But those are representations of the external, visible organs and tissues associated with sex. I never see graffitied prostates. What does this icon of (internal) reproduction stand for? Does a new generation of graffiti artists choose to imbue* pictographic female slang with new meaning?

Note the shading of the uterine wall. Another artist (I assume... Puzzy? is that a name or a misspelled label?) has added little red hearts and nestled a miniature uterus and tubing within the embrace of it's larger sister, who seems to be a lefty. It's kind of adorable. This little red icon of generation is like the Nike swoosh or the Stuyvesant Town fountain logo.

Nike's swoosh

Stuyvesant Town's fountain logo.
Local to the East Village and Gramercy areas of NYC.

Why does this uterine image haunt me? Probably because I don't know what it means. I assume it's a symbol of female empowerment. Its location in a restroom is degrading any kind of Womb-Power message, isn't it? It must mean something! The artist took time to include the finger-like fimbriae, for crying out loud.

"Tooth" and "Puzzy," who are you? Do I see you at the restaurant but not recognize you from your drawings?

*Yes I am using "imbue" from the French imbu - moistened, as a double entendre! And a tasteless joke!