Good news and bad news, everyone. The bad news is: I'm not going to make it to the Edmonton Comic & Entertainment Expo this weekend! There is just too much family stuff going on around here in Calgary to make the weekend trip worthwhile. Too bad!!!
I was looking forward to catching a glimpse of scientist/photographer/ tireless Expo volunteer Nanc Price. And maybe see a few of the folks I met while working with the City of Edmonton's Evolving Infill team (surely there were a few closet geeks in that group!).
As I've written elsewhere (here, for example), I sure do like Edmonton. And I've really enjoyed the ECEE's mellow vibe (as depicted in this Edmonton Expo Alphabet comic I drew back in 2012). It's just what you'd expect in a city that boasts Happy Harbor Comics. Much more than just a comics store, it really seems like a community arts hub.
So... I'll look forward to heading up to Edmonton another time soon.
Now for the good news: I actually found some time (ok, that should say, "I actually chose to sleep less,") to write this post - in order to console myself that I won't be drawing comics in Edmonton this weekend.
I was inspired by an email I received last week from a comics fan by the name of Tim, who wrote to say he'd purchased my autobiographical sketchbook The Drawing Book at this year's Calgary Expo (thanks!) and was wondering what came next.
The Drawing Book
As I've written about elsewhere, I started the Drawing Book as a journalling assignment back during my brief stint at the Ontario College of Art & Design (which, a look at its website informs me, is now called "OCAD University." I'm sure there is a story here - but why not "Ontario University of Art & Design?" How can it be a college and a university? Ok, this isn't my problem, let's move on...) In short, the Drawing Book documents my year at OCAD and some subsequent adventures. (And, maybe more importantly for me, it marks my total debut as a creator of autobiographical indie comics, without my even knowing I was getting into something like that!)
I always wanted to publish these real-life-inspired comics and finally tried to do so in 2012. However, the cost of printing a full-colour 80-page book proved too prohibitive and so I had it printed in black and white (except for the cover - shown here). But the black & white version really is not nearly as nice to look at. So here are a few samples from the Drawing Book's first volume to show you what it was really supposed to look like.
The Drawing Book - Volume I
Anyway, by the end of the first volume I was back in my home town of Calgary, working as a flight attendant, with no shining knights in sight. Instead, I was learning about how messy relationships can be (see below). Blech!
Inevitable Digression about Lucy Honeychurch
The three last panels above refer to "Lucy Ashton's Song" (by Sir Walter Scott), which is performed by another Lucy - Lucy Honeychurch - in both the book and the movie "A Room with a View." That's a story that I felt I could really relate to, back at the time I was writing these comics (I always seem to end up quoting it, as in these comics). Here's a video of Helena Bonham Carter singing the sad song in the movie.
Freddy points out: "The tune's right enough, but the words are rotten!"
What Happens Next?
So, back to Tim's question: What happens next? Well, about five more volumes is what happens next, all unpublished and just sitting in a box in my basement. Scanning and photoshopping (and editing) that first volume took months (I mostly did it on a really clunky old laptop at Weeds Cafe in sleepy two-hour stretches while my son was at preschool). But luckily I also scanned the second volume. All those pages are right here on my hard drive just waiting for someone to read them. So - why not?
Well - the main reason "why not" is that everything in there is true. I actually went to great lengths to edit out a few compromising details in Volume 1. But I kind of feel I can't be bothered to do that again this time.
For example, I wrote quite a bit about my job. I worked as a flight attendant with Air Canada, usually on the Calgary-Frankfurt route.. One really isn't supposed to publish stuff about one's place of employment as a rule... which is why, in the first volume, I actually photoshopped all the uniforms to this lovely green (see right), and omitted any references to "Air Canada." (I changed the airline name to "Wildwood Air," the perfect name for an airline conjured up by a Bob Dylan fan (come on now Dylan fans, you all know the song that includes the line, "wildwood air," right?)
The Drawing Book - Volume II
The Mainz City Hilton was like my home away from home for almost the whole fifteen years I worked for Air Canada. (It's the smallest Hilton hotel in the whole chain - how about that!)
The picture I drew on the first page of the book was the view from my window.
2. Marlene: She didn't really forget she was married. It was just that she had only recently gotten married and so she still wasn't used to saying, "my husband," instead of "my boyfriend."
3. Heidi: Her daughter had been engaged (or maybe even married?) to a really famous rock star! But that's another story.
4. I note that there were eleven of us cabin crew members to look after (if memory serves) 232 passengers. Ah. Those were the golden days of flight!! You won't find such large crew complements on many airlines in these penny-pinching days. Alas.
5. In my late teens and early twenties, I didn't see a lot of my mom. She was working a lot and I was away from Calgary a lot. So, when I returned to Calgary in 1997, it took a long time before I got used to the idea that I could just hang out with her anytime I wanted! It was so much fun! Hence my feeling that I was missing out on an opportunity to spend time with her.
6. "Cryptic" reference to the guy I was pining after!
"I guess I like it fine... so far," comes from this song by the Doors.
With the pilots on strike, we couldn't leave Mainz. Hence my Euro-MTV-watching, late-night-dancing week in limbo. Hence also, all my free time to draw!
"What dance do you dance so late at night?" So spoke the brooding, greasy father in the hilarious Australian movie Strictly Ballroom (depicted below).
Speaking of Sara Dylan, I just happened to glance at the Twitter profile of Calgary filmmaker J. S. Johnson a couple of days ago, and here's what he wrote about himself: "People often describe in detail how impossible I am to define, but so very beautiful to look at." Seems like an echo of a line in Dylan's song "Sara" - "So easy to look at, so hard to define." Hooray for Dylan fans and obscure Dylan references everywhere!
That was the end of that adventure. The next page is about shoes.
That's all for now, but when/if I have some free time again, I'll post the next installment. What do you think?