F*** this: Ernie Pook’s Comeek has been dropped from alternative papers all over the country — including the Austin Chronicle. I wondered last week where it went. Only good news is that now D + Q will post them online.
We’ll have to wait a little while until Drawn and Quarterly publishes the five-volume set of the complete run of Lynda Barry’s Ernie Pook’s Comeek, but in the meantime, there are a bunch of out-of-print collections out there…if you can find them. I’d like to start the week off by showing off a couple scans from two, GIRLS AND BOYS (1981), and EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD (1986).
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BOYS + GIRLS was Lynda’s first book. Most of it is drawn in a scrawled, punky pen style — a crazy contrast to the fluid brushwork of something like ONE! HUNDRED! DEMONS! The strip was reformatted into a horizontal format, something that Chris Oliveros has emphasized will NOT be the case in the D + Q reissues.
Here I’ve restored her strip, “How To Draw Cartoons,” to its original square format:
Here’s a wacky clip of Lynda reading from the book in the the film COMIC BOOK CONFIDENTIAL:
And here’s a really cool photo of a poster advertising the book from around 1980.
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EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD is a little more refined — it was Lynda’s fourth collection, and the drawings get better and better, but the content is still nutty and hilarious. The gems from this book are these little maps that serve as chapter dividers:
Here’s the strip “What Turns Men On”:
And the strip “How to Catch a Man”:
I found this King-Cat strip from John Porcellino to be a great match for them:
Like John P’s KING-CAT CLASSIX collection, I can only think that the five-volume Ernie Pook collection is gonna be nothing short of fantastic.
Eddie Campbell’s “Honeybee” comics from his wonderful book, The Fate of the Artist:
James Kochalka gets away with a tribute to his wife that if I drew it of mine would get me killed:
David Heatley chronicles the seasons of love:
And Lynda Barry draws her family:
Sappy, I know, but sometimes I am.
Also, Chris Oliveros at D+Q posted another page of Lynda Barry’s upcoming “What It Is”:
Just in case anyone else is interested in my other favorite female cartoonists: Renee French, Julie Doucet, Hope Larson, Alison Bechdel, Roz Chast, Lilli Carré, and Jessica Abel. I probably left a ton out, but those are the ones I can think of.
Who are your favorites?
During the (still-in-progress) move, I came across these doodles that Lynda sent me as part of a letter. Everything she does inspires me to create, so I thought I’d share these.
As a cartoonist, one advantage you have over prose writers is that after you publish your book, you can sell your original artwork in a gallery show for hundreds of dollars. This works out great financially for the artists, and at the same time works out great for the fans.
Heatley’s memoir seems particularly suited to this kind of presentation — dig the home videos his father singing.
So anyways: sell your originals. Although few prose writers have taken advantage of the business model, I can see it working, especially for people who write first drafts in longhand. (Lynda Barry sells pages of her original calligraphic manuscript for Cruddy at very reasonable prices over ebay.) Who would mind this hanging on your wall?
I can’t imagine anyone ever wanting to buy my original artwork, but you never know. I better start working bigger…on better paper!
Blessings on Tom Devlin’s head for posting these previews of Lynda Barry’s WHAT IT IS on the Drawn and Quarterly blog. I’ve only seen about 15 pages worth of it from the “graphic issue” of Tin House. The (official!) cover:
A fantastic excerpt which resembles part of a talk Lynda gave at Oberlin:
And finally, the cover for the sneak-preview D+Q is releasing for FREE COMIC BOOK DAY:
I really hope I can get my hands on this next Saturday.
My other rambles about how wonderful Lynda is, here.
“I remember great pleasure in cutting out Andy Cap and Flo with manicure scissors, and then cutting little slits in a magazine picture of a big bowl of Beef-a-Roni, and fitting Andy and Flo into them so it looked like they were rising out of the Beef-a-Roni. I remember laughing my head off at that one. I still love collage and I’ve always turned to it when I get stuck writing or drawing.”
Today, obviously, I got stuck.
In case you haven’t already heard, my heroine and all-around-awesome-gal, Lynda Barry, has signed a publishing deal with Drawn + Quarterly. They’ll not only be putting out her collage/comics work-in-progress book, What It Is, they’ll also be putting out a FIVE VOLUME SET of Ernie Pook’s Comeek!
In the meantime, in case I haven’t already stressed/mentioned it, my favorite place to check up on Lynda on the WWW is her Shop Super Marlys Ebay Store , where she posts little “outtakes” for sale like the piece from ONE! HUNDRED! DEMONS! above, with super-fantastic, revealing commentary like this:
Hey before Lynda figured out exactly how to do the water color work for the One Hundred Demons strips, she messed around a lot! This is hand ground Chinese ink and water color on lightweight drawing paper size 8x10ish, the image size is 6x6ish. And! I called Lynda up and said “Tell me more about this art!” and she says there were a couple of versions of the comic strip Hate which is in 100 Demons and this is a panel from a version that didn’t make it into the book. It features Lynda at her Jr. High School talking to two girls she actually grew up with but now there was Black Power and Lynda had suddenly become “Whitey”. She says about that time “It was BAD time! I wanted to be a Black Panter! Even I hated Whitey back then” I said “Back when? She said “1968, darlin’, a longass time ago.” I said “Do you still hate Whitey?” she said, “Well, I certainly hate White House Whitey and his flunky imps” and then she starts to go on about, you know, Bush, Cheney, and how bad everything is right now so I say OK! I have to go!
I’d actually been wondering about the size of the ONE! HUNDRED! DEMONS! stuff for a while. Search around and you shall receive.
Our house is a mess of GRE books right now, so I really don’t have the time to post much anything of any substance.
But I did come across a really great paragraph from an interview with my hero, Lynda, about being married and artistic, and a setup that sounds like everything Meg and I one day hope for:
My husband is a really good painter and a really good sculptor, and the first floor of our big old funky house is his studio. I have the third floor. We mainly live an the second floor, but there isn’t a room in the house without some sort of project going on in it. He works during the day restoring prairies and oak savannas. So at the end of the day there is always a lot to talk about. He drives a tractor around and wears bib overalls and then comes home and we eat dinner and then we both make things in out studios and run up and down the stairs and look at what the other is doing. We work on the house together – we tiled the bathrooms and put up a ceiling in my studio and painted all the walls and do all the things hardcore do-it-yourself types do. We both love to build things and fix things, and we like to hang out together. He makes me laugh really really hard. I have a Casio keyboard I got at a garage sale, and I’ve taught the dogs how to “play” it. They can select rhythms and chords and then they do nose solos. We roll around on the couch laughing a lot at the dog music. It’s a happy active household with occasional explosive scream fights that are also kind of fun. I lucked out with my home life.
And she also talks about why she chooses to live in the rural Midwest:
Well, like Goldilocks, I was looking for the place that felt just right, and it certainly is the Midwest….my first sense experiences were here and whenever I came back to the Midwest, I felt a certain unnameable excitement. like I had found a world that was lost to me. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that I’m living now where the light is like it was when I was very young.
And though they have nothing to do with being married or living in the Midwest, I am really digging the work of two other female cartoonists, Hope Larson and Lilli Carre. There is an interesting blog called Comic Tools where Hope has disclosed her methods/tools.
Ok, back to the flaming inferno of GRE hell…