This collection of kid-friendly comics has been a l_o_o_o_o_n_g time coming, as I sure my contributors can attest! Originally planned as a 2010 followup to the first issue (and tied in with the watery summer reading theme at the library I was then working at), a few different things– including a never completed collaboration featuring the title character– conspired to keep it from coming together. But I’m glad to say it’s finally complete and that it turned out really well!
In addition to my own comic stories featuring Watusi and other members of his supporting cast, it features contributions from some of my favorite creators: a Thunderdawg epic by Mike Sullivan, Magnet Man by Brien Wayne Powell, Doggie & Jilly by Drew Boynton, and Little Arlo by Tom Cherry! Plus comics from JB Winter, Ivan Martin, Joyce Steiner, and Paige Kallenberger.
It’s a 48-page black & white digest w/full-color covers, and is available by mail for $7.00 postpaid in the US (see address in footer of this page). Additionally, you can find copies at my booth in the Memphis Arts Collective Show and Sale (through Xmas Eve), and a special sale in Lawrence to support a worthy cause (details coming soon; look for an announcement on my Twitter and Watusi’s Facebook feeds). I hope you’ll give it a read– I’m really proud of this book!
That the monkey is the animal for this year’s lunar calendar completely slipped my notice until (obviously) too late for the new year festivities, when Tom Cherry asked me on Twitter if Mitchell would be celebrating. While I didn’t have specific plans in the works for Watusi’s monkey nemesis, he will at the very least be playing a large part in an upcoming storyline on my Watusi webcomic later this year.
So to dig up a proper monkey-centric piece to celebrate, I went clear back to 2009 for this mola-themed craft I made while helping with a group at the Lawrence Public Library. I was presenting a cartooning workshop the following session, so I sat in to get a feel for the group, taking a try at that day’s craft. While lacking the intricate stitching of a true mola, it does have the signature layering of cloth. Miss Jane Johnston assembled a great group of “Imaginators”, and it was fun to be a part of their group for a couple of weeks!
Hope you have a happy Year of the Monkey!
The Lawrence Public Library’s Banned Books Week trading card series is back for another year! For my entry this year I tackled another dystopian classic, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Prescient digs at reality TV and social media aside, this book didn’t speak to me as deeply as Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four does … perhaps because, in a move that no doubt sent Bradbury spinning in his grave, I only listened to it on audio! At least it made for a good company while I crafted this piece! However, it does lend itself naturally to the topic of book suppression. Particularly so after I learned that Fahrenheit 451, perhaps the most famous anti-censorship novel of the 20th century, was itself bowdlerized by Bradbury’s own publisher! “Some cubby-hole editors at Ballantine … had, bit by bit, censored some 75 separate sections from the novel,” wrote Bradbury in the restored 1979 edition, which had “all the damns and hells back in place.”
While I only half-jokingly told my then co-worker Mary Pawlowski that I was going to steal the collage technique she used on her 2012 entry, it turns out I kinda did– thanks for the inspiration, Mary! It was a fun change of pace to work on a piece for its purely visual aspect, and not be as concerned with panel-to-panel storytelling.
Starting today, you can pick up the first of the seven winning Banned Book trading card designs for free– just stop in the library and ask for your copy! A new card will be available each day during Banned Books Week.
The Lawrence Public Library’s Banned Books Week trading card series has had a great deal of success both locally and nationally, so it seemed prudent to make a mention of it here, since I was one of the artists selected for inclusion in the set. In fact, today’s the day that my card is available for free– just stop in the library and ask for a copy! Here’s what I had to say about my piece with the entry…
This piece reflects the vibe I get from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. When I last reread it in 2004, I was struck by how similar descriptions in the book were to happenings in the world today. Not just by how many of the party phrases in the book sounded eerily similar to sound bites coming out of the Bush administration, but also in Orwell’s descriptions of cubicle-filled workspaces and rundown infrastructure.
Dale has been creating original comics for most of his life. He currently publishes a weekly webcomic at http://www.watusithethalkingdog.com that is nothing like this piece.
This isn’t the first time Nineteen Eighty-Four has influenced me as an artist, either. Eight years ago I produced a series of portraits pairing government figures with an appropriate quote from Orwell’s novel. Due to those previously mentioned similarities, it was a project that pretty much wrote itself. They’ve exhibited as a set only a couple of times before, so it seems like a good opportunity to give them another showing. Just view the gallery and prepare to become unsettled…
“Portrait of a Secretary of Defense”. Hand-colored ink drawing, 2004.
“Portrait of a President”. Hand-colored ink drawing, 2004.
“Portrait of a Senator from the state of Pennsylvania”. Hand-colored ink drawing, 2004.
“Portrait of a Supreme Court Justice”. Hand-colored ink drawing, 2004.
“Portrait of a Vice President”. Hand-colored ink drawing, 2004.