Let’s go: Memphis Libraries Comic Con!

Let's go to a comic con!

It’s almost here– the inaugural Memphis Libraries Comic Con! I’ve heard good things about other comic events hosted by libraries, and I’m looking forward to being at a comic show that caters to readers! I’m bringing a selection of my Watusi (and other) digests, minicomics, and my full-size comics. It will be a pretty comic-centric selection of merchandise (no prints or original art), but it gives a pretty good sense of the art I make. The convention should be a good time, with two dozen artists, over a dozen dealers, and panels with featured guests Mike Norton and John Ostrander! Admission is FREE, so there’s no reason not to get a taste of the locally-created comic scene …  and the library is even giving free graphic novels to the first 200 attendees, so be sure to make it one of your Free Comic Book Day stops! Hope to see you there!

“Pop! The Art of Comics”

Pop The Art of Comics Facebook event cover  - 1

I don’t always do a good job of documenting my gallery shows, but I was able to turn that around this week when I visited “Pop! The Art of Comics” at the Tennessee Valley Museum of Art. I made the trek to Tuscumbia, AL in the company of Mid-South Cartoonists Association president Kevin L. Williams, who made the connection that got member art included in the show in the first place.

The TVMA may be a small museum, but they pack a lot of art into the space! The exhibit opened with samples from their collection of ukiyo-e prints, where they did a good job of linking the techniques employed by studios making those woodblock prints with the typical process of comic book creation. The details in these prints by Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865) are very crisp, and the colors are exceptionally vibrant, even 150+ years after they were printed!


Next we moved into the Bobby Denton Wing, which was devoted to the art of MSCA members! Lots of good work, including my own original art to “Visiting the Moon Kitties” (1997), and a printed episode from my “Watusi in Oz” storyline (2019).


The member artwork looked good in the space, and I was particularly drawn towards those pieces which highlighted the process of creation, something that’s not always apparent in the craft of the final printed piece.

An equally large space was devoted to the work of the late Christopher Hanther (1946-2021), and his epic sci-fi/fantasy strip, “Tandra”. While I’m accustomed to seeing artwork larger than its printed size, I’d never seen work as large as those “Tandra” pages. Clearly influenced by the epic adventure strips of his childhood, working at that scale gave him plenty of room to indulge his love of detail and texture!

I was intrigued by these self-published issues of Critter, where Hanther first began publishing his epic “Tandra” adventure. He was encouraged to make the move to self-publish at the advice of editor Roy Thomas, a colleague during his brief stint as an artist at Marvel Comics. Printing his original work in the company of reprinted adventure strips from the 1940s that had entered the public domain was a clever way to present his work as part of that storytelling tradition.

The “Pop!” show included a third gallery of vintage comics, grouped and labeled in way that nicely paired trends in comics with trends in society at large. While there were attractive groupings of comics (some by character, some by artist, most by theme), I didn’t bother photographing anything in that room. Besides, when you get the itch to look at vintage comics, there are already comprehensive sites like the Grand Comics Database and “The Newstand” at Mike’s Amazing World of Comics where you can easily do just that…

I completed my tour of the TVMA by taking in a pair of solo shows: the plein air paintings of Stacie Thomas, and the landscape drawings & paintings of Yuri Ozaki. Both nicely presented, and I was particularly captivated by the attention to detail in Ozaki’s pieces, a far cry from the simplification I apply in my own work.

Before heading out of town, Kevin and I toured Helen Keller’s birthplace, right across the street from the TVMA. It’s just one of many area attractions, as it turns out; the Shoals Area has a lot to offer!

(In addition to not always documenting my gallery shows, I’m not one to go about photographing my meals. We did, however, lunch at Superhero Chefs in Tuscumbia, where I enjoyed a satisfying War Eagle burger, the best fries I’ve had in some time, and a peach lemonade. Well worth a stop if you’re passing thru the area!)

Holiday piece No. 34


2022 was kind of an oddball year for me, in that I focused much more on fine art and prints than on comics. It’s been satisfying in many ways to change gears for a while– especially since it resulted in a 10-week show at a local theatre’s gallery! “Beyond the Emerald City” was a feel-good collection of comics and other artwork from my multi-year visit to Oz in the pages of my online Watusi comic. If I do say so myself, it looked good up in the space, and I got positive responses at the opening. That said, I do miss creating comics to share on a regular basis … I guess I need to turn that around for the new year, don’t I?

Cheers to a happy 2023!

Beyond the Emerald City!

2022POTS-aLong-time Watusi readers will recall that my characters and I spent a great deal of time in the Land of Oz for an extended comic adventure. While I haven’t completed making the revisions to that online comic for its print edition, I do have an opportunity to showcase some of the work from that epic alongside other Oz-inspired artwork this fall at Playhouse on the Square!

Made up of a selection of comic pages from my story, along with other Oz-inspired artwork, my “Beyond the Emerald City” show will be on display from October 14-December 28, 2022, in conjunction with Playhouse’s staging of “The Wizard of Oz”. That fortuitous timing (pointed out to me by someone else, since I had totally missed the opportunity it presented) was just too good to pass up, even if it meant completing work for the show on a tighter schedule than I’d have liked. Pushing deadlines can work when it comes to publishing comics online, but my paintings need time to cure before varnishing! Still, it all came together, and has made for what I think is a really satisfying show.

When I decided to make a comic set in the Land of Oz all those years ago by bringing my talking dog Watusi & his friends into interaction with Oz characters & settings in the public domain, I didn’t realize just how much fun I’d have playing in that sandbox! While I was familiar with the movie, once I read the later books in the series I came to have a real fondness for its wide cast of characters and an appreciation of L. Frank Baum’s world-building skill. Plus, those books are darn fun to read, chock full of wordplay & puns, much of which is still clever and humorous over a century after they were first written! Rereading illustrated editions whenever possible, I especially appreciated the design sensibilities of original Oz artist W.W. Denslow, and found his work to be an inspiration for my own treatment of the characters. Much like Baum’s written descriptions of the cast, they were so well designed visually that there was no need to “update” them! If you ever get a chance to read a color reprint of the original Denslow-illustrated edition, with its whimsical character designs and luscious two-color spot illustrations and full-page plates, you’re in for a treat! The second Oz artist, John R. Neill, had a more refined illustration style that I didn’t connect with as easily as with Denslow’s cartoonier art, but his lanky characters certainly influenced my take on Jack Pumpkinhead…

Admittedly, this show– a fan art love letter to the novels– is more comfort food than a palate-expanding meal … but sometimes mac & cheese is just what one needs, isn’t it? My hope is that viewers will find the work in this show an intriguing first step into (or a happy reminder of) the wide, wondrous world of Oz beyond the Emerald City! Like in my treatment of familiar Oz characters and settings in my own story, I hope this show has enough “Ozzy” touches to bring joy to those already familiar with Baum’s novels and piques the curiosity of those who aren’t … yet!

If you’re in the area, you are invited to join me for an artist reception from 5-7 p.m. on the play’s opening night, November 11th, 2022.

[January 2023 UPDATE: included below is the landing page that ran on this website for the duration of the show.]

landing“Beyond the Emerald City” is an exhibition of my OZ-themed comics & artwork, on display Oct. 14-Dec. 28, 2022 at Playhouse on the Square, 66 South Cooper St., Memphis.

  • Please join me for an artist reception on Nov. 11, 5-7pm!
  • I’ll be sharing a popup shop with artist Martha Kelly on Dec. 10, 10am-1:30pm!
  • To read “Watusi in Oz”, start here. You can read the newest Watusi comic here.

On stage: “The Wizard of Oz” (Nov. 11 – Dec. 22) – get tickets here.

Other art on exhibit at Playhouse on the Square is by Priscilla Cunningham, Gerecho Delaney, Suzanne Evans, and Martha Kelly.

Hot off the press: Watusi #41!

Watusi the Talking Dog #41It’s canine vs. contraption when Watusi accepts the challenge of Professor Harvey’s latest invention: the Motilizing Reclivator! Also featuring the talents of jam comic stalwart Keith O’Brien in the full-color one-pager “April Showers Bring…”

This issue’s main story is a substantially expanded version of a decade-old webcomic storyline, and I enjoyed the chance to punch up the rhyming (not a strong suit for me) part of the story a little. Expanding the artwork, on the other hand, was harder than I expected; it might have been faster to have just redrawn it! Even though it took a long time to put all the finishing bells and whistles on this new issue, I’m pleased with how it turned out and think you might enjoy it, too!

Watusi the Talking Dog #41 is a 16-page black & white digest w/ full-color covers; ask for it at your comic shop of choice, or get a copy by mail via my Square store (or old school mail order; direct order info on my Contact page) for just $3.00 postpaid in the US. Prefer digital? You can find it on my Gumroad store (for $2.00 US), too!

You can also get a copy by becoming one of my Patreon patrons during the month of June 2022 at the Correspondent or Art Lover tier– plus, joining gives you immediate access to online bonus comics, including a full-color Human Spring adventure!

[January 2023 UPDATE: I’ve closed my Patreon page.]

The secret (finally) revealed!!

Revealed at long last– the secret origin of Watusi the Talking Dog!! Or maybe “originS” is more accurate, as told in this collection of comics by me, Matt Corrigan, Steve Peters & Daniel Heredia, Steve Skeates, Drew Boynton, Nate Corrigan, Larned Justin, Tom Cherry, Billy McKay, and J.B. Winter!

This “untold origin” project is one I’ve had on the back burner for a shamefully long time; it fell into the cracks when jam comic participation dried up before this invitational issue was filled up and other projects pushed to the fore. But it’s finally complete, and I’m really happy with how it turned out!

Watusi the Talking Dog #40 is a 16-page black & white digest w/ full-color cover; ask for it at your comic shop of choice, or get a copy by mail via my Square store for $3.00 postpaid in the US. You can also get a copy by becoming one of my Patreon patrons during the months of May/June 2021 at the Correspondent or Art Lover tier– plus, joining gives you immediate access to online bonus comics, including a full-color Human Spring adventure!

[January 2023 UPDATE: I’ve closed my Patreon page.]

Hot off the press: Double Dip #3!

Well, maybe “warm” off the press, since Tom Cherry and I finished the latest issue of our two-person anthology Double Dip at the tail end of last year. With the holiday rush behind us, now is a great time to share this issue’s release with the wider world! As always, it’s a joy to team up with Tom to serve you a heaping helping of our different but eerily simpatico cartooning sensibilities…

In Tom’s half of the issue, Dadman & Sonny confront an unexpected visitor, while the alien FooF reveals his secret origin in my story, which incorporates a tactile structure that can only be appreciated in its physical form!

I was thrilled that Tom and I were able to finish this issue in so much less time than it took to finish #2, and that’s even with drawing two covers for it! While I’m not a big fan of variant covers, Tom’s cover gag was such a winner (and of the moment, too!) that it’d be foolish to not use it. My gag was … well, kinda what I used on the first issue, but that’s what happens when there’s a years-long gap between issues #1 & #3, I guess…

Double Dip #3 is a 16-page black & white digest w/ full-color cover; ask for it at your comic shop of choice, or get a copy by mail via my Square store for $3.00 postpaid in the US. You can also get a copy by becoming one of my Patreon patrons during the months of January/Feb 2021 at the Correspondent or Art Lover tier– plus, joining gives you immediate access to online bonus comics, including a full-color Human Spring adventure!

[January 2023 UPDATE: I’ve closed my Patreon page.]

Thankful for collaborators (and for comics)

Like for most artists, this pandemic year has been a challenge for me. With all my IRL events for the year canceled, I’ve been working on a number of collaborations with other artists in a similar situation. While I love collaborating with others, I’m especially thankful for it during this year. And even though most of these projects have not reached fruition yet, one of them sees print in a new collection released this month…

Take a walk on the wild side in the animal-themed fourth issue of the Mid-South Cartoonists Association’s The Good, the Bad, and the Sketchy; it’s led off with a Watusi/Muley crossover by Kevin L. Williams and me. For years now, I’ve wanted to work on a story with another artist where we could both draw our own characters on the same physical page, and at long last I’ve been able to do so! I think it turned out pretty good, too! Other comics & art in the issue provided by Jim Palmer (who also drew the cover), Jason Negen, Jack Cassady, Kevin Thorn, and Lin Workman; co-edited by Jason & me. The Good, the Bad, and the Sketchy #4 is a 24-page black & white digest w/ full-color cover, and is available at comic shops all around Memphis ( 901 Comics, The Cellar, Comics and Collectibles) as well as by mail via my Square store for $4.00 postpaid in the US.

Also newly published is Smeary Soapbox Press-ents #20, another arty collection of my daily Instagram drawings, a more or less real? fictitious? document of my hair during our month of shelter in place. Can’t help but feel there are more sheltering hairstyles in my future, tho… This full color (my first!) 8-page minicomic is available from my Square store or from me by mail, postpaid in the US for just $2.00 … or by becoming one of my Patreon patrons during November or December 2020 at the Correspondent or Art Lover level … plus, joining (at any level) gives you immediate access to other online bonus comics, including a full-color Human Spring adventure!

I hope you all have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

[January 2023 UPDATE: I’ve closed my Patreon page.]

Thanks for the reprints, Patreon patrons!

When I had my work accepted into Memphis’ Monster Market (“a freaky pop-up shop for weirdos like you”), I knew it would require new printings of the Halloween comics I was running low on. Not only would it be an opportunity for me to include my current contact info in them, but it would also let me produce them with digitally colored covers (instead of hand stenciling each copy, which can get a bit tedious when I’ve got to spread out a full run to dry). Rather than going full color with their covers, I kept the new color files in the spirit of the original two-color issues, and I’m pleased with the results!

In addition to the Halloween issues, I was able to restock three other comics (including my very first comic, from 1982!) that I had sold out of, thanks to my Patreon patrons . It enabled me to more easily handle the reprints in my printing budget, and at a price that will help make my Monster Market stint more successful!

These are all 16-page black & white digests (w/ color covers in the case of the Watusi issues), and are available from me by mail for $3.00 each ($2.00 for The Guy With a Hammer! #1) postpaid in the US. You could also get copies by becoming one of my Patreon patrons during September or October of 2019 at the Correspondent or Art Lover level & I’ll send the set your way. If you prefer, I could even spread the love & send your copies as gifts to your friends; just let me know their name & address. (Plus, joining gives you immediate access to other online bonus comics, including a full-color Human Spring adventure!)

As always, thanks for reading!

[January 2023 UPDATE: I’ve closed my Patreon page.]

Hot off the press: Double Dip #2!

Double Dip is the book that Tom Cherry and I publish together at an “occasional” (to be charitable) rate, and I’m thrilled to announce that the new issue is finally complete & ready for your hot little hands! Even though getting our schedules in sync for these comics can feel like aligning the sun and moon for an eclipse, it’s been great to team up again with Tom to bring you what is now my new favorite issue!

Of course, a lot of its charm is due to Tom’s 7-page “Little Arlo” gem. I won’t spoil it by saying anything more about it, other than to say it brought me great happiness from beginning to end when I read it!

My 6-page story this issue features Watusi & friends, picking up from the end of last issue wherein they met a dog from outer space that could turn into any breed of dog. And, as it turned out, a monkey! Apparently I didn’t learn my lesson from last time, though, as this story ends on yet another cliffhanger. Fortunately, as Tom said, this means that there’s a Double Dip #3 coming in the future. The near future, I hope. Or at least not another (yikes!) eight-year gap…

As I said above, I am really happy with how this one turned out! Double Dip #2 is a 16-page black & white digest w/ full-color covers; ask for it at your comic shop of choice, contact Tom or me to get your hands on your own copy, or get a copy by mail via my Square store for $3.00 postpaid in the US … or become one of my Patreon patrons during the month of August 2019 at the Correspondent or Art Lover level & I’ll mail you a copy! (Plus, joining gives you immediate access to other online bonus comics, including a full-color Human Spring adventure!)

I hope you’re as thrilled to read these new stories as we are to present them to you!

[January 2023 UPDATE: I’ve closed my Patreon page.]