Blog comic reviews

Bill Watterson at Angouleme

Good news came Sunday morning with this tweet from The Comics Reporter:
comicsreportertweetI had to wait a little while for an article to confirm, and when it did come, it came in French.

Then, later, in English.

Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbes, huge inspiration to this here blogger, first cartoonist to win the Tour de France, received the prestigious Grand Prix at one of the biggest comics festivals in the world.

It seems as less of a surprise than it would have been a few years ago. Lately it seems ol Bill’s work is getting more of the attention it deserves. In 2005 we got The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, a hardbound three volume set that collects the run of the strip in its entirety. Better still, it included a preface by the author. Clocking in at about 20 pages, it was the most autobiography I’d ever seen from Watterson.

In 2009, Looking for Calvin and Hobbes popped up as a sort of meta-article on the elusive cartoonist. Although Nevin Martell interviewed just about everyone associated with Watterson, he was unable to speak with the man himself. On the record, at least.

Last year came Dear Mr. Watterson, a documentary on the lasting legacy of Calvin and Hobbes. This was not another biography of the man but a love letter to his work. I am proud to have been included in such a nice tribute to my favorite work of art.

With all these publications, Bill Watterson has been thrust once again into the spotlight. Let us hope he is not too angry at us for loving him so much. I doubt he is too bothered by it, as he has voluntarily taken part in two projects of late: one, a book called The Art of Richard Thompson, will feature an interview between Watterson and Thompson. In March, an exhibit of both Thompson and Watterson’s art will go up at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at The Ohio State University.

Amid all this renewed interest, it makes sense that the judges at Angouleme to award Watterson their highest honor.

Everyone wants to know: will Bill Watterson attend Angouleme next year? According to his editor Lee Salem (a superstar of the comics scene himself), “I’ll try to talk him into it.” I don’t know about you, but if I was in Ohio in late January a trip to France would sound pretty darn good.

Blog friday robot

friday robots: goodbye 2010

Here they are, the very last robots of 2010.  It’s been such a pleasure to bring you new robots every week this year, and I look forward to foisting another 52 or so robots onto an unsuspecting populace in 2011.

Remember: on New Year’s eve, when you’ve had your drink and smoke and injection, beware hitchhiking robots.  They may appear harmless, but once they pile into your beat-up station wagon they will commandeer your mind and force you to do horrible things in 2011.  Things like voting Republican, not recycling, loudly whistling at people you are attracted to and making statements like “Hey baby, I’ve got what you need.”  Don’t make 2011 a year you will regret.  Watch out for robots.

Be safe everyone, and I’ll see you next year!friday-robots-12-31-10friday-robots-12-31-10-2friday-robots-12-31-10-3
Photos used for these robots were taken in (from top to bottom) Oregon (Bend), California (redwoods), California (off the 101), California (APE in San Fransisco), Ohio (Orrville), Ohio (Oberlin).


what i ate at bob evans

SummerDaytimeWhen spending time in Ohio, I always make a point to eat at least one meal at Bob Evans.  While ole Bob (1918-2007) himself is no longer around to serve up fresh farm food daily, his legacy lives on in the guts of Ohioans.  And oh, what a gut you can grow!  Here is what I ate for my one meal at the Bob Evans just outside of Wooster:

A cup of our famous sausage gravy served with two buttermilk biscuits, stuffed with spicy pepper-jack cheese and smothered with crumbled Bob Evans® Sausage, your choice of one hotcake, one slice of French toast, two delicate crepes filled with vanilla cream cheese and finished with your choice of fruit topping, diced smoked ham and bacon is cooked right in the eggs with our vegetable mixture of diced tomatoes, onions and fresh baby spinach, three large, fluffy hotcakes, served with warm syrup, a grilled flour tortilla wrapped around a fluffy western omelet, reduced-Fat Raspberry Vinaigrette, Caesar, Swiss Bacon, Thousand Island, Sweet Italian, Hot Bacon, Colonial®, Bob Evans Wildfire Ranch, French, Buttermilk Ranch, Bleu Cheese, Oil & Vinegar, Honey Mustard or Lite Ranch, slow-roasted beef, carrots, grilled onions and American cheese, piled high on grilled sourdough, tender, oven-roasted chicken and steamed broccoli florets are covered in a creamy Alfredo sauce, served with mashed potatoes, tender, slow-roasted chicken, bacon, sweet dried cranberries and bleu cheese tossed with fresh greens in our Sweet Italian dressing, one boneless fried chicken breast, our signature slow-cooked pot roast is topped with a rich and creamy stroganoff sauce made with mushrooms and onions and served over a bed of wide egg noodles, a bed of spaghetti topped with our very own meat sauce made with Bob Evans® Signature Italian Sausage, tossed in our classic Caesar dressing, then topped with a hard-boiled egg, grape tomatoes, crispy bacon, croutons and shredded Parmesan cheese a delicious combination of our signature slow-roasted turkey, smoky bacon, diced tomatoes, and homestyle egg noodles in a light cheddar cheese sauce. Topped with shredded cheddar cheese and toasted bread crumbs.


Nutritional content: 89,657 calories, 68,432 calories from fat.


Harvey Pekar, 1939-2010

He was, among other things, proof that Ohio breeds great cartoonists.
We’ll miss ya, Harvey.who-is-harvey-pekar

autobiography Blog

History of Bikes: Silver Stallion

I had to get the previous post off my proverbial chest. I feel much, much better now. Now we can move on to the next of my series of bike posts, my college bike.
When I first got to college, I walked everywhere. I was a putz, a lowlife, a nobody. I was a freshman (or, in politically-correct speak, “first-year”). Those dark days ended when the Bike Co-op held their annual fall bike sale. The Bike Co-op was run entirely by students. They were located in the basement of a residence hall, and they had a proper bike repair shop as well as rooms for bikes. All you had to do was search around and you could find some real treasures for sale. The bikes they sold were refurbished, meaning you could probably ride them from your dorm to your class without all the gears falling off. The bonus was, if you joined the co-op, you had yearlong access to repair equipment. I ended up spending some time in that dark basement.
Back to the fall bike sale. I searched around and found a silver road bike for $25. It was spray-painted silver; I found out what boring color it had been before. I called it the Silver Stallion, which partly explains why I like that Cat Power song so much.
My life improved 1000% on that day. I could get everywhere quicker, meaning I could sleep a little longer in the morning and extend my afternoon naps in the library. I could explore the town, as well. My little college suddenly became a part of a greater world. I spent my first summer working at the school and took bike rides in the evenings.
In later years I didn’t stay at the college during the summer but I made sure to keep my bike somewhere safe. Sure enough, it was always there for me in the fall. It’s funny; I bought a cheap bike so I wouldn’t worry about it getting stolen, but I spent a lot of time and effort making sure I held onto it for all four years.
I’m kind of sad I didn’t take any pictures of my bike. By my senior year it was partly held together by duct tape. The handlebar pads were cracked and falling off, so I just wrapped some tape around them to give myself some sort of padding. The tape slowly unwound and looked really cool blowing in the wind as I rode. I also taped up the seat, as it was crumbling at a steady rate. Fortunately the duct tape matched the color of the bike. Yeah, I was pretty image-conscious.
I did sketch my bike quite a bit. On warm nights I’d sit beside where it was locked and draw in my sketchbook. I tried to restrain myself from patting it as you would a horse. The shapes I drew from that bike probably influence the way I draw my robots today.
The day before I graduated I donated Silver Stallion back to the Bike Co-op. My brother and I walked it back to where I had bought it four years previously. The Co-op had already closed for the year. There were rows of bikes chained together outside, waiting to be fixed up for next year’s batch of freshpersons (from the original Latin phrase meaning, “people who are fresh”). I leaned my bike against one of the rows. I stepped back and looked at it among its kind. It seemed so natural there and I knew this was the right thing to do. I couldn’t take it with me; where I was going, a college bike would not fare well. This was its home.
I didn’t cry for it then, but I think of it from time to time when I see someone riding a really crappy bike. I wonder if it is still being used, or if it was stripped down and used to repair future bikes. It’s the circle of life.
Next: the return of an old friend!