Thursday, 3 December 2009

I'm a Lot Like You Were

I don't remember who painted this, but it's a study of it done at the Met today.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

The Annunciation

Wouldn't it be great to have angels trumpeting and glowing hands beckoning from billowing clouds to clue you in? It's a tad more romantic than peeing on a stick if you ask me...

Friday, 27 November 2009

The Libyan Sibyl

OK, now for an (art)history lesson. The Libyan sibyl's name was Phemonoe, she was the daughter of Zeus and Lamia (the half-woman half-snake who snacked on kids and was queen of Libya). Phemonoe was not only an oracle... she was the FIRST oracle. Plutarch tells the story of Alexander the Great marching to her oasis in the Libyan desert where she proclaimed him divine and rightful Pharaoh of Egypt (Libya, at the time was the name the Greeks used for ALL of Northern Africa, it wasn't just the country we think of now!). Serapion wrote in his poetry that even after she died, her prophecies were still being told by the crops that grew from her grave and her soul being visible on the moon.

Michelangelo painted her on the Sistine chapel, and although she's pretty white (which could sort of make sense as there were a lot of settlers from Europe in Libya), it is an amazing study. Michael Erhart carved an Oak bust altarpiece in Germany. The third famous depiction of her was by this guy:

William Wetmore Story. He started out studying law, became a (renowned) sculpture and (obscure) poet. His sculpture of the Libyan Sibyl is more than just an old nod to the old myths. Prior to the civil war, he created his masterpiece as a tribute to Sojourner Truth and her work toward abolition and women's rights. She was a preacher, a modern day oracle, and the violent amputation of the South was on the horizon.

The sculpture is really beautiful. If you have a chance, go to the Met and see it. It was in the Smithsonian, but now that the new American wing is finished, it is there. And I sketched it today.

Thanks for reading!

Bonus trivia round: Libya is the only flag in the world with just one color and no other insignia or design. It is solid green.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Midnight Movers

Rather than fight the holidays, I am learning to accept. Accept, yes, that is what these holidays are about. Witness the proto-matrix in action!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Black Beetles in Amber

So a few people have been asking about the title The Broken Light... it is from an Ambrose Bierce poem written in response to a man who was upset about the country honoring Confederate soldiers after the war. I decided to put it here so you can read the whole thing! Enjoy!

To E.S. Solomon

Who in a Memorial Day oration protested bitterly against decorating the graves of Confederate dead.

What! Salomon! such words from you,
Who call yourself a soldier? Well,
The Southern brother where he fell
Slept all your base oration through.

Alike to him--he cannot know
Your praise or blame: as little harm
Your tongue can do him as your arm
A quarter-century ago.

The brave respect the brave. The brave
Respect the dead; but you--you draw
That ancient blade, the ass's jaw,
And shake it o'er a hero's grave.

Are you not he who makes to-day
A merchandise of old renown
Which he persuades this easy town
He won in battle far away?

Nay, those the fallen who revile
Have ne'er before the living stood
And stoutly made their battle good
And greeted danger with a smile.

What if the dead whom still you hate
Were wrong? Are you so surely right?
We know the issue of the fight--
The sword is but an advocate.

Men live and die, and other men
Arise with knowledges diverse:
What seemed a blessing seems a curse,
And Now is still at odds with Then.

The years go on, the old comes back
To mock the new--beneath the sun.
Is nothing new; ideas run
Recurrent in an endless track.

What most we censure, men as wise
Have reverently practiced; nor
Will future wisdom fail to war
On principles we dearly prize.

We do not know--we can but deem,
And he is loyalest and best
Who takes the light full on his breast
And follows it throughout the dream.

The broken light, the shadows wide--
Behold the battle-field displayed!
God save the vanquished from the blade,
The victor from the victor's pride!

If, Salomon, the blessed dew
That falls upon the Blue and Gray
Is powerless to wash away
The sin of differing from you.

Remember how the flood of years
Has rolled across the erring slain;
Remember, too, the cleansing rain
Of widows' and of orphans' tears.

The dead are dead--let that atone:
And though with equal hand we strew
The blooms on saint and sinner too,
Yet God will know to choose his own.

The wretch, whate'er his life and lot,
Who does not love the harmless dead
With all his heart and all his head--
May God forgive him--I shall not.

When, Salomon, you come to quaff
The Darker Cup with meeker face,
I, loving you at last, shall trace
Upon your tomb this epitaph:

"Draw near, ye generous and brave--
Kneel round this monument and weep:
It covers one who tried to keep
A flower from a dead man's grave."

Friday, 13 November 2009

How About a Big Hand?

I've been sketching as much Civil War era stuff as I can in preparation for my upcoming webcomic THE BROKEN LIGHT. The Metropolitan Museum has a new show of American painting from the late 18th century through WWI. I felt as though it was a mixed bag. There was some amazing stuff, especially toward the beginning, but I think the entire collection failed to be a cohesive whole.

The great thing about researching the civil war is the amount of visual information that exists. Photography was just catching its stride, so there are a lot of amazing (and gruesome) photos, even photographs of paintings that have been lost. In addition, there were great painters working in their prime, not only formally, but ideologically. A great deal of the pictures existed for a political purpose or to make an (often ambiguous) argument.

It is incredible how noble our ideals are, yet how short our actions often speak them. And how this has been the case for centuries. It's so easy to forget how artists were tools not too long ago (and some continue to be). Seeing these artists create their OWN statements, rather than be used to present someone else's is truly inspiring.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

World War Three Preev

If you don't know World War 3 Illustrated, it is a comics anthology with rotating editors. It began in 1980 and is still going strong. It's had some amazing contributors over the years, and some really fantastic issues. It is left-wing, and yes, often didactic, but I think it's completely justified if you survey the politics of American comics. They are conservative, sometimes to an extreme. Superheroes give way to fascist, unchecked overseers. The Green Lantern is nothing more than a cosmic cop, Batman a vigilante one man war on terror, Captain America... need I say more?

Even the not-so-mainstream follows a conservative line. Bill Willingham manages to slip in his views into seemingly innocent (and award winning books) like Fables. Dave Sim, god(s?) bless ya, is making anti-feminist studies of fashion magazines, or the inherent racism of Frank Miller's 300. Politics aside, I have much respect and admiration for each of these artists (all write and draw btw). I continue to study their work, and am in awe of their talent, drive and artistry. But as much weight as Alan Moore pulls, you'd think comics wouldn't lean as far to the right as it does.

So here's the spreads from the book! I'll let you know when the release party is! It is so exciting to be a part of it! Oh, and it was written by Carlo Quispe (who helped edit this issue) only illustrated by yours truly!

Monday, 26 October 2009

The Chris Ware Comic You Could Always See But Never Read

On my recent return to San Francisco, I was able to do something I've wanted to do for ages. You see, 826 Valencia is home to one McSweeney's Magazine and publishing, which is often miss but on occasion hit for me. It is a pirate supply store on its surface, but beneath lies the teeming underbelly of developing writers.

They put up a frontpiece by Chris Ware (of Jimmy Corrigan and Acme Novelty Library fame), but I could never see it close enough to actually SEE what it was. The worst part is, a few months after it went up, some kids paint--balled it, so it lay graffitied and obscure, distant and mocking for months. I'm glad they got the money to clean/replace it.

Well, armed with my new digital camera, I was able to do what I've always wanted. I zoomed in as much as I could and took four different pictures. Then I stitched them together and made a high resolution composite. Now you can read the comic! Hot damn!

Just click on the picture to enjoy.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Sitting Bull

I'm busy inking away for the World War 3 piece. It will come out (I think?) around February. It is 6 pages, and due extremely soon! This is a portrait of Sitting Bull from the second page. Inking is the most fun... and this is the most number of pages I've drawn without inking. I usually pencil a page, then ink, then do the next page. This is a much better practice... and more consistent!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

What Is Wrong with This Picture?

So I was cleaning today and found this old sketch I did before starting IE. It's undoubtedly ripped off from Milt Caniff... but I like it a lot. I decided to put it up here before putting it in the round file, despite its many flaws.

The perspective is totally whack. If you look at the jaw line and the lips, they are incongruous. The lips appear to be seen from the side, or even top, yet the jaw is clearly from a low perspective. Put your finger over the jaw line and it looks OK.

The eyes are in the middle of her head. If you saw here head on, it would look like a fish. The forehead slope is a little weird, but not terrible.

Don't even ask me what's going on with her ear...

Although I feel as though I'm drawing much better now, what I AM proud of is the leather shine of the mask. I don't always nail it, but I've practiced it enough that I am satisfied with the results when I ink. I like looking at this and the page on my wall (similar mask, from a panel in Invisible Empire 3) and it makes me feel good that I've improved over these 2 and 1/2 years.

While You Were Out

If you missed me at APE and live in the Yay Area, you can still get a copy of my new book. I left 4 copies at Needles and Pens. They usually don't do out of town commissions, so I am very thankful they agreed to carry it.

Go check it out!

Thanks again to everyone that stopped by!

Monday, 19 October 2009

APE Gone

Thanks so much to everyone who came and checked out my stuff at APE! It wasn't the best convention sales-wise, but some really awesome stuff happened that made it all worth it.

If you missed me, I only left my new book GORGEOUS CLOTHED FLIES at NEEDLES and PENS. So you can snag it there, bro. Rip a hit, scratch some shreds, lay back and enjoy. Rinse. Repeat.

I miss you, San Francisco! Here's to the good times!

Monday, 12 October 2009

Instead of Celebrating Genocide Today...

Enjoy one of the most powerful performances you will ever see!

Thursday, 8 October 2009


Tomorrow morning, you should wake up extra early and watch the moon. We're going to bomb it. NASA is hoping for a geyser, or oil, or bleu cheese to come spewing out of a massive crater. Estimated time of arrival: 7:30. Bring an umbrella (preferably heavy duty!)

They got this idea from an old Mr. Show sketch:

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Peter Grudzien - New York Town

I am back in NY, after my battle with Pittsburgh (I think it won?). I have the perfect welcome back gift courtesy of Aesop's blog The Cosmic Hearse, which is where you should be gettin' your musical education any way.

I can't believe I've never heard of Peter Grudzien before, but it's never too late to learn to love. This is what I call music. It has tinges of Porter Wagoner at his most psychologically experimental, lyrics like Benjamin Smoke mixed with gospel or Exuma at the rapture, song structures like Jandek at his most haunting and a voice that is just uniquely his. This is what I wish Jobriath sounded like.

Thanks, Aesop! Here's New York Town!


Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Where Is My Mind?

If you will be attending this year's APE (that's Alternative Press Expo) in San Francisco October 17 and 18, you can find me at table 555 (easy to remember, right?). It's against the wall. I'm sharing a table with the always fabulous Liz Baillie with a ton of cool shit...

Find me or be doomed! If for no other reason than to say hi!

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Avogadro's may be constant, but mine are inconsistent


Avocado comes from the Nahuatl word for testicle?
Avocados are fruits, not vegetables?
All Hass Avocado trees originated from a single tree in 1935?
The avocado pit, skin and leaves is toxic to many animals?
Consumers sued Kraft Foods due to its "Guacamole" containing less than 2% avocado?
Amedeo Avogadro theorized that the volume of any gas is in direct proportion to its molecules?
The background of this picture is the floor of my work?


Thursday, 10 September 2009

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Leonard Peltier Denied Parole

It is my sad duty to report that Leonard Peltier was denied parole despite a squeaky clean record for the past 10 years and numerous holes in the prosecution's case. He will not be eligible again until he is 79, which with his failing health is pretty much a death sentence.

I urge you not to give up. PLEASE write to anyone in power and let your voice be heard. Whether you believe he is guilty or innocent, I would hope that you believe in fair justice, which he has not received. It takes minutes to write a letter, a small part of your life to try and save another.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Perhaps the Myths We Dream

Health Care Reform

I urge anyone who reads this to listen to any interview with Wendell Potter. The most comprehensive and easily accessible is this Bill Moyer's interview.

Why are we trusting Wall Street with our health care? After the housing crisis and ensuing recession, why are we still allowing these businesses to literally attempt to and commit murder? Do you really want CEOs determining how much your life is worth?

WENDELL POTTER: The industry has always tried to make Americans think that government-run systems are the worst thing that could possibly happen to them, that if you even consider that, you're heading down on the slippery slope towards socialism. So they have used scare tactics for years and years and years, to keep that from happening. If there were a broader program like our Medicare program, it could potentially reduce the profits of these big companies. So that is their biggest concern.

Single payer.

Pass it on.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Gorgeous Clothed Flies

GORGEOUS CLOTHED FLIES is my first book, it will be debuting at APE, the Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco this October. A ways off, yes, try not to run out of saliva 'til then. Don't you think my Crass rip-off will look purdy next to Liz Baillie's punk rock oeuvre? I think so! Well? Do you?

Monday, 3 August 2009

Half Calf Review

Here's a review of my story in the Awesome 2: Awesomer Anthology. You can buy it by clicking on the cover on the top left of the page. Proceeds go toward giving a CCS student a scholarship, so you're not JUST helping out a pair of filthy bums (which you are!)

It's from the Paper Dreams Production blog, where dude reviewed EVERY story in the anthology! Holy balls! AND he's reviewing the mini-comics, too! Now that's dedication!

Review #52: “HALF CALF” by Sabin Calvert

“Half Calf” uses the troupes of Greek mythology to tell a quick, yet heartwarming story with recognizable characters in two pages. This story of the Greek classic characters of the Minotaur, here being told his life story from an awkward childhood, and his tormenter from his school days, Medusa, accomplishes much with so little space.

The panel layouts are dense, but not over crowded giving the story weight while at the same time flowing very easy from panel to panel. The art itself uses a nice thin line to bring out details on most of the panels, but the styles within those panels changes. Some panels rely on well-formed characters while others fall into using symbols of accent culture to add to the visual and written narrative. A story where words and pictures accentuate each other in the most complimentary of ways.

From the heartaches of childhood, attempts at adult reconciliation, the desperation of loneliness, and the acceptance of life as it is, “Half Calf” does a tremendous job. To check out more work from Sabin Calvert go to

Hey, thanks, cyber-dude!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Leonard Peltier's Full Parole Hearing Today

Leonard Peltier is having his first full parole hearing in 15 years. Anyone who has worked hard to set him free, I just wanted to thank you and send our hopes and prayers his way. The prison system in the United States is a bloated beast being fed on racist ideology and scare tactics. Perhaps if we actually get health care for everyone, it will begin a path to actually caring about the people in our country and maybe STOP this cycle of revenge we base our "justice" on. Imprisoning people with NO evidence seems to be more and more commonplace these days.

The following is a synopsis from Democracy Now, which will be carrying the news since nobody else seems to want to:

The sixty-four-year-old activist has been in prison for thirty-three years and is now being held at the Lewisburg prison in Pennsylvania. Peltier was convicted of killing two FBI agents during a shootout on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1975. At his last hearing, the Parole Commission originally denied Peltier parole in 1993 based on their finding that he “participated in the premeditated and cold blooded execution of those two officers.” However, the Parole Commission has since said it “recognizes that the prosecution has conceded the lack of any direct evidence that [Peltier] personally participated in the executions of the two FBI agents.” Peltier has long maintained his innocence and is widely considered a political prisoner who was not granted a fair trial.

Since this case is so politically charged, it actually does help to email and raise awareness and I urge you to please do so. We will know the outcome in about three weeks.

"Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom."

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Look, there! On the wall! It's a bird, it's a plane... it's... it's...

The new Chuck sign for the Wine Store. Stop for a second and marvel before you get soused!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Come to Ferocious Spectacular: The Black Death

Here is the New Yorker write up!

Come if you can! It is going to be incredible! I am so proud! (PS, I didn't draw the cartoon!)

Friday, 19 June 2009


I like this video not just for the Kirbyesque graphics, but for its quick tutorial on open-mindedness without any feel-good self-help coating. It is good advice, and really relevant on the internet. The level of anonymity and distance on the internet allows for drawn out bickering about the most inane specks of life. It gets a tad repetitive in parts, but it is advice worth repeating!

I hope you enjoy!

Monday, 8 June 2009


Despite the swampy airhanger I stood in for hours...

MOCCA was amazing!!! I sold out of a few books, traded for a bunch of awesome stuff and met so so many cool people.

Thanks everybody who came up and everybody that checked out Pile Driver, Awesomer, Invisible Empire and Demon of the Fall! Hope you love them as much as I loved making them!

Monday, 25 May 2009

Five Years, Stuck on My Eyes

Today is me and Reginald's five year anniversary. What else can I say? It has been incredible, we've both grown so much and are making the art we've always wanted to make. I can't believe how incredible the power of love is, it always sounded so cheesy, but it's true.

This is a bootleg of Diamanda Galas singing La Chanson des Vieux Amants, a Jacques Brel song. The chorus is:

Oh my love,
My sweet, my marvelous, my tender love,
From early dawn until day’s end, my love,
I love you still, you know, I love you.

Here it's so much more beautiful. I love you so much!

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Don't Get Roughed Up!

Demon of the Fall is my newest mini-comic. This is a preview from it. Coming soon wherever fine comics are sold (premiering at MOCCA: June 6th). 80 proof action you don't want to miss!

Monday, 18 May 2009

Come On... BE Somebody!

I got an idea for making a zine... I think it would work a lot better as a blog... but I need some help.

Have you seen those 33 1/3 series of books? Where writers talk about an album? If not, check them out... some are really cool! I want to do a similar thing, but for comics. I wanted to have different artists/writers/comic-lovers/historians, etc. write little short synopses about single panels. Nothing too long, maybe a couple paragraphs.

Ideally it would be really interdisciplanary; i.e. an artist who would analyze one of their favorite panels based on the framing, another on the inking, somebody who knows history could talk about the context of the story it is part of, maybe even a prose writer to just use it as a springboard for a piece, etc. etc.

I thought this would be great as a book (and it might) but then I thought, if it were on these here interwebs, then all involved could analyze each others' picks, making it really analytical from all sides. Maybe it can be a round robin, where a new panel is picked each week. In blog format, it would be easy to update, comment and access.

If you might be interested in this, please email me with a brief intro as to who you are, and maybe one area you would like to focus on. Or if you just like the concept, but have a suggestion or idea, please let me know: I am still brainstorming this thing out.

I think this could be a really great learning tool, and a fun project that wouldn't take a lot of time, but might be pretty popular!

Hard @ Wrok

I don't like to put up work stuff... but I really liked this one. The heron flipping fish on the grill was really fun! Some day I'll put all this stuff up in one place!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Coming to MOCCA; June 6th

Debuting at MOCCA!

INVISIBLE EMPIRE #2: This eyes-shattering third installment of the world's premier female assassin, replete with menopause, murder and mayhem!!! This issue goes to Xiamen, China and we meet the Hangman of Xiamen, The Gambler, and two pages stuffed to the gills with warriors! Fully printed!

PILE DRIVER: Wrestling comics too tough for TV! Will make the women swoon and the gents soil their pantaloons! Featuring Ulises Farinas, Kenny Keil, David Kavanaugh, Sabin, Fannie Bible, Troy Wilson & Mario Gonzalez, Reggye Wiggins, Jarret Williams and Loris Ziggiotto! Let's get ready to RRRrrrrrrrrrrruuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmmmmbbbllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllee!!!!!

DEMON OF THE FALL: The new mini series with its first ever issue. You've never seen a superhero quite like this! Bourbon not included!

ALSO my story HALF CALF will be in the MOCCA Anthology AWESOMER!

Raffle at my table for a drawing of Sub-Mariner and AquaMan making out! Own a piece of trash, I mean, history! I will also have original art at my table for your perusal!

I will also have copies of Invisible Empire #0 and #1 and possibly some illustrated prose surprises!

I can't wait!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Gender Employment Non-Discrimination Act

So this is officially one of the craziest months of my life!!! Hopefully after May 6th things will settle down and after MOCCA return to some sane level of sanity.

This has nothing to do with comics or illustration or whatever, but it is very important. I know it is long, but it is very well laid out and passionate. If you know me at all, you may know that I'm vehemently opposed to the death penalty and our current prison-industrial system. While that may be a no-brainer, one thing that I am also passionately against is hate crime legislation. I won't go into the various reasons, but this missive touched on a few and opened my eyes to more. I know this sounds crazy, but hate crime legislation is a well-meaning idea that does much more harm than good.

While we need to continue to struggle, sometimes it is easy to compromise (or wise). But compromising before you struggle is a strategy that is born to lose. Even if we have to live small, we need to dream big. Any way... I truly appreciate the work that a lot of people are doing to make the world a better place and also need to step my game up!

I am amazed at the clarity and compassion which with this was written. The world needs a lot more of it. Please support if you can!

Without further adieu:

SRLP announces non-support of the Gender Employment Non-Discrimination Act!

April 6, 2009

Dear members of the GENDA coalition and all allies in the struggle for trans liberation:

We write to you today because we are deeply concerned with the version of the Gender Employment Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) that was recently introduced in the New York State Assembly. We are members of transgender and gender non-conforming communities of color, allies to these communities, and representatives of organizations that work to advocate for and increase the political voice of these communities. As written, the GENDA bill adds gender identity and gender expression to the protected categories of NY anti-discrimination law by adding it to the State Human Rights statute.

We are excited and heartened by progress on this front, as many of us have struggled to end discrimination against trans people for years. Unfortunately, the GENDA bill also includes gender identity and gender expression as a “protected” category under the NY hate crimes statute. We want and deserve legal protection from discrimination in the workplace, in housing, and in public accommodations.
Transgender people in New York are frequently fired from jobs; kicked out of housing, restaurants, restrooms and hotels; and harassed in schools and public institutions. It is essential that we have legal recourse to take action when trans people are discriminated against in this way. It is also essential that this form of discrimination is publicly declared unacceptable—in our state, in our society, and across the world.
It pains us that we nevertheless cannot support the current GENDA bill, because we cannot and will not support hate crimes legislation. Rather than serving as protection for oppressed people, the hate crimes portion of this law may expose our communities to more danger—from prejudiced institutions far more powerful and pervasive than individual bigots. In New York, the hate crimes portion of the penal code adds automatic penalty enhancements to certain crimes that are deemed to be hate crimes: crimes based on a person’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, religious practice, age, disability, or sexual orientation.
If a particular crime is deemed a hate crime by the state, the supposed perpetrator is automatically subject to a higher mandatory minimum sentence. For example, a crime that would carry a sentence of five years can be “enhanced” to eight years. As GENDA is currently written, if passed it would further expand this law, providing additional grounds for penalty enhancement.

As a nation, we lock up more people per capita than any other country in the world; one in one hundred adults are behind bars in the U.S. Our penalties are harsher and sentences longer than they are anywhere else on the planet, and hate crime laws with sentencing enhancements make them harsher and longer. By supporting longer periods of incarceration and putting a more threatening weapon in the state’s hands, this kind of legislation places an enormous amount of faith in our deeply flawed, transphobic, and racist criminal legal system. The application of this increased power and extended punishment is entirely at to the discretion of a system riddled with prejudice, institutional bias, economic motives, and corruption.

Trans people, people of color, and other marginalized groups are disproportionately incarcerated to an overwhelming degree. Trans and gender non-conforming people, particularly trans women of color, are regularly profiled and falsely arrested for doing nothing more than walking down the street. Almost 95% of the people locked up on Riker’s Island are black or Latin@. Many of us have been arrested ourselves or seen our friends, members, clients, colleagues, and lovers arrested, often when they themselves were the victims of a violent attack.
Once arrested, the degree of violence, abuse, humiliation, rape, and denial of needed medical care that our communities confront behind bars is truly shocking, and at times fatal. In popular conception, hate crime laws were enacted to protect oppressed minorities against bigots who would seek to terrorize a community through violent crime: racist lynchings, gay-bashing, anti-Semitic violence, and so forth. Unfortunately, the popular imagining of the operation of hate crime laws does not bear out in reality. Hate crime laws do not distinguish between oppressed groups and groups with social and institutional power.
Compared to white men, Black men are disproportionately arrested for race-based hate crimes. The second-largest category of race-based hate crimes tracked by the FBI is crimes committed against white people. Every year, the FBI reports a number of so-called “anti-heterosexual” hate crimes—incidents where members of the LGBT community have been prosecuted for supposedly targeting straight people with criminal acts.
If GENDA is passed with the hate crime component intact, trans people could be subject to “enhanced penalties” for crimes against non-trans people. The possibility of hate crime charges could arise in any dispute that involves gender identity or expression. In the case of the “New Jersey 4,” a group of young queer women of color were incarcerated for defending themselves against the homophobic attacks and slurs of a straight man, who accused them of committing a “hate crime” against him. It is all too easy for a prejudice-motivated attack to become a fight for survival, and for a fight to be turned against oppressed communities.

There might be some cold comfort in “enhanced sentencing” if it actually benefited our communities in any way. Unfortunately, the harsher penalties of hate crime laws have not been shown to prevent or deter hate crimes. It is hard to imagine that someone moved to brutally attack a trans person would pause to consider that they might get a longer sentence. In fact, there is some evidence that longer sentences actually increase the chance that an incarcerated person will repeat a crime after they are released. Incarceration does nothing to address the root reasons why someone was violent or hateful; it only plunges them into deeper poverty, further isolates them from their community, and subjects them to further violence and trauma.
In many cases, incarceration may worsen prejudices and make people more likely to be alienated and violent when they are released. Worst of all, when our society incarcerates someone who truly hates trans people, we provide them more opportunities to commit anti-trans hate crimes while incarcerated. Our many transgender community members in prison face intimidation, harassment, and violence on a daily basis.
Hate crime laws are an easy way for the government to act like it is on our communities’ side while continuing to discriminate against us. Liberal politicians and institutions can claim “anti-oppression” legitimacy and win points with communities affected by prejudice, while simultaneously using “sentencing enhancement” to justify building more prisons to lock us up in. Hate crime laws foreground a single accused individual as the “cause” of racism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, or any number of other oppressive prejudices. They encourage us to lay blame and focus our vengeful hostility on one person instead of paying attention to institutional prejudice that fuels police violence, encourages bureaucratic systems to ignore trans people’s needs or actively discriminate against us, and denies our communities health care, identification, and so much more.
Anything that expands the power of a system that damages our communities so severely is against our long-term and short-term interests. Any legal weapon that’s created to make our justice system more harsh and punitive cannot be trusted in the hands of institutions that have shown their prejudices and corruption time and time again. Because of the way this legislation has been turned against the communities they were intended to protect, we regard “sentence enhancement” hate crime laws as one of the greatest follies of late-20th-century liberal politics.
Some of us have expressed this concern to (other) members of the GENDA Coalition after we became aware of the hate crime aspect of the proposed bill. We know that this coalition of many organizations and hard-working community members has been working for years to make anti-discrimination law a reality in our state and we respect their dedication to this work. We were happy that some of us had an opportunity recently to engage in dialogue about the hate crimes provisions of GENDA with them. We left the conversation with the shared knowledge that the United States criminal legal system is deeply flawed, that it would be entirely possible to leave out the hate crimes portion of the GENDA bill when it was re-introduced this session, and that making such a change could mean that it would take more time to get the bill passed because of the need to educate our elected officials about these issues.
We are deeply disappointed that, with this knowledge, the majority of the GENDA Coalition decided that they would rather “come back to hate crimes legislation later” and still actively work to pass a version of the bill that would expand hate crime laws now. Trans communities know all too well what it’s like to be told “we’ll come back later to protect you.” One argument made in our conversation was that because so many other groups are covered by the New York hate crimes statute, trans people should not be “the sacrificial lamb.” Unfortunately, because “sentence enhancements” actually make communities more vulnerable to prejudice in the criminal legal system, it is the many other “protected classes” that have already been sacrificed on the altar of hate crimes.
The real victims who are liable to be thrown to the wolves in this case are the most marginalized members of trans and gender non-conforming communities: poor people, people without jobs or housing, people who resort to survival crimes in order to get by or access health care, people with substance abuse problems, sex workers, youth, people with disabilities, and so many more who are disproportionately targeted for violence, harassment, prejudice in the courts, and incarceration. These are the same people our community must mourn every year at the Trans Day of Remembrance. Can we really continue to shed tears and flowers for the dead if we eagerly hand the state more power to crush the same people?
The signatories to this letter cannot and will not support this version of the bill. We can not help pass a bill through the state legislature that could further endanger our communities. We hope and plead for a better GENDA bill that will make the hard-fought dream of anti-discrimination law a reality for all trans and gender non-conforming people in New York state, without sacrificing the most endangered members of our community. We also commit and ask others to join us in our commitment to work on real ways to address hate violence.
When thinking about responding to hate violence, we believe the most important question is not “who is the perpetrator and how can we punish them?” Rather, we want to ask “how can we help the survivor(s) and the community heal from this violence? How can we prevent it from happening again?” Many people and organizations in New York and around the world are doing creative, transformative work to find real solutions to these questions. Some organize communities to intervene in violence without relying on law enforcement.
Some develop alternate ways to resolve conflicts. Some help break down prejudice and fear with public education and training. Some help make sure that our communities have access to basic necessities in life and are not forced to be in situations where they are particularly vulnerable to violence. Some fight to hold the state accountable for violence it perpetrates against our communities. Some educate community members about ways to defend themselves and deescalate confrontations. Some provide services, advocacy, and support for survivors of violence.
These are just a few of the strategies that we have used and seen others use locally to develop the approaches to hate violence that we and our loved ones need and deserve.Please join with us in working to make New York State a safer and more just place for trans and gender non-conforming people. Please join us in supporting an improved version of GENDA that will provide much-needed legal protections against discrimination without endangering our communities and strengthening the prejudiced system of criminal punishment.
Sylvia Rivera Law Project
Queers for Economic Justice
Peter Cicchino Youth Project
Audre Lorde Project

Friday, 3 April 2009

Cover Inks

For the cover of Pile Driver, I'm going to post the process as I go along. Here, the initial inking is done. Next I will add the ropes, scan, clean up and color, and finally add the logo.

The anthology is at capacity, so barring any unforseen last minute dropouts, I can't accept any more submissions. If this does well, maybe I'll put together a second one? We'll see!

Seek and Destroy!

Ahoy webcomic aficionados! I found this really great tool that is insanely helpful! Have you ever remembered a webcomic that tickled your fancy or blew you and your mom away... only to try and find it again in vain, wasting hours clicking away the flesh on your fingers?

Here's the solution! A WEBCOMIC SEARCH ENGINE!

Actually, there are two. One is better than the other in that it has a full transcription... but it doesn't have a lot of webcomics indexed (because it relies on the rabid fans to translate each comic). The other has a ton of results, but feels a little clunky.

Oh No Robot is really great, but needs more people to transcribe the comics, which is really time consuming. BUT, what is really great is that if you have a webcomic, you can put their searchengine on your site and have it be site specific. Really good tool!

The other is called WordOwl and is much more thorough. Without it I wouldn't be able to find this xkcd comic which cracks me up. But it has less comics it searches.

My solution would be to use one or the other. They can be the Coke and Pepsi of webcomic search engines, battling endlessly for control of the UNIVERSE!!!

Friday, 20 March 2009

Half Calf Preview & Update

I've been trying to design my website... which is no small task without Dreamweaver and zero experience doing such things. I do think it's a valuable skill AND I think it will look awesome when I'm done. Needless to say; I don't have time to sketch!

But, I don't want to leave you in the dark. So here's a preview panel from my piece, HALF CALF, in the upcoming Awesome 2: Awesomer anthology put out by two handsome gentlemen named Charlito and Mr. Phil of the Indie Spinner Rack. You can pre-order it from TOP SHELF, who are publishing it. Not only are you getting a butt-load of amazing comics, but half the proceeds from every book sold will fund a student scholarship to the Center for Cartoon Studies.

The first one was great and from the bits and pieces I've seen, this one will be twice as good... if not mo' better!

Here's a complete list of all the amazing people that are in the book;

Jon Adams (the Eisner nominated Truth Serum)
Kate Allen (Milk-Teeth, Jelly Roll)
Liz Baillie (My Brain Hurts, Sing Along Forever)
John Bergin (From Inside, Ashes, Golgothika)
Alex Cahill (Poison the Cure)
Sabin Calvert (Invisible Empire)
J. Chris Campbell (Zig Zag, Attic Bugs)
Fred Chao (Johnny Hiro)
Kevin Colden (Fishtown, Zuda's I Rule the Night)
Mike Dawson (Freddie & Me, Ace Face: The Mod with the Metal Arms)
Chris Duffy (Nickelodeon Magazine editor)
Ryan Dunlavey (Comic Book Comics, Action Philosophers!)
Ulises Farinas (ACT-I-VATE's MOTRO, Popgun)
Hilary Florido (The Third Horsemen, I Love Love)
Sean Ford (Only Skin)
Chuck Forsman (Snake Oil, Awesome V1 scholarship winner)
Colleen Frakes (Xeric winning Tragic Relief)
Pete Friedrich (Roadstrips: A Graphic Journey Across America)
Elizabeth Genco (Blue, Comic Book Tattoo, Negative Burn)
Sarah Glidden (How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less)
Robert Goodin (The Man Who Loved Breasts, Mome)
John Green (Jax Epoch & the Quicken Forbidden, Teen Boat, Space Office)
Steve Hamaker (Fish N Chips, Flight, Bone color artist)
Simon Häussle (Tonto Comics)
Rantz Hoseley (Comic Book Tattoo, Vix)
Mr. Phil Jackson (some podcast guy, Awesome V1)
Andy Jewett (Pantheon, Short Stack)
Charlie LaGreca (another podcast guy, The Hair Pair, Awesome V1)
Miss Lasko-Gross (Escape from "Special", A Mess of Everything)
Georges LaVigne (Awesome V1)
Jeff Lemire (The Essex County Trilogy, Vertigo's The Nobody)
Pat Lewis (The Claws Come Out, One Horse Town)
Brian Maruca (Street Angel, Afrodisiac)
Rich Miller (Meathaus, Awesome V1)
Angel Mosquito (SPX Anthology 2004 & 2005)
Marcos Perez (Carl is the Awesome, Tear-Stained Makeup)
Jesse Post (Disney Adventures editor, Awesome V1)
MK Reed (Cross Country, Papercutter)
Federico Reggiani (SPX Anthology 2004 & 2005)
Michele Riganese (singer/songwriter, Awesome V1)
Alex Robinson (Too Cool to Be Forgotten, Tricked, Box Office Poison)
Dave Roman (Agnes Quill, Flight, Teen Boat)
Jim Rugg (Street Angel, Afrodisiac, The Plain Janes)
Salgood Sam (Therefore Repent!, The Rise and Fall of it All)
Joey Alison Sayers (Thingpart, I'm Gonna Rip Yer Face Off)
Chris Schweizer (Crogan's Vengeance, Crogan's March)
Mariko Tamaki (Skim, Emiko Superstar)
Zach Taylor (The Miner and the Cave That Ate Time)
Raina Telgemeier (The Baby-sitters Club, Smile, Flight)
Fred Van Lente (Comic Book Comics, Action Philosophers!, Marvel Zombies, X-Men Noir)
Marion Vitus (No In-Between, Squid 'n' Whale: Forbidden Friends)
Rob Walton (Ragmop)
Joey Weiser (The Ride Home, Tales of Unusual Circumstance)
Julia Wertz (The Fart Party, I Saw You...)
Loris Z. (Persona - Once More With Feeling)

It's a smörgåsbord of raw talent. Plus, a mini-comic will be included from CCS students! It comes out at the end of May, just in time for MOCCA.

Also in the news, it's not too late to hop on board PILE DRIVER: Tales from the Top Rope... my wrestling comics anthology. If you'd like to contribute, just email me at and I'll send you all the details. I am SO PUMPED about this anthology, words would only bring tears to my eyes in their pathetic failure to describe the rapture I feel when I think about how great this will be.


In other news, go see Big Art Group's show S.O.S. It is playing at The Kitchen through tomorrow and March 26-28th. Then they're travelling to SF's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. It's performance art, theater, live-action film and balloon massacre all in one. I definitely recommend it if you're even slightly interested in any of the above.

I guess that's all for now. Wish me luck in html-ville!

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Alison Bechdel on Creating

I'm always amazed at all the different processes creator's use. This is definitely one of the most visual ways of writing, and if you've read Fun Home you can see how effective it is.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Moon Ray - Comanchero

Sorry about the lack of pictures... I've been flu-ridden, yet still going to work which isn't helping the situation. On top of it all, I'm way behind on my deadlines. Tsk tsk! Between puking I am working on my piece for the Indie Spinner Rack Anthology: AWESOMER which will be unveiled at MOCCA! Hooray!

Well, what is this ass-backwards video? It is undoubtedly what you would find if you invented a machine to look at the subconscious brain and project it into a music video, and applied said machine to my brain circa age 9, fascinated by video games and witches and gay stuff and growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This is the exact thing that would pop up. I can't explain it. And you know what? It's my subconscious, so I don't have to!

You know what else? You'd probably get the same effect if you applied said machine to Neil Patrick Harris's brain today!

Saturday, 28 February 2009

An Abstract Horse

What else can I say? All apologies!

The best sample ever

I've spent a ton of time today trying to find out how to get the rights to a song. It's from the thirties... you'd think it would be fair game by now. But no, copyright law is convoluted and ridiculously obstructive.

There are a ton of people that copyright shouldn't last so long, that fair game should be extended, some even saying that after its first outing, it should be up for grabs.

But you know what? I'm glad copyright exists in this way. It forces you to be creative, to not regurgitate something you heard... it forces you outside of the material and into your imagination, working against your memories.

Of course, if you really want something, you pay for it.

And the above video is the best example of copyright money used effectively.

MC Solaar's Noveau Western. Best sample ever used in a song. With translation! Learn French at lightning speed!

Friday, 27 February 2009

They Sleep on a Bed of Comics!

WIRED Magazine has a new feature up called "Secret Lives of Comic Store Employees." It is very bi-coastally biased (biased-coastal?) but being in New York, you get the trifecta of Jim Hanley's, MidTown and Forbidden Planet... as well as Gary Panter's daughter in Brooklyn's Cosmic Comics (who is hilarious! Who knew?!). Since San Francisco is weirdly devoid of good comic book stores (Berkeley wins in that catagory... sorry, bro) except for Al's Comics (Al rocks, FYI!) they end up in San Diego and San Jose.

It was pretty funny, a little repetitive, but ultimately really sweet and reaffirming. Oh, and the winner? Gary Beuchler! Him and his girl have matching pajama bottoms and SLEEP ON A BED OF COMICS!


PS, on the right side is a link to an interview with Alan Moore about his new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen book... which I'm so excited about because this is the one with the 60s league in it! Yay!

picture copyright bryan derballa/

Don't Think Twice (It's Alright)

I've finally let go of my acrylic ink. It was so sticky, clogging everything and ruining brushes. It caused me more heartache than a little black bottle should... but if I could sing that Dylan tune, I would. That ink and I had some beautiful times together. It just kind of wasted my precious time.

But don't think twice - it's alright.

Thursday, 26 February 2009


Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy - Language Of Violence

Fifteen years and you still don't get it?

Hercules and Love Affair

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Felix the Cat vs Killing Joke - Invocation of the April Maze

There is probably something profound and deeply insightful we could read into this pairing. Archetypal totems and multiplicity, religious transposition from the pagan rights of spring to the apocalyptic desire to picnic or the trickster as magician and the gods of the weather as symbols of fate and the law of nature as absolute.

OR we can just enjoy this weirdly synchronous mash-up of one of the earliest industrial rock bands with one of the earliest animated films.

Hooray for primitivism!

Friday, 20 February 2009

Invisible Empire 2 (at long long last!)

Invisible Empire 2 is being printed as we speak! It will be available at the end of March! I'm so excited!!!

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Rejected Font

I'm trying to design a font, which I've never (consciously) done before. It is for a tale relating to mythology, so I was going to use the Greek alphabet and sort of bastardize it into Roman characters. It didn't work at all... so I'm using the Etruscan alphabet.

That's where our letters originated, so I guess it makes more sense. Any way, I thought I'd share a sentence I wrote out in the rejected alphabet. You can see why I rejected it... it's a chore to read. I want it to be obscure looking, yet completely legible.

Nobody had a "G" in ancient times. It's a G thing...

And yes, I'm becoming a font dork.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Monday, 9 February 2009

40/40 Vision Lecture: Neurology and the Passion for Art

Theseus Gets A Face

I'm doing a lot of research for a two-page comic... you know the one! Any way, I finalized the design of Perseus, who is one of the main characters. Now I just have to do some character sheets and more research into what the heck the ancient Greeks wore on their heads!

I'm trying to make him plucky, yet nervous... brave yet not fully sure of himself. The usual hero stuff!

Perseus Gets A Head

What kind of shampoo does Medusa use?

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Eye-Shattering NEWS!!!


Firstly, INVISIBLE EMPIRE #2, the third installment in my series of sequential doodlings and musings, is zipping its way to the printers via Pony Express! I am so excited and nervous... but I think my art has improved a lot thanks to my new job and billions of hours of playing slave to the nib and brush.

SECONDLY... I won something!!! A lottery, to be precise. No, you can't hit me up for a new Mustang, ya chuckle-head! It's the Indie Spinner Rack Awesome 2; AWESOMER!!! lottery! So I'm going to get two glorious pages in the hallowed halls of indie comic artistry. I am even more excited than my book being done and 10 times as nervous!!! Holy balls!

Last, but by NO means least... Tomorrow I'm going to the final day of comic-con for the SOLE PURPOSE of meeting this exceptional artist! Lily Renee Phillips is one of my FAVORITE artists!!! This is a ONCE IN A LIFETIME CHANCE. You don't need a pass to attend the panels! If you want to come, we can coordinate. I am so excited!!! Here's the skinny:

Lily Renee Phillips Spotlight

Lily Renee Phillips was one of the pioneer women cartoonists in the Golden Age of Comics, working primarily for Fiction House publishers. Fleeing Nazi Germany to America as a child, she went on to draw covers and such features as The Lost World, Senorita Rio, and Werewolf Hunters for Planet Comics, Rangers Comics, and Fight Comics. With her then-husband Eric Peters, she also drew covers and interior stories for a number of Abbott & Costello Comics. Phillips talks about her amazing life and career with Heidi MacDonald (The Beat).

Sunday from 1:45 PM - 2:45 PM

So that's all the news for now! Oh, and just to give you a taste of Phillips' art, in case you haven't seen it... ENJOY!!! ;

Friday, 6 February 2009

Still Broken

Well, the picture uploader still isn't working. I don't know what to do... I guess keep waiting it out!

I'll be at New York Comic Con, and specifically at the Indie Spinner Rack booth from 5 to 7 today. Come say "Hello!" before you say "Goodbye!"

And thank you, Matt B for helping me scan my comic book and showing me how to properly erase. Check out comictools!!!

Friday, 30 January 2009

In Memory of Marjorie Cameron

The back page of my comic is dedicated to Marjorie Cameron...

and since I've been slacking in posting I thought I'd give you a sneak peak.

This was colored using Dr. PH Matin's Concentrated Water colors. They are awesome.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Morihei Ueshiba

I promise I'll put more pictures up soon...

But while doing research for the next issue, I came across this video of O-Sensei Morihei Ueshiba demonstrating Aikido (which he created) and I thought it was too beautiful to keep to myself.

What is great about this video is how his sense of humor comes across without even saying a word.

The first video that comes up when you search for "Aikido" in youtube is incredible... just fyi!

Friday, 23 January 2009


Pawnee Bill fights imperialism... how about you?

Barack Obama has been in office for three whole days and we're already bombing Pakistan. The new regime is touting "Diplomacy is back!" If this is tact, I shudder to think what recklessness looks like.

Is this change?

Thursday, 22 January 2009

My Process

This is the first book I've worked on where I put all the pages up on my wall. I thought I'd share them with you (well, a few aren't shown). This has been a bit of an eye-opener as well as a curse. I am able to see how the story flows much better, especially throughout multiple pages, whereas before I thumbed through a folder filled with giant papers. It is sometimes hard to look at. Whenever I'm reading something like Batman Year 100 and I look up from Paul Pope's luscious brushes to my own stilted pen and brush sprawlings, it can be torturous and disheartening. It has pushed me forward in many ways and it has beat me down in others.

One of the most important things it has done is to make me think of comics in a whole new way. As they hang on my wall, like prehistoric wall paintings, they often lull me into a trance and force me to respect my own work. As completion nears; it will be hard to take them down. They will leave a space. An empty space with 28 pin-holes on my wall.

But I will replace them with something better.

It is a rough journey. It is heartbreaking very often. But if you break the heart of your demons first, they will wither and fade.

Although you can't see it now, some of these pages were once blank or merely penciled outlines. This was the stage that was the most daunting, but everything began to fill out, grow and develop like a polaroid, evolving into an alter to something bigger than myself. A humbling and inspiring act. This is art and it needs no justification or apology.

Thanks to everyone that helped inspire me along the way to this point.


Thanks for checking it out!

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