The biggest moth I’ve ever seen swooped by my head the other night in my bedroom. It was as big as a bat! After it swooped a couple more times, I saw that not only was it as big as a bat, it was a bat! I retreated to the kitchen to strategize while the bat zipped around, occasionally darting down the hall and into the living room. In the end, I held the screen door open for a minute or two, and the bat left.

♫ “Medley: Emilia’s / Always In The Way / Helena”

♫ “Medley: Emilia’s / Always In The Way / Helena” by The Stanislawski Polka Band (with Walt Solek)

The laughter-only verses in “Emilia’s” (0:32 & 1:18) always get me, especially when the second one goes off the rails. “Always In The Way” (1:51) has a surprising topic for a polka. And “Helena” is “cute and gay”.

Misremembered Movies: Children Of The Corn

A couple on vacation encounters a sugarcane-growing town where the children have formed a cult and murdered all the adults.
The children in an isolated town become maniacally obsessed with a profit-sharing scheme, killing anyone who won’t join.
A documentary about frozen vegetables.
A couple encounters an isolated town where the children have killed the adults to eliminate restrictions on ice-cream consumption. Having learned how to operate the ice cream stand, the kids rob and murder passerby to pay for supplies.
A society of children venerate a cartoonish cow-shaped pitcher into which they pour the blood of human sacrifices.
In this historical comedy, improbable circumstances lead a British aristocrat to become a farmer in the United States. Will he ever accept the American usage of the word “corn” to mean “maize”?
A cult of children obsessed with perfect hair murder anyone who doesn’t have it…and grown-ups generally don’t.
The umpteenth Bourne Conspiracy sequel, introducing a new generation.
A short video demonstrating a recipe.
A malevolent pornographic movie rapidly circulates among residents of a small town, causing them to conceive demonic children.
A traveling couple encounters a town that seems to have no children. They discover that all the children live in a corn maze, where they’ve formed a terrifying, feral society. They live there because one year the local farmer who made the annual corn maze got over-ambitious, and the maze proved too difficult to escape — the children couldn’t find their way out. When the adults realized how quiet and peaceful the town was without them, they left them there.
A senior citizen details their ailments.
In an isolated farming town, unusually intelligent chipmunks have formed a cult and murdered all the children in town. The chipmunks got the idea from observing the children, who had formed a cult and murdered all the adults in town. Will the chipmunks learn to farm in time to replace all the corn they’re gorging on?

Fire at Fireworks Store in Winchester

A fire apparently happened at the fireworks store in Winchester. I heard their wares going off from my house, but they’d stopped by the time I went by. The smoke covered Route 10.

Their fire protection must have worked, because the outside of the building looks OK aside from the white smoke streaming from it.

Firefighters have arrived. The building looks intact, with white smoke streaming from it.

@tickfly Complaints

@ticketfly Complaints: Shouldn’t need account to buy ticket. Purchase timer too short to read the long TOS & privacy policy I’m “agreeing” to (which pop up in overly small windows). Shouldn’t need to manually fill so much info for a support request when logged in.

Mother’s Day founder Anna Jarvis quickly came to resent its commercialization.

Mother’s Day founder Anna Jarvis quickly came to resent its commercialization.

By the early 1920s, Hallmark Cards and other companies had started selling Mother’s Day cards. Jarvis […] organized boycotts of Mother’s Day, and threatened to issue lawsuits against the companies involved. Jarvis argued that people should appreciate and honor their mothers through handwritten letters expressing their love and gratitude, instead of buying gifts and pre-made cards. Jarvis protested at a candy makers’ convention in Philadelphia in 1923, and at a meeting of American War Mothers in 1925. By this time, carnations had become associated with Mother’s Day, and the selling of carnations by the American War Mothers to raise money angered Jarvis, who was arrested for disturbing the peace.

Beyond The Gates and The Midnight Swim

“After a maybe-supernatural disappearance, estranged siblings come home to sort the affairs of their presumed-dead parent” — I recently watched both the “boy” and the “girl” versions of this movie plot.

In the “boy” version, Beyond The Gates (written by Stephen Scarlata and Jackson Stewart, and directed by Stewart), 2 brothers packing up their missing father’s video store find a VCR board game that seems to have spirited him away.

In the “girl” version, The Midnight Swim (written and directed by Sarah Adina Smith), 3 sisters connect their mother’s disappearance in the lake she loved to a local folk legend.

The situation in both films draws secrets and sorrows out of the siblings — some explained and some only hinted at. Both films feature movie technology in-story: Gates centers on the VCR game, and Swim is entirely filmed by one of the sisters. But despite the similarities, they feel very different from each other.

Beyond The Gates tells its story of grief, reconnection, and healing through the medium of VHS-era-inspired light schlock horror. It has some sketchy story logic, which is normal for pure schlock but somehwat undercut the emotional story for me as I wondered (for example), “Why don’t they rewind the tape to see if it plays the same thing again?” It has some gore and frights, but isn’t a seriously scary movie. It’s an odd duck. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

The Midnight Swim isn’t really a horror movie, and the supernatural plays a low-key, ambiguous role in it, but to me it still felt like solid spooky October viewing. I liked it a lot despite some unclarity near the end. It’s a beautiful movie, and I recommend it. Fangoria liked it, too, and describe it better than I can. I give it 4 or 5 stars out of 5.

Morning Music 2: Funky

Disco, funk, and hip-hop for your alarm clock.

More Morning Music

Morning Music 1: Mellow

Ambient, chillout, dub, and experimental music for your alarm clock.

More Morning Music

I just read the weirdest description of anti-semitism I’ve ever seen

I just read the weirdest description of anti-semitism I’ve ever seen: “[E]xcept perhaps the flying fish, there was no race existing on the earth, in the air, or the waters, who were the object of such an unintermitting, general, and relentless persecution as the Jews of this period.” (from Ivanhoe by Walter Scott)

A quick search turns up nothing about medieval views of flying fish, so I’m still baffled — but I did find the Bosch VR app which purportedly lets one explore Hieronymous Bosch’s painting The Garden Of Earthly Delights in 3D: “allowing viewers to ride a flying fish through the Garden of Eden, endure illicit temptation and be transported into Bosch’s terrifying vision of hell.”

♫ “Livin’ Off The Land” by the Holy Modal Rounders

♫ “Livin’ Off The Land” by the Holy Modal Rounders

“We will have a pet raccoon / Maybe we’ll have two / If you ask me real nice / I’ll let ‘em sleep with you” I actually met someone who had a pet raccoon once — he walked right into the office with it on his shoulder.

“Hey boppa, livin’ off the land / Hey boppa, livin’ off the land / Hey boppa, livin’ off the land / Isn’t nature grand”

[Bernie] lost this election by more votes than can be explained by the things that people are concerned about — the voting irregularities, or the DNC. If it was closer, we might have done something differently, but there is no choice. It’s not like we’re stopping because we want to. We’re stopping because those are the rules of the game. That’s democracy.

— Jane Sanders in a badly-titled Rolling Stone interview

Illuminati Recruitment Spam

I found an Illuminati recruitment email in my spam folder! :D

From: Illuminati <> Sun, Jun 5, 2016 at 10:03 AM
Reply-To: <>
To: Colin Tedford <>
Subject: An Invitation

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interested fill the form below to the below email address to enable the
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invitation for the initiation will be send to you wherever you are in
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Tell us a little about yourself…

*WARNING*: If you are not interested or Below 18 Years old Do not reply
back this email.

This Message Is From The Illuminati Worldwide Occult Government Center.

I made a “Big Daddy” Roth-style card for my dad for Father’s Day:

It's a "BIKE FIEND" with bulging bloodshot eyes, big sharp teeth, flapping tongue, and gangly, hairy limbs maniacally riding a hot-rodded bicycle. I drew a preliminary sketch that was less detailed but more lively.

(He took up cycling a while ago, and we grew up with hot rod magazines in the house, is why. It didn’t occur to me ’til after I gave it to him to cleverly use the phrase “Big Daddy” in the inner text, but oh well. :) )

Fishlift visit

I visited a fishlift with my friend Anne on Holyoke’s Infrastructure Day last month.

The fishlift gives fish an elevator ride so they can get past Holyoke’s municipally-owned hydroelectric dam on their way upstream to spawn.

The dam stretches straight across the river. With pyramidal structures sticking off the top at an angle, it undulates downward like a wave. Made of huge stone blocks, it looks like the wall of some fantasy city.

You can see how the fish might have a problem without the lift.

Near the top of the lift is a viewing room where you can watch the fish continue on their way. We saw lots and lots of shad

And sometimes a sea lamprey zipped by!

The lampreys kind of looked like kielbasas with eyes, fins, and gill pores.

We listened to “Fish” by Mr. Scruff as we drove away to further adventures.

The Spring Tradition of Flora Day

Woods people” by Frances Berriman (some rights reserved)

People dressed as shrubs danced yesterday in Helston, Cornwall, UK. Others dressed in old-time finery danced in a line so long you couldn’t see either end. They celebrated Flora Day, an old spring tradition also called the Furry Dance (named long before furries).

Helston, Flora day, 2011” by Bob Hall (some rights reserved)

While the shrub people dance, everyone sings:

Hal-an-tow, jolly rumbalow
For we were up as soon as any day-O
And for to fetch the summer home
The summer and the May-O
For summer is a-come-O
And winter is a-gone-O

Each verse brings a costumed pantomime. This Hal-An-Tow video starts with shouting and noise, then at 1:35 comes a Cornish proclamation that sounds like Swedish Chef, followed by the dancing shrubs, song, and weird pageantry.

Helston Flora 2006-28” by Ian Swithinbank (some rights reserved)

The great processional dance features kids (in one dance) and adults (in the other two) walking in pairs in a tremendous line and periodically doing a little dance that puts them with a new partner. The children’s dance alone has 1,000 people in it. See for example the 2014 midday dance, 2011 children’s dance, … and footage from 1955 … and 1921.

The banner at the start of this other Flora video shows that I didn’t make up the name of the Furry Dance (I kind of thought it was vandalism on Wikipedia’s Flora Day article until I saw the video).

I’d love to see it in person someday. I’d love have something like it here!

I’m no expert

re: Jesse DuRona: “Friends: can anyone recommend some great Celtic music?

I’m no expert, but here’s some Irish music I like a lot:

  • Noel Hill — In Knocknagree (all accordion/concertina and clogging, sounds like recorded live in a pub)
  • The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem and their families — Irish Folk Songs and Airs (more down-home sounding than some of their other work, probably because of the “and their families”)
  • The Chieftains — The Best of The Chieftains
  • Solas — Reunion (a live concert that I prefer to the studio album I have)

Scottish but sounds similar:

  • Capercaillie — Sidewaulk

Cheap folding desk for sale

I’m selling a folding desk for $20. It’s 36″ L x 18″ W unfolded (3″ W folded) x 29″ H and black.

The top is wood composite and the frame is metal. It doesn’t have any drawers, but it folds and unfolds pretty easily. I bought it new a year or two ago and used it as my main desk until recently. It has plenty of life left in it, but the top is kind of flimsy. I wouldn’t expect it to break unless you elbow-drop it, but you might find the way it flexes when you lean on it annoying (I sure do). Works great as a computer desk, eating place, crafting station (for crafts where you don’t press down on the table a bunch), cat perch, temporary whatever table, etc. Works less well for writing or drawing because of the flex (in my opinion — yours may differ).

If you want it, say so in a comment, message, or email to

Free Shelf

I‘m giving gave away a shelf. – who wants it?

Cat not included.

It’s 23.5″ L x 16.5″ W x 21″ H (height includes wheels), but there’s a lip on the front bottom and an overhang on the back, so the top and bottom are a little less wide than the whole thing.

The top is 14.5 inches wide and the bottom is 15.5 inches wide.

I’ve used it for about 5 years to hold up my laser printer and contain cd binders and large books; before that it was a friend’s TV stand. It’s a bit wobbly because the middle shelf that used to brace it went missing. I nailed a piece of illustration board to the back to shore it up. It has semi-functional wheels.

It’s no showpiece, but it probably has years of service left in it as long as you don’t wrestle with it or shake it to death with an inkjet printer. Or you could break it down and use the parts for something — the boards are pretty solid.

If you want it, say so in a comment, message, or email to

And now it has a new home!

Text Wizard

              A          + .   
             / \       .     +
            /-  \     +  (+)  .
           /--   \     .  =  +
          /---    \      +|.  
      ——————————————————  |   
          @$ .| .$@       |   
        __$$$/-\$$$__     |   
       /---$$$$$$$   \    |   
      /---- $$$$$     \  !O   
     / ----- $$$       \(%O)  
    /  ------ $        (%%|%) 
   /    ----- :      | |%%|%| 
  |-   |----- :      |- \%|/  
  |-    \---- :      |- _\|   
  |--    \--- :      |-/  |   
  |---    \===&=======|   |   
  /--      \ /:\      \   |   
 |__________\ :       |   |   
     | ''''-- :       |   |   
     | ------ :       |   |   
   *  T E X T  W I Z A R D  *

I don’t know why I felt compelled to make this.

New digital minicomics site

Curated, non-profit comics-sharing site (zee comics) launched this week. You can read and download minicomics and give money to their creators there, and one of those creators is me! I’ve uploaded Square Dance #6 to start with. Heidi McDonald finds “exciting”.

I haven’t fully explored the other offerings yet, but I see a lot of good-looking stuff. I recommend Fear of Flowers by Jason Viola, Jubilee One by Joel Orff, and Graxa Gamgasher: Teen Girl Sleuth by Andrea Tsurumi.

Debunking “Bunny Rabbits”

My mysterious animal photos receive analysis in this guest post from leading pseudocryptozoologist Bruce Fort. — Colin

Blurry photo of what might be a brown rabbit lurking at the top of a driveway

What we have here today are photographs of what Colin believed to be “bunny rabbits”, a creature that surprisingly many people believe in. For those who may not have heard of them, bunny rabbits are supposed to be like a cross between a mouse and a frog, but much bigger than either, with strange elongated ears like antennae. They have a reputation as the bane of gardeners, with a voracious appetite for vegetable crops (especially carrots, for some reason) and a virus-like rate of reproduction.

Stories about bunny rabbits have been with us from time immemorial in many places around the world. Proponents of bunny rabbit theories use this fact to bolster their claims, but of course there are plenty of old stories about things that aren’t real. Often these reflect some sort of universal experience or common societal concern. In the case of the bunny rabbit, their crop-devouring symbolizes our anxiety about the destructive whims of nature. Their rampant fecundity connects to that (tapping into the same fears of epidemic plagues that zombies do), and to our culture’s repressive attitudes toward sexuality.

But with so many stories about them, it is inevitable that some people are prepared to think they have seen bunny rabbits. These reports can be hard to debunk because there is usually little evidence to work with, but when a determination can be made it is not unusual to find that the witness has merely misidentified a groundhog.

Blurry photo of what might be two brown rabbits in a snowy driveway
Could these be bunny rabbits?

This photo is pretty typical in that regard; it is blurry enough that no one can say for sure what it shows. I can’t make any positive identification from such an image, but if I had to guess I’d say we are looking at some large snails.

Colin thought the “bunny rabbits” were foraging for birdseed in his driveway, but this is clearly incorrect; the driveway is paved with gravel. Birdseed is found in bird feeders and is not used as a paving material.

Blurry photo of a possible brown rabbit in grass near pavement; its visible eye appears to glow magenta
This creature appeared in the heart of a bustling town.

This next photo was taken on the rail trail in Northampton, MA. Again, the blurriness makes positive identification impossible, but look at the eyes in this one. There is no mention of glowing magenta eyes anywhere in global bunny rabbit lore, so clearly we are looking at something else. Most likely it’s a mischievous goblin or imp, or a secret government cyborg designed to play on people’s mistaken beliefs for some unknown reason. It could also possibly be a UFO alien or some kind of spirit.

I hope you have found this informative and interesting, and that it has helped clear up some erroneous beliefs. I’d like to thank Colin for inviting me to share my knowledge.

– Bruce Fort, pseudocryptozoologist

False hit — first-run glitch?

I just got the VDH 5.0.1 update, and it detected a video on my site’s homepage (which is also my browser’s homepage), where there aren’t any videos. VDH named it “Colin Tedford” (the site name); when i downloaded it, it saved as “Colin Tedford.mp4″ and turned out to be a PNG image in the post from 2015-02-11 (which isn’t named “Colin Tedford”). Strangely, VDH doesn’t detect anything when I view the permalink page for that post or the 2015-02 archive page or the 2015 archive page. I’m using Firefox 36.0.1 on LXLE Linux (an Ubuntu variant). This isn’t a big problem, just puzzling.

Huh — even more puzzling, now VDH doesn’t detect anything on the homepage, either. Just a first run glitch?

[I’ve tried three times to post this to the Video DownloadHelper Q&A, with no success; the third time I removed all but one link in case that was the problem. I really dislike Google Groups.]

I just noticed that John Platt included Square Dance in his list of “Five Mini-Comics Series You Like That Have Gone On For More Than Five Issues” at The Comics Reporter last July

I just learned that John Platt included Square Dance in his list of “Five Mini-Comics Series You Like That Have Gone On For More Than Five Issues” at The Comics Reporter last July (it’s the next-to-last list). Thanks, John! Those of you who’ve missed out so far can still buy copies of Square Dance #4, 5, and 6.

If you love breakfast

Groo exclaims to his dog that breakfast kissed him.

If you love breakfast, it’ll love you back. (from Groo #88 by Sergio Aragonés)


Nose to nose with his dog, Groo the Wanderer happily exclaims, “That was breakfast, Rufferto! Did you see that? I just got kissed by breakfast!

Grinning back, Rufferto thinks, “So what are you waiting for?”


Oops, accidentally reposted a bunch of stuff to Facebook while experimenting with Twitter. Sorry about that!

I have shortlinks now

I have shortlinks now! You’ll see one below this post, next to the permalink which is next to the tags. WordPress currently shows them like but you can use my short domain like (making WordPress use my short domain in the links requires rooting around that I don’t feel like doing now, and the plugin that makes it easy has a bug that wrongly reroutes some posts).

Why shortlinks? I want to put them on some comics so people can easily reach the web version, plus I might use them to link my silo posts back here.

Redid the site header

Redid the site header:

– Shrank and bolded site title.
– Brought vertical spacing in line with rest of site.
– Adjusted horizontal spacing.
– Made header max-width same as main content area.
– Search box has new, single size. Would like to make it more elastic but it’s good enough for now.
– Put search above nav in the source file so I could fit it next to the title on small screens instead of squashing in the nav.
– Fiddled w/ search box corner radius.
– Fixed an annoying, seemingly intractable bug where the title and nav sat on different baselines in certain views; turned out the nav list items were set to display: block & float: left; changed ‘em to unfloating inline-block and *mwah!*

It could still use some tweaking but I’m really pleased with the header now. It occupies a single line even on 7″ screens; takes two on phones but looks better doing it than it did before. I eventually want to make the site title handwritten but I dread the image-sizing issues it may entail.

I started using Firefox years ago because it was a better browser than Internet Explorer

I started using Firefox years ago because I liked it better than Internet Explorer, the only major browser at the time. I’ve come to further like it because it’s made by a nonprofit devoted to keeping the web open and free, against the trends of centralization and surveillance.

“Mozilla makes the only popular browser that is open source, uncompromised by commercial parentage and on the side of the individual.” — Doc Searls, “Hats Off to Mozilla” (h/t Tantek Çelik)

More site updates

More site updates:

* On Comics: Fixed broken links, tidied markup, changed from double column to single w/ section links for better small-screen experience (eventually I want to have it be 2-column on larger screens again).
* Marked up my “About” footer as an h-card so machines can dig it too.
* Enlarged page titles after noticing they were same size as second-level headings.

Ghost Night

Oh, a ghost by the shrubbery! Or maybe me in a bedsheet.

This Halloween I hung out with my friend Anne as she doled out treats to hordes of kids, and I donned the traditional bedsheet ghost costume so rarely seen these days. I almost didn’t bother because even with help it came out crooked, but I’m glad I did because kids’ reactions were a hoot (the photo’s just a pose; I sat on the stoop with Anne).

The first pair shook my hand before leaving. One boy asked if I was a Mister or Miss Ghost and got agitated when I played coy, trying to get a close look and saying things like “What is your gender?” and “Show me your mustache!” We had a couple of skeptics, too; one said, “Nice costume, but I’m not buying it,” and later another said, “You’re not a ghost!” — but only after peering closely :)

Anyone know a good way to share playlists online?

Anyone know a good way to share playlists online? I was using Youtube because it has a lot of music but their ads ruin the experience (I only noticed recently on a friend’s computer; I use an adblocker on mine). I basically want to post online mixtapes but I haven’t kept up with streaming music stuff so I don’t know what’s out there or if it’s even feasible given copyright issues.

Halloween Music Mix

♫ Halloween Mix 2014

  1. “Carve Her Pumpkin” — John Vosel & the Boogie Monsters
  2. “Halloween” — The Mission Creeps
  3. “The Bones in the Ground” — Robyn Hitchock
  4. “Ain’t No Grave” — Crooked Still
  5. “Hall of Heads” — They Might Be Giants
  6. “Graveyard Stomp” — Ursula 1000
  7. “There’s a New Sound (the Sound That’s Made by Worms)” — Tony Burrello
  8. “Dead Man’s Party” — Oingo Boingo
  9. “The Old Woman in the Woods” — Cruachan
  10. “Zombie” — The Death Set
  11. “Werewolf” — Al Storm
  12. “Up Jumped the Devil” — John Davis and the Monster Orchestra
  13. “Enter Sandman” — Richard Cheese

Happy Halloween!

Trick or Treat Comics #3

Another October means another set of Trick or Treat Comics! Eight miniature comics perfect for giving to trick-or-treaters, Halloween party-goers, goblins, etc, Trick or Treat Comics #3 features trick-or-treating pumpkins, monster hybrids, bone-playing instructions, were-comics, trick-or-treating dinosaurs, and more!

Trick or Treat Comics #3

Eight 2.75″ x 4.25″ 8-page comics by:

  • Anne Thalheimer
  • Colin Tedford
  • Elizabeth Neronski
  • Madsahara
  • Megan Coleman & Michael Logerfo
  • Marek Bennett
  • Sarah Margaret Frye

Planning to hand them out for Halloween? You can get all three sets of Trick or Treat Comics for the price of two.

Hoo ha I finally finished moving all my…

Hoo-ha! I finally finished moving all my comics images and turned off Webcomic! Now I get to figure out which theme to use. No matter what I pick it’ll need some changes; for now I’m using Mercury, but I need to finish reviewing some others. I also need to get the comics navigation back up, but I think it can wait for a day.

Update (~10 minutes later): Switched to Publish for now (Mercury’s great, though! Hoping to use it for Trees & Hills as a collaboration tool if not for the main blog).

Tomorrow is the Internet Slowdown

Time for another Web protest to keep the cable companies from breaking the internet

THIS IS THE BATTLE FOR THE NET. Team Cable is spending millions to destroy the open internet. Stop them:

The goal now is to get the FCC to reclassify Internet Service Providers in a way that will allow the them to effectively enforce net neutrality (Title II is the key to net neutrality—so what is it?).

What can you do? Submit a comment to the FCC by September 15 (enter “14-28” in the proceeding number field and “Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet” for the name of flier field. Read others’ comments here). Encourage others by emailing, writing a post, and/or participating in tomorrow’s Internet Slowdown protest with a bit of code to display an alert on your site for the day (as I’ll be doing) or a “page loading” icon for your social media thingy.

Make Halloween Comics With Me This Saturday

I’m running a free workshop for Trees & Hills‘ third collection of Halloween comics this Saturday in Keene — join in and make some spooky fun!

"Ask Jack" pages 3 & 4

September 6, 12:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Colony Mill Marketplace food court, 222 West St., Keene, NH

Having trouble finding time to work on your submission for Trick or Treat Comics #3? This is that time! We’ll start off with a brief intro and a brainstorming session for those who don’t have story ideas yet, then settle down to draw. If there is interest in doing so, we may come back after supper to draw some more.

We will meet in the semi-spooky ex-food court at the Colony Mill, which is at the opposite end from the bookstore and the smokestack.

If you plan to attend please comment, email (, or RSVP on Facebook so we can have a sense of how many people to expect.

I’m about 1/4 done copying my comic images from the obsolete version of the Webcomic plugin that I run to regular ol’ blog posts. Looking forward to finishing this dull task so I can install a new theme that works better on small screens.

Visit me at Southern VT Garlic and Herb Festival this weekend

My pal Madsahara & I will hawk our garlic-themed (& other) comics & art at the Trees & Hills booth this weekend at the 19th annual Southern Vermont Garlic and Herb Festival in Bennington, VT. I’ll of course have “Super Friendly Garlic” (in Square Dance #4), Pickle Vampire magnets, and “Midnight Snack” (in Square Dance #6 and Trick or Treat Comics #2)

Vampire Pickle magnet

August 30 & 31, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Camelot Village, 1545 Route 9, Bennington, VT

Admission is $5 per day or $8 for a two-day pass. Children 12 & under get in for $1.00.

Jury-rigged Tent

Front of the tent


I forgot to bring tent poles on a three day night camping trip last week; luckily my camping companions had more engineering acumen than I. After some futzing, they used too-short rain fly poles in place of the normal poles and some cord to suspend the back end of the tent from a tree trunk (we also put an odd short pole inside to prop the roof but I don’t know how much it helped). The resulting shelter looked weirder and had much less space than the normal dome shape, but it was enough to sleep in. Thank you Dan, Fardeen, Phayvanh, Randall, and Sarah for rigging it up!


Downpower archives merged into the parent blog

Downpower was a secondary blog I maintained from late 2007 to mid 2008, a “journal chronicling the attempt” to “make my life better for the world”. The attempt and the blog were both underwhelming; the latter came to seven posts, which I’ve just realized are still online (I thought I’d taken the blog down). The WordPress installation is of course way out of date, which is a big no-no, so I’ve merged the posts and comments into my main blog, tagged them, and taken the standalone version off the Web. I hate linkrot, but I haven’t learned all the redirecting magic and I doubt it’ll affect anyone anyway, so as a stopgap here is a list of the posts and their old addresses:

  • Introduction (formerly at
  • STUFF (formerly at
  • Cutting Your Car Use (formerly at
  • In The Absence Of The Sacred (formerly at
  • Doing the Laundry (formerly at
  • Walden, and the dryer update (formerly at
  • Off To A Bad Start (formerly at
  • On Hiatus (formerly at

There were also two pages of links:

(formerly at

(formerly at

And to round it all out, here’s a screenshot of how it looked:

The Downpower homepage

Unexpectedly Finding the Library of the Lost

Zero #12: Library of the Lost minicomic (reprinted from Before Sleep #5)

I try to always have free comics like the Zero series on hand, both for promotional purposes and just because I like giving comics away. I also like leaving them in public places sometimes. The other day a person who found a copy of Library of the Lost pinned to the bulletin board at a bank in Milford, NH emailed me to say they’d enjoyed the comic and its “message-in-a-bottle distribution, which was like opening a Cracker Jack prize”. That feeling is one of the reasons I like leaving comics around, but what made this extra delightful to me is that I didn’t put that comic there. I guess one of the many people I gave a copy to at Broke must have decided to share with Milford’s banking public. The person who found it said they left it at the Milford library for others to enjoy. This all pleases me. :D

Me and Weird Al

Keith M., Colin Tedford, and "Weird Al" Yankovic

I met “Weird Al” Yankovic! I’m the one in green looking like a dazed sweathog; my friend Keith (in red) more visibly reflects my delight in this picture. I think Al looks pretty pleased to meet us ;)

For better or worse Weird Al is one of my formative influences, so it was a thrill to finally see him in concert and meet him (even after a long day of travel and art fair tabling and half a week of short sleep, and even for just a quick greet / sign / photo). Of course I gave him a comic, ’cause that’s what I do.

Cheap Art Show hours

Six of my thirteen drawings in the Cheap Art Show sold at the opening; you can still see the rest (and get cheap art by me and others):

  • Friday 31 May, 4 to 7 pm
  • Saturday 8 June, 12 to 4 pm
  • Friday 14 June, 4 to 7 pm
  • Saturday 15 June, 2 to 6 pm

The show is at Paper City Performance Space, 460 Race St., Holyoke, MA. Here’s a photo of the building taken by fellow exhibitor Jim DuBois (you may find the photo slightly eerie on account of the mysterious hooded figure near the building; I find it eerie because I was the mysterious hooded figure and didn’t realize I was being photographed!).

Summer in Headville p.1

Summer in Headville page 1


[All characters are heads on little legs with no arms.]

As the sun rises, a farmer loads boxes of vegetables into her pickup truck and drives away from the farm. She passes two unicyclists; going through a suburb, she sees a man pushing a lawnmower with his mouth. In the city, she is one of many vendors at the farmers market.

There is an ice-cream truck nearby. A curly-haired man approaches it and buys a cone (passing the money on his tongue and carrying the cone with his bottom lip. He lays down in the park and (having presumably bitten off the bottom cone) holds the cone upright in his mouth waiting for the ice cream to melt and leak out the bottom into his mouth.

The Port Report

Had a nice time at MeCAF: had good conversations with old & new acquaintances (including two nonfiction-makers), acquired what looks so far like a pretty good bunch of comics, and enjoyed Portland and its surroundings. Sales were a little lower than I’d expect from such a show but were OK (which is normal for MeCAF). Vampire Pickle magnets were popular. I didn’t bother to meet special guest Jeff Smith because I knew the line would be huge and I’d nothing to say beyond “I really liked Bone!” — but he ended up next to me at the night-before reception saying, “Hi, I’m Jeff; who are you?” so I had a nice little chat with him (OMGHBBBLL). He seems quite friendly and nice.

Feedback on my work at the show included: Some laughter at the humor (a nice perk of working in a genre meant to provoke an involuntary reaction). One fellow cartoonist said my drawing style reminded them of Quentin Blake and another said the history bits in Square Dance reminded them of Hark! A Vagrant; both nice to hear, though I don’t mistake “reminds me of” for “is as good as”. Best of all was a description of a piece as “well-timed” from an accomplished cartoonist whose fine qualities include superb timing.

Jammin’ in Minneapolis

A little over I week ago I rode the bus to Minneapolis to visit friends and do a bunch of other stuff.

Minneapolis skyline

On July 5 I attended the monthly comics jam put on by the founding branch of the International Cartoonist Conspiracy in Minneapolis. I had a good time as we each added panels to the “story”, though I didn’t realize ’til the end that each page was meant to be part of a larger whole – oops. If you dare, you can view the results (PDF, and content warning for occasional cussing, incoherence, & rudeness). I slipped upstairs from the jam for a while to visit Big Time Attic, the studio of Kevin and Zander Cannon (no relation to each other; current project: Double Barrel). Zander was out of town, but Kevin graciously showed me around and chatted with me for a while. When I returned, Conspiracy founder Steven Stwalley had arrived. I met him on my last visit to the Twin Cities in 2009, and it was nice to see him again. I came away from the evening with copies of the Big Funny and Just Add Ink anthologies, and left New England comics in my wake – a veritable cultural exchange!

Before and after the jam I spent my time juggling day-job work (it’s portable!) and the first day of CONvergence, a four-day science-fiction & fantasy convention my hosting friends attend every year (the nominal reason for the trip) – more on that later.

Midnight Snack p.2

Midnight Snack page 2


Girl: “VAMPIRE PICKLE?!” [Noticing her, the vampire pickle pushes the ketchup bottle away and wipes its mouth.]

Girl: “Where’s the garlic?!”

Vampire Pickle: “FOOL! I am a PICKLE! Garlic only makes me STRONGER!” [It leaps onto her chest; she falls back against the kitchen table.] “And daylight is hours away – too late too save you!”

Vampire Pickle: “Ha ha! Prepare to-” [Girl notices a box of toothpicks by her hand, and quickly impales the vampire pickle.] “NAAARRGH!!!”

As the vampire pickle wails and withers away on the toothpick, the girl thinks, “Gotta remember next year – the creepy house gives bad treats!”

Get copies of “Midnight Snack” formatted as a minicomic to give to trick-or-treaters, Halloween party-goers, goblins, etc.!

Assembling the comic is pretty easy! Print the PDF double-sided at 100% (no scaling; don’t let the program “adjust to printer margins” or anything like that). Each copy of the file produces 4 copies of the comic; when you cut them apart, the pages will be in the right order for you to staple & fold. If using scissors instead of a papercutter, you may want to cut after folding. Staple in the center & fold. If you’re using a standard stapler, you may want to fold the comic before stapling or use a ruler to help find the center (at 2 3/4″). If using a long stapler, the measurement marks probably don’t go down to 2 3/4″, so line up a ruler with the one on the stapler to get the added measurement.

Midnight Snack p.1

Midnight Snack page 1


[Scene: moonlit night]

[Voice from inside house] “So how did your trick-or-treating go?”

[Two girls are sorting their Halloween candy – a blonde girl in a grim reaper costume and a black-haired girl in a skeleton costume.]

Blonde girl: “Good – but look what that creepy house gave me.”

Black-haired girl: “A pickle?! That’s weird.”

Blonde girl: “Yeah. I guess I’ll put it in the fridge for now…”

Later…at midnight…[sleepy blonde girl, in her pajamas, opens the fridge – then looks wide-eyed in amazement. A pickle with arms, legs, and a face has been using its fangs to drain the ketchup bottle.]

Blond girl: “WHA-?! V- V- V- V-“

Get copies of “Midnight Snack” formatted as a minicomic to give to trick-or-treaters, Halloween party-goers, goblins, etc.!

Assembling the comic is pretty easy! Print the PDF double-sided at 100% (no scaling; don’t let the program “adjust to printer margins” or anything like that). Each copy of the file produces 4 copies of the comic; when you cut them apart, the pages will be in the right order for you to staple & fold. If using scissors instead of a papercutter, you may want to cut after folding. Staple in the center & fold. If you’re using a standard stapler, you may want to fold the comic before stapling or use a ruler to help find the center (at 2 3/4″). If using a long stapler, the measurement marks probably don’t go down to 2 3/4″, so line up a ruler with the one on the stapler to get the added measurement.

The Story of Jake Tuesday – 5

The Story of Jake Tuesday page 5


With the firefighters out and the rain starting again during the first firehouse dance, they skip the song and the usual jaunt to Pliny Park, returning to the pub to sing other songs.

Singer: “Although I’m not rich and although I’m not poor / I’m as happy as those that’s got thousands or more.”
Group: “Thousands or more / Thousands or more / Thousands or more / I’m as happy as those that’s got thousands or more.”

Geoff Rogers says, “I like these events that mark the passing of the year … We used to have the planting season and they knew when the solstice was coming … when the shortest day was going to happen…”

“And even what that meant!” Jake adds.

“I think nowadays people are so far away from that – so isolated, ” says Geoff.

The evening nears its end as 10:00 PM passes. A departing guest wishes Jake a “Happy You Tuesday!”

Jake says, “Thanks! … I’m always glad to share it with you.”

Six months after his heart attack Jake – for whom math had always come naturally – was unable to do a sixth-grade long division problem.

“I’m a science teacher … I can do [long division] now, so it’s been neat to see the recovery, and there are a bunch of things that have helped me get better – Jake Tuesday being one of them.”

Bonus: watch a video from the very same Jake Tuesday celebration covered in this comic (courtesy of Adroyt)!

Update 2014-06-12: I should’ve mentioned earlier, you can get your own print copy of this comic in Square Dance #6 (a collection of my short comics) and The Cartoon Picayune #4 (an anthology of graphic journalism). You can also peek at my process behind the scenes in The Cartoon Picayune‘s interview with me.

The Story of Jake Tuesday – 4

The Story of Jake Tuesday page 4


Jake brought the dawn tradition to the Putney Morris Men (though they start when it’s light). He no longer dances because of a permanent ankle injury, but he comes to McNeill’s Pub on Jake Tuesday, when Juggler Meadow visits to celebrate his return from death. The eighth Tuesday after Easter, it’s named after their annual “Drake Tuesday”, which is named after and commemorates the long-closed bar they frequented after dance practice in their early days.

Jake says, “There’s a funny awkward element to it, because a lot of the new people on the team I don’t really know – ‘Oh – you’re Jake!’ … But it’s a neat tradition … For me it’s a great chance to see some people I love dearly.”

The tradition now spans generations. Geoff Rogers’ son Angus is here dancing, and Oriel Strong has recently taken her father’s former role as musician. “I’ve been coming to these events since I was in utero,” she says.

“We always go across the street and do a dance or two for the firemen, and we always sing this song for them called ‘The Old Dun Cow’,” says Geoff Rogers. It’s about a pub that catches fire and the patrons who rush to the cellar to drink all the booze. “[The firefighters] all join in the chorus – it’s fun.” (Bystanders: “They’re at a fire.” “No, there’s flooding.”)

The Story of Jake Tuesday – 3

The Story of Jake Tuesday page 3


On June 5, after Jake had come home, Juggler Meadow and the Putney Morris Men came to dance for him. He was still in “pretty bad” physical shape – able to go outside, but not to retain his own memory of the event. “It was definitely a low point in my life, so for me it’s very special to think that these guys all came over and breather a kind of life in me that was different from … CPR.”

Jake’s friend Geoff Rogers dragged him to his first morris practice in the early 1980s. Jake says, “It’s an easy community to like – really nice people, and the dancing is really fun, and building a sense of community.

“The big tradition is dancing in the dawn on May Day. We would go to Juggler Meadow and camp out, and start dancing while it was still dark – and for me that’s where I felt something extraordinary. It was just the sense that I was doing something with other people that other people had been doing for a long time, and I felt like it was really important.

“I’m not a big believer in things that can’t be explained; I really like science … but I definitely had the sense that there was something I couldn’t explain, that it was special and that it was important. It could be as simple as the relationships between people, which I think is really, really important.”

The Story of Jake Tuesday – 2

The Story of Jake Tuesday page 2


Mark Summers found Jake and assumed he’d crashed, realizing when closer that he was dead. He debated going for help, but decided to use the CPR training he’d received years ago. Another driver came, and went for help. The town had just purchased a portable defibrillator, which they put to use on Jake. An ambulance and helicopter ride later Jake was under doctors’ care, but he’d gone so long without oxygen that they expected him to die again. When he seemed to be stabilizing, they said that if he survived he would do so without his memory.

Jake says, “For me it’s a haunting story, that my wife had to sit my little girls down – they were third and fifth grade – and say that Pop might live, but he’s not going to remember you.

“But I just … lucked out … I had enough brain left so that even though there was a lot of damage, I’ve gotten a lot of stuff back.”

He still doesn’t remember the heart attack or the month that followed; he has to rely on his wife Eve’s memories for that. “I think I was feeling pretty isolated, and like my life had changed a lot. My brain didn’t work very well. I’d been very athletic, and it was clear I was never going to be able to do any of that stuff again.”

The Story of Jake Tuesday – 1

The Story of Jake Tuesday page 1


If you passed the fire station in Brattleboro, Vermont the night of May 29, you may have seen an unusual sight – The outfits with bells on the legs mark this as a morris dance, a type of English ritual folk dance that predates Shakespeare and has spread to the U.S. – but why is it here on this Tuesday night?

Geoff Rogers: “We’re called the Juggler Meadow Morris Men; we’re based in Amherst [Massachusetts].” Juggler Meadow is here with local morris team Windham and others for Jake Tuesday, an annual event in honor of former member Jake McDermott, who moved to Putney and in April 2001 had a heart attack. “We have an evening of beer and song and dancing – celebrating life in general and Jake in particular.”

“Jake was not the kind of guy you would ever expect to have something like that happen to him … really an iron man; really, really fantastic shape.” But during an easy bike ride on Kurn Hattin Road in Westminster, he died of a heart attack.

This story marks my return to the pages of The Commons – with a full-length article in comics format! You can pick up a free print copy today through next Tuesday at numerous locations in Brattleboro and the rest of Windham County, VT, or download the paper as a PDF (44 MB) read it at The Commons website. The version in The Commons is laid out differently and in color (provided by The Commons). Here are photos of it in the paper (click to enlarge):

(That’s right – I got a jump page!)

I’m really excited about this one; I’ve been wanting to do stuff like this for a while, and I’m happy with how it came out – and having it in a newspaper makes it even better! Thanks to Commons editor Jeff Potter for devoting space to graphic journalism.

(PS: Sorry for the occasionally jaggy image quality – I’ve started drawing smaller and haven’t yet got the hang of reproducing the thinnest lines at screen resolution.)

Update 2014-06-12: I should’ve mentioned earlier, you can get your own print copy of this comic in Square Dance #6 (a collection of my short comics) and The Cartoon Picayune #4 (an anthology of graphic journalism). You can also peek at my process behind the scenes in The Cartoon Picayune‘s interview with me.

3-part comics groove

I’ve realized that to keep a consistent comics-making groove I need to always have one comic to draw, another to write/lay out, and a third to research. I should be able to do that soon, since I recently finished the thumbnails for “Summer in Headville” and started drawing it, have picked out a partially-written piece to finish, and need to research my submission for the next Trees & Hills anthology.

New Year’s cleaning

Either last year or the year before I spent New Year’s Eve cleaning & organizing, and (contrary to how it might sound) it was pretty great. Sort of like Spring Cleaning, but for the new year. I think I’m going to do it again this year; my space has been wobbling between “almost good” and “blithering mess,” so I’d like to give it a shove toward the good. I don’t normally do much for New Year’s because it doesn’t mean a lot to me and I’m not much of a party person (though I have enjoyed the couple First Night things I’ve attended).

Whatever you do, I hope you have fun!

This post’s song.

Stars & Skulls Craft Fair 12/11

Logo - Stars & Skulls Crafty Craft Fair: A Craft Fair For Freaks & Geeks

Visit me at the Trees & Hills table at the 6th annual Stars & Skulls Crafty Craft Fair! Organized by Pioneer Valley Roller Derby co-founders Pink Panzer & Bazooka Joe, Stars & Skulls is the Valley’s original DIY alternative craft fair. It’s also my fourth weekend in a row tabling at art & craft fairs!

The fair will features dozens of tables of locally made jewelry, clothing, knick-knacks, housewares, tasty treats, comics and much more! PVRD will also have a merch/info table.

The fair is from 10 am to 4 pm at the American Legion Hall at 162 Russell St. (AKA Route 9) in Hadley, MA.

As always, admission and parking are free.


Halloween was quiet but good. I gave out 30 comics to trick-or-treaters. Some of the kids asked, “What’s this?”. When I told the last one, “Comics,” she said, “Nice!

The Boy in the Cemetary p.2

The Boy in the Cemetery page 2


The boy approached the crypt and reached for the door handle.

“wh-what are you doing?” Billy said.

The boy opened the door a little and leaned his head around it. “Hey Dad, I brought someone over…” he said.

“Excellent…” came a voice from within, as Billy stammered in fear. The door opened fully, and a skeleton with glowing eyes said, “He looks — DELICIOUS.”

Billy froze for a moment, then ran screaming in panic. “AAAAAAA!!!!”

“HA HA! Look at him go!” The skeleton laughed.


The skeleton leaned against the doorway, still laughing. “He really thought I’d eat him! Hoo! The poor kid!”

“Ugh!” said the ghost boy, stomping into the crypt. “I never get to have any friends!”

Little Zero 3 - The Boy in the Cemetery cover

Get copies of “The Boy in the Cemetery” formatted as a minicomic to give to trick-or-treaters, Halloween party-goers, goblins, etc.!

Assembling the comic is pretty easy! Print the PDF double-sided at 100% (no scaling; don’t let the program “adjust to printer margins” or anything like that). Each copy of the file produces 4 copies of the comic; when you cut them apart, the pages will be in the right order for you to staple & fold. If using scissors instead of a papercutter, you may want to cut after folding. Staple in the center & fold. If you’re using a standard stapler, you may want to fold the comic before stapling or use a ruler to help find the center (at 2 3/4″). If using a long stapler, the measurement marks probably don’t go down to 2 3/4″, so line up a ruler with the one on the stapler to get the added measurement.

Check out my other Halloween comics, too!

The Boy in the Cemetery p.1

The Boy in the Cemetery page 1


It was a cold night with the moon hiding behind clouds. Billy walked down the sidewalk past the cemetery carrying his plastic pumpkin bucket of candy. He wore a black cape & hood and a mask push up on his head. He saw someone slouching near the cemetery gate – a boy his own age, wearing a ghost costume with his head uncovered.

“Are – are you okay?” he asked the boy, who didn’t seem very happy.

“Oh…” the boy replied, “I just don’t have any friends…”

“Well…maybe I could be your friend?” Billy suggested.

“That’d be swell! Would you walk to my house with me?”


“Great! C’mon!” the boy headed into the cemetery.

“Uh-” Billy said. “Wh-why are we going through the cemetery?” He was looking around so nervously that he didn’t notice how transparent the boy looked now that the moon had come out from behind the clouds.

“It’s the shortest way,” the boy said.

“Are you sure there isn’t a better way?” Bill asked as the path wound near a crypt.

“We have to go this way.”

Little Zero 3 - The Boy in the Cemetery coverGet copies of “The Boy in the Cemetery” formatted as a minicomic to give to trick-or-treaters, Halloween party-goers, goblins, etc.!

Assembling the comic is pretty easy! Print the PDF double-sided at 100% (no scaling; don’t let the program “adjust to printer margins” or anything like that). Each copy of the file produces 4 copies of the comic; when you cut them apart, the pages will be in the right order for you to staple & fold. If using scissors instead of a papercutter, you may want to cut after folding. Staple in the center & fold. If you’re using a standard stapler, you may want to fold the comic before stapling or use a ruler to help find the center (at 2 3/4″). If using a long stapler, the measurement marks probably don’t go down to 2 3/4″, so line up a ruler with the one on the stapler to get the added measurement.

Check out my other Halloween comics, too!

Headache & Nausea p.3

Headache and Nausea page 3


Nausea paused, glancing back at the sleeping man. “I didn’t actually wait up all night for it, though, I just kinda showed up in the morning.

“Yeah, this is pretty boring,” said Headache. “Wanna split?”


The man slept alone in his room for a little while, and then a conversation came through his window:

“Well, if it isn’t our ol’ buddy Bodily Aches!”

“Hey, what are you fellas up to?”

“Not much, just out on the town.”

“Hey, you wanna go to the bar and find someone to have us over for breakfast?”


“Ha ha, all right!”

The conversation moved away, becoming indistinct except for some laughter.

The next morning, the man woke up looking happy (and bedheaded). “Whew! I feel better!” he said.

Headache & Nausea p.2

Headache and Nausea page 2


The man leaned toward his computer, wincing in pain and sickness.

“Man, I’m diggin’ this noisy music!” said Headache. “What is it?”

The man walked unsteadily to his bedroom. “I think I’m just going to go to bed,” he said.

“What?!” said Headache. “It’s early!”

As the man huddled under his covers, groaning, Nausea said, “Okay, well, we’ll see you tomorrow!” The man fell asleep and Nausea turned to Headache. “Ha ha, oh man, so one time I’m at this guy’s house, right, when he wakes up…”

Colin’s sat up in bed, holding his stomach. “Ugh, I don’t feel so good,” he said. “Maybe I should call in sick…” Nausea, sitting on the sheets, smiled. Colin started to get out of bed. “Well, maybe I’ll feel better with some food in me…” Suddenly he could feel he was about to vomit. He ran for the door with Nausea holding onto him, then threw up in the doorway as Nausea did a happy little dance.

“Ha, ha, WHAM! Just like that! it was only like two steps from his bed to the door, but it just hit him so fast!” Headache and Nausea both laughed as Nausea finished his story.

True story!

Headache & Nausea p.1

Headache and Nausea page 1


A short, amorphous blob with arms, legs, & face walks down a sidewalk and suddenly waves.
“Headache, how’s it going?” it says.
“All right, Nausea,” responds a short, spiky being coming the opposite way, “What’s shakin’?”
“Not much, just – oh, hey, I haven’t seen that guy in a while – let’s go say hi!”
The two run up a set of front steps behind a man with a tote bag entering an apartment building.
“Buddy! How are ya!” exclaims Nausea.
The man turns in alarm to see Headache & Nausea standing in the doorway. “Uh…busy,” he says.
“Cool!” says Nausea
They follow as he walks away.
“We thought we’d just drop by, catch up, rock out, y’know?” Headache says.
“Eaten anything interesting lately?” Nausea asks as the man sits down at a TV tray, starting to look ill.
“Guys,” he says, looking stressed, “I’ve got a lot of stuff to do, and I can’t do it with you here.”
Headache & Nausea are totally unfazed. “Aw, you can take a break!” says Nausea. “How often do we see each other?”

The Water Dogs 2

The Water Dogs page 2


Watching the distant dogs play in the water, Colin thinks, :They seem kind of small for wolves…” As they move out the picture, he thinks, “We’re in Portland – they must be someone’s dogs… very independent dogs.” He watches the water for a while after they’ve left.

Later, his roommate says, “They were probably coyotes.”

“I…didn’t know we had coyotes in New England.”

“Yeah, they’ve actually gotten to be kind of a nuisance in the suburbs.”


NARRATION: Since moving back to New Hampshire, I’ve seen coyotes four times while driving. IMAGE: Headlight beams in a rural road at night, coyote walking along the shoulder.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department says coyotes came to the state in the 1940s – and they’re bigger than and different from their ancestors because they interbred with wolves along the way! Now they’re common in every county.

I drew half of this page this past Sunday at the 8 Days of Weeks festival in Lancaster, NH and finished it at home last night.

Learn more about Eastern Coyotes at the NH Fish & Game Department and more about their genetic relationship with wolves at the Boston Globe.

The Water Dogs 1

The Water Dogs page 1


A man walks past some shops.
Narration: “I liked living in Portland, Maine, but after a while I missed walking in the woods.”
He walks a muddy path through tall rushes.
Narration: “A coworker recommended a river preserve just inside the city limits. As I walked in the forested section…”
SPLASH! The man looks right, then walks off the path toward a place above some water. Two distant shapes are swimming. “Ah, dogs,” he thinks. As he watches them, he thinks, “They look kinda wolfy…I don’t see an owner anywhere…”, then continues to watch them quietly.

This is the first page of the comic I drew yesterday at Weeks State Park in Lancaster, NH as part of the 8 Days of Weeks White Mountains Cultural Festival. Marek Bennett and I enticed passerby into drawing comics about the woods, the mountains, their experiences in the White Mountains National Forest, etc. – and fairness (and fun) demanded that we draw some too. I’ll post the other page later this week.

Forest Comics Activity at Weeks Act Festival 8/14

Oh hey, I’m doing a thing this weekend:

Make forest comics with Weeks Act Comics Artist Marek Bennett (who will also lead a musical “Forest Jamboree”) and cartoonist Colin Tedford this coming Sunday 8/14 at Weeks State Park in Lancaster, NH. Work on your Woods anthology submission in a beautiful setting! It’s one of many great activities at the 8 Days of Weeks White Mountain Cultural Festival, celebrating 100 years of the Weeks Act (you know, the one that established the US National Forests?) every weekend in August.

My Dance Power

A recent comment on Square Dance #5:

Hi there,

Just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed this article. It’s obvious that you know dancing. Your site really is awesome.

Thank you for your efforts!

I’m glad that my dance power is so amazing it shines through even in totally unrelated endeavors! I’m less glad that this commenter (whose name linked to an online dance school) enjoyed the shop listing but enough enough to buy : ‘ (

At least my efforts are appreciated.

What I’ve been up to

Sorry I’ve been away, Internet! I thought things would calm down after Water, which they did but only relatively; I immediately had to throw myself into preparations for the next anthology Woods, then the summer cluster of birthdays, then at some point  I started having really productive brainstorms.

Current projects:

  • Pursue drawn journalism – I want to draw more nonfiction but haven’t, mainly because it’s more work. Enter “comics journalism” and bushels of excitement!
  • “Community Comics” presentation & comic (& maybe workshop).
  • Trees & Hills logo (finally)!
  • Trees & Hills anthology #11, Woods.
  • A new Halloween Comics project.
  • Make comics templates.
  • Overhaul the Trees & Hills website. Among other exciting changes, we’re gonna have a wiki!
  • Overhaul this website (again). The software’s outdated & I have a sneaky spam problem, plus I want to change some things anyway.
  • Trees & Hills reorganization.
  • Prepare for the next Offshore Comix anthology.
  • “Get organized” (ongoing, recently reinvigorated)
  • Transition from Windows to Linux. I think I can finally relegate Windows to its proper place on a dusty shelf, but I have to set up & test some stuff first.
  • Go back “on tour” – so far I have a couple events lined up this month and one in September. I expect to start doing more once the Community Comics presentation is ready.
  • Fix sleep schedule (ongoing) – more daylight hours would make all of this a lot easier! At least now when I’m up too late I’m usually accomplishing a lot instead of just reading the internet (enriching though that may be).
  • So many comics to draw!

So despite the lack of drawing, I’m plenty busy. Despite which, I promise new comics soon!

Thirsty for comics? WATER is here!

The new Trees & Hills anthology WATER debuted at MECAF a couple weeks ago, and now you can buy it online from our shop! You can see its hand-printed cover to the right there, looking cool in the Ashuelot River.

WATER contains 56 pages about the Connecticut River, the Weeks Act, the Lake Champlain monster, a sad lamprey, the Nahr El Kalb Valley in Lebanon, Jenny Greenteeth, childhood summers at Laurel Lake, communities fighting water-bottling corporations, and more! Includes the last comics of Mark “Sparky” Whitcomb with an appreciation by Stephen R. Bissette. 10% of all proceeds go to the Connecticut River Watershed Council.

WATER features the talents of Daniel Barlow, Marek Bennett, Stephen R. Bissette, Jesse DuRona, Glynnis Fawkes, Sam Leveillee, Matt Levin, Mike Lynch, Madsahara, Elizabeth Neronski, Colin Tedford, Anne Thalheimer, Mark “Sparky” Whitcomb, and Matt Young.

Go get it!

How many pages have I drawn & printed?

A fellow cartoonist writes, “I’ve walked around telling people I’m a cartoonist, but how many comics have I really done? Whole comic books, mini-comics, strips all together? Fifty full pages of comics? Eighty?” I’ve had similar thoughts on occasion, so reading this made me wonder just how many pages I’ve drawn and published.

It turns out the answer is around 290 (using a 5.5″ x 8.5″ page as a standard unit).

  • 5 issues of Square Dance = 104 pages.
  • 5 issues of Before Sleep = 80 pages (I’m counting each page as half a page because they’re only 5.5″ x 4.25″. Note also that I only printed half of the strips I drew for Before Sleep).
  • Entries in 9 Trees & Hills anthologies = 38 pages (12 of them written by other people).
  • Entries in other anthologies (Always Comix, Big Sexy, Candy or Medicine (small pages counted as half), High Maintenance Machine guest strip (small counted as half), and Secrets & Lies (large page counted as double) = 14 pages.
  • 24 hour comics = 48 pages (not counting the second one, part of which I used in an issue of Square Dance & the rest of which remains unpublished. The first one had 8.5″ x 11″ pages, but I’m still counting it as just 24).
  • Minicomics not yet reprinted in Square Dance = 6 (all small pages counted as half or less).

If I counted comics I’ve published online but not on paper, it would add another 90 or so pages.

Those 290 pages are spread over the seven or so years(!) since I decided to “be a cartoonist”, averaging about 40 pages (or about two zines) a year. That’s less than my current goal of 100+ pages a year, and I know people’s who’ve drawn my seven-year total in much less time, but I still find it a comforting number. It’s not bad for someone who works a day job and devotes a lot of time to non-drawing comics activities (ie, co-organizing Trees & Hills),  and I hadn’t realized I’d drawn & published so many pages.

Here’s to many more!

Continental breakfast while you wait

New comics are still a little ways off, as there are a couple anthologies I want to submit to with June 1 deadlines – hopefully I’ll make one of them (two seems very unlikely). In the meantime, I’ve brought in a band to entertain you:

MC Toasty Toast & DJ Cherry Muffin

Stand back when they bust out the jams!

Back from making Water (ahem)

Sorry I haven’t been posting comics lately. I got caught up in last-minute anthology production rush and the touring season. The new Trees & Hills anthology Water is out and coming soon to an online shop near you!

For copies of the Trees and Hills comics anthology "Water"

Broke – an affordable art fair Sat. 5/14

This coming Saturday, May 14 from 10am-4pm, I’ll be tabling at Broke – an affordable art fair, part of Peterborough, NH’s Thing In The Spring. Broke is a multidisciplinary arts event that has taken place in Peterborough, NH three times since its inception in 2008. The Broke philosophy is simple: art is for everybody. All Broke events are free to the public, and *broke vendors commit to presenting at least 75% of their wares for less than $50. It’ll be at the Fellowship Hall of the Union Congregational Church in Peterborough, NH. Come out & say hi!

Surprises from Headville

The other night on a whim I Googled “Headville”. I guess I thought the only results would be mine (see Winter & Spring in Headville if you don’t know what I’m talking about), but it turns out there are other things with that name.

As far as I can tell it doesn’t exist anymore, but apparently there was a place called Headville in Vermont, as evidenced by the postmark on this postcard (I’d be tempted to buy it if the word “Headville” weren’t cut off the way it is). There’s also Headville Grain & Feed in Kansas (not Headville, KS, though). The business info site identifies itself as “a D&B Company”, which I guess stands for “Dun & Bradstreet,” but coincidentally is also a common abbreviation for “Drum & Bass,” a type of music I’ve enjoyed for years. Then there’s Headville, LLC in Colorado. That site gives no indication what they do so I was totally going to call them, but I Googled instead and found their Twitter, which tells me that it’s not only “a high quality smoke shop”, but also has “locally made tees, jewelry, ceramics, and fine art.”

The thing with the most results was Headville, which as far as I can tell from skimming their uninformative, script-requiring page and other search results, is some sort of video mystery puzzle. But the best result so far was a track by Isness called “In Headville” – I like it pretty well and It’s not a bad fit for the comic, so now there’s a soundtrack to listen to while reading Headville comics!

I’m on Etsy!

I didn’t think I had any use for Etsy because I already had a shop on my website, but Josh Blair’s post about it changed my mind, and now I’ve finally set up there. If you like buyin’ things on Etsy, get on over there!

(You may notice I’m selling the anthologies I’ve co-produced there; I plan to do the same here, but not ’til after I redo my shop.  I was going to set up a separate Etsy shop for Trees & Hills, but the process to post a new item is cumbersome enough that I don’t want to do it twice for each item.)

More Spring Tour dates

I had a good time at Paint & Pixel this weekend! If you missed it, you can still catch up with me at these events:

  • May 7: Free Comic Book Day Festival (Rochester NH). Free Comic Book Day is a highly publicized national event. Comic Shops across the country bring in hundreds and thousands of people on this day! The city of Rochester is unique in that Free Comic Book Day is promoted as a city-wide festival, organized by Jetpack Comics and the Rochester Main Street Association. 10am-4pm, multiple locations (cartoonists will be at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 40 Columbus Ave. For more information, email Ralph at jpcomics(at)worldpath(dot)net.
  • May 14: Broke – the Affordable Arts Fair (Peterborough, NH). Broke is a multidisciplinary arts event with a simple philosophy: art is for everybody. All Broke events are free to the public, and Broke vendors commit to presenting at least 75% of their wares for less than $50. Broke will take place from 10am-4pm at the Fellowship Hall at Union Congregational Church, 33 Concord St. Broke is part of the Thing In The Spring, an annual weekend of art and music.
  • May 22: Maine Comics Arts Festival (Portland, ME). The Maine Comics Arts Festival (MECAF) celebrates the wonderful world of comic books, comic strips, graphic novels, web comics and more. The festival will feature a wide variety of comic creators, writers, artists and publishers. 10am-5pm in the beautiful Ocean Gateway Building on the waterfront. Admission: $5 (kids 12 & under free). Presented by Casablanca Comics.

Hope to see you!

April 16: Paint & Pixel Festival in Northampton, MA

I’ll be tabling for Trees & Hills at a new comics festival right in our own region!

April 16, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Northampton Center for the Arts, 17 New South Street, Northampton, MA

Celebrating illustration online and in print, Paint & Pixel showcases Western New England’s talented book illustrators, comic artists, and cartoonists in one venue. Meet and get to know talented creators and their work ranging from sci-fi and indie comics to award-winning children’s books, prominent webcomics and comic strips. The annual event is open to comic and art lovers alike and promises to be the region’s largest gathering of talented illustrators.

Admission: $4 for adults, $2 for children 6-12, Free for children 5 and under

More info:

The Comics Journal reviews Square Dance #4

This particular edition of Colin Tedford’s Square Dance suggests what underground comics might have been in their nth iteration if maybe America and its cartoonists had progressed differently. For instance, what if, when head shops disappeared, the undergrounds migrated and were sold in farm and feed supply stores?

…so begins Rich Kreiner’s review of Square Dance #4 at The Comics Journal.

(If so inspired, you can of course buy Square Dance #4 here or here.)

The Unexpected Volume

Recently while perusing the used children’s books at Toadstool, trying to decide what to read to some 3rd-graders, I found something surprising on the shelf: The Haunted Looking Glass: Ghost Stories chosen [and illustrated] by Edward Gorey – for $3! (click image to enlarge)

I probably wouldn’t have bought the book just for the illustrations, much as I love Gorey’s work  (and the book is physically charming), but having gone through a period of strong interest in ghost stories this past fall, I think it’ll be a fun read. It includes Charles Dickens’ “The Signal-man”, perhaps my favorite of the stories I read last fall, and a bunch of others I don’t know.

Adventures in reading

Yesterday morning I trooped down to the local school for to instill a love of reading in the young folk as part of Read Across America. First I ate pastries in the library with other volunteers, then we all went to the cafeteria to watch the principal talk and the kids sing a song about Dr. Seuss (whose birthday is today), take the “Reader’s Oath”, and enact a theatrical performance of Green Eggs and Ham. There was also a special visit by large-headed superhero Word Girl.

After that everyone went back to their classrooms. I read part of The Pirates’ Mixed-Up Voyage by Margaret Mahy to a class of 3rd-graders, then answered some questions about being a cartoonist & whatnot. I left them with a picture of Garfield and a chihuahua reading on a horse under the watchful eye of Old Man Winter (the elements were all suggestions from the kids).

Overall it was fun! It was a bit of a trip to visit my old elementary school as an adult. The school library has a nice comics section now. I also saw an Alfred Hitchcock collection of stories for young folk, and I wish I’d thought to photograph the bizarre endpapers..

A Boy and His Gum 1

A Boy and His Gum page 1


Boy exits store, excited to chew the gum he just bought. He fumbles & it flies out of hand onto a lawn with a sign: “KEEP OFF MY GRASS!”
Boy walks nervously onto lawn, looking around frantically. “Wow, it landed right on this flower!” he says.
Flower opens into a giant round toothless maw. Boy, kneeling: “What the-?”
GLOM! Flower maw closes around Boy’s upper body.
Flower sucks Boy in. We see only his feet sticking out, then just a lump in the flower stem, then the flower maw is small again. Flower maw: “BURP!”

Oh my gosh, what now?!

Where was I?

Man, I slid right into Slump-town as last year came to a close. No good! But I’m starting to dig myself out. I now have scheduled drawing time with Brattleboro Comix Lab founder Daniel Kornguth twice a week, which should help a lot. I drew a whole page last week! (see above) Aiming for two this week. I still need to post my 24-hour comic in the Shop, and in March I intend to release the Spring-themed Square Dance #5. Comics ahoy!

Pro Tips For Tabling At Comics Conventions 3

Pro Tips for Tabling at Comics Conventions page 3


1. CAPTION: Connect with your visitors. IMAGE: Tall skinny young exhibitor with blond hair swept across eyes, looking down at phone & presumably texting, says, “Feel free to text me if you have any questions” to annoyed-looking older man looking at his comics.
2. CAPTION: Don’t be a know-it-all. IMAGE: Attendee: “Excuse me, where are the panel discussions?” Exhibitor, reading comic book & shrugging: “I dunno.”
3. CAPTION: Bring snacks to keep your energy up. IMAGE: Happy-looking exhibitor, who has been eating chocolate cake with his bare hands & has it smeared around his mouth, extends a cake-covered hand out for a handshake, saying “Oh, hi!” to a woman, who recoils.
4. CAPTION: Give out promotional items. IMAGE: Cocky-looking exhibitor dude to skeptical-looking attendee: “Have a gum wrapper I wrote my web address on! I chewed the gum myself!”
5. CAPTION: Check out other comics. IMAGE: Rude cartoonist (henceforth abbreviated as ‘RC’.): “Man, so much effort went into this cover, but then inside just sucks!” Creator looks shocked, angry.
6. CAPTION: Network with other creators. IMAGE: RC to disapproving-looking exhibitor: “Boy, are [censored name]’s comics over-rated or what?” (gestures over shoulder)
7. CAPTION: Treat yourself to a good meal afterward. IMAGE: Fancy waiter to RC: “Tonight’s special is Flavorful Meat marinated in Vitamin Waer (TM).”
8. CAPTION: Above all – have fun! IMAGE: RC, dragging suitcase, thinks: “Man, everyone I met was frowning – what a bunch of negative jerks!”

Update 2011-02-21: I just noticed I left out a word in the “networking” panel – he’s supposed to be saying the person’s comics are “overrated“, not “over”! I’ll fix it for the print version, at least.

Pro Tips For Tabling At Comics Conventions 2

Pro Tips for Tabling at Comics Conventions page 2


1. Exhibitor, a short young woman with blond hair, stands smiling with her hands clasped behind her back while a large man reads one of her comic. He has spiked hair, tattoos, piercings, etc.
2. Man puts down the comic & walks away; exhibitor looks disappointed.
3. & 4. She runs up behind him, clobbers him with a metal pipe, and drags him through a doorway.
5-8. In the hallway she takes money from his wallet, drops some of her comics on him, and runs away, leaving him unconscious on the floor.

Pro Tips For Tabling At Comics Conventions 1

Pro Tips for tabling at Comics Conventions page 1


1. CAPTION: Have an eye-catching display. IMAGE: One exhibitor has a large table banner (“How-Doo Comix”). On his table, besides comics, he has candles, and black cones holding up those glass balls with the lightning effect inside. The poles at either end of his table are shooting fire out of their tops; they and the crosspiece between them are wrapped in Christmas lights. At the center of the cross-piece is a “Deer Crossing” sign with crab claws hanging from it. The exhibitor is wearing a crown and looking self-satisfied. Other exhibitors look variously frightened, startled, or dismayed.
2. CAPTION: Don’t be afraid! IMAGE: A scruffy exhibitor overcompensates by standing with arms crossed and staring aggressively with bloodshot eyes at a passerby, who looks puzzled and leans away.
3. CAPTION: Be confident. IMAGE: Smarmy exhibitor, referring to comic held by annoyed-looking woman: “If you think that thing is any good, prepare to be blown away by my comics!
4. CAPTION: Be approachable. IMAGE: Behind a comics table, a sign in the shape of a downward-pointing arrow reads, “I’m down here if you want to buy anything.”
5. CAPTION: Be friendly. IMAGE: Sleazy exhibitor to irritated woman putting comic back on his table: “Wanna come back to my room later?”

Sam and the Prophecy of the Allrus p.24

Sam and the Prophecy of the Allrus page 24

The End!

I’ve printed up 30 copies of Sam and the Prophecy of the Allrus, half of which I’m giving to comrades from the Montpelier 24 Hour Comics Day event, and the rest of which I’m selling. I’ll post a purchase link soon.

I’m back, & I have a “tumblr”

It seems like something in me rebels against getting my act together, since any progress I make in that direction seems to be followed by a slump. Witness! the month of November: in which I drew 2.25 pages of comics and failed to even keep up scanning already-drawn comics to post (all on a foundation of going to be way too late). Shameful! But it seems like the larger trend is still toward improvement, so I guess it’s just a cycle I’ll live with until I can figure a way out of it.

While I was busy not getting much done, I got myself yet another internet presence over at Tumblr. It’s fancier than Twitter but less so than a full-featured blog – the interface is easy & fun enough to use that it makes me want to find a use for it! For now I’m sending my site feed there and posting interesting bits I find on the internet (plus of course reading stuff).

Comic updates start again Monday!

Fear & Loathing in the “Holiday Section”

Last night a department store’s holiday section disturbed me so much that I had to photograph it:

The holiday section at Target

I know it looks pretty tame, but look closer. To the far right we have Halloween supplies. Far to the left we have more Halloween supplies (it’s hard to tell here, but those letters hanging from the ceiling say, “COSTUMES”). In between, we have Christmas supplies. Three days before Halloween.

I am not only an expert on time from having drawn comics about it, I am also an ordained minister, so I know what I’m talking about when I say THIS IS WRONG.

Sam and the Prophecy of the Allrus p.14

Sam and the Prophecy of the Allrus page 14

I drew this page at 4:25 PM when I started feeling stuck. I knew I wanted this scene in the story and that it would be fun to draw, so I skipped ahead to here. When I got stuck advancing this part of the story, I went back to the other part, and vice versa.

Sam and the Prophecy of the Allrus p.8

Sam and the Prophecy of the Allrus page 8

Finished this one at 1:34 AM, exactly an hour after the previous page.

My roommates at SPX this year liked to have the TV on, and at some point they turned to wrestling, which I hadn’t seen in years. It, uh…made quite an impression.

Sam and the Prophecy of the Allrus p.7

Sam and the Prophecy of the Allrus page 7

Finished this one at 12:34 pm, after working on the other section for a while, walking around the library, and going out for some food. After that I set up shop on the main floor instead of the basement, where I’d started.

I’d originally wanted to show the characters going after these items as a group, but realized I didn’t have enough space and condensed it down to what you see here (not that I had it planned out in any detail).

Sam and the Prophecy of the Allrus p.6

Sam and the Prophecy of the Allrus page 6

I completed this page at 8:30 PM. Most pages probably took me around 45 minutes to actually draw, but then there was planning, deciding, eating, taking breaks, and just plain goofing off, which is where some of the longer spans between page completions came from.

Sam and the Prophecy of the Allrus p.5

Sam and the Prophecy of the Allrus page 5

I completed this page at 6:54 PM, which sounds like I was falling way behind, but that’s because I started drawing pages out of sequence. Thanks to that bit of planning I did up front, when I started feeling bogged down I could skip around. This also helped me make sure the most important parts of the story made it in, since I didn’t have the best sense of how much space things would take up. I basically ended up bouncing between two moving points in the story until they met up, then drew the end pages.

Anyway, after the last page, I finished the next one I drew at 4:25 PM, which means I was actually closing the gap between where I was and where I needed to be.

Sam and the Prophecy of the Allrus p.3

Sam and the Prophecy of the Allrus page 3

Page 3, finished at 2:51 PM. I wanted the main character to look a little like Harry Potter, but unfortunately he looks like Young Cartoon Me. The glasses and haircut are different from mine, but I guess people with glasses all look alike – especially when you draw them in a simple cartooning style.

Sam and the Prophecy of the Allrus p.1

Sam and the Prophecy of the Allrus page 1

Here’s the first page of my third 24-hour comic, successfully completed in 23 hours. This was drawn as part of the Trees & Hills 24 Hour Comics Day event in Montpelier, VT. The library interior & exterior on this page are based on the Kellogg-Hubbard Library, where the event was held. The event started at 11:00 AM, but I took an hour to do a little story planning, so I started drawing at 12:18 and finished this page at 12:57. I figured the time spent planning would save me time later, which I think was  true.

I didn’t finish the next Headville page in time for today, but that will appear Thursday, and Headville will continue to update on Mondays & Thursdays. I’ll post pages from “Sam and the Prophecy of the Allrus” on the remaining weekdays until “Spring in Headville” finishes, then post “Sam and the Prophecy…” every weekday until it’s done. After that I’ll go back to Monday & Thursday updates of whatever’s next.

24-Hour Comics BLARGH@#$*

Greetings, world – I am writing to you from Hour Ten of the Trees & Hills 24-Hour Comics Day event at the Kellogg Hubbard Library in Montpelier, VT.  I just finished page 10 of my story “Sam and the Prophecy of the Allrus,” so I’m only a little behind schedule, but I’m already too tired to bother including hyperlinks in this post.

I got my schedule a little mixed up and won’t have the next page of “Spring in Headville” ready for Monday, so here’s the plan: Monday I will post the first page of “Sam and the Allrus”, then I’ll continue with my “normal” Monday-Thursday updates. BUT! On every other weekday, I’ll continue updating “Sam and the Prophecy of the Allrus”. There will be so many comics! I won’t promise that they’ll be good comics, though.

Okay, I’m going for a short walk, and then back to the grind…

End of month productivity report

Well, my first month trying to draw a half-page of finished comics every weekday has passed. How did it go?

Drawing a half-page every weekday would have yielded me 11 pages in September; I actually drew 15.25. Not bad! Except I hit 11 pages before the month was half-over because of a procrastination-induced marathon and some fun drawing at SPX, so it wasn’t steady production. In the second half of the month I fell a bit short of the target rate, skipping some days and drawing a little extra on others.

Still, though it didn’t go quite as smoothly as I’d hoped, I drew more often than I had been before. I published the last issue of Square Dance at the end of May, and from the beginning of June through the end of August, I drew 8 finished pages of comics – so I’ve definitely improved. October will have a spike in page count because tomorrow is 24 Hour Comics Day, but beyond that I hope to just keep drawing steadily.

TIME & 24 Hour Comics Day

Behold, the latest Trees & Hills anthology: TIME! 64 pages of comics about time, co-edited by me and containing my 5-page story “Take Your Time” and Daniel Barlow‘s 4-page “Great Moments In Time,” which I drew, plus a comics-filled calendar with 5 comics by me (4 Spinning World + 1 new strip), available now for online purchase.

Speaking of time, on Saturday October 2 I’ll be participating in the Trees & Hills 24 Hour Comics Day event. Come see a library full of people racing to draw 24 pages in 24 hours, and pick up a copy  of TIME while you’re at it!

Zero #1-4

I’ve started making little 8-page 1/4-size minicomics to give out at conventions and around town. I just print a set batch (usually 50-100) and when they’re gone, that’s it – I’ll reformat & reprint them in my zine. Eventually I’ll post PDFs of some community- or holiday-related issues for people to download & print their own. The (not very prominent) series name is Zero; here are photos of #1: Super Friendly Garlic, #2: Winter in Headville, #3: Seven Aspects of the Landlord, and the newly-printed #4: Cupid’s Mission (yes, I’m saving some for February):

Zero 1 - Super Friendly Garlic cover

Zero 2 - Winter in Headville cover

Patterns of Play exhibition

PLAY, this Spring’s Trees & Hills anthology, is appearing in a group art exhibition called “Patterns of Play” at Greylock Arts in Adams, MA on Saturdays from September 17 through October 30.

I trekked out to far western Massachusetts for the opening, and though I thought for a while that Google Maps had sent me on a wild goose chase into the forest, I arrived as promised and had a good time. The show is full of fun stuff, and the opening featured a robot puppet performance. I finally got to meet Marianne Petit, who besides co-running Greylock Arts also contributed to the T&H Swingin’ Hits anthology (now collected in First Harvest). Either she or Greylock Arts co-honcho Matthew Belanger took this photo – behind me you can see a blender which appears to have a small person trapped inside. I was also pleased to see cartoonist Howard Cruse, who is himself co-curating an exhibit of underground comics in neighboring North Adams a month from now.

Anyway, if you’re looking for something to do tomorrow (or some Saturday in October), you might head out to Adams to have a gander at this show while it lasts!

Workin’ outside

Some months ago I thought it would be a good idea to work outside, so I brought my computer & papers out to the front lawn and sat down. It was pretty awkward and uncomfortable, so I went back in, resolved to figure out how to make it better, and forgot about it.

This Monday the idea came back, and I realized that my current “office” is a folding TV tray and a folding chair, so I dragged them out to the yard behind my window (actually, I used a “camp chair” instead of my usual). It was great! All that sunlight and fresh air made my computer seem a little absurd (and made the screen harder to read), but what a difference! I plan to work outdoors as much as possible until winter precludes it. I didn’t do it today because it looked like rain was coming, and yesterday I was away from the house, but if the weather’s clear tomorrow, you know where I’ll be!

Another new routine – progress

Last blog post I mentioned my desire to draw at least a finished half-page of comics every weekday, which seems like a do-able pace and would produce way more comics than I have been (I count a page as art meant to be printed at 5.5″ x 8.5″). I decided this in August, didn’t do it, then decided I would start at the beginning of September. With half of September over, I’ve sat down to do the math and see where I’m at.

If I’d stuck to my schedule, I would have at least 5.5 finished pages by now.

I didn’t stick to my schedule at all, in part because of procrastination from stress about finishing the new Trees & Hills anthology.

Instead, I drew…
9/7: Daniel Barlow’s comic for TIME (4 pgs)
9/8: My comic for TIME (5 pgs) + a calendar page for TIME (0.5 page)
9/12: part of a jam minicomic (1 pg) + part of another mini (1 pg)

…for a total of 11.5 pages, twice the minimum I should have by now! I guess that sort of makes up for being off-schedule. Erratic bursts don’t help me in the long run, though, so here’s to the slow and steady accumulation of finished comics pages.

SPX, rambling

Hey, I’m tabling for myself and Trees & Hills and Offshore Comix at SPX this weekend! Come see me if you’re around Bethesda, won’t you?

My next scheduled appearance after that is at MICE in Boston Sep. 25.

I’ve been wanting to establish a routine of doing comics in the morning, but have been getting up too late. I also want to do at least a half-page of finished comics every weekday, and decided I would get serious about it this month, then didn’t.  That’s probably because I was so busy procrastinating 2 different strips plus editing duties on TIME (the about-to-be-released Trees & Hills anthology). Anyway, although the goal is to work everyday, in the last day or three I’ve drawn 9.5 pages, which numerically is like I did double my daily half-page this month, and then some. And now I hurt. Little to no sleep + lotsa drawing = ouch.

I aim to get in the groove after SPX.  Look out!

Ever-increasing beasts

Apparently the local wildlife can sense that this house is about to be uninhabited and are eager to take over, because we have been discovering increasingly larger critters in here. The carpenter ants are long-time residents, but lately we’ve had more & weirder bugs, culminating in the earwig I found under my pillow. (note: earwigs do not belong under my pillow!) Then we discovered a bold little mouse living in our kitchen. Most recently, my housemate found a snake in her wall (it had gotten stuck to some plastic covering a hole). If only we could direct the snake to the mouse! Anyway, it’s a good thing we’re leaving soon, because clearly this process will end in coyote, bear, and moose roaming the house.

Today I noticed a spider drop down from my desk to the floor. Fine enough, but then a little later I suddenly noticed it on my keyboard, which I was using. I don’t know how it got there without me seeing it, but when I tried to shoo it off, it crawled under the keys! That’s a bad place for spiders! They could easily be killed by my typing, which night also break my keyboard, making all of us unhappy. I switched to the keyboard on my computer (I normally use an external one at home), and eventually the spider came out and I shooed it onto the floor.

Showing off my “chops”

If you don’t already know Axe Cop, I recommend you go read some because 1) it is awesome, and 2) I will have a guest strip there on Friday. Axe Cop is drawn by Ethan Nicolle, who translates his 6-year old brother’s stories into comics form.


It’s time once more for my family to convince me to stay on planet Earth another year with a bribe of cake and song.

Seven Aspects of the Landlord p.2

Seven Aspects of the Landlord page 2

Are you ready for Super Bonus Behind-The-Scenes Notes?

General context: When I moved in, I was told that the landlord was crazy but basically hands-off, showing up every 8 months or so to blow off steam. Shortly after I moved in, his insurance company refused to renew until he made a number of repairs to the house. As a result of this, he started visiting much more frequently, causing stress for the household.

Drunk: Landlord has visited here visibly inebriated more than once. This panel, though compressed, is unfortunately pretty true to life. On the day the chimney repairs (which he never warned us about, so workers just showed up early in the morning) ended, he hung out drinking on the property with the workers, and eventually decided to give them a tour of the house. He pounded on the doors and didn’t wait before trying to open them (some of the doors don’t have doorknobs and so thankfully are kept locked from the inside), and periodically lost his balance while standing still. Afterward the workers came back in and apologized profusely, saying, “Your landlord is crazy!” While working they also disparaged his maintenance of the house, describing it as typical of a slumlord. The only reason he ordered repairs was because his insurance company refused to renew his policy until he made them.

Oblivious: By Landlord’s request, all communication to him goes through one designated tenant. Despite that, he will talk to whoever he runs into at the house, and seems not to have a clear sense of who actually lives here. The action in this panel is compressed and partially fictional; while he hasn’t accosted anyone’s sister-in-law (that I know of), the first person he spoke to about the compost pile was the boyfriend of a tenant who was still moving in, and it’s not the only time he’s had such confusion. His dialogue is taken from the first time I met him (when, of course, he dropped by unannounced). I would certainly not describe the house as a “shithole”, and as I understand it we’ve kept the house neater than any prior tenants. If one were to use such a term, I’d assume one were referring to the obvious lack of maintenance on the landlord’s part. Luckily for me I didn’t have the presence of mind to say, “Great, I’m renting a shithole from an asshole!”

Outlaw: As mentioned already, Landlord failed to give us proper notice before visits, as he is required by law to do. We sent him a stern letter after the drunken tour, and he did better, but I had to point out to him that he has to do that even if he’s not entering the house, since we rent the house and land. This panel is of course compressed; no one talked to him while he tractored. Later a housemate discovered he’d illegally dumped our compost in the neighboring forest. He followed up with a letter forbidding all composting (and always putting “compost” in quotes) and threatening to sic the Dept. of Health on us if we did. Interestingly, while that Dept. has nothing to say about compost, they are one of the agencies to which one reports landlords who fail to provide safe & habitable housing – which, as defined by law, includes Dr. Cranky. Somewhat later, when our long-suffering house liaison was trying to negotiate some of his unreasonable “requests”, compost came up again, and when he started gibbering, she mentioned the illegality of his dumping. He shouted, “That’s it – pack your bags!” (which was funny since she’d already announced she was moving out for grad school) and hung up, then sent a letter terminating our month-to-month lease.  This was all especially absurd in light of how patient and responsible our liaison was, and how much she cared about the house.

Tenant-less: Fort Awesome (the house’s long-standing name) has essentially had 20 years of word-of-mouth tenants. Good luck with that now! I’m sure he’ll be able to get at least some tenants if he advertises and keeps the rent cheap; I have no idea what he actually plans to do. As for the repairs, I don’t think he plans to deviate at all from the insurance company’s list. He fixed a single step that they mentioned, but not the entire sagging rotting landing that they somehow failed to report (and which he’s walked on numerous times, so must have noticed).

Having to leave is inconvenient, but the big silver lining is not having to deal with this nut anymore. I’d already decided to look for a new place so as to not have to deal with him anymore, even by proxy. Which is ridiculous, because everything else about the place – housemates, yard, location – was pretty great. I don’t know what makes him so unhappy, but I hope he finds a way to cope with it better, for his sake and that of anyone who ever has to interact with him. He is quite an example of wealth not guaranteeing happiness.

Seven Aspects of the Landlord p.1

Seven Aspects of the Landlord page 1

I’d resisted drawing a landlord strip because I don’t do much autobio, and crazy landlord stories are a dime a dozen, but I finally reached a point where I felt like I needed to do it to exorcise some of my frustration. It’s not in an autobio format, but the whole strip is inspired by my current (soon to be ex-)landlord, and though condensed is unfortunately pretty true to life (re: panel 4, he’s an optometrist, though I’ve no idea how). This strip has a lot more cussing than my others because he is a cussin’ cuss.

This comic was printed as Zero #3.

Excuses, excuses

Sorry there was no new comic yesterday (or today, so far). I suddenly had an opportunity to submit a guest strip for a webcomic I like, so that took up the drawing time that would have gone into my own strip. I don’t know for sure if it’ll be used, but if so I’ll certainly post a link.

Wild nights

Recently I’ve had a couple of nights where I returned home after dark to find no one else home, all the lights off, and fireflies blinking around in the darkness, and stood around for a while just enjoying it.

This past Saturday night, I stamped the covers of 165 copies of Play. Sunday I glued game booklets into 120 of them.

The New Setup

Oh boy oh boy, look at my new website setup! OK, it doesn’t look radically different from the old setup (which itself was pretty recent), but I’ve finally jumped on the “latest-comic-on-top, blog-on-bottom” bandwagon. I may actually post stuff to the blog now that it won’t push my comics down out of sight! All the comics are back up except the hourlies – I’ll get to them eventually. Other than that I have maybe a few minor style tweaks to fiddle with when I feel like it, and I’d like to spruce up the sidebar a bit, but I’m basically considering the renovation successfully completed. Yay!

I had been partway through converting my site to use Comicpress (got distracted by anthology production, touring, etc.), then the other day after recommending Daniel Merlin Goodbrey to someone, I went to look at his site. I was surprised to see he was using Comicpress, and thought he’d done a really nice job with it, until I saw his blog post that said he was actually using Webcomic (and it turns out he hadn’t customized the default theme all that much). I checked it out, it seemed a little easier to use & better suited to my needs, and here we are! I like it so far.

Notes on navigation: besides the obvious navigation links, you can click the comic to go forward (unless it’s the last one), and you can also navigate the comic with your arrow keys. How cool is that? Navigation works within each comic; to see other comics, go to the “Comics” page and click away! (One-off strips are pooled together).

Okay, boring website talk is over now! You can look forward to more comics, and a higher volume of blog posts – talk about value!

Under Renovation

Hi all, please excuse any excess wonkiness while I reconfigure my website to increase its fabulosity.

EDIT: The new setup required me to move my comic images around, so the main thing left to do (besides stray tweaks) is re-associate those files with their posts (and create posts for some of the older ones that used pages). This is fairly tedious, but I hope to finish by week’s end.

The Mother’s Day the Earth Stood Still

Here’s the card I made for my mom:

Despite the various usual flaws, I’m really happy with how the cover came out – something in the composition or the use of blacks or something just makes it feel “right” to me.

Inside the card:

Square Dance #4 preorder

Super Friendly Garlic 1Square Dance #4…

Contains Spinning World strips for the months of November through February, “Super Friendly Garlic”, “Winter In Headville”, and more! Features a classic winter cover, just in time for spring.

Ships late April.

Super Friendly Garlic 1 of 8

Super Friendly Garlic 1

As you can see, I’ve decided to create a comic designed to become the next blockbuster movie hit…(I’ll replace this with a proper scan when the comic is finished & I can bring myself to tear it out of my sketchbook.)

Updates are comin’…

So…I lost energy for a while and stopped updating the site; then when I tried to start, my site had a weird spam issue so I stopped again. I’ve finally gotten around to updating my installation of WordPress, which I think should fix the problem. I’m a little embarrassed not to have a big backlog of comics waiting, but I do have a couple installments of Spinning World and the final pages of Mission to the Heathens, plus a new minicomic to sell and a bunch of big (and/or little) ideas.

I also plan to redesign this site. I basically know how I want it to look, I just need to put in the work to make it happen (and bend Comicpress to my will).

I hope all is well with you!

Pulled into the public eye

Wow, I’ve been so out of it that not only have I hardly drawn anything, but I forgot to post last month’s Spinning World (and even weirder, I uncharacteristically lettered it in all caps and didn’t notice ’til afterward)! It’s up now, posted under the date it would have been.

As much as I may still(!) need time to hibernate, spring has sprung, and I can hide no more. I have a piece in the new Always Comix vol. 5: Evil. It’s an evil little book for the evil little price of $7, and you can learn more and get it here, and see a page of my comic here.

The Keene Sentinel recently interviewed me (and others) for a nice article about the Trees & Hills Comics Group (there’s even a photo – look out!). EDIT: Arg, it’s behind a subscription wall now! I’ll see if i can get a copy to post.

This coming weekend I will be staffing the Trees & Hills table at the Maine Comics Arts Festival in Portland, ME, which is clearly going to be an excellent show (organized by the fine folks at Casablanca Comics). I will, sadly, not be joining my T&H comrades at MoCCA in NYC the first weekend in June this year, but I do hope to have a new minicomic out by then.

Monadnock Community Gardening Talk

Oh dear, I’m giving a talk this Saturday to “officially” kick off the Monadnock Community Gardening & Seed Saving Initiative with which I am involved. Wish me luck! Fortunately for everyone there will be plenty of other fun things to do at the Celebration.


New Picasa Galleries

I’ve set up a new Picasa place online to store & show off my sketches & whatnot: Click and behold. I think it should be easier to keep updated than the old sketch-blog. Eventually I will add more albums and get things labeled and whatnot. There are RSS feeds all over the place there so you can keep up-to-date that way if you’re into that. Maybe you can get email updates? Certainly if you are hooked into the Google Hive you can engage with it in fancy ways; it’s still new to me, so I still don’t have a grasp of all my gallery’s features. Eventually, too, I will take down or repurpose my sleeping sketch-blog, and post some proper links to the new gallery. Next thing you know, I’ll be redesigning the whole website again…

Online Exhibit at Greylock Arts

Check it out – Greylock Arts of North Adams, MA has put up an online exhibit (with in-person viewing kiosks) of Hourly Comics made by Trees & Hills folk last year (including, of course, me):

“Hourly Comics Day 2008: A group exhibition of Hourly Comics created by the Trees and Hills Comics Group on February 1st, 2008


Hourly Comic Day is an event where cartoonists from all over the world draw a journal comic for each hour they are awake. The guidelines are simple: “For every hour that you are awake on february first (that’s february first for whatever time zone you happen to be in), you make a comic describing something about the past hour. Maybe you ate some cereal? Maybe you used the restroom? Say you wake up at 7am. make a comic some time before it becomes 8am! then after 8am, make a comic before it becomes 9am!”

Colin Tedford and Daniel Barlow, co-founders of The Trees & Hills Comics Group put the word out to their group. Members of the Trees and Hills group took on the challenge of the hourly comic. This exhibit is a collection of some of the local comics created that day.

View Exhibit

A kiosk for viewing both exhibitions will be available at MCLA Gallery51, 51 Main Street, North Adams MA. Gallery51 is open Monday-Sunday 10-5 pm.”

2009 Goals

It feels like there are 2,009 things I want to do in 2009, so I had better add “learn to prioritize” to the list!

My personal goals for the coming year are to take better care of myself (better eating & sleeping habits, more physical activity), improve my relationship with time, hone my intuition, and speak from the heart even when it’s scary.

I want to make more comics, so a big goal for me is to draw them every day, in the morning. I also plan to set aside specific time every week for other things that are important to me: Trees & Hills duties, website stuff, engaged citizenship / activism, etc. I need to regulate my computer usage so I can spend less time in front of the screen.

Naturally I will continue devoting a lot of energy to Trees & Hills (there is a LOT to do), but I need to devote more to my personal comics work than I did this year. My main focus here will be resurrecting my minicomic series Square Dance (a 5.5″ x 8.5″ catch-all for my comics work). I hate to risk jinxing myself by announcing plans like this, but I intend to produce three 32-page issues of Square Dance a year: one each for the spring, fall, and holiday touring seasons. I have some other comic & zine ideas in mind, but they will be prioritized behind Square Dance. I hope to place work in some more anthologies.

In 2009 I expect to be a more engaged citizen. From the get-go I will be working with one or more anti-nuke groups to produce a comic for late winter / early spring as part of the effort to prevent the relicensing of Vermont Yankee, and may help out in some other ways. Throughout the year I will be working with The Sustainability Project on the Monadnock Community Gardening Initiative in a variety of ways: making comics about food and gardening, but also the less familiar tasks of trying to lay groundwork for tool banks, community gardens, and skill-share networks. Yowza! More reasons to budget my time better.

In the fall, I look forward to officiating a wedding in Minneapolis!

That isn’t even everything, but I would hate to drain the coming year of any sense of wonder and surprise for you. It’s going to be quite a year!

Whirlwind of the present

Well, things have been so crazy lately that I’ve lost track of what day it is! Somehow I thought Friday was Thursday, and then I had a weekend houseguest, so here I am making the sort of post I’d intended to have up on Thursday.

Although it looks like the onset of winter has slowed things down somewhat, the end of this busy year has been nuts. In mid-November I attended a friend’s wedding and to my surprise ended up reuniting with an estranged friend. Not long after that I lost one of my jobs, and at about the same time had some intense positive dating experiences & other shifts in my personal life. My other job, in which I work from home for my newly-married friend, had scaled back hours, but through the power of coincidence, picked up the pace just after I lost the first job.

In trying to figure out how to actually accomplish all the things I hope to do next year (a subject for later), I contacted one of the groups working to ensure Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant closes on time, and much faster than I expected got a comics project OK’ed in their 2009 rough budget!

So, I have been experiencing a lot of upheaval. Some of it has been stressful, but looking past that it mostly seems to be just the sort of bubbling ferment that produces good things. It has also fired me up again on the simplifying project I started last August (to make all my possessions fit comfortably in a roughly 10′ x 15′ space)! Once again I am winnowing and organizing, and it feels good. I made a lot of progress before, then let things get slovenly, and have pushed back the piles again and hope to finally get this place into a pleasing, functional order. Related, I am working harder at improving my relationship with time.

Winter is a good time for this sort of inward-focused work. I had my last public event of the year a week ago, tabling for Trees & Hills at the Stars & Skulls Craft Fair, which went well for us. The day before that I brought some comics to Rebecca Migdal‘s Tidings Of Joy event to help raise money for Doctors Without Borders, and the day before that I bravely passengered through the aftermath of an ice storm to attend Howard Cruse‘s release party for the North County Perp #2 (in which I have a few strips).

Speaking of anthologies, I am working on submissions for two different ones that both have their deadlines on December 31. We’ll see what happens! If I spend New Year’s Eve drawing comics, I suppose it will at least be appropriately symbolic.

After that, it’s a whole new year, chock full of possibilities!

Looking back at 2008 already

sethheartfist.gifIt may be a little early for this sort of thing, but the mass of things I hope to somehow accomplish in the coming year have set me to thinking. So – what did I do this year?

Well, I kicked off the year with a nasty cold, and just as I was recovering from that, the person I was apparently going to settle down with dumped me with little explanation. By mid-January I had had enough of 2008 and was ready for next year.

Fortunately, comics treated me much better.

I did not print a single new comic of my own, except a small giveaway for Halloween, but I did place comics in several anthologies. I co-edited & contributed to this year’s Trees & Hills anthologies Swingin’ Hits and Seeds; I also had comics in Matt Reidsma‘s 600th-strip celebrating High Maintenance Machine #20, Candy Or Medicine Free Comic Book Day Special 2008, Candy Or Medicine #3, Secrets & Lies, Always Comix #4: Activity, and Izzy Challenge #5: 50 State Jam. I initiated, edited & contributed to Trees & Hills’ free comics sheet Twig, then stopped when I got too busy. My strip Spinning World continued to appear in monthly Vermont newspaper The Commons.

I participated in the Comic Rehab Ripoff, Hourly Comic Day, and the 99 Doodles Project. I started a Comics By Request project, which I will draw next year (meaning you could still submit a request!). I also reprinted Before Sleep #3, 4 & 5.

I tabled at Granite State Comic Con, Broke: an affordable art fair, MoCCA, Arts Alive, Boston Zine Fair, Winchester Pickle Festival, Philly Zine Fest, and Broke (again).

I shut down my prematurely-started sustainability journal Downpower, and started a sketch & illustration blog. Unfortunately January’s events threw me off the regular sketching I was doing, and I haven’t yet regained the habit, nor have I found the time to keep scanning sketches. I committed to updating this website twice a week, and have mostly stuck to that. More recently I have decided at least half the posts should be comics. I also added a store, shortened up the header, and some other webby stuff.

I worked 2 part-time day jobs, for which among other things I built 3 websites. I’ve been pretty happy with both jobs.

I’ve made new friends and entered into new correspondences. One of my best friends moved back within driving distance. I have been subject to weird coincidences, omens, and the hand of fate.

All of this (and more!) brings us up to a couple weeks ago, when things got crazy!

But that’s another story, for another time (namely next week).

(ps. the sketch above is by Seth Tobocman, whose comics I’ve really gotten into & who I briefly met a couple times this year).

Purchase SEEDS online!

I am making a slight change to the way I update this site. For a while now, I have been posting comics and/or news on Mondays, and installments of 99 Doodles on Thursdays. This worked pretty nicely, but I now hope to take the slightly harder path of posting comics every Monday, and news or Doodles on Thursdays, to give the comics the priority they deserve – starting next week. Today we have news!

At long last, Seeds is in stock at Trees & Hills Comics Distro! Themed around FOOD with an emphasis on its social aspects, the latest Trees & Hills anthology comes with a booklet of cartoonists’ favorite recipes and a packet of organic lettuce seeds from High Mowing Farm in Vermont, all wrapped in an earthy brown cover with a red apple print (an organic heirloom apple from a local farmer’s market, of course). I co-edited, contributed a 4-page comic (sample here), and wrote the afterword. We’re especially proud of this one, and it has been selling like hotcakes (appropriately enough). We are pretty sure the initial printing will be sold out by year’s end (!), so get your copy while the getting is good! Makes an excellent gift.

50 States Jam

i51.jpgHere’s another comic I have work in, and it’s quite an unusual project. JB Winter sent his “Izzy the Mouse” character on a tour of the United States with the help of one cartoonist from each state. Each artist received a card with a drawing of Izzy in some pose, with instructions to fill in the action, background, and a caption describing what Izzy did in their state. There are some pretty creative interpretations (all quite “family-friendly”). It’s only $1.00 postage paid for a 16 page, 5.5″ x 8.5″ tour of the U.S. – vacations don’t come much cheaper! For more info, follow the link to Izzy Challenge #5: 50 States Jam: Izzy Tours America.

I haven’t read the other Izzy Challenges, but they sound interesting. I have read Winter’s solo minicomic Noodle (issues #1 & 2), and it is worth checking out.

Always Comix “Activity” Issue out now!

always-comix-4r.pngThe Always Comix “Activity” issue, featuring a page by me (sample) and many other cool activity comics, is out now! I got my copy at the Philly Zine Fest; you should get your copy here. Contains 2 recipes, 2 paper doll things, 2 spiritual practices, a mad lib comic, a maze, and so much more! Contributors include Falynn Koch, Jeremy Tinder, Will Kirkby, Josh Blair, Colin Tedford, Matt Wiegle, Alvaro Lopez, Colleen MacIsaac, Amanda Kirk, L. Nichols, Ed Moorman, Box Brown, Alisa Harris, Josh P.M., Joe Decie, Erin Griffin, and Sarah Wahrhaftig.

I also co-edited and have a piece in the new Trees & Hills anthology Seeds, which will appear for sale online soon. And coming soon to an online shop near you: Before Sleep #3 & #4, now back in print.

Upcoming Appearances

September 20-21 I will be tabling at the Boston Zine Fair. It’s a great, diverse event with a lot of cool exhibitors, and it costs nothing to attend – so come on down! Location: Art Institute of Boston, 601 Newbury Street (near Kenmore Square), Boston, MA 02215

October 5 I will be tabling and representing Trees & Hills at the Philly Zine Fest. It’ll be my first time there, so come on out and wish me luck! Location: The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

The new routine

I have decided to post a new installment of “99 Doodles” every Thursday – easy enough.

To balance that out, I have decided to post something else each Monday, like a comic or some news – easy enough, really.

On Sunday going into Monday, I had nothing to post, so I drew a little comic – easy enough, but now it’s late, so I will scan it later. It should be up by Tuesday.

Have a good day!

Before Sleep #5

Before Sleep #5 (cover) The final issue of Before Sleep includes sketchbook strips about Biff the Pineapple Demon Goddess, “Headville”, The Library Of The Lost, and ever so much more! “This is some really clever stuff!”JB Winter “It’s rare that a mini has me, my wife, and my 8-year-old laughing!”Doug McNamara

5.5″ x 4.25″, 32 pgs. Out of Print

Real web shop coming soon!

menu-shop.gifUntil now, my print comics have been available through the Trees & Hills Comics Distro. Well, they’re still available there (along with lots of other cool regional comics), but starting Monday they will also be available right here at this very site, by clicking the “Shop” link in the menu! I will also be selling some original art and maybe other things. Items will first appear here on the front page for your convenience, and all items will be handily collected in the Shop. Whoa!

[Downpower] On Hiatus

I am putting Downpower on hiatus. I started it before I was really ready, because I had just redesigned my website and felt I should put everything up while I was at it. Well, that didn’t work out too well! Hopefully I will resurrect it again later; in the meantime, thanks for reading!

Update 2014-06-21: I don’t have any plans to restart this project, so I’ve merged the posts & comments into my main blog and taken down the separate Downpower blog so I don’t have to maintain its WordPress installation.

(formerly at

99 Doodles 01: Boxcar Turtle

Quite some time ago I declared my intention to participate in Anthony Woodward‘s 99 Doodles Challenge, and at long last I have not only drawn my first five Doodles, but scanned them, too. It is a pretty easygoing challenge, requiring only 99 drawings of some sort, with no time limit, and I have been very busy – so here we are. I have decided to do my doodles on 4″ x 6″ index cards, which should make them easy to frame; I plan to sell them for $10 each, except for this one. This one’s gone already.

Hobo turtle sitting in the doorway of a boxcar

Know what other nutty project I’m doing? You probably do since it’s right below this entry: Comics By Request!!!

Comics By Request

tedford2.JPGAs if I don’t have enough to do, I have decided I would like to do some Comics By Request – leave a comment with your comics request (subject, phrase, constraint, etc.), and I’ll draw the darn thing. For now I’m going to say that I’ll draw the first 10 requests I get, but I might change my mind and do more – I’d like to do this as a recurring thing. So…request away!

Anthology appearances

Check it out – I have work in three current anthologies, two of which were not even co-edited by me!

sandlcover.jpgSecrets & Lies is a big, ambitious anthology assembled by Cat Garza. I have a single page in it, but that page has 48 panels and multiple endings, so it’s well worth picking up. It is also (perhaps more so) worth picking up for things like the all-new 13-page story by Stephen Bissette,  classic reprint from Rick Geary, fantasy by Shaenon Garrity & Chuck Whelon, nonfiction comic by Dan Archer, not to mention work by Colleen Frakes, Marek Bennett, Daniel Barlow & Charles Schneeflock Snow, Dan Hernandez, and so much more! 180 8″ x 10″ pages can be yours for only $19.95!

vol_3_web_cover.jpgCandy Or Medicine is a small minicomic anthology published four times a year by Josh Blair. I had a page in the Free Comic Book Day 2008 Special (now available for free download at the website), and I have a four-pager in the recently released issue #3. It’s only $1.50 shipped – click on over and pick it up!swingin_hits.jpg


 Of course, I also have a piece in the latest Trees & Hills anthology Swingin’ Hits, which I helped put together. I was a bit stymied by the theme (“Music”), so I ended up illustrating a piece by Keith Moriarty. I also contributed a musical collage to the bonus CD that comes with the anthology. The whole 52-page 5.5″ x 8.5″ package is a mere $5 at Trees & Hills Comics Distro!

Still touring…

Thing in the Spring 2 092

I have been pretty darn busy with the Trees & Hills “Spring Thaw Tour”, tabling at three conventions in four weeks (Granite State Comicon in Manchester, NH; Broke: an affordable art fair in Peterborough, NH, picture of me above by Marc Patterson; and MoCCA Art Fest in New York City). Now we’ve added a fourth date, so you can catch me in Dover, NH (right on the Maine border) at ArtsALIVE from 10am to 4pm. Marek Bennett will be leading us in a big audience participatory comics jam, and we’ll have loads of minicomics for sale (including the new Swingin’ Hits anthology with bonus CD!). Click here to read the Trees & Hills press release.

More Free Comics

fcbda.jpgThe second issue of the Trees & Hills Comics Group’s free monthly comics flyer TWIG is online now, leaving you enough time to not only read it, but download the PDF, print, copy & distribute it to your local comic shop & other places by Free Comic Book Day!

Speaking of Free Comic Book Day, the Candy Or Medicine Free Comic Book Day 2008 Special is out now, featuring comics by myself, Rob Moses, Ray Negron, Alberto Pessoa, Steve Rack, & Brad Foster; check your local comic shop for it on Saturday, May 3. The release of Candy Or Medicine #3, which includes a strip by me, has been pushed back; it will be out by May 15.

Free Comics – and more!

I’m pleased to announce the launch of TWIG, the new free monthly comic I’m putting together as part of the Trees & Hills Comics Group. Every month a new sheet of paper covered with local comics will appear, as if by magic, around Vermont, New Hampshire, and western Massachusetts – and of course the internet. It is excitingly decentralized – anyone can download it from the website to print and distribute! Check out the first issue at .

In other free comics news, I will have a strip in the Free Comic Book Day edition of Candy Or Medicine. I’ll be visiting shops that day to socialize and dole out copies of TWIG and Candy Or Medicine. I also have a strip in Candy Or Medicine #3, due out April 15.

This coming Tuesday, April 8, from 6-8pm I will be at the opening reception for “Accounts of Events: Narrative Works by Connecticut Valley Artists”, an exhibition of comics-related art at Greenfield Community College’s Downtown Center, 270 Main St, Greenfield, MA. Come on by, say hi, see the art (it’s good stuff)! Have some Moxie & Ding-Dongs (someone has to)! Continue reading

The Eternal Soup p.8 (the end!)

The Eternal Soup page 8


This is Comic Rehab Ripoff Round #6. For anyone to whom this wasn’t already apparent, I didn’t use any pencils on The Eternal Soup, just felt-tip on business cards – not necessarily the best approach for something that was originally intended to be a calling card, but whatever. Four days hence: the final round of the Comic Rehab Ripoff! What will it bring?

(This comic appears in Candy Or Medicine #3.)

The Eternal Soup p.7

The Eternal Soup page 7

Join me four days hence for the “thrilling” conclusion! This is Round #5 of the Comic Rehab Ripoff, which has so far done a better-than-expected job of motivating me. And now that I think about it, there are diary cartoonists out there who draw four panels every darn day – so that is a goal I plan to aim for. I think after Rehab maybe I will try to do at least two and work my way up.

Another nice thing about Rehab is that it’s forcing me to scan on a regular basis.

(This comic appears in Candy Or Medicine #3.)

The Eternal Soup (p. 1-5)

The Eternal Soup page 1
The Eternal Soup page 2
The Eternal Soup page 3
The Eternal Soup page 4
The Eternal Soup page 5

6/1/10 – Sorry, I know this format doesn’t work great with the new navigation. Click here for next page >

I started drawing this business-card-sized comic some time ago, then let it languish…until now. Thanks, Comic Rehab Ripoff! There are 3 pages left to draw (though at this point I don’t know if I feel like going to the trouble of making the tiny minicomic – I may just print as 4 pages of a quarter-size mini with some other stuff). The first new panel is the last one on page 4 (with the hypnotic yeti); page 5 is all new. It’s all drawn on the back of outdated business cards (4 cards of art to shrink to 1 card-size page).

(This comic appears in Candy Or Medicine #3.)

Webwork: New Illustration & Sketchblog!

I’ve been working on the website, as might be obvious. The main big thing is I’ve set up a new section for sketches & illustrations. It is it’s own blog to make it easier for people (especially those looking to pay for drawings) to find things. I’m happy to have finally started sketching from life on a pretty regular basis, so once I’m caught up scanning & posting it’ll also function as a sort of sketch-journal.

Note the doohickey in the sidebar which announces the latest Sketch & Illustration post; the LiveJournal doohickey has been demoted because most of the content there will be copied from other places (including Sketch & Illo, once I’ve posted all the stuff I’ve scanned to date). I’ll still occasionally post personal notes or preview pages on the LJ, though, so keep an eye on it if that’s your sort of thing.

The Comic Rehab Ripoff

There’s this nifty website called Comic Rehab, where 4 cartoonists at a time sign up and commit to draw at least 4 panels every 4 days for 4 weeks, in the hopes of kickstarting their productivity. Dragon Green wanted to take part but there weren’t any openings, so she decided to just do it herself, and put out a call for a few others to join her. I said, “What the heck,” and so did Jennifer Ruggiero and Patrick and now this Saturday (tomorrow!) we each need to have 4 panels. I just drew February’s Spinning World, but I have things set up now so those don’t post until the appropriate month, so I’ll have to do something else tomorrow. You can watch us all here.

Off To A Bad Start

So much for keeping to my update schedule. 2008 has been pretty terrible to me so far; I kicked off the year with a nasty cold, and things went downhill from there. Anyway, I think things have pretty much stabilized, so I hope to get back on track this coming week. ‘Til then, I hope your year has been going better than mine!

Update 2014-06-21: This was originally posted to Downpower, a secondary blog I maintained briefly some years ago and have now merged into the main site.

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Walden, and the dryer update

Well, I missed some posting there over the holidays – but it’s a new year, so off we go!

I borrowed Walden from the library recently, and have been enjoying it, though so far the first chapter (“Economy”) is still my favorite. He presents the values of simple living most clearly there, whereas the rest of the book so far (I’m not quite halfway through) seems more just musing around. Here’s a nice quote:

“I cannot believe that our factory system is the best mode by which men may get clothing. the conditions of the operatives is becoming every day more like that of the English; and it cannot be wondered at, since, as far as I have heard or observed, the principal object is, not that mankind may be well and honestly clad, but, unquestionably, that the corporations may be enriched. In the long run men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim at something high.”

If you’d like to read some Thoreau, his complete works are online as free PDFs through the Thoreau Institute at Walden Woods Digital Archive, and some of them are available in plain text at Project Gutenberg.

Dryer update: After a bit of experimentation, I seem to be able to get most of my clothing dry with 35 minutes of low heat. A few items (heavy things) may still be damp, but static electricity seems nonexistent, except for an occasional item. I’m going to try to minimize the synthetics in my wardrobe, which over time should cut down on the static in my life. I don’t think adding aluminum foil balls does anything, which I suppose makes sense since the inside of the dryer is metal, and that doesn’t dispel the static.

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Doing the Laundry

Recently someone told me that dryer sheets contain toxic chemicals which stick to clothing, remaining in contact with the wearer and then getting washed into the water when laundered. Our current box of sheets only lists as ingredients “softening agents (cationic type)” and “perfumes”, so I don’t know what’s in them, but here are some relevant articles at Grinning Planet, Grist, Green Living Tips, and News Target, plus the Wikipedia entry on fabric softeners.

I’ve never been a big fan of dryer sheets, but used them to control static electricity. A little googling turned up some suggested alternatives. The first one I tried was putting a ball of aluminum foil in the dryer; I tried this once (with three foil balls) and it didn’t completely eliminate the static. Two other suggestions were to leave static-prone items out of the dryer; and to dry the load incompletely, hanging it to finish. I don’t have much space so I plan to combine the two, drying the load partially, hanging the static-prone items, and finishing the rest in the dryer. Supposedly adding 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle will soften & eliminate static, but I’m holding off on that one.

Of course, it’s best to skip the dryer altogether when the weather’s warm enough. Clotheslines don’t use electricity or chemicals, don’t produce static electricity, and they make the clothes smell nice. Some neighborhood associations (the type more concerned with “property value” than community) ban clotheslines because they find them “unsightly”. What a narrow-minded, environmentally-destructive attitude! Hanging the wash is a totally homey, traditional American thing to do. Not only are these people indifferent to the Earth, but clearly they hate America.

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In The Absence Of The Sacred

In The Absence Of The Sacred: The Failure of Technology & the Survival of the Indian Nations by Jerry ManderSierra Club Books, 1991 – 446 pages

It’s occurred to me, as it has to many others, that if I want to live more harmoniously, I might do well to learn more about the folk who peopled this land in relative peace for thousands of years. I’d read and liked Jerry Mander’s Four Arguments For The Elimination Of Television (a review for another day), but felt a little dubious when I saw In The Absence Of The Sacred. It looked like it might be some kind of misguided, backward-looking, native-romanticizing, technology-hating hippie trip, so I made a mental note and passed it by. But in light of the concern above, I wondered if the book might be more relevant than I’d realized – and it is. The two main points of the book are: 1. Our society needs to slow down and view new technologies much more skeptically, debating their potential extensively before they embed themselves in our lives, and 2. Our society could learn much of value from traditional tribal and subsistence-oriented peoples. Though I found some of the ideas in the book difficult to accept, I unfortunately also found them hard to argue with. Continue reading

Cutting Your Car Use

Cutting Your Car Use by Randall Ghent with Anna Semlyen
2006 – 5″ x 7″ – 116 pgs – US $9.95
New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, BC, Canada
(There was a website that went with the book which seems to be gone now –, for the original British version by Semlyen alone, is still around.)

I picked up this book in San Francisco last year. I guess I probably first realized I might ultimately want to stop owning a car when I was in college (pre-2000). I didn’t have a car there, so I walked a lot and used the campus shuttle sometimes – and it was around this time that I learned you don’t really need a car if you live in a city. Sometime in the year before my trip to San Francisco, I’d been introsuced to the concept of Peak Oil and it’s uncomfortable nearness. Mostly that just paralyzed my brain with horror; I think of this book as marking my first step toward actually doing something to live more sustainably. It’s not a mind-blowing book, and it didn’t tell me much I didn’t already know (nor did I expect it to), but it’s a nice little book, full of tips, facts, lists, testimonials, and cartoon illustrations (by Axel Scheffler). I suppose one way to go about changing your habits is to foucs on one area at a time; if you choose to focus on transportation, than this can be a handy little book (it introduced me to the concept of folding bikes, which is a whole other story). You might also have a look at the website

Another book I’ve only flipped through in the bookstore but looks pretty good is How To Live Well Without A Car by Chris Balish. It’s another small book with cartoon illustrations, but seems to have more prose than lists, which I like. Another book I haven’t read but would like to is Divorce Your Car! by Katie Alvord. in addition to practical advice on living car-free, she offers a history of how we became so car-dependent. A book that I have read which covers that history in depth in Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States by Kenneth T. Jackson.

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