Ed

This is a series of posts about comics included in the forthcoming anthology comic “Identity” produced by Northside Comics.

andrewart

 

The next comic in our series is by Andrew Larkin and is entitled Mother.

Can you give us a brief description of your comic and how it touches on the theme of identity?

Mother is a story about what happens when someone you love and look up to starts to fade away.  In this story, a daughter is dealing having to be the primary care giver for her aging mother who has dementia. Our parents shape our personalities, and influence the people we grow up to be.  What happens when that parent no longer knows who you are? For Helen, the daughter, her role in relationship to her mother is swapped; she now cares for the woman that once cared for her. Her identity as a daughter is called into question; her mother doesn’t recognize the woman she’s become, she can only vaguely recall the girl she once was.  To her mother, Helen is a ghost from the past.
I wanted to touch on some of the complex emotions experienced by both mother and daughter.  To the mother, the world around her is disjointed.  The past becomes the present, and she sees things that aren’t real.  Her experience can be blissful one minute (as she experiences a fond memory of her daughter as a child) to terrifying (as she realizes that her child is not there).
Helen’s emotions are more subtle and, at a deeper level, perhaps more complex. The stress of being the primary caregiver to her mother is taxing.  She experiences anger and resentment, a feeling she may not feel comfortable expressing openly because, at the same time, she loves and cares for her mother.  The line “some days I feel like it would be better if she died” may seem harsh, but it expresses the complexity of her emotions; Helen simultaneously wishes to be free of the burden of her mother, and for her mother to be free of the illness that plagues her.  A wish for death is a blessing for both mother and daughter, but also something Helen resists because then the loss of her mother would be complete and final.  This inner conflict manifests as a range of outward emotion, including exasperation and tears.
Ultimately, Helen’s question is one about identity; is she still her mother’s daughter, even if her mother can’t recognizer her for it?  Can she be a loving child and wish death on her parent?

Where did you come up with the idea for your comic?

I was mostly inspired by my wife’s grandmother. She suffered from dementia, and I was really struck by how this impacted the family. I never knew my wife’s grandmother before she was ill, but I could see how hard it was for my mother-in-law to have to be, in essence, a parent to the woman that once parented her. I think it’s easy to talk about feelings like sadness in relation to a dying parent, but it’s much harder to talk about feelings like anger and resentment, particularly when those feelings are partially directed at a person you love. I wanted to tell a story that touched on that feeling of anger towards a sick parent that stems from having to be burdened, and how that feeling co-exists with a deep feeling of joy and satisfaction in being able to help someone you love.

What influences your work both on this comic and in general?

So much of my inspiration comes from reading a lot of Calvin and Hobbes.  Bill Watterson is a master at creating these adorable characters that have the ability to comment on very serious things. His characters are relatable. When I was younger, I loved Calvin’s imagination and whimsy. As an adult I can begin to appreciate Calvin’s dad even more, despite my not yet being a parent. It made me realize that comics can be fun and serious at the same time.
For this comic, I was largely influenced by David Small’s Stitches. It’s an autobiographical story about how Small lost his voice as a child after having a tumor removed from his throat. The story is deeply psychological, and doesn’t pull any punches in terms of expressing the feelings of fear and rage that Small must have felt. In particular, I was impacted by the use of eyes in his illustrations. In Mother, the eyes are tied to each character’s identity.  When the mother doesn’t recognize Helen, we see her as the mother sees her – without eyes.

Where can people find more of your work?

I have a Tumblr site, andrewlarkin.net, that has a lot of my recent work, with more being posted all the time. I also can be found on DeviantArt as riatstar.

The full comic anthology “Identity” will be available later this summer for purchase. If you can’t wait that long you can contribute to our kickstarter and maybe get yourself some unique swag.

Voting ended last night and we have crowned a winner. Below is the winning primary logo entry that we will be using from here on out as well as the alternative logo. Thank you to all who submitted and voted. Keep your eyes open for future contests.

white primary

white secondary

This is a series of posts about comics included in the forthcoming anthology comic “Identity” produced by Northside Comics.

davidart

 

The next comic in our series is by David Schuttenhelm and is entitled New Guy in Town.

Can you give us a brief description of your comic?

A peek into the life of a friendly Ophidian shopkeeper trying to make his way in a human city.

How does your comic speak to the theme of identity?

This work examines how the expectations of our cultural context color our sense of self.

Where did you come up with the idea for your comic?

This is a character from a large story I’ve been working one. This was a good chance to work out a little bit of backstory.

What influences your work both on this comic and in general?

Some of my favorite artist mostly come from the world of animation, like Chris Sanders, Bruce Tim, and Kihyun Ryu. In terms of story I’d have to say Dan Harmon and the general way he scrutinizes life and people in his writing and speaking is very inspiring to me.

Where can people find more of your work?

See more of my work at EnigmaBerry.deviantart.com

The full comic anthology “Identity” will be available later this summer for purchase. If you can’t wait that long you can contribute to our kickstarter and maybe get yourself some unique swag.

This is a series of posts about comics included in the forthcoming anthology comic “Identity” produced by Northside Comics.

troyart

 

The next comic in our series is by Troy Hunter and is entitled *I am I be (not)*.

Can you give us a brief description of your comic?

My comic is about some common assumptions about what I am and what I do and what I like, and my overarching reaction to them.

How does your comic speak to the theme of identity?

What I do and what I like are huge parts of what makes me me, but people seem to conflate my unknown with…something else they’ve seen or heard.

Where did you come up with the idea for your comic?

When the topic for this came up, I knew what I wanted to do almost immediately. I may have even dealt with a couple of those assumptions I illustrated very recently, so they were fresh on my mind.

What influences your work both on this comic and in general?

Hmmmm. I would probably say, for this comic, I drew (see what I did there) on the work of Keef Knight and, to a lesser extent, Adrian Tomine. The panels are oddly shaped, which is something I wanted to try in Manga Studio, but instead of taking time to learn the program, I drew everything freehand. In general, I grew up with graffiti and its characters, particularly those by Vaughn Bodé. Visually, I change things up; I’ve loved webcomic artists, illustrators of every stripe, and Instagram success stories in equal measure over just the last few months.

Where can people find more of your work?

My site is tallblackguy.com. I do typography, greeting cards, and a ton more, and can be reached through that for any work.

The full comic anthology “Identity” will be available later this summer for purchase. If you can’t wait that long you can contribute to our kickstarter and maybe get yourself some unique swag.

This is a series of posts about comics included in the forthcoming anthology comic “Identity” produced by Northside Comics.

michelleart

 

The next comic in our series is by Michelle Scott and is entitled Life Adventure.

Can you give us a brief description of your comic?

A young man feels the pull of life and adventure, but is always being told that it’s too dangerous, until he finally finds someone who understands.

How does your comic speak to the theme of identity?

The main character has to constantly struggle with holding onto who he is and what he loves with everyone around him suggesting that he is doing the wrong thing. The narration speaks to everyone and how each of us should enjoy the things we love and be who we are without worrying about the comments and judgments of others.

Where did you come up with the idea for your comic?

It started with a small project based around a layout theme – I wanted to do something visually different with panels flowing into each other, and this man adventuring through each panel felt like it would fit. When I knew it would be about identity, I worked to piece together this short story of someone who just wants to experience all life has to offer, and who has to be strong and ignore the disapproval of others in his life.

What influences your work both on this comic and in general?

I love being able to tell stories but am also a really visual person, so comics are a great way to combine the two. In addition to that, I really love being able to create new and unique things from dreams and thoughts, and experiment with different techniques and mediums to change the way people perceive my art.

Where can people find more of your work?

I post my work on Tumblr at autorunfail.tumblr.com.

The full comic anthology “Identity” will be available later this summer for purchase. If you can’t wait that long you can contribute to our kickstarter and maybe get yourself some unique swag.

kickstarterflyer

You may or may not know it, but we have a kickstarter launch party planned for Geek Bar Beta (1941 W. North Ave.) on July 24th at 7:00pm to fund our first group comic project. Now you might ask yourself, “If I’m not part of the project, what’s in it for me?” That’s a great question. Here’s what:

In addition to hanging with and supporting our artists, enjoying the food, drinks, and games Geek Bar has to offer we will also be holding raffles ($5 or backing the kickstarter gets you an entry) throughout the night for a variety of prizes. Here are a couple sneak previews:

  • Two tickets for any parody burlesque show at Gorilla Tango Theater (up to $70 value). They do burlesque parodies of everything from Disney to Game of Thrones to Star Wars. It’s pretty cool.  You can also use the coupon code “northsidecomics-summer2015” to get $6 off each ticket when you buy 2 or more through August 31st regardless of whether or not you attend the party. Gorilla Tango is a cool place and we will likely be holding a figure drawing night there in the near future. So stay tuned for that.
  • Two all-event passes to the 3rd annual nerd comedy festival at Stage 773 (a $130 value). This event is massive with improv, stand-up, and an improved Star Wars/Macbeth hybrid show. These tickets get you into all the shows you want during the event.
  • A coupon for laser cutting at the Edgewater Workbench. The workbench specializes in 3D printing and laser cutting services. Laser cutting is exactly what the name would lead you to believe – it’s the process of using lasers (LASERS!) to cut stuff. For example, making interesting patterns out of cardstock for a wedding invite or cardboard cutouts to build a T-Rex skeleton. Lasers can also be used like a printer to burn rather than cut into wood. That means you could print your face onto wood and thus achieve wooden immortality! Stu and Ally at the Workbench host our weekly sketch parties on Thursdays so please stop in and check the shop out.
  • Comic books. This wouldn’t be a comic kickstarter without comics! The list is growing but at the moment we will for sure be raffling off the following: A hard cover of Infinite Vacation by Nick Spencer/Christian Ward, This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki/Jillian Tamaki, and 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth by Matthew Inman.

More prizes to come.

On top of all of this, the artists from the book will be present and word is they might be doing some live sketching (if you’re into that sort of thing)

Tell your friends! And if you are so inclined, come dressed in cosplay (10% discount off food and drinks). If you decide to up the ante and come dressed as one of the characters from the anthology find Ed and he will personally buy you a drink.

See you at Geek Bar on the 24th!

 

This is a series of posts about comics included in the forthcoming anthology comic “Identity” produced by Northside Comics.

johnart

 

The next comic in our series is by John Vestevich and is entitled Give me all my favorite songs back.

Can you give us a brief description of your comic and what does it have to do with the theme of identity?

Give me all of my favorite songs back shows a guy going about a regular day in the city, but his mind is constantly bouncing between the present and memories of a lost love.

Where did you come up with the idea for your comic?

I was about a year past the end of a huge relationship and was doing great with moving on, licking my wounds, and forgiving myself. I met up with my ex for dinner because she was about to move to another part of the country and she said that she “wanted closure.” It turned out she actually wanted to tell me that she was still bent out of shape about certain things, she thought we hadn’t worked enough on our relationship enough to keep it alive, and she thought about me every day.

Woof.

Here I was, doing this “great” job of moving on, and suddenly I was forced to go through my days, yet again, with my thoughts tethered to the past – but this time, there was an extra blanket of sadness on top of them, knowing how she continued to suffer. I knew there was nothing to be done to alleviate that suffering, we were through, as we should be, and we went our separate ways. But nevertheless, there I was, my present day invaded by unwelcome memories. And everything I did for a little while after that was despite this invasion, or rather, through this filter. For a short period, it was my new identity – this thing I carried around.

What influences your work both on this comic and in general?

My comics work is very heavily influenced by manga, particularly the works of Hiroaki Samura (Blade of the Immortal). Japanese comics in particular come from an animated place – the artists think of their comics like films, and the panels are like storyboards that help to establish a believable sense of rhythm and timing that does not exist in traditional (aka. boring and stupid) American superhero comics. How can you throw a punch WHILE speaking a paragraph’s worth of dialogue? I find that utter lack of believable pacing to be completely alienating, and, frankly, insulting.

Comics worlds continue to overlap and, thanks to the internet, my favorites of late have been comics from Europe, particularly France (Lewis Trondheim, Joann Sfar). Modern French cartoonists have an extremely loose, causal, and yet still somehow expert way of drawing comics that flies directly in the face of the precision and physicality of my treasured samurai epics from Japan. It’s like someone with incredible, flawless handwriting scribbling out a note on a napkin as fast as they can. Quentin Blake said that a great drawing should look as if it was barely pinned to the page. This kind of honest effortlessness is what I’m working towards now.

Where can people find more of your work?

The proper website is at johnvestevich.com, but the real meat is on tumblr, smellyhippiecomics.tumblr.com. That’s where all my ideas show up first to develop into what goes onto the portfolio site.

The full comic anthology “Identity” will be available later this summer for purchase. If you can’t wait that long you can contribute to our kickstarter and maybe get yourself some unique swag.

group

Holy cow did we have a turnout on Monday at G-Mart! I could never have predicted that based on attendance of the last one. I guess it helps to have the combined forces of the meetup group and Alex’s social media prowess. People were working on some fantastic stuff and we had some conversations about the proper rankings of the Indiana Jones films (in terms of quality not chronologically), many people were astounded by Alex’s lack of 80’s pop culture knowledge, we perused a Go-Bots kids book illustrated by Jack Kirby, and Ed suggested that knowledge of who John Wayne Bobbitt is turns out to be a good litmus test of whether or not a person is under 25 years of age.

As is tradition, near the end, we took part in a comic exercise that we do from time to time (need to think of a name for this one). Everyone gets a blank six panel piece of paper with a random word in the top corner. They have five minutes to draw a panel based on the word and then pass it to the right. 30 minutes later you have finished comics! Here are some of the results:

beetle
beetle
bow
bow
health
health
soup
soup
whale
whale
wrinkle
wrinkle
macaroni
macaroni
television
television
fruit
fruit
dentist
dentist
tire
tire
lemonade
lemonade

This is a series of posts about comics included in the forthcoming anthology comic “Identity” produced by Northside Comics.

 

laurenart

The next comic in our series is by Lauren Davies and is entitled Statue.

Can you give us a brief description of your comic?

A black, billowing smoke-cloud alien and his lovely, ethereal ghostly girlfriend are jaunting through space and time. (Their “meet-cute” happened off-stage.)  They’ve been toying with the idea of reentering the human world, via a man-made vessel.  They come across a statue that sparks their creative, story-telling sides.  Together, they decide to take on a new heroic persona, via some interstellar, post-death magical rebirthing.  The metaphysics are just a touch out-there, but with their powers combined, their living-statue plan works!

How does your comic speak to the theme of identity?

Statue is a playful take on donning a new identity via imaginative “possession”. I’m a little bit obsessed with possession in general, so I really wanted to tie that in. We project emotional back story onto art (and each other!) all the time.  I liked the idea of these two other-worldly creatures doing the same thing with an ancient totem, offering it a tenuous second life of their own shared design. One wandering ghost paired up with one amorphous cloud-alien, playing dress up via material possession of a long-forgotten statue – each of their identities is amorphous, in a different way.

Where did you come up with the idea for your comic?

I’ve always loved sci-fi and short stories, and have look been intrigued by statues/inanimate objects coming to life, since childhood.  I have a rather whimsical side that I don’t always show in my day-to-day realm, so I thought I’d go full-on fantasy. I’ve written another short story about a statue/human relationship, playing on the Galatea myth, so it’s definitely a theme for me.

What influences your work both on this comic and in general?

I love Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman, Emily Short’s interactive fiction games and the eerie quality of Beckett plays. I also love those young adult/late childhood books that take you to strange, forbidding places: The Giver, Charlotte Sometimes, and the myth-within-a-myth back stories of GOT, Happy Potter and the like.  There’s a certain mysterious, soft quality I’m drawn to in other art/music/film, and I always want that to come forward, in my own work.

Where can people find more of your work?

The short portfolio version lives here: www.katzenkatzen.wordpress.com
Endless Flickr/Instagram/artwork parade: www.flickr.com/photos/divine_aphasia

The full comic anthology “Identity” will be available later this summer for purchase. If you can’t wait that long you can contribute to our kickstarter and maybe get yourself some unique swag.