G’Bye, E. J.

E. J. Barnes is bailing out of the Pioneer Valley and heading for her new digs in Cambridge! What are we cartoonists she’s leaving here in western Massachusetts supposed to do now??! Whimper.

E. J. has been the prime mover behind the Pioneer Valley Comic and Cartoon Shmooze, a monthly informal gathering of cartoonists from around these parts that I blogged about back in 2007. But now her life is taking her eastward, which means she is unavoidably leaving the rest of us to our own devices. Will we recover from the loss or will we shrink back into our respective caves and chew on our kneaded-rubber erasers for recreation? Time will tell.

Whatever the future holds, a number of us shared a most enjoyable send-off shmooze for E.J. at the Monarchs Restaurant in South Deerfield, where we chattered to the soothing sounds of flapping butterfly wings wafting our way from the beautiful Magic Wings Butterfly Conservarory next door.

Click here for David Stern‘s August 30 review at playwright Doric Wilson’s Blog.

Click here for François Peneaud‘s August 27 review at the Gay Comics List.

Click here for the August 21 review at the A.V. Club.
(Be ready to scroll a ways down the page for this one.)

Click here for the August 21 review at the Forbidden Planet International blog.

Above: My snapshot of E.J. at her farewell Cartoonists Shmooze last month. (The cartoon image next to her is a panel from issue #1 of Blaster Al Ackerman’s Tales of the Ling Master, her three-installment adaptation of the works of the writer and mail artist alluded to in her title.)

Below: My fabulously talented cartooning colleague (and fellow Birmingham expatriate) Mark Martin took this photo of me alongside Michelle and Gary Hallgren. Next to Gary and all but cropped out of this picture is Andy Laties, author of Rebel Bookseller and winner of the 2006 Independent Publisher Award. Some more photos from this gathering are included in a Facebook photo album called "The Last Supper" that Mark has posted here.

So What Have I Been Doing Lately?

Many hours have been spent drawing cover art for next year’s re-issue of Stuck Rubber Baby. I’m pretty happy with the new drawing and would love to give you a peek at it now. Unfortunately, you’ll just have to be patient, since I’m not supposed to go public with the art until the book’s publication date (June 2010, the last I heard) is approaching.

Next Stop: New Jersey!

I’ll be giving presenting a slideshow about Stuck Rubber Baby at Ocean County College in Toms River on October 8. It’s part of the school’s Visiting Writers Reading Series.

Today’s Offering From
Artifacts of a Misspent Youth File

Here’s a 39-year-old drawing I came across yesterday. Old Simon & Garfunkel fans will recognize that it’s based on a photograph of the pair that appeared on the back of their 1970 Bridge Over Troubled Water album jacket.

(Ah, for the days when contemplating those 12"x12" album jackets within which vinyl records came packaged was a major artistic experience!)

©1986 by Hunt Emerson

©1988 by Howard Cruse

Shown to the book’s left above as they prepare to "do it" are my own Ollie and Wendel; to the book’s right is a panel by the British master cartoonist Hunt Emerson, taken from his 1986 comic book adaptation of D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover. (As for the "Tentacle Porn" component of Pilcher’s opus: you’ll have to buy the book to see what those randy Japanese octopuses do for fun on a Saturday night.)

I am personally impressed by the sheer classiness and excellent production values of this book, which lift it far out of the realm of sleaze that its subject matter — rife though the book is with cartooned genitals in every imaginable state of turgidity, lubrication, and unembarrassed copulation — might imply. Pilcher quotes webcomic artist Jess Fink‘s assertion that "Sex is just as good a topic for art as anything." I concur.

As this book’s title suggests, an earlier volume (which I haven’t seen) already exists, and since Pilcher was also in charge of that one I would expect it to be of similar quality. I’m especially aware of Volume 2 because my own work is included in it.

A Thank-You Moment

Reviews tend to be few and far between for self-published, print-on-demand books like my recently released venture From Headrack to Claude, which makes them more likely than conventionally published books to fly under everyone’s radar, especially when the self-publishing author can’t afford to pay for advertising.

For that reason I want to include a grateful shout-out here to some folks who’ve been gracious enough to call attention to my book online.

Gay Sex! Straight Sex! Sex with Octopuses!

It’s all there in easy-to-read comics form, a perfect adornment for your coffee table on those special Sundays when your local Jehovah’s Witnesses comes to call.

I’m speaking of the second volume of Erotic Comics: A Graphic History, a handsome and lavishly illustrated hardcover showcase edited by comics historian Tim Pilcher, which arrives with extensive and enlightening commentary contributed by Pilcher and with an introduction contributed by comics legend Alan Moore.

Below: The British edition of the book (published by Ilex Press), which features a different cover design that the one used for the American edition (published by Abrams ComicWorks) that’s displayed at U.S. bookstores.

About Howard

I'm a cartoonist and writer, best known for my graphic novel, Stuck Rubber Baby, and my comic strip from the 1980s, Wendel.
This entry was posted in A Tip o' the Hat, Artifacts, Books in my Bookcase, Family & Friends, Me, Me, Me!, Yesterday & Today. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to G’Bye, E. J.

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  3. Tim Pilcher is a total mensch.