Settling In

We Did It!

Despite the apprehensions expressed in my previous post seven weeks ago, Eddie’s and my move to Williamstown has been successfully accomplished and I have finally recovered enough to resume blogging. I will pause now to allow your celebratory huzzahs to subside.

Any of you who pine for a play-by-play account of one family’s relocation to new quarters can pop over to the Facebook photo album I posted to satisfy those needs. Special thanks are due to Christine Girard at Steepleview Realty for tirelessly guiding Eddie and me through a year’s worth of house hunting, including several attempted purchases that ran aground.

Good News / Bad News

Both good news and bad news accompanied our project. The good news was that we were able almost immediately to find charming tenants to occupy the downstairs portion of the two-family North Adams house that Eddie and I have called home since 2004. Before we could finish enjoying our sighs of relief, however, the bad news arrived: our existing upstairs tenants, whom we very much like, told us that they would have to move out very soon due to family demands of their own.

So if any of you who’re reading this are currently apartment hunting in the North Adams area, let me know.

Puck Has a Party

Earlier this year I was invited to join over 170 cartoonists from all over the world in creating an 88-page jam organized by the Italian humor magazine Puck. The result, called Puck Comic Party, came out this fall, and it’s uninhibited (and uncensored) storyline turned out to be as rude, crude, and thoroughly bonkers as you might expect, given what a crazy crew we cartoonists can be when let loose without adult supervision. While Puck‘s editors organized the project, they had no input at all on how we contributors chose to fill the three panels allotted to each of us. Hence, anarchy ran rampant.

I and other English-speaking cartoonists were allowed to submit our respective panels in our native tongue. We were then provided with Italian translations of our dialogue, which we were invited to re-letter for publication in our individual lettering styles (see below).

So one might think, looking at my panels, that I can speak Italian. One would be wrong.

They’re Talking About Me in Germany
(and Damned If I Can Tell What They’re Saying)

This fall’s release by Cross Cult of its new German edition of Stuck Rubber Baby (as translated by Andreas Knigge, who also contributed commentary) has generated a gratifying flurry of attention over in Germany. This attention has taken the form reviews, commentary, and interviews in both written and, via podcasts and radio broadcasts, spoken form.

Folks listening to interviews falling in the last category won’t be rewarded with too big a dose of my mellifluous southern intonations, I should add. The small snippets culled from my comments in those interviews are swiftly overridden by the voices of the broadcasters’ respective translators, but they do serve as evidence that my interviewers and I really did pick up our phones and engage in conversations.

Those phrases of mine that do reach German ears will do so with admirable clarity, I pleased to say, thanks to the professional assistance provided by my friend Jason Brown of BMA Audio in nearby Monterey (about whom I have blogged before). Thanks, Jason.

Below: Yours truly speaking to interviewer Christian Möller through Jason’s high-end microphones.

It’s been interesting to discover how closely the Occupy Wall Street movement is being followed by politically minded people in Germany. This has prompted several of my interviews to solicit my thoughts about OWS in addition to reflections about Stuck Rubber Baby. My book’s portrayal of 1960s civil rights activism apparently tempts some to think I’m likely to have useful insights about the invigorating grassroots protests that are erupting around the world today.

I’m not sure whether such interest in my commentary is well placed, I have to admit. But whatever objective value my observations may have, I do enjoy airing my feelings for public consumption — even if that public is an ocean away — about the present-day ferment, since I get far fewer opportunities to dispense my wisdom concerning current events than I do to talk about my graphic novel. SRB has been out for sixteen years now, after all, which means I’ve clocked in a lot of hours already saying my piece about it.

P.S.: Outlets are sparse for my topical cartoons these days. But last month’s pepper-spraying of peaceful demonstrators by campus cops at the University of California in Davis did get my blood boiling, as evidenced by the cartoon below, which I felt impelled to get out of my system even if my studio was still knee-deep in unpacked boxes at the time.

Hey, here’s stuff of mine that you can buy!
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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.
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