So in spite of the days I’ve missed posting recently, which is partly my fault and also partly because the site was down, I’ve actually been drawing up a storm. I finished that commissioned Batman on Robin story that I was working on, and I’m pretty happy with it. My art style has been evolving, I’ve been spending a lot of time just trying to get better, or at least, closer to how I want it to look. Some people still tell me they like my older drawings because they had more of a hand-made, indie comics look, which is a look that’s great but my own personal inclination has been to go much cleaner, with much stronger lines.
I did a version of this drawing once already, which I posted last Wednesday, but I wasn’t really happy with how the hair looked on that version, so I drew it again. Redrawing it, I took the chance to change it by removing the underwear. I was a little concerned that the British boy who I’ve been drawing and who sends me pictures that I use for some of these bunny boy drawings might be offended that I drew his butt naked rather than with underwear, as it was in the photos. He told me instead that if I was gonna draw his butt naked, I had missed the chance to draw something going into his butt and making use of its nakedness. At that point I told him I thought I was in love with him. This is why we’ve managed to talk and stay online friends for two years.
So last night’s reading at Books Inc. for the release of the Fantagraphics collection No Straight Lines was a lot of fun. I ended up reading portions of my Boy From Santa Cruz storyline and it got a good reaction. I still feel strange signing books for people, like, isn’t that something famous people are supposed to do? But what can I say, people love me. Or they love tied up twinks. Or both, either way it means they have good taste.
Also reading last night were Justin Hall, Robert Triptow, Trina Robbins, and Jaime Cortez. A highlight as when, as Justin was reading his Batman fucking Robin story (Not the Batman fucking Robin story I just finished illustrating, another one) a mom walked in with two little boys, about six and eight, saw Batman and Robin up on the screen and stopped with them to watch. Once Robin was about to get his Bat-cave filled, she started pulling her kids away, but I don’t think the kids were especially shocked. This was a hipster mom walking her kids around Castro, and the six year old had skinny jeans and what looked like a $50 haircut. He also seemed extremely interested in just what was about to happen to Robin, rubber necking over his shoulder to see as they left.
Tonight, if you missed it last night, I’ll be reading the same story at the San Francisco Center for Sex and Culture at the release party for Jon Macy’s new Fearful Hunter book. Also reading will be Jon, Justin Hall, and Agnes Czaja.
So, well, let’s see. I haven’t posted much for the last couple of weeks because the website hasn’t been up much. We’ve been experiencing come hosting issues, but fortunately if you follow my on Facebook or Twitter or Tumblr or whatnot you’ve been able to enjoy watching me complain about that. You’ve also been able to enjoy tons of new art I’ve actually been posting, so there’s that, too. I have up with the whole SFW thing on my Tumblr and added the N to that bitch, so now I’ve been posting a bunch of naked drawings on there, too.
Hopefully I’ll resume posting normally soon, now that the web hosting issues seem to be resolved at the moment, and hopefully be blogging a bunch, too, due to the huge number of important things that I continually have to say. I’m making this blog mainly to notify people about a couple awesome upcoming events that I’m going to be reading at in the next two days. If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area in the next two days, you should definitely check out at least one of them:
Tomorrow: A release party for the No Straight Lines book collection. Edited by the great Justin Hall, this book is a big, massive history of gay comics, and packed with amazing things by a lot of people who are my friends, and a lot of people whose work I don’t know and am excited to discover. Absolutely everybody should be able to discover some amazing new comics they’ve never see before in this collection, and also get some great comics by cartoonists they all love, all printed in a really classy Fantagraphics hardcover collection on beautiful paper with the comics looking great. I’m honored to be in the collection. So, buy a copy! Seriously. There was a reading I attended last week at the Cartoon Art Museum where several of the contributors read great pieces, and tomorrow’s event at Books Inc. will hopefully be equally great with readings by me, Justin Hall, Ed Luce, Trina Robbins, and Robert Triptow.
And then on Friday: The release party for the latest and final installment of Jon Macy’s Fearful Hunter series, at the Center for Sex and Culture. Jon’s been working on his opus of butch gay werewolf/druid/tentacle love for a few years now, and with this final installment the book is finally completed. I’ll be reading there along with friends including Jon, Agnes Czaja, and Justin Hall, so that should be epic as well!
So, I was gonna post this on Wednesday, but I was having problems getting online so I couldn’t. Instead of posting one of my comics, I’m gonna blog about a commissioned project I’m doing illustrating a comic for Jason Quest.
He does a series of semi-autobiographical comics that deal with sex and whatnot, and he had a particular one that he thought might suit me. The general idea of the comic is that a guy at a Halloween party in a Robin costume, Jason, meets a guy at the party in a Batman costume and, obviously, they fuck. Robin ends up handcuffed to a headboard. So, obviously I said I’d draw that. I believe Robin should be fucked, and often, and by a rough top who knows how.
If you’ve been following my Tumblr you’ve already seen inks for the first four pages. Jason’s blog has him talking about it, but also posting the colors as he’s been working on them. He’s doing the coloring and the lettering, I’m doing the penciling and inking. I’ve penciled the majority of it at this point, and inked the first four pages.
If you’re not following my Tumblr, btw, you’re missing out on a lot of awesome these days.
You can click on the pages to see the larger versions.
So, on this first page there was supposed to be a gay Halloween party circa 1997, when the Batman and Robin film came out. To try to keep it in period, I added costumes that might have been popular then. There’s a Power Ranger, and Ghostface from Scream, and to have something from the Batman and Robin movie I put in a drag Poison Ivy. As a nod to my own comics, I also drew in the bunny boy I’ve drawn in the past, and I decided to have the Power Ranger cruising him. And that’s Han and Lando about to make out in the last panel there.
On page two, Batman and Robin start talking, Bat-puns abound, and within a couple pages they’ll be fucking. I would be posting these pages to the Facebook page for my comics, also, except that this is about as far in the story you can go before it gets too sexually explicit for Facebook. I was originally drawing Batman a little more Adam West, and we decided to have him be a little more Neal Adams.
I thought there was a certain element of comedy with him, in the later pages, trying to be very serious and butch in a costume that looks somewhat ridiculous, because it is after all a Batman costume. That’s always part of how I seem to draw sex, though. The power that the top thinks he has is all an illusion. Normally, I draw the top as a cartoon rabbit with a giant head, and I always draw the bottom to be as pretty as possible. Or, what I consider to be pretty, anyway. That’s my own projection. I hope there’s enough of the awkwardness left in how I’m drawing Batman that some of that remains, but it was probably the right decision not to make it outright comical.
They get up to a room, and you can see Robin’s Bat-boner there in the last panel. The idea is that, as soon as Batman gets forceful with him, Robin is immediately hard.
There’s a small homage to a David Hockney painting on the wall in the third panel there, which is sort of a joke for myself because I couldn’t tell you how many gay guys I’ve seen who have David Hockney prints hanging in their houses. More of them have Hockney prints than actually know much about Hockney, I think it’s just in the gay handbook somewhere that we’re all supposed to like him. I do like Hockney, though, probably his photo collages more than his paintings.
Four pages seemed like an eternity to wait to get Robin’s shorts off, which was obviously why I was drawing all this in the first place. The boy from my Boy From Santa Cruz story saw this page a couple days ago, and he said that the pose in the last panel there must be a favorite of mine. I didn’t realize until he said that, but I had drawn the rabbit taking off the BFSCs underwear in a previous comic in a similar pose. I do like it, I think it’s a cute pose. I also like that Robin’s dick is uncut, I find that cute, too. It was described that way in the script, so I was happy to stick with that description.
Stay tuned for the storyline to get much more hardcore in a page or two :D
Also, there will be new A Waste of Time strips very soon, and I’m still working on the page where I’m going to be offering original art for sale, so thanks for checking back!
When I worked at that bookstore, I had more than one discussion with angry parents over R. Crumb books. One of them was exactly like this, the parent of the child had actually purchased the book themselves for the child without looking at it, and then thought it was the bookstore’s fault. Gotta love people who think that it’s a better idea to have the whole rest of the world censor itself than to put the slightest effort into parenting their own child. If I was R. Crumb, I’d be extremely proud that I had created stuff that, after some of it has already been published for 40 years, is still pissing off the squares.
And we’re finally back to actual comics!
You can find the start of the current storyline that this follows up on here.
This picks up the story of my frustration with/obsession with time, and takes it to jobs I’ve had in adulthood to make ends meet while I’m trying to be an artist. The time and money connection is going to be where Capitalist Pig comes back into the story, as the rabbit tries to think of new ways to monetize his creations.
Simultaneously, Rickets and Prester are going to run out of money, and Prester’s cocaine habit is going to lead them to some desperate measures. For long time readers of my comics, you’ll remember that a while ago Rickets and Prester cracked open Capitalist Pig, who’s a piggy bank, with a baseball bat, and they’ve been living off the money that poured out of him since, but it’s gonna run out eventually. Capitalist Pig, meanwhile, after being beaten with a baseball bat and robbed, has been plotting his way to get even.
As these comics often do, the storyline about the rabbit needing to learn to monetize his comics is turning out to be eerily reflective of my own life, because I really need to get money together for a new laptop. To that end, I’m going to start organizing some of the art that I’ve created, and some time this weekend I’m going to start making a listing for comics of which I’ll be selling the original art, so if you’re interested in that check back. I think I’m also going to put together some kind of offer to do original sketches of the characters for people who would like to donate to the Get Rick a New Computer fund and help these comics continue to come out in a timely fashion. So, if you’re interested in original pieces, check back, and if there are particular comics that you’d like the original art for, ask me and I’ll see if I have the art still!
So, let’s see, the story behind this drawing is obviously a long and strange one. For those that follow my comics, this is the same boy as in the Boy From Santa Cruz storyline that I did a while back, the beginning of which can be found here.
As much drama as there was in the Boy From Santa Cruz storyline, that was actually the streamlined version of it. Between originally meeting him in a club and then actually drawing him, there was something like 10 months where we talked over text a bit but pretty much drifted off, and then I saw him at a club again, and asked him if he remembered me, and then the six months or so that we dated and I did the drawings in that original series happened. That Fourth of July strip, about one of our good, early nights together, is about a Fourth of July that’s now two years ago.
After we kind of broke it off that time, almost two years passed in which we didn’t talk much, several other guys came and went, and then, for whatever confluence of reasons, after this last breakup we started talking again and decided to do another drawing. He said that after he dates somebody, he needs some time before being friends with them again. Two years, really? I think a big part of why I still talk to him is that I can never figure out exactly what’s going through his head. He’s either stimulating or just obstinante, or maybe I’m stimulated by obstinance, I’m not sure. For all my talk of tying boys up, I think in a real way I’m the masochist.
That’s actually why I like to do these tied up boy drawings, because of the fact that I’m doing them of people I know or have dated, the drawings, while ostensibly about sexual sadism or power play, are meant as my expression of affection toward them. They’re interesting relationship metaphors for me, because the thing is, I tied them up, but they can be untied any time they want to. The person who’s tied up always has all the control, it’s about the illusion of power.
One of the 10 billion great lines that Bob Dylan has written is in the song Abandoned Love: “I march in the parade of liberty/ But as long as I love you I’m not free/ How long must I suffer such abuse/ Won’t you let me see you smile one time before I turn you loose?” Devotion to somebody else is always about masochism, because if you admit that you like them and don’t want to leave them, they’re the one with the choice to leave or not, and you’re the one who’s tied yourself up.
When I was dating the BFSC, I bought an Ipod, and when I first loaded songs onto it and put it on shuffle, the first song it ever played was Abandoned Love. In that song, he’s the one who’s suffering “abuse” but he’s also the one who wants to turn her loose. The two are the same thing. After that, for me that song kind of became the theme song of my relationship with the BFSC, I would listen to it at least once a day when I was dating him. He wasn’t ever aware of that, though, I don’t think I ever played the song for him or mentioned it to him. As much as I wring my hands about him being inscrutable, when I can wrest myself out of my own narrow vision for a moment and see it from his side, I realize that I must have been equally inscrutable to him, if not more so. My interior life doesn’t seem mysterious to me because I’m living it, but other people aren’t. Although they have more of it than you would have with most people, they have all these comics.
I used Independence Day day as the strip that represented the happy part of our relationship, because it seemed to me like a good symbol for freedom for obvious reasons. That moment when you think you can be interdependent with somebody else, and still be free. I’ve managed to have those moments, and in some cases even sustain them for quite a while. I haven’t found out yet whether they can actually last indefinitely, but I like to think they can. The fact that I’m posting this new strip on Fourth of July is a serendipitous coincidence that I should probably take credit for planning even though I didn’t.
The chair I drew him in in this picture is actually the chair at my desk where I draw almost all of my comics. That seemed fitting to me. It’s a drawing of somebody tied up, and that somebody is in my chair, the chair from which I create art. I like to push the question of who it is that’s actually tied up here. I opened the whole Boy From Santa Cruz storyline with a drawing of him tied up, because it’s actually a story about him dumping me. In that drawing, he’s tied up to a door, he can walk out it any time he likes.
Also from Abandoned Love:
“I can hear the turning of the key
I’ve been deceived by the clown inside of me
I thought that he was righteous but he’s vain
Oh, something’s a-telling me I wear the ball and chain”
Another breakup, another Carvaggio homage. If you like it when I do these homages, you should probably date me and dump me so that I’ll do more of them. But before you dump me, be cute and put out a lot, alright? I need to get something out of it besides maudlin classic art jokes.
I did another Caravaggio homage at the end of the Boy From Santa Cruz storyline, you can see it here. That was sort of an extension of a joke I had done before where I drew myself in where Caravaggio drew himself into another painting of his, my homage to which you can see here.
In the one I did in the Boy From Santa Cruz storyline, I was doing a reference to another of the three David and Goliath paintings that Caravaggio had done. I chose the one I did because of the similarity of David’s pose to the pose in Michelangelo’s Victory statue, which had been discussed and played into the whole Boy From Santa Cruz storyline previously. You can read the strips where I talk about Michelangelo’s statue starting here.
This time, I was doing a reference to this version of David and Goliath that Caravaggio did:
This is probably the more iconic of Caravaggio’s David and Goliath paintings, and it’s the one in which he drew himself in as the head of Goliath, so actually this is the one that really completes the joke I was trying to do before, the resemblance to the Victory statue in the other version was just too good to pass up. But as far as the joke of putting the rabbit in there where Caravaggio put himself in, this is the one I needed to do, so I guess it’s good I got dumped again or I wouldn’t have completed the series.
I love the way that Caravaggio draws blood, like ribbons or streamers billowing out of the head. That was hard to replicate in pen and ink. One of the virtues of Caravaggio, of course, if his ability to play with color and light, and how the same painting can have areas that are extremely bright and also extremely dark. To have those dark areas without having them just be black is hard in pen and ink, because Caravaggio is playing with subtle midtones just off from black.
I took a little bit of liberty with the composition to make it horizontally wider because the rabbit’s head is just so big it made the whole thing wider already and it didn’t look correct without more negative space to the right. I had David’s sword raised a little bit higher to fit the slightly wider framing, but otherwise I was mostly true to how Caravaggio drew David’s body. The difference is the face which is, of course, my ex. I thought drawing him with his glasses was a subtle enough difference to show that this wasn’t meant to be the boy that Caravaggio had drawn in the original painting.
One of the amazing things about the original painting is the subtle expression on David’s face. It’s just staggering, the more you look at it the more ambiguous, but also emotional, it gets. At first it looks like disgust, but then there’s also pity, and anger. There’s no regret, though, there’s a grim confidence in the rightness of what he’s done. When you take into account that it’s a self-portrait that Caravaggio drew him staring at, it’s hilarious but also a really black joke.
Caravaggio’s kind of awesome.
I think that the expression I arrived at on David’s face at is angrier, which is probably a little bit of projection. I’m not quite ready to look at this ex as being blameless in how things ended, because he’s the one that ended them. The boy from Santa Cruz saw this drawing today, and he described the expression as “cunty.” I don’t think I’d describe it quite like that, but I don’t think I was ready to draw this ex as a cherubic, righteous David.
Speaking of the boy from Santa Cruz, that previous storyline might not be the last of him showing up in my comics. After this latest breakup, I saw BFSC a couple weeks ago, and I did another drawing of him. I’ll be posting that on Wednesday.