Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bore-er Beyond Imagination


Welcome to the freshest update of "Saturday" the book you're likely to read this week.

If you recall, we've worked our way back to page six.  "Wait," I hear you say in my head where there are often voices, "I thought you were on page, like, 31."  This is true.  I am working on page 31 right now.  But you read faster than I can draw, so I'm biding your time until I can finish the final pages and post more current stuff.

So, last week there was an attempted peace accord drafted by Fred.  Let's just say that, at this point in the peace process, negotiations are ongoing:

Elsewhere in the house, India's normally reliable imagination has failed to clock in for work, forcing her to find a pastime of a different suit:

India's imagination is probably her best friend.  The weirdo kids rarely have actual best friends.  Pause for sad reflection.  Anyhoo, with her imagination AWOL, India's bored stiff.

When I was a kid, boredom was my mortal enemy.  It was tireless and persistent, and it was all I could do to keep it at bay.  Now that I'm an adult, I see boredom as a luxury.  See, when I was a kid, the only capital I had was time.  But I was freaking LOADED with time.  I was the Scrooge McDuck of time.  I had a vault full of it.  I could swim in all the time I had.  Which meant I could waste it by being bored.  I used to set an entire day on fire and then use that burning day to light my cigar.

Now, in terms of time (and most other respects), I'm a hobo.  Sitting on the sidewalk next to my bindle with those boots where the toe is open and you can see my socks, lamenting my hubris and singing "Once I built a railroad".

Today is Sunday.  I hope you have a fortune in time.  Enough to burn, even.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Make me up before you go go...

Oh, hi.

Welcome to a very special just before Christmas edition of the "Saturday" update.  Remember last week's update?  Me, either.  Let me refresh our memories...

Ok, I remember now.  So last week, Fred and Elizabeth had a bit of a dust up.  Let's not get into who got home late and missed dinner and who was somewhat irrationally angry at who.  This week is all about peace negotiations.  And what better time to broach this subject than the most wonderful time of the year?  There'll be notes to be written and hearts to be smitten and drawers full of cheer...

Except not really:

Christmas is the time when we're all supposed to get along.  But obligation and sincerity go together about as well as eggnog and olive juice.  We feel one way about the holidays but feel obligated to live up to the standards set by photos of pretty people in holiday catalogs.  Those photos are always of attractive, well-dressed people who seem to do nothing but laugh and have a wonderful time with each other.

But the thing is, the people in those photos who look like a family?  They don't even know each other.  They're models.  They came to an unfamiliar set, they were dressed in clothes they don't normally wear, and they smiled uncomfortably at people they didn't know very well.  Now that I think of it, the photos on holiday catalogs are pretty close to real life holiday get-togethers, aren't they?

So what am I saying here?  I guess I'm saying that family tension is probably going to be as ubiquitous as those tins full of flavored popcorn that no one eats.  You probably will feel uncomfortable at some point during the holidays.  I'm giving you permission to not feel guilty about feeling uncomfortable, regardless of how well the catalog family seems to enjoy each others' company.  You can even have  dust up or two if you want.  Then, afterward, maybe you could write a nice little apology note and be done with it.  Most of your peeps are probably pretty nice.  Even if they are obnoxious as hell.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good fight.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Degree of Disagree

Buenos Dias!

Welcome to the weekly update of "Saturday" the book!  For this edition, we'll have to hop into our Deloreans because this scene goes down earlier in the week (Monday evening, to be precise). 

Because I'm posting faster than I'm drawing, I'll have to supplement panels from current pages with panels from previous pages (still new, just not current).  We'll ostensibly be jumping back and fourth through time.  With any luck, we'll be able to go back, save our parents' marriage, save Doc Brown's life, and have a sweet 4 x 4 waiting for us in the garage when we get back.  All to the tune of Huey Lewis (and I guess the News can come, too, if you're into that sort of thing).

If you have no idea what I'm talking about you can make like a tree and get out of here.

And speaking of our parents' marriage, today's panels involve just that.  Fred has just gotten home very, very late, having missed dinner:

There was a decent window of time in which Elizabeth was left to worry about what happened to Fred.  A lot of "Saturday" is about imagination.  Mostly it's about how imagination and creativity can make life worth living.  But there's another side to that coin that doesn't get talked about much: That wonderful, infinitely complex, squishy machine inside our heads that makes creativity and art and music possible?  It also allows us to imagine awful, frightening, haunting scenarios.  It's where things like hypochondria come from.

But let's not dwell on that.  We have other things on which to dwell.

Elizabeth was understandably worried.  Fred was delayed by circumstances beyond his control and instead of coming home to sympathy, he's met with a wife whose worry has turned into anger (have you ever done that?  You worry about someone you love and then when you see they're ok you think, "Well, since I don't have to mourn over a dead body I think I'll yell at the living one"?).  Both have legitimate points.  The problem is that they end up talking past each other.

I think most fights are that way.  A lot of the time you end up fighting about two different things.  If logic prevailed, the two parties could simply enumerate their grievances and desired outcomes and be done with it.  But the problem is that we have obnoxious emotions that screw up everything.  We're often not able to voice things logically because emotion make words come out of mouth hole bad.  But emotion also make Fred and Elizabeth love each other very much lots.  If they didn't care, they wouldn't fight because they wouldn't have anything to be upset about.

I'd bet Vulcans never get into fights.  But I'd bet there's very little passion.  You ever see a couple in a restaurant who never seem to talk to each other?  They're almost ALWAYS Vulcans.

If you actually love someone, you're going to get into a fight at some point.  When you're in the thick of it, try not to let your emotions work your mouth like some sadistic puppeteer.  And then, when emotion go away some, come back and make words come out of mouth more gooder.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint were bored, too...

Good Morrow, Gentlefolk!

Verily, it is excellent to once again bring you the weekly update of "Saturday" the book.  This week is kind of a continuation of sorts.  You see, you've caught me.  Remember how I was telling you a while back that eventually my-once-per-week posts would catch up with my far-fewer-than-once-per-week page finishing ability?  Well, guess what?  I'm slowly but surely continuing to not finish one page per week, so...

I suppose we'll just sit here and stare at each other awkwardly?

Or I could just post more sketches, drawings and panels from already completed pages.  Which would you prefer, awkward staring or the other thing?  The other thing?  Ok, suit yourself.  But you're easy on the eyes, so if you ever want to choose the awkward staring option, just let me know.

So, like I said, this panel is also from page 30.  If you remember from last week, India was being spirited away to a secret destination, though she was told by her parents she was being abandoned at the pound.

The real destination (one of several scheduled for Sunday) turns out to be this:

Do you remember your family trips from when you were a kid?  My family took several to South Dakota.  There were grandparents there.  And also Mount Rushmore.  But think of all the attractions to visit in South Dakota BESIDES Mount Rushmore.  No, seriously.  I need you to think of some.  Because I can't think of any.

But the trips were fun anyway.  Every red-blooded American kid longs to see the visitor's center where they filmed parts of "North by Northwest".

This sign is actually based on the sign in front of our local historical society.  By the by, you should support your local historical society.  They provide an educational and entertaining window into our collective past.

This message paid for by the Historical Society Association Mafia of America.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Wood-Paneled Memories Light the Corners of my Mind.

Breaker Breaker Good Buddies!

Welcome to a very special road trip edition of "Saturday" the book.  It's currently Sunday morning in the world of the McGreevy family.  India has done her waking upping and breakfasting, and now she's being chauffeured to a mysterious day of mystery:

The McGreevys are a two-car household.  Fred commutes to and from work in some kind of nondescript lemon.  But for family trips, they hop in the old reliable County Baron station wagon.  Ah, for the days when wood paneling came on everything: station wagons, living rooms, dishes, sweaters, sandwiches, etc.  Because nothing says class like wood panels.  Middle class.

And while you're driving to wherever in real wood-paneled style, why not partake in that other American pastime?  Tax fraud?  No, friend, I'm talking about making vague threats to small children.  Only if they belong to you, of course.  That's what makes it legal and fun!

Last week was Thanksgiving, so threatening members of one's family is still as fresh in my mind as cranberry relish thrown at my sharp-tongued, spinster aunt.  You can see it on the Thanksgiving Day special episode of "Cops".

These days, we're all so politically correct that dealing with children is like hostage negotiation.  It involves a lot of bargaining and rewards instead of the tried and true vague threats of shipping your kids off to Captain Red Face's Military Boarding school or an unpaid internship in the Black Lung Mines.  What on earth are therapists in the future supposed to do when adults no longer have childhood trauma to overcome?

My parents never made any such threats when I was a kid, so I don't have any specific stories to share.  Until my tell-all book comes out: "Saturday: The Tragedy and Misery Behind the Panels".  Available in January of 2015.


PS: Mom and Pop: I'm just kidding about the stories of childhood trauma.  I have LOADS of them to share.  You can read all about them in my up coming tell-all book.

Available in January of 2015.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Waking Up is Hard to Do.

Good Morning, Starshine!

The Earth and I both say hello.  We've reached page 30 of "Saturday" the book.  It's now Sunday morning in India McGreevy's world.  It was an awful week for the entire McGreevy clan, followed closely by a bizarre, wonderful, baffling Saturday.  And now, as Sunday morning begins to open up like a stranger in line at the grocery store, India is dragged from the comfort of sleep and once again confronted with consciousness.

They say that there are four stages of sleep: Three "NREM" and one "REM", which are designated by theta waves and sciencey stuff like that.  I posit that there are an equal number of stages to waking up, but these are a lot closer to the Elizabeth Kubler-Ross Five Stages of Grief.  The four stages of waking up go:

Stage 1, Denial:  As in, "That hand nudging me awake isn't real.  It's just part of a dream I'm having and soon it will go away and I'll get back to flying my magic turnip through the land of Vienna Sausages."

Stage 2, Confusion:  Whu?  Wha goway, me kep sleppy time.

Stage 3, Anger:  I kill you, scum.

Stage 4, Bargaining: Five more minutes.

Stage 5: Acceptance.  There are only four stages of waking up.  Because I've never, ever accepted waking up.

In this panel, India seems to be between stages 2 and 3, based on the expression on her face.  This is a familiar phase to me.  In the words of Louis C.K.: "Getting up is this whole thing because first I have to ask myself, 'Do I really want to be alive anymore'?

And what comes after stage 4 of the Waking Cycle?  The worst stage of all.  It's an extremely long, painful stage I call "Awake-ishness".  It usually lasts for about 15 hours and can be identified by its over-abundance of human interactions, work, and precisely zero visits to the land of Vienna Sausages in your flying magic turnip.


Sunday, November 17, 2013


Ahoy, there, and welcome to this week's update of "Saturday" the book!

On this page (page 29), India is returning home.  It's Saturday evening.  The skies are a deep, dark blue that fade into inky black.  The windows of her house are lit up with that incandescent, comforting yellow:

BTW: Is that yellow not long for this world?  What will future stories sound like?  "The windows of her house were lit up with the cold, acrid, office-like glow of compact florescent bulbs, which were synonymous with feelings of warmth and home."  Seems unlikely.  Just sayin'.

Anyhoo, India's just getting back to the house, which has seen some turmoil in the past week but still feels like home.

That's a strange phrase, isn't it?  "Feels like home."  We don't really describe other places that way, do we?  No one ever says, "It feels like the gym" or "It feels like the grocery store".  But home isn't just a physical location.  It's a place where people live alongside a lot of emotions and memories.  People make emotions and memories and then those emotions and memories are like roommates.  Home is complicated because the people who live there are complicated and because the act of living is also complicated.

It has as much to do with association as place.  I guess that's why sometimes you can live in a place that instantly feels like home and you can live in a place that never feels like home.  You can even feel at home in other people's homes.  Or on the basketball court.  Or inside a book.

For me, most days feel like I'm holding my breath all day long.  Home is where I exhale.  I'm lucky enough to have a couple of different places that feel that way.  Mostly they feel that way because of the people there:


Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Learning Curve Ball, Scary people, and Unknown Unknowns


Welcome to another update from "Saturday" the book.  This week's edition lands us squarely on page 28, wherein India is talking to one of her neighbors at the tail end of a long, strange day.  When India first runs into Leon, she's terrified of him.  He's a huge, scary-looking dude.  But ultimately, she discovers her fear is only the result of not really knowing anything about him.

I've met some interesting people in my life.  Drug addicts, millionaires, people suffering from mental illness, scientists and housewives, war refugees, social workers, loggers and police officers.  Years ago,  I met a guy who could bend horseshoes in half with his bare hands.  One time, as I was walking to St. Ives, I met a man with seven wives.  He looked tired.

My impulse is usually to make some asinine assumption about these people based on a cursory understanding of what they do.  But it isn't until I ask questions about who they are (and why) that I begin to understand anything at all about them.  And what I begin to understand is that people are never, ever easily understood.

I've always felt a bit behind the curve when it comes to learning important lessons.  I get things wrong A LOT.  I even misunderstood lessons themselves.  I've had this idea for most of my life that lessons are this finite thing.  That you learn a lesson and the lesson comes to an end and then you know that thing the lesson taught you.  You are imbued with the wisdom of that lesson.  But of course, that's not really true.  Not for me, anyway.  Most of my lessons are ongoing.  I never really arrive at some truth because that truth shifts and changes (usually just when I think I've got it nailed down).

It's pretty humbling.  But it's also pretty cool that my understanding will expand as long as I allow it to.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

On Paper

I've been drawing pretty much my whole life.  I love it.  I always have.

I love the physical feeling of drawing: the pencil in my hand, the movement of arm and wrist, and the pressure of the graphite tip against the surface of the paper.  I love the energy and life of the sketched line and the crisp, clean look of the inked one.   I love the feel of the tooth of the paper between my fingertips and the smell of freshly-sharpened pencils (which still smells like school, even decades after I've been out of short pants).

But there was this other reason I started drawing in the first place.  And it's the same reason I keep drawing and will (hopefully) do so until someone pats me on the face with a shovel:

I remember being a little kid and seeing the work of amazing illustrators like Rien Poortvliet and Chris Van Allsburg.  I was enthralled and gobsmacked that a person could imagine a complete world and then create that world on paper.  When I read those books, I wasn't just looking at a drawing on paper.  I was IN the world they had created.  Their drawings were a gateway to these crazy, limitless environments of imagination.  I could stand there and watch Noah's ark being built plank by plank, walk through the garden of Abdul Gasazi or visit the town of Chewandswallow.   I was hooked.  And inspired.  And I pretty much knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

All these years later, I'm still basically a little kid excited about drawing.  I feel pretty lucky that I get to have this much fun drawing "Saturday".  And who knows if this book will ever have the impact on anyone that those books had on me as a kid.  But it would be nice to return the favor.  Or, more appropriately I guess, pay it forward.

These panels are from page 27.  It won't be long before my posts on this site catch up with my current progress (I'm working on page 31 right now).  When that happens, I guess you'll just have to be patient.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

FYI: It's called "Coulrophobia"

Halloween is just around the corner.


For you.

'Tis the season of terror, so what better time to talk about things that terrified us as kids?

When I was a kid, I was a bit of a neurotic.  I went though a period where I had some obsessive-compulsive tendencies.  Those of you who know me personally are probably thinking, "Went?  Past-tense?"  If I wasn't so afraid of getting your face germs on my hands, I'd slap you for saying that.

Anyhoo, along with my mild o.c., I was also terrified that someone was waiting in the shower.  Not a family member or anything.  That thought wouldn't terrify me until I was a teenager.  No, I was scared there was a stranger in the bathroom, hiding behind the shower curtain.


For me.

This, coupled with my o.c., meant that I would sometimes check behind the shower curtain every single time I went in or by the bathroom.  I'm not sure where this fear came from.  Probably the movies.  To this day, the scariest scenes for me are the ones where someone's alone in the bathroom looking in the bathroom mirror.  They open up the medicine cabinet to get something and when they close it, there's someone behind them.

I was going to put a movie clip here, but I searched for "scary bathroom mirror scene" on Youtube and then chickened out.  You're welcome.

Everything seemed more potent when I was a kid.  Funny things were funnier.  Exciting things were excitinger.  And scary things were petrifying.  Maybe that's because you don't have as much life experience as a kid.  Adult baggage tends to be heavy.  By the time you have a couple of decades' worth of travel under your belt, your bags are crammed full of the memories.  Some of them are warm and fuzzy.  Some are depressing.  And some are downright frightening.  So, as an adult, when you're minding your own business and you run into a man in a clown suit outside a crowded party supply store in the outlet mall, it startles you.

But he's no Pennywise the Dancing Clown.

Where was I?  Oh, yeah, clowns are terrifying.

The point is, if you're a kid this Halloween, enjoy the fact that the only bags you have to carry around are full of candy.


Sunday, October 20, 2013


Happy Sunday!

Of course, for India and the cavalcade of charismatic characters, it's still Saturday.  Somewhere around the 4:00 hour, I should think, though no one's really keeping track.  It's a bit strange how days where little or nothing happens can feel slower than an elevator ride with an obese, flatulent Schnauzer.  But days that are chock-a-block full fly by.  Like an elevator ride with a supermodel.  I have no idea what time would feel like in an elevator with an obese, flatulent supermodel.

While India's parents, Fred and Elizabeth, are home cogitating on how to cheer up India, India's wandering the neighborhood and running into unexpected things and people:

Last week I talked briefly about how being a kid can be like watching a TV show because your parents take care of just about everything.  When you're a kid, what you don't know can fill up an entire world.  And, in point of fact, it DOES.  That can be frustrating and awful.  But sometimes it can also be wonderful.  Because you don't know how the sausage is made (and don't even know enough to ask), magic exists.  And that magic creates wonder and excitement and curiosity.

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."  -Arthur C. Clarke

What magic did you believe in when you were a kid?  (Go ahead, write in.  I'd love to hear your stories.)

One Christmas when I was a little kid, my parents woke up before me and put the presents out.  They realized too late they had forgotten to wrap one of my presents.  So, in a brilliant example of quick thinking, they tossed the present into the snowbank outside just before I came into the room.  I noticed it immediately and asked about it.

"Oh," they said, non-nonchalantly, "Santa must have dropped that.  If he doesn't come back for it, I guess you can keep it."

Suffice it to say, I believed in Santa from that point on until early last week.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

So, Eeyore, Bootsy Collins and Charles Bronson walk into your childhood...

Good morrow, gentlefolk!

Verily we have arrived at page 24 of "Saturday" the book.

It just so happens to be Saturday afternoon in the world of India McGreevy and her parents.  The Saturday after a long, grinding week.  And while India is outside inadvertently stumbling into some odd situations, her parents Fred and Elizabeth are inside, trying to figure out how to help India out of her funk (the Eeyore kind, not the Bootsy Collins kind):

Being a kid can feel pretty lonely at times.  There's a theory that, behind the wholesome jokes and foibles of "Peanuts", the comic is often a commentary on the alienation of childhood (which is possibly why all the grownups sound like a trumpet when they speak).  When you're a kid, it can feel like no one is listening and no one understands.  Adults might as well be from another planet because they're so much older they can't possibly understand what it's like to be a kid.

This turns out to be untrue.  Usually, they know, even if it's been a while since your parents' days of failed football kicking and amateur Psychiatry (Also, spoiler alert, adults aren't immune to those feelings of loneliness and alienation, they just have to put up with it and keep going).  But your parents?  They're sharper than you give them credit for.  And they know when you're feeling down.  They may not always know how, but trust me: They're trying to figure out how to get you from Eeyore to Bootsy, quick, fast, and in a hurry.

I think one of the amazing things about being a kid is that you often don't see how much work it takes to do things.  Whether it's getting dinner on the table, keeping the house clean, paying the bills or figuring out how to cheer you up, your parents are like a couple of MacGyvers, constantly improvising and trouble shooting and using what they have to get things done.  As a kid, you're more like an audience member, so you can just enjoy the show.

Who put it better than Charles Bronson in "The Magnificent Seven"?  Nobody:

"Don’t you ever say that again about your fathers, because they are not cowards. You think I am brave because I carry a gun; well, your fathers are much braver because they carry responsibility, for you, your brothers, your sisters, and your mothers. And this responsibility is like a big rock that weighs a ton. It bends and it twists them until finally it buries them under the ground. And there’s nobody says they have to do this. They do it because they love you, and because they want to. I have never had this kind of courage. Running a farm, working like a mule every day with no guarantee anything will ever come of it. This is bravery."

This goes for Mothers, too.  So the moral is: Your parents understand you better than you think they do.  Even if you're a bit strange.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Piranhas: They'll totally eat you. I'm just saying.

Greetings, Friends!

It's time for our weekly fireside chat about the exploits India McGreevy!  For those of you just joining us, I'll give you a brief overview: India is a creative little girl who's had a rotten week at school.  It's now Saturday in India's world and she finds herself out of ideas, out of energy, and (thanks to her parents), out of the house.

Unfortunately, going outside can land you in unpredictable and unseemly places (that's one of the reasons I make it a point NEVER to go out there myself). Fortunately, if you find yourself stuck in the awful out of doors, there are sympathetic ears to be lent:

I'm pretty sure the moment you leave the comfort and security of your home, you find yourself in one of two situations: Either A.) You're immediately descended upon by a group of ravenous piranhas and devoured so quickly that only a surprised looking skeleton is left standing momentarily before collapsing into a pile of bones that sound like a xylophone when they fall down or, B.) You find yourself in a dark cave, holding on to a terrier named Porkchop while you both watch a large pot of vinegar and baking soda bubble up and boil over:

If you're looking for the former scenario, you'll have to wait for the release of "Saturday: The Director's Cut".

If some of these panels seem like non-sequiturs, I can promise you two things: 1.) No matter how strange it seems now, they'll all make sense in the context of the story and 2.) you ain't seen nothin yet.

Buh-buh-buh baby, you just ain't seen nothin' yet.

So, until our next fireside chat, remember: You have nothing to fear but 1.) Fear itself, 2.) Piranhas, and 3.) Cliched references to Bachman Turner Overdrive.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Put it in your pantry with your cupcakes...

It's Saturday in India McGreevy's world.  Probably just before noon.  She's been shooed outside, possibly as a way to help her get out of her malaise.  Possibly just to get her out of her parents' hair for a little while.  Probably both.

And, so far, mission accomplished on both fronts.  India's barely been out of the house for a good solid half hour and already she's finding herself in some odd places:

This panel?  I like this one.  A lot.  Don't get me wrong: I like almost every panel in "Saturday".  That's because I spend as much time as it takes to make every panel as fun and interesting as I can (that's a big reason this book is taking FOREVER to finish).  But this panel in particular sticks out in my mind when I think of panels I'm proud of.  It's got some pretty dramatic lighting.  The coloring and mood are quite a bit different than any of the previous panels in the book.  And these differences may or may not coincide with a shift in India's story.

And speaking of dark, dramatic themes, let's talk about the love that dare not speak its name.  I'm talking about the kind of thing you keep to yourself.  The kind of thing that both society and shame itself dictate be hidden away in the darkest of dark corners, both literal and metaphorical:

Cupcakes.  Oh, I hear you say, that's nothing to be ashamed of.  There's nothing wrong with a cupcake.  And you're right.  There's nothing wrong with ONE.  Once in a while.  But I'm talking about when you're on your third when you can't even remember eating the second one.  I'm talking about when you peel the wrapper off and shove the whole thing down your gullet.  That's when you even bother eating the bottom part.  Sometimes you just bite the head off and throw the little cupcake trunk away.

Not everyone will know what I'm talking about here.  But some of you know.  Everyone's got their particular flavor of vice.  For me, it's Funfetti.  Have I ever ranted about Funfetti?  Man, how I love Funfetti.  You can have Funfetti cupcakes with Funfetti frosting.  And when it's around, I no longer have my own best interests in mind.  I have only one thing in mind, actually.  And that Funfetti.

So that's where this rat idea came from.  The idea that a rat would be embarrassed to be caught eating a cupcake in the dark is hilarious to me.  Also, I live in a place where there are massive squirrels (which are just rats we accept).  Once, a friend of mind saw one of these local monstrosities up in a tree.  With a cupcake.

I'll leave you with that.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Thelonius Monk, tuna fish sandwiches, and Delbert Grady's Children...

It's still Saturday, around mid-morning for India McGreevy and company.  We've reached the book's namesake.  The entire week was a day late and a dollar short for the McGeevy crew, and it's left India crabby and morose.  And if you're a loving parent, how do you handle that situation?  Well, first off, you kick 'em outside:

In this scene, India's pet/friend Thelonius has gotten away from her and India's in hot pursuit.  Thelonius has a penchant for disobeying the rules.  Most of the time, he's just improvising, but I get the feeling that he always has a general idea of where he's going and what he wants to accomplish.

 While outside, India and Thelonius run into some schoolmates of India.  I wouldn't call them friends, necessarily.  More like contemporaries, or associates, or arch rivals.

Here, the girls see a neighbor who lives on their street and the twins helpfully inform India of some of the neighbor's biographical information:

Kids say the darndest things, don't they?  Once, long ago when I was in elementary school, I was eating a tuna sandwich at lunch.  The kid sitting next to me told me that the dark spots you sometimes see in canned tuna are ground up pieces of rats.  I was unable to finish lunch.  To this day (no joke) those spots still make me pause when I'm eating tuna sandwiches.

So there's an appetizing bit of imagery for you.  Moving right along...

Speaking of the traumatic: the twins are sorta kinda based on Delbert Grady's twins from "The Shining".  It's one of my absolute favorite movies ever, and the scene where Danny runs into the twins in the hallway still makes me jump.  This particular set of twins do not belong to Delbert Grady.  They're just not all that nice to India.  India would probably get along better with Grady's girls, assuming she could overlook the fact that they were ghosts and all.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mama Don't Take My Kodachrome Away

We've arrived at page 18.  It's still Saturday morning in the McGreevy's world (probably around 10:00 am).  One of my favorite panels is on this page.  It's a scene where India is walking through a hallway in her house.  The wall behind her is covered in family photos like this one:

There's a lot of me in this book.  Maybe that's a "no duh" statement, considering that I've spent the last five years drawing it, but let me get a little more specific: This drawing of India's dad (Fred) when he was probably a teenager is based on one of my favorite old photos of my dad when he was probably a teenager.

For years, that photo was tacked up on a bulletin board in our hallway, along with other great photos, pins, stickers, old tickets, and hundreds of other little odds and ends collected over the years.  You couldn't even see any part of that bulletin board anymore, such was the coverage of objects.  It was a family history of sorts, but one that kept changing and growing and getting richer and richer until it was bulletined so much it could be bulletined no more.

It was like a language, really.  One that only my family spoke, because no one else looking at it would know the things on the board or understand what those things meant or who those people were.  You can't get much more specific or personal than that.  And yet, I'd bet that just about everyone reading this had some kind of equivalent, right?  A place in your home where there's a pile of memories.

It's a little strange and also a little comforting to think that the most personal aspects of my life are also sometimes the most universally understood.

Anyhoo, here's another panel from that same page.  This one isn't one of the hallway photos, just a panel of India looking out the front door:


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Problems can be SO insensitive.

It's here.  Finally.

The McGreevys have made it through the frustrating, disappointing, infuriating, no good very bad gauntlet of the previous week.  It's Saturday morning.  Everything should be fine now, right?  Saturdays should be safe, like home base in freeze tag.  A border across which the stresses and anxieties of the week dare not tread.

Except that problems have a super inconsiderate way of not recognizing the sovereignty of Saturdays.  It's like they don't even understand the concept of home base.  Which means that sometimes you wake up on a Saturday morning and it feels like waking up on any other morning:

Being down in the mouth usually feels like a pretty lonely affair.  But the people who love you?  They noticed:

They may not know what do do.  At least, not right away.  But they're not about to just stand around and let problems disregard the rules of freeze tag.  That kind of aggression will not stand, man.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Estelle Getty and Frozen Dinners

It's now Friday evening in the McGreevy's world.  The week has finally, mercifully, ended.  Everyone's home and things are starting to look up for some.  For others, not so much.

I can't remember if I've mentioned this before, but food is a big thing for me.  I love food.  I love eating it, of course.  I love making it sometimes; the process can be a lot of fun or grueling (heh heh...gruel-ing).  One of the things I find interesting about food is the emotional element.  Food is nurturing.  We use food to sustain us in lots of ways.  It's one of the reasons there's a whole category called "comfort foods".  And food can be a way to show you care.

In the beginning of "Saturday", the dinners are all healthy and delicious.  As the week progresses and conditions worsen, so too does the food.  By the end of the week, the McGreevys are eating sandwiches and canned soup.

Tonight they're having frozen dinners, but it's not because Elizabeth McGreevy has given up on life.  In fact, it's the opposite.  She spent part of her day thinking of ways to apologize to Fred:

Which didn't leave a lot of time for dinner prep.  Dinner prep tonight looks like this:

Tonight's dinner isn't much more than a calorie delivery vehicle, and it's probably not going to be a pleasant vehicle at that.  We're talking about the Chevy Citation of dinners here:

This panel was particularly fun to think up and draw.  Mama Sodium, for instance is based on Estelle Getty (an actress from "The Golden Girls" and "Stop or My Mom Will Shoot") and my grandma, who had a professional-grade frown.

If you want a look behind the curtain that is my imagination, in my head this photo is meant to look like it was taken in an Italian Kitchen, but was probably taken on a poorly-constructed set.  And whoever designed it is really laying the Italian on thick.  Out the window looks like an Italian village, there's garlic hanging from the wall, and there's a map of Italy.  I'm pretty sure the people who actually live in Italy know where they are and don't need the reference point.

So that's (part of) Friday evening at the McGreevy's house.  There's a lot more to this page, as always.  And the day you'll get to see it keeps getting closer.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

This week, on a very special episode of "Saturday the Book"...

First off, sorry about the absence of a "Saturday" post last week.  I'll try to make it up to you with this post.

These panels are from pages 14 and 15.  It's Friday afternoon, and Fred and Elizabeth McGreevy have been fighting for most of the week.  They've passed through the angry, frustrating, and awkward phases after their argument.  And now they're each trying to figure out how to make it up to the other.

Elizabeth is doing so from home:

Fred, on the other hand, is doing his cogitating at work (it's hard to be productive when you're distracted):

These panels are from two of my absolute favorite pages of "Saturday".  I love them because we get to see how Fred and Elizabeth's minds work.  India's imagination, after all, had to come from somewhere.  I also like that Fred and Elizabeth clearly like each other.  A lot.  But they're not perfect.  They're humans, prone to the same mistakes and lifelong battles with pride and idiocy as the rest of us.

But mostly I like these pages because of the slightly crazy ideas both Fred and Elizabeth come up with as part of their making-up strategies.  Of course, you'll have to wait for the book in order to see what they come up with.

Hey, speaking of the book: I'm currently working on page 29.  Again, I think there will be 34 pages total.  That's right around 85 percent.  I'll have some editing to do after that.  And the cover.  And probably a laundry list of other elements.  But I'm getting closer to finishing, which means you're closer to reading it.  And I can't wait for both.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sometimes Fridays never have an end.

It's finally Friday.  The bulk of the week is behind the McGreevy family.  Of course, it didn't exactly pass them by and tip its hat as it did so.  It kind of shoved them down and walked right over top of them.  But now there's only Friday left to get through.  Fridays have a reputation for flying by, but this one is going to drag its feet heavily.  And it's going to start before India even wakes up:

When I'm having a bad day, I know there are at least two things I can look forward to: One of them is that day being over.  The other one is lunch.  Lunch seems like hitting the "pause" button on a bad day.  Granted, I'm a big fan of eating my emotions, but there's more to it than that.  Lunch can feel like a little island of sanity in the middle of a sea of awfulness.

Of course, even on the island, sometimes the waves wash up and soak you:

As far as the timeline for "Saturday" is concerned, I just started page 29.  In fact, I'd better get back to that.  Less talk.  More draw.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Burned Souffle and other indicators

It's now Thursday evening and everyone is back at the McGreevy homestead.  The week has taken its toll on everyone.  You can see it in the distant, deadpan stares and the slouching of the shoulders.  Everyone's a bit...distracted.  And that preoccupation seems to be causing some problems of its own.

 In the words of Baron St. Fontanel: "A woman happily in love, she burns the souffle.  A woman unhappily in love, she forgets to turn on the oven."  Unfortunately there's no comparable quote for a man in the 1954 classic, "Sabrina", otherwise I would include it.

In terms of the book, these panels take place on page 13.  I'm currently working on page 28 of what will probably be a 33 or 34-page book.  After all this time, I'm still excited to work on the book.  Perhaps even more excited than ever.  But I'm also excited to finish the book and share it.  Those two impulses are a bit contradictory (the former makes me want to take as much time as possible in drawing, the latter makes me want to abridge the process).  The former will probably win out because drawing is totally, like, my favorite thing ever.