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.