Friday, March 6, 2015

Tune in, Beatle Babies!

Hello Folks.  This is to let you know about this project I'm working on for the next 6 months, January 2015 - Sept 2015. 

In August 1965, I saw the Beatles in Chicago and kept a journal of the events in the week leading up to it. So now, 50 years later, I am channelling my inner 13 year-old-girl self and writing and drawing about life in the slow lane leading up to the concert. It is a blog-to-become-a-book project. 

Back then, I was living with my family in Ingleside, Illinois, going to Catholic school and living through a cultural phenomenon. You just have to tune in to my site:

It's trippy, focusing in on this narrow little window of time. I can't believe how much music the Beatles bashed out, and how terrific the whole pop music world was at that time. Prolific era! Half of the American Songbook, it seems. 

And it's weird being 13 again, but at the same time, delightful to be free of the big troubles of life, and completely blind (thankfully) to the travails of the future. Future triumphs, new people, world changes - that can all wait until after Labor Day, 2015, when the blog will be complete. Then it'll become a book.

So for now, turn your dial to Like F4M on FB, and by all means, go listen to the Beatles!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Found this while helping my sister clean out her house.

This is in Wisconsin somewhere. My beautiful sister holding baby Joy, circa 1980. Harry her husband is next to her holding Case, her son (you can just see his arm) . Mother Teresa turned to greet them, and as the photographer snapped the picture, Joy reached up to pull at her scarf.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


The #1 reason I want at least one of those Eisner noms to turn into a win - my sister Ginia. When I told her about the nominations, she was so uplifted by the news over there at the hospice place. 

You have often seen her depicted in my comics. She came with me to San Diego in 2010. I hope this video loads. She cracked me up. Remember,  she has a PhD in Inter-Religious Studies and heads the Masters Program at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College. Studied at Oxford. She’s also a former nun and currently a Sisters of Providence Associate.

The video starts out as Ginia goes out into the Comic Con lobby dressed in her nightgown & swag-bag accessories . . .     Dammit! The video will not load. So for now, this page from You'll Never Know, where she & Mom and I are having a conversation will have to suffice. She's on the upper left corner, her color is green. I'm blue, Mom's orange.

Friday, April 5, 2013

And it was all Yellow

Happy Easter in Mom's hats.

My sister is so skinny that she has to wear a baseball cap to keep a hat on. Note how her college ring just hangs there. F#ing cancer.

Despite all this, she's got a great smile and deep faith. I have to attribute my not falling completely apart to the practice of mindful awareness.

We always had a thing for Peeps.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I came across an empty parcel of land for sale out in the middle of nowhere, and when I went to check into its history on the auditor's website, this picture came up.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Wild Bunch

Kim Thompson and me and Jerry Moriarty having a wild time at SPX a few years back. Don't remember who took the pic. Identify yourself!!!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Good people of the world! I have taken your comments from my last posting to heart . . about quitting FB. I don't want to give you up completely - by no means. I have met so many cool new folks and reconnected with old pals and all else that's fun in between. What I realize I must do is call it hiatus or sabbatical. Quit is so final. Yeesh. I'm kind of sick of things being final. I'm going to get help with managing the out of control news feed for starters. And I've got to figure out this blog thing again. I've got an Etsy site that’s bonkers. 6 email accounts. A twitter account that I never ever use is under the name Crystal Meth. My website’s obsolete and I don't know how to fix it. OY. Eventually, it'll all be great. In the mean time, I'm working on Tomatoes for Cincinnati Magazine every month. Inside back page. Here is a link to the editor's comments. xoxo ct

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I have a new little journal style mini- comic for sale on my new Etsy page: 

Here's the front cover and page 8 for a sampler.

Backstory: In 2009, I set up a book signing for "You'll Never Know, Book I: A Good & Decent Man" with my Dad at a place near his house - at the Historic Ernie Pyle Boyhood Home & Museum in Dana, Indiana. You know, Ernie Pyle, famous WWII correspondent. I figured we'd sell a million books at the festival, but it turned out to be a real dud. Nobody came. I felt so bad for Dad. Anyway, after he went home, I got out my little index cards and took notes on everything else going (or not going) on from our signing place on Ernie's porch.

If you purchase one of these (limited edition of 20), I will sign, add a little sketch to the back inside cover and mail it to you. Take me up on this deal, because soon enough I'll be back to a big project and won't have time for fun little gigs like this!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Months ago I posted something about how this dog that came up to my house all muddy and starving, in dark old winter, and I took it to the SPCA thinking the owner would claim her. She was ribs-showing scrawny with kennel cough and worms. At the same time, Mom was slipping off the planet and my sister was in a chemo haze. Everything was so sad -- Dad fell and was crabby and I had to tend to everyone. All hell was breaking loose! 

And then this dog came to our porch on January 2nd which is why I call her 2. Spelled Tue. She was my hope forward, toward better days. . . 

Today -- here is the ever-active Tue in full liquid motion mode, which is probably why she ended up on my porch. She's alive and healthy and I love it.

Tue is the one in front. Her pal Saranac is chasing her. They do this for hours. Thanks Peter for the photo

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Need tech banana

It's a problem, my way-overdo-for-an-update website. File this under the category of no time or money to get a nerd to fix. Sorely needed, to say the least. I can barely manage this humble blog!!!

For those checking in about the upcoming Chicago thing, apologies, but don't let my lack of tech savvy keep you from reading my books.

I like this hidden little off-shoot that's hard to locate. This is for those who aren't familiar with my work yet. It's from 2005, by my late pal Bob Callahan.

BTW, I need to get the car painted for my next comix project. Here it is in better days. I may do a Kick starter campaign, which is about what it takes to start this baby.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Thinking Cap

At a loss for ideas? Here's how my Great Grandmother Sophie Tyler solved that problem back in 1910.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

40 and last

40 years ago today, July 24, 1971,  I got married in Tennessee for the first time. Alex & I were together almost 6 years. I was 19, he was 23.  Too young, I think.

The link below is the only evidence I have of his existence. In the video, someone's trying to make him out to be a bad guy, but I remember him as an environmentalist. He 'turned me on' to the natural world -- a love I have retained to this day.
one of my 'ex'es on the job

Last year on this date I sat on Odin's throne at the San Diego Comic Con, 2010.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I realized perfection today. I saw the moment squarely and thanked Buddha for the concept.

I had made a screen door. Was putting the bead moulding around it out in my parents' back yard in flat Indiana, on a cement patio. Green everywhere else. Wide open prairie all around. Surround. OK, so there was a Cubs/Giants ballgame on the radio, coming out of the garage. And the sound of the table saw. Dad's making a rolltop desk out of his stash of old-growth walnut. (Who old growth? - He 92!) We got thirsty and so I cut open that watermelon from the refrigerator. So ripe and ready, it split completely open without much convincing.

Slurp eating cold sweetness in the grass there on the prairie with the game and the saw and the screen door in perfect evening light. That was it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I just checked the weather of every zip code I ever lived in and am happy to report that every thing is just fine.

Now, back to crosshatching.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Baby draws comics

It won't let me post videos here, so I had to put this one on FB. My dog Baby has decided to quit getting into garbage and become a cartoonist:!/video/video.php?v=1683562940722&comments&notif_t=like

Friday, May 13, 2011

Those frikkin' towels

I love baseball. I love listening to it on the radio as background to whatever I'm doing. And after a long time away, I started attending Reds games last year down at Great American Ballpark. Beautiful place. That is, until the crowds started waving those towels. YYYKKKKKK  I HATE that!!!

Waving towels never produces results except to give doofus goofuses something to do. Towel waving does not belong in baseball!!! If people kept scorecards with those little pencils like they're supposed to, this wouldn't be happening.

I hate it SO much, I'm not going to the ballpark again until it burns out, or they designate 'towel-free' games.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

LA Fully Loaded II

In front of Berlin Wall sections on Wilshire Blvd. This was just before leaving, after everything official was done. Joyce Farmer gave me a ride to put my toes in the ocean after we finished our panel. I was there as a guest of the good folks at the LA Times Book Prize.  Honored to be a finalist.

LA fully loaded last hours

 The last best thing was the authentic taco. The dude standing there said it's cause unlike other taco trucks, at this one, they make their own tortillas. MMMMMgood!

Or it was the light, the Saturday sun making all the chrome and glass do that awesome two-tone thing. You know, blue and gold.

Or it was the Korean driver who took me to the airport. Said he's been driving a cab for a year after he lost his life savings with his brother-in-law in a scam of some sort. "How much did you lose, if I might ask? $30? $50 thousand."

"$750,000. But it's OK. I'm happy now. No more sleepless nights."

LAX here looks like a picture I would have drawn of the future with my crayolas.

I had sleepless nights in LA. Both of them. One from anxiety, one because of the red-eye flight back to Cinci. I love sitting up half the night in an 'under construction' space. It's the fluorescent lights that make it so awesome.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011



I will be in LA this weekend. But first I have to finish building the fence, planting flowers, penciling page 30, taking in the dress, getting a spray tan ---
Wait a minute. I'm not getting a spray tan. It won't cover the bug bites (yard work). Besides, I blew my budget on my hair, covering the grey.

Here is a picture taken the last time I was in LA. For a Twisted Sisters Exhibition at Billy Shire's Gallery. Early 1990s. This is me & my then boyfriend on Sunset Blvd.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Found with the receipts

It's tax time. Here's something I scrawled on the back of a receipt, dated 10/19/10:

Riding up with a young girl in dank elevator at the art school where I teach.
She's unaffected and bottle-blonde pissy, grip-wrinkling an expensive sheet of bristol paper.
Chomping chips comatose.
Strapless cotton print dress -- one nude shoulder leans back onto the brushed chrome - cowboy boots crossed at the ankle, key dangling on a lanyard, angling

So dreadfully bored
in the good 50 seconds we have left together.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Call-Up

Gonna be hard to work this week with Ken Burns' Civil War series being rebroadcast each evening.
I missed its first time around (kid to raise).

Friday, March 25, 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Them's fightin' words

There has been a popping up of the term "frames" in reference to what are known traditionally as cartoon panels. I'm irked by this. In a conversation with a friend this weekend, use of the word frame came up again in reference to cartooning.

Scene 1 begins when the fighting words rolled off his tongue: "Frames, panels .. same thing."

Next frame: "What - did - you - say?" She was all up in his face with that, there at the bar. "You are wrong, buddy. Dead wrong."

Frame #3: He brays the rhetorical question back at her: "No, missy -- you're wrong," pronouncing 'you're' with cadence like a little lamby-sheep would do.

They both knock back a shot of house whiskey.

4: She inches closer, getting toe-to-toe, eye-to-eye, moment-to-moment. Beads of sweat forming, gloves off. "Let me clarify, flank-steak. To say frame means you're referencing film or have read comics 'how-to' manuals . . . .  which means you're there looking at that."

Frame 5: He jeers across his rotten crowns right at her with another rhetorical question. "What's wrong with that -- Lady Purist!" One of his caps is almost pure motherlode gold-plated. 

Frame 6: He spits and reaches.

Frame 7: Quickly outdrawn, she's gets him down at heel.

8:Towering over him, all statuesque and lovely, she states gently and yet emphatically, as if she were a glowing apparition of truth: "It's called tradition, my friend. Real cartoonists make panels."

9: Triumphantly, she steps across him, walks through the double swinging doors and bee-lines it back to the drawing table.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Your Ticket to Cool

Sure has been fun inspiring the next generation to keep journals and make comics out at Amelia High School. The experience has been a very real source of pleasure. Nice bunch of kids and the teachers/administrators made it easy. They ended up inspiring me.

The worst part about it: getting up at 5:30 AM Monday mornings to be on the job at 7 -- a major adjustment for this committed night person. (5:30 is often when I go to bed!) Regardless, I loved every minute of it.

In the pic: That red teacher sweater: My Monday Morning Jacket for Valentine's Day!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Homeroom Hottie

Alex & CBR -- You ROCK!!  Here's a link to an awesome just posted interview. Coming on a day when I'm having a Foreigner marathon in my studio. Double Vision, Head Games, etc. Hot Blooded, Cold as Ice. Hair rock that I didn't really listen to but couldn't avoid hearing back in the day. Inking music.

The T-shirt in the pic says Homeroom Hottie  :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

He walks through the Bardo

Sorry to hear that my friend Jigme Norbu was killed two weeks ago while on a Free Tibet walk in Florida. He was a ball of energy for the cause.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Sleep Well, Doughboy.

Frank Buckles passed away. Feb. 27, 2011 at 110 years old. He was the last surviving US Veteran of WWI.

From out of this world: something happened to me about him on the very day of his passing that convinced me once again that in doing this book about soldiers, I am but a conduit. Stay tuned. But right now there are no words except these: Thank you for your service. Sleep well, Doughboy.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Friday Night

Remember in like 7th grade or maybe even Sophomore year the importance of Friday night? School was officially done for the week, so either it would be pizza with friends or a sleep-over or a dance at school. Or bowling. Or a 4-H club meeting. Or maybe there would be a party and the guy you had a crush on would be there. Homework and other maladies could demon stay gone for 2 days.

Also, for just about every family in my working class town, Friday was payday, which explained the free spending on pizza and Cokes and 45s. I'm not trying to suggest that those were the good old days and I miss them but . . .

I was surprised some years ago, how Friday night came to mind when putting together reasons why in my adult life I sometimes felt such aching emptiness. What was it about Fridays, since I still occasionally eat pizza and go bowling -- not much though. I concluded it was that sense of completion coupled with a 'job-well-done' payday, neither of which I've really had yet because this graphic novel trilogy is not yet finished. True, there have been pleasantries along the way for Books I & II and believe me, I am truly grateful. But  . . . . . . . .

Sometimes it seems like I'm still back at Monday morning, although in reality I know I'm pulling along a slow Thursday. But I want so much for Friday night to come. And to help bring it home, I've called in Coach Taylor from that excellent series "Friday Night Lights". 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Just like the cowboys

Dad -- 91 years old and the subject of my trilogy, has a dislocated shoulder. Apparently, he pulled a tarp off a pile of termite ridden old oak during a sub-zero snowstorm, wrestled the damn thing indoors and into the basement to dry out but fell while attempting to throw it over a 114 year old cast iron bathtub. His shoulder slammed onto a protruding rocker of an antique rocking chair.  He dislocated his shoulder, but the wooden rocker prevented a fracture, which would have happened if he had hit the cement floor.
This happened on a Monday. So he went upstairs and complained a little to my Mom about it and she did nothing but tell him to put ice on it. All night he didn't feel right. Next day, he told the visiting nurse. She put ice on it and suggested he let my sister know. She lives nearby. Wednesday my sister looked at it and said she thought he needed to put heat on it. That night he started really complaining. By Thursday, his shoulder had swollen up with a knot the size of a cantaloupe. That's the first I heard of it by email through my sister, who thought he would be OK with rest, ice & heat.
So I called Dad with the message GO TO THE ER NOW!!!!!!! "No, but I'll go over to the VA."
He waited for Justin to come the next day (Friday). Jud drove over in my place because I was under the weather. He & Dad (who insisted on driving) went to the VA (in Danville, IL) where they discovered he had a dislocated shoulder with torn rotator cuff.
Dad thought that wasn't nothin'. That we should just put a foot into his armpit and pull, like they do with the cowboys. Only he's 91 and they won't do that to a guy his age.  So, "The doctor put me in a goddamn straight jacket (put him in a sling). To hell with that!"
So now he sits there with his arm out of its socket, watching westerns, kicking back an occasional shot of whiskey and waits for the season to change. Just like the cowboys.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

half Full & half Empty

Half full: Walking home through frosty wet snow and winter beauty. No class today, hooray, more time for drawing. Many songbirds. Feet and hands are warm. Good. The layering technique worked. Love getting the exercise. Trying out new wool army issue socks -- they only itch once in a while. The outside world is spectacular. I can never get enough of it.

Half empty: Trudged through a snowstorm on foot a mile and a half to find that classes had been canceled. Damn! What a waste of my time. Shit is dripping out of my nose and I don't have a tissue. Pay no attention, people, to that old babooshka scuffling by. Wait a sec. Nobody's out here but me. And it's miserable cold!! Can't wait to get home and take a nap.

Or vice versa.

"Form is Emptiness, emptiness is form." -- Heart Sutra
"You're full of shit. You're all full of shit" -- Chuck Tyler

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Winter Antidote

From one of my favorite movies. Click on the link below the poster to hear what Jeanne Crain is singing about.
A sentiment I can agree with.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I'm a Loser

I'm out Five Bucks to Mega Millions. How much did you fork over to the demon?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Just found out

Thank you Douglas Wolk for rating YNK Book II so favorably (#3) on the Best Graphic Novels of 2010 list!

Friday, December 31, 2010

A Bloody Nutcrackin' New Year's Eve Story

Warm New Years Eve day, like in California, but I'm living in Ohio. Goodbye 2010. I loved every minute of you. 

Decided the dog and I should send this year off natural-like, but not at our usual park. It was sure to be full of seekers of meaning, blended families in truce, sneaky lovers, and health nuts reflecting deeply on this last day of . . . UGH! Just let me be outside without the schtick.

The Adventures of the Last Day of the Year began when I noticed a pregnant woman sobbing on the side of the road with an infant-in-car-seat-carrier and a 2 year old.  She was standing next to one of the last dirty salt-road-ick piles of melting snow, there at the entrance to the Bread Store. I hollered assistance to her, but she waved me off and so I went inside to get my day old wheat loaves. 'If she's still there when I come out, I'll insist on helping her in some way.' Instead - she was gone. Like a new year's apparition.

OK. So I turned off onto the side street looking for her, but ended up in an old industrial park. The kind that in 1979 was probably the trendiest place on earth to work, if you had to work at an office/warehouse-y type place. Lobby ferns. Receptionist with Rolodex. Smoking permitted. Most of the buildings, however, had huge AVAILABLE signs out front, with chained driveway entrances keeping out the long gone employees. Imagine the forsaken landscaping, randomly buckled asphalt  sprouting growths, foolishly discarded hamburger wrappers hung up in the weedy fence, a 'dumped by a brother-in-law' sofa way back in the back where nobody will ever notice, near the former employee break area  -- you get the picture. When I go walking around a place like this, I always look for 'the body'.

What I did find: pecans. At least I thought so. Hooray!!! And as many nuts as I could load into 2 grocery bags. That took almost an hour. I was feeling so very happy and lucky, yet wishing I knew for certain if they were really pecans. But who would I be able to ask out here in this deserted industrial park? Especially on New Year's Eve. Nary a soul. Maybe over there.

Across the road was what looked like a photo/digital processing center that definitely had its glory days behind it. And parked on the side was this really nice candy blue Ford F-150 truck -- a sign that somebody had to be there, current. I pounded on the double glass doors. Soon, this small older guy appeared. I guess about my age. Feeling that I should ask him something legit for interrupting him like this, I came up with 'Do you convert 3/4" video tape to digital?' He replied 'No, we quit doing that years ago.' How bout did he didn't know if those were pecan trees. He didn't know what the heck they were. He doesn't pay much attention to such things. So I thanked him and walked with the dog back over to the woods skirting the property that circled his building.

I noticed he didn't go back in the door. I figured he was dumping trash or something. Next thing I hear: "Fuck! Fuck! fuck! Goddamn Fuck. Shit!" and I see him flailing about. So I'm thinking 'oh boy, this guy's a nut case. I better get out of here.' But then I saw that he had blood literally pouring out from the top of his head like a fountain, and it was running down all over his face. 

It went like this: while stepping forward to view the tree I inquired about, the door locked behind him. Inside were his keys, cell phone and a machine was running (some job he was doing). So when he went over to jimmy a loose back window, instead he caught a metal protruding thing that sliced across the top of his scalp. 

Being nowhere near my vehicle and with a very slow moving geriatric dog, all I could do was take charge "Sir, just sit down and I'll run for help. Put your hands on top of your head and apply pressure. Seriously. Don't move."

He did and I ran like hell, first dumping off the old dog back at my truck, then running on breathlessly, criss-crossing the forlorn lawns of industry looking for anyone who might still be on the job.

Hard breathing, yet driven. 'Onward.  >pant<  No point dropping dead here.   >pant<  >pant<  Gotta help this guy from the photo processing place, bleeding like bloody hell.   >pant<  >pant<  How crazy to turn the wheel of inquiry with a guy I met two minutes ago and this happens.' 

I felt the limits of my chest, my lung capacity, a too-filled torso. Had to override concerns about the latest bad foot malady. Thirst, suppress!   >pant<  It's December 31, yet I'm hurling massive weighty sweat grenades off my steaming heap of middle aged body. Fucking smelly armpits, in my favorite thrift store cashmere sweater. Dammit. Quit with the stupid thoughts. Focus on that poor man.

About three expansive buildings over, finally. Two warehouse guys behind an 'employees only' steel door, thank GOD! Turn the stainless silver doorknob,   "Call 911!!!  >pant<  This guy's head is   >pant<  gushing blood   >pant<  please don't make me explain, etc."

All appropriate emergency vehicles responded as quickly as you can imagine and Gary (found out his name) was taken off in a tidy ambulance. 

Questioned by the officer. All he wanted to know from me was if it was a break-in. Was this a crime? "No officer, bla bla" I went on. He didn't know what kind of trees they were either. 

Later I found out from my friend Mr. Internet that I had stumbled upon the best little old wild nut out there: carya ovata, aka the shagbark hickory nut. Tough to crack open but oh what a sweet treat! 

Happy new year everyone. Especially you, Gary. I'll circle back to check in on you next week. And to get more nuts. Hopefully the squirrels have left me plenty. And hopefully you still have your job.