Hello, dear friends. It's been a long time between posts, but I am here to tell you that my magnum opus, my 15-years-in-the-making graphic novel, Over Easy, a tale of sex, drugs, rock'n'roll and eggs in the late 1970s in Oakland, CA, will be in stores April 15, or you can pre-order it on Amazon by clicking here.
Yes, it's over 270 pages all about my post-art-school waitressing career in a world awash in cocaine, weed, and pre-AIDS-era promiscuous sex. In this nifty poster designed by my fantastic publisher, Drawn and Quarterly, you can see where I'll be if you want to come out and say hello. I would love that! What is not to love? It's got it all: vituperative fry cooks, sultry-but-vindictive waitresses, clever repartee, and all this in a world where no one was saying "Just say no." Everyone was saying "YES!" to EVERYTHING. So here, at the intersection of hippie and punk, in this fictionalized memoir, my alter ego Madge attempts to navigate the moral swamp of a cockeyed decade. If you lived through this decade yourself, or you wish you had, this book is an absolute MUST! You haven't seen anything like this in the world of graphic fiction before.
I have been pathetically lax in keeping up with this blog, I confess. Big things have happened. The documentary about my husband Wayne White's work and life (which includes me and our children) , Beauty is Embarrassing , came out last year and now it's all over the Netflix etc. We never could have predicted the enormous response of the public to this film! It's been a wild and humbling ride. Wayne and I were honored and thrilled to have been chosen to be month-long residents at the Robert Rauschenberg Residency on Captiva Island, Fla, this past February and March. Following that I just spent 11 days with Wayne while he finished up a month in Oklahoma City working on a gigantic cardboard cubist cowboy installation for the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. And the fruits of these travels are that, when I leave town I am able to get tons of work done on my graphic novel, "Over Easy" which I am still toiling over for pre-emininent Montreal graphic novel publisher, Drawn and Quarterly. Part one of Over Easy, which will be about 260 pages, comes out next spring. Our son, Woodrow White, will be a senior at my alma mater, California College of the Arts, this fall. Our daughter, Lulu White, has been accepted at Cooper Union in the fall, in apparently the last class in Cooper's 154-year history to get free tution.
And, oh yeah, I changed my hair color. But besides that, I am almost finished with my very first exclusive web comic, which I promise to debut here in the next day or so, as soon as I figure out a clever title.
So, about two months after my inital visit to Phyllis' house, I finally published this cartoon in the LA Times. Because, on January 4th, I got to visit Phyllis again and hang out in her studio with her. I was told by her assistant that she wasn't sure if I would get to hang out while Phyllis painted or if it'd just be a straight-up interview, 30 MINUTES TOPS!!! But luckily, Phyllis was in the mood to paint on January 4th. I took a seat on a stool and sketched her as she painted, all the while desperately trying to think of WHAT to ask her that she hasn't already been asked in her 94-going-on-95 years! I'm no Barbara Walters when it comes to interviews, and I already felt like I was impinging on her private time. I was TORN! Torn, I tell you, between just wanting to watch her in silence, and feeling like I had to get a story. But you know me, I always get my story. Phyllis was very kind, but she wasn't "on." She was painting! And I didn't want to make her work for my cartoon. That was my job. It only took about two weeks of mulling and about an entire pad of the tracing paper upon which I always do my roughs, to carve it out. These little sketchy things I do, of about 8 panels or so, they look like I just dashed them off. BUT I DON'T!!!! It may look easy. Which is good, it's supposed to. BUT IT AIN'T!
Good lord, I have been hideously remiss in keeping up with this blog. Let's dust things off around here and...HEY, WHO LEFT THAT GLASS OF MILK SITTING HERE? It's cheese now. Hm. Not bad. Anyway, here's links to my latest stuff from the LA Times.
Under the latest cartoon, about a Civil War Reenactment in Moorpark, CA, are links to more of my most recent cartoons, including one about the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, a visit to Richard Simmons' gym in Beverly Hills, random odd things spotted around L.A., and Carmageddon back in July.
Next up in the cartoon docket? A trip to Phyllis Diller's house for her art party this weekend! Phyllis is 94 years old, and having just seen both a documentary about her and having rushed out to buy her book, "Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse," I must say that I am filled with admiration for this mother of five whose career as a comedian did not start until she was 37 and utterly desperate. She's 94, for god's sake! She still does art! How amazing is that?
So Drawn & Quarterly wants me to split my graphic novel up into two parts. BECAUSE IT'S JUST THAT HUGE! It just keeps getting...bigger. So this way I have a more manageable deadline, which could be in like, oh, I don't know, a year or two or three ... anyway I am WORKING ON IT, OKAY!?
I did another cartoon for the Los Angeles Times about dressing for "cold" weather in LA. It looks great online but their printing methods continue to lag behind in about early-1960's quality color separation, making it look in print like you should be wearing 3-D glasses to be able to read it at all. It's depressing.
Finally cranked out another one for the LA Times today.I have to thank my odd-jobbed friends for their generous observations about maintaining sanity in the New Depression-and for their willingness to be cartoons!
I am very pleased to announce after these many months of silence, that Drawn and Quarterly, the very excellent publisher of comics and graphic novels, will be publishing my graphic novel, Over Easy. It may take me the next four years to finish it- it could run up to 500 or 600 pages, people- I hope not- but I am thrilled to be in the hands of a publisher that makes such beautiful books and cares so passionately about comics and cartoonists!
I am just back from Comic-Con in San Diego. I feel as though I was pitched into a roiling sea of comics and have just been spit up upon the shore. But in a fun way. I got to hang with the cool kids at the Drawn and Quarterly booth, including the staggeringly talented Vanessa Davis, creator of the fabulous new collection of her work, "Make Me A Woman," cartoonist and illustrator Jillian Tamaki, also there to promote her new book, "Indoor Voice"and cartoonist Gabrielle Bell, there to sign copies of all her great books. Peggy Burns, Rebecca Rosen, and Jessica Cambell, the D + Q crew, are all people I wish I could hang around all the time, likewise Peter Berkimoe, owner of Toronto comic book store, The Beguiling. They probably got sick of me since I wanted to hang around them more than anyone else, except for maybe Esther Pearl Watson , creator of the genius comic book, "Unloveable," and her equally-talented cartoonist/illustrator husband, Mark Todd, both people I hope to get to know better at home here in L.A. I also got to visit all-too-briefly with old friend and fellow curmudgeon, Peter Bagge, who was signing over at the Fantagraphics booth. Maybe the reason I never strayed too far from the booth and the graphic novel publishing ghetto that is the 1500-1900 aisle of Comicon is due to my extreme antipathy towards superhero comics and action films...because after all, what's in it for me? I can admire a well-drawn, anatomically accurate page of crime-busting superheros, but beyond that? No. The orgy and crush of fandom in their sweaty, overweight, costumed array is almost too much to take in, although I must say that I found them heartwarming against the backdrop of the slick corporate co-opting of the Con. Although, let's face it, that's who the corporations are making all their money off of, the arrested development mouth-breathing legions of fandom! Now you will excuse me as I am off to luxuriate in the mountain of books I got from Drawn and Quarterly! Oh Happy Day!
I was walking our dog Mabel around the block this morning about 6:45 when I saw our neighbor in the distance. For the sake of anonymity I will simply call him what we always call him: The Wedge. He's the harmless crackpot that every neighborhood has. He lives in his childhood home, which is falling down around his ears. I have posted a link to the short film my son made about him, so you'll have a better idea, and also because it's a beautiful little movie. The Wedge is in his sixties, I think, and always looks as though he has been sleeping underneath his truck, whose cabin and bed are always filled with junk. His hair is long and stringy. He has a ratty beard, and he's missing numerous teeth, and his clothes are dirty and full of holes. The word around the 'hood is he used to be an engineer, but he has narcolepsy and that he takes some kind of uppers to keep from falling asleep. So the end result is that he wants to talk to whoever walks by, about anything, and he won't stop talking, so you just have to keep walking. And he stammers. So this morning he saw Mabel and me. Mabel, usually extremely friendly to EVERYONE, sniffed him and backed off as though he was not to be trusted. He is so funky even my dog thinks he stinks. The Wedge laughed and said, "Oh, s-she sm-sm-smells me! I must smell like...I must smell like...the C word!" I said, "What?" The Wedge said, "We-well, you-you know, the C WORD! The word that-that-that m-m-must not be named!"
My mind was racing. OH MY GOD! I thought. Does he mean CUNT? Has he really gone around the bend? And why would he smell like CUNT? And why is he doing this to me? I started walking more quickly. "You've lost me," I said. The Wedge of course persisted. "The C word! It's like-it's like-it's like, the Harry Potter b-b-book. You know, the villain, whose name w-w-we dare not s-s-s-peak!"
Now I was hightailing it. But he was keeping up. Eew, eew, and double eew! "I don't know..." I said. He cheerfully soldiered on. "In-in-in-in other words...CAT!"