Keep warm with The Traveling Bonfires


[photography and poster design by mxmulder]

The Traveling Bonfires invade The Grey Eagle:
Vanessa Boyd, Dashvara, Sunshine, Crooked Routes, Deborah Crooks, Hippie Shitzu, and FL singer/songwriter SJ Tucker.

Show startes at 6pm. $5 Cover charge.

Kapila Ushana will emcee the event. Courtyard Gallery will exhibit their work during the show.

The Asheville Citizen-Times interviewed Vanessa Boyd about her involvment with The Traveling Bonfires.

Comics and Narrative Non-Fiction Continued

I had tea not long ago with the writer of a very nice article about Asheville blogs. I didn’t realize he was such a comics aficionado. Over tea, he presented me with the idea of illustrating non-fiction narratives and personal memoir. I illustrated a 14-panel story about our meeting. The drawings are quick suggestions of setting and characters. I didn’t want to get too realistic.

Brian commented: “Such an exercise cannot help but broaden and deepen your writing… This is really fascinating. Taking everyday situations, finding the drama, illustrating them – you’re developing a wealth of back-story. I could see one of these scenes popping up under a bigger story… I don’t think you’re wasting time on this project.”

I hope he’s right in regards to the exercise assisting my writing.

Narrative Non-Fiction Comics is not new. Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor was famously made into a movie. Jessica Abel’s journalistic comic Radio: An Illustrated Guide records the making of a This American Life show. Joe Sacco’s books “Safe Area Gorazde: The War in Eastern Bosnia 1992-95″ and “Palestine: In The Gaza Strip” are journalistic graphic novels.

Eddie Campbell’s Alec McGarry stories offer extensive inspiration in the genre of autobiographical comics/graphic novels. Alec McGarry is Eddie Campbell’s stage name (or rather comic page name). That is like Samuel Clemens writing an autobiography in which Mark Twain was the main character.

I must confess I’m enamored by that idea, but not as a narcissist. In the arena of stories, the most compelling tales are true, personal accounts–narrative non-fiction. Also, persuasive arguments are often won by personal example/experience. That’s what makes Elie Wiesel’s book, Night, so riveting–he was there. He survived Auschwitz, Buna, Buchenwald and Gleiwitz. He has first hand experience.

I know, I know–I’ve just sprinkled a lot of names throughout this post like confetti. Mark Twain I am not. Nor have I the life experiences of Elie Wiesel. I don’t know if I really want to follow in Eddie Campbell’s footsteps, either (he reveals all areas of his life–i.e. no trouble drawing himself nude which unnerves me–but maybe that helps him gain perspective on his own life).

I have a sketch of an idea of where I want to go with narrative non-fiction comics. This is what they call in Corporate America the development stage. It’s what I call drawing 1000 black lines before presenting a finished drawing.

Previous post on creative non-fiction comics: [1]

THE INDIE, November 2005

The November issue of The Indie hit the streets last week.

BANNER STORY/HEADERS:
– “A Parking Snarl On Battle Square” by Michael Hopping
– “Human Needs Coalition Fights GOP Budget Attack” by Tim Wheeler/People’s World Weekly.

REVIEWS & INTERVIEWS:
– “The Year of Magical Thinking” (book review) by Michael Hopping
– “Writing and the World of the Library: An Interview with Umberto Eco” by Gaither Stewart.

COLUMNS:
– “Like a Rolling Stone: The Spirit of the Bonfire” by Pasckie Pascua
– “Writing, Painting and Thoughts about Spirituality from a Coffeehouse Junkie” by Matthew Mulder
– “Letters from Rome: The Greeks and Us” by Gaither Stewart

Plus much more…

To obtain FREE copies of the October issue…
go to The Indie website.
or write:

The Indie
70 Woodfin Place, Suite 01
Asheville NC 28801

or call:

Tel # (828) 225 5994

Comics and Narrative Non-Fiction

pencil layout

A few years ago I illustrated a four-page comic version of a poem by Nate Pritts. To my knowledge there aren’t too many literary comics that tackle the idea of visually representing a poem in comic format. Not that my four pages was ground breaking. It was good exercise for me and provided the kernel of expanding comics into the literary realm.

You’re probably familiar with the publisher of Great Illustrated Classics. However, comics as a whole tends to be marginalized as tights-and-capes adventures at best or adolescent porn at worst.

comic page layout

A couple weeks ago, another comics aficionado presented me with the idea of illustrating concert reviews, interviews, non-fiction narratives and personal memoir. I jumped at the opportunity and began sketching out ideas immediately.

The biggest challenge for me was the limitation of the form. Illustrating a concert review requires a simple plot: I went, I saw, I reviewed. But will anyone read something that simple? I thought about adding a bit of narrative. In other words, tell a story about people who attend a concert; include brief backstory, dramatic tension, climax and conclusion.

inked comic page

Last weekend I began with two pages. The story was simple: my meeting with the other comic aficionado/publisher.

Backstory: artist has been trying to publish his comics for over ten years.

Tension: interviewer loves artist’s work and desires some new samples.

Climax: artist feels intimidated by the task but accepts.

Conclusion: artist begins a new direction in creative communication–comics.