June 20, 2010

Whispers of Sleek Immortality

An Interview with Illustrator and Artist R.Black

Part 1 of 2 (link to Part 2)
Click on any picture to enlargify

A long-time friend that probably knows me way too well for MY own good recently asked me how I decide with whom I’d like to conduct an interview and where I find the different inputs out there that push me to contact an artist. Well, certainly there are various rather tame outlets that I rely on and even research, from social media to scrounging through any number of different blogs or other web-sites for a good catch (or my favourite, just plain dumb luck). But in the case of
R. Black, my indoctrination into his work was quite by random happenstance. Or maybe not.

You see, I am an incessant collector of images from the Internet. I tend to download quite a number of pictures throughout any given week (no, not that and certainly not just randomly picked either). Typically, the pictures I choose are rich in such aspects as texture, color, or even contain various forms or objects that I tell myself I’ll incorporate one day into an ‘original’ sketch of my very own. These have included recently, for example, the texture of a dried out lake in Africa (great greyish brown and the cracked texture of the dead earth is astounding), an eerie photo collected of members of the French Resistance all wearing their primitive gas masks or even a collection of characters from the show ‘Firefly’ (which I have never seen but I hear it’s nice) posing with their guns aimed at various angles.

And yes, to confess, I honestly will not want to throw these away at any cost because with the gods as my witness, I WILL need them some day! So I continue to fill memory stick after memory stick with every shape and size of bitmaps, jay-pegs and even the occasional annoyingly primitive gif.

I come by this somewhat unenviable trait honestly, that is, this tendency to gather and horde. Both my parents are also collectors: my mother with her drawer containing various functional ephemera including enough buttons to fix all shirts missing at least one button in the free world; and my architect-slash-remodeler father who has never, EVER thrown away a piece of wood in his life because by golly you never know when you’ll need a piece JUST THAT SIZE to finish a key part of a kitchen floor or cabinet. And you know: I truly believe that they are both beyond any shadow of doubt absolutely correct in their actions!

And so it was one day that I stumbled across an innocent enough looking picture from some random blogger’s bar-hopping excursion through the lovely streets of London. The picture itself was nondescript, showing essentially a routine pub entrance and place for the smokers to step out and enjoy a ‘fag’ along with their pints of finest tepid ale. I was attracted to the picture at first because of the interesting shaped placard in front (got a street scene in mind, you see). But then a poster in the window caught my eye. It was for something called ‘
Hard Cider’ – noting I have never partaken in either hard or even soft cider in my life (I love apples but they don’t love me, ‘nuff said).

The ad managed to not only grab my attention, but I found that the closer I looked, the more interested I became. The illustration itself was very plain in its color selection and even tame in its depiction of an moderately attractive albeit rather scantily clad young lady offering an apple in a loosely considered biblical setting. But I found myself intrigued by the sheer stylishness, the sleek lines and even burlesque subtlety of the entire ensemble. Everything worked so well together, from her look, her form within the frame and even the lettering ... I was hooked!

And as such, through my search of the brand name I eventually came across an astounding collection of R.Black’s works, ranging not only from a ‘steady stream’ of lovely damsels – in an almost but not quite A to Z listing – offering one and all a refreshing drink, but also full of the morbidly hilarious and even tantalizingly fun images found in his program covers,
rock and roll posters, and much much more. And so dear friends, I am indeed happy to share with you the timeless works of R.Black and hope you become as enamored with and enjoy them as much as I do:

Hi Rich, welcome to the show (or do you prefer to be called ‘R’?):

Thanks! And ‘R.’ is fine.

R., in ‘
L'Art de R.Black’ (suggested retail price $19.95, including 3-D specs, ergo a bargain at twice the price), you list some of your artistic influences as including Michelangelo, Chuck Jones, Picasso, Berke Breathed (hopefully pre-cockroach obsession phase), Aubrey Beardsley and Kazu Kibuishi. Now, with all that being said and seemingly not leading to a very coherent question up to now, who, what or how has influenced your art over the years?
Well, for sure all the artists I have mentioned.

Plus, I’ve been influenced as well by the drive to not ever have to work a "real" job, be beholden to anybody, and to be who I want to be without any societal restrictions.

And, of course, immortality! My art gives me the opportunity for all these things.

Who continues to be in your mind a source of the thought ‘oh man if I could just reach that skill level’, and what’s it all about anyway? I mean, why is R.Black doing what he’s doing?
I'm not sure if it's about a skill level. It's more about vision, about developing an image that stands the test of time. It’s about cementing your name in art history, be it fine art or pop.

You do not need a lot of skill to create a masterpiece, just an image that people can relate to. Whether its 3 lines and a circle laid out in such a way that it's captivating to an audience or a spectacular masterpiece such as any of
Shepard Fairey's pieces. I mean, just with the work that he’s created thus far, he's already made it to artist immortality level.

Your home-page takes the viewer on a journey into the sexy, often macabre and even playful side of your work, especially the seeming nod to the cartoon series of the 60’s and 70’s (oh yeah that Betty had it coming to her and ‘Poppa Jetson’ never gave Judy the keys to the jet car when she asked, so who can blame her?). With some of these classic ‘story behind the story’ illustrations in mind, do you consider yourself – as I do – particularly scarred by the whole Partridge Family / Brady Bunch era? I mean, all problems solved in 30 minutes including commercial breaks? Who came up with this shit? And on Gilligan’s Island: the Professor could build working electronic materials but he couldn’t get a functional boat made to get them off the damn island?
I’m sorry, was there a question in there?

No, I’m sorry; it’s time for my pill.

But let’s move on... How much overlap is there between art forms such as what you’re involved in and even other graphic arts found ‘out there’ today? Is there, just as an example, a lot of synergy between you and your work and the local tattoo illustration crowd or even, I don’t know, the chopper detailing crowd?
I'd say I dip into every scene that I can. This includes burlesque to stage theatre to Hasbro.

I'm a whore for art: if you're paying, I'm doing.

I’m not sure if I answered your question. It’s just that I think if you box yourself into one form you are denying yourself growth.

I’m just curious: does R.Black have an aversion to more mainstream assignments? Or is your currently portfolio selection – which has been listed under various ‘categories’ including vintage or horror-terror illustrations, or weird and sexy art found in flyers and on tee-shirts, unique album covers and posters, etc. – just more by chance than personal selection?
No, again, I'll do it all.

I think it's more so that I'm not doing art that the "mainstream" likes, which is cool, even though it doesn't pay as well.

Looking at your collected, um, collection again,
Brian Ewing noted that you have "had the greatest impact with the Goth/Industrial scene, a scene that's been overlooked by most other rock poster artists. Rich chooses the bands he likes. Bands that you never heard of because they're hardly on TV or radio. Great bands that need posters and appreciate them." Is the rock poster industry really that active outside of this realm?
Rock posters were hitting it big for a few years, and a lot of poster collection books came out. A lot of rock poster artists got to get their own books, me included.

Still, I’m not sure how the scene is going at the moment. I seem to have stopped paying attention. But like everything, I'm sure it will have its own ebb and flow.
Also, why do these bands really need posters? Or is it just part of the whole scene in terms of ‘well duh, if the Misfits perform there HAVE to be posters’?
Bands don't need posters, venues need posters. This is really where the bulk of most poster work comes from. The bands usually have nothing to do with them or even know they exist most of the time.

A rock poster is just an advertisement. Our job as artists is to make the event look better than it is, thus making the venue look cooler than it is. This in turn enables the clubs to draw better bands and better crowds. I think it all starts with the propaganda.

Plus, as long as there are young artists looking to make a splash and do it without getting paid, there will be a rock poster scene, just like the music scene. These scenes are driven on energy and you can’t do either if you don’t have the passion.

In my case specifically, I live in the Oakland/ San Francisco area where art in every genre is always popping. The Bay Area is pure energy, so these scenes will never die here.

That being said, I'd still say it's a national thing for sure: we love our posters and our merchandise.

Continued in Part 2

Whispers of Sleek Immortality

An Interview with Illustrator and Artist R.Black

Part 2 of 2 (link to Part 1)
Click on any picture to embiggenate

R., I’ve seen with some amount of drooling that some of the groups you do business with will even hold contests to see who’ll be the next ‘Cider’ or ‘
Scooter’ girl or even Hubba Hubba Revue, uh, lass. When a contest winner is then declared, do you draw her or let’s say incorporate at least her image from memory or with pictures or even with the models posing for you?
I mostly draw from pictures.

Head-shots are to me the important part; bodies are easy to draw and on average one pin-up's body in illustration looks like any other. It's the face that's the unique and complicated part.

Is there ever an ‘I’ve gone too far’ for you when it comes to your work?

In my opinion as a poster artist, one should stick to a PG-13 rating as the whole point of an ad is to be able to put it anywhere.

If you start getting too crazy or insulting with your image than it limits where you can post them, thus limiting the number of people who will see it.

But I have been amazed sometimes at what I can get away with. Have I crossed the line at times? Likely, but again that's the guideline I try to stick to.

Besides being clever is much better than being obnoxious.

To this same subject apparently (well, it is in your book, so it must be true) we are now ‘in the third (and hopefully not the last) poster renaissance of artists who are making the music scene breathe with life and color again. This time around, more people are informed and involved, thanks to the many web-sites and forums that have been popping up and supporting the movement (especially gigposters.com).’ Now granted the same quoter goes on to say somewhere that you’re not exactly bathing in money for doing this, but do you really think this is a medium that is here to stay for the near future?
As I mentioned earlier, there will always be artists and bands/venues that need art. The paper medium might disappear, but it will always live digitally.

And really, art – like music – all depends on who looks at it: one person will think that a band sucks and another will think it's the bee's knees. Same then with the posters.

That’s the beauty and curse of art: you can't define it or predict it. I’m not sure who the mainstream crap merchants are, but most merchandise is crap by definition. I'd say ‘less crap, more quality’ – even with my own work – but we do not live in that world anymore. It's a disposable reality.

How did the various scooter or even
Original Sin gigs come into being? I guess that’s sort of a chicken or the egg question (e.g. was it the rock posters or ‘others’ that came first?).
I tend to do art with things I have a stake in.

The scooter thing happened because I was heavily involved in the vintage
Vespa / Lambretta scene which in turn revolved around the ska/oi!/punk/mod scene which I was also into. Doing posters gets me access to events and shows. So my art is my contribution to the canon as it were.

I really can’t remember how the Original Sin ball started rolling, but I also like pin-ups, fetish, and alcohol ... so it was a good fit. But in either case, doing club flyers and posters happened first.

What does it mean to you as an artist when a group like one of these that you’re so closely identified with signs you up for a longer term deal?
Hopefully more money.

I found one quote I liked, again from
Brian Ewing: "I have yet to get a reliable answer from Rich about his drawing techniques. He guards those secrets like it was a matter of national security. What I do know is that he uses an outdated version of Adobe Illustrator and draws mostly on the computer over a pencil sketch with one of those round mice that came with the first iMac computers. The kind that gives you arthritis after ten minutes and leaves your hand shrivelled and gnarled like a mojo monkey paw that one has one wish left on it."

Okay, with that appetizing vision in mind, should I even bother to ask about your techniques? Or will you just throw feces on me with your mojo monkey paws?
There’s no mystery, Brian nailed it.

I usually sketch, scan, and then "ink" and color in Illustrator. Though I tend to just sketch more in Illustrator now as well, because I finally have better equipment.

All kidding aside, one of my favorite parts of your illustrations has got to be the great variety of font styles (see also above), ranging again from the gothic lettering to art nouveau characters or even to the glowing letters of a neon bowling sign and more. What is your approach for incorporating fonts and / or type into your pieces? Have you had any special training with same?
I think it’s all about matching the font to the mood. Especially if you deal in a lot of revival scenes. Certain fonts convey an attitude or nostalgia.

But all fonts covey a message in them and according to how you use them, they can then help direct the message you are trying to get across. I haven't had any formal training, just a ton of observation.

To a collection of what appear to be rather unique groups in your life: Who are the Pharaoh’s and also the Shotgun Players? How did you hook up with them?
The Pharaoh’s are the scooter group I was a member of.

the Shotgun Players are a stage Theatre Group based in Berkeley that I am a part of (see below).

And finally, I’d be more than remiss for not mentioning the
Hubba Hubba Revue. Now that is something we’re seeing pretty much everywhere and I was wondering about your own thoughts as to the revival of both the burlesque scene and even pin-up girls?
I think it’s great! People dig it, it brings me work and it gives people a creative outlet that would not otherwise have.

Still, I think the "everywhereness" of burlesque will be its downfall. I’m a believer in things ending, and I just think that anytime something goes on for too long, it suffers and becomes lackluster.

The hard part is knowing when to quit.

(input ZN: for a complete set of R.Black’s HHR ‘calendar’ pages from 2007-2009, see here or here ... but behave yourselves!)

If R.Black wasn’t doing what he’s doing today, what do you think you’d like to be doing instead?

Almost finally, has anyone ever brought up the cool correspondence to your name and/or moniker with ‘
rich black’ (to whit: ‘Rich black is often regarded as a color that is "blacker than black".’)? Sorry, but I’m old STInkie at heart (Support Team Inks... yes, we were geeks but we loved our inks...).
Only the smarty people mention that when they hear my full name.

If I was more clever when I was starting out I would of just used that, but maybe it would of been too obvious. There just seemed to be a ton of Richard Black's on-line, so it was really an Internet/search decision to go with ‘R’. A sign of the times, I guess.

And so finally, here’s your free space for any blatant self-promotion you’d like to do or any other topics you’d like to bring up. Go wild.
Pay for art, be it music, print, stage, or cinema, we appreciate it! Seriously.

And even though I’m horrible at updating my web-site, please check it out! Plus, because Facebook is easier to update, you can find newer work there under Rich Black.

Cheers and have fun!


There is little I can add to the accolades R.Black’s artistic skills have already received or provide a broader view the wide-range of his work besides what you can enjoy for yourself at his web-site or other already linked repositories of his releases.

And whether or not his illustrations are to your ‘taste’ or not, you really have to admire his ability to capture any and every kind of mood. Sure, it may strike you as a bit ‘creepy and kooky’, but us creepy and kooky folks have to stick together.

I would like to close with this input from one of the reviews of his collection ‘Futura: The Art of R. Black’ which describes R’s work as ‘Sparkling as polished chrome, slick as oiled leather, hard as a scorned woman's stare, (being) renowned for its elegant line, razor-sharp design, and dark pulp motifs, creating an instantly recognizable synergy of cool elegance and hot eroticism.’

I did ask R. if this was in his opinion a good characterization of his work – assuming that he hadn’t written that himself? Or would he have highlighted his style and / or accomplishments differently?
And in his typical, self-described ‘Cliff Notes’ style, he answered:
I did NOT write that, but it sounds great, no? Seems like a good summation, so let’s go with it!


All pictures, videos and other media are used with written permission of R.Black, or are available in the public domain (noting copyright and other restrictions, accordingly).
No further reproduction or duplication is permitted without contacting the artist directly.
Some pictures have been modified slightly or combined only for the purpose of space limitations.

June 2, 2010

Dream a Little Dream... And Send It to Me

An Interview with Artist, Illustrator and Convertor of Dreams Jesse Reklaw

Part 1 of 2 (link to Part 2)
Click on any picture to enlarge

I wasn’t really sure how to approach Jesse Reklaw at first (whose real name – if you believe his
Wikipedia page – is apparently Aka Walker... the Walker I get, but the Aka I still haven’t figured out). No, its not that I don’t appreciate the work he does, which encompasses on-line and print comics as well as a set of really fine paintings using watercolors, inks and acrylics. It’s good stuff all around for sure even if several of the images have managed to creep into my own dreams since we started our conversation.

No, it has to do more with the whole uncomfortable feeling of inviting – well how do I put this – you know, sort of inviting a psychologist to a dinner party. The reason I say this is that Jesse has been publishing for the past 15 years or so a fantastic comic strip by the name of
Slow Wave both online and in syndication. What he does is take reader-submitted dreams and adapt them into a brief (usually four panel) comic strip format, with often bizarre yet familiar – if by familiar you mean dream-like or even bizarre again – results. He’s even released a hardcover of these dream comics, ‘The Night of Your Life’, full of people’s deepest and darkest and, gasp, weirdest phobias and fantasies and more!

So I had this kind of feeling that by essentially inviting Jesse into my ‘home’ if you will, he’d just sort of stare and analyze me all Freud-like, even though I don’t typically give out such details during polite dinner conversation (I’m much more of an embarrassing-body-functions conversationalist in that regard). But in the end, not only was our exchange a lot of fun, but I got to learn a lot more about this very bright and exciting illustrator. Ladies and gentlemen, it is our pleasure then to introduce Jesse Reklaw:

Welcome Jesse! I hope the input I sent you was okay.
Hi James. Thanks for the interview questions... they were fun. Hope you are feeling better!
(ZN: you see - I just couldn’t help myself. I had to share some of my most recent bodily defects! It’s just my thing I guess!)

Jesse, it’s indeed a pleasure to meet you. If I can buy you an extra large mocha with a double espresso shot (oops that’s what I want, I guess I should ask you, too), can you tell me a little about yourself in a sort of casual ‘hey, we just met at Barstucks for the first time’ kind of way?
Hey Ziggy, I fancy myself a social chameleon, so I'll get one of those XL mochas with the 2X espresso shots too. Though make mine soy (or almond milk if you got it), since I am vegan.

I've been a cartoonist for the past 15 years (mostly weird, non-commercial, arty stuff), though I am a reformed computer scientist (studied computer vision and artificial intelligence at Yale).

Okay class, Ziggy is going to briefly interrupt here because I did have to look this up: ‘The difference between a vegan and a vegetarian is that a vegan eliminates all animal products from his or her diet, including dairy. Those following a vegan lifestyle generally do not wear leather and avoid products made from animals such as wool, silk and down.' For more, see
Vegansaurus, with a convenient link here to their terrific interview with Jesse!

I first learned of your endeavours through a former Ziggy Nixon blog victim and fellow awesome comic creator – Shaenon K. Garrity – who posted her own dream that you featured in ‘Slow Wave’. Too cool. How did you come up with the idea to start this unique and always changing strip?
Around 1995, right after I finished my undergraduate degree (at UC Santa Cruz), I was fascinated by dreams, comics, and the web. So I started a weekly webcomic about dreams, and it's been going ever since.

I have to admit, that after I saw this featured by Shaenon, that I really wanted to send something in. But I get the feeling that my dreams – well, the ones that you can feature on public web-sites at least – are too complex for a webcomic.

Do you run into that situation often and if yes, how do you approach it? (If need be, I can provide a number of recent examples, thanks to some great pain killers for my back my Doctor put me on!!)
Chemically-induced dreams are pretty great.

I'm a decent editor, so feel free to submit anything you like. I can chop it down into four panels.

When I look at the three main ‘focal’ points on your web-site - from ‘Slow Wave’ to ‘Ten Thousand Things to Do’ to finally your paintings, I get the feeling that these stretch across a pretty wide spectrum, the latter of which strikes me as being very much different to the other two. Do you see them being more similar in their approach or does each reveal a different part (personality) of you?
That's insightful of you to notice the difference.

I feel I'm always searching for the right style for each of my projects, and always falling short. Luckily (?), I have a compulsive tendency to finish things whether or not I think they're perfect. So I manage to push a lot of stuff out into the world.

To answer your questions more directly, I see all my creative projects as being integrated with who I am... but maybe an outsider won't see that until I finish everything that I will ever do...?

How do you wind up trying to get your different works and styles ‘out there’ (Facebook,
Flickr, etc.)? Has one approach seemed to be more successful for you in terms of on-line methods?
I'm still seeking the best method(s) for distribution.

I like Flickr for comics because the interface is so clean and unencumbered with sidebars and ads and icons and doodads. But I don't think I've gotten the best exposure that way.

Facebook seems to be quite popular now. But I can't avoid comparing the social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, etc.) to the "browser wars" of the 90s (and even the "portal wars" circa 5 years later).

So I'm standing back and waiting for the next big wave to ride I guess. iPhone and other PDA distribution methods seem to be the next big thing.

How does this compare to the exposure you get from the cartoonists / comics show circuit? Or do you see both as an essential part of your ‘career’ or even if you will for keeping your sanity?
Going to comic book shows and networking with cartoonists, editors, and publishers directly is definitely more valuable as far as a career goes. Getting recognition from one person in the business feels like the same as having 100 casual readers online.

I talked with Shaenon many moons ago about the web-comic phenomenenomena (sorry, I never know how to stop spelling that word). How do you view the growing exposure of web-comics vs. the smudges of ink* we see in our daily newspapers (for those of us that still buy daily newspapers)?
It makes sense to me that ephemeral media like newspapers and magazines will migrate to the web. So I could see an emerging market for short strips online.

I imagine they will be encapsulated within some content distribution entity, such as an online magazine (like
Salon)... or a search portal (like Yahoo)... or a social networking site (like FB)... or something else.

But ultimately I don't think webcomics will survive as entities on their own.

*noting that I apologize for the size of some of the strips featured here, but you have to paste either 'small' or 'medium' or you can't enlarge them. A weird tic of 'blogspot's' service, go figure...

Is the tide turning for the on-line artist or is it business as usual namely if you don’t get a Garfield or Dilbert established complete with desk calendars and plush toys you’re pretty much hanging out at the soup kitchen to make ends meet?
I think initially there were great opportunities for online artists to establish themselves independently (Achewood is a great example of this for a webcomic), but in the future I think business-minded people will make it harder for artists to get noticed if they're not part of some syndicate or publisher/distributor.

It also seems to be a bit of a Catch-22 situation in the markets today. Cartoonists need newspapers to help establish their work in the ‘mainstream’ yet push more and more of their work on the Internet. Still, the success has not seemed to be overwhelming via this route either, and as you yourself know, when one of your own print ‘employers’ goes belly up, it hits your cash flow pretty hard. Any thoughts to same?
Actually, I've noticed that until now for the most part there hasn't been much money made selling content on the Internet. It seems like artists put work online for free, hoping to get a book deal or a record contract.

But it's still been totally possible to get noticed and to become established just by putting work online.

Continued in Part 2

Dream a Little Dream... And Send It to Me

An Interview with Artist, Illustrator and Converter of Dreams Jesse Reklaw

Part 2 of 2 (link to Part 1)
Click on any picture to enlarge

Jesse, your background – or perhaps better said – your training to be an artist must have been an interesting one. How did you not only learn to draw-slash-illustrate but eventually decide to be an 'artiste' full time, leaving as I understand the computer program at Yale to do so?
I've always been a drawer. With the state of comics and the publishing industry in the early 90s, I figured I'd still need a "day job," so I studied to be a programmer.

I couldn't have foreseen that comics ("graphic novels") would become popular, and that the Internet would open up so many opportunities for young artists.

Are you involved in other activities such as teaching or other graphic design related ventures?
I do teach comics part-time at an amazing institution in Portland, Oregon called the
IPRC. I also do freelance illustration and storyboarding, and I'm in the occasional art show. Exactly the kind of piece-meal occupation you'd expect these days.

I could really envision your watercolor pieces as being spot on for children’s illustrations. Has this been a focus or even approach for you before? Or is this field so crowded it’s just too tough to even try to get in the door?
Again, I think a lot of opportunities are opening up even in the historically impenetrable world of children's book illustration.

But I'm not very good at kids' and young adult writing. I'm too fond of obtuse philosophy and dirty jokes.

What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t an illustrator and why?
I was just thinking the other day that if in high school I'd started taking antidepressants, today I'd probably be an electrical engineer (or a retired one that is!).

Alternatively, I'd be dead.

Or turn that around a bit: say a younger person approaches you and says ‘I want to do the same thing as you’ what would be your advice (e.g. ‘work hard and stay off drugs?’ vs. ‘run Forrest run’)?
I think doing internships is a really valuable way to connect with the industry, learn practical skills, and also see if the field is really something one wants to commit to.

But to get the most out of those real-world experiences, one really needs to learn how to listen to other people. Self-knowledge of course is even more important, and can help one develop listening skills.

So I'd say taking a lot of drugs and going on vision quests is the first step to any important career.

Finally, a selection of ‘what if’ questions:

What if you could get a hold of any project you heart could desire, what would it be and why?
Well, it's always fun to imagine being in a think-tank with my creative heroes, working on some slick corporate project that's burning money flying us to Europe, filling hot tubs with champagne, etc.
But I also sincerely love sitting in my backyard scribbling comics in my sketchbook, while my cat sniffs daisies, laughing to myself over some abstruse joke that I shouldn't publish but I probably will anyway, somewhere in the background.

What if you’ve just won the Super Lottery, and you’re suddenly richer than Bill Gates.
What becomes of your illustration career and why?
I challenge Bill Gates to a winner-take-all, high-stakes round of Old Maid... its close...! But... I lose everything and shuffle off to live under a bridge with my daisy-sniffing cat.

Then my girlfriend reminds me to come home because it's my turn to make dinner.

What if, I mean, what is a super cool fact about yourself that you would like to (or can) share without getting arrested, beat up in a dark alley or even worse, being forced to vote for Sarah Palin in 2012?
All my super-cool factoids will be published in my memoir ‘Couch Tag’, due out from Fantagraphics in 2011.


As a public service announcement in order to get in a cheap plug for them, I’m using most of the bio of Jesse that was prepared by the
San Francisco Zine Fest (with a little extra flavoring thrown in from the IPRC site added in for, uh, flavor), noting Jesse did this very cool poster for them as well :

Jesse Reklaw is a fantastic writer, illustrator, and painter, and has created work in a wide variety of formats, including self-published works (the autobiographical ‘
10,000 Things to Do’), a weekly strip (‘Slow Wave), zines (‘Applicant’), the books ‘The Night of Your Life’, ‘Bluefuzz the Hero’ and much more.

A long time resident of the Bay Area, Jesse was a founding member of the mini-comics distro Global Hobo, helping dozens of local small-press cartoonists get their work out to shops and readers around the country. He continues to support small press and DIY publishing in his home of Portland, Oregon, where he teaches cartooning classes at the IPRC, having taught comics courses at Portland Community College and elsewhere as well. He has been nominated twice for the
Ignatz Award for Outstanding Online Comic. For more on various syndication as well as self-professed ‘awards and stuff’, please check out his website at this link.

While you’re at it,
submit a dream of your own to Jesse. He has put together some helpful hints including: ‘If this is the first time you've submitted a dream, please provide a brief physical description of yourself (for example, your age, sex, and other features like do you wear glasses, have freckles, a monkey tail!!, etc.). Funny, interesting, and unusual dreams are preferred, which I guess is sort of his way of saying these are the ones that might get published (vs. just ogled at and sold to Pentboy for their readers’ letters section).

There seems to be, however, no restrictions on describing embarrassing bodily functions, which is – to no one’s surprise I’m sure – what I dream about pretty much all the time, too.


All pictures, videos and other media are used with written permission of Jesse Reklaw, or are available in the public domain (noting copyright and other restrictions, accordingly). No further reproduction or duplication is permitted without contacting the artist directly. Some pictures have been modified slightly only for the purpose of space limitations.