Monday, November 16, 2015

Isatope Comics Signing in San Francisco

Donna Barr, Mike Phillips, Twin Peaks
On the weekend after Halloween, 2015, Roberta Gregory and I were flown down to San Francisco to be interviewed as part of the film project by Mike Phillips, Secret Identities - LGBT documentary comic book film. I can't wait to see this film, full of everybody in the LGBT community and allies. It's going to be great.

On the first day after arriving, we were taken by our host, Mike Phillips, to see the Twin Peaks. What a view! Ravens - my totem bird and always a good omen - greeted us overhead.

Mike interviewed us in the rooftop garden of his apartment building, with some more beautiful views all around. Later, he picked up some more words from me
Blue Knight, me and Mike
at the carousel in Golden Gate Park - a place that has sweet personal memories for me. If you look very carefully behind the glass you can see my favorite horse, Blue Knight. 
We stayed with lovely folks in San Francisco, and all I can say about what part of town they live in is - Mummy Cat! Let's just say that when I first went to Baghdad by the Bay, I was walking to Hallowe'en in the Castro, and did a double-take at a mummified cat and mouse in a window. I never talked about this, until, walking the final block to the flat, I stopped short - there was Mummy Cat, with his mouse, again! Strange spooky weekend, including weird nostalgia.
A royal welcome.

The flat where we stayed is a writer's cooperative. They welcomed us royally with a banner - and a writer's evening of Chinese food and wine and readings. We were well-nourished, body and soul. 

Can I say enough about the signing at the Isatope Comics Lounge with Roberta Gregory, Saturday, the 7th of November? James Sime, the owner, must have gotten the word out everywhere, because the whole evening was filled up with fun people coming in to see us. Even old friends Don Simpson, a wonderfully creative artist on DeviantArt, and long-time colleague and comics historian Trina Robbins.

Mexican mural and me.
Mike toured us around the city every day, stopping in every vegetarian Thai restaurant there is, and marking down some new ones for the future. During the tour, Roberta got this shot of me in front of a Mexican restaurant, featuring one of the many murals of San Francisco. 

Thank you, Mike, thanks to all his friends, thank you Isatope, thank you San Francisco. This trip will be long remembered fondly - and with anticipation for the new film.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Desert Peach Coloring - Afterdead

On this page, I asked if anybody wanted to color one of my pages.

And this is what I received from Maurine Starkey! I'm using it. It's too gorgeous.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

2016 Clallam Bay Comicon Special Guest

Marko Gets a Puppy
by Anna Gjenero and
Mary Gjenero Bilich (Ampersand, Inc.)
Our Special Guest is Canadian Leanne Franson, classic LGBT minizine author, and successful children's book illustrator. 

Among her many other works, she  illustrated the book "Marko Gets A Puppy" book, which just won a Moon Gold award in the Pets/animals category at the 2015 Moonbeam Children's book Awards.   

She is best known for "Liliane," a series of minicomics (later collected) that outline the everyday life of a nice Bi girl. 

But let's read it in her own able words:

I’m Leanne Franson, children’s illustrator and creator of Liliane Bi-Dyke! I was mostly active in the heyday of DIY photocopied zines, producing 43 minicomics during the 1990s, mostly semi auto-bio tales of liliane, my bi-dyke heroine. I also contributed to countless other zines and books, some of which were collected by Slab-o-Concrete press in the UK in two trade paperbacks. In 2003 I was invited to share a table at APE in San Fran, and wrote the comics for my third trade paperback, and kept up my production momentum afterwards by producing 3 years of daily comics. The archives are at

My production dropped off when I became a single mom by choice, but I continued doing a story a month for Rainbow Rumpus, an online magazine for kids with lgbt parents.

My work has appeared in such places as Gay Comics, Dyke Strippers, Anything That Loves, Action Girl, Real Girl, and several collections by Roz Warren.

I am excited to be the guest cartoonist at the 2016 Clallam Bay Comicon, and would love to share with you my propensity for bringing minimal facial features to life! Alison Bechdel once wrote: “I never cease to be amazed by the dizzying range of emotions Leanne Franson can squeeze out of a noseless face with dots for eyes”. Join me in pushing your mastery of dots and lines!

Comics (not updated but see archives, books and comics):
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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Clallam County "Comicon" a Good Try. And Fun!

On Friday, 24 July, 2015, the North Olympic Library System featured the Clallam County Comicon.

While it wasn't actually what's been referred to traditionally as a "comicon," it was certainly a lot of fun.  It was actually a children's and teens' reading summer reading event.

Being in a library system, which is funded by public taxes, it couldn't allow sales by individual authors or companies - and unlike a sci/fi or fantasy convention, the dealers' area has always been the heart of a comicon. Let's call it a "meet," because everybody, including me, enjoyed meeting the authors and martial artists and cosplayers.

The Library went all out, offering tables covered with activities, including a working electronics-construct model I had a great deal of fun learning. A kid joined me, and we took turns placing the pieces as outlined in the informative booklet. We made LEDs light up and even hooked up a microphone that allowed the LED display objects to respond to our voices.

Of course, the first thing the boy learned from me was: REAL electrical systems can kill you - and burn your house down. Don't worry; kids can take it. He wisely nodded. The other important thing is: put all the pieces back in the box! Losing pieces while working on a project is a major cause for adult swearing (well, okay, I'm the plumber in the household, and LEAKS after fixing are the major cause of adult swearing). 

A little girl came along who wanted to do the next diagram, and I said to the boy: "Okay, I taught you - now you teach her." They looked a bit bemused, but I already know that's the best way to drive lessons into a kids' head. And I'd help, of course. But we didn't have time to do that - the meet was starting!

Wow. Look at all the costumes. A warrior from "Game of Thrones," carrying off the whole attitude that made his cheap materials work, a plausible Dr. Who, and a pirate and fairy in matching green-and-black. That must have been from "Pirate Fairy." 

It WAS a very genre-oriented event, but that would be how librarians think: they need to be able to shelve things. and it's comics' own fault that we don't list our stuff as "adult fiction" and such, so they know where to put it. Right now they manage American graphic novel vs. Manga. One librarian in the NOLS system I met a few months ago thought ALL graphic novels were read right-to-left because she only knew Manga. I don't blame her - it's a huge and growing art form. 

The first event was the martial arts demonstrations. A tall blond man in black turned out to be the dad of the family - and was hilarious, as his wife and kids all demonstrated how a bigger attacker can be made to end up on the ground. It was the best and funniest demo I'd ever seen, and the lessons stuck in my head, anyway. Best of all, they emphasized NOT fighting and NOT hurting the other person - and don't try pressure points on your friends, relatives or pets.

My old friend Dave Lasky was up next on a panel about the Carter Family graphic novel he did the art for, along with Mathhew Holm. Here's the official listing: Matthew Holm (Baby Mouse, Squish) and David Lasky (The Oregon Trail, The Carter Family) will discuss how they became professional comic book artists and authors, and offer insider tips.

After the panel, I went and bothered them both at their signing, by the table where the library featured their books. Linda Medley, the Author (artist/writer/owner) of "Castle Waiting," had come out, too, and we had lots of fun talking about publishing (It's interesting only if you do it, I might add - and then we can get quite geeky about it. Never ask anybody about publishing unless you REALLY want to know).

There were panels on making creature worlds, and a panel on making comic books based on popular TV cartoons, and all the constant niggling over drawing the characters and working the plots exactly as the editor wants to fit into the TV world. About the latter - because this is a blog and not a "newspaper" report, where we have to leave stuff out that may piss off the people who buy ads - I have to admit I leaned over to somebody I knew and said, "Kill me now." She responded with: "They'd better be getting a butt-load of money!"

I was really unhappy when I had to catch the 5:15 bus back to Clallam Bay, because the event went on another hour, but I took what I could. The whole evening was devoted to costuming, and I was really sorry to miss that.

The event was a one-shot, but it made me think seriously about holding one of my dinky old-fashioned conventions in Port Angeles. Why not? There's plenty of geeks showed up at the library event, and they'd love their own comicon.

Okay - caveats? Trying to hold a "comicon" in a library. One of the organizers seemed a bit upset when things got louder and exciting. Comicons are rowdy. No, we don't push each other around, but we don't get to talk to other geeks and nerds very often, especially up here, and in the surrounding rural areas, where nerds have been bullied. My comicon (see link on this page) is helping with that, and Twilight certainly started the ball rolling. But we get a bit excited when we see our own and try to cram in everything we have in a short time.

Second problem: the library actually planned to put the activity tables outside. This is a paper-based event. This is also La Nina year. The rain forced all the activity tables inside, and further added to the noise.

We've already talked about the lack of artists' sales tables, but that couldn't be helped, because it's a public taxed venue. 

BEST thing that happened: I brought a stack of my Desert Peach comics to the meet, for free distribution. Two girls were riveted, and had a short "panel" with me about becoming a comics author. They learned that the HARDEST way was the path I'd chosen - to NOT use other books as models - to solve artistic problems oneself - to NEVER give up one's copyright - and to never give up. It's the best path, though - because in the end, you own everything you've done, and there's nobody else like you. 

Linda Medley's "Castle Waiting" is another example of the Original Author, as is Roberta Gregory's Naughty Bits. 

Oh - and the fact that my books were about a German officer in WWII didn't hurt with teenage girls. There is a huge fascination among them for German soldiers in World War One and Two. I'd thought this was just because of the interest in the WWII German uniforms displayed in Manga, but I've since found out that many girls almost seem - with emphasis on SEEM - to be reincarnations. They're following the same path I took 40 years ago, when I thought I was alone. They want to know the causes of war, and how to stop it. 

While most of the books at the comics meet were sugar - they were, after all, meant for little kids - these girls wanted meat. 

Remember, parents, when your kids get into comics, they may want to think, and think hard. 

And - rather horribly - those cute pictures of little girls in comics, to me, don't so much resemble what the girls want to see - or how they portray themselves - but - adult versions with a much more sinister intent. Did I say "kiddie porn?" Well, you go look at that stuff. The animated movie "Wreck-It Ralph" addresses the problem of how adults see kids - and how kids see themselves (and I'm very suspicious that the pink/salmon joke is another joke from my many peer readers...). 

See? You can get yourself into trouble with comics. Which is what makes them so powerful. And so much FUN.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Small But Fierce - 2015 Clallam Bay Comicon Con Report

The press release I sent out to my media list. I know other attendees are going to be putting up reports. Links welcome!

Here's one from Dara Korra'ti - a real beauty, with much better photos. 

Dara Korra'ti, Angela Highland, Charcoal Brown, Roberta Gregory, 
Bruce Taylor, Donna Barr. and Pierre Richard. 

CLALLAM BAY, WASHINGTON - The Fourth Annual 2015 Clallam Bay Comicon was small in size, but intense in spirit.

Held in the Lion's Club hall in Clallam Bay, Washington, July 11-12, with free admission, the convention was constantly abuzz with fans and newcomers talking directly to and buying from authors, or attending round-table panels and art classes.

Friday night - the Soul Ducks add a little
slice of Mardi Gras.
All of the panels were well-attended, and most of them were interactive.

Linda Medley, whose classic and beautiful comics series "Castle Waiting" has continued for many years, graciously allowed other artists and fans to play with her selection of jewel-like ink pens and nibs.

Roberta Gregory, beloved author of "Naughty Bits," offered her "True Cat Toons" book at her table, and taught children and adults how to draw cats.
Breakfast at the convention B&B -
the Winter's Summer Inn.

Donna Barr, known for "The Desert Peach" and "Stinz," did an instructional on the correct drawing of horses. This panel and Gregory's were filmed by Pierre Richard, for later sharing on the internet.

Dara Korra'ti, of the band "Crime and the Forces of Evil," bravely used the comicon to launch recently-composed songs - "I wrote this one last Thursday!" - much to the enjoyment of the whole hall.

We almost lost Dara at the parade!
She also offered a panel on starting the kind of geekmusic festival she launched at the long-running sci/fi/fantasy convention Norwescon. This very busy and energetic woman added a third panel on writing music, specifically the very entertaining supervillain songs.

Angela Highland taught a fun and informative panel on how to self-publish a manuscript.

Portfolio review by industry professionals helped new artists channel their future work and polish their work habits.

The Saturday night fish-n-chip blowout.
The show-goers enjoyed events at Clallam Bay/Sekiu Fundays, including a fair, parade and Saturday's spectactular annual fireworks in Sekiu. They also enjoyed fish-n-chip feasts at the Clallam Bay Inn. Attendees even bought fresh-caught salmon at Jack Mackerel's Fish Company, to take back home after the show.

Here's Dara Korra'ti's film of Donna Barr, setting off one of the little rockets she found earlier buried in their package at the Slip Point beach with July 4th fireworks debris.  See what you get if you clean beaches? GOODIES!

Peach Flambe - in her fancy new Unique Junque jacket - sets off one, too.

Saturday fireworks. Dara Korra'ti © 2015
Note to fireworks attendees - the ashes of the recently deceased whose families want to honor them are placed in one of the fireworks. That giant, gorgeous gold burst with the lavender and white after-bursts? That was the one. What a way to go. 

We were far enough away not to get cordite and - other things - in our hair. That's what happened at the following week's Quileute days. I don't know if folks in LaPush put people remains in their fireworks. That may just be a Sekiu thang; I WAS under the fireworks the first time they did that, so me and the whole town got touched by the deceased owner of the Breakwater Restaurant. 

I'd like to thank Pierre L. Richard for the film of me showing everybody how to draw a horse. The link is at the right there, but here is is again, embedded from the YouTube Site:

Even better is Roberta Gregory's How To Draw Cats, also filmed by Mr. Richard:

Speaking of films: admittedly, the film festival kind of fell apart - you can't do films along with everybody going to fireworks. We're not big enough for overlapping events, yet. Somebody started to show a film with Alan Arkin and Christopher Lee as superhero/villain: "The Return of Captain Invincible." I need to get that from the library - or request it. They've got Osu's films, so why not this? Well, darn, they don't. Gotta get it into the system!

The Three Sisters Art Gallery featured bands each night. After traveling in, nobody had the gumption Friday night to really dance when the beloved Soul Ducks - "Down and dirty mud-wallow blues" - hit the floor. Well, the Canadians, after days of travel, blew into town and still wanted to party, but Canucks are hard to stop. Saturday night was the bluegrass band "Loose Gravel," but we were all over stumbling around on the beach in the dark, watching fire in the sky.

Always good to patronize local businesses: The Sunsets West Co-Op offered health-conscious foods for attendees with health concerns. Unique Junque sold inexpensive and warm and fashionable sweaters and jackets to attendees who had come in from much warmer places, and needed cozy clothes on this rainy summer weekend.

General notes for next year: The Clallam Bay Comicon is a classic comicon -  concentrating on independent productions of books, music and film. It has hopes that a small independent film producer may have DVDs at the show in 2016.

Steve Strout's comicom in Chimikum, and the North Olympic Library System's free mini-con on July 24 in the Port Angeles library main branch, are just two examples of small conventions that are building what is affectionately known as "geek culture" on Washington State's Olympic Peninsula.

The 2016 Clallam Bay Comicon is already in the works. Details available soon in full at the link at - which encourages people who would like to run the same kind of show to use this model. There is no charge for using or sharing the model.

Original show links: 2015 Clallam Bay Comicon

Full Link:

2016 Clallam Bay Comicon Panels and Events

Panels are held at the round tables at the front of the hall, in front of the dealers' space. To add or change, contact me at donnabarr01 at gmail dot com. Panelists are not required to have a dealer's table. If you'd like a table to use as a home base for all your stuff, they're only $25 ($27 with paypal).

Attendees: please do not interfere with panelists setting up in the round tables. Panels held in the dealers' room area are logistically inconvenient, for noise levels and traffic. 


9:00 am: Hall opens for set-up

10:00 am: Show begins. Those wishing to participate in the Fun Days Parade, gather on Weel Road, at the south entrance into Clallam Bay

11:00 am: Fun Days Parade

Noon to 1:00 pm: Lunch break


10:00 am: Hall opens for set-up

Noon to 1:00 pm: Lunch break

5:00 show closes. Dealers and panel participants please put away tables and chairs and clean the Lion's club.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

2016 Clallam Bay Comicon

2016 Souvenir Sticker/Badge
July 9-10: During and after Clallam Bay/Sekiu Fun Days 10:00 am - 5 pm both Saturday and Sunday. 

EVERYONE WELCOMEIf it's pretty or they can eat it, bring it.

ADMISSION for public: free. 

Facebook Events Link HERE. Use to organize events and exchange information.

DEALER TABLES:  $25 (27.00 through Paypal). Contact at: donnabarr01 at gmail dot com.


Dealer and panelist contracts: THIS PAGE. Payment cancellation deadline is May 1, 2016. You are expected to know your professional and licensing obligations for food sales or use of fire. Parents, please note your obligations. Panels held at front of the hall in round-table format. Participants will clean and straighten hall after show closes Sunday; keep the Lion's club happy.

Special Guest Leanne Franson 

EXHIBITORS at the convention for 2016:

1: Donna Barr's A Fine Line Press AND Clallam Bay Comicon Central.

2. Page Birmingham

The newly renovated building - nice job, Lions!
90 Bogachiel Street
Clallam Bay, Olympic Peninsula, Washington State, United States 

AWARDS: Your fans are your award. We don't get to say.

Special guests: all we can offer you is a deductible beach vacation, at the kind of old-fashioned con where the author/fan/friend were - and are here - the first priority.

OFFICIAL CONVENTION B&B: Winter-Summer Inn Bed and Breakfast 360 963 2264 The 3 lower rooms are being held for the convention. The deadline is February 11. Tell Owner Sandy Tsiang you are with the comicon, or you may be turned away. The upper suite is available to anybody, and there is no deadline on reserving it.


COMICON EATS: Dealers and panelists: we have a kitchen, with stove and refrigerator. You're welcome to use them. Keep it clean. Potlucks welcome.

HOW TO GET HERE: Airline: Kenmore Air Airporter: Olympic Bus Lines from Seattle. 
Once in Port Angeles: take the Forks bus to the the Clallam Bay connection at Sappho; Bus details at Clallam Transit
From Seattle: Ferries, drive to Port Angeles, then either highway 101 (113-112) or 112 to Clallam Bay. 
Carpooling: organize on the Facebook page.

BUSSES IN-COUNTY:  Schedules, etc.

WI-FI is 24/7 at the library, right around the corner, also at various businesses and the Visitors' Center.

FACILITY CARE: No tape of any sort on the wall. Respect the Lion's Club's wall displays. We all chip in to clean up at the end of the show. It don't take long.

LEGAL NOTES: Donna Barr is the ONLY Comicon staff. No one else has any access to official comicon decisions.

Parents and/or guardians are legally 100% responsible for their children and/or wards. Everyone else is legally 0% responsible for those same people.