Thursday, July 27, 2017

Clallam Bay Comicon - Why it will become the Forks Comicon

UPDATE! The Clallam Bay Comicon has been rescued by the Forks Comicon! Go here to find out how and why we're going into our seventh year of the Clallam Bay Comicon.

Original post:

After a very successful Clallam Bay Comicon, I had begun procedures for time, place, guest artist, everything - 

And then Monsanto and the US Army finally killed me.

(Before reading this, be assured there will be a Forks Comicon. And if you REALLY want to see me again, get your ass up here when it happens, for my insane wake party. Because there WILL be one! I'm not going to crawl off and die like dearly-missed creators - my art ain't gonna be burned! Please wear your Hallowe'en best.)

Anniston, Alabama, was listed as the most toxic place on earth. I was stationed there at Fort McClellan for basic training in 1970-71.

Monsanto settled out with the town of Anniston in 2003. The US Army was not part of that settlement - I suspect because of the badly-stored chemical weapons.* 

Some of you have called the EMTs or taken me to the hospital. Invariably, the condition was listed as "anxiety attack," which is new-doctor-speak for "hysteria." When my symptoms were so obviously poisoning (one of you got me to the hospital when I actually HAD been poisoned - and the symptoms were identical).

I thought I was doing very well after the Clallam Bay Comicon. The Lion's Club hall was rented. Talks were on line for a new Forks comicon. We had a fabulous guest artist for Clallam Bay. Dan and I went for a huge walk on Hobuck beach. I felt invigorated and ready to go.

And then... things happened. Stress-points started to build up. I hit crisis point.

I can only say So Many Thanks to Kevin - an EMT who works at the Forks Outfitters - for refusing to let me simply call my husband and wait out the vomiting and convulsions and passing out for the next 18 hours. I heard him - and the EMTs he called - say repeatedly, "Her pulse is low. Her pulse is so low." I really, truly just wanted them to let me go. I started to fade, and it felt so good, after all the years of suffering and bullshit. For Dan's and the cat's sake, I'm so glad the EMT's didn't let me faint out (although I truly wanted to kill myself AND them when I was dry-horking in the back of the ambulance).

So, I don't want anybody to think this is whining. This is the bullshit thousands of vets go through every single day, from many decades, who were stationed at Fort McClellan. We can't "sue" because it would cause stress - and then it's agony in the hospital. In my case, with hereditary cardiac finally starting to bother me, it could be lethal. If you really really want to do anything for us - GET THE FUCKING RECRUITERS OUT OF OUR SCHOOLS. Those people need slammed through a wall, like the health insurance CEO in The Incredibles - and for the same reasons.

So that's why I'm not running the Comicon. But I WILL mentor and assist at the Forks Comicon. I can DO that! And at a smaller convention, I could even run a table. If I can't, then there's my online bookstore, my Black Manuscripts, and social media.

I love you all dearly, and I wish I could keep doing this for you. But the robot be done, as robots do. Oh, well. It's been a good run.

Now I'm going to devote my time to Dan and my old cats, the beach, and my art. And pissing around with all of you on social media in the morning.

*Trust the Green Machine Generals' fan club to shirk its responsibilities to its play-toys (ALL fighters are like this - regardless of whose side they're on. They fight for no one but their fan club. They certainly don't fight for anybody's rights - or there would be no more FGM in the middle east).

Friday, July 21, 2017

Donna Barr's Black Manuscripts Released

My "Black Manuscripts" have been released by the San Diego State UniversityLibrary's Digital Collections.

The twelve ornately-written and -drawn art manuscripts date from the mid-1970's, when I was drawing and writing for my own pleasure, as a self-taught artist and writer.As is often the case for girls of the time, no publication was ever intended. But this work led to my becoming the published author and owner of such classic comics series as "The Desert Peach" and "Stinz," after I was discovered by Lex Nakashima and Steve Gallacci, and published by Eclipse Comics, then Fantagraphics, and Aeon Press, among others.

The full collections are viewable for reading at SDSU's website, here.

Here's a flip through one of the books (I'd suggest being a bit more delicate, dear - the glue is getting old!) 

More postings of the recent visit by students to see the books (on Facebook).

Each manuscript is covered with beading, quilting and embroidery. The subject-matter reflects my early interest in the German military - an interest that is now shared by many girls in comics, especially after the introduction of the theme in Japanese Manga. These books led to my study of politics of the time - and the way society actually treats women, peoples of color, the LGBT community, and the Jewish people, as well as the natural world - that now informs all my work. I didn't get it right in these books - but I was starting to learn.

The project has been in the works for over a decade. Fans of my work have been very happy that this early, unseen work by one of their favorite authors is now available. The art is also available for art studies, especially in universities.

Huge thanks to the whole crew at the San Diego State Library's special collections crew, and all their fine work! As you can see, the art was degrading - and they've saved it for all to see! 

Here's a flip through one of the books (I'd suggest being a bit more delicate, dear - the glue is getting old!) 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The 2017 Comicon Report

 I was having too much fun running around with my guest and friends, and not playing photographer. But both Eric Schneider and Bob Stein - and others! - sent me far more photos. I've added them in a bunch at the bottom of the post. Enjoy!

Diana was here!
Here we go with the 2017 Clallam Bay Convention Report! 

First of all, we have Diana Kennedy, our special guest, all the way from Vosges, France - which was so excited about her traveling to another tiny community that sponsors the comic arts that they bought her plane ticket for her! 

Lion Mike and Diana
Despite being attacked in Paris for her luggage - where she thought she'd had her passport stolen - she found the passport in her apartment and arrive on time. She was very touched and surprised when Clallam Bay townspeople asked if she was all right.

She shared her wonderful hand-animated "The Vosgian Beast," which also ran silently for the rest of the convention, providing a lively background to the show.

Two years' work! More to come.
Diana presented a banner from the Vosges Lion's CLub to the Clalalm Bay/Sekiu Lion's club, where the event was held. The Vosges Lion's Club was delighted to hear about the connection, and had paid for her visa and passport. In return, the CB/S Lion's Club gave her beautiful enameled pins to take back to her own Lion's Club.

She's written her own version of the trip, and it has a translation button. It's highly enjoyable (although I need to point out I can only generally "interpret" totem poles - nothing under the surface).

Jake and Modest Medusa
On both days of the comicon, a drawing was held for a $15 3-foot half-table for the 2018 Clallam Bay Comicon, compliments on Saturday of Lime Media Hawaii, on Sunday of Combine Magazine. The tables were won by minicomics master Larry Lewis, and Jake Richmond, writer/artist/publisher of Modest Medusa.

Hee haw!
Diana then presented a beautiful donkey drawing to Eric Schneider, who had helped so much with the Gofundme campaign to find more cash for her to enjoy her stay in the United States.

Sugar Rush! Roberta & Diana
We all had to attend the Fun-Days parade. Nobody managed to catch a Red-Hats jello shot, which is just as well - those things are loaded with Everclear! All the parade units, no matter how large, small or crazy, throw dangerous amounts of candy - and Diana was right in there participating in this wonderful if very bad American habit.

The only way to print.
Of course, I must represent with my Ka-Blam Comics shirt. If you want to print floppy comics at nearly 1980's prices - and Print on Demand, gorgeous quality and color - you go to Ka-blam. Their sales page is - and they've finally added a neat little menu to drop down for any search.

I'd been crocheting Resist hats out of left-over yarn, and gave everybody one. Got a shot of Larry, Diana and Anne Bean, of Emerald City Distribution, looking fabulous. Diana and Anne wore theirs the whole convention - and Anne looked especially fetching! Looks like she'll be representing my books with local comics shops.
At the parade!

Alice Ryan, who was our first local dealer ever, showed how to make wire crowns. Diana will go back to France with a lovely silver-and-pink-flower fantasy. She also specializes in very professional leatherwork, including fantasy hats and animal heads with jointed moving parts. Her son ran a kid's gaming event that was enjoyed by adults, too.

After the show was over on Saturday, many of the friends and dealers went down to the Clallam Bay Inn, for the annual beer-n-fish-n-chips feast. Barkeep and cook Edna made sure everyone had cold pitchers of beer, and hot, juicy, perfectly-fried fish. 

Then off to the beach for the Fun Days fireworks! This year, the ongoing battle between the amateurs and the professionals lasted until midnight, outlasting those of us who had traveled so far. Folks managed to find last-minute places to stay in a town crammed with visitors for Fun Days, even discovering a campsite with laundry and showers behind Sam's RV Park. Comics folk are resoruceful!

Fun for kids! And everyone.
On Sunday, Larry Lewis presented "Minicomics In All Their Glory." He brought paper and other tools, and taught how to make the small copier-based comics that everybody in the industry has done to get started. 

The show ended with Modest Medusa creator Jake Richmond, who spoke about how easy - and how hard! - self-publishing is. The audience - comics and gaming professionals themselves - ended his talk with an intense discussion of past and present methods of using webcomics, Kickstart, Patreon, Print On Demand and social media to find and grow an audience. Everyone agrees that comics takes a lot of work, but it's worth it. There was time before the end of the convention for the event to go overtime.
Fun with leather!

(Former prison guard Karin Ashton was given time to display her first attempts to produce a mini-comic. She also demonstrated how she runs her class for local school-children and wants to do so for profit-prison prisoners, neither of whom have access to the arts. Industry professionals kindly made her feel at ease.)

Diana, Roberta, Washburn's Totem
The show ended with Modest Medusa creator Jake Richmond, who spoke about how easy - and how hard! - self-publishing is. The audience - comics and gaming professionals themselves - ended his talk with an intense discussion of past and present methods of using webcomics, Kickstart, Patreon, Print On Demand and social media to find and grow an audience. Everyone agrees that comics takes a lot of work, but it's worth it. There was time before the end of the convention for the event to go overtime.

The next day, I took Diana, and Roberta Gregory on a whirlwind tour of Neah Bay. We looked at all the First Nations art in town we could find, visited Hobuck beach - Diana's first time to the Pacific Ocean - and stopped in for smoked salmon at the Take-Home Fish Company. 
Diana and Donna and the Pacific Ocean

They were nearly out - as they usually are at a festival weekend. But they had enough delicious alder-smoked salmon for us stragglers, and the shop smelled of fresh-cut green alder for when smoking started again (the owner was taking a well-deserved rest and had time to socialize with us. Including commiserating over the shop cat that - poor thing - had to subsist on day-old salmon).

Smoked salmon in Neah Bay
Then it was on to Port Angeles, and a final meal together at the Fairmount Inn and the finest Reuben sandwich and fat salmon. I think we sent Diana back to France with many wonderful memories! Safe travels, my friend.

Winter-Summer Noms!

(And thanks to the Winter-Summer Inn for making our professionals and their families feel right at home and feeding them so well.)

The 2018 Clallam Bay Comicon guest artist will be self-publishing master Carla Speed McNeil, author of the popular sci-fi-fantasy comics series "Finder." Preparations are already in the works to ease her long trip to the "Impossible Comicon."

(Note: if we're very very VERY lucky, there may also be a comicon in Forks next year, run by their comics community. Fingers crossed! I want a table.) 

And here are even more photos, from Bob Stein! Thank you very much for coming all the way from the east coast, with Eric Schndeider, letting me visit with two old dear friends again.

Jeff Richmond, Modest Medusa

Diana and her animation

Diana at her table

Larry's minicomics talk

Modest Medusa/Combine

Diana working

Karin sharing

Art from Diana

The Lion's Club hall
Anne setting up her table

Steampunk gang!

Diana at her table

Diana hard at work

Me talking to Jake

Larry hard at work!

Roberta surveys the scene

More of us

Steampunk and leather goodies

Full up

Kevin and friend

Nice view of the hall

Table fix-ups

Phil Foglio's Girl Genius game