Comics: The Map

What are the consequences of murder? This is a story of murder seen as the ultimate escalation of desire -- therefore this is a fable about the destructive nature of desire. The narrator gets the pearls, but they become meaningless to him as he has a new desire -- the riches of a lost city. The disintegration of the map to this new desire -- to me -- symbolizes the loss of his soul and the fragmentation of his moral compass.

Of course, I had none of this in mind as I made the comic. These are just ideas that come to me when I read it, years later.

I always wondered why the Peter Lorre/pearl drinker didn't just redeem the pearl for the map at the pawn shop. It must have been a fake -- but then, why does the narrator kill him if he knows the pearls are fakes? Perhaps the murder is not about desire, but  instead a psychopathic urge to kill -- perhaps triggered by being conned. 

Recently, comics guru Steve Willis read this story and it made him think of The Human Ostrich, a novelty (freak) act in which a guy can swallow any small object given to him.Since I was studying carnival side show acts at the time, this may have been an inspiration to the story.

I can say for sure that I was inspired by Fritz Lang's and Peter Lorre's "M." You can't tell, but the figure at the top of page 2 was drawn from a photograph of Peter Lorre.

This story was originally made in 1989 in a 24-hour period in Leominster, Massachusetts and published as a mini-comic. It represents a completely improvised work, made with crow-quill and globe point dip pens, and no penciling. I can still remember the oily, slightly fishy smell of the Higgen's black india ink I used. 

This was my first 24-hour comic, conceived completely independently of the current 24-hour comic movement. I've been pleased to see that others figured out the beauty of the 24-hour comic, too. 

Copyright 2012 Paul Tumey. All rights reserved.

Hoppin Frog Comics #7

From Hoppin' Frog #7 (2000) by Paul Tumey.
First publication anywhere, anytime, man.

Copyright 2012 Paul Tumey. All Rights Reserved.

Comic: The Tapir's Pug Dog Sweater (Mini Comics Day 2012 with Steve Willis)

On May 26, 2012 a group of friends and I went down to McCleary, Washington to spend Mini-Comics Day with one of my favorite cartoonists, Steve Willis. A big thank you to Jim Gill, who rented a vehicle and drove us there, and to Steve and his lovely partner, Sarah, for organizing the event (and for kindly protecting wild baby bunnies from Steve's cats to allow Steve to be there).

I've been reading Steve's comics since 1990, when we were both part of the zine culture that traded self-published, photocopied publications through the mails. So it was especially great to finally meet and co-create with Newave master, and modern screwballist Steve Willis!

It was a fun and inspiring day that produced 7 new mini comics, by my count (there could have been more). Here's a list, in order of when the comics were created. These are linked to Steve's blog, where he has published them!

Untitled - by Steve Willis
Headgear - by Jim Gill
The Tapir's Pug Dog Sweater - by Paul Tumey (reproduced below)
All New Refraction Comix - by Frank Young

Emanations and Expectorations - jam with Willis, Gill, Young, and Tumey
The Floating Head of Humptulips - jam with Willis, Gill, Young, and Tumey

This is the Story of Ludwig - by Bryan Willis (Steve's brother) and Amy

Steve hosted the event at the bustling McCleary Community Center. My legs got very tired from walking to the men's room on the fourth floor (the escalator was broken).

I think we had a total of 11 attendees. 

McCleary is a strangely beautiful place:

The Simpson factory, which appears to make doors . 

Steve -- there's so much to say . One of the nicest and most interesting people I've ever met. And so gifted. Here, he turned out a series of about a dozen original, amazing sketches in mere minutes. These were drawn on now obsolete library card catalog cards. Steve is a librarian , as was my dad, Ronald C. Tumey, so this was especially resonant for me (Steve's Dad was a gentleman farmer who raised prize-winning Shetland ponies). I wish I'd asked Steve for one of these library card drawings! D'oh!

That's Ron Austin and Louise Amandes, filming Steve for an upcoming documentary on Pacific Northwest cartoonists, named after Steve's work: Bezango, WA!.

Later, we had dinner with Steve in nearby Elma, across from The Haus of Hair.

Here's the mini comic I produced. Being so rusty, I totally forgot how to make a mini for reproduction! In fact, I broke every rule -- I used pencil, watercolors, ignored layout, drew and lettered to the edges, and even used different dimensions. At least I remembered to make it 8 pages! 

I realized, after I had made the comic, that it was impossible to photocopy, so there's just the original and this digital e-version. I really wish I could have made copies to give out, as the other folks did!

I was glad to see my gassy character, Hoppin' Frog, jumped into the comic. HF is in part inspired by Steve's Morty the Dog character, so it seemed entirely appropriate to me. Morty also makes a cameo (awkwardly drawn by me) in the comic, as a tribute to Steve. I have to admit, I was inspired to put Morty in because Jim Gill did it in his Headgear comic. I even copied Jim's drawing!

To my great honor, Steve took one of my other cartoons, "HMF." and posted it on his blog, here.

For more photos and information about Mini Comics Day 2012 with Steve Willis, see:

Steve Willis' Post

Jim Gill's post.

For more on Steve Willis (and some of his comix), see my post at my blog, The Masters of Screwball Comics:

Modern Screwballism: Steve Willis

To read another comic book story by Paul Tumey featuring HOPPIN' FROG, click here.

Thanks for stopping by!

L to R: James Gill, Steve Willis, Paul Tumey, Reid Tumey, Frank Young

For MORE of "The Frawg", click here:

Drawings with Claire & Olive

Here's six new drawings from a spontaneous jam session between me, my partner Claire, and her 11-year old daughter, Olivia. We each started with a blank sheet of paper, made part of a drawing on it, and then passed it to the person on our right. After one round, we had three drawings, each with work by the three of us.

This is a very successful and fun rotation method I've used to create spontaneous comics and stories, as well as drawings. It's a creative conversation using different languages. It's also a great way to engage with your kids and your partner. In fact, my son Reid is often present at these jams, as well. In a future post, I'll share some of his amazing work.

For our first round, Olivia started a drawing with flying pies that she colored:

I then drew an observation platform with a funny little man on it. Claire finished up with the ethereal, angelic, and comically-sized flying pie catcher -- somehow the spirit of woman is tied to pie in this image. She added the dialogue, perhaps inspired by the page I started on this round, which was a comic strip. 

I drew the first panel, Claire (under some protest that she disliked closed spaces) drew the second panel ( a set up for Olivia, since she loves emus), and Olive drew the rest, except for the signs and last cat at the bottom, which I drew. By now, you get a sense of our different styles. I was very struck by Olivia's crossed eyes in her characters. She hasn't normally done this. Her cartoons are often versions of anime characters. However, this evening, I set a collection of Milt Gross' comics on the kitchen table in front of her and I think she immediately absorbed the screwball cartoon technique. Gross' comics are filled with cross-eyed characters (you can read a great Milt Gross Sunday comic at another of my blogs, here). She may also have been channeling my own thoughts. As I said, this rotation method is a conversation -- in this case, on paper.

It's fun to see how we all influence each other. Did you notice that Olivia carried over the bandaged cat tail to the emu? That's a joke I stole from the great screwball cartoonist Bill Holman's cartoon cat, Spooky

Also on round one, Claire started a drawing with a beautiful, empty bird cage.

Olivia added the soulful cat holding a feather, and then I drew the sad figure behind the cage. The whole drawing has a melancholy air. It also resembles some paintings by Claire. So in just one round, we made whimsical and wistful art and had a great conversation, showing each other's influence.

A little tired, but still inspired, we did a second round, producing another three drawings, for a total of six.

Claire was probably thinking of her spring garden when she drew the delightful happy tomaters on the left side of the above drawing. I added the water can, and made it cross-eye, inspired by Olive's great work. Olivia carried on the veggie theme with a terrific drawing of a happy sunflower.

For her start on round two, Olivia drew the dynamic cat close-up in the bottom right of the next drawing:

Claire added clouds and lightning. Drained, I added the second cat head because I couldn't think of anything else. 

For my starter, I didn't care for the first drawing I made, so I just drew a duck with a crown on it. I was thinking of King Duck, a character from a 1934 comic strip called Little Jimmie, by Jimmy Swinnerton. Olivia added a wonderful level of humor with the duck's wacky song, and the drawings of chip bags at the top. Claire then drew the perfect rendering of the elusive "food criminal."

All in all, a great session. Thanks, Claire and Olivia!

- Paul