Hopping Frog Finds a Fin - A Paul Tumey Comic

I did something really cool on the night of December 17, 2013. I joined 62 other artists to sit in a Seattle coffeeshop bar and work like crazy to draw pages for what became DUNE 14, a 64-page mini-comic. The only way to get into DUNE is to show up and draw (and contribute two bucks to printing costs). The only way to get a copy of this comic is, you guessed it, to show up and draw and pay your two crickets.

DUNE is a monthly comics drawing workshop open to the public and hosted by local Seattle area cartoonist Max Clotfelter. The event starts at 7 pm at the Cafe Racer, a very lived in, super cool coffee shop in Seattle's U-District (a neighborhood near the University of Washington campus). It may have been the tasty porter I was drinking, but I think I spotted hanging over the bar a huge, surreal painting of a frog by legendary Seattle cartoonist Jim Woodring.

At 11 sharp, Max gathers the art, money and hightails it to the bus stop. Sometime before the next DUNE, which happens on the third Tuesday of each month, Max reduces the art, pastes  it up, and prints out copies for the attendees. This is no easy feat -- and I for one really appreciate the service. 

The cover to DUNE 14 by Brandon Lehmann. This issue is 64 pages long and features work by 63 different artists.

After 14 months, Max's hard work is paying off. I attended DUNE last night  for the January session -- and the Seattle Times was there, taking photos and interviewing folks for an upcoming cover story in the Sunday magazine. I had a very nice chat with the article's writer, Tyrone Beason and the photographer Lindsey Wasson. Something's in the air -- comics are suddenly hot, and getting hotter. But not super-hero comics -- these are highly personal, artistic, handmade comics. Defiantly, proudly non-commercial.

Anyway, that night, I wrote and drew a new two-page story with my character, Hoppin' Frog. I had another idea, but somehow my inner Frog would not be quiet. I don't know if anyone else is entertained at all by this slightly obscene, somewhat flatulent amphibian in a suit, but I get a laugh when I draw him. When it was revealed to me what he would do with untold wealth ( a ride in a limo filled with Cheez-Doodles), I was quite amused.

Here, then, is the first ever printed story with Hoppin' Frog (I've only published his misadventures online). And my first printed comics in 12 years. It might help to know a "fin" is slang for a five-dollar bill. Thanks, Max and DUNE!

Hoppin' Frog Finds A Fin by Paul C. Tumey
(copyright 2014 Paul Tumey)

My friend Dominic Gomez came to DUNE in December, too. He was kind enough to ask me to write a story for him, so I created this rather cryptic sheet of paper for him. 

SKETCHY script by Paul Tumey

Dominic, a professional artist and illustrator, took my script and created this very nice comics story, which also appears in DUNE 14:

SKETCHY - Writing by Paul Tumey, Art by Dominic Gomez
(copyright 2014 Dominic Gomez)

Dominic intended to ink this comic over the pencils you see here, but he ran out of time. I like that the story is in pencil -- it adds to the theme.

You can watch a terrific video of Dominic Gomez at work here.

Last night, at DUNE 15, Dominic drew another comic I wrote -- "Drawing A Breath," which continues the sketch artist theme. And I created a two pager called "The Trail Behind The Fish-Mart/De-Fanged." I will share that next month, when I get the art and comic back from Max at the next DUNE.

- Paul Tumey

All text and art copyright Paul C. Tumey unless otherwise noted.

Sunday Morning at the Diner - A Paul Tumey Comic

You know how it is. You live in a place, you pick up their ways. 

From 1988 to 1997, I lived in Massachusetts -- first in Leominster, and then in Boston. Gradually, I became a member of the counter-culture. By "counter-culture," I don't mean a socio-political movement, as much as I mean a gastro-intestinal movement. Namely, diner culture. 

Photo courtesy of the Diner Hotline Weblog

New England is, among other things, a treasure trove of classic vintage diners. Many of the pre-fabricated railroad car style diners were manufactured in Worcester, Massachusetts -- so it makes sense that a large concentration of diners settled across the state, like so many patty melts falling from the sky. I used to go around the state hunting old diners. It became an idle past-time, and then an obsession. I met some of the owners, and ate many a fine meal while sitting at a gleaming chrome counter. One favorite was the Miss Worcester lunch car, where -- if memory serves -- they cooked their home fries in sausage grease -- this may not sound great, but it was very tasty on a mid-winter day!

One of my favorite days was when I joined several other diner fanatics and took a day-long bus tour of diners, sponsored by the Society of Commercial Archaeology. What a day that was! Bacon burgers here, homemade apple pies there, turkey and gravy on spongy white bread -- mmmmm.

My love for diners found its way into my work at the time. I created a long comic book called "The Last Diner." I hosted an author event at my bookstore with Richard Gutman, a great diner and culture historian. I also wrote and drew a three-page comic story that appeared in a nifty diner fanzine called "Counter Culture."  Recently, the original art for this strip surfaced. I remember being interested in showing the wonderful, womb-like feeling of enclosure a well-made old fashioned diner booth gives you. The narrative comes from an event that happened more than once. I felt kinda bad, knocking diner food -- so I didn't draw any of the more beautiful art deco visual tropes of diners into this strip -- to sort of distance them from the lousy food at Jo's, my mythical diner. 

I've scanned the story for your eating pleasure! 
Here, then, from circa 1994, is "SUNDAY MORNING AT THE DINER."

All text and art is copyright 2014 PAUL C. TUMEY. You can feel free to link to this page but you may not appropriate and use this art for your own purposes. Sorry, but that's the way it is.