Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ferry Tale Adventures

Saturday was Maine's sixth annual Open Lighthouse Day. We have managed to take advantage of this every year of its existence. Many lighthouses that are not open to the public open their doors this one day of the year. Kemmer was able to join us this time by driving up from Boston on Friday after work. Quite the commute!

Our choice of venue this year was the Grindel Point Lighthouse on Islesboro. That meant a ferryboat ride!

 We left extra early to allow for travel time and because the weather report said a good chance of rain in the afternoon. We also decided to take the car over with us because even though the lighthouse was right at the ferry landing, nothing else was.

  The lighthouse itself is a bit small, with a small way up, but big enough for all three of us to be in with the light at the same time.


After the lighthouse we drove off to the island's post office on Main Rd. Since it was the main road, we drove on it to  Pendleton Point to walk around on that southern most part, and then did a turnaround to go drive the north loop. Along the way we stopped off at the Maplegrove Cemetery.


Not a touristy island, but a pleasant way to spend the morning. And we got to have another ferry ride to get back to the mainland.


 We stopped in Lincolnville to have our lunch, wonder why there weren't more and better shops, and then started our slower paced meander home.

 No great yard sale or bookstore finds this time. But Kemmer will get to take this trunk home that we found a few weeks back. Carrie has done all that she can without calling in a professional restorer.

Happy Early Birthday Kemmer!

to enlarge any photo, click on a wave

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Three Dog Night

quick ink sketch to get some kind of illo for this post
Some people ask "Where do you get your ideas from?" I ask "How to I get them to shut up and let me sleep???"

One night recently, Carrie and I had just started to drift off to sleep. She started dreaming about dogs, and I dreamt I was throwing something. But I wasn't yet asleep enough to have had my brain fully disconnect from my muscles, so I actually did fling my arm out and hit something. That woke both of us up.

Carrie asked if I was alright and I told her what happened. I just didn't know what I was supposed to have been throwing. "Maybe you were throwing a ball for my three dogs." she said. I replied "Wasn't that a 60s sitcom?" "What, Throwing A Ball?" she asked knowing full well what I meant. "No" I said, "Throwing a ball would be something you would do in a fairy tale." "Three Blind Dogs?" she suggested. "Old Cinder-Yeller" I countered, "And her Fairy Dogmother."

Yeah, we do this in our sleep.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Carrie's brother Ross was out for his yearly visit. He flew in to Boston on Wednesday and Carrie flew down to meet him. Unfortunately the flight back into Maine was cancelled due to weather and they had to stay in Massachusetts overnight.

I couldn't take the time off, but Carrie and Ross did some candlepin bowling, a little wading in the ocean, and on Friday attended the Yarmouth clam festival.

 Saturday I went with them to the Celtic Festival in Belfast. We listened to some music, watched the uphill 3-legged race, lamented over them not having any of the celtic games until Sunday, and listened to some music.

Of course we stopped at yard sales along the way and dedicated Sunday to go to several flea markets. For some reason this cast metal shriner appealed to me and Carrie and I talked about how such things can strike us knowing full well that on a different day we wouldn't give them a second glance. I brought up as another example a little plastic Pegasus I had bought some time back.

The one on the left is the one just mentioned. The one on the right we found on Sunday in a ten cent bin!

I don't know why I have taken such a liking to boys adventure books these past couple of years, but here's my latest additions. The Merriwell series was popular enough in its day to spawn a newspaper strip, a radio serial, and a movie. Frank Merriwell is the best known, but there was also his half brother Dick, and Frank Jr.

To enlarge any picture just click on a nose.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Kreation Stories

A Samurai Slate adventure starts with an idea for the theme of the puns. It often starts with a pun I've read or one Carrie or I have said. It might be one that I'd like to build a story around, or just one that makes me think that there's a good theme lurking there. Although it has also been that one of us tosses out an idea for a theme and I try to figure out if there's enough pun potential afterward. 

For this particular script, I had long ago thought of creating a private eye character for my funny animal universe. He would, of course, be an insect, a private fly. (I've never actually written any stories in this funny animal universe, but I have a big cast ready for it.)

 The next step in creating Sam's adventure, is to start listing out all potential puns under the theme. I do this by listing down all the related words I know to have pun usage, sometimes noting ideas for them, but I also list a lot of words that don't immediately lend themselves to puns in hopes of future inspiration, which often comes. As I write and contemplate I start seeing how different puns fit together in a cohesive sequence until I get a core scenario. Some come easier than others. But I have to make sure I have some sort of conflict and resolution. Depending on the ideas generated while writing down puns, either one can come first, but usually it's the punch line that takes the longest time to come up with.         
Once I have a pretty solid outline, I start to break it down to fit the format I use of a six panel page. The first panel is the title, which I tend to come up with after I've finalized the script, using a decent leftover pun. I vary the panel sizes and try to have some flow of text to fit appropriately. I may decide it's too light on puns in some place or another, or too heavily laden making it an uneven trip, so I do some polishing until I'm happy with it. Once in a while I will do some sketches on the script to help me picture how want the text to fit in context.
The start of the art is penciling the panel borders. I ink them and then do the lettering (straight to ink for that) in what I hope will be a good spot for the art. I usually have some idea of what I'm going to draw in each panel having stared at the script in all its stages for so long, and it sometimes comes out exactly as I planned. 

After the lettering I see if my pencils will actually fit in the allotted space. Generally fairly rough pencils. I start tightening them up, and try to get the characters to look consistent throughout. Then final tightening with the inks. I let the ink dry at least overnight before erasing the pencils. I do touch up on the inks I messed up with my erasing.

Finally, I scan the art and do some more touch up on the computer. Mostly getting rid of the incompletely erased pencils. And I add the title.

Just so you're not too confused, this was a two page episode.

Monday, June 16, 2014

What's the Point?

Moose Point State Park. Sunday had free entry into most of Maine's State Parks for residents. Carrie wanted to hit one by the water, but I wanted to avoid the beaches as I expected they would be super crowded. So we picked Moose Point as it doesn't have a sandy beach, but rather a rocky shoreline, which is more visually interesting anyway.

 We saw a few birds along the shore, and quite a few of these crabs. We fear they may be the invasive green crabs causing problems locally.

There was also a walking trail that went partially along the edge of the forest following the shoreline and partially just through the woods. Some Lady Slippers were protected from the hikers, but they missed the Jack-In-The-Pulpit.

The weather started out overcast with a bit of rain, but eventually did clear out. We did our usual stopping at bookstores, yard sales and antique stores. We got some more books and I got some comics. We still had plenty of day left, so we then stopped at Lake St George. A nice place to bring your family to have a picnic and go swimming. Not what we were really looking for at that point.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Happy Kemmer Tiara Day


 Carrie found a true Mainer to celebrate with. Keith is surrounded by his coworkers, our Fourth of July Tree in the background.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

No decaf for MECAF

Four wide aisles to go up and down.

adapted from the radio show?
she made the skirt herself

Another comics day today, for it's the annual Maine Comics Art Festival in Portland. We started out early to do the usual leisurely drive in to check out yard sales and flea markets where I bought a couple of books and a cast iron old fashioned mail truck.

MECAF had new digs this year a short distance from the old ones, but it looks like they managed to keep all the exhibitors in the same room for once. We met up with long distance pal EJ Barnes, who was one of the driving forces behind putting out the Luisa Felix tribute book. She now has about ten copies that have my autograph in them (I was a contributor).

I brought along some Samurai Slates and found them so well received that I ran out. And I still haven't sent copies to everyone on my mailing list as I ran out of the correct size envelopes. Guess I'll have to print up more. Lots of fellow mini-comic producers at the event and I came out with a bag full of trades.

Afterwards we went to Green Hand and got more books!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Price of Freedom

I like Free Comic Book Day for a multitude of reasons. I mean, free stuff is good, but free comics is awesome! It also exposes me to a lot of titles that I haven't looked at or been aware of before.

But I also get a chance to share my love of comics in a more acceptable way. I'm not telling people they should go out and start buying comics, I'm telling them how to get free stuff. I start a month or so before the event, put up a sign at work, mention it once in a while. More often the week before. And on the Friday of Free Comic Book Day Eve, I was asking people if they wanted me to tell them the closest places to find participating retailers.  There's also a lot of positive media coverage with little of the old Zap Pow stereotypes showing up any more.

Carrie and I were planning a nice day trip for that Saturday, yardsales in the early morning, Zimmies in Lewiston, then a drive down to Portland to hit Casablanca and a few non-comics stores afterwards. Our cat Ghost curtailed the long trip as we had to take her to the vet. We still did yardsales and Zimmies, and we got to Bull Moose Music (in Lewiston) between. The selection at Bull Moose was paltry. I wasn't expecting much from Zimmies, but they surprised me with the number of free titles they were offering. They may even have had one of all the FCBD titles. We didn't try to get one of everything, just those that looked like they might be interesting.

We read most of the titles over the course of the next couple of days so that Carrie could bring a couple of them in for a coworker and I could bring all the others that weren't good enough to become part of the permanent collection (which was most of them) in to work to offer to my coworkers. I set them up by my desk and invited people to come over and take a few. So I again get to share my love of comics! The first one is free...

This is the second year I have also had my own comic to give out for this special day. The store clerks are always surprised and delighted to see the reverse of their give aways. This year I also ended up giving one out to a guy at a yardsale as he had a bunch of Dilbert and Calvin & Hobbes books.

As another follow up, a guy I knew when part of a mail art exchange group sent me a comic produced local to him for promoting literacy. Reading and using comics to promote reading are things I am a big fan of. The comic also mentions how an earlier comic created to do the same thing inspired a lot of kids to create their own comics. Another thing I think is great. Charlie had as an added bonus newspaper clippings about the local event that included much community interaction with the mayor in a Wonder Woman shirt. I brought these in to work and put them up in my cubicle for many people to come and marvel over.

And talking about pushing my buttons, he sent it all in in this envelope with a nice eclectic mix of stamps amongst which is his drawn self portrait as a stamp that his post office put a cancel on! Thanks Charlie.

To enlarge any picture, click on it and shout Shazam!