I’ll be at Emerald City Comic Con this weekend, sharing a table with autobio cartoonist Becky Hawkins and her shoulder angel. We’ll be at table R-06 in Artist’s Alley; if you’re in Seattle, please come and say hi.
[Updated: Time is 11:30am, not 11am. I'll update the post with a link to the archive once I've got it.]
Me and cartoonist Jenn Manley Lee will be interviewed on KBOO at 11:30am pacific time today. We’ll be talking about our respective comics (Jenn is best-known for her amazing science fiction comic Dicebox). You can listen live at KBOO’s website.
Jenn is a longtime pal of mine as well as a great cartoonist, so I expect this interview to be fun.
Thanks to S.W. Conser of the show Words and Pictures for making this happen!
(My niece got a copy of my new book for Christmas, and emailed me saying that she enjoyed the book and asking me if I’ll sign it. I don’t think Jemma will mind if I share the email I sent back to her.)
I’m so glad you liked my new book. I would be thrilled to sign your books when I visit Ithaca (which I’ll be doing in just five months). Also, I’ll be visiting Ithaca twice this year – once in May, once in August – so you’ll be seeing twice as much of me as usual.
Actually the oddest thing happened to me last night. I was up late drawing, as I often am, and snacking on some cookies and milk, and I heard a strange noise, a sort of muffled scrapery sound, coming from our living room. I walked into the living room, thinking that there were thieves, blackguards, thugs, pirates, grumpikins, or capitalists sneaking into my house to do — what horrible thing would they do? Watch my netflix? Track mud all over my nice clean floors? Read my comics and keep their places by folding the corner of the page, what is WRONG with those people USE A BOOKMARK FOR PETE’S SAKE THOSE BOOKS ARE PRECIOUS!
Ahem. My point is, who can say what horrible thing they would do? — but there was no one there. I shrugged and said “only a breeze and nothing more” and resolved to worry nevermore.
But then I heard the noise again – it was coming from the chimney! I snuck close to the fireplace and peered in when suddenly a pair of big black boots – containing feet, I have no doubt of it, none whatsoever! – dropped down into the fireplace! I was peering in so closely that the boots clipped my nose, which fell off into the fireplace ashes. The feet were soon followed by legs and a big belly and shoulders and a bearded hatted and squinty head as the invader crept into my home. I realized that this was a lowlife of some sort come to rob me of my precious collection of fat action figures, so grabbed up a fireplace poker and swung at the thug’s beard for all I was worth!
But the vagrant must have had kung foo training, because he blocked my blow handily, laughing evilly – “hooo hoo hoo!” As you can imagine, I was terrified. The last thing I remember is his huge red fist flying at my face like a runaway train!
When I woke up, he was gone. After retrieving my fortunately undamaged nose from the ashes and sticking it back in place with some chewing gum I found on the bottom of a chair, I staggered back into my study and sat down at my drawing board again. Then I noticed that my milk and cookies were gone! GONE! I wept bitter, bitter tears, let me tell you.
Anyway, that was my last night. It was wonderful to hear from you, and have a Merry Christmas.
Love, Uncle Barry
P.S. After carefully examining all the evidence, I have deduced that my attacker was Superman.
Publisher’s Weekly on Hereville: “one of the most original and comically endearing heroines to come down the pike in a long time.”
Publisher’s Weekly has posted their starred review of Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite. (Note: some spoilers ahead, although not more than you’d get from reading the back cover.)
Information about buying Hereville books can be found here.
Under Mentions and Reviews
Made me giggle.
My short story “How To Make A Man Out of Tin Foil” is online! This angsty story about boyhood and masculinity at a Jewish summer camp is now available on Bitch Magazine’s website.
I did this story for the upcoming feminist comics anthology The Big Feminist BUT, an anthology of feminist comics by both women and men. The list of contributors is, frankly, AMAZING — Hope Larson! Jeffrey Brown! Sarah Oleksyk! Jen Wang! Shaenon Garrity! Tom Neely! — and I can’t wait to read my copy. If you’re interested, please kick in a few bucks to the Big Feminist BUT’s kickstarter campaign.
In the November 9 issue of the UK newspaper The Jewish Telegram, they had a nice article about me and my work. You can see it as it appeared on the page in pdf form here, or read the text of the article below. Many thanks to writer Mike Cohen!
From the Jewish Journal’s article on “Books that make perfect Chanukah gifts“:
Thank you, Lisa Silverman!
Although I always find it a bit odd that Hereville is said to be for “9- to 12-year-olds,” since I’m trying to create an adventure comic book that I’d enjoy were I the reader. Apparently I’m very immature for someone in his forties. (Not exactly news).
Hey, folks. What with Chanukah and that other holiday coming up soon, I wanted to let you know that I’m selling copies of Hereville. Go here for all the details, or if you’d rather not see the details, you can go directly to my Big Cartel page.
Of course, you can also buy unsigned copies from all the usual booksellers.
(Warning: This post contains some content raged “PG,” and maybe even “PG-13,” including mentioning b**bs and a couple of uses of the F word. Also, in case any readers don’t know this word, “cosplay” means, basically, going to a convention dressed up as a character, usually a character from genre fiction. “Cosplayers” are those who “cosplay.”)
1) You’re embarrassing us, Tony.
Just for the record, as a professional comic book creator, a lifelong comics fan, and someone who attends comic book conventions, I am happy to be sharing a subculture with cosplayers. Cosplayers don’t have to prove they are “true nerds.” They don’t need admission to the club, because they’re already in it.
I’m also not embarrassed to be sharing my subculture with what Tony Harris calls “a LOT of average Comic Book Fans who either RARELY speak to, or NEVER speak to girls. Some Virgins, ALL unconfident when it comes to girls…” I don’t agree they’re the norm, but yeah, there are some guys like that at cons. They’ve got problems to overcome, but who doesn’t? Many of them are really nice, albeit socially clumsy.1
But do you know who I AM embarrassed to share my subculture with? Tony Harris. Because he wrote this.
It is humiliating for me to read that and realize that I’m sharing a profession and a nerd culture with the author.
2) Which comic book culture do you want to be part of?
There’s the comic book culture in which women (and especially female cosplayers) are objects of suspicion.2 “What the hell are you doing here? Are you a real nerd or just pretending? Here, let me quiz you on Star Trek.” There’s the comic book culture in which a major artist posts in his public Facebook area that he finds most female cosplayers to be “quasi-Pretty-NOT-hot” and to have less than “great” “boobies,” and makes it clear that as a “rule” he considers most female cosplayers to be intruders in his space.
Or there’s the comic book culture in which we react to someone of either sex dressing up by saying “wow! You look really neat!” A culture that welcomes new people and assumes they belong there.
Or we can hang up a sign that says “We love our toys, and maybe you will too! Come in and share them!” A culture in which cosplayers keep on attending cons and making them more colorful and interesting for everyone. A culture in which everyone who loves nerd culture – even if they don’t love it in the exact way Tony Harris believes is the One Correct Way – can feel welcome.
Why would any thinking person want to live in the former culture, when the latter culture is an option?
3) A bit of fisking.
In a follow up comment, Tony Harris wrote:
Oh, has this not been made clear? Well, then, let me explain.
I’m not going to say you’re a misogynist, because I don’t know you, and I’m sure there are sides to you other than the ugly side you showed us yesterday. But I will say that your rant was very misogynistic.
Your rant was misogynistic because of the over-the-top display of bitter fury towards women you disapprove of; because of the sneering at women’s bodies and breasts that you deem insufficiently “GREAT” for your refined tastes; and because it was yet another attempt by a male nerd to play gatekeeper and declare which women are and aren’t True Nerds.
They’re not “sad, needy fakes.” They’re people having a good time while at a comic book convention, and for some reason that makes you furious.
And the air? Not yours. Everyone gets a share. (Jesus Christ, Tony, get a fucking grip.)
Hey, Tony, that’s my office too. So, speaking as an officemate, can I beg you to knock it the fuck off? Those people you’re sneering at are customers. Without them, neither of us will make a living.
Sure, most of the cosplayers aren’t there to buy my comics (or yours). But most of everyone at a con isn’t there to buy my comic (or yours). There are approximately a billion zillion comics available to buy at a con, and most fans aren’t going to buy more than a handful. We set up “office” for the chance to sift through thousands of fans to find the tiny percent who are looking for our stuff.4
By the way, cosplay is one of the very few things at comic book cons that little kids can enjoy. That’s my future customer base, officemate, so please don’t dis something that’s actually making comic book conventions fun for them.
I don’t think I agree that T&A is a pox, but I think the way that T&A predominates in comics is a pox.5 So we’re not far apart on that.
More importantly, it’s great that you’re working to avoid misogyny in your comics. Really, it is. (I work at the same thing in my comics). I also think it’s great that you love and respect your mom, your wife, and your daughters, as I saw you mention in another Facebook comment. However, you seem to think that these things are inoculations – that because you’ve created some non-misogynistic comics, and you love the women in your life, that means that you’re immune from ever saying anything misogynistic, and anyone criticizing your words for sexism must be wrong.
That’s not how it works, dude.
If you write a post saying that five times five is ten, then that’s wrong. And if a dozen people point out to you that “5×5=10″ is wrong, it makes no sense to defend it by saying “but look at all these other times when I’ve done the math correctly!” Yes, it’s great that you did the math correctly all those other times. But that doesn’t magically mean that you didn’t mess up this time.
It would be better if you worked on understanding why everyone’s saying you screwed up, and learning not to screw up that way again, rather than just going on and on about how it’s completely unfair of us to say that “5×5=10″ is wrong, don’t we even remember that time you said four times six is twenty-four?
Just saw this comic drawn by sailorswayze on tumblr, and couldn’t resist including it here:
UPDATE 2: John Scalzi has an explanation for this bizarre phenomenon.