best of the drawing of the day: the moon with the sun and the stars

If the Man in the Moon was a dapper dad in a black suit, and the Sun and the Stars were his kids and the dog …

I guess it would look something like this.  I know that drawing is a total failure from a cosmological perspective. And folklore can tell you the Sun is almost always a grownup– if anyone is a child in this setup, it would be the Moon.  But if the Sun can also be a ball of dung being pushed by a celestial scarab, and the stars can be a herd of cows, then we know that symbols can be pushed into the personal if we feel like pushing them.  And you know how much I like drawing the Man in the Moon.  Why shouldn’t he have his own crazy suburban sketchbook family?

(Drawn with the scritchy scratchy pen, of course, complete with hand-built black.)


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the return of the ’70s

If you, like me, actually lived through the 1970s, or if you have an interest in (fascination with?) the culture of that decade, you certainly remember Telly Savalas.  If you don’t, he was a bald actor of Greek extraction who played cops and tough guys in movies and TV shows.  He is most famous for his performance as the title detective in the very popular gritty police procedural Kojak.  Kojak was plenty tough, but he had a sweet side, symbolized by his fondness for lollipops.  The ladies loved him– both Kojak and Savalas himself.  He was an unexpected pop culture hearthrob of the day.

Since the 70’s, Americans who travel in Asia have been mentioning statues of the Buddha (and other religious and folkloric personages with bald heads) who “look like Telly Savalas”.  I had never personally seen the famous “Buddha who looks like Telly Savalas” in many years of idly looking for him.  That is, until yesterday, when I found him in the Chinese buffet, on the shelf over the sushi case.  Technically, I believe this is a statue of Ho Tei, sometimes called the Happy Buddha, who looks like Telly Savalas.  He really, really does.

You can almost hear him asking “who loves ya, baby?” in Kojak’s voice.



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work in progress -should the grass be green?

Appropriately for March, I have gotten a wild March hare of an idea to make one of those convention banners that roll up into a handy little case that doubles as its own stand.  Everybody else has one, right?  So here are a few glimpses at the only design that I decided didn’t look too stupid.  It’s based, very roughly, on the old Bremen Town Musicians design where the characters are stacked up vertically, combined with the Iowa Sitting in a Big Red Chair with a Coelacanth drawing idea that has been hanging around for years.

From the top, Bud (as the Man in the Moon), Josef, Iowa, the Professor in his Moondog form, the Small Feather Bat, and some Kekionga Spirit Rocks.  The color scheme is planned to accompany and eventual second banner with the Kekionga title and featuring Jack/Foursquare, a mammoth and a selection of the other characters.  But I’m already second guessing it– should the grass be green?  Comments and suggestions are welcome.

Special thanks to JKC who pointed out that of course the little dog chop should be on the left so the dog is looking into the drawing and not on the right so he is looking at whoever is sitting at the next table.

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best of the drawing of the day: a stressful interview

In which the cartoonist, on the left, endures a brisk, silent talking-to from his/her Muse.  “I don’t care how much you have going on in other parts of your life, creative and otherwise,” the Muse shouts telepathically and in boldface, “You can’t forget about the blog for a week at a time!”.  Its Antlers of Inspiration spark dangerously,  the cartoonist promises to blog at least twice a week, if not three times, and the Muse returns to the Ether in a spatter of ink.

(Plus “The Stressful Interview” sounds like the title of an Edward Gorey story.)

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cover pencils

The first of what I what I hope will be (and which darn well better be) a series of posts in the work-in-progress division of “around the studio”.

First up are the pencils for the new cover for the reprint of Happy Buddha Bud. This is a key story in the Kekionga canon and one of my favorites. Those of you who remember the original print run will recall that that edition had a pretty spectacular( if I say so myself) five color, four screen Print Gocco silk screen cover  and that’s probably why it has never been reprinted until now, almost 11 years later.

This new cover uses the same basic elements, and adds an endpaper in a Chinese restaurant style bats and clouds design.

(I’ve never been happy with scans of pencils, so I’ve been experimenting with photographing them still taped to the drawing board in the studio.)

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social media shark

A social media shark made his first appearance yesterday on my Instagram:

IKEA shark in its native habitat. #shark #sharks #toy #toys #stuffedanimal #yellow #bag #pillow #store #ikea #ikeashark #phonecamera #ipodtouch

And then he popped up, in a different pose, on my personal Facebook in a shout out to his place of origin.

“Things we bought at IKEA today: A whisk. A pillow. A plate of Swedish meatballs. A hot dog. A hat and coat rack. A piece of chocolate cake. And a shark. #ikeashark.”

And, finally, in serious black and white, he reflects on his present and future as a social media icon.  IKEA shark will return.


Monochrome IKEA shark reacts to finding out that #ikeashark is a real hashtag on Instagram. The news leaves him pensive.

(That really is a real hashtag.  Search it to find a lot of IKEA sharks photographed in both domestic and adventurous settings.  While you’re on Instagram, please check out my account (@kekiongacomics ) for more of my photographs and odd little captions.)

(This photoshoot with the IKEA shark in the bedding department was the first semi-real project I’ve done with the camera on my new iPod Touch.  The color images were taken with the stock camera app, the black and white one with Lenka.)

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sphinx in the library (a multimedia extravaganza)

It’s a drawing of the day!  It’s a poem!  It’s a bit of fun– slightly Poe-ish, but more in the direction of Kekionga based doggerel than that of serious Gothicness.  I wonder what happens when  a sphinx librarian meets a werewolf librarian.  (They probably drink tea, complain about the budget, and trade “things I’ve found on the shelves behind the books” stories.)

In the Library Annex

  • The door opens onto spider webs.
  • The desk clerk wears a mask.
  • The catalog has ten thousand drawers.
  • The cards are made of glass.
  • And they lead your research journey
  • to the deepest, darkest stacks.
  • As you decode that Roman numeral,
  • There’s the vaguest smell of cat.
  • Something’s breathing high above you.
  • Lion’s tail starts to lash.
  • Your answers will be paid for
  • by the questions you are asked.
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The pattern of freeze and thaw as Midwestern winter is (slowly) ending yields a particular beauty made of old snow, bare trees, puddles and fog.

A while ago, I got a new iPod Touch and loaded onto it the latest version of Lenka, a very simple black and white camera app.  It’s controlled by three sliders, one for contrast, one for tone (warm to cold) and one for exposure.  Relatively low contrast, very warm tone, and exposure as appropriate has turned out to be a very interesting combination for photographing  thaw and fog. 

And so the Lenka Fog Project was born.  Will Lenka will make beautiful music with the distinctive fogs of other times of year? I’m looking forward to finding out.

See more images in this continuing series by visiting my Instagram (@kekiongacomics) and searching for #lenkafogproject.  And all my Instagrams are automatically shared to my Official Facebook page,  (Remember that this is a public page– you do not have to be a member of Facebook to read and follow.)

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hulk go auto show

(After, write notebook Steak and Shake. It not Hulk-ku. Not everything make good Hulk-ku.)

  • Much traffic. Hulk stuck on Bishop Ford.
  • Plenty time write poem.
  • Not much to say.
  • Later, Indiana.
  • Hulk eat fries.

(This poem, Hulk make local reference. “Bishop Ford” name for part I-94, from south edge Chicago city (where called “Dan Ryan”) to state line Indiana. This confuse people not from Region. Also Hulk.)

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winter sports in your own backyard

Hum the theme loudly as you look at these images– the Winter Olympics have begun!

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