happy buddha grape! the blog returns!

The blog reappears to say we are sorry there has not been a blog and try to explain why.  The reason there has not been a blog is because we have had Technical Difficulties.  So many Technical Difficulties.  You do not want to hear about these Technical Difficulties, a) because they are boring and b) because I made several stupid mistakes dealing with them that made them worse.  There are much funner things to write about than stupid mistakes.

Like Happy Buddha Grape!  Happy Buddha Grape is a little Happy Buddha that we all collectively pretend is made of grape flavored … something, and he goes around having weird little adventures which are documented by his personal photographer, me.  Follow the adventures of Happy Buddha Grape (among many other photographic enterprises) on my photography Instagram, @yardcoyote.

There.  The blog is back, and real news is coming.

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happy thanksgiving: handprint turkey in flight

Just a brief note to let you know that I did not forget to draw my annual handprint turkey for you this year, and to wish my blogsters, far and near, a happy American Thanksgiving.

Yes, turkeys can fly, or at least the wild ones can.  The altitude is purely imaginary.  Lined notebook paper is a traditional medium for drawings of this kind.

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scary apples

I’ve made up my mind.  I’m going to buy an iPad and install Procreate on it and use an Apple Pencil to draw some little doodle comics. I’m not planning to replace my natural media cartooning– I bleed wet ink and that’s all there is to it– but I am ready to learn something new, here on the trailing edge of technology.  At this time in my life, I want to become as technically adept as a middle schooler, yay me.  Any advice is more than welcome,

Plus, of course, I have an idea for a new take on my cartoon world, and this one demands digital art and a web presence.  You will see it here as soon as it starts to happen.

But I have to get there first and  right now the whole prospect is at a really scary point. I am scared of picking out the wrong hardware, about getting it up and running, and about learning to draw all over again for what, the third or fourth time?  Augh.  Pure terror.  But I know it is good for me, and I am going to persist.  And still, she persisted.  With an iPad.  Augh.

The illustration is the only drawing I have ever made (so far) specifically about scary apples.

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halloween, two weeks later– a 15 minute fiction

  • Hey, look at the illustration for my Halloween story!
  • Halloween was two weeks ago.  It’s the middle of November and the snow plow just went through.
  • But the spiders on the porch caught a Horsehead Skeleton!  It’s an archetypical Local Spook with a complicated folkloric backstory that I haven’t made up yet!
  • It’s a plastic skeleton with a rubber horse mask on.
  • It’s a representation of a Horsehead Skeleton. Those aren’t real spiders either, duh.
  • But that doesn’t even make sense.  If it’s a horse-headed skeleton, its head would be a horse skull, not a whole horse head.
  • But then I’d have to learn to draw a horse skull, and look up actual references and all that stuff.
  • Stop whining.  Here.
  • Oh, you think you can solve everything with your fancy new searchable camera roll on your fancy new phone.
  • Not to mention the sepia film simulation on my camera.  Oh, and I wouldn’t turn around if I was you.
  • Why wouldn’t I want to turn around?

  • I told you not to turn around.
  • Happy two weeks after Halloween, everybody.
  • You know I’m scared of creepy dolls …
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“this halloween in Kekionga” : our classic holiday episode

(It has been quite an October.  Inktober took a lot out of me, and some other stuff was happening too.  The blog will be back to its usual abnormal normal soon.

But today, as the early darkness gathers around us and it begins to snow, please enjoy a “rerun” of A Cartoonist in Kekionga’s classic Halloween Episode, “This Halloween in Kekionga”, originally posted on this date in 2015 …)

This Halloween in Kekionga

You know that guy who lives in the double house down in the middle of the block on Shakespeare Street?  The really tall guy who fixes up antique radios?  He does programs at the library sometimes, where he brings in a radio and plays all kinds of crackly old shows; they’re like stories acted out with sound effects and music and they’re quite interesting.


His house is always a good one to visit on Halloween.  This year he had one of his radios playing on the porch with a purplish light on top of it, and a purple light in his street light.  It was a really simple style compared to the elaborate setups his neighbors had, with pull-apart giant spider webs and and fake tombstones and about a million plastic skeletons, but that made it even creepier.  And the darker it got, the creepier it was.


Instead of one of the horror story programs he’d played this week at the library, the radio was playing some really weird music, sort of spooky and delicate at the same time.  Nina said it sounded like old Victorian china dolls dancing in black lace dresses, and Mr. Spit made her shut up because the image in his head was creeping him out.

When we knocked on the door (that’s what the sign said to do), he did that thing with making a face in a weird colored light that some grownups do, and even though you are half expecting it, it always makes you jump.

Halloween2015-black and white-blog

But he gave out some awesome treats, peanut butter Snickers and Twixes and mini bags of Fritos and Doritos,  so we were OK with it.

Halloween2015-good night

So Happy Halloween from the Old Radio Guy’s front porch, right here in Kekionga.  It’s all the way dark now, and everything’s all purple and orange and amazing.  Nina and Murphy and Pounce are dancing on the sidewalk to the spooky doll music, and the rest of us are eating Doritos.

(Thanks to regular reader Wolfie, the real Old Radio Guy.  He just started texting me pictures earlier tonight and this sort of happened.  I edited the photographs and wrote the story, but it’s all his fault. He’s Kekionga canon now …)

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inktober update

I can’t believe Inktober is almost half over.  I gave myself a fairly steep challenge this year: to draw my entries at approximately the same size, using a template and to include both one or more spirit rocks and the new cat character in each drawing.  This in addition to my usual condition of keeping the prompt list as much a secret to myself as possible and using the first idea that comes into my head.

It’s going pretty well so far: I haven’t missed a day yet, either finishing the drawing or posting it online.  The daily posts can be found on the Official Pam Bliss Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/kekiongacomics/ or search @kekiongacomics.  This is a public page and you do not have to be a member of Facebook to enjoy.  I will post a small sized album here as well, when the project is done.  And I think for the first time, I will get a real minicomic out of this one since a story seems to be assembling itself out of the fragments.

Here is my favorite Inktober so far from this year:  It’s a multimedia extravaganza!  Click on this link https://youtu.be/4dm3Ml9g_cs  while you look at the drawing. and think about the pressing question “What shall we name the cat?”  Is the answer to be found right here?

#inktober #inktober2019

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alexei leonov

On a rainy October morning, late in the second decade of the new century, I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of one of the great figures of the last, Alexei Leonov.

Leonov has always been my personal favorite character in the true story of the space race, and a major figure in the alternate history backstory of my comics universe.  Plus I’ve always been sure he was a pretty great guy.  How could you not love that face?

You probably know at least a little about Alexei Leonov, even if you don’t quite recognize his name.  He was the last of the original Soviet cosmonauts, and in 1965 he was the first human being to conduct an extravehicular activity (EVA), when he left the Voshkhod 2 capsule to walk in space for 12 minutes.

Ten years later, in 1975, he commanded the Soyuz capsule in the Apollo/Soyuz joint mission with the Americans.

And yes, that is his drawing of one of the American astronauts.  Leonov was a keen artist all his life and was noted for his colorful paintings of space travel and astronomical subjects.  “Over The Black Sea” is one of my favorites.

Alexei Leonov was close friends with Yuri Gagarin, his cosmonaut classmate and the first person to orbit the Earth.  Gagarin was one of the epic popular heroes of his time, movie star handsome and rock star famous; any time you see a photograph of Gagarin, look for Leonov, he is almost always nearby.

And of course Leonov is honored by alternate historians, because if the Soviet Union had won the very closely contested last lap of the space race in 1968 and 1969, he may very well have been the first person on the Moon.  The Soviet Moon landing plans featured a one person lander, and Leonov was widely regarded as the primary candidate for the mission.  Somewhere out there is a whole cluster of timelines where Alexei Leonov was the star of all those 50th anniversary documentaries last summer.  I’ve often wondered what he would have thought about that.

Hot jets  General Leonov.

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cat again- punkins

The saga of the cat continues.  So far he is still “the cat” or maybe “The cat”, and I thought I had his formula down as 1 part Bill the Cat, 1 part Fat Freddie’s Cat and 2 parts the cat you see in the art of Ancient Egypt.  Except that this drawing, which is the first full body drawing of him that I really like, also recalls Snowball from The Simpsons.

The general reaction to a sketch of his head and topline that I put up on the Official Facebook Page earlier this week seemed to suggest that the handbuilt scribble black was the way to fill him in and I agree.  It’s certainly more interesting to look at, though harder to do, than a solid black fill.

I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who has cats and/or draws them regularly– is there anything specific I can do to make The cat look more catlike without disturbing his simplicity and cartoony-ness?

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best of the drawing of the day: fainting couch

In September I do some themed drawings of the day as a warmup for Inktober, where I will be working to prompt list.  My usual September theme is furniture, with a different piece of furniture in every drawing. Hence, this fainting couch drawing.  I am posting it here because I like how it turned out in general, and specifically because of the cat.

My work is full of animals and specifically of dogs and doglike creatures, but I have never before drawn a cat that I feel is a true character in my own style, a cat that could appear in continuity in my comics.  Yay– I finally have a cat.   He definitely shares honorable cartoon cat roots in the designs of Fat Freddy’s Cat and Bill the Cat, but this guy is his own cat thing.  If you want to suggest a name, feel free, but I already have a working name for him that I am pretty sure I like.

(What all this means is Inktober is coming.  I’ll be posting a “best of” selection here, but look for every Intktober drawing every day on my Official Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/kekiongacomics/   This is a public page and you do not have to be a member of Facebook to read and enjoy.  If you are a member, you are cordiallyare invited to Like the page and see my posts in your feed.)


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hulk poem september, plus what hulk look like if you want see hulk.

Hulk under maple tree, make poem

  • When leaves not change yet
  • but ready to,
  • Day when looks like rain all day
  • but not rain,
  • Make Hulk feel
  • anything can happen.
  • Something happen.
  • Rain on Hulk happen.
  • Not bad rain.
  • World smell good.

(I have been writing poetry in the person of the Hulk for a few years now, and I’ve noticed that his persona inside my head has been diverging from the canon Incredible Hulk, which of course is the intellectual property of Marvel Comics and whoever owns them now. But soon after I wrote this poem I saw my own Hulk in my head for the first time and I really wanted to draw him.  So I did.  I drew him often enough that he now has an official character design. I don’t know if I will ever draw him in continuity, since I’m not sure about the legality, but if I ever put out a collection of his poetry, maybe I can get away with a picture of the author.  Unlike the “real Hulk” he wears a T-shirt with his tattered Hulk pants.  In color, his key line will be dark green, and he himself is mint or apple green and web safe tan.)

Anyway, we have a Poetry Hulk.

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