Angela Bocage


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the cartooning category.

Practicing for a sailboat?

Moved to my new place in the beautiful Brewerytown/Art Museum neighborhood of Philadelphia in December and love it. I have a bedroom that sticks out from the house and reminds me of the prow of a ship. If I think of the ship as a graceful old sailing vessel, I would be the studly pirate captain’s lover; while leadership, swordfighting, and brilliant strategies would be among her top skill sets, mine would involve careful and innovative means of navigation, accurate documentation of the flora and fauna we encounter in colorful detailed drawings, and short-blade infighting if and when necessary. On the sunny islands where we live between raids, I’d lead yoga classes for the crew as well as critical study groups. We’d be the most flexible and literate of predators…

As will be abundantly clear from the above, I really should start dating, and I am, tentatively…Also want to find a very progressive, lesbian-friendly Jewish chavurah or congregation, and a small-canine-friendly doggie playgroup! My sweet Japanese Chin companion is definitely dealing with some limitations now occasioned by his enlarged and congested ticker, but he takes his medicines and enjoys life a lot, having adjusted to living with our housemate’s big beautiful girl dog with his typical Zen elan.

As far as work, I am sketching comics but not committed to anything at length yet, working on two plays, rewriting one screenplay (the horror-comedy I did with the nicest het boy ever as co-writer: he’s single, Jewish, employed, and works out, all you nice straight girls!) working on a novel more sporadically than I would like, and fairly obsessed with a very strange piece whose final form hasn’t revealed itself yet, but which is already both funny and scary, two of my very favorite things to write.

If you would like to read more, or be a yenta either about potential shuls or potential dates, or have extra Mal Blum/Melissa Ferrick tickets, I’m on Facebook & formspring.me…

Advertisements

Identity, illusion, death

I was very honored recently to be invited by a brilliant and cool new friend to write something for a project of hers on the subject, “Identity.” What a big old steaming hot mess that one is for me, right?! The cartoon caption, were it atop a visual panel of my most enthusiastically gross-&-disgusting pen and ink work, would be something like, “Angela’s brain crawls through the wreckage…” I have been changing my so-called identity since I was five years old, choosing and discarding names and traits like old boots, and have never been sorry. When the T. Heads sang, “I’ve changed my hairstyle—so many times now—I don’t know WHUT I LOOK LIKE,” the line applied to me, only add hair color and clothing style as well. I’m not exaggerating when I say age five; it may have been even earlier. I remember deciding to adopt as my own a phobia of having my picture taken at five, changing my name at five or six, and chopping off the long hair my mother had never ever cut at eight. By eleven hair color changed all the time and by fourteen I had had maybe five different sequential names. (A number rather larger now.)

Identity and I have, clearly, waged an old war. When I read Carlos Castaneda’s dubious and delightful Yaqui stories in junior high and high school, devouring them all repeatedly and dropping whole previous sets of friends to be besties with the publications geeks into Carlos—yep, sorry, I do that too, but at least nowadays I’m trying not to be quite so much of an asshole—his stuff about erasing identity again and again, like the dirt and sweat of each day, made so much sense to me. I feared my ego, wanted to lance it like a boil as often as possible, to which end I never save my published clips and don’t have most of my comics, whether originals or published versions. What’s the point—another thing in Castaneda’s mini-library of chaos magic that made sense to me even then was the imminence of death. It was true when I was thirteen and driving on Southern California freeways with my Alzheimer’s-addled grandfather and true earlier today when a migraine made me nauseated and I wondered whether this time it would be the genetically and environmentally vulnerable much-abused ticker.

Death is always imminent even if Death is extremely quiet and unobtrusive about it, too, of course; turns out that many apparent crazies show up in ERs all agitated and hallucinating  when actually they’re mentally normal individuals having their self-concept, cognitive abilities, and the whole bundle of qualities labeled “sanity” undermined colorfully by nothing more than one or more previously undetected tumors. And people get hit by cars or otherwise felled without warning all the time, as my grandfather (while I was living with him, age six) and my mother (while I was living with her, age eleven) exemplified. My, was I the auspicious child with whom to reside, or what?! With ego that poisonous, and death that near, it seemed like a splendid idea to stock up on identities: an old Jewish custom was to change one’s name to Chaim or Chaya when critically ill so Death might skip your checkmark on Its list.

Then, behind the personal, there’s the political. Or under, or encompassing, or whatever your concept may be of that contested relation. Anyway, politics and identity are of course a whole nother can o’ worms. I know the lefties, red diaper babies, and other kind and hopeful souls may be thinking that identity is a politically necessary concept.  I don’t, because it isn’t any particular identity—or even a human identity—which entitles beings to justice and peace! As long as injustice and suffering exist, it doesn’t matter upon whom they splat!  If identity is a useful tool, in some places, times and situations, to alleviate injustice and suffering, by all means use it. If identity is a fantasy, so are the little imaginary lines on maps, which have been known to cause difficulties from time to time…

I use the word “fantasy” or “artifact” because a shift in context, or in time, can change everything: in a painting or fabric or mosaic, the same color looks one way next to green, another next to gray, then changes a lot next to orange! If identity is no more or less real than that color painting or that fabric—it’s an artifact of situation, time, place, and as cynical law students are wont to say about legal rulings, “what the judge ate for breakfast.”

Tsk. I was meaning to write about how funny the book I was reading is, it’s Tanya Huff’s Smoke and Ashes and it’s super fun, but maybe tomorrow…


A new theme song for 2009! And happy Darwin Day!

My beloved friend blogging at More Madonna, Less Jesus has changed her format and has a lot of fantastic pictures of…of a nice WARM climate…with beaches…and, and clear sky…and people not all #$@! bundled up in down coats! Sigh. Weep. Anyway, she also shares a fine moment from…”her favorite local band.” The link is pretty much like so: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXo0ls2BfPY&eurl=http://moremadonnalessjesus.wordpress.com/

It’s great not to be afraid. Boy do I know it. Now I do, yes, I know what it’s like NOT to live in fear every day.  I am so thankful for that: to the spirits, and also my beloved partner. ❤ Once nobody can threaten you with pain or death—or, as cited by that wonderful band, Prove It, from More Madonna’s blog, crocodiles—how free is that? Of course I have sooo long a way to go, because even more than death and pain, I fear the graceful arachnid…I’m trying to either think of them as tiny oddly shaped scorpions  or sort of remember the old Superboy comics where Lana Lang became the Insect Queen (thanks, I believe, to a ray gun built by an old-familial-wizard figure, either her uncle or her dad?). She could become a human-size version of whatever insect a given danger required for its neutralization! I feel affectionate kinship with scorpions, bats, rats, snakes, and can’t fathom how people are afraid of them—which I realize is RIDICULOUS! LOLZ!!! But Lana learned that since she could also become crustaceans and spiders, at some point she realized she was The Arthropod Queen or something…it was all pretty goofy! Comics are great for helping overcome fear. As a tiny leetle Southern girl in second and third grades in P.S. 59 in Manhattan, afraid to talk because if I did I had teachers and students alike thinking I was kinda special cause my accent was pure,  I was sooo often absolutely bewildered…until my mom started taking me to Bill and Rose’s newsstand on 2nd Avenue and I started hiding Thor and Batman and Daredevil and Spidey and the Legion of Superheroes in my nasty horrible math books! I can still remember how wildly delightedly I would smile thinking of my comic books when I was that age. 😀  😀  😀


Tearful a.m., blessed p.m., and–CORGIS. And a new cartooning possibility…!

I’ve been neglecting this more serious blog to have my silly fun over at my MySpace blog, but enough of that…today was enough of both, really. And anyway, when my much-admired blogger, serious, scholarly, politically aware, ethical, cool, Witch and polyamourist pal tells me she’s gonna make a t-shirt that says “I’m not Prince Charming but I’ll F*** You ‘Til He Gets Here,” all the categories blur…we might do a comic strip together, though, about her adventures dating straight girls! They are SO into her, which I can totally understand anyone being, and it’s certainly about time for me to draw some more.

Anyway, this morning we had to go in early, because my resked’d driving test was at 2 and my spouse had to drive into the city from her suburban office and had to get work done first, of all things. So maybe i was somewhat sleepless. But when this nice young guy at work, who’d also used to frequent the late lamented Blackout Books in NYC, brought in the Rolling Stone article about Brad Will, I couldn’t read much before I flat-out lost it. I couldn’t stop crying. I clenched my teeth, told myself it was better to just cry as quietly as possible and get some work done than go to the ladies’ room because I’d probably just break down worse there, and sloggy kleenex after sloggy kleenex plopped into my plastic-lined cheapo office wastebasket….

Everybody knows who Brad Will is, right? Ha! The corporate media sure had the disappearance of some pretty teenager partying with her senior class in Grenada all over every front page in America, but the cold blooded political murder, in Oaxaca, of a scruffy guy who was there to report the truth? Not so much. The “truth,” unwieldy and blobbularly nebulous concept that it is on its best day, was so bizarrely corsetized into homogenized yuppiethink in the Rolling Stone article that I wasn’t just crying for Brad, and for the loss of Brad, and for a world that’s lost him, but for the smarmy monkeyshit in which his memory is buried, if articles like this are all anyone sees. Apparently there are other written and filmic accounts in the works, and i will definitely, definitely write about what i find.

In the meantime, I stuck my earphones in and blasted myself deaf in the left ear between the False Prophets’ Overkill and Blind Obedience again and again and more personally-cheering pieces like Plastic Bertrand’s Ca Plan Pour Moi, Loreena McKennitt’s Dante’s Dream, and Current 93’s Tam Lin, playing drums and bass somewhere on the astral plane, and, strangely, getting a prodigious amount of work done before time to leave for my driver’s test.

The taxi ride over to Columbus Boulevard and Tasker, where the Driver’s License Center sits most harmoniously with its surroundings on the corner, certainly corroborated my lovely coworker Mahesha’s information that that neighborhood’s drivers are libertarian absolutists regarding which lane one can turn left out of. We almost, but did not, get killed on one such occasion, so I busied myself reading interesting facts in the Rights and Responsibilities sections, for both passengers and drivers, posted on the back of the front seat. I fantasized that since the driver was a total slob, and yakked departure-to-arrival on his cell phone, thereby abdicating two of his responsibilities, perhaps I could have been forgiven for schlepping a muddy baby goat or incontinent miniature horse, as two of my responsibilities were not to tote “unrestrained” animals and not to dirty the interior.

Though Coach was a lot more worked up about the test than I was, the Powers smiled lovingly and I got the sweetest, nicest, most gallant–I’d venture to say courtliest!–driving tester one could imagine! What a sweetheart! And slipped as effortlessly between the now-daylit parking cones [I’d practiced there the night before, along with some other enterprising women–cf. my MySpace] as a muddy baby goat into a taxi! No, wait, MUCH more so!!! And this is after a calm, cool, collected cruise ’round the area–so the sweetie-pie tester turns to me after I’ve reparked Coach’s vehicle (Pallas Athena aka “Speedy”) and says “As we say in South Philly, ‘Bingole!'” (And Coach’s sun-visor St. Christopher medal, which had survived WWII on a submarine, probably came out of the duck-and-cover position he’d assumed when her Hebrew honey got behind the wheel…)

So watch out, cz i’z licensed to pilot carz in todos los Estados Unidos, y Guam, France, Germany, and Puerto Rico tambien!!! And so we came home and this evening watched The Queen, which is brilliant, and whose Corgis won the coveted Fido award, Britain’s canine answer to the Oscars, and deserved it richly every one. The cuteness ALONE woulda aced it, but their dance of synchronized obedience to queenly directives was too prosh!!! and any dog lover should seriously see this flick…even if it was a tad inaccurate in the conformation of the Labradors.


The rain on a late summer Sunday

In all the greenness, the rain softened both greens and blues with silvery grey. The silvery grey sound was the best part, and the sleeping in the afternoon, windows open, seeing and hearing and smelling the freshness and beauty. Another best part was that a cat was sleeping on me, a dog in front of me, my beloved behind me, and any one of us would occasionally sigh, or touch another one reassuringly and lovingly. When pup goes outside in the rain, everytime he comes in Jezebel the white/calico  junior female cat kisses him, rubs her head on him, and sometimes cleans his nose or an ear; so I meant the critters too.

I was supposed to do so many things I didn’t do. Part of the day, though, it was because our network was down. Strangely happy in the rain–strangely happy in general. Love the creatures, and the girl, with whom I live, the plants and trees among which our li’l house sits, the smells of the garden, putting fresh garden grown foods into the dinners I make.  That reminds me, I have to dump a bunch of things into the compost directly, cause the kitchen bucket’s full…and of course, dump out the kitchen bucket. Berekiah the pup will no doubt go with me to guard me from spiders.

My brilliant daughter, I love her so much, has arranged to go to a school that will not force mindless prompt daily attendance at a prison block: City As School. Well, she already reads and writes much better than most attorneys. And has grown and changed over her weeks in San Francisco studying b/w photography and experimental film. Can’t wait to hear more about her directions and ideas.

My splendid cousin Jennifer was kind enough to send me a poem about tomatoes, which echoes my mother’s sentiments about their goodness! I will post it later. She studied Yeats this summer in Ireland. She reports that Ireland was chilly, so perhaps in summer the Irish snicker at their tourists like we used to do in San Francisco…Trina Robbins and I used to fuss and fuss about not being able to wear skimpy sundresses in SF. But Trina loves Ireland, goes whenever she can. Weather is relative…

Does anyone know if Yeats had anything– relationship, influence, feud, whatevs–with the poet I was supposed to do my religion thesis on, Charles Williams of the Oxford Inklings group? An amazing paralysis/anxiety took hold of me everytime I even thought about that thesis, even though I was fascinated with religious studies (still am!). This eventually led to my changing my major to art. Rather pleased I did. But wish wish wish I could draw and paint more now; learning canine anatomy and kinesiology and drawing canine skeletons and skulls and musculature and zygomatic arches and canarsials.

Their toes-bones are pretty fascinating too. Their ears. As I wrote in one of my favorite comics I ever did, the one about artificiality and armor, I was always taught by my mom to wash my ears because it would teach me how to draw ears. Berry’s I can just look at, but I think some of the worst things about the way I draw canids at present is failure to correctly place eyes and ears on the skull.  I’m getting a couple relatively cheap books about this, because the vet textbooks are way expensive. And shall let you know if they are useful.


I have a good idea: buy some art. Also, see a shrink. And remember your keys.

When my beloved says, or I say, the words “I have a good idea,” the other replies without pause: “Uh-oh.” I suppose it’s a way of acknowledging that many things that “seemed like a good idea at the time,” e.g. putting your fist through a door’s glass panel to impress a cute girl at a party (hers) or skipping any interviews with big “corporate” law firms despite being top-10-and-Law-Review cause you just wanted to help the downtrodden (mine) turned out not to be so good.

But this here is a darn good one: Wanna buy some art?! I’ve decided to take commissions again, after having done one just because our friend Peggy is so wonderful I couldn’t say no to her, even though kinda terrified. But it turned out amazingly well!

I just did a huge four-panel cartoon on commission for my Peggy, my wife’s old bandmate, for her main squeeze’s birthday, all about his early history flying at what she has referred to as “a cartoon airport” (so this present was a natcheral, see) whose planes had names like Gimpy, Polky and Turkey and whose flight teacher was so beloved by students that his WASP (a women’s division of the Air Force) students from the fifties and sixties still kept in touch with him for decades. It was a revelation–I don’t think of myself as drawing landscapes and heavy machinery too well, but it ended up absolutely beautiful. Though given excellent photo reference for the planes and the gentlemen in question–thank you ever so much, Peggy–I basically had to plan and write the sequential narrative pulling all the elements together. Using multiple colors of ink, I couldn’t believe how much fun I had. I hadn’t used colored inks in I don’t know how long. I’ll put up some pictures of this and other cool stuff soon. But there you are, I’m ready to take on such challenges.

God, I love my shrink. If you live/work in Center City Philadelphia, are an artist, or have ADD, or love dogs, Dr. Jeffrey Bedrick, who is a real doctor and thus can prescribe the pharmacopeia so necessary to modern urban life, could be great for your mental health and functioning. I’m increasingly skeptical of the knee-jerk dissing of Ritalin, dismissing ADD as a mere scam by big business–haven’t enough large scale studies shown the structural and functional differences in our tricky brains? Hello, hippocampal hypertrophy?! I worked on AIDS News Service back in the day, so nothing’s news to me about the tangled relations between profits, politics, science and the FDA’s pharmaceutical approval process; for many like me, benefits may outweigh risks, and I’m deeply thankful I can get helpful medications. And really really super thankful for the smarts and wisdom of Dr. Bedrick, who’s active in canine rescue!

Finally, let’s all remember our keys. Okay? I’ve kinda run outta time here but far far sooner than my last regrettable posting-lapse, I shall tell you the story of the Great Lockout of 2007 and why my spouse caused Legionnaire’s Disease, the near-extinction of the rare Florida blue-tongued vole, the Indonesian tsunami, and possibly even the hanging chads precipitating W into the residency!


“My life is an open comic book…”

I strode into the underground post office in Philadelphia’s Suburban Station, proud of my new get-organized plan: I’d keep up with my  financial obligations by getting all these envelopes together and stamping and addressing them, even writing the checks and sealing them in there, in huge bunches ahead of time! And it was the first day they were selling “forever” stamps! So I stood in line for……some time.

Sometimes I feel like such an asshole.  For very good reasons. For no good reason, in the early 21st Century I dated two psychiatrists in a row.  I bonded with them over common interests unrelated to their profession, and of course their lustful carnal attraction to my tempting self. Both of them, as you’d naturally expect, were crazy. But from one of them I learned about ADD. He had it, and got me to see that I did, too. (You will have observed from the gendered pronoun why there was no good reason for us to date, my being gay as a picnic basket.) I light up the charts like Las Vegas for the ADD diagnostic criteria, as a really good psychiatrist, whom I did not date, confirmed. However, it was clear to me from my acquaintance with Shrinkdate One that most of the attributes of adult ADD, which I have, and which he had, were identical to the attributes of adult assholes. We’re really messy, forgetful, disorganized, and pretty darn irresponsible. My son, however, tells me that according to a book he’s reading, The War of Art (“It’s about resistance, Mom”) ADD wasn’t defined by doctors, but by Big Pharma in search of a syndrome to medicalize the faults of the most people and sell them the drugs to “treat” it. Yeah, let’s give all the irresponsible assholes speed! Make that the irresponsible-assholes-insecure-enough-to-go-along-with-being-medicalized. Today’s a bad tired day, in a bad tired week……

I didn’t write the wonderful summing-up I used as the title of this post; Peter Kuper did, as the epigraph of his graphic memoir Stripped, which I recommend if you’d like to learn more than you imagined possible about liberal middle-class boys coming of age in the ’70s-’80s. It’s funny and sour/sweet and the very epitome of overshare. So when I feel like oversharing,  I remember about how much I used to do that in my comics, oy gevalt, did I ever, and I remember Peter’s epigraph.


Joan Hilty’s art is online and gives goosebumps

Joan Hilty’s such an intelligent cartoonist; I was so glad to Google her today and find her page, http://www.joanhilty.org, and to find that some of my favorite comics of hers are there…even that one strip that totally gives me goosebumps, The Last Days of May. Of course she’s a talented artist and writer, very funny and original, but it’s the sheer structure and the acute observation in her work that cause the tiny downy hairs on my arms to stand up. 



%d bloggers like this: