Angela Bocage


Category Archive

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

Morning Has Broken

Is old Episcopalian hymn #8, the woman poet Eleanor Farjeon wrote it, and another woman poet, my late, beloved aunt played it beautifully on piano.

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Identity

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, 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 or hitchhiking the same ones with anyone who picked me up. Still is.

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 labeled “sanity” undermined colorfully by 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.

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 caused conflagrations.

 


Props to Silver Age Lana Lang in Superboy

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.  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. 😊


Corgis

1. Should not be bred with dachshunds.

2. Just get me.


Advice

My mom to little me: wash your ears carefully, it’ll teach you how to draw ears.


Not so good

Things that “seemed like a good idea at the time” but weren’t

1. putting your fist through a door’s glass panel to impress a cute girl at a party (ex gf’s)

2. skipping any interviews with big “corporate” law firms despite being top-10-and-Law-Review cause you just wanted to help the downtrodden (mine)


“My life is an open comic book…”

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, sometimes 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.

Turns out ADHDers’ brains really ARE different.

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.


Plus, it’s good for you

Heard today from generally reliable NYer: Ginger lattes are exquisite.



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