Archive for performance

Rejected Vows, pt 1: Voltron

Posted in As if you cared, Diary, not comics, romance with tags , , , on 8 September, 17 by cantocomics

My younger brother Eric did me the great honor last month of not only choosing me as his best man, but having me officiate his wedding ceremony. I’m proud of the kid.

That’s him on the left there, next to his patient and lovely bride.

The hardest part about this was writing an Officiant’s speech that gave the occasion its proper respect. Not that I don’t respect my brother, but yo, it’s hard to be serious when you and the groom have been laughing at each other’s farts for 25 years.

I went through two drafts before I got to one that we we’re both happy with.

Here’s one of them: 

Dearly beloved, affectionately acquainted, and total strangers with whom I hope to exchange names in the near future, I bid you welcome.


We are gathered here today, sheltered from blinding Texan sun, to celebrate the union of my little brother Eric and my soon to be little sister Shannon.

How came we here, friends? What wild-ass string of unforeseeable events brought us to this pass, where these two unthinkably attractive young people, one with eyes of winter crystal, the other with the cascading locks of Ceres framing her comely visage are about to forge themselves into one mighty weapon of matrimony?


I’ve had the great privilege of knowing Eric his whole life, from tiny baby to Young Bobby Hill to the strong, willful, intelligent and often hilarious young man you see before you today. I am honored to have had the opportunity to see him grow, to share in his joys and sorrows, to see him metamorphose from lowly caterpillar to razor-winged murder moth.


A large factor in Eric’s maturation over the past few years has been, in fact, the bride herself. I haven’t had the opportunity to get to know this beauty as well as I have my brother, but seeing the effect of her patience, good humor, generosity, and kindness have had on him I have no doubt she must love him deeply and passionately. I anticipate getting to better know this goddess of compassion, whose smile is the light in my brother’s eyes, and watching the two of them grow together over the decades to come.


The bond of marriage is one of great power, my dear friends. These two will in a short while possess a strength far greater than that which either of them have separately. Like Voltron or the Megazord, they will combine into a force to be reckoned with.


But with great power, as Uncle Ben once said, comes great responsibility. The road ahead will not be without bumps or windings. In order to maintain the bond we assist in forging today, these two must work together–moving as one through thick metaphorical jungle, soaring through storm-tossed metaphorical skies, blasting through the metaphorical voids of metaphorical deep space. They must shore each other up against the unceasing onslaughts of the enemy–who must surely also be a metaphor, because how could anyone have ire against these two beauties?


My dear and patient bride and groom, please now profess your devotion and make your vows to one another, so that we will know the strength with which you cleave together.


(They would have said their vows here)


Eric, do you take Shannon as your copilot, in sickness and in health, to wind the starship of your love through asteroid fields, to have and to hold, to share in the plunder of successful campaigns, until the heat death at the end of the universe?


Shannon, do you take Eric as your sidekick, for richer or poorer, to stare down evil, to clench the mighty fist of Justice and plunge it through the gankity-ass grill of crime, forever and ever, until death do you part?


By the power of Grayskull, I now pronounce you Husband and Wife. You may kiss the bride.

I was okay with this one, but the bride and groom were not. Understandably, I think. Weddings are, like, important or whatever.

I have another draft of the same speech as an extended nautical metaphor if you’re interested in reading it. But that’s a matter for another post.

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Towards the Stage: a belated Announcement

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 25 July, 17 by cantocomics

Hello, my dearests. I’m going to try to #makeblogginggreatagain by reactivating this site as a kind of production diary of a piece that I’ll tell you all about below.

This March I became the honored recipient of a grant from the incredible and generous New Hazlett Theater here in Pittsburgh. I’m using this opportunity to expand the world I first began exploring in my pieces for Maple Key Comics way back when. If you follow me on other, slightly easier to update social media sites (Twitter, for example, or Instagram), you’ll have found that almost all my work since the first pages of The Pestle have been devoted to telling stories in this setting. 

The New Hazlett in Deutschetown. A swell place run by swell people.

The project is called Büer’s Kiss (😘😘) and, as with the PestleUntil the Blood Runs Black, and Turmring, is inspired by particular and somewhat obscure historical events. I have been reading an awful lot into the history of disease and epidemiology (the black plague and leprosy/Hansen’s Disease in particular) and that research feeds the fires below the boiler in my brainpan. This is not to say that any of those projects are relations of real historical events or faithful representations of anything aside from my own fevered imaginings (to say nothing of my imaginings about fever). 

Büer’s Kiss is going to be a mulimedia live comics reading performed by myself, my good friend and Dr. Sketchy’s partner Ms. Joanna Becker, and esteemed voice actor and all-round cool dude Ryan Haggerty.  We’ll be doing some live Foley effects as well as voice acting, and it promises to be a pretty interesting experience. I am both trepidatious and excited.

The script is finished, and it’s LONG. The longest I’ve ever written. I managed to get the first draft done in a little over a month, and I’m proud of it.

I’ve started drawing the pages as well, which feels good after having ground on the script for that long. Each one is at 14×17″, which is larger I think than I’ve ever worked. So in short: Bigger, Longer, More Important to my Career than anything I’ve ever done. No pressure.

This project comes after several years of performing live comics (usually Sophie’s) at conventions up and down the East coast and in the Midwest. 

I hope to be able to take this project on tour, either as a separate piece from my normal cartooning practice or as an extension. What you can expect to see in this space over the coming months of frantic preparation are:

  1. Pro(c/gr)ess posts
  2. Thoughts about Live Comics Readings 
  3. Brief asides about history and research
  4. Jokes
  5. Florid prose

All hopefully in a relatively regular schedule of updates. I’m drawing whenever I have time at the moment, but as winter approaches I’ll likely be at the drawing board more frequently.

I’m also in the midst of a very busy time in my other creative pursuits–those being hosting burlesque events and Dr. Sketchy’s Drink & Draw nights–both of which are just a hoot and a holler, but take a bit of time away from the other work.

In short, it is an exciting time to be me, and I’m looking forward to sharing with you.