Origins: Prior to starting Blender Kitty in 2000, I generated over 400 pages of comics between 1988 and 1999. The works I present are among my favorites. I do not dwell extensively (and hardly at all) on my earliest development, but I include a few examples of comics made in grade school on the last page.
The below photograph was taken of me at The Runcible Spoon, with my usual beverage at my usual table. Given the daylight outside, this is likely a weekend day, otherwise I would be drawing at night. Going by the shoes, this must be around 1992 or earlier. I kept this routine at this establishment until the mid-90s.
Epic Dermis n1: Thanks to the Xeric Foundation, I was awarded a grant in 1999 that enabled me to self-publish my first collection of Epic Dermis pieces. The remainder of this page exhibits selections from that work.
Holofernes and The Haircut: Splash page.
Epic Dermis n1: Dogs and pirates.
What the Easter Bunny Told Me
Random Effects project
The Bed Wetter: Like Blood Nap (below), The Bed Wetter chronicles a dream, albeit a urination dream. The power line motif may be viewed as brain interference. This mechanism of white noise prevents dreams from becoming fully conscious to the sleeper. (I dare say that the depiction of a detached male member limited the number of comic book stores that carried my book.) Storyboards appear in linked pages.
Blood Nap: These splash pages portray a restless night’s sleep filled with nightmares. The last page is an attempt to capture an accelerated sense of time, or decompression, at the moment the alarm clock goes off in the morning.
Reformat from Epic Dermis n1: Salt of The Irked
Reformat from Epic Dermis n1: The Young Pioneers
Abnegation: I am compelled to repudiate certain expressions of my youthful creativity, even as late as into my mid-to-late thirties. Beginning with Bible Welts, I discovered a rich vein to mine by combining my love of the language in The King James Bible with my love of puns and nonsensical wordplay.* I did not, in any of these pages, intend sacrilege, malice, or mockery, as I was simply creating out of my upbringing in the Southern Baptist Church and having fun at its expense; and yet, where these indulgences are conflated with other elements, chiefly salacious material intended to shock, irreligious inferences will be made, which I regret.
Epic Dermis No. 1, my only published comic, falls within this period of my counter-culture evolution. Perhaps owing to autism, my sources for artistic inspiration are far and varied, and indicate predilections peculiar to myself. Very few bridges can be built between these early ideas, and there is no philosophy behind them, despite my youthful vanity at the time insisting otherwise. No—this is absudist bricolage; and to approach these assemblages with literal-mindedness in what they appear, superficially, to communicate on a given page is to assume more than was meant. I usually leave it to the reader to interpret my comics as they see fit, but I have at least one example of this book possibly encouraging a reader in his atheism. He may have been surprised to discover, after contacting me, that I was not an atheist. It is for this reason that I set the record straight on this one issue.
I do not seek to destroy or disown my explorations because they are instructive, just as similar journeys made by other artists and thinkers are instructive to me, whether these creators’ initial rejections of an existing order were made with strident arguments or out of unreflective frivolity. It is, as T. S, Eliot characterized the journey, returning to a place and knowing it for the first time. In short, creation is the business of inverting values to learn their value; but this is not so odd an occurrence since prodigals regularly return to the fold after a time of rebellion, such as the example of decadent Alice Cooper becoming (or returning to) Christianity. His journey is my own.
It is rationalism to suppose, where one makes artful or clever sport of a faith, that when such a sinner repents, he is all the more convincing because he once typified the superior reasoning behind the opposition, and yet came to reject it. This is my feeble justification in sparing my early life too much censure. I am still coming to terms with what being a Christian means to me. Autistics have a history of peculiar and self-contradicting views in religious matters. Salvador Dali was by turns agnostic and a believer. Similarly, logician Ludwig Wittgenstein had mystical leanings. These schisms perhaps bear upon an inability to integrate executive brain function (the seat of intellect) with sensory and emotive function. These latter spheres move beneath the surface of dreams, musings, recollection, and creativity.
The lamentation I present here will be lamented by those who view my earliest work as having relevance, if only because of the things I now regret; yet what I seek is forgiveness from my God and not from my critics.
*I am not alone in this tradition. Baron Edward Plunkett Dunsany, noted author of fairy lore, was singularly influenced by the prose style of the King James Bible. His influence on the world of literary and weird fiction is inestimable.
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