In my upcoming book Love: a Discovery in Comics I dedicate one chapter to exploring the concept of “The One”. Is there truth to the notion that there is one perfect mate for each of us out there? An if so, how do we find them?
Hopeless romantic as I am, I love to believe in The One. But with 7 billion people out there, I’m not sure there’s only one. Maybe there’s ideal matches for each phase of life that we’re in…
In my upcoming book Love: a Discovery in Comics I go on a quest for a new True Love (because the Seven-Year Itch hit me). When it comes to Love, everyone and anyone has well-meant advice, and most of it is rubbish. The one thing that ever really worked for me, and I am not hesitant to recommend to others, is to VISUALIZE what you want.
Make a list of every little thing you’d like to see in your partner – how they behave towards you and others, what their preferences are in movies, food and holidays, what they look like, how they dress; every silly little detail that pleases you, whether it’s politically correct or not. The trick is, of course, that once you make yourself aware of what you really want, it’s much easier to recognize it when you stumble across it.
But the most important thing about such a list is not to hang on to it too tightly. After you made it, put it away and forget about it. Around the time I met Yiri, I thought my true love should look like a tall Viking. If I had stuck to that, I would never have discovered that Yiri has a really cool wizard-Viking inside him.
Did I find new love and was it a better one than I already had…?
Did you know the Ancient Greek had at least seven words to describe the concept of Love? There’s agape (deep devoted love), eros (lust), philia (friendship), storge (family love), ludus (playful love), pragma (rational love) and philautia (self love).
Ludus literally means “game”, so I decided to draw a game board in my upcoming book Love: a Discovery in Comics. It’s not accidental that practitioners of this kind of love are often called “players”.
On the other end of the spectrum there’s pragma, the very rational, pragmatic approach to relationships. A famous example of someone who used this approach is Charles Darwin:
One thing Michael Cherkas and I have always enjoyed is producing new promotional material to help people to remember our books. This year at TCAF (May 11 and 12, 2019 in Toronto) we will be handing out nifty bookmarks.
We have not yet finalized the design for this year’s bookmark but here are the back and front of a bookmark we did for our previous presence at TCAF in 2012!
Please come and see us at the NBM table at TCAF!
In my next blog post I will tell you about some of the other promotional material we have produced over the years! And we’ll soon be able to tell you about other stops on our 2019 World Tour!
For more information on The Silent Invasion click here.
My newest book, on Love this time, will hit bookstores in June! It will be first available at the TCAF comic con in Toronto on May 11 & 12, which Yiri and I will be attending (find us at the NBM booth for a chat!).
The latest in de Heer’s series of simple, cheery graphic novel guides to big topics like science, philosophy, and religion finds the Dutch cartoonist tackling the meaning of love. Taking her own romantic history and current relationship with her husband (and colorist) Yiri Kohl as the opening story, she expands into such subjects as the history of marriage, the chemical components of desire, the seven kinds of love identified by the ancient Greeks, and the Kama Sutra and Song of Songs. Her gesticulating cartoon avatar shares her expertise on romance novels and attends a speed dating event. It’s an upbeat and good-natured sampling of issues related to partnership, lust, and romance, but the topic of love is far too vast to be covered satisfyingly in a 120-page comic. The broadly smiling, roly-poly cartoon characters and bright colors make the arguments accessible to a fault. Ultimately, the cartoon version of de Heer reaffirms her relationship with Kohl, but she doesn’t come to any conclusions that could be considered truly universal. While affable, this is an unchallenging ramble through a topic that could easily provide fodder for an entire separate series of graphic investigations.
It is true that I found it hard to come up with truly universal truths about love. In my own experience, the subject is so complex, that when you want to condense it you either have to describe purely scientific facts or stick to personal experience, in order to avoid reverting to platitudes. In this book (as in all my books), I’ve done both: the broad view with facts such as the history of marriage, contents of the Kama Sutra and chemicals in the brain, AND my own personal story of being in a long-term relationship with Yiri.
Will our marriage withstand the onslaught that is the Seven Year Itch…? Read all about it in ‘Love – a Discovery in Comics!’
Oh, and I also threw in a few frivolities, such as this:
Of all of my books, this is the one I had most fun with drawing. I hope lots of readers will LOVE it!
I really like webcomics. My favorite part is how much you’re allowed to see the creator grow throughout the lifespan of the comic. That’s not something you get to see in most other mediums. Or, at least, it’s not as obvious. Watching someone master a craft little by little is really inspiring. Being able to, at any time, go back and see how they began was so powerful for me that it’s what got me to start drawing.
In other words: comparing a webcomic’s current art to its art from when it first started is mind-blowing to me. Everyone knows that “practice makes perfect,” but this is proof! Proof in a way that is rarely so easily seen.
19-year-old me saw this. He saw this, and he made his own webcomic.
When I started, I knew I would be terrible. But it was okay! All these artists that I admired so much, these heroes, they were all terrible at first too. Of course, logically I knew that. No one is instantly amazing at something they’ve never done before. Of course! But I had proof. And I have proof.
Making things is hard. Getting started is hard. You know you’re going to be terrible, so why start? The answer is simple. One day you won’t be terrible.
Just look at the proof.
You can find Jon on Twitter where he posts his silly drawings and sometimes brags about his kids, and you can find out more about LOOK here.
You may have followed my three-year lawsuit against the LA Times for defamation and wrongful termination. Whether journalists in California will keep basic employment protections and whether libel will remain actionable are now important issues in the hands of the California state Supreme Court. We filed our Petition to Review with the court yesterday. Please read it here. It’s a good primer about an important case. And please wish me luck. I need it!
I’m not new to NBM but I am new to the new and improved NBM blog so an introduction is in order. Below is some biographical information. I’ll be chiming in now and again about my latest project for NBM, the revised, bigger paperback edition of THE YEAR OF LOVING DANGEROUSLY, my “graphic memoir” about surviving post-Ivy League homelessness in 1980s New York City.
Ted Rall’s Bio
Editorial Cartoonist Ted Rall became nationally known for his work during the 1990s, when he brought the multiple-panel format of newspaper comics to the political cartoon format. Rall helped modernize political cartooning, inspiring a younger generation of alternative-weekly artists with a more direct, less metaphorical approach to satire before moving on to publishing his work in major daily newspapers including The New York Times, where he became its most reprinted cartoonist.
Born in Massachusetts and raised in Dayton, Ohio, Rall left in order to attend Columbia University in New York, which became his home and inspiration for his gritty urban style. New York was where Rall met pop artist Keith Haring; it was Haring who suggested that Rall take his political cartoons directly to the people by posting them on subway entrances and other public spaces in order to attract attention and find readers. Within a few years, his cartoons were published in weekly newspapers such as NY Weekly and The Village Voice, as well as across the United States and Canada.
Rall’s work was signed for syndication in 1991. He has been with Universal Press Syndicate (now called Andrews McMeel Syndication) since 1996.
Rall’s cartoons have appeared in hundreds of publications around the world, including Rolling Stone, Time, Newsweek, Esquire, The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times and smaller papers like the Des Moines Register and Dayton Daily News. Today he is one of the most widely syndicated U.S. political cartoonists, as well as a nationally syndicated opinion columnist.
Rall is also a graphic novelist, having won prizes for his works of comix journalism such as “To Afghanistan and Back,” the result of his on-the-ground cartoons and essays filed from the front lines of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 as an unembedded reporter living with local families, and his series of cartoon biographies “Snowden” and “Bernie,” about the NSA whistleblower and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate. “Bernie” was a New York Times bestseller.
As an editor, Rall has worked to elevate and promote cartooning. He edited the three-volume “Attitude” book anthology, which defined the “alternative” genre of modern political cartooning that followed the donkeys-and-elephants era. He edited round-ups of comics for sites like The Daily Beast and is now the Cartoon Editor at Forbes.com. As Editor of Acquisitions and Development for United Media, Rall worked to diversify daily comics, signing more women and people of color into syndication than any other executive in history.
Rall’s most recent book is a graphic novel-format biography of Pope Francis.
In 2009 NBM published my first and only collaboration with another creator, THE YEAR OF LOVING DANGEROUSLY. I wrote the story—my story—and Pablo G. Callejo, the Spanish genius behind BLUESMAN, drew the artwork. I was really happy with the way it turned out. Despite never having visited New York before, much less during the 1980s, Pablo managed to channel what NYC felt like during the bad old days of the Reagan era.
YEAR OF LOVING is about my year (really a year and a half, closer to two) that followed my expulsion from Columbia University for both academic and disciplinary reasons. In short order I lost my girlfriend, a place to live and my job. With only a few buck in my pocket I got ready to face the reality of homelessness in Manhattan.
Until I lucked into a place to stay with a woman who picked me up.
YEAR OF LOVING did OK. But it was, I think, ahead of its time. Besides, the economy was terrible. With 500,000+ Americans losing their job every month, not a lot of consumers were picking up graphic novels. Personally, I think the 6×9 trim size of the hardback didn’t do Pablo’s artwork justice.
The new paperback coming out in April 2019 fixes the size problem: at 8.5×11 the artwork really shines and you can easily read it. The #MeToo movement puts this story into a textured context (I’ll blog about that next time); here’s a story about a man relying on the kindness of women rather than the clichéed opposite scenario in which men wield their power over women. And of course the paperback is more affordable and the economy doesn’t suck as badly.