pastel vasco: almond cake with almond-orange cream filling

pastel vasco For the last couple years, I have posted Facebook pix of Matt’s birthday cake, which is always pastel vasco. In response to a few recipe requests, voila, my first cooking post. I didn’t know I’d be posting this, or I’d have made a bunch more food-porny photos. Too late now, it’s all gone!

Pastel vasco, also known as gateau basque, is the national pie/cake of the Basque people in southwest France/northeast Spain. Matt and I first had it (basically everywhere) in San Sebastian/Donostia (that’s the Basque name for the town) in 2006, and Matt fell deeply in love. Me too, although perhaps not as ardently.  Continue reading

The Beautiful Ones


In 2009, for some reason, Editions Dargaud (my publisher for the Trish Trash project, as well as the French version of Life Sucks) decided to publish an anthology with Arte TV on the subject of… “Summer of the 80s”. The whys of this decision are unknown to me.

Whatever the reason, I took the opportunity to work with Ron Wimberly on a 5-pager, “The Beautiful Ones.” It takes place at First Avenue/7th St. Entry in Minneapolis in 1983.

Ron arrived for a residency at la Maison des Auteurs a few weeks ago, and it’s made me remember this comic, and to hope we do it again!


Waiting for Douglas Coupland


One of my more, ahem, opinion-infused “journalistic” comics—about the (non) appearance by Douglas Coupland at a Chicago bookstore. (more…)

Camille Paglia


Here’s the strip that started it all: “Camille Paglia” is a report on a talk that she gave at the University of Chicago in 1994, and was the first journalistic/researched nonfiction piece I ever did. (more…)


godzilla icon

A report on the 1995 Godzilla Con in suburban Chicago, first published in the NewCity (Chicago). Featuring Very Special Guest Alex Wald! (more…)

Using Scrivener to create fictional comics

It’s been ages since I started my supposed “series” of posts on how I write, but a few weeks ago during the Festival International de la Bande Dessinée in Angoulême, Alison Bechdel stopped by my studio, and geeking out with her over writing tools was enough of a kick in the pants to get back to things here.

Alison and I have a lot in common when if comes to our love of writing tech.

Alison and I have a lot in common when if comes to our love of writing tech.

Last year, I wrote a post about “visual scripting,” my InDesign drafting technique for comics scripts (based on ideas Alison initially came up with). Since then, I’ve only used it more intensively, and I love it. I totally stand by that post. The process makes envisioning the finished page while writing it so much more transparent.

That said, a huge portion of my writing process doesn’t happen on the comics page, and all that stuff, I do in Scrivener. Continue reading

Ancrages: exposition at la Maison des Auteurs

affiche_ancrages_40x60 light 
Every year, the Maison des Auteurs, where I’m in residence, holds a group exhibition of all the artists who have been in residence that year during the Festival International de la Bande Dessinée à Angoulême (aka FIBD). The opening is the traditional first fun event of the festival, on Thursday night.

I’ve got three original Trish Trash pages up this year, and Matt has several pages from his new story in le Journal Directeur. If you’re in town, come by to see us!

ancrages : l’exposition de la maison des auteurs
30 janvier au 2 février 2014
la maison des auteurs
accès 3 avenue de Cognac

Continue reading

Pros/cons, ups/downs, love/hate: Life in France after almost a year.

charente nov 2012
I’m not a Francophile. I like France, but I’ve never fantasized about living here. I don’t idolize French food, or the language, or fashion. I decided a few years ago (with Matt, of course) that it would be a good idea to try to live in France, because the comics industry is so strong here, because we have professional connections, because Matt speaks very good French, and because I really need to finally learn to do so too. There are other reasons we wanted to move, but they’re less specific to France: we want our kids to know multiple languages and to have an international perspective. We feel that living abroad, anywhere, is a really good idea for artists. We were trapped in an ongoing stress-fest life in Brooklyn, where we did (a lot) more comics-related work than on actual comics, and we needed to go somewhere cheaper and simpler (this factor does not really point one to France, of course). (More on our decision-making process here.)

So the last few days of August 2012 saw me and Matt and our two kids get on a plane with way too many suitcases and arrive in Angoulême, France.

People say to me, “oh, that just sounds so fan-TAS-tic” in this dreamy voice…you can tell that my story plays into their more-or-less developed fantasy of escape to a romantic other life, where things are simpler and slower and a hell of a lot prettier.  I have this conversation with friends and family over and over: Is it great? Are you happy? When are you coming back? Does socialism work??  Continue reading

Girls’ Comics: new-old work on the site


I’ve been slowly working at updating old versions of the pages on this site, and adding some new material. I hope to bring you some regular postings of old comics within a few months. Meanwhile, I’ve put together this narrative of a really productive accidental drawing/print/painting series I did in the 90s. This image, especially, is one I’ve used any number of times for various purposes, and if I dug deeply enough, I might even find that it’s some kind of a precursor to Trish Trash: Rollergirl of Mars.

More to come.

SP-Xiles 2001


I recently rediscovered the archival webpage of SPXiles—an improvised SPX replacement event in NYC the weekend after 9-11—in my files. I thought I’d re-post it here for nostalgia and for the record. We’d already posted the photos on Flickr (as well as photos of the September 12 planning meeting) a year or so ago, but what the heck. What follows is what I posted back in late 2001 (minus the weird Dreamweaver-generated tables and plus a few new links and editorial notes, denoted in [brackets]). 


SP-Xiles: Brooklyn, New York, September 16, 2001

SP-Xiles was an impromptu event organized in New York City as a response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This same weekend, SPX/The Expo, a small press comics convention, was supposed to take place in Bethesda MD [it was cancelled due to the attacks]. To make up for the cancellation of one of the most anticipated and important events of the year in the independent/literary comics scene, a group of local cartoonists decided to stage a make-up event. With the help of our host Charlie Orr, who made his Williamsburg loft available, we were able to pull it off. We succeeded in bringing together our community at a time when we were (and are) all still reeling from the attacks and sorely needed a forum to get together, be with friends and make new ones, and to share our comics with the local community. We took collections of a minimum of five dollars from all exhibitors and asked them to donate a portion of their take at the end of the day (many donated everything they had earned). We also invited guests to donate money at the door.

Thanks to everyone who came and made the event a big success. We collected $1925.00 (one half for the Red Cross and one half for the New York Fire Fighter’s 9-11 Relief Fund). This money was converted to two money orders which were sent out on September 18 with a note explaining where the donation came from.

If you are a NYC-area cartoonist or comics fan, please keep in touch, we hope we can get together again soon under better circumstances! (e-mail below)

If you have a web-page about another SPX make-up event, let us know, and we’ll link it here [at the bottom of this page].


SP-Xiles was organized by Jessica Abel, Leela Corman, Tom Hart, Ellen Lindner, Sara Varon, Matt Madden, Charlie Orr, Gabe Soria. Thanks everyone!

Take a look at our photo gallery and scroll down to see the list of exhibitors



Co-organizer Matt madden arriving on the scene


Charlie Orr’s loft at the beginning of the day. All paintings seen throughout these photos are by Charlie.


Setting up on the floor…


People start to arrive.


a lavish brunch is offered (bloody marys not pictured)


Our host Charlie Orr, with his girlfriend Melissa, in front of his vertical Twister game.


Event co-organizer Sara Varon with her wonderful silkscreened books and prints.


Jason Brightman selling his new series, Frayed Ends.


Bishakh Som, Howard John Arey and Joan Reilly with their anthology Hi-Horse.


Tomer Hanuka introduced a new issue of his great comic, Bipolar, created with his brother Assaf.


Co-organizers Leela Corman and Tom Hart sell underwear and other wares.


The international section’s Alban Rautenstrauch (with Dave K) sells his STEREOSCOMICS from France.


Dino “Dean” Haspiel sketches on the thank you card while Gabe Soria mugs.


A view from the floor.


Tom Hart offering comics and spiritual advice.


Alex Holden shows his new comic “The City Is My Garden” to Tomer Hanuka.


Cartoonist/entertainers Tunde Adebimpe (we’re waiting for new work…!) and Lauren Weinstein (Notes fromVineyland)


Guys and Dolls in the kitchen.


Joey Cavalieri shares his cartooning wisdom with John Kerschbaum (The Wiggly Reader), Jason Paul, and Wendy Chin.


Mysterious man behind the scenes, K. Thor Jensen.



Dean and a blurry Josh Neufeld get ready to move out.


The Hi-Horse crew saddles up.

James Sturm came all the way from Vermont (via Philly). He had a few copies of his great new book, The Golem's Mighty Swing. Here he assesses the scene with Tom Hart.

James Sturm came all the way from Vermont (via Philly). He had a few copies of his great new book, The Golem’s Mighty Swing. Here he assesses the scene with Tom Hart.

Co-organizer Ellen Lindner at the after-party at Enid's in Greenpoint. Her latest minicomic is "The Egg Mysterious."

Co-organizer Ellen Lindner at the after-party at Enid’s in Greenpoint. Her latest minicomic is “The Egg Mysterious.”


Here is a partial list of exhibitors who came to SP-Xiles to show their support, sell their work, and donate to the Emergency Funds. If you don’t see your name (or a friend’s) here (or if we’re missing the name of your comics), please send us a note and we’ll add you as soon as we can.

Jessica Abel (Artbabe, La Perdida)
Tunde Adebimbe
Josh Bernstein (Royal Flush)
Nick Bertozzi (The Masochists)
Eli Bishop
Jason Brightman (Frayed Ends)
Wendy Chin
Becky Cloonan (Social Unrest, Three-Way Kill Time)
Leela Corman
Abby Denson
Ryan Dunlavey (Tommy Atomic)
Chris Duffy (Nickelodeon)
Zena el-Khalil (A Beirut Tale)
Andrew Ford (Rib)
Steve Ellis and Fred Van Lente (Tranquility)
Ken Gale & Mercy E. Van Vlack (Dangerous Times)
Brandon Graham (Universe So Big)
Dylan Graham
John Green (Cryptic Press, Quicken Forbidden)
Jenny Gonzalez
Tomer Hanuka (Bipolar)
Tom Hart (Hutch Owen)
Dean Haspiel (Opposable Thumbs)
Danny Hellman (Legal Action Comics)
Jim Higgins (New Thing)
Hi-Horse (Howard John Arey, Joan Reilly, Bishakh Som)
Kathryn Hyatt (Marilyn)
Alex Holden (The City Is My Garden)
Kenichi Hoshine
K. Thor Jensen
Sabrina Jones (Girl Talk)
Dave K
Martha Keavney (Badly-Drawn Comics)
John Kerschbaum (The Wiggly Reader)
Michael Kupperman (Snake’n’Bacon’s Cartoon Cabaret)
Batton Lash & Jackie Estrada (Wolff and Byrd)
Ellen Lindner (The Egg Mysterious)
Jason Little (Bee Comix)
Heidi MacDonald (Vertigo)
Matt Madden (Odds Off)
Meathaus (Farel Dalrymple, Tomer Hanuka, and others)
Josh Neufeld (Titans of Finance)
Jason Paul
Alban Rautenstrauch (STEREOSCOMIC)
Dale Shaw
Bob Sikoryak (Drawn & Quarterly)
Chris Skokna (The Expo/SPX)
Leslie Sternbergh (Twisted Sisters)
James Sturm (The Golem’s Mighty Swing)
Jamie Tanner
Scott Teplin
Lauren Weinstein (Notes from Vineyland)
Sara Varon (Chickenopolis)
Rich Watson

for more information write the organizers.

Here are some other photos and reports (thanks to Dino for rounding these up): [if any of these still exist, let me know and I’ll re-link them]

Rich Watson’s reportage

Tim Hall’s digital snap-shots

Charles Brownstein &’s SP-Xiles coverage

Batton Lash’s photos

Traci Vogel’s reporting on SP-Xiles and the 9-11 Emergency Relief book in Metro

Paul Harrington in’s feature column

Dean Haspiel’s photos

Other SP-XILES EVENTS nationwide [if you know if there are any traces of these online, let me know and I’ll re-link them]
if you were involved with an event and know of a web page, please send us the URL

SP-Xiles Gulf Coast (by Scott Gilbert)

Zinester BBQ/Left Coast BBQ (by Jesse Reklaw)

Ben Catmull’s left-coast photos

Left-coast sketches courtesy Hi-Horse