04 Aug

A processing diary-type list of the comic-related things in my life that make me happy (in no particular order):

The length of time and relentlessness with which I have pursued my particular comics thing   

How the very early issues of Nice Gravy were sealed up and put on the R18 porn shelf in Mark One comics (body politics explored through a lot of gore and nudity)

The number of flame wars I was involved in on the Black River Digital NZ comics listserv

The really good Trump-dissing comics my youngest child has made

How you could think of me as the Smurfette of Oats and you wouldn't be entirely wrong

When people who haven't made comics for ages start again

How during the making of Three Words it felt like I was in an awesome gigantic tough and loving girl gang 

When I used my girl-group comic I Have Control of My Hair as a means to make friends with the members of Fake Purr & now I'm in a band with Brenda

Staying up late with my brother and (at the time) husband to hand-bind My Soiled Sample covers and the smell of the weird glue we had to use

That some of the best Oats cartoonists are those you've never heard of like Soft Keith and Sgt Dion of the Yukon

How some people who only know me from social media (kindly) think I want to 'make it'

Having cups of tea and gluten-free biscuits at Darren and Ruth's house and that our kids are friends

How Nice Gravy was famous for five minutes in the international academic feminist community and there was lots of interesting pondering and inclusions in Masters theses 

How we had a pie warmer at the Soiled Sample exhibition

Being on a bus and through the window, seeing a giant Ducklingmonster comic stuck to a fence

Discovering the work of The Rabid, my favourite NZ cartoonist and now friend

All the friends I have made/make

How relieved I feel when a comic that has been clamouring in my head finally comes out

How I suspect one or two competent boys secretly like it when I harang them in public

How I have THE BEST IDEA EVER for a comics exhibition and one day I shall do it

That I coined the term ‘incompetent boy comics’

Moving on from my furious ‘NZ Comics’ anger and the changes in the environment that meant I could

How funny it was when recently someone described me as one of the "new faces" of NZ comics

How many comic boys were jealous when Gary Panter friended me on Facebook

How my  friend Tim teaches me about the computer stuff

Acknowledging the important  music and comics relationship with Beth and Chris in Sonic Comic and how great they were to work with and how rad that thing is

How awesome Sarah was to work with on Three Words and that we are now friends

My quantum comics blogpost

The period when I purposefully only distributed my comics by leaving them in inorganic rubbish collection piles

When Tony Baloney posted a picture of themselves wearing a t-shirt with one of my comics on it

How wonderfully curmudgeonly my Oats pals are now

How I think about comics in interesting ways

How I sometimes help others to think about comics in interesting ways

Editing Three Words and just how amazing that book is

How I went all policy analyst on NZ comics sexism via quantitative evidence and everyone saying it wasn’t sexist had to go ‘urk’

Clayton Noone's new cartoons

When Brent Willis asked me to do the cover of a Bristle annual

Going to Cape Town and meeting my comics soulmate Sebastian Borckenhagen

Confusing all the authors at the Cape Town book festival with both my accent and my insistence that I wasn’t a writer or an illustrator but that I made comics and that this was a totally different thing to either of those

The comics exhibition I curated at Creatures Gallery and how I framed all the works myself with second-hand frames and hit my fingers so many times with the hammer

That Oats was cool but comics-wise I am so much more 

The unbearably sweet comic Richard Fairgray made about our friendship

Donating my Oats comics to the Alexander Turnbull Library because Sam Orchard is the Alexander Turnbull Library cartoons and comics curator and I trust him

That even at my most unwell I still manage to make comics and music

When I make someone laugh out loud

When I make myself laugh out loud

Donating my complete set of ‘Bone’ to the Mulberry Grove School library

‘Upgrading’ to an ink pen only when I felt I’d reached the limits of a ballpoint

That time the hosts acted out one of my comics as a radio play on National Radio

When I found all that screentone in someone’s rubbish

Being asked to write the Murray Ball obituary for the Spinoff and feeling like I did a good job

That Murray Ball's son reviewed another Footrot Flats essay I wrote for a book and loved it

How I recognise someone being good at what they do is different from me not liking it

How I do my best to stand up to comics bullies

Being on the brutal bloody front line of the great NZ comics gender wars of 2016ish and contributing to change

How ridiculous it is that I've been married twice and both husbands made comics

When some people from the policy analyst parts of my life see my comics and music and don't quite know what to say, and when people from the comics and music parts of my life learn about my actual job and don't quite know what to say

Making comics with the people who it is right to make comics with

Making comics alone (my favourite. Music is with others and that's also my favourite)

That I think maybe some people, who couldn't in the past, can now 'read' and understand what I'm doing with my comics

Spending five minutes at the opening of a NZ comics exhibition and the rest of the evening foraging in the skip outside the gallery

That I see comics others may not see, in all kinds of places and mediums

Learning to not get all anxious and ranty about everything that frustrates me, learning to pick my comics battles

When Ant Sang inspired me to draw at A3 size and how much I love it

The people who like and support my work

How in regard to comics, I am hardly ever referred to as 'Stefan's sister' anymore

Getting really drunk with pals after the Three Words panel at a Comicsfest

Managing to make my bipolar comics simultaneously happy and sad in exactly the way I wanted to

How humbling and amazing it was to get feedback on my bipolar comics saying I had helped and touched some people 

That I have maintained my integrity

That even though I am an educator I have never 'taught' anyone how to ‘make’ comics because they are my own precious thing

How in the library Three Words has to have a red 'senior students only' sticker on it because it contains the word 'cunt' (more than once)

Finding comics I forgot I made

‘Captain Kaipara’ my regular high school newspaper strip and to this day the only thing I’ve drawn with a male lead

Hyping and including the less ‘visible’ comics and comic-makers I love, in my hairbrained schemes whenever I can

When comics have been part of wooing and falling in love (more than once)

How I choose one album and listen to it over and over and over when I am working on a comic, and that the next time it will be a different album

Managing to mostly avoid the comics situations I know are going to annoy the fuck out of me

That I still have a bunch of Whizzer and Chips / Whoopee / Buster annuals

That it was very nice when Toby Morris asked me to put some cartoons into the Spinoff

Moderating the Three Words + One Facebook group and just how supportive everyone was when the first group was insanely destroyed

That after a lifetime of refusal I am challenging myself to draw a comic commissioned by someone else and although it is really hard and not much fun I am persisting (and I have a new respect for those who do this all the time)

Giving away my originals to people who really love them

When all those people) left the NZ COMICS (their caps) Facebook group in solidarity

Hearing other dissenting voices

Finding out new obscure comics things

That I have perspective and comics are no more important to me than making music or writing or being a policy analyst. I need them all.

How I am slowly training my work colleagues that ‘graphic novels’ and ‘comics’ do not mean the same thing

That the way I make my comics and usually draw is intentional. I know what the fuck I’m doing

Being a bit infamous

This blog. Someone recently told me “you have managed to write about comics and not be boring and this is a remarkable achievement”. Heh

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