Purim Some Wine: A Charming-Yet-Infrequent Newsletter

Greetings From My-Knee-Is-In-A-Stupid-Brace-Land,

In this newsletter:

  • A Purim Tell All
  • Speaking Gig in SF March 14
  • My Dashed Olympic Skiing Career
  • Toronto Comics Arts Fest
  • Two Spring Cartooning Classes
  • The DL On The LOC


A few days ago was Purim, the Jewish holiday where you dress up in your favorite king/queen/bad guy outfit to celebrate a story that reads like a Shakespeare play.  My summary below:

A queen is killed, a new queen found, the King’s right hand man wants the King to kill all the Jews because he hates this one guy.  But the new queen is secretly Jewish, and the hated guy is actually her uncle, and she tells the King, who concurrently finds out the hated guy saved the king from a murder plot,  and on the day the hated-but-good guy is supposed to be hanged, the right hand man gets hanged instead.

My three favorite things about this holiday:

1.The Fanfare:  I love kids in costumes.  When I was a kid, you came as one of the characters.  It’s since expanded.  Meet my friend Ari, as The Purimium Falcon…

2.  The food:  DELICIOUS triangle-shaped cookies called Hamantaschen that my mom (aka The Notorious B.U.Z.) just sent in the mail.  The right hand man’s name was Haman, and the word “taschen” means either ears or pockets, depending on who you ask.

3. The Drink:  Purim is a drinking holiday.  While the story’s read aloud, you swill wine and boo when the bad guy Haman’s name comes up, and cheer when the good guy’s name (Mordecai) comes up.  The point is to get so drunk you can’t tell one from the other.  Actually, that’s not the point– the point is to know what it feels like to have such impaired judgement that you can’t distinguish good leaders from bad.

WAIT A SECOND…was our last election some big terrible Purim party?!

Speaking of Purim, I’ll be talking about cartooning and being Jewish at my…


Please come, and Invite your friends with this Facebook event page:



Sadly, I didn’t actually partake in a Purim party.  I was at the sports medicine doctor.

Rewind to February school break: Kristin and I went to visit crackerjack political cartoonist Jen Sorensen and her spouse in the Rockies.

We worked, skied, ate and watched the Olympics.

The Parkland School shooting had happened.  Here’s Jen’s cartoon for that week. (Used with her permission.)  She was also a guest RWO cartoonist back in 2011.

To deal with our sorrow and get some fresh mountain air, I decided to literally go for air while downhill skiing.  Then I landed wrong. And my Pyeongchang Olympic freestyle competition fantasy dreams also landed wrong.  So the knee is in a brace.

Fast forward to a few days ago:   I went in for an MRI, except that’s not what I said to the receptionist.  Instead I said: “I’m here to get an IUD for my knee.”

If you haven’t gotten an MRI, the machine looks like a giant toilet paper roll, and you’re the toilet paper rod inserted into the center of it. You’re supposed to lie very still while the machine takes pictures while making loud clanging noises, like radiator pipes.    They give you headphones to wear and a choice of music.  That turned out to be the most painful part, because I chose classical, and it was wretched.  Oh, and I did bleed a little…from my face.  Because my cheek started to itch while I lay motionless, and then when I could finally move, well, there went the scab.

Hopefully knee and face will mend quickly.


That’s my plan for May 12-13 as a guest at the Toronto Festival of Comic Arts!

I’ll be sharing the stage with my awesome collaborator Rina Piccolo as we discuss our first year together. Fittingly, the paper anniversary! Details to come.


Saturday April 14: One day workshop in Burlington VT at Fleming Museum

Monday-Thursday June 11-14: Four day Workshop in White River Junction VT at The Center For Cartoon Studies


I went to the Library of Congress in DC to see a RWO strip in the current exhibit on Women in Illustration. That was neat.  What was also neat was the nearby exhibition of courtroom artists.


Get this– Kristin’s brother and his pals all pitched in and got their other buddy a courtroom sketch artist for his wedding!

So that wraps it up–thanks for tuning in to the Charming-Yet-Infrequent Newsletter!


March 2018


Cartoon Art Auction For Hurricane Relief Is On!


Want to help hurricane victims AND get original art?

It’s a holiday gift you can’t get from a big box store, and there are going to be some SERIOUS BARGAINS.   Start browsing here.

My cartoon, pictured below, is here.  There’s going to be a live auction on Nov 30th.

ALL PROCEEDS go to hurricane victims via the charity Direct Relief.

Here’s the press release:

In the wake of the deadly disasters that have recently devastated communities in the Gulf states of Texas and Florida, Mexico, and especially Puerto Rico, the cartooning community has come together to use their unique gifts and talents to raise money to help the victims.

On Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 23, The National Cartoonists Society Foundation, the charitable arm of the National Cartoonists Society, in conjunction with King Features Syndicate, Andrews McMeel, Creators Syndicate, and the Washington Post, is staging “Thanks + Giving,” a unique auction of original artwork, with all proceeds going to help the victims of these overwhelming disasters.

More than 125 internationally-renowned creators have donated original artwork, including Patrick McDonnell (Mutts), Lynn Johnston (For Better or For Worse), Mort Walker (Beetle Bailey), Cathy Guisewite (Cathy), Jeff Keane (The Family Circus), Al Jaffee (MAD Magazine), Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman (Zits), Rick Kirkman (Baby Blues), and many other well-known creators.

Vintage comic strips and comic art will also be available to bid on, including work by Dan DeCarlo ((Archie), Mell Lazarus (Momma and Miss Peach), Morrie Turner (Wee Pals), Brad Anderson (Marmaduke), Brant Parker (The Wizard of Id), Chester Gould (Dick Tracy), and more.

Many of the strips will appear in papers across the country on Thanksgiving Day with a message directing readers to the auction website where they can bid on the original art for that strip, along with the other unique pieces in the auction.

The NCS has enlisted the help of Heritage Auctions, the industry leader in the field of comic and cartoon art, to conduct the auction. The address for the auction is www.HA.com/NCS, and the auction will go live on Thursday, November 23rd and will close the following Thursday the 30th. Lots may be previewed immediately at www.HA.com/NCS,

All proceeds from the auction will be sent to Direct Relief, a highly-rated charity that specializes in providing humanitarian aid to victims of natural disasters.

This is a rare chance for fans of comics and collectors of comic art to obtain a unique piece of memorabilia, and at the same time give aid and comfort to those who still desperately need help.



Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving!  My cousin’s girlfriend’s friend cooked up this little number:



“Drawn to Purpose: American Women Illustrators and Cartoonists”

Tours of highlights beginning the first week of December— other programming will follow! A second rotation of artworks will be installed in May and the exhibit will run until October 20, 2018.

The “Drawn to Purpose” exhibition opens in the Graphic Arts Gallery, November 17, 2017. Photo by Shawn Miller.


Here they are: again: Hanukkomics, Catacomics and Caninecomics! 

Take care!


The Charming-Yet-Infrequent Newsletter– So Much To Tell

Hi Friends!
Well, there’s A LOT to catch up on.

The highlights, in “I Statements”:

–I got a huge surprise after I went roller skating this weekend, in the form of a puzzle.

–I took on a full time collaborator for Rhymes With Orange.  It’s been awesome.

–I visited a grave stone maker.  (Not for personal reasons, thank goodness.)

–I visited some Greek Islands with The Notorious B.U.Z.  (Also known as my mom.)

–I taught a cartooning class.  (The students ROCKED.)

–I made another comic book.  All about dogs.  It’s for OPEN STUDIOS Nov 11 & 12.

–I will be in an exhibition at the Library of Congress in DC

–There’s a Cartoon Art Auction Fundraiser for Hurricane Relief starting Thanksgiving Day.  (This is not an “I Statement.”  Sorry.)

–iPhone travails, bonus quote from my mom, and a picture of my gym shorts.  (This is an “i” statement.)


Finally, a clue I could actually get!  This was Saturday’s New York Times Crossword Puzzle.  I hope I can last as long as long on this earth as 17 Across…



Co-writing a play a while back made it crystal clear to me that I enjoy collaborating more than I enjoy doing things by myself.  So, after 22 years of doing the strip solo (I’m a slow learner!), I invited Rina to come aboard.  I have been a fan of Rina’s since the 90s, when I walked into a bookstore and saw Rina’s Big Book of Sex Cartoons.  Here was someone young and female drawing funny single panel cartoons.  There weren’t many of us out there, and this was the pre-Google era, and I was in San Francisco, and she was in Toronto.  And I barely spoke Canadian. We ended up getting to know each other through The National Cartoonists Society.  Working with Rina has really revitalized me, and the strip.  It’s been a blast so far.  Check out her website at www.rinapiccolo.com

Sometimes when we have conference calls about biz stuff, she sends me her phone doodles afterward.

It makes me want to talk longer.



My partner Kristin and I went to see an enormous granite quarry in Vermont this summer, then got the factory tour of the gravestone making process.  This headstone confused us.  Isn’t it late for this?


In the 5th century B.C., the theater was entertainment and education.  Everyone went.  But back then, when an actor in a play was killed, the audience never saw the death.  The actors went back stage to simulate the action, and then the deceased would come out with mourners behind him.  The point was to emphasize the pain of the mourners versus glorify the violence of the death.  The thinking was that if people saw the killing part, they might want to emulate it.  They were onto something.


All of those beautiful white marble statues we associate with Ancient Greece?  They were ALL painted.  Meet Athena.  To me, she looks like a lawn statue. Made at a birthday party.

By the time they were dug up, the paint was gone. Historians only realized this in the last two decades, when they had the technology to detect it.  Nutso.



It was a social affair.  Everyone sat knee to knee.  The gutter in front near their feet had fresh water, and people used a sponge attached to a stick.


Four days, ten students, over 100 drawings made.  I’ll be teaching at The Center For Cartoon Studies again June 11-14, and will be most likely be doing another online class in the winter or Spring.   Here’s an intrepid student enjoying our reverse caricature.


Just got the new CanineComics from the printer yesterday!  It’s a comic book of dog cartoons, and a companion to my previous comic books Catacomics and Hanukkomics.

You can get signed copies only at Open Studios, but it will be available online from www.IndyPlanet.us very soon.  Stay tuned.

OPEN STUDIOS info: NOV. 11 & 12, 10am-5pm.  221 Pine St. Florence, MA 01062

What’s Open Studios? 50+ Artists open their doors for the public to snoop around and touch things.  Unique gifts for the holidays.  Small cups of wine. I’ll have all manner of funny cartoons.


One of my cartoons will be in the exhibition Drawn to Purpose: American Women Illustrators and Cartoonists, but the Library of Congress hasn’t yet announced the show on their website.

The exhibition Drawn to Purpose: American Women Illustrators and Cartoonists  is scheduled to open at the Library of Congress on November 18, 2017, and will run through October 20, 2018, in two rotations, with a completely new selection in May.  Inspired by the Library’s rich collections, the exhibit features the remarkable but little known contributions made by North American women to two popular art forms—illustration and cartooning. In fields traditionally dominated by men, many women have long earned their livelihoods creating art intended for reproduction and wide dissemination in newspapers, periodicals, and books. Spanning the late 1800s to the present, some sixty selected drawings and prints highlight the gradual broadening, in both the private and public spheres, of women’s roles and interests, addressing such themes as evolving ideals of feminine beauty, new opportunities emerging  for women in society, changes in gender relations, and issues of human welfare. An online version of the exhibit is planned for the Library’s website and a companion book Drawn to Purpose is scheduled for release in spring, 2018.



There will be an online auction through Heritage Auctions starting Thanksgiving Day (Nov 23rd) of original cartoon art donated by members of the National Cartoonists Society.  The auction runs for a week.  All proceeds  will be sent to Direct Relief, a charity that specializes in providing humanitarian aid to victims of natural disasters.  The auction is not live yet, but here’s the link: www.HA.com/NCS

I will have a piece up for auction, and so will many of your favorite cartoonists.


My friend’s kids sat eating Klondike bars at the kitchen table at my parent’s home in Cape Cod. Ice cream and chocolate bits were everywhere.  One of my friends warned her kid not to let the ice cream drip onto the wooden cane chairs.  Without missing a beat, my mom said, “Oh please– don’t worry about getting ice cream on the chairs– their wet bathing suits will soak it up.”

My kind of housekeeping.


It was finally time to get off my ex-wife’s and her new wife’s cell phone plan and strike out on my own.  It had only been about a decade since we parted ways… why rush it?

So I got my new phone and my new carrier this Sunday, and the phone store didn’t have the cell phone case that I wanted, so I had to order it online, and I am too cheap for expedited shipping.  The phone is incredibly slippery without a case, and in fact slid out out of my pocket and landed onto the movie theater floor that very evening.  (You’d think the cinema floor would add some nice stick to it, but it was not sufficient.)

So I made one, today, in the interim.



When I wear gym shorts, I’m not just a Champion, but a Championampion.

Thanks for tuning in!
See you at Open Studios!