Monday, October 24, 2016


A lot has happened to Pepe in the 7 years since we last posted about him and his friends in Matt Furie’s Boy’s Club 2. You can read about it just about anywhere*, but in a nutshell, Pepe went from a fun-loving innocent frog in Boy’s Club, through thousands of iterations on 4chan**, and years later found himself being co-opted by the Alt-Right to become a symbol of white nationalism and then finally deemed a symbol of hate by the Anti-Defamation League, right along there with swastikas. (Note: the podcast Reply All does a great job telling Pepe’s journey). 

But now Matt Furie is fighting back to reclaim Pepe, with his new campaign #savepepe, in “an effort to take back the popular meme from racists and use the frog’s likeness as a force for good."

Furie aims “to reclaim the rascally frog from the forces of hate and ask that you join me in making millions of new, joyful Pepe memes that share the light hearted spirit of the original chilled-out champion.”

Hopefully the story of Pepe isn’t over.

*I’m kind of confused about the origin of “Feels good man”. Shown above is the comic from Boy’s Club 2, which I thought was the original image, but this wasn’t published until 2009 and I’ve read accounts that Feels Good Man circulated as early as 2005. Does anyone know if Feels Good Man was present in Boy’s Club 1?

** I’m also curious about the rules for posting “Original Pepe’s” on 4chan, and how unoriginals are regulated. But love the idea of Rare Pepes - especially in the age of the internet.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

David MacGowan presents Blade Runner

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like"

OK, this is kind of important. David MacGowan has been recreating the neo-noir sci-fi classic Blade Runner, frame~by~frame... in MS Paint. He's been at it since July of this year, posting nearly every day on MSP Blade Runner tumblr. And it sounds like he may actually finish.
David MacGowan explains his work:

"I like the idea of having a blog but basically feel as if I have very little to say about things, at least things that are original or interesting. I gravitated to Tumblr with some idea of just posting pictures, but still felt I needed to be posting something I'd actually made myself... [Y]ears ago I used to draw really crappy basic MS Paint pics for a favourite pop group's fan site, and they always seemed to raise a smile. The idea of doing something else with MS Paint, a kind of celebration of my not being deterred by lack of artistic talent, never really went away....
I don't really think about giving up. The idea of actually completing something I start out to do (for once in my life) is very appealing,And it's fun, it's not a chore."

I'm so glad Mr MacGowan is doing this so I don't have to.

Vancouver Art/Book Fair Update pt2

It’s unclear if our local reporter managed to make it inside of VA/BF, but we’ve rounded up some highlights and publishers you should get to know. 

                KIOSK -- no website found                                                 DDOOGG --

Hayley Dawn Muir
follow Hayley on IG @hayleydawnmuir (photo lifted from her IG)
Brick Press
I can't find it online, but Brick Press has published a fun read on online dating by @tiffinbreen

Just a pic posted by @vancouverartbookfair

Vancouver Art/Book Fair Update pt1

This weekend marked the 5th anniversary of the Vancouver Art/Book Fair, and I had the pleasure of covering day one for WA. Let's meet some publishers and check out some cool reading material. Here we go!

Like all years, VA/BF was hosted at the VAG. I couldn't get the best photo of the building, so I snatched this from the internet. Enjoy. 

Didn't catch their name, but this Day of Dead group performed an excellent cover of
 'You can call me Al'. 
The VAG cafe patio was a bit wet, but 10/10 coffee! 

Real neat tote bags this year. Thanks guys! 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Vancouver Book Art Fair 2016

Worry Art's been attending Vancouver Art / Book Fair for over 8 years now, and this year we can't wait to celebrate their 5th anniversary! If you're in Vancouver this weekend, come down to the Vancouver Art Gallery and check out some of the slimmiest slime this fair can fare. Details details details.

We'll be posting updates LIVE from a local correspondent. Stay tunez! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Ambient Comics

I had the opportunity to flip my grease prints through Tom Gauld’s newest book “Moon Cop” on the weekend. It’s a nice meditation for the eyes and gives the ol funny bones a good shake. But it also shook up some memories of something I meant to post about a few year ago: ambient comics. 

(from Moon Cop)

As my eyeballs rolled over the moon’s surface and across the pages, I was reminded of an idea I had a few years ago to make ambient comics. I can’t remember exactly what inspired the thought at the time (probably something to do with Norway’s Slow TV, Jim Bizzochi, a recent panic attack, and maybe the way Brian Eno’s ambient music is described in How Music Works), but I became fascinated with the concept of creating something that doesn’t demand attention. It felt counter-intuitive, humble, and in an odd way intriguing (similar to how I felt when a close friend told admitted they watched softcore porn without masterbating). I wondered about extending this concept across different mediums (not just porn), but particularly comics - through panels and pages, with no words or apparent narrative (besides the one created in your head). I was after something that was pleasant to look at, but passive; it would just let your mind wonder. But, like all ideas, I soon discovered that it already existed.  Or at least in some kind of shape and form. And in the years since, I've seen these shapes and forms everywhere. I’m not sure how you categorize the work, but here's just a skim of the dream cream. I'll post more later, but for now enjoy this weekend spa retreat for your looking orbs.


[By the way, if you haven’t thumbed through Tom Gauld’s "Goliath", do yourself a favour and hear the story of David and Goliath from the other side.]  

Monday, August 22, 2016

Liana Finck

I remember feeling a bit perturbed when I first came across Liana’s Instagram account. Her comics were somehow reflecting all the emotions and thoughts running through my head, moment to moment. She posts regularly enough (several times a day) that this was possible, and it felt as if she was siphoning them straight from my brain. The way she deciphers relationships, anxiety, turning 30, etc. is unsettling, but relatable. And it’s oddly comforting.

Liana writes comics and other such things for the New Yorker. I had a hard time finding these works, but a lot her stuff is available on her Instagram. I also had the pleasure of sitting down* with Liana a few weeks ago.

WorryArt A lot your comics seem to revolve around failed relationships and hopelessly searching for love. Mark Twain said something about writing about what you know. What do you know of these things?  [please feel free to describe in a picture]

LianaFinck I think I have (had?) low self-esteem, and I didn't have enough real friends till the past few years, and one of the symptoms of this has been that I've gotten myself into some not great relationships. I'm much better now. Another of the symptoms of low self-esteem, for me, has been writer's block... I am afraid of saying the wrong thing, revealing something unforgivable about myself. Something changed last year. I started to turn my inward sadness into outward anger. It had to do with being in a relationship that finally kind of pushed me to my limit, and with reading Elena Ferrante, and with publishing a book and feeling better about myself.

WA On love and relationships, you write about these personal experiences unabashedly. Do you find it cathartic? And do you worry about certain people reading them (i.e. past lovers)?

LF Oh yes I find it cathartic. I really don't do it to anyone who doesn't deserve it, and I try not to share anything personal. I keep it universal. I know it's a bit mean. But God, I've suffered so much in silence, and I know a lot of women do, and I think I'm helping these women. The minute something is out in the open, it loses its power. My mom and some of my friends have saved me from abusive relationships and other bad situations by telling me it's not OK to be treated a certain way - I feel like they've saved my life. Many times. I feel like this is my way of paying it forward. I care a little about hurting past lovers, but I hope the good I'm doing outweighs the bad. I'm a little worried about someone coming after me - but honestly I'm much less worried now than I was when I kept silent about stalkers and such.

WA  Mr Neutral seems to be a reoccurring character. Who is he? What is he after? And do you have other recurring characters?

LF I make recurring characters out of people who were really cruel to me. I think I want to turn them into lovable sillies, to help myself make peace with them. I've only done this twice: to Mr. Neutral, who was - I don't even know the words to describe him. A bad boyfriend. And to my sixth grade Torah teacher. Such exquisite joy in this. But I don't do it often. My other recurring character is "me," the kind of shapeless long-haired blond woman. Looks-wise she is actually based on my last dog, Sophie. A yellow lab. A rambunctious innocent. I've wanted to make an "everywoman" character for awhile - it's so much easier to make an "Everyman" -- more history, less hair... So that lady "I" character is that. The idea of an "everyperson" does make me a bit uncomfortable. I know, for example, that I am not speaking as much to black women, or older women, with my young-looking white-looking protagonist. As a woman, I know what it feels like to constantly adjust your inner voice to fit "universals."

WA What is one of your comics you feel is probably the the most underrated (e.g. an inside joke with yourself) and why?

LF I am often surprised by which ones people seem to like and which ones they don't get. But I think I trust editors and audiences better than I trust myself. I'm too close to judge. I can't remember any off the top of my head. I forget them all right away. And I definitely forget which were "popular." I do this to prevent stage fright.

WA  We've been messaging for a while now. Have you ever written a comic inspired by our relationship?

LF No, I'm really nice to everyone I haven't dated. Notice that I don't write anything about my family, and only write about friends in the context of "making and cancelling plans." Also you've been really nice, and I usually only write about stuff that bothers me.

WA What was your first cartoon published in the New Yorker? What was that experience like?

LF Slinkies climbing upstairs to spawn. I was excited and cocky about it. There was a lot of lore about how impossible it is to have a cartoon accepted. It isn't that hard - you just have to persevere. The main thing I learned was how to not be shattered by rejection. To take it as "we like this but not enough, come back and try again" rather than "we hate your guts and are alarmed by your presence."

WA When did you first begin writing comics?

LF I started drawing when I was ten months old. I was ahead of my age in drawing as a kid, and it shaped me. I think it's partly a blessing and partly a curse. I miss the freedom I felt when I drew when I was young. I wrote comics periodically and always got embarrassed and threw them away. I decided I wanted to be a comics artist when I was sixteen, but when I realized the free art college I wanted to go to didn't accept comics artists I did a 360 and rebranded myself as a highbrow painter. It fucked me up. Not only did my inner voice start to sound male - it also started to sound like 1895. I wanted to be Cezanne. I'm glad I did. I'm glad I don't anymore.

WA One of the things I like to do when I read your comics is understand your process. For instance, your comic of the banana peel hanging on the hook rack at the entrance of an apartment with the caption "Oh great, there's a banana at the party", how did that come about, step by step? Maybe this isn't the best example to draw from, if you have others where the process is more exciting, can you let me know plz, thx.

LF The banana peel was a rejected New Yorker cartoon. I usually come up with ideas for New Yorker cartoons on a train, or in a tree, or walking on the beach - somewhere where I can space out. Banana peel jokes are pretty standard; I'd been trying for awhile to pitch cartoons about bananas slipping on their own skins, or nagging each other to put away their skins so other people wouldn't slip... Those were pretty sanctimonious, boring cartoons but I like this one.

WA Do you make comics for a living? Is that a rude question to ask?

LF Yes I do. I started out supporting myself with grants--I won a Fulbright, then a Six Points Fellowship (Jewish), and those took care of my first three years after college. Then I had a book out and lived partly on book talk fees, partly on freelance design work. The next year I lived mostly on what I earned from New Yorker cartoons, and a NYFA grant. It's not a stable lifestyle. I probably I wouldn't have gone straight to freelance if I didn't have supportive, semi-wealthy parents who would have helped me out if I'd gotten into trouble. On the other hand, I don't think I ever really wanted to be a freelancer. I was extremely shy and weird and also pretty anxious (I think a symptom of being weird and knowing it) until my mid-twenties, and I was very worried that no one would want to hire me, and that I'd have panic attacks at work if someone did hire me. I cried at school a lot. I'm not so weird anymore.

WA  Which (comic) artist(s) would you say shapes your work the most?

Roz Chast
George Herriman
Ed Steed
Gabrielle Bell
Saul Steinberg
R Crumb
William Steig
Maira Kalman
Ruppert and Mulot
Eddie Campbell

WA  Dogs or cats?

LF Be still my heart.
Dogs because I grew up with them and am allergic to cats.
But I love cats the way you can only love something from a distance.
I relate as a cat-like dog.