This is a thought process that runs through my mind at least a few times a week. Fortunately, it’s much better than it used to be. A year or two ago, every single thought balloon in this comic would have read “I feel fat and ugly”. I thought about making that version of this page for comparison, but even thinking about it depressed me. It’s nice to see how far I’ve come with this stuff.
Because, in the end, I really do have so many more important and interesting things to occupy my mind. Like making comics, or cooking, or spending time with my friends, or writing stories, or riding my bike, or learning Japanese, or playing with watercolors. If I spent all my brain-juice thinking about dieting and finding desperate, urgent methods to lose as much weight as fast and as visibly as possible, I wouldn’t have much time or energy for any of the good stuff, the important stuff; the things that a full and fun and complete life are made up of.
Best just to keep thinking about comics and bikes and watercolors and try to remember to eat a little bit better every day. Because when I die, no one’s going to get up at my funeral and talk about my BMI, you guys. And if you do, I will come back as a ghost, and laugh at you and mock you loudly and mercilessly for having such messed up priorities. And that’s a pinkyswear.
Did you know that our farmer’s market was voted the best in Chicago? It’s true! I couldn’t even fit everything we got on Sunday onto one page. The green garlic pesto is incredibly addictive, by the way. Quality stuff! Things that did not make the cut: Five cheese garlic spread, grass-fed Italian sausage, grass-fed sirloin steak. I think that’s it? The zucchini and the green parts of the spring onions are already in a pasta salad, and I can’t wait to make the portobello sloppy joes. Being the northern Midwest, there’s a bunch of produce we don’t have at our farmer’s market just yet – there are tomatoes, and berries, but there’s no big onions or squash or carrots yet. Still, the young greens and onions, the eggs and meat and cheeses and mushrooms, there’s more than enough great stuff to buy and eat.
NEWS: I will be exhibiting at San Diego Comic-Con. MORE NEWS: I am seriously kind of terrified about exhibiting at San Diego Comic-Con. But I’m very excited about the multiple varieties of avocados you can find in southern California, and that’s mostly overriding the anxiety. (I want to get as many of them as I can find, and have a taste-test! If I am successful, you know it will be a Sauceome comic.) Eliza Frye and I are exhibiting together, we’ll have a table in artists’ alley and a table in the small press section, and you’ll be able to find both of our books at both tables. Come out and find us!! I’ll be the one breathing into a paper bag.
I’ve done more than a few comics about Yusho, I know… but to be fair, if they’d stop being so tasty, I’d stop having to draw pictures of their awesome food all the time.
Yusho decided to start doing Sunday Noodles, which made me extremely happy. “Noodle brunch!” I told Niles. Which then, in my head, became “nudibranch“, which has nothing to do with noodles or brunch, but it’s a word (and a group of animals) I’ve always liked. But enough about how my crazy brain works.
This past Sunday might not have been the best day to do it, with a high near 90, crazy high humidity, and absolutely no wind. I do not do well in the heat, I was wearing a big straw hat and carrying an umbrella for shade, and I had on three layers of sunscreen, and I seriously felt like I was melting. A hot bowl of noodles and broth might not have been the smartest idea, except that it was Yusho, and it was absolutely delicious. For $20, you get a bowl of noodles, a drink, and ice cream. I chose the ramen. The “Logan Poser Ramen” comes with a soft boiled egg, plenty of sliced green onions, pork jowl two sheets of nori, and a skewer of fried shredded pork shoulder. The broth was creamy and delicate, the pork was melty and perfectly cooked. The cocktail on draught was a Paloma, which served as a tangy and summery counterpoint to the steaming bowl of noodles. And the ice cream was a perfect finish to the meal – green cardamom soft serve, with a tart rhubarb compote and crunchy crystallized ginger.
I think I’m going to be a lot more excited for Noodle Brunch once summer ends and the weather cools off, but it was still amazingly delicious.
For CAKE this past weekend, I decided to treat myself to a few nice things, including this lovely dress (custom made to my measurements! with pockets! I love dresses with pockets.) and this gorgeous TARDIS fascinator. It lights up! I have decided it is the perfect outfit for tabling at comic book conventions, so if you come see me at one, I will most likely be wearing this. When I first tried the dress on, I spent a few moments terrified and concerned that I’d picked a dress that was terrible for my body type, that it wasn’t flattering, that I looked horrible in it. And then I shrugged, and decided that it probably wasn’t true – but even on the off chance that it was, it was a great dress, it was immensely comfortable, and it made me happy.
Actually, I’m kind of amazed it was that easy to throw my feelings of fatness or ugliness to the wind. It certainly didn’t used to be like this. And of course, I haven’t seen any photos of me in the dress, all bets are off if/when that happens…. although, I also think it’s been a lot easier for me to be forgiving of myself in photos lately. It’s amazing how much my thought patterns have changed since I started making this comic. It’s not like I don’t still have those feelings of inadequacy, that certainty that I’m offending everyone with my fatness or ugliness – they’re just so much easier to dismiss now.
And then I spent the entire day getting compliment after compliment on the dress, so I figure I can’t have looked that bad. I wonder how much my confidence and happiness had to do with that.
Anyway, I’m very happy with my purchase, and I’ve already ordered myself another dress from these people. Thumbs up! I highly recommend them to anyone who’s ever had trouble finding an adorable dress that actually fits.
Guys. Look how many ways us humans have thought up to stuff ground meats into intestinal casings! So many ways! And this is barely scratching the surface. I could do a whole week’s worth of comics on all the different types of kielbasa or lap cheong sausages. This comic actually started out as an inventory of the types of sausages I had eaten this past weekend, because it ended up being a lot: Spencer’s Jolly Posh pork and herb sausage at the farmer’s market, Amylu’s chicken sausage with apple and gouda at the 11 City Diner, kielbasa and hard pepperoni at a garden party, and even nibbles of andouille from Niles’s Slayer at Kuma’s. But then I thought that wasn’t nearly as interesting as a collection of different sausages from around the globe.
Andouille is a well spiced and heavily smoked pork sausage popular in Cajun cuisine. Originally from France, it’s often made with onions and wine, and in some cases, the entire gastrointestinal system of the pig.
Falukorv is a classic Swedish sausage. It’s larger in diameter than most, and the outer skin is dyed red, and the meat is salted and smoked.
Merguez is from north Africa, and is usually made with lamb or beef. It’s usually heavily spiced and served over cous cous.
Linguica is Portuguese sausage. It’s usually made with pork, and smoke-cured and flavored with garlic and paprika.
Cervelat is the national sausage of Switzerland! The ends are usually cut open in a flared manner when cooked.
Sucuk is from Turkey and the Balkans. It’s fermented, flavored with garlic and pepper, and packaged in an inedible casing that’s removed when eaten.
Longanisa are from the Philippines, they’re usually on the sweet side and pretty unabashedly fatty.
Lap Cheong are Chinese dried pork sausages. They’re a little sweeter, and flavored with soy sauce, wine, and rose water.
Cumberland Sausage is traditionally made with pork and seasoned with black and white pepper, and the meat inside is chopped instead of ground or minced.
Chorizo is usually served fresh in Mexican cuisine, and fermented, smoked and cured in Spanish and Portuguese cooking. It’s usually made from coarsely chopped pork and pork fat, and lots of smoked and dried red pepper.
Kulen is from Serbia and Croatia. It’s got a lower fat content, and is flavored with lots of garlic and paprika.
Kielbasa is Polish sausage, and comes in tons of different varieties and regional specialties. The most popular version that you’ll find in the U.S. is Kiełbasa Starowiejska, or “Old Country Style”.
PS: I’m so sorry I skipped Monday’s update. I was pretty exhausted after CAKE! I had such a good time, though. Excellent show, especially for a first time out. I can’t wait to see what they do next year!
PPS: I’m thinking about doing a limited run print of this sausages comic, and maybe also this one. Would anyone be interested in them? Or does anyone have any requests for a different Sauceome print?
FULL DISCLOSURE: I am totally biased about this place. I work for the agency that’s been doing all of Pecking Order’s print materials and web design stuff, so I am far from impartial here. But Lucy Knisley and I got to sample a whole bunch of their food tonight and it was all amazing. The arancini are made with coconut adobo rice and topped with the most amazing green onion and garlic sauce. The chicken is remarkably juicy and has delicious notes of soy and garlic. The grilled corn, Pecking Order’s take on elotes, with a punchy lime mayo and sprinkled with cotija, is just decadent. The City Bird sandwich is topped with pickled jicama, daikon, ginger and carrot; a perfectly cooked fried egg, and a thin spread of pâté; and the grilled pandesal bread it comes on has a surprisingly delicate texture, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
The cocktails were amazing, the food was amazing, the service was amazing, but you guys. YOU GUYS. The gravy. The gravy was out of this world. We wanted to put it on everything. We wanted to steal it and take it home. We wanted to do shots of it. The gravy will change your life.
Pecking Order opens on Saturday, June 16, by the way. Go get your fill of of chicken and boozy punch!
Today’s comic is a collaboration between me and Lucy, you guys! Lucy’s in town for CAKE, we’ll both be exhibiting there this weekend, and we’re both speaking on panels. You should come by! Lucy’s work is incredible, if you haven’t already seen it. You should probably go buy all of it.
The thing is, I almost never get catcalled. I mean, I acknowledge that it’s possible that I do get catcalled more often and just don’t notice, because I can be pretty oblivious to what’s going on around me. Like a lot of people in larger cities, I think I’ve achieved a certain practiced level of actively ignoring loud noises. But I can pretty much count the times I’ve gotten catcalled on one hand.
I consider myself a feminist; I define that as “a person who thinks women should basically be treated with respect and paid equally”, and I don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about it. In the same way that catcalls kind of fade into the background noise of an urban environment, a lot of the soft sexism in the comics industry kind of fades into the background for me. It’s dumb, but it’s just what you have to deal with when you’re a lady participating in an art form that’s dominated by men. Since I don’t work for the mainstream companies, and since I self-publish, I don’t often run into the really overt discrimination that you hear about. Usually when people ask me what it’s like being a female comics artist, I say that the biggest difference is that I get asked “What’s it like being a female comics artist” a lot.
BUT. Reading some of the comics from the ladies at Adventure School, I had some memories come back to me suddenly, things I hadn’t thought about in ages. An example: I got my art degree from Beloit College, but I spent my first semester at a different place, a state school in Missouri. When I decided I wanted to major in art, I went and sat down with the head of the art department there. I had been drawing political cartoons for my high school paper, and I was toying with the idea of doing that for a living. The art department chair had a Gary Trudeau original drawing on his wall, so I was really excited to talk to him about it. But when I told him that I wanted to be a political cartoonist – without even opening my portfolio, mind you – this guy* started going off about how impossible it was to break into cartooning, especially for a woman, and told me I should forget about it and try to pursue a more realistic goal. I got up and walked out of his office, and started crying a bit on my way back to the dorm. The head of the art department was going to actively discourage me from doing the kind of art I wanted to do, and my gender was a part of that. I was already pretty sure that college was not for me, but that afternoon I called Beloit College to find out how difficult it would be to transfer there, and within a few months I was gone.
I hadn’t thought about this in years. And even when I had thought about it, I figured it was just one of those minor pieces of bullshit that I would have to deal with, working in comics. But as Adventure School Intrepid Leader Anne Elizabeth Moore pointed out, when I told them this story: the fact that this guy did this meant I had to go through all sorts of extra work to get the same major that a guy would have to. He made it pretty clear that I wasn’t going to get any support or encouragement trying to study cartooning at his school, so I had to interrupt my education and transfer to a different school in a different state.
Beloit was amazing, by the way. My professors didn’t know a whole lot about comics, and weren’t entirely sure what to do with me, but they were incredibly happy to help me set up an independent study, and never once did they show anything less than unbridled enthusiasm for what I wanted to do.
There’s been a lot of internet talk lately about the inherent sexism in comic book art, or the inherent sexism in how women get treated in comic book stores, at conventions, on the internet, on panels, etc. It seems every time someone brings it up, a chorus of defenders show up to shout them down, to explain why it’s objectively not offensive, and we’re stupid to be offended in the first place. Honestly, I start to get angry, but mostly it just makes me tired. I find my energy is better spent ignoring all the bullshit and just making comics.
Does that sound defeatist? I mean, that’s what I did with the catcaller, too. I just ignored him and kept moving. Maybe I should have turned around and yelled at him, but would it have changed anything? I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have convinced him to change his ways. He might have even gotten a kick out of me getting angry, or the situation might have escalated. For my safety, for my sanity, my instinct is to just ignore the bullshit. Online, on the comics shop shelves, or in the real world; ignore the bullshit and just keep moving.
OKAY! That got a little more serious than I was planning on it. If you’ve read this far, let me throw some off-topic news into the mix. I will be at CAKE this weekend, at table 22!! Come get some books! I’ll also be on a panel there on Sunday with some ridiculously amazing and talented people. It’s about starting your own micropress, and it should be super informative if you’re into that sort of thing.
As always, if you can’t make it to this or any other convention, you can always buy books and prints from me at Shortpants Press.
PS: *I really don’t want to call him out, so I won’t name him or the school. He probably doesn’t even remember doing this to me. But I went and looked up the school’s website – the guy is still teaching there, and he’s still chair of the art department. Figures.
PPS: I’m really sick of how every post about stuff like this – discrimination or disenfranchisement in comics, and people vehemently defending it – turns into the same exact argument in the comments. Since Sauceome is pretty personal stuff, I’ve always moderated the comments with the passion of an insecure totalitarian dictator, and this post will be no exception.
This past Saturday, I biked down to the Adventure School for Ladies, and did a critique with the students there. The work was amazing, the students were incredible, I had a great time.
But it was a 15 minute bike ride, and the temperature was around 90, (note: my parents live in south Texas, and Niles’s parents live in Arizona, and I’m sure they’d chuckle at me describing 90 degrees as impossibly hot) and by the time I got home I was just about ruined. I’m typing this on Sunday and I still have a headache. The sun does not like me. I burn, I get heatstroke, I have such a low tolerance for hot weather. Fortunately, these awesome summer beers make it better. Which is a good thing, since it’s definitely too hot to be drinking the heavy, high gravity stouts and porters that I love so much.
On Tuesday, we went down to Roots Pizza in Ukrainian Village. “They make Quad Cities Style Pizza,” Niles said. I was – forgive me, QC-ers – only vaguely aware of where the Quad Cities are, and which cities comprise them, and I certainly didn’t know they have their own style of pizza. If Roots Pizza is as authentic as it claims, Quad City style pizza is excellent. The crust is mild and sweet, and really the perfect combination of crisp and chewy. It’s thin, but not as drastically thin as St. Louis style pizza (which, don’t get me started, I love St. Louis but I’m pretty sure St. Louis style pizza is an elaborate practical joke). The sauce is spicy and salty enough to create a nice counterpoint to the sweeter crust, and it’s thin enough to not be overwhelming. The cheese – well, there’s a lot of cheese, which I normally don’t care for – but the cheese on the pizza we had was really good quality mozzarella, it was melty and tasty, and not at all greasy or oily. The square cut pieces are nice, and each slice is connected to the crust (unlike Chicago square-cut pizza).
All in all, it’s an extraordinarily well-balanced mix of flavors and textures, I was really impressed. Go QCP!
I got glasses! I have always kind of wished to have glasses – as a person with pretty decent vision up til now, they were a fancy accessory that I was not allowed to wear. And now my eyesight, after years of computer work and drawing, is finally bad enough to need them! Yay?
I have this tendency to pick up a crazy article of clothing in a thrift store and sort of chuckle about how CRAZY it is, and put it back on the rack – only to return in five minutes having decided I MUST HAVE IT. That’s what these glasses were like. They’re a little cartoonish, and the first time I tried them on I chuckled at them, and moved on. And then tried them on again, and again, until I had to admit to myself that I was secretly in love with them.
And then of course later that week I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror and immediately questioned my judgement, and spent an afternoon convinced they were stupid and they made me look stupid, until I ran into Randi on my way home and she told me how great they were.
When I first got my nose pierced, ages ago, I went around showing it off to people. A lot of people – too many people – were convinced that it wasn’t new, and that I had had it all along, which led me to conclude that it was less “my new piercing” and more “that thing that was missing from my face”. Enough people have reacted the same way to my glasses – they’re SURE they’ve seen me in glasses before, are you sure this pair is even new? – that I’m starting to think of my glasses the same way. They’re not my new glasses – they’re just the thing that was missing from my face before.