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September 28th, 2015

Just Keep Doing Stuff…

Unreasonably proud of myself for squeezing out one tiny little pencil sketch for ACOS tonight, even though I was dog tired all day long because I didn’t get Any sleep last night. Insomnia comes and goes as it damn well pleases. But inking that sketch tomorrow and scanning it in will complete another strip, and the next few should come together pretty quickly too.

But then I have a series of way more complex panels to do… You’ll see why.   In the meantime, Tripping Over You has become my favorite web comic. You should take a look. The creators are Way More Diligent about keeping to their schedule than I ever was.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Just Keep Doing Stuff…

September 27th, 2015

Back To Work…

Finished the pencils and photoshop scan and some line art work on another three panel strip for ACOS episode 19, and got three more panels of a four panel strip done. It’s only been what…about a year and a half now since the last episode…

Six more (about) to go.  I need to do some more pencils to finish that four panel one. Hopefully I have the energy for it tomorrow after work. One problem is, and has always been lately, that I have to be in such a state of concentration all day long at work that when I come home I’m so mentally tired I just want to veg out until bedtime.

The biggest problem however…since oh, about 2008…is  how a certain someone down south screws with my head whenever I tell him I’m working on this. But he’s staying in his comfort zone lately so that gives me some space…and energy…to resume work on this thing. And to continue the storyline the way I’d originally planned.

Spoiler Alert:

Read the rest of this entry »

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Back To Work…

September 26th, 2015

Back To Work…

Back working on A Coming Out Story, Episode 19. I know…I know…it’s taking me forever. But I’m getting motivation now from a certain someone down in southern climes.

I’d forgotten about how Heathkit builders knew you needed, in addition to a good soldering iron, solder, various wire snips, screwdrivers and such…a cupcake tray.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Back To Work…

September 14th, 2014

Message In A Bottle…

To whom it may concern…

Thank you for giving me permission to stick to my script for A Coming Out Story as I originally wrote it.

Also for some much needed motivation to get working on it again!

 

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Message In A Bottle…

February 13th, 2014

A Coming Out Story – Episode 18

acos-18-sm

A Coming Out Story – Episode 18, now posted!  Wherein our young hero learns the Truth about homosexuality.  Sort-of…

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on A Coming Out Story – Episode 18

February 12th, 2014

A Coming Out Story…[Citation Needed]?

Either tonight or tomorrow I’ll have episode 18 of A Coming Out Story posted. For those of you not following lately, I’m in the middle of a short, three-part story arc within the story that concerns the horrible sex ed class I had back in junior high school, back in 1968. This little story arc is meant to explain why I can’t seem to grasp the fact that I’m gay even while I’m crushing massively on “T.K.”

What I’m about to relate in episode 18 is what I was actually told about homosexuals and homosexuality at the end of this sex ed class.   Going over it all I’d begun to worry that people reading it would think I was hysterically exaggerating.   You were told What!?

But I needn’t have worried…

Gay Soldiers Undermine The Military Because They Have To Take Breaks In The Middle Of Combat To Change Their Diapers

You read that right. Go follow the link…it’s to an article about one of Gordon Klingenschmitt’s latest rants. I’m tempted to add him as a reference to the series, a kind of homophobia’s greatest hits appendix, for when someone tells me I’m exaggerating the level of ignorance and prejudice gay people faced around the time of Stonewall.   Actually, it’s still out there, alive and well.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on A Coming Out Story…[Citation Needed]?

January 20th, 2014

A Coming Out Story – Episode 17: What I Learned About Homosexuality (Part 1)

In which it is made clear that our young hero is growing up in the 1960s, not the year 2014…

acos-17sm

Episode 17 of A Coming Out Story is Here…or go to the main page Here.

This is part one of a three part mini story arc about the horrible sex ed class I had back in junior high, and why it badly skewed everything I thought I knew about myself and about all that sex and love stuff.   The rest of the story going forward will touch back on this repeatedly, as I begin wiggling my way out of the straightjacket of what I was taught in this one week of sex ed.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on A Coming Out Story – Episode 17: What I Learned About Homosexuality (Part 1)

December 27th, 2013

A Coming Out Story…Why, Has It Been A Year And A Half Already?

I just this morning finished the pencils on an episode of A Coming Out Story that’s more than a tad out of sequence…about four episodes after the story arc I’ve been trying to start since…oh…almost a year ago. (sigh) But it got me started again.   The story arc that’s supposed to start appearing next is the flashback to the sex ed class I had back in junior high…it was eighth grade, 1968…I can verify that because I still have my old year books and one of the gym teachers that taught it was only there when I was in eighth grade.   The guy I’m drawing is a composite of him and several other awful gym teachers I had over the years.   I can’t emphasize this enough: everyone in the story except me is either disguised or a composite of several people.   This is particularly true of the object of my affections.   I don’t want anyone embarrassed by things they did ages ago, in what was practically another world when it came to understanding sexual orientation.

The story arc after that one is an imaginary conversation with God.   Both these story arcs serve to get the times I grew up in and my frame of mind during adolescence more fully understood.   But I don’t want to post them out of order.   After these two mini story arcs then the action moves back into the main story arc and I’m at a football game taking photos for the student newspaper, and I go to the snack tent to grab something to eat only to discover You Know Who is working the snack tent.   I’ve been looking forward to drawing this part for literally years now.

It’s taken me a long time to fully appreciate that I’ve got my most creative energy in the morning. The thing about those of use who don’t or can’t earn a living by our artwork is we have regular jobs and that takes time away from the work of doing art.   And the problem with that for most of us is during the work week you try to do things in the evenings after work and that just doesn’t work.   Unless you’re a night person, brain does not function at the levels required then.

This holiday stay-at-home vacation has really driven this point home for me:   I am at my best creatively in the morning.   So I need to work on anything that requires that kind of thinking and concentration at the beginning of my day, and schedule the follow-through, or routine or drudge work in the afternoons. I do it this way I get tons of stuff done. I was already trying this at work, since a lot of what I do there in terms of programming and system engineering is a kind of creative thinking.   So I schedule my day to hopefully do the creative stuff in the morning and then the follow-up and routine stuff in the afternoon and I get a lot done.

But this holiday vacation I’m really seeing it. I get up and go down to the art room and do some work and leave the cleaning chores I’d planned for the afternoon and lo and behold I actually get things done.   What I need to do is get up early so I can have an hour at my drafting table before I go in.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on A Coming Out Story…Why, Has It Been A Year And A Half Already?

September 23rd, 2013

Artwork

From cartoonist Howard Cruse I bought one of the original pages of artwork to his amazing graphic novel Stuck Rubber Baby. It’s page one of the story and I feel kinda privileged to have it. That novel is an amazing, powerful work…if you haven’t read it yet you really should.

Howard posted a note about how the artwork contains a correction patch to resolve how he’d initially drawn the story’s main character, with how he’d drawn him as he continued working on the story. It took him years to finish it, and when he got done he could see there were some changes he needed to make on the pages he’d drawn years before.

That’s normal in artwork that’s meant for publication, and those of us who buy originals of this sort of artwork do (or should) value it for precisely that wonderful insight into the artist’s process you get from seeing how the work was made, corrections and all. And I, just a happy amateur, know how it is to look back on what you did years ago and see everything that’s wrong with it. Look at my early strips of A Coming Out Story and compare them with the most current ones and you can see my drawing technique on the series improving pretty drastically. As they say, practice makes perfect…especially when you have no idea what you’re doing. If I wanted to make those early strips look consistent with the new ones I’d pretty much have to redraw them all from scratch.

My work does not have the polish a formally trained and really good professional can put on it. I am a hunt-and-peck draftsman at best. But grant me this at least: I am doing my best. Sometimes I look back on what I’ve done previously and I cringe. Hell, sometimes I look at what I’ve just done and I cringe. But I keep telling myself that if I give up I will never improve, so I keep doing it.

And…I have the need. If you feel it too then you know what I’m talking about. I couldn’t stop if I wanted to. The drawings, the photography, I get no reward for any of it other than that feeling of fulfillment when it’s finally out of me, and, surprisingly, a very small but devoted readership for A Coming Out Story (some of whom keep nudging me from time to time to keep working on the damn thing). So when I sit down to my drafting table I give it everything I have. But I am no professional artist. I know this. Hopefully the story I’m telling makes up for the skills I lack.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Artwork


Endings

I began A Coming Out Story in 2005, (spoiler alert) still not knowing after more than thirty years what had become of the object of my affections, still yearning to see him one more time.   I was convinced then that I never would.   Some days when I thought of him I was afraid that maybe he was dead.   Some days I wondered if he’d found and settled down with his other half, some other better guy than me.   Perhaps they were living a happy life together somewhere in the South American land of his birth.   Perhaps one day I might find his panel there among the Names Quilts all laid out in rows on a grassy field under a clear blue sky.   I had no idea.   I needed some way to get it all out of me, and hopefully make some sense of it all in the process.

So I began A Coming Out Story.   And then along the way I finally crossed paths with “T.K.” (not his real initials) and so my past came forward and collided with the present and I was spun ’round and ’round and ’round.   I’m beginning to think now that this is the default state of my life.   I know…I know…   I’m hardly alone in that.   But it really slowed down my progress getting the story out.

I had no idea how I was going to end my cartoon tale.   I figured I would find the end when I got to it.   Well…I know how it ends now.   Hopefully this will make it easier to resume getting the thing out of me.   It isn’t the ending I would have wanted…but it’s the one I have, and oddly, it’s not as bad an ending as it might have been.   I can see a truth here, finally, beyond the ones I had in mind when I started drawing it, that is worth telling.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Endings

July 29th, 2012

One Reason Coming Out To Yourself Was Very Difficult

Jim Burroway over at Box Turtle Bulletin writes a daily Today In History post, and yesterday’s gives me pause.   Here in 2012, even those of us who lived through this tend to forget it…

Illinois Rescinds Sodomy Law: 1961. On this date in history, the state of Illinois led the nation in becoming the first state in the land to enact a repeal of it’s law criminalizing homosexuality. The repeal was part of a very large omnibus legal overhaul of the state’s criminal code, and much of that overhaul was based on the  American Law Institute’s Model Penal Code, which in 1956 recommended the elimination of anti-sodomy laws and other prohibitions against consensual sexual activity between consenting adults. Because the Model Penal Code also touched on a plethora of other criminal statues, it’s likely that most Illinois lawmakers didn’t realize that they were repealing their anti-sodomy law by adopting the Code. Nevertheless, the code was adopted, and the anti-sodimy law’s repeal became effective on January 1, 1962.

For the next decade, Illinois would remain the only state in the union to legalize consensual adult same-sex relationships. In 1971, Connecticut finally rescinded its sodomy law, followed by Colorado and Oregon (1972)…

1972 was when I graduated from High School.   So bear in mind the story I’m telling in A Coming Out Story was happening in an America where sex between same-sex consenting adults was a criminal act in 48 out of fifty states that could get you jailed.

If it seems like little teenage me is trying awfully hard not to notice he’s falling head over heels in love with a guy, this has some bearing on why.   The next three episodes form another small story arc, that centers on the horrible Sex Ed class I had in Jr. High, and how damaging it was particularly to a gay teenager.   There are other negative images of gay people I planned on including into it as background.   I may just rewrite some of the text of story arc to include this fact about the state of the sodomy laws back then, just as I was on the cusp of adulthood.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on One Reason Coming Out To Yourself Was Very Difficult


A Coming Out Story – Episodes 15 & 16 Now Posted!

Episode 15…in which our young hero discovers the power of names…

   

   

And Episode 16…   In which a boy and his libido continue their mutual failure to communicate…

   

   

Note: these two are part of a small three episode story arc that began with Episode 14, so if you haven’t been reading these for a while (because I haven’t posted any new episodes for a while) you might want to start over with that one.

And if you’re new to these you might just want to start at the beginning with the main page. The guy who looks like me walking around naked save for a little fig leaf in Episode 16 might not make a lot of sense otherwise…

by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

July 17th, 2012

Progress…

Inks and scans done on A Coming Out Story, Episode 16. So now I have 15 & 16 all inked and scanned, now it’s do the in the computer stuff (basically, the panels, all the shading and the text) and they’re both done. But that’s still a lot of work. Give it another two weeks at the earliest.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Progress…

July 1st, 2012

Inks Finished On Episode 15…

I got the inks finished now on episode 15 of A Coming Out Story.   This one has been like pulling teeth.   There’s something to be said for not digging up your past.   Double for not trying to find your first crush after so long.   But I am more determined then ever to get this out of me because I think it’s worthwhile, not just as a personal exercise in exorcising my inner ghosts, but as an accounting of what it was like being a gay teenager in the years after Stonewall, but before the APA decided we weren’t mentally ill anymore.

There’s something to be said for all that advice out there about not searching for your first crush.   But I had to. It’s been since March 2011 that I posted episode 14. There were times I thought I’d never finish this one. When I started this cartoon series I had no idea where the object of my affections in this story was, what his life might be like, or even if he was still alive at all.   After the AIDS Quilt was first unveiled in Washington D.C., I used to have nightmares about walking along its rows and finding one with his name there.   Every time I restarted the search for him it terrified me to think I was simply going to discover he was dead.

Then, shortly after I started this little online comic story I found him.   And…creatively…my head has been a mess ever since.   Somehow in the past couple of weeks I got a head of steam up for it again and I have just zipped through the finishing of the pencils and now the inks.   I finished inking this basically in just two days.   And my head is still as much a mess as it’s ever been these past six years.

I do not understand that right brain side of me anymore.   Not that I ever really did.

[Edited some…]

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Inks Finished On Episode 15…

June 22nd, 2012

Nothing To It Really…Just Stare At The Drawing Board Until You Sweat Blood…

Finally…the pencils for A Coming Out Story Episode 15 are done.   Man…that one was like pulling teeth…

Sorry for the delays. It’s not the story I’m telling that’s so difficult.   It’s the story I’m living.

by Bruce | Link | Comments Off on Nothing To It Really…Just Stare At The Drawing Board Until You Sweat Blood…

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