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December 8th, 2023

Ich Bin – I Am

When I posted a link to the final (ish) episode of A Coming Out Story to my Facebook page, with its simple title I Am, I figured I’d get some snark. And I did. But that’s okay, I’m giving some sideways snark back to a certain someone (Hi!) with that title.

I had no idea what to title that episode, and now that I’m doing them completely out of order it didn’t make any sense to give it a number either. The title came to me almost at the moment I finished it and I had to rename all my digital files to match it. But it was worth it because that’s the right title for that retelling of that particular moment in my life. There is power in embracing your personal truths, in deciding once and for all to be your authentic self, despite the pressure to conform or hide. It is exactly the right title for that episode.

The snark comes from a t-shirt I bought in Epcot Germany with just the phrase Ich Bin on the front of it. That was all. Not I Am German or I Am A Disneyphile, or I Am Whatever, but simply I Am. I liked it for the simple declaration of self truth, whatever that self truth might be.

During an interview, Stephan Fry said…

Oscar Wilde said that if you know what you want to be, then you inevitably become it – that is your punishment, but if you never know, then you can be anything. There is a truth to that. We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing – an actor, a writer – I am a person who does things – I write, I act – and I never know what I am going to do next. I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun.

That’s a good way of looking at it, and it was sort-of what I was thinking when I bought that t-shirt with the words Ich Bin on it. I Am a gay man. I Am a software engineer. I Am a cartoonist. I Am a photographer. I Am Bruce Garrett. I Am.

So, happily, I wore it to my dinner at Biergarten reservation. And when that certain someone saw me arrive I pointed to the shirt, delighted to let him know that I’d learned a few German words and could even put them together into some sort of a sentence (if you’ve ever attempted German grammar you can appreciate how proud I was just then). “Ich Bin”, I said, pointing to the shirt, “I Am”.

And he gives me this look of pure disdain and says “The hilarious thing is you trying to teach me German.”

I wish I had a picture of the look on my face at that moment. But that was when I finally had to admit that we were probably never really very compatible.

What I am is what I am
Are you what you are or what?
What I am is what I am
Are you what you are or what?

by Bruce | Link | React!

Last (ish) Episode

I’ve uploaded the last(ish) episode of A Coming Out Story to its pages here. It wasn’t the last episode that I’d planned but it was always intended to be a critical turning point in the story and it works as an ending. 

I choose the subtitle of this cartoon story, The first person you come out to is yourself, to make it plain that this isn’t a story about coming out to family and friends. It’s about when you finally face up to it. That moment can be excruciatingly painful, and was mostly that for lots of us of my generation. But I got lucky in one critical way: I came out to myself by way of realizing I was in love. Probably that saved my life.

I began this story almost two decades ago. I didn’t expect it to take so long when I began the work, but I have no professional art training and everything I do at the drawing board is a struggle. Also, about a third of the way into it I was able to reconnect with “TK” after about thirty years of wondering what had happened to him, and that very seriously upended my feelings about the story I was telling. I began it as a way of trying to understand what had happened to me back in high school, and how that led to the adult I eventually became. Then after the heart attack a few years ago I began to seriously worry I might not ever finish it the way I wanted it finished. Then I turned 70 and felt my energy levels beginning to plummet. So I skipped ahead (again) to what I’d always intended to be a climatic point in the story, and now that I’ve uploaded what can be seen as the last episode, I can feel a bit more comfortable that, whatever happens to me age and health-wise, at least there is an end to my story. My readers won’t be left hanging. Somewhat. I know there is still the question of What Happened Next? I’ll get to that in the epilogue, but what I write below probably tells how it went.

I said at the very beginning that the story I was telling was one-third what happened to me, one-third artistic license, and one-third cartoon fantasy. This last (ish) episode is mostly what really happened, but with artistic license on the exact location. I didn’t say it to my mirror reflection in the dresser in my bedroom, but in the mirror in the bathroom.

What happened was, bearing in mind I had just come out to myself but the object of my affections hadn’t yet moved away so I wasn’t just then in the throws of grief. I tuned into a radio program on the subject of homosexuality. I wish I’d taken notes about what it was and who was being interviewed. But some alleged expert in the field was dispensing all the usual bullshit I’d already dismissed because I was in love and it was all so wonderful. But being the geek child I was I kept digging for information.

So I tuned into this program, and somewhere during the interview the expert was asked some question, I don’t remember what. But in reply he said (I still remember this part clearly) that “the worst thing a man could admit to is being a homosexual.”

And at that moment I could feel the closet trying to grab onto me and drag me in. I’d done enough research by then to see pretty clearly what the closet did to people and I swore I wouldn’t let that happen to me. But at the same time, in 1972, I also knew I couldn’t just be out with it without losing most of my friends, possibly getting kicked out of the house, and possibly getting my head bashed in.

But one thing I could do was acknowledge my own personal truth and deal with it as honorably and as best as I could given the world I lived in. So what you see in the episode is what I really did and said…apart from the location. I knew if I could do that then I could, somehow, navigate the rest.

And I was in love. It put things into perspective.

I know others had a very Very rough time of it. I was lucky that it hit me just that way, just at that point in my life. Yeah…in retrospect things could have been lots better, but they could also have been lots worse. I could have crushed on an abusive manipulative lout and ended up actually killing myself instead of just seriously considering it when “TK” and family suddenly left the country. He was actually a very decent person, and in a better world I could have taken him home to mom, and said “This is my boyfriend” and she’d have approved and made a place at the table for him. But neither one of us lived in that world and I reckon he had his own family issues to contend with. I suppose all that is grist for the epilogue when I get to it. The story of that one time I called his house because we’d agreed to go to Great Falls with our cameras is one that I can’t decide where to put just now.

Putting this episode up allows me to feel comfortable that the story of my coming out to myself is “complete” and I don’t have to worry about how much time I have left to finish it. There’s a bunch more I can add to it to the degree I have time to do that. But I can rest a bit easier now. My story has it’s ending. I actually scripted this episode almost two decades ago and it’s exactly as I wrote it back then. I’ll add an epilogue and then fill in some more of the story as time and energy permit.

There is lots more I had scripted, and I don’t intend to just scrap all that because I still think a lot of it is good material and worth having in the story. Especially where Left Brain confronts the gym teacher who taught that horrible sex-ed class, which is where I was leading things after episode 37 before I got really badly sick and decided I needed to put this “last” one up. So even though I’ve posted a “last” episode, don’t go away thinking there is no more. There’s lots more and I intend to keep on filling in the space between that first episode and this one. Also, there is an important epilogue I need to add after the “final” one.

So thank all of you who have stuck with me on this over the years. I deeply appreciate your repeat views. You helped give me the energy to keep on with it.

And…stay tuned…


by Bruce | Link | React! (1)

November 22nd, 2023

One More For The Gay Studies Bookshelf

This came in the mail today…


Growing Up Straight: What Every Thoughtful Parent Should Know about Homosexuality, by Peter and Barbara Wyden (January 1969). My copy of The Columbia Reader calls it a veritable encyclopedia of homophobia. (“The book draws heavily on the theories of Irving Bieber and other psychiatrists of the mothers-did-it school…”) I did not know about this book, and was just scanning the Reader for anything around the time of Midge Dector’s “The Boys on the Beach” (which I’ve already quoted once in A Coming Out Story) when I found the reference.

I think I have everything I need for the Mirror Episode, but it’s not too late to add some more.

by Bruce | Link | React!

November 12th, 2023

Wrapping It Up…But Not Totally…

I’ve got all the pencils done now on the episode of A Coming Out Story I’ve been calling “The Mirror Episode” for a while, since I couldn’t give it an episode number just yet. But it looks now like it will be episode 38 and that’s the end of the story.

Kind of. 

Not to put too fine a point on it, I’m way too damn slow at this because I have no taught skills. I’m just hunting and pecking my lines and every panel is a struggle to get it where I want it. Four years after the heart attack and feeling weirdness in my chest more often lately, I’m not sure how much longer I have to work on this story. So I want to get it into a state of completeness such that when the warranty on my ticker finally runs out the story is out there in a state that I can feel satisfied doesn’t leave my readers hanging, and I can feel like I got it out there, even if I didn’t get it all out there.

So what I’m going to do now is a little different than just tacking on an ending and leaving it at that. I can see that if I put the mirror episode up right after episode 37 then you could say the story I meant to tell (The first person you come out to, is yourself.) was the story I finished. But this is serendipity. #37 just makes it work that way. I had two more, possibly three planned after 37 and that was only after cutting out a bunch more. But I can tack the mirror episode after 37 and now it appears to be “done.”

Except it will still need an epilogue. So that’ll have to come next. But then what I can do is begin a kind of in-filling process, putting back all the stuff I cut out piecemeal just to get it finished (call it The Director’s Cut). Some of it is just little slice-of-1970s teenage high school life that I scripted in there and I cut out after the heart attack. That stuff will be easy to put back in piece by piece. Other cuts will take a bit more work to put back in.

I had a big story arc after the mirror episode about how, after I’d come out to myself, the object of my affections, TK, and I kept circling around each other, flirting but carefully, because in 1972 that line between ambiguous and blatant was very Very dangerous ground.  Then I discover he’d taken summer school and it didn’t dawn on me until afterward, when I suddenly discovered his family moved away, that he did that so he could graduate early.

And then suddenly he was gone. I had an entire story arc about what that sudden lurch from twitterpated bliss into heartbrokenness did to teenage me.

That’s the darkest part of the story. Maybe it’s for the best I don’t do the artwork about me sitting on a bridge over the railroad tracks near the apartment where mom and I lived, waiting for a train to come along so I could jump off in front of it. Or maybe I will someday, or at least write about it, because it wasn’t just that he was suddenly gone. That wasn’t the worst of it.

Understand I went from hating the idea of dating to suddenly falling in love being surprised, delighted and awe stricken over how wonderful it was after all. And then suddenly it was over. Bang, Gone. Without that love struck bliss all the filthy lies about people like me suddenly came crashing back into my consciousness and all I could think was maybe I am just damaged goods after all, maybe this is all I have to look forward to, and I began to hate myself.

People should think about what they’re doing to gay teens when they bombard them with lies about themselves. Most of us get that first big heartbreak shortly after that first big crush, except maybe the very lucky ones. To tell a vulnerable heartbroken kid they deserved it because they’re trash is about as depraved as it gets.

But I don’t know if I have the time to tell all that in a cartoon graphic form.

This is a webcomic and I dove into it ready to exploit all the flexibility that give me. I started by not giving every episode a standard number of frames, but allowing each to have as many as it needed. Eventually, as I began to see it was going to take me much, Much longer than I’d thought to do this thing, I began splitting some of the episodes I had scripted apart and moving things around. That first “Intermission” (TK and the Taco Stand) was supposed to be part of that post out to myself story arc. I moved it forward after I started getting impatient with my slow rate of progress and I just wanted to do something fun. Then later I took what was originally going to be the mirror episode, and split it apart into a bunch of random “intermissions” wherein I’m reading that ‘Truth Of Homosexuality” book by Dr. Pompous J. Fraudquack.

(That was a shout out to Howard Cruse that I wanted Howard to see because I had an intuition that I might not have as much time for that as I’d hoped, so I split up the episode so I could but that part out there and show it to Howard. Alas, I was right…he passed away shortly after I sent him the link, and replied with the cheers and encouragements he always gave me.)

So…yes…this is a web comic. When I “complete” the story with the mirror episode it’ll be finished…but that doesn’t mean I can’t finish it more. I can still infill all the stuff I’d planned, to the degree my health holds out. Eventually I might even gather up the book intermissions and put them at the beginning of the mirror episode as I’d originally intended.

What I wanted is for this to be my testimony about what it was like to be a gay teenager in the beginning 1970s, and how that first love hits you when everything you were told about being gay was wrong, and all the other kids are having their coming of age according to the script and you’re not and you can’t tell anyone what’s happening to you because…well…read those intermissions. They’re actually quotes lifted from actual articles and books about homosexuality sold back then. And besides you are a clueless teenager because that’s where all the lies about people like you left you, so really what would you have to say anyway.

And there was not a teenage boy alive back then that wanted to see the looks of contempt and disgust in their classmate’s faces, let alone their parent’s.

This is my testimony as to what it was like being a gay teenager in the early 1970s. I tried to do it in a mostly humorous cartoon kinda way because that’s how I can look back on all of it now. Somewhat. But this is my testimony. I want it to not be left hanging. I can fill in some detail later.

There’s lots. I’ve had most of it scripted for decades.


by Bruce | Link | React!

November 1st, 2023

Who Are You Going To Believe…?

I’m getting a bit stuck working on episode 38 of A Coming Out Story, and I’m so close to finishing the thing that I’ve started working on what I’ve been calling The Mirror Episode, which I think will be the last one in the story. Except I still need to do an epilogue after that one for completeness.

38 and 39 are my way of expressing how it was I was able to simply discard everything I’d ever been told about homosexuals once I saw that I was one myself. I’ve been ruminating about doing a blog post while I get those last two in the story arc out…something along the lines of How hard is it really to see bullshit for what it is when it’s staring you in the face?

There was some luck involved…by then I had already started discarding a lot of what I was told to believe in church. That had to do with my coming to better understand that concept of original sin, and my getting static all through childhood from some of the family over being my dad’s son. By the time I was a teenager I’d already adjusted to the idea that there would be people in my life that would always give me static over something I could not help being. And I was already easing myself out of the fundamentalism of my childhood, into a more blissful agnosticism.

So when the moment came, I could compare the person I knew myself to be with the things I was taught about homosexuals, and see that nearly all of it was wrong. Every time I hear that crap now I think about the scene in Duck Soup where Chico tells his wife after finding him in bed with another woman, “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”

I hadn’t originally intended for the mirror episode to be the last one but I’m not sure how much time I have left to work on this so I’ve cut a bunch of stuff out. Maybe I’ll put some of it back in after the fact. My thinking now is I wrap it up with an epilogue and it’s officially done.

by Bruce | Link | React!

August 2nd, 2023

Why Bother?

I’ve been working on A Coming Out Story for a couple decades now. I’ve not been promoting it or advertising it anywhere, largely because I am terrible at self promotion. I’m sure the reason for that lies buried somewhere under all the static I got growing up, first for being my father’s son, and then more generally for being gay in the late 1960s and early 1970s. But it’s been a project that, while it began simply as a one shot slice of life cartoon, then turned into something like a self analysis project, it’s become something dear to my heart. That said, when I posted a link to the new current episode on Facebook and a post about my first try at a Flowbee haircut got orders of magnitude more responses, I got a little depressed. Well okay…more than a little.

The visitors here to this website specifically to look for any new episodes have been very gratifying. Also the random visitors who either read an episode that a search engine somehow delivered them to, and then they binge read all of it. That is Very gratifying. And it helps keep me going. But I have other reasons for sticking with this besides artistic recognition.

I dove into this project for several reasons:

  1. To help me understand what happened to me back in my senior year of high school, and how it brought me to the adult I eventually became.

    This part has been pretty well successful. It helped that around episode 11 I reconnected with the object of my affections and I was able, with difficulty, to better understand what happened between us and why it went the way it did. Maybe that’s material for a whole ‘nother story.

  2. To let other gay people of my generation know they weren’t alone. We all pretty much went through it. Some had it lots worse than I did, some much better. We were all damaged, but we survived. We should be proud of that.
  3. To show heterosexual adults, in a mostly humorous way, how it was to be a gay teenager back when gay folk basically got static from Every direction in the popular culture, and hopefully show them that the world really needs to give gay kids a break. We go through all the same stages of first love and first heartbreak everyone else does, but with the added torment of all the cheapshit bar stool prejudices, plus all the myths, lies and superstitions of the pulpit thumpers. It isn’t fair. What should be one of this life’s most magical wonderful times, the discovery of love and desire, gets turned into a long drawn out nightmare so some righteous creeps can make their stepping stones to heaven out of our hopes and dreams.
  4. To let gay kids today know what the struggle was like back when we were kids ourselves. The horrible sex ed class I sat through wasn’t anything out of the ordinary back then. What I was taught was what most people blindly believed about us. I’m planning on concluding this story by imploring the generations to come to delve into our history and keep fighting, or for certain the bigots will bring it all back down on us again.
  5. To tell my side of the story.

That’s it. I’ve begun work on episode 37. This little story arc has three more episodes, then the story comes to it’s main climax/conclusion after than. Maybe another year working on it and it’s done. To give you an idea of how hard it’s been to get this out of me, I had the current episode completely scripted back in 2005 and it finally appears here with only minor changes to the dialogue. I have the rest of it done too, except for the very last episode. I’m still thinking about how to end it.

by Bruce | Link | React!

August 1st, 2023

A Coming Out Story – Episode 37 Now Live

Wherein Left and Right brains have a no meeting of the mind…


I can laugh about all this now, all these years later. But it was no joke while it was happening. I can make the various parts of my consciousness embody as cartoon characters and get playful with it (cartooning is Fun)…and I was a Lot luckier than most of my generational gay peers…but this is pretty much how it went for a while.

I was in love…it was wonderful. And it was alarming. I thought I was above all that mushy love stuff. And then it happened to me. And in that moment I understood why all that dating and mating stuff didn’t appeal to me.

I was never shown a wholesome same sex romance, never told that it was possible.

I wasn’t quite ready to face it. For years I was in denial. And then I got shoved into it. This is why I can really relate to the Cupid in Rick Riordan’s novel, House of Hades…and to Nico in that moment…

“Stop t!” Nico yelled. “It’s me you want. Leave him alone!”

Jason’s ears rang. He was dizzy from getting smacked around. His mouth tasted like limestone dust. He didn’t understand why Nico would think of himself as the main target, but Cupid seemed to agree.

Poor Nico di Angelo. The god’s voice was tinged with disappointment. Do you know what you want, much less what I want? My beloved Psyche risked everything in the name of Love. It was the only way for her to atone for her lack of faith. And you – what have you risked in my name?

“I’ve been to Tartarus and back,” Nico snarled. “You don’t scare me.”

I scare you very, very much. Face me. Be honest.

Really could have benefitted from having those books back then…but it was 1971.

A Coming Out Story – Episode 37, Here.

by Bruce | Link | React!

July 30th, 2023

A Coming Out Story…Episode 37 On The Way…

I’m having a good time now finishing up episode 37 of A Coming Out Story (finally). It’s a good sign when I find myself laughing while I’m adding all the little details after the inks are done.

Speaking of which…I can really fuss over the smallest of lines, especially around mouths and eyes, because just a tiny change makes a Big difference in a facial expression. I’ve redrawn mouth and eyes dozens of times and you might think I’m not actually changing anything, but it’s that little difference that can make a scene work.

So just this morning I was working on one of the strips and noticed I could do something with one of the figure’s eyes that made a big difference in the running gag in this episode. It’s a dialogue between my left and right brain characters and the joke is right brain is completely blissed out and I just pasted the same drawing of him with a blissed out expression throughout the episode. But then I realized I could do something with his eyes in two of the panels that makes the moment in them hit the bullseye and it was so satisfying to see it happen on the screen while I was doing it.

Probably next to nobody will notice what specifically I did, but it makes the whole episode work Much better.

Like I did before, I’m adding the strips to the episode 37 page as I finish them, but no live link until it’s all done and I have a chance to look it all over. But those of you who can figure out how I was building the links to the individual episodes can go see it happening as I add the strips. Probably be finished in two or three days more.

by Bruce | Link | React!

April 5th, 2023

Crossing The Line…

I’m doing episode #36 of A Coming Out Story in a different style from the rest of the series…kinda like how I did it with the “Conversation With God” story arc, where I used a lot of grey tones instead of my usual cross-hatching.

There’s a panel I finished this morning of me walking across the railroad tracks behind what was the old Radio Shack building, and I did a bunch of stuff with it I’d never done before, and made up a lot of new tricks for accomplishing certain textures and such. The lighting is harsh because I’m walking into the setting sun, low on the horizon, and it really pops out in a way nothing else I’ve done on the story does. I wasn’t sure why I was spending so much time and effort on it other than the tracks were an important part of my life there and that was a shortcut to Congressional Plaza that I walked often that doesn’t exist anymore. I wanted to do a piece of my history justice.

But looking at the finished panel I think I see how it works in the story. There was a meaning there that must have been working on me subconsciously and it’s about what this episode is about, and actually the entire story. This is me stepping across a boundary that cut between my neighborhood and that of almost all my friends back then. The old kid from the other side of the tracks stereotype. I’m a gay teenager walking from one world into another. From denial to…I dunno…something else…something much Much better…but still pretty iffy given it was 1971.

by Bruce | Link | React!

The First Person You Come Out To Is Yourself

Some of my best work on A Coming Out Story is in the episode I’m going to post here soon. I’ve just one more panel to finish and I can put a link up.

by Bruce | Link | React!

March 23rd, 2023

Work In Progress Progressing…

…even while on vacation. Sort-of. What does “vacation” even mean when you’re retired? It means you needed a change of scenery. And I badly needed one. So here I am.

Garrett family of one, all checked in to Port Orleans Riverside. New Orleans slow jazz playing on the room TV.

I could get very used to going back to this way of staying here. This was how I stayed before I bought into DVC. The mid grade resorts are very nice, and being retired I can go whenever the rates go down. I’m only missing the kitchen, but I’ve ways of dealing with that.

Still working on ACOS #36 while here at Disney World. I’ve done this sort of thing many times before and I know exactly what to bring. Here’s the setup I had while I was staying at B.


Got another ACOS #36 strip done just now and posted to my website. That’s three done and three more to go.

I’m not posting a live link to the new episode until it’s all finished and I’m good with what’s out there. But those of you handy with all this Internet Web stuff can figure out what the link will be from how all the others in this project are constructed and see the work in progress as I post new ones if you want.

Think I might take a stroll around the resort now and decompress. Port Orleans Riverside is pretty nice. Going to Epcot later.

I had dinner at the Riviera with some friends from Space Telescope a couple days ago. The restaurant is on the top floor of a really nice DVC hotel and the view from the terrace is spectacular.

I had their signature fish dinner. No photo because I was too busy digging in. It was Wonderful. They took me to the steakhouse at the Yacht Club yesterday.

Not a lot of Pride merchandise here now, but it’s there if you look.

I’m guessing it’s because a lot of space is being taken up by the park celebration of Women’s History Month. And they’re really going all in on it with displays and (of course) merchandise celebrating the women who’ve contributed over the decades to Disney films and park designs. I stop to read all of it and it’s just stunning how much of it there is in Disney history that’s been behind the curtains all these years.

The new Magic Band+ is really something. It pairs with your smartphone and is rechargeable. You can check the battery level and update the software on your smartphone. So it’s not just a simple short range RF device that dispenses a serial number attached to your Disney account anymore, it’s yet another smart device.

Battery charge only lasts three days and they say to keep it on its recharger overnight while in the parks. The original Magic Bands lasted several years but they didn’t do much except dispense a serial number.

Of course making a big display for Women’s History Month isn’t going to make the MAGA morons any happier with Disney and that’s good (we’ve all read about how they’re blaming the failure of Silicon Valley Bank on its “woke” board of directors…right?). I expect the Pride stuff will come back out in June. We’ll see how DeSantis responds. It’s not generally understood how much he backed down from his threat last year to take away Disney’s special improvement district.

by Bruce | Link | React!

March 17th, 2023

Episode #36 Still In Progress

This is a hard one to get out, largely because I am so emotionally invested in it and I want it to be exactly right. So each panel of it is a Lot of work. And adding to that is I can’t use any of my usual time saving copy and paste tricks. Nearly everything in each panel is unique from all the others. The only exceptions are the backgrounds of three of them, one of which I’ll show you here. This is the second from the last strip up in GIMP, which I’ve been using ever since Adobe stuck an eight-hundred and fifty dollar knife in my back…



I’m breaking a rule I had when I started this cartoon story, that I would always use cross-hatching for shading and textures and such. I wanted the story to be a visual nod to the black & white underground comix back in the day. The printing they used wasn’t always the best, but they made it work, sometimes with zipatone, but more often just by painstakingly (really Really painstakingly) cross-hatching.

But for this one episode I’m using the paintbrush and grey tones here and there, to make some of it snap out, but also to create a distinctive change in mood. I used to do a lot of that in Photoshop, but you can’t depend on anything from Adobe, nobody can, so I switched to GIMP and other open source artist tools, and this is the first time I’ve done something like this with a gradient in GIMP. It worked perfectly.

This episode is forming up almost Exactly as I’d visualized it back in 2005, when I set out to do this story. It’s been a long road and I’ve rewritten many parts of the story as I’ve gone along, but not this part. This is, as The Doctor would say, a fixed point in time. This, and one other, which I hope to also get to soon. I’ve said the story I’m telling is one third what actually happened, one third artistic license, and one third pure imagination (as in the parts involving my libido and left/right brains as imaginary figures). This is the part that really happened just this way.

I was having a lot of trouble and frustration with one of the panels I was working on the other day, and when that happens it helps to work for a while on a different part. Some classmates might recognise the place I’m looking at into the sunset there. There, at the moment of truth.


by Bruce | Link | React!

February 27th, 2023


Finally…Finally…I got the pencils all done for A Coming Out Story episode 36. Tomorrow I’ll start on the inks and shading. The rest of it should go faster now. It’s the pencils, where the artwork begins, that I always have to struggle with the most.

Probably still another couple weeks before it’s up…


by Bruce | Link | React!

February 22nd, 2023

About That Next Episode…

Yes, yes…I know. It’s been a while since I’ve updated A Coming Out Story. But I’m back at it…stay tuned…

Without true love we just exist…


by Bruce | Link | React!

July 10th, 2022

If Only I’d Gone To Art School After High School…

The amount of concentration I need to sustain to do any sort of drawing quickly becomes exhausting. But I am retired now and I can put a day’s work into it, if a bit haphazardly. I have to walk away from the drafting table frequently just to let my mind wander.

This next episode of A Coming Out Story involves a lot of drawing because it is so important to me to get the feel of what is happening in it right. In most other episodes can use a few tricks to make the going faster. For instance, in the previous one I drew a background once and then copied it into every panel. And for every episode that takes place in the school, I’ve got a long drawing of a hallway with lockers and water fountains and classroom doors that I plug a section of into the artwork. But in this episode, every single panel but one has to be 100 percent original artwork. And the amount of concentration I need to sustain to do any sort of drawing gets very exhausting.

It would probably not be so bad were I a trained artist. But I am self taught and I am not kidding about being a hunt and peck draftsman. The electric eraser gets more use than the pencil. Some days I wish I’d moved mountains to get myself into the Maryland Institute College of Art. But then this entire story is about one of the other central regrets of my life. So it goes, as the Tralfamadorians say…

I’ve given myself a goal of getting the pencils done for one panel a day, or hopefully one entire strip, which this episode are all two long panels each. That gives me eleven days to finish the pencils at most, or less if I can do two. But that’s less likely so it’s not going to happen at lightning speed. But the pencils are the hard part. Once they’re done the rest of it goes pretty fast.

I need to get this story finished. I’m feeling my energy levels dropping in a scary way, since spring. And there are still maybe another thirty episodes to go.

I have a new LED light board now. The large ArtGraph I had for ten years failed due to a poorly designed power switch setup. My first thought was I’d fix it myself, but the unit is not designed to be openable and fixable. After a lot of struggle I managed to peel the top cover off it and saw that it’s all riveted together inside and in order to get at what the problem was would take me drilling out a bunch of rivets and probably rendering the until unusable anyway. So I took a look at what it would cost to replace it and well, things have got a lot less expensive and much nicer in ten years, so there’s that.

This new one from U.S. Art Supply is thinner, a tad lighter in weight but solidly built, has a variable brightness control, and cost a third what the ArtGraph one cost. Not that I’d buy anything from ArtGraph ever again. The one I had was so solidly built I thought it would last a lifetime, but one bad design decision and the whole thing is trash. In the online chats I’ve seen people reporting rudeness from their customer service droids when asked about sending things back for repair. So apparently you can’t even pay them to fix their products. But after looking inside one I can see their point. It just isn’t worth it. As always, you’re supposed to be a good consumer and just buy a new one. Which I did. Just not one of theirs.

We’ve a nice electronics recycling station at the city recycling center nearby. So the old light board isn’t just going into a landfill.

by Bruce | Link | React!

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