My work collects my exploration of the comics medium over the last several months, divided neatly into three distinct storylines.
The first, Funky Sexy Jazzmen, follows the lives of three musicians in contemporary Pittsburgh. The pieces here serve as introductions to each of the principle characters, “Swingin’” Sid O’Malley, Gary “Shambles” Finchberg, and “Vermont” Arnie Jackson. As a larger work, Funky Sexy Jazzmen uses a mostly detached narrative voice with idiosyncratic details to create humor and unique personalities. With Pittsburgh and the Rust Belt as a backdrop, the Funky Sexy Jazzmen bring a slightly anachronistic, displaced cultural focus to this once prosperous part of America.
Kai Clarke developed as the result of my work toward Comps last fall. The character, Kai, while not an alter ego, undergoes many of the same personal issues I deal with, significantly, relationships with friends, family, and one’s geographic place. Both Kai and I come from Milwaukee, and have conflicted feelings toward the city. The relationships shown here, between Kai and other characters, also bear similarities to their real-life counterparts, though sometimes with one fictional partner taking on a real other’s characteristics. Kai Clarke is my exploration of creating fiction using my experiences and memories as inspiration.
The final group, True Stories, in contrast to Kai Clarke, attempts to portray my life events and memories as non-fiction, though with the conceit of myself visually inserted as narrator. The two stories here deal with selves at varying ages, reflected not only visually, but in prose. True Stories necessarily views narratives through many lenses: my current self, writing and drawing, the self as portrayed in the story, and as a potential reader.