My webcomics project with artist Wendell Cavalcanti, THE UNDERTAKER’S DAUGHTER, currently consists of five 4-page stories alongside a 3-page digression.
Read them by following the links below:
For those interested in the WORK! Anthology, here’s the sequential art equivalent of a B-Side/demo recording, written by myself and illustrated by Wendell Cavalcanti:
When Tim Twelves and I were hashing out our own contributions to the WORK! Anthology, I pitched him the three-page script for this story. “I don’t think ‘professional killer’ is the kind of work we’re talking about,” he said.
“Just read it,” I replied. “It’s not about her. It’s about coal miners.”
Tim scoffed. “Nah. We’ve got enough mining stories,” he said, which is true. Some of our other contributors had already turned in brilliant pieces about the historical struggles of coal miners. I knew this when I wrote the story, but I wasn’t interested in exploring coal mining conditions from fifty or a hundred years ago. As I write this, the Crandall Canyon Mine collapse is barely two years old.
Now, I’m about as far to the left as guy can be without actually pitching a tent above Trotsky’s tomb, and as such, coal mining sets off a particular set of bells and whistles. After all, in an age of wind power and of cleanly splitting atoms, we still insist on digging rocks out of the ground to burn for fuel. And enterprising readers can find a laundry list of sins committed by modern mining companies, mostly in the name of profit. A year before the Crandall Canyon collapse, the mine faced 64 violations and a $12000 fine, which is, scarily, on par with the national average. The Mine Safety and Health Administration levied a fine of $1.84 million after the collapse, which translates to less than 3% of the company’s annual coal sales, or alternately, to about $200,000 for each of the 9 lives lost. In turn, the MSHA was criticized for lax oversight and mismanagement of its rescue operation. Whether the collapse itself was caused by an earthquake or the seismological activity recorded around the mine was the result of the collapse itself remains in dispute. While the Crandall Canyon mine remains permanently closed, the industry itself has returned to business as usual.
The Undertaker’s Daughter was originally written to passively settle an argument: being older makes you neither smarter nor better than me. Rose Kincaid is seventeen years old and she routinely outsmarts (and outguns) men and women two or three times her age. Having satisfactorily settled my argument, at least internally, my Undertaker’s Daughter, my Rose, has become a blunt instrument pointed at the problems of the world, with which I try to beat some sense into the universe.
So, HERE is a vicious little story about a vicious little reality: after hundreds of years — never mind hundreds of protest and folk songs written on subject — nothing about the coal mining industry has changed.
Fully illustrated by friend and hero J. Christopher Greulich. Check out his portfolio HERE.
The latter half of 2008 was bleak, and I neglected this website. Now, almost three months into 2009, I have returned from the dead and am ready to start posting again. I promise — myself, mostly, as I doubt there are many readers still tuning in — I will maintain something akin to a regular schedule this time.
On Wednesdays and Fridays, beginning tomorrow, I will be posting pages from a new comic written by myself and illustrated by my frequent collaborator, Wendell Cavalcanti. When BROKEN BOULEVARD finds a home, it will be in color.
Every Sunday, I’ll post a piece of flash fiction, a short-short story of 200-1000 words. It’s been a long time since I’ve attempted prose. Stop by and marvel or laugh at the results.
On Mondays, I’ll post a structured essay, and I reserve the right to post unstructured stuff as I see fit.
There’s a new Undertaker’s Daughter story, Chapter 5.5, on its way soon. The pages are mostly done, but Wendell, having no sense of priorities, decided it was more important to get married than to make comics. The literal and figurative honeymoon will be over soon enough. In the meantime, check out the links to the right for my other wanton acts of webcomickry, and come find me on your social network of choice, if you’ve not already done so.
Tim Twelves and I continue our work on WORK! — an anthology of short comics stories chronicling the struggles of workers and the working class. I suspect we’ll have some big news to report, soon.
If you’re out there and still checking in, do me a favor: Leave a comment. Tell me what you’re reading. Tell me what you’re listening to. Tell me what you’re watching. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve lived more or less as a hermit. I am lonely and I am starved for recommendations of new books, music and television.
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Eric Palicki looks nothing like this rubber ducky.
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