Thursday, March 31, 2011


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That certificate--and just the idea of the "Realm of the Arctic Circle"--totally fascinated me while I was growing up. On the certificate, there's a walrus, an old-school ship and two guys that look like they could be G.I. Joe action figures duded up for the elements. I was both frightened by and drawn to what seemed like a mythical, mystical place at the top of the world.

Also, that sweater from Spain is hands-down the warmest piece of clothing I have ever worn.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


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I've got a photo of my dad reading a Playboy from what looks like it might have been his time at Great Lakes, maybe during or just after his "A" school. (The stripes on his sleeve in the photo say he was an E-3 at the time; I took a bit of artistic liberty with the chronology here.) I kept that photo on my desk all through college, and it always brings a smile to my face whenever I look at it. It's not to suggest he was a slacker--far from it--but as the saying goes, "all work and no play...."

So then, here's our man, taking it easy for all us sinners.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


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And I'm back! Sorry for the missed day, but I suppose it was inevitable. When I got back to Los Angeles Sunday night after being away from home (and the drawing board) all weekend, instead of being able to buckle down on Pipe Dope, I had to do work for my actual day job. Anyhow, there'll still be five installments this week--they'll just run Tuesday through Saturday instead of the usual Monday through Friday. The plan, then, is to be back on the normal Monday through Friday posting schedule next week. (Clearly, though, my plans don't always go, well, according to plan.)

Now then. On to my dad's adventures aboard the Voge. Yo-ho!

Friday, March 25, 2011


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Holy moley! This week was right down to the wire--when this panel goes up, I'll be at LAX, on my way to Cincinnati, Ohio, for one of my best buddy's weddings (congrats, Greg and Liz!)--and next week's gonna be even zanier, schedule-wise. I'm owning up to it right here, right now: The posts next week probably won't go up every day at 6 a.m. I'll continue to deprive myself of sleep in an effort to stay on schedule, but I'd say it's a safe bet that at least a few posts will go up later in the day/evening. Ah well. We'll find out on Monday, when David sets sail aboard the--oh-oh! That'd be telling!

Have a swell weekend, and please, if you dig what you see here, share Pipe Dope with your friends. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


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Ever since that day, I've always thought of my dad whenever I hear that song.

Monday, March 21, 2011


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Kicking off week eight! Behind the scenes, it's another race against the clock; in the panels, its a trip to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in Illinois. No matter how you slice it, it makes for adventure. Yo-ho!

Friday, March 18, 2011


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And so we make it to another weekend. Come on back on Monday for the start of David's basic training--and have fun in the meantime!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


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Trying some different techniques for the water today. After all, as the saying goes, "Comics is alive and anything is possible!"

Monday, March 14, 2011


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As my dad wrote in that senior-year essay, "Naval Architects have to know how to sail."

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I've been meaning to get this post together for quite a while. It was my intention when I began Pipe Dope to offer regular peeks behind the curtain, as well as to make note of other comics I've been reading. Well, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that keeping Pipe Dope on track has taken up just about all of the time that I otherwise might have spent preparing such blog entries. Anyhow, the good news is that after six weeks, Pipe Dope is still on schedule, and while I've only got a quick minute to spare, it's time enough for a brief diversion from the main road. Here goes.

Part One: A Peek at the Process

I'm drawing Pipe Dope on 14"x17" sheets of Strathmore smooth bristol, which lets me get nine days' worth of content on one page, with some room to spare around each day's entry. (Sometimes my pencils spill into that buffer zone, but most of the time I use it to jot notes to myself so I remember, for example, when I need to make a cross-hatched border.) Anyhow, here's a look at a few of those big pages:

And here's a wider look at my drawing board, with none other than General and Buff seated up top. (Next to them are two fellas from my childhood, Quackers and Curious George.)

Also seen in that last photo is my dad's handwritten essay from his senior year at Penn Manor.

Part Two: Bag It and Board It, or What I've Been Reading

"Scarlet by Starlight" by Gilbert Hernandez
"The Love Bunglers Part One" by Jaime Hernandez
"Killer * Sad Girl * Star" by Gilbert Hernandez
"Browntown" by Jaime Hernandez
"The Love Bunglers Part Two" By Jaime Hernandez

"Hollow Earth"
Story by Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden & Tom Sniegoski; Pencils by Ryan Sook; Inks by Ryan Sook & Curtis Arnold; Colors by Dave Stewart; Letters by Clem Robins (Teaser lettering by Dan Jackson)
"The Killer In My Skull"
Story by Mike Mignola; Pencils by Matt Smith; Inks by Ryan Sook; Colors by Dave Stewart; Letters by Pat Brosseau
"Abe Sapien versus Science"
Story by Mike Mignola; Pencils by Matt Smith; Inks by Mike Mignola; Colors by Dave Stewart; Letters by Pat Brosseau
"Drums of the Dead"
Story by Brian McDonald; Art by Derek Thompson; Colors by James Sinclair; Letters by Pat Brosseau

MOME Vol. 16
"Funny Bunny" by Archer Prewitt
"Fuzz & Pluck in 'The Moolah Tree,' Part 1" by Ted Stearn
"Blind Date 1" by Dash Shaw
"It Was Too Hot To Sleep Indoors" by Lilli Carré
"Harvest" by Conor O'Keefe
"Cold Heat" by Ben Jones & Frank Santoro
"Chocolate Gun Cold Heat: Kandril and Mufas" by Ben Jones, Frank Santoro & Jon Vermilyea
"What Is Art?" by Nicolas Mahler
"Untitled" by Laura Park
"Mindforkin'" by Nate Neal
"Almost Sound, Part 1" by Renée French
"Young Me" by Sara Edward-Corbett
"Wild Man--The Strange Journey and Fantastic Accounts of the Naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller, From Bavaria to Bolshaya Zemlya (and Beyond), Part 2" by T. Edward Bak
Cover images by Renée French; incidental drawings by Kaela Graham

Adapted and illustrated by Darwyn Cooke

Adapted and illustrated by Darwyn Cooke 

a prenuptial memoir by Adrian Tomine

Adrian Tomine

I won't lie, making Pipe Dope has been seriously cutting into my comics-reading time at home. However, I've also had to do a bit of traveling lately, which gave me a chance to get through a number of books. All good stuff here that I'd highly recommend. Currently in the throes of wedding planning myself, Tomine's Scenes from an Impending Marriage was wonderfully relatable, and a fun, breezy change of pace after the much more moody Shortcomings. (Not to discount the latter, mind you--Tomine's writing is consistently top notch, and his artwork always pushes me to demand more from myself.)

I'm only beginning to dip my toes into the deep pool of Love and Rockets, but even without a long history with the characters seen in New Stories No. 3, I was alternately moved to laughter and horror by Los Bros.' masterful storytelling. More Love and Rockets has already made it onto my bedside reading stack.

I know I'm not going into much detail here, but as I mentioned up top, a short minute's all I've got to spare. However, I can't sign off without urging anyone who hasn't already to run out and pick up Darwyn Cooke's Parker adaptations. Both The Hunter and The Outfit are cartooning tours de force. Cooke is undeniably a master of the comics medium, and he's doing his best work ever in these books. The third volume cannot come out soon enough.

That's all for now. Back to our regularly scheduled program of Pipe Dope tomorrow morning. Hopefully I'll find time again before too long for another one of these detours...

Friday, March 11, 2011


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Six weeks done and still on schedule--only 46 more weeks to go! Many, many thanks to everyone who's been stopping by to take a look. If you like what you see, please pass the link around!

Enjoy the weekend. The adventure continues on Monday. Yo-ho!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


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Apologies--my cursive is a bit rusty.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


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I've now got my dad's Sea Explorer Manual--the Seventh Edition, 1957 printing. On the first page, beneath his name and address, he wrote, "Ship 13, S.E.S. Susquehanna."

Monday, March 7, 2011

Friday, March 4, 2011


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Things might be normal for General and co., but this week was downright crazy for me. I'm hoping like mad I can use this weekend to start rebuilding a buffer for myself. There were a few panels this week with even more compromises than usual just because I tended to be drawing with mere hours to spare before my (admittedly self-imposed) deadline. Anyhow, we end the week on a high note; it's a thrill for me to see one of the Peeps take flight, and it was also fun to take a stab at drawing clouds. It's the simple pleasures, friends.

Next week: The story swings back to my dad. Enjoy the weekend in the meantime. Yo-ho!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


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I'm still figuring out how, exactly, I want to draw Buff the Bear. In the meantime, apologies for his slightly shifting appearance...