Johnny Fasnacht!

In honor of Fat Tuesday (a.k.a. Mardi Gras, a.k.a. Fasnacht Day), here’s a mockup of the cover for a comic book series that never got past the… well, the mockup-of-the-cover stage:

The basic premise of Johnny Fasnacht is that a man named Johnny Fasnacht accidentally eats a radioactive doughnut that gives him all the powers of said pastry. Which is to say that it turns his head into a giant doughnut. As a result, Johnny spends his days wracked with existential angst. What meaning can there be, he wonders, in a world where one so hideously impractical and inexplicably delicious as he can be allowed to exist? To add to his worries, Johnny Fasnacht is constantly pursued by a murder of crows who wish only to peck at his head so that they might feast on his rich, doughy goodness. Merely a tale of the grotesque and bizarre? Or a telling allegory of the place of the artist in a jaded, uncaring society? You be the judge!

(Given these details, it’s easy to see why I never got past the mockup-of-the-cover stage of this particular venture.)

Tuesday, Feb. 21: Reading at Rosemont College

Sorry for the short notice, but if you live in my general area (Philadelphia and its immediate environs) and are curious to see me in person, I’ve been invited to read at Rosemont College on Tuesday, February 21, at 7:30 PM in their Main Building. I’m on the bill with four other readers, and we’ll be reading for about ten minutes each. I’ll probably read a short passage from Wonder Mom and also something from The Grievers. Time permitting, I’ll take requests.

If you can’t make it to the reading, I also have a dental appointment in the morning that you might want to sit in on. A dental hygienist will be on hand to answer any and all questions you might have about my teeth, and if you ask nicely, she might even let you scrape away at some of my plaque and tartar. For technical reasons involving gloved hands doing unspeakable things inside my mouth, however, I probably won’t be doing any reading at this event.

McWidgie and Friends

Every now and then I think about how cool it would be to write and draw comic books for a living or to do an ongoing online comic series like Terry LaBan’s Muktuk Wolfsbreath:Hardboiled Shaman, Jeffrey Wells and Shaenon Garrity’s Skin Horse, or G. Martinez Cabrera’s Ostenspieler and the Book of Faces. But then I spend a whole day working on something simple like the following one-page strip, McWidgie and Friends, and realize how much work a full-blown comic book would entail!

I actually tried to make McWidgie and Friends available through an online print service, but they sent me an email shortly thereafter stating that the strip violated copyright and trademark laws because of the resemblance of its characters to a pair of well-known hamburger hucksters — and so they took the comic offline. Personally, I have to say that I have no idea what they’re talking about, so I’ll have to let you be the judge…

Okay, so maybe there’s a passing resemblance between my characters and a couple of others you may have seen on television. And, sure, maybe I think it would be really funny in a mischievous-but-not-entirely-destructive Project Mayhem sort of way if people everywhere downloaded this image, had it printed on post cards, and started handing it out at various fast food locations throughout the world. But that doesn’t mean I advocate breaking copyright law. Just bending it a little.