I just had deep cleaning done on my teeth. Wasn’t fun. I have a root canal to look forward to next week. That’s because when I was a kid, I had the same dentist all through my youth. He was abusive towards me. The bad, touchy kind of abusive. Like, when he would yell at me about keeping my teeth clean, he would grab my crotch really hard. Trying to make a point I suppose. Well, when I was just about 18, my Mom wanted me to go in and see him one more time before I lost my dental insurance through her plan. She made ma an appointment and everything. I skipped it. I was done with dentists. So that means that the last time I had my teeth cleaned professionally before this past year was 1984. You read that right. The year Prince’s Purple Rain came out. Reagan was president and would be for another 4 years. Now, I kept good care of my teeth, but the plaque built up. Then I got a cavity. 35 fucking years and I get a goddamn cavity! Well, it requires a root canal, but before that can happen, I had to get my teeth debrided and deep cleaned. I think the hygenist dug into every nerve in my mouth just for fun, but I got the cleaning and all that done, so now I can go in and get a root canal next week. Yay me. Here’s a cartoon.
Step one: Paint the car.
That, my friends, is a 1970 Plymouth Road Runner with a 440 and a Hurst package which includes a pistol grip shifter.
Step two: Paint in the driver and the rest of the elements. That is what I am working on today.
People must be enjoying “Blood and Drugs” as I have been getting 30-40 friend requests daily on Facebook! I love connecting with the readers! The response I have been getting is that it is very relatable. Good. Grab a copy here!
Ahh. Good old Tatertotdiaperman! A nickname given to me by my children turned into a grotesque street vigilante with no moral compass and a penchant for throwing explosives! Enjoy!
They say you need three things to grow a tree. Water, sunshine, and time. There is an adage that goes “Those that plant fig trees don’t get to enjoy the figs.” That’s because it takes a long time for the tree to bear fruit. Time can grow and heal. But it can also destroy. Time is the enemy of all things in the end, but maybe it’s like cheese. Maybe it hits the the hardest or becomes the richest just before it turns green. Maybe. I guess it depends on how you look at time. Is it that which sucks the life out of you? Or is it the sandpaper, smoothing out the rough edges until you fit comfortably in the hand of life? Maybe you feel you like only been given so much and you need to make the most out of what little time you have left. That’s kind of how I feel.
I can’t sleep at night because the pain in my leg doesn’t let me lay on my left side for too long and I have to roll over. But then I lay on my left kidney, which seems to be the worst of the two, and that doesn’t last very long. Same with my back. Ever since I had a terribly invasive surgery for kidney stones in 2013, I haven’t been the same. I will spare you the details, but I urinate around 30-40 times a day depending. And I still have kidneys full of gravel. I take a handful of heart pills everyday, twice a day, to keep the ticker going, which has been increased lately. Now, I’m not whining, I’m just giving you some background to my mental condition. I’m either strung out or tired. But I have given myself a third option. I have decided to be driven. To use this time, which could very well be my last, to work as hard as possible to enrich not only the culture, but the lives of my friends and family. I tried to illustrate my cold mornings in the basement with this comic here. It will be included in “Fortune Favors the Damned”.
I heard that phrase at least 20 times when I first jumped on Facebook 10 years ago and started looking people up. My life had been so fluid and unpredictable that AI would often leave people and places behind without explanation. This was before everyone had cell phones and, well, I didn’t have regular phone money most of the time. So I wrote this book for all the people that always wondered what happened to me.
It began with “Kmart Shoes” and followed with “Adults Only” and “Radio Daze”. I wrote, and released the stories at different times, but the stories were always meant to go together. The individual parts themselves gained some acclaim. “Kmart Shoes” was nominated for a Minnesota Book Award and it made the Notable Mention list in print at the end of “The Best American Comics 2014”. The “Adults Only” chapters contributed 25 pages to “The Best American Comics 2016” which debuted on the NY Times bestseller list at #1 and stayed there for 17 weeks. Sadly, the notoriety wouldn’t net me a book deal, so after I crushed my drawing hand, I decided to just put them together in a giant, full color book myself. It’s kind of spendy, but it’s it’s long and it will take you a long time to read all of it. You can grab a copy here.
These are a couple of pages I added in between stories to kind of stitch the whole thing together.
One of my biggest fears was that someone would read my auto bio stuff and hate me for the rest of my life. My Mom especially. I love my Mom and she did the best that she could do. After my dad left, my Mom was the only thing keeping us together, and she had a hard time keeping herself sane during this time. She grew up Catholic, so divorce was a sin. She figured my father, who had done a tour in the Navy and was currently a National Guardsman, was tough enough to get through anything. She wasn’t prepared for that new life of independence. She did what she had to do, but she never once took welfare. She made us starve and go without because there was no way her pride would let her go down to the courthouse and apply for hand-outs. That wasn’t her way. So I feel bad when I go back and tell the stories of the fucked-up things that happened, because she didn’t mean it, and that’s not the type of person she was, or is. In fact, she is a saint who devotes her life to helping others, health problems and all. But my sister and I did get beat with a coat hanger. and other stuff. And it wasn’t my Dad. My Dad would just punch me. My Mom was the wielder of household weaponry. But I din’t tell anyone that. I had to protect my Mom. This comic below, which is included in my new book “Fortune Favors The Damned”, takes place on the day my dad left. It was a transition period for me. I was 11. I liked playing with toys(still do), but I was also getting interested in girls…
The new book, “Fortune Favors the Damned”, focuses on my modern day life, with forays into the past. I have PTSD from 2 events in my life: when my Dad abandoned our family when I was 11, and when I died and was brought back to life after a heart attack. Those two events never leave my mind, and not a day goes by where I don’t think about what happened. I go over it and over it in my mind. I relive conversations and I keep telling the story in my head, even though when I wrote about those things the thoughts were supposed to stop, right? Wrong. It takes a great will to get my mind to move on from those events which is probably why I create as much as I do. I’ve done over 300 pages of comics and 25 paintings so far this year. Try as I might, though, I can’t shake it. So in this new book, I decide to use a narrative device to tie all the years worth of diary comics together. My late grandfather Bill Ward. The last time I saw him, he had his down in shame as I looked to him for comfort and understanding while my grandmother berated me and kicked me out of the Ward family on Christmas day 1986. Why use him? I don’t know yet. The fact is, I don’t remember what he looked like anymore. I kind of remember, but now, when I think back to good times with him, Ijust see the faces of the friends I love. Isn’t that weird?
My health gets worse every year and everyone knows it but we don’t talk about it. But I need to talk about it as I see the veil between realms grow thinner for me. I relate more to the cosmos now than real life.
That’s right! I’ve got a ton of modern day Lance autobio stuff that’s never been published before, along with some older modern stories that I colored and put into this tome, including my heart attack story. The story of how I died and was brought back to life after an out-of-body experience where I saw the portal to the afterlife and everything. It’s going to be full color and about 180 pages long. Here is the first mock-up I did for the cover. That’s not final. I haven’t settled on anything but the title actually.
I will self-publish a few copies to send around to publishers and my friends.
After my hand was crushed, I found myself unable to draw. For a person like me who draws at least a single page everyday and usually more than that, this was a mental blow. Productivity is the key to controlling my anxiety and depression. Plus, my engine runs on praise, and if I can’t continuously create something praise worthy, I don’t get the mental fuel to keep me going. I had already put together 5 books that I had just been waiting to self publish in increments. But at the core, I am a writer, and I needed to tell a story. Then I saw that famous cartoon of a dog sitting in a burning room. Every panel is the same(mostly) except the dialogue changes slightly. That’s it! And yet, somehow, that cartoon had 500,000 likes. “Is that what people want?” I thought to myself. “The same thing over and over again?” I normally can’t stand comics like that. A single drawing and all that changes is the dialogue? Fucking lazy. And kind of genius. The numbers didn’t lie. I decided right there to make my own ‘lazy’ comic. So I painfully managed to draw a single panel of the dumbest, most simply crappy robot I could draw. I based the design off of the Playskool people design. You know the one! Looks like a little wooden butt plug!
I chose to make them all the same except for some slight variations except for the fact that they all have the same gray face. They all came off of the same factory floor, after all. I put a hat on the supervisor and on the religious character. The color of the bodies would differentiate between the different designations. That’s it. I had no plan other than to make a few strips and see if I could do it successfully with minimal drawing. The very first strip is the spoof on the ‘dog in the burning room’ comic. “Life is fucked, blah blah blah.” Well, it worked. I was able to pull it off. Okay. So I started to play with the character. I put him in charge of all of humanity, and immediately had him wipe out all humans. Now what. The main robot didn’t care for humans, so he eliminated them. Wouldn’t it be funny if all the other robots acted just like humans, with only that robot actually aware of his station while all the others went around clueless? Yes. Yes it would. I wound up crafting an entire story, from beginning to end, in 100 comic strips. It starts slow and kind of jokey like a typical newspaper strip, except for the word ‘fucked’ in the first strip. But then,when I introduce Sydney, the story starts to get dark and compelling.
That’s right! It begins to have a single narrative! Well, I managed to create the 100 strips, and I had planned on publishing it in landscape style, kind of like a repair manual. I couldn’t find a printer to meet my needs affordably, so I self published it in A5 style. Getting ready for a local con, I also hand crafted 24 little action figures of the main character, and packaged them up for sale with the book. I also had sticker sheets made up and postcards! Despite my crippled hand, I would have all new material for the con! But, like most ‘superhero’ cons, an indie artist just isn’t a big draw, and I didn’t sell shit. Once again, another book goes on the ‘flop’ shelf. But I liked it, and you can judge for yourself and you can buy it here!
My ribs were broken. I couldn’t lay down on my back or my left side, so sleep was very hard to come by. In 2013 I had kidney stones for 4 months and became addicted to opioids. I had to quit cold turkey after the entire ordeal and it was not fun. This time, I turned down the opioids (as they make me puke sometimes and that is the LAST thing I wanted to happen with broken ribs) and started taking the medical cannabis that had recently become legal in my home state of Minnesota. I was sleep deprived, in incredible pain, and stoned. In my stupor, I began “Blood and Drugs”.
Now, I had created the original “Blood and Drugs”, a 24 page full color comic about an artist who tries heroin and ends up trading all of his original artwork for the drug. Once he runs out of artwork, his addiction takes a desperate turn. I self published about 20 copies (one of which I sent to Rob Clough and he reviewed it on his blog! You can read it here! )and then I kind of put it on a shelf and forgot about it. Just another failed experiment. The main character (who is loosely based on me), and the artwork (which was experimental in the first place) would serve as a template of sorts while I tried to draw again with my crippled drawing hand. Only this time, I would give him a name. A name that I was called by some player while I tried win a poker tournament. He kept calling me “Buster”. You can grab a copy of “Blood and Drugs” here!