Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The soap smells of "Pitch-dark chocolate, sticky vanilla resin, black pepper, and traces of opoponax, vetiver, and aged patchouli." Buy it here.

I grew up in a two-person house, I live in a two-person house now, and two is the number of a thing that I usually like to have, so I guess it makes sense that I drew two virgin martyrs (Margaret and Catherine) and two ex libris (Subconscious and Amontillado). I drew only one gruesome logo for a screen printer friend, but the pun in his business name makes up for the singularness of the image, and hell, maybe I'll draw another. Most of the time I do.

Things I do every day: eat kale and sausage, listen to Sir Lucious Left Foot: the Son of Chico Dusty, ride the bus for two hours, smoke a single hand-rolled cigarette, apply for a job, have fucking rad idea.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I'm going to be selling some comics, art and tooth charms at the Arcana Soaps/Bee-yotch Honey trunk show tonight and tomorrow afternoon in North Portland. There's free absinthe cocktails and treats, and they take credit cards. Click the link for location, time, directions, and more reasons to come visit. A commission to illustrate an Arcana perfume label was the initial seed of inspiration for Flesh and Bone, so now you can experience the perfume and comic simultaneously, or buy them together as a Christmas gift of uniquely melancholy multisensory beauty.

There's a paragraph about Flesh and Bone in the Village Voice's article, "2010's Best Comics and Graphic Novels." Then they go on to describe X'ed Out by Charles Burns as "equally absorbing."

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Do I do enough complaining about the Grand Guignol melodrama my personal life has become? Maybe comfort is my enemy, maybe I'm at my best when everything's blowing up in my face. My artwork benefits, so I'd be a fool to complain. It's all grist for the mill.

I think I wrote the most mundane horror porn comic ever. J. Caleb Mozzocco had some interesting things to say about Flesh and Bone here and here. It was also on Graphic Novel Reporter reviewer Peter Gutierrez's 2010 Favorites List.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Three of my favorite people have shows this month and they open tomorrow:

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I've always been so damn uptight but these days my pilot is instinct. I either go to bed with my baby at eight or stay up with friends until two, I eat and read mostly for comfort, I let myself get drenched to the skin when it rains, and I tell people exactly what I want which makes them want to give it to me. I'm becoming a complete degenerate and my heart is spinning like a compass point at a magnetic pole.

I got to hang out with Vanessa Davis and Julia Wertz last week while they were here for their tour. I was a guest speaker for Jesse Reklaw's comics class at the IPRC--this means I was paid to talk about myself and boners for 45 minutes and left feeling like a pompous ass. Fifteen minutes later I got in trouble with my mom for answering her friend's question "Why is your comic for mature readers?" with "There are like witches having sex with Satan in it." Sean Christensen, Amy Kuttab and I dressed as a coven for Halloween.

Speaking of Sean Christensen, as I frequently do, he curated a Twin Peaks themed art show is at Guapo Comics and Coffee on 63rd and Foster this month and it's really excellent. I drew my contribution exhausted, with tears in my throat, and it is the most melancholy drawing I have ever made.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

For a righteous critique of the Portland art scene and a fucking awesome birthday present, count on Sean Christensen.

I put my Dracula illustration in this show Monsterbation at Pony Club this month, and it sold. You can see images of some of the work in the show here. And Greg McElhatton might be the first reviewer to clearly and correctly identify Jadwiga as the protagonist of Flesh and Bone in this in-depth article at Read About Comics. My mom was psyched because he compared me to Edward Gorey.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

If you will forgive me for quoting The Secret Garden, I'm too common and I talk too much. Jason Levian conducted an extensive interview with me which has just been published at The Comics Journal.

Also appearing in my email via Google Alerts this morning is "Breaking into the Boys Club: The New Crop of Female Comics Creators." Hey Pepe, I heard you pull your pants down all the way to go pee.

Occasionally my stepmom has a couple of glasses of white wine and starts asking me why I don't get into modeling, because she thinks I would be great at it. And one of the reasons is that I find my worth evaluated by my looks more than I like from day to day and have no wish to legitimize the trend in my professional life, but as the blog post above indicates, it's not always avoidable.

Have you heard about Lisa Hanawalt? Have you seen her work? She mentioned me on her blog the other day, and I want to return the favor because I think that she is great.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pleasantly obsessive thoughts of Dracula and The Assignation pervade, with what in this medium might best be termed fanart to follow. Observe:
She still advanced, however, and with a languorous, voluptuous grace, said:—“Come to me, Arthur. Leave these others and come to me. My arms are hungry or you. Come, and we can rest together. Come, my husband, come!”
There was something diabolically sweet in her tones—something of the tingling of glass when struck-which rang through the brains even of us who heard the words addressed to another. As for Arthur, he seemed under a spell; moving his hands from his face, he opened wide his arms.

Sparknotes elucidates:
In this passage from Chapter XVI, we see one of Dracula’s earlier threats made good. Earlier in the novel, the count warns his pursuers that he will defeat them by first seducing their wives and fiancées: “Your girls that you all love are mine already; and through them you and others shall yet be mine.” This threat becomes reality here, as Lucy, now a blood- and sex-starved vampire, does her best to lure her fiancé, Holmwood, into eternal damnation. Like the “weird sisters” who attempt to seduce Harker, Lucy exudes sexual energy, and her words to Arthur ring out like a plea for and promise of sexual gratification. The promise proves more than Arthur can bear—“he seemed to move under a spell”—and threatens to have the same disastrous effect on the entire group, ringing through the minds “even of us who heard the words addressed to another.” Their collective weakness in fending off the sexual advances of such a temptress leaves the men vulnerable—ready to sacrifice their reason, their control, and even their lives. Given the possibility of such losses, which would overturn the world that these men dominate, it is little wonder that they choose to solve the problem by destroying its source—the monstrously oversexed woman.

And let us consider, additionally, "The Monstrous Feminine in Candyman." I begin to suspect that in mainstream fiction fear and dread are the only contexts within which womanhood can be openly discussed.

I have a tumblr, too, by the way.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

We discovered this week that Matt Furie's Boy's Club is a 4chan meme. This is amazing.

Feels good man.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Three books I'm reading at the same time: The Hound of the Baskervilles (out loud, to Franklin before bed), Dracula, and The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, which was a birthday gift from Brodie. My mind is on fire, inspiration on every page. I started working on a new book in earnest this week. Horror is the antidote to everything, everything.

You can buy the new Ariadne auf Naxos on Etsy and the theme of it is "Beast."

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Every time I try to write this blog entry I get really sad.

Pony Club didn't hang my piece in their Satanic show. Later they said it had gotten wrinkled so they couldn't accept it. I ended up drinking too much at First Thursday and wandering the Goldsmith Building with strangers.

I didn't win the Ignatz, which is fine, really. I think I can write a better book, and I'd rather get an award for that one, when it happens.

Today is my birthday. My friends have all gone home, my apartment is a mess, my husband is in a suit on the carpet snoring. I had wonderful day, but I don't know how to insulate myself from birthday evening melancholy. The night of my 24th birthday I left the smeared prints of my poor lacerated arms all over the floor of my room. I doubt it will ever get that bad again but the shade of that overpowering gloom still visits me every year. I would go to bed and evade it, but I'm not a bit sleepy.

I could watch a movie but all my favorite movies are sad ones. Even the porn I like is sad porn.

Oh, why don't you go read the blog of somebody with some real problems.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Shakers are my spiritual brethren, and also like them I love to work, and toiling in the zine mines has chewed my shit up, brothers, sisters, I am so tired, my feet ache to the hips, and still I am craving to put my hands to work. Like I'm in bed with the lights out, it's after midnight, my body parts are throbbing and my thoughts are warping like records in a hot car, and I'm considering writing some professional emails: reality, insanity, police brutality.

If you visited my table and I was rude to you, I'm sorry. Especially you, Noah Van Sciver, I'm sorry I said I would kill you. You seem like a nice guy.

Let's attack some official business. I'm in "Curiosity Cabinet" at Pony Club this month (I drew some moldy strawberries), "Satanic Panic" at the same gallery next month, and "Bound and Gagged" at Secret Headquarters in Los Angeles also next month. And new products are in my Etsy store. Official business is concluded.

Possibly the only thing remaining for me in this day is to look up schmaltz online until it obscures how sore I am, how lazy and inadequate, how poor and how many things I have left undone. Romantic love was invented to manipulate women. Let's do this thing.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I made an Etsy listing for illustration commissions and this was my first one, inspired by this quote from Brother Sun, Sister Moon:

"Otto of Brunswick, let the birds nest in your crown. Let the winds of heaven blow through your empty palaces. What good is your life to you, if your riches bring you no peace of mind and all your people starve?"

Also: I got nominated for an Ignatz Award for Outstanding Comic. Holy fuck!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sir Lancelot lieth in the lone green-wood,
Sir Lancelot wrestleth in the tall grass-spears:
Fain would he think upon the Holy Rood,
And Christ's red cup, and sweet Saint Mary's tears;
But then come memories of the balmy lips
And the soft eyelids that are Guinevere's--
He dreams, and as he dreams, wild apple dips
Her brooding boughs, and flowers of milk and blood
Between his strong convulsèd heart and God.

from "Pastoral of Lancelot" by Elinor Sweetman

This passage is so perfectly euphonious it will always be tucked into my brain, no doubt cuddled among all the TV show theme songs.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My comic was reviewed by Tom Spurgeon on The Comics Reporter. Dylan and Tim both said, "If you read that guy's other reviews, that was actually a really good review." I thought so anyway. Tom said:

It's rare comic book when the demons are both terrifying and a sort of comic relief. This is a rare comic book in more ways than one.

Lately I spend a ton of time around Cameron Hawkeye, now a work friend as well as a real friend, and that guy draws constantly, like a maniac. I'm beginning to notice that my draftsmanship has gotten genuinely poor, which is scary, because if I'm not good at drawing, what am I good at? So I'm doing more observational sketches, which is good, and feeling bad about myself, which is bad, but useful too.

Every night Brodie and I work on our new books for the Zine Symposium and they are going to be so awesome.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The pronunciation of "Gfrörer" is cleverly elucidated in this short poem which was just scrawled by Brodie on an index card in purple calligraphy pen, then flung triumphantly across the couch to me:


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My buddy Sam moved to New Orleans recently, and he says that Flesh and Bone was at the top of the recommended shelf at the first comics shop he found there.

I made separate Etsy listings for Ariadne auf Naxos volumes one and two. Some venues seem to sell out more of one book than the other, so I assume there are people out there who'd like the opportunity to complete their collections. On Friday I handed off volume three to Tim Goodyear, my publisher and guru (Sanskrit: गुरु, Kannada: ಗುರು), and started publishing previews of its contents on my Flickr page leading up to its release at the end of August, and volume four is already begun, of course.

Last week I started a new full-time job, which I love, and discovered opium poppies growing across the street from my apartment.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A friend of mine is working to overcome an anxiety disorder. She hired me to design a tattoo to honor her "hummingbird heart."

Forbidden Planet says ofFlesh and Bone: "You might think that sounds close to unreadable – but strangely it’s far from it." Read the whole review here.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rob Clough wrote a long review of Flesh and Bone for The Comics Journal last week!

"Julia Gfrorer’s FLESH AND BONE takes fairy-tale and folk legend tropes and both turns them on their heads and gets at their true roots. The plot of the story is simple: a forlorn young man seeks the aide of a cannibalistic witch to reunite him with his dead lover in the afterlife, but without risk to his immortal soul. The witch does so, by planting a piece of clothing from a girl that she killed and ate on his person. There’s a matter-of-fact manner with which Gfrorer depicts ritualistic sex, horrific violence and other truly demented acts that make them all the more shocking when they do occur. For the assorted witches and demons, it’s simply all in a day’s work..."

Read the rest of the review at The Comics Journal site.

Here is a video about the Olympia Comics Festival in which I appear about halfway through.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Jesse Reklaw collaborated with me on this particular nonsense.
So early yesterday morning that it might more truthfully be called Friday night, Brodie, Andrice Arp, Jesse Reklaw, and I suddenly (drunkenly?) decided to attend the Olympia Comics Festival, which, like most things in Olympia, is puny but heartfelt. At 8AM we rented a car, packed a cooler with beer from the previous night's Dominion game, played Scrabble for the whole drive, and upon arrival commandeered a table among our friends. Books were sold, bonds were strengthened, Vietnamese food was ordered, and the beer was sipped from tall Starbucks coffee cups vandalized to read "FUCK OFF". And I traded creepy stickers with the lovely Savannah Horrocks. I love conventions.

Unfortunately, after the show I stopped by Last Word Books to see if they had sold any more copies of "How Life Became Unbearable", and was admonished that the store had no record of my zines, and that they had probably been destroyed, which was infuriating. Nobody had even tried to contact me, they just fucking threw them out. I think I'm not going to bother with consigning anymore.

This morning I wept my way through the new Vincent van Gogh episode of Doctor Who and thought it good. Tomorrow there will be Wolverine comics and delightful news.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lately I've been working on the perennial Kelly family zine, "Stupid Tales of Wolverine," by drawing a lot of cheesy one-page comics about the X-Men, which I've been posting on Flickr every couple of days. My favorite so far is "Encounter at Claw Point", a Star Trek: The Next Generation crossover. This was cathartic for me to draw because it includes the gruesome death of that harpy Dr. Pulaski. 'Bout time.

If you have any ideas for Wolverine crossover comics I should do, feel free to suggest them.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A discussion took place recently on I Blame the Patriarchy about Dorthea Lange's iconic "Migrant Mother" photograph, and an NPR expert who described, not the photo, but the woman in the photo as "very beautiful." One insightful patriarchy-blamer observed:
The camera caught her in a moment of vulnerability, resigned, anxious, which is viewed as quite beautiful in women, because it means you have no power.
Another examined the conflation of feminine beauty and vulnerability in more detail.

More than any other of my deeply-held ideologies (atheism, pacifism) I fear that my feminist beliefs are poorly served by my decision to be a visual artist. Visual depictions of women are steeped in sexism, odalisques and madonnas sneak into every image like strangers in vacation snapshots. Francisco Clemente said that an artist is someone who's made the choice to observe reality, rather than improve it. I would like to dismiss this as a cop-out but I do feel powerless.

Reality is an antidote for stereotype, however. So here are the five other photos Dorthea Lange took of Florence Owens Thompson and her children.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

New things on my etsy site today: antler earrings, honeymoon zine, commission a drawing.

What am I excited about? Secondhand electronics from the thrift store. A couple of weeks ago I got an ipod stereo for the kitchen for $15, and a little $20 vacuum cleaner. Yesterday I got a scanner at the thrift store for five bucks. Today I'm off to Fred Meyer for the proper USB cable, but when I get back, I'll scan some drawings. Finally!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Some Stumptown/book release fallout follows:

Global Hobo posted Ariadne auf Naxos on their site with a pretty good explanation of the title.

Haunted Happenings PDX said of Flesh and Bone: "this is an adult tale of lost love and demonology. Well paced, dark without being mean, this work conveys the morose, heavy damp feeling a broken heart can infect upon an otherwise sane mind."

Secret Acres incorrectly claimed that I am not an asshole.

Neighborhood Notes called me one of Portland's rising comics stars.

And a liberal arts college in the Midwest ordered 34 copies of my book for their graphic novels curriculum.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My tablemates this weekend were Tom "my mind is an axe" Neely, Sean "labial notation" Christensen, Frank "four teeth" Kelly, and Graham "usually dressed like Doctor Who" Kahler. These guys fill my life with radness and take away all my sadness.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

After the first of three projected nights of comix debauchery, I'm feeling exhilarated and dehydrated. There were so many talented artists at Guapo last night, and so much free Tripel. Sarah Oleksyk won a well-deserved Maisie Kukoc Award for Comics Inspiration, Graham Kahler and I discussed the new Doctor Who, Franklin made a new baby friend, I sold a few books and stickers, and a very indulgent lady let me lecture her about the Knights Templar and medieval banking.

You'll find me and Sean this weekend sharing table 68 with the great Tom Neely, so come by and say hello if you can. Pre-orders for Flesh and Bone are now closed, but you can buy it from me in person this weekend or online when I reopen my shop on Monday. And I was interviewed by Haunted Happenings PDX.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I'm taking pre-orders for Flesh and Bone on Etsy. If you order it online before this weekend, or buy it from me in person at Stumptown, you get a free sticker. You can preview the first few pages of the book on Sparkplug's website. Dylan also hooked me up with a ton of postcards with the cover image on them--if you want me to mail you one, just send me your address, because I have plenty of twenty-eight-cent stamps for this very purpose, my friends.

At Stumptown this weekend I'll be sharing a clown car of a table with Andrice Arp, Joan Reilly, Stefan Gruber, and Sean Christensen ABT, which should be excellent fun. And there is a release party for my book and bunch of others, plus a reading and free beer, at Guapo Comics and Coffee on Friday night. And Carolyn Main put me in her comic for this week's Portland Mercury. (I'm the breastfeeding redhead at the Pony Club table, of course.) And stoked is the new black.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I was insomniacally googling myself and I could not be more pleased to appear on a blog with such a completely delightful subheading. Ita vero, I love Latin, so much, so very much.

Monday, April 12, 2010

There was a rad interview with my publisher on The Beat yesterday. I am proud to be on this guy's team.
The big business of book distribution ruined it for book publishing, almost for comix a few years ago and I’m not going to participate in doing it again. I don’t really believe in listening to selling imperatives from people who don’t buy or read comix themselves. That sort of behavior has lead to a couple of smaller publishers going out of business. And I don’t want to hand over the keys of an art form that means so much to me. I do love sharing comix with more and more people but I don’t think that the way to do that is to make them more expensive and less accessible. It is that old idea of people loving something for what it is and trying to do what artists want, since they’re the ones doing all the work.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Here are the covers.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

This is a photo of the proof of "Flesh and Bone" Dylan gave me last week. Certain tweaks have been tweaked and the final thing is now whirring through a printing press like an elucidating headline in a black-and-white movie.

Dig this injustice: your rad pals Sean Christensen (Awesome But True) and Julia Gfrörer (canny but clueless) have been cruelly wait-listed for this year's Stumptown Comics Festival! Do you know of a vacant table corner where one or both could hang a shingle? Notify us! We provide tempting libations, free comic books, amusing anecdotes, and of course the appropriate remuneration to all friends of the vortex.

When did I start writing like this? (Puberty.) How can I stop? (You cannot.)

Friday, April 9, 2010

The necessary changes have been successfully, if half-assedly, implemented. Thanks for bearing with me.
Blogger no longer supports FTP publishing, so I had to migrate this blog, and I'm not thrilled about it. You will know my web dev skills by the trail of dead links--so presciently did I design this site with a now-obsolete URL in each individual page's code, so blithely did I build the whole thing template-free, always ready to assign tedious work to a future Julia who has more free time and relishes the burnt-eyeball feeling Dreamweaver bestows upon its faithful. Oh bother, oh bother.

I think that rather than edit every page in the site, I'll redesign blog.html as a frames page with the menu bar at the top, and underneath. Elegant workaround or blatant ham-handed slackassery? Have I mentioned how often my internet connection cuts out when I attempt to upload things? How lazy I am when it comes to desk work? Another cup of tea is called for. Blogger, I'm all out of bubble gum.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Three drawings I did last month are in Pony Club Gallery's April show, "Walking the Line." The first is my contribution to the Covered Blog, Blade of the Immortal Dreamsong 7 of 7 with Makie topless and surrounded by corpses, which is a secret from the internet until it debuts on that blog in a couple of weeks.

The second is my drawing of the final scene of Dune, which I made for a contest on Phil McAndrew's blog, and I was one of three winners of that contest, but I won with luck and not with skill, for my name was drawn from a hat. This drawing is displayed in a preposterously gaudy gold frame which was chosen more for size than style but turned out to really enhance the grandness of it all and would not be out of place in the illustrious vestibule of Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV.

And the third is the original pen and ink drawings which were xeroxed to produce these stickers. The stickers are meant to tie in with that comic I keep saying I'm publishing soon, since the comic shows a witch having sex with Baphomet and a mandrake plant, for the purposes, presumably, of supernatural reproduction, which is an interesting subject upon which I intend to expand in future projects. You'll get one of those stickers for free if you purchase the comic book from me at Stumptown, otherwise you have to use Etsy to obtain them.

My closing advice to you is to read as little P. G. Wodehouse as possible before attempting to write a blog entry, if you're smart, which I'm not.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Giant Robot has posted some of their tiger art for sale online here. You can't buy my piece because--hooray!--it already sold, but you can get a look at it finally, and the other madly cool work that's in the show besides.

And look what I found on GR's Flickr: a picture of a lady with a cute dog, and my drawing on the wall in the background.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The comic book project which occupied my grim winter months is finally nearing completion, and I can now confidently predict an April publication of its forty pages by Sparkplug Comic Books. Dylan Williams, the CEO of which, when plied with oolong tea and wheat free vegan fig newtons, has declared the work "beautiful" and "awesome", to my great relief, if not surprise. With home ports in view, the pace of my labor has slackened a little, and I have ample time to flip through the completed pages, identifying countless errors and misjudgements with which I must make peace if I ever hope to have the damn thing complete.

"Year of the Tiger" opens this week at Giant Robot 2 in Los Angeles. If you're in the area go there and see my gruesome (and very reasonably priced) contribution to the show in person. Otherwise you can preview some of the other contributions here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

January is a tough month for everybody, right? It's been snowing and raining here, I miss my folks, a family pet back in New Hampshire died the other day, money is scarce, my baby's been under the weather. Nothing to be done but carry on bravely with "emotional fragility" as our watchwords. I say that to say this: the final David Tennant episode of Doctor Who affected me more deeply than perhaps it deserved to.