Recent Days (Closure)

Right out of school, a month before starting Brain Frame, in the cosmic summer of 2011, I began this autobiographic comic called Recent Days. I performed some of it at the first Brain Frame, and some more at the first anniversary (BF7). I got to around seventy pages before abandoning the book. Here, finally, the story finds closure. This 2-page spread will be printed in the Brain Frame Yearbook, released this August at our third anniversary (BF19) and final show.

Please pre-order a Brain Frame Yearbook or
Buy an ad in the back of the book or
DONATE to help us make this happen. We need to raise $7750 by July 1st. Pressure's on and coffers are slim.


The Brain Frame Yearbook

Let me tell you about the Brain Frame Yearbook.

First of all, it's really a yearbook. We've made much ado, rightfully, about the fact that it will be a hardbound, leatherette, foil embossed ledger. There are portraits and autograph pages and photos and superlatives.

Second of all, it's way, way more than a yearbook. The portrait pages include everyone who's ever performed at, accompanied, documented, and staffed Brain Frame - just shy of 200 individuals. They're all self-portraits, ranging from actual repurposed yearbook photos to photoshopped snapshots to drawn images.

The bulk of the book revisits every Brain Frame event from the past three years (29 in all) chronologically. Every pre-show promo blurb I wrote for Facebook; every detailed performance summary for Tumblr (each one a single sentence, a secret challenge to myself instituted around the time of BF3); every poster lies in these pages. Also photographs, captioned of course, as well as personal content from a vast and varied cross section of Brain Frame community members.

Some people have remembered Brain Frame in original comics. Some have written essays, poems, or "letters to the editor." All of these writings include illustration by yet another set of generous, talented, diverse artists.

Nate Beaty's comic about Brain Frame 3

There's more. A few humorous 'op-ed' pieces (also illustrated); a three part special feature on poster process (A Toast To Posters: with your host, the Poster Ghost); a spread of my costumes (not my idea); the winners of the Brain Frame Superlatives illustrated by Kevin Budnik; a Brain Frame Phrenology page by Jamie Davida Lee; a maze; some quizzes; "Oofo Fakts" scattered throughout; and lots and lots of little drawings in the margins.

Clay Hickson's illustration for Brain Frame 12

Let's pause for a minute. Can you believe it? We started collecting material for this book a month ago. I insist you recognize the unwavering and exhaustive support of my intern Lillie West. She is martyring herself in an email prison for the cause.

Lillie and I and the rest of the Yearbook Club: Ben Bertin, Gillian Fry, Christine Lai, Carter Lodwick, Emma Rand, Brad Rohloff, and Nicki Yowell, have been meeting 2-5 times every week to get this done, and slaving away in between. We have to finish by the first of July - this weekend I'm not going to sleep. None of us are making money. We're all buying our own books.

In order to print to our standards, each 160-page, half color, half B&W book will cost $25.93 to make. We're selling them for $25. Pre-sales are live now, and essential to our success. CLICK HERE to reserve your yearbook.

Why? Because it's worth it. Because the whole point is celebrating and embracing the community that has flourished around Brain Frame, and I recognize that this community is not made up of wealthy people. We're hoping to make up the costs through DONATIONS (please donate if you can please please) and ad sales. You can buy an ad NOW for your business, or to commemorate the accomplishments of your loved ones (or enemies). We need ad copy by July 1st! CLICK HERE to buy an ad.

Why else? Because let's face it, Brain Frame is important. Over the past three years, I've changed a lot. The show has changed more, and the comics scene - the very definition of comics - with it. This has been an unprecedented outpouring of multidisciplinary experimentation and engagement with the sequential medium, rooted in communal respect and ecstatic ritual. People are moved. I can say this now - I could never say this before - because it has been told to me, over and over, in the artwork that makes up this as-yet-hypothetical Yearbook. Help me. Solidify this. Partake.
One of many Yearbook Drawing Parties



This drawing was commissioned by Halle Butler, intended to become the cover for her first novel, Jillian. The finished copy was to be printed in B&W with gold overlay, filling in the monster spots and pupils, in homage to this cover illustration for Grendel. Here's a digital mockup of the complete design. Imagine the book's spine meeting the right elbow of the crouching monster.

Halle and I met over a year ago to discuss themes and generate ideas. Halle is a good friend; she performed one of the funniest Brain Frame readings ever and we've worked on several films together. She co-wrote Crimes Against Humanity, the feature in which I recently starred. Her work is deceptively mundane, cruel, and hilarious. Jillian is about two miserable female coworkers. As described online:
Halle Butler's debut explores how two people use self-deception and hostility to deal with their lives. Megan, a bitter young medical secretary, takes a break from her overwhelming feelings of social rejection by keeping track of the disgusting habits of her co-worker, Jillian. Meanwhile, Jillian's misguided "go for it!" attitude leads her towards a series of unadvisable decisions.
We settled on two monsters, one lactating and wailing in pain, the other defensive and furious. I sketched several options, carefully considering what should be most visible on the book's spine.

After settling on a composition, I invited Robin Hustle over to model with me. We had a good time contorting our faces and bodies for the camera. Hilarious nude photo shoots are a favorite pastime.

Defining musculature through imagined fur is difficult! It took a long time just to get the poses right. (That crouching pose? Actually impossible.) Once I had the bodies plotted and spots blocked in I began shaping their sub-structures, including genitalia.

I used five different pencils. A 2B mechanical and four wooden pencils, 3-6B. These are the same pencils I use to draw Possession Scenes. When I showed the drawing in progress to Jeremy he said, "Is that your face?"

The completed cover, while treasured by Halle and myself, has proven problematic. The original distributor, Love Symbol Press, dissolved while plans for the book were in progress. Halle pushed her successive distributer, Cubside Splendor, hard to publish this cover, but they declined. Maybe someday, my monsters will see the light. If you saw this book on the shelf, would you scream, or buy it, or both?