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The Comics Issue

Tidbits (rifling Through Comics Artists' Personal Belongings)

This contraption allows me to dip my nib just inches from my drawing, thereby avoiding an exhausting reach of a foot or so waaaay over to the side table.
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Dave Cooper’s Stuff

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INK-BOTTLE RIG This contraption allows me to dip my nib just inches from my drawing, thereby avoiding an exhausting reach of a foot or so waaaay over to the side table. I know it sounds wimpy, but when you’re dipping 7,000 times during the course of a day, it makes a huge difference.

BAKELITE INK & PEN HOLDER

There was once a time when using ink and a nib was so commonplace that they’d design amazing desktop accoutrements like this Bakelite ink-bottle/pen holder. I got it at an antique fair. It’s so noble and handsome that I haven’t dared pour filthy, dirty ink into it once in eight years.

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WACOM WRITING TABLET

This thing is fantastic for coloring and manipulating things. I could easily do all my drawing and inking with it and nobody would be the wiser (seriously).

OVERHEAD PROJECTOR

I’m more of a painter than a comics artist these days, so this is one of my most prized possessions. It makes my eyes well up a bit if I dwell on it too long. It projects a little sketch onto a huge piece of canvas. It’s so powerful, with a 1,000-watt bulb, and so sturdy that it makes the little plastic things you find in art-supply stores these days look like fucking Styrofoam egg cartons.

HUNT 102

This unassuming little tart is like a miraculously diverse minibrush. I don’t use anything else for inking or lettering. It can go hair-fine or savage-fat with graceful finesse. I buy them by the dozen.

Jordan Crane’s Stuff

TIN OF CRAP

I filled the bottom of this with pennies to give it some weight and make it a little more shallow, and voila: I had a place to keep all of my pens. Some other shit winds up here too. I have a comb that I like. Not that I ever comb my hair, I just like the comb. Also, I have this really long and thin pocket knife. It folds open to about 14 inches long and it’s only about half an inch thick.

IBUPROFEN

It takes the pain away. Back pain, head pain, hand pain. But mainly head pain. I’m trying to drink more water, and on the days that I remember to do this, I usually don’t get a headache.

BOOKS ON TAPE

I listen to books on tape as I sit at my drawing table. I’d like to listen to music, but it gets me too worked up and I can’t think straight.

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LITTLE COWBOY

The old Playskool figures are so much better than the new ones. The new figures have clothes and faces and are little kids. The older ones are just so damn simple, they can be whatever you want them to be.

INK GLASS
The glass of water that I used to wash out my brushes in kept tipping over, so I found a big wide glass and then affixed it to a saucer with clear caulk. I’ve had no tipping over since.

Johnny Ryan’s Stuff

HITLER SKUNK
They used to give these out as carnival prizes during the BIG WAR. I’m not talking about wimpy baby wars like Vietnam or Iraq. I’m talking about THE BIG WAR—the Great Skunk War that took place in the Dingle Dongle Forest next to the Bumbleberry Waterfall! We lost a lot of good men in that one. This is a tribute to them.

PRO WHITE

I use this to cover up all the mistakes I make when I’m drawing.

COMIC WRITING TOOL

This was made for me by this guy Tim Biskup. If I’m stuck for an idea I just give it a roll and it tells me what I should do.

IVA SALIVA

FACT: Straight men love to have candy vomited into their mouth by a bodiless pus-drooler. Take note, ladies.

SLOP BUCKET
This is where I rinse off my brushes. I keep it by my drawing table. My cat found it and used to drink all the dirty ink water out of it, so I started dumping it out.

Lorna Miller’s Stuff

KNIT CAKE

This is my Battenberg-cake pin cushion that I recently knitted. It’s my life’s ambition to knit the perfect Battenberg cake. When I get bored I do doughnuts.

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MUG OF TOOLS

I’m not a Royalist. I just thought this was quite an unusual coronation mug. I like to keep tweezers close at hand. Sometimes a girl’s eyebrows can get wildly out of control.

MOUNTIE TIN

Every girl should have a man in uniform and a big black stud to keep her company while slaving away over a hot drawing board. I keep my erasers in this tin.

INK POT

My ink pot is weighted down with a magnet because I used to wallop it across my desk all the time. One time I splattered the floor, wall, and ceiling with ink. I’m a clumsy oaf.

OLD COMICS
When I was growing up, my nana worked in a newsagent’s and used to always bring me home comics and annuals. She was a kleptomaniac. I keep a collection of old copies because they’re good for stealing ideas from.

Marc Bell’s Stuff

PROPORTION WHEEL
A great tool used for figuring out at what percentage to size images. Indispensable. I first used one of these in drafting class. I could be wrong but I think this might be the very one that I borrowed from class and never ever brought back.

WIZARD RAPIDO INK
This came with my Wizard Rapidos that I bought online. I just bought some new ink the other day and realized I should probably get rid of this; it’s too old. The new stuff is smoother.

KOH-I-NOOR RAPIDOGRAPH PEN

I love and hate Rapidos. They can clog up, but it’s worth it for that great line. You should remove the ink before traveling on planes with them. The pressure makes them overflow.

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HUNT 107 PEN NIB AND HOLDER

Sammy Harkham turned me on to this one. Dave Cooper suggested the Hunt 102, which makes a brushlike line. I used it for a while but I ended up switching solely to the 107 because it’s a little easier to use.

PENCIL

I push hard with a pencil. When I really get drawing and erasing over and over again in the same spot you can see all these grooves in the paper. Other cartoonists have been alarmed by this.

STAEDTLER MARS ERASER
Erases well enough. Pink ones don’t work for me.

RULER

This is called a “ruler.” It’s a measuring tool. I would like to get a bigger one.

Sam Henderson’s Stuff

ASS IN A BOX

A few years ago, I did a couple comics about asses: One about a guy with a magic ass that gives out dollar bills, another about someone who finds an ass in a box. A few years ago for my birthday, some friends gave me an ass in a jewelry box containing little 20s with my face on them.

FOUND PHOTOS

Before the internet, when nobody else was doing it yet, I collected found photos and put them in albums. Most I found myself, then others would give them to me knowing I’d appreciate them. My only regret is not cashing in before everybody else started doing it.

FAKE SPIDERMAN

I got this unauthorized Spiderman at a 99-cent store. There were a bunch of other superheroes made by the same company. I think they used the same doll for each one and just painted different uniforms on them.

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VET COMICS

Some veterinarian did cartoons for a trade magazine around 1960, then collected them in two books. Many of the cartoons make references to tools and techniques that only other veterinarians would understand.

SCARY TROPHY
When I lived in Georgia, I was at a convention called Fluke held at a bar in Athens. Devlin Thompson, the owner of this local comics shop Bizarro-Wuxtry, gave me a trophy for attending. He apparently makes these out of plastic trophies and doll parts.

Steven Weissman’s Stuff

LI’L CHAIR
It’s part of a tea-table set my mother’s father built for her when she was my son’s age. We had to refinish it recently, losing the original decals that Grandad applied in 1948, so I painted up a bunch of cels like the one you see here.

MR. WEISSMAN

This was from my father’s father’s office at Carl Weissman and Sons in Great Falls, Montana. Now I make kids call ME Mr. Weissman.

DISPLAY BOARD

This is a display for selling crud at comic shows, flea markets, or craft fairs. It was built for me by my favorite artist, Mats!? [Yes, that’s how this guy’s name really looks—Ed.]

MONITOR COZY

My wife comissioned our pal Jenny Ryan to knit me up a monitor cozy for my birthday. Why should anyone have to look at a computer screen when they don’t need to?

NAZI JET
This was drawn by my son, Charles. He’s four. See all those wheels? My grandparents would be horrifed, I’m sure.

Tony Millionaire’s Stuff

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TURTLE TAIL

I caught a snapping-turtle with a fishhook that came out through his eye-socket, so I chopped off his head. I saved the tail and dried it out. It looks like a dinosaur’s tail.

THE TONY MILLIONAIRE SHOW

This is a model my friend Sabine made of The Tony Millionaire Show. It was a live show I did in New York. I was very drunk so I got up on the desk and pulled out my penis.

SOCK MONKEY

This is the sock monkey my grandmother made that skyrocketed me to glorious, fabulous fame and enormous wealth.

MY LUCKY HAT

I was wearing this lucky hat the night the cops pulled me over. I was so drunk I couldn't turn off the ignition. I was a block from my house, so the cops let me walk home, laughing at me the whole way.

OLD TURK
The doctors found a hole in my colon, a miniature internal anus which was just about to start shitting inside me. After they cut it out they left a six-inch scar in my belly that matched the six-inch scar in my back from the spinal surgery I had the year before. I showed my nephew the scar and told him that this Turk stabbed me in a bar fight in Berlin. He didn't believe me until I showed him the exit wound in the back.

Al Jaffee’s Stuff

This was a box of Sucrets but I use it for toothpicks now.

I won the Harvey Award for best cartoonist back in 2000. It only took me half a century!

I use these for turning caps on paint tubes that freeze tight.

All the containers I use for brushes and markers double as storage for nuts and bolts. I have shoeboxes full of screws and other garbage because I can’t throw anything out. It seems ridiculous, but at least the extra weight prevents them from falling over.

I had to watch this for a recent

Mad

Fold-In. It is truly bizarre.

This is an intercom that goes to my apartment next door. I can use it to call my wife or she can use it to call me names.

I cut off the ends of paintbrushes because they make them so damn long. The broken-off bits make great Palm Pilot pen replacements. They charge five bucks for those things, you know.