The Tomb of the Diver is an archaeological monument in Paestum, Italy. I have been there, I have seen it, and it is breath taking; a Greco-Roman vision of Dreaming and Eternity. While walking home tonight the famed diver came to mind, gracefully suspended above the water, contemplating the unknown. What waits beneath the surface of an idea? Deep places, dark monsters, and a lot of uncertainty. But it is time to stop stalling and jump in.
Through a set of serendipitous circumstances I find myself committed to the terrific and terrifying prospect of spending sixteen days traveling abroad through Egypt in winter of 2010. I have no idea what to expect, but plan to keep a sketchbook and comic diary for the duration of the trip entitled The Purple Gorilla and Other Caterpillar Tales* that I may publish portions of upon my return. This collection of drawings and comics will comprise Volume Three in my ongoing series starring the Caterpillar (see my About Page for further explanation) and may inspire me to pursue other derivative works too.
I have traveled in 14 countries, but this will be my first trip to Africa, my first time in an Arabic speaking country (so there’s no hope of deciphering signage and conversation), and my first chance to turn down a camel ride. I’m just beginning my research on what we have in store for us, but already sense some strong story leads and adventure possibilities for my comics. Expect to see a lot more of Egypt in the upcoming months!!
*Note: In the early 1950’s, publishers accidentally discovered that sales went up when comic covers featured a purple gorilla, even if the interior content had nothing whatsoever to do with gorillas of any kind, purple or otherwise. No one knew why this worked, but it did. I have braced myself for the possibility that inspiration found in Egypt will completely thwart all current thesis plans and establish a whole new project direction, but whatever I may work on as a thesis, a cover with a purple gorilla will guarantee interest. If not, I will blame Steve Bissette for telling me about the marketing power of said species.
This weekend I have the honor of doing a presentation on my first book, A Kid’s Guide to Boston’s Freedom Trail, published with the Freedom Trail Foundation in 2008, for the Boston Book Festival of 2009! I will be standing in the shadows of many creative greats, including Ken Burns, Chris Van Allsburg, John Hodgman (“I’m a PC!” and The Areas of My Expertise), Anita Diamant (The New Jewish Wedding, The Red Tent), and… Alicia Silverstone! with her new book The Kind Diet, just to name a few. Huzzah to my kid’s guide book! And for those of you who join me tomorrow at the library, I’m looking forward to it! See you at 1:00pm!
Got up at 5:00 am to layout and color some drawing samples to send to Sorche Fairbank, a friend and talented agent working on a book for Ten Speed Press. It’s been fun to work on whether I am chosen for the project or not– it’s a great way to kick off the summer!