A NIGHT AT RUBY RAY’S

With the upcoming publication of HAPPY HOUR IN AMERICA #3 due to be out in June, I’m including an installment of BELLIGERENT PIANO that picks up where the narrative left off in the last issue of HAPPY HOUR. Of course, it’s been several years since HAPPY HOUR last saw print, but I’ve decided to maintain a relatively consistent schedule with it from now on, primarily because I love the look and feel of the old comic book format, now called “pamphlets” (A term I just can’t seem to get used to, although I understand the point of it), but also because I see it as a great outlet for limited material meant for other books – such as FOLKTALES – and to experiment with a wide variety of story-telling techniques. Getting back to the above splash page: It is a redrawn image that I first attempted back in around 1996 or so. I decided to include it in this post for the sake of comparison.

Although I’m very confident in the decision to redraw the image, I was sort of pleasantly surprised that some of the designerly decisions I made back in 96′ weren’t half-bad. Most of the work I’ve redrawn for BELLIGERENT PIANO has been pretty dramatically changed from the original drawings, but now I find that I’m finally starting to (kind of) like some of the earlier drawings, however sophmoric they might be on certain levels. But redrawing the splash page was an excellent experience. Although I always love to draw, the best moments for me are when the act itself feels like playing a Miles Davis solo with your pen. I don’t mean to compare myself to Davis’s virtuosity, but the very experience itself – the movement of the pen across the page, the slight friction caused by the surface of the paper – feels transendant like a Miles Davis trumpet solo. Pure bliss. Otherworldly. It reminds me of the line from The Hustler when Paul Newman’s character, Fast Eddie Felson, tries to describe those moments when he’s playing and the pool cue feels like a part of him. But I guess such abstract explanations are better left unsaid.

Here’s the following page, drawn around 2003. This one I’m NOT going to redraw.

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