skylancer and mai tai

That sounds like a low rent team up comic:  “Skylancer and Mai Tai in: Secrets Prowl the Old Bazaar”.  Better put that in the notebook. Jack or Iowa or Mr. Spit could be reading a Skylancer and Mai Tai comic in the background of a Kekionga story.

Well, that was off topic.  As are these two photographs I took this weekend on my trip to Columbus for the SPACE convention.  The only thing they really have in common is that they were taken with my new phone camera, and I like the way they turned out.

Here’s one of my favorite tropical drinks at one of my favorite Chinese restaurants in the world, a mai tai at the Hunan Lion in Dublin, Ohio:IMG_20140414_154333Mmm.  A tasty mai tai–different kinds of rum, plus pineapple juice and grenadine and almond syrup, plus the classic maraschino cherry-slice of orange-plastic sword garnish.  Not shown, a big wedge of lime, which I had already squeezed into the drink.  And a nice image, with the variations in the lighting and the figure of the waiter in the background.  I have no complaints at all about the focus, and low light performance is better than one would normally expect from such a small sensor.

For a solution to a completely different set of challenges, have a sunny day outdoor shot of the Airplane at the Waffle House:IMG_20140411_133807

The Airplane at the Waffle House is actually the gate guard at the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in Wapakoneta, Ohio, but it is displayed so far out at the end of the museum’s parking lot that it is actually much closer to the Waffle House across the street and could reasonably be assumed to be guarding it instead.  It’s a pretty good Waffle House, and the Sunday night cook made me a god sandwich once, so the Airplane’s guardian presence is much appreciated.

Fans of second generation jet fighters are forgiven if they fail to make a quick spot on the Airplane: it is a Douglas F5D Skylancer, one of four ever made and the only survivor.  Neil Armstrong flew it during flight testing for the famous Project Dyna-Soar in the early 60s.  IMG_20140414_160413

Here’s a legible but artistically indifferent shot of the plaque attached– dig that wonderful font.

I’ve been to the Museum once and it was OK (a few weird and cool objects and a great 70′s film about the Moon landing), but I never pass by Wapakoneta without stopping to visit the Airplane at the Waffle House.

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back from SPACE: read the award winning minicomic

We are back from SPACE, the Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo, in Columbus Ohio.  This year’s show was the fifteenth in a series, and very sincere thanks go out to Bob Corby and his team for another great April weekend.  I laughed a lot, I learned a lot, and I brought home a stack of great comics.  Took a bunch of pictures, too, and had a few adventures (you’ve already seen my new lucky penny), and I’ll be sharing the best parts with you here.

But my personal high point this year was Perpetual Motion winning second place (it was a tie) in the Best Minicomic or Short Story category at the annual SPACE Prizes.  I have a particular fondness for this mini, particularly its cover, and I was very pleased that the judges liked it too.  I won this handsome plaque, and got to say a few incoherent words of thanks and everything:SPACE prize for blogIf you want to read Perpetual Motion, my official award-winning minicomic,  just click here.

(image taken with the New Phone Camera, which is turning out to be surprisingly good.  Click on the image and you can read not only the plaque but the cover of the comic quite clearly.)

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tumblr sunday — how to identify a cartoonist

A cartoonist is the person who, when she sees this beautiful historic photograph,sovietmedicwithhorseher first thought is “Cute bag! I could put my sketchbook and my camera in the main compartment and my pencil case in the front pocket and there’s room for some extra stuff if I stop by the comic shop or the used bookstore.”  (I also really like her hat.)

But seriously, great images like this are a good reason to keep a photo gallery on tumblr.  Portrait of a Soviet medical orderly of the 1st Guards Cavalry Corps during the Battle of Moscow on the Eastern Front. Near Moscow, Russia, Soviet Union. January 1942, image via tumblr.

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welcome new (and returning) readers!

red little dog chop cleaned up-darkIf everything is going according to plan, a lot of my business cards have made their way into the hands of friends, colleagues, readers, and general passers by over the last few days, and I hope at least some of you are here for the first time (or the first time in a while) as you follow the paper trail on the card with the little red dog on it.

First of all, welcome!  This is the online home of cartoonist and maker of minicomics Pam Bliss (that’s me!) and the internet gateway to the comics about Kekionga, the classic American small town where anything can happen.  Find out more about me, about Kekionga and its inhabitants, and lots of other stuff by clicking on the links right below the art at the top of the page.

To read complete Kekionga stories, click on “READ A COMIC!”.  This link will take you to, my new webcomics site.   I will be adding more comics, new and old, on a regular basis, so check back often.  The site itself is still in beta and suggestions and advice are welcome.  I’ve been making paper comics since 1989, but webcomics are a new thing for me.

The rest of the site is my blog.  I post something every day: sketches, Kekionga background material, comics tips and tricks, photographs, stories about my dogs,  cool stuff from around the internet, media reviews, and anything else that crosses my desk or my mind and seems worth passing along.  Once a week I post the best drawing from my Drawing of the Day project, now in its sixth year,  and I review every movie I see in the theater.  Everything else is subject to change without notice, but it is tagged to help keep things organized.  If specific subjects ring your bell, please use the tag cloud in the right hand side to find the posts that particularly interest you.

Thank you very much for visiting “a cartoonist in Kekionga” at, and please come back soon.


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an antiquity

Went in to a Walgreen’s this afternoon to buy a few personal necessities, and was surprised and pleased to get a well worn “wheat penny” in my change.IMG_20140411_220255 And then I turned it over, as one does, to try to read the date, and … well.   That sure looks like a zero to me.IMG_20140411_220205

This little object, still doing its job, is well over 100 years old.

File this under “My new lucky penny: its secret origin”, and “Hey’ the new phone camera does some pretty decent informal macro.”


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best of the drawing of the day, week 104– double portrait

drawingoftheday-week104-doubleportraitChose this drawing just because I like it, and because it represents a twist on the usual sketchbook double portrait of character-and-creature– who is the creature here?  Plus, this is a rare case of meaningful inking.  My inking is usually brutally functional: most of the creative action happens at the pencil stage, then I ink so you can see the pencil drawing more clearly and so it can be reproduced easily.  In this case, though, I was trying for simple brushwork lines that would convey a feeling of strength and serenity, and I think it at least sort of works.

The tools, as almost always in this kind of thing, are the Pentel Color Brush (EF brush head, Japanese refill) and the scritchy-scratchy pen (Rotring Art Pen, EF sketch nib).

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IMG_20140403_192230Enter Antelopia with another image from the new phone camera.  There are places in the world where it is probably common to capture two sorts of antelope in one snapshot, but Northern Indiana is not usually one of them.  And the Sable is an African species, while the Pronghorn is the only antelope native to North America … Antelopia can be a confusing place.

But taxidermy is a great equalizer, and very good local Italian restaurants are allowed the occasional eccentric decoration.  You should see the lions in the bar.

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birds in a sluddle is finished!

It took a month and more, but Birds in a Sluddle is finished.   I gave up posting it bit by bit when my eye problems got so much worse, because nobody wants to read about that.  But now I’ve got my new glasses and it’s rolled its way up nicely enough.  Here’s the coversluddle-page1-50-600-grey– you can see the whole thing at SPACE this weekend, and I will post it on Read a Comic! next week, complete with notes. The cover combines the two parts of the story– the library story with Iowa and Gideon,  told in the conventional way with brushwork and fountain pens, and the “Little Maudie book” excerpts, with fine linework and typeset text.

I am quite pleased with P22 Parrish Roman’s performance in the role of the Little Maudie font.

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drawing of the day bonus– one of the ones that’s worth a thousand words

Or you can at least replace 997 of them with this brush pen outpouring from last night– pure brushwork without a net.drawingofthedaybonus-040614I didn’t know that was what my soul looked like, but it doesn’t surprise me much.

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tumblr sunday– the deadline fairy

Here she is: the obscure monochrome fairy of Natural Media Inking, who comes in the night as you sit there stippling and listening to NPR and gives you the inspiration to finish your comic in time. thedeadlinefairy You shall, she says.  You shall, you shall.

(Gif presumably taken from an old silent film, and found on tumblr.)


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