Panel from “Invisible World: An Ungraphic Novel”

Invisible World: An Ungraphic Novel

I told someone at work a few weeks ago, “I have this idea of trying to do a graphic novel, but without the…you know…the graphics, the illustrations…” and they looked at me like I had six heads. But I think it can work. I think “Invisible World” is some type of parallel universe where the laws of light and optics do not apply and things normally seen in our world are invisible there from observers from our world. I have yet to figure out precisely how or why observers from our world have access to Invisible World – only that they do. It may have something to do with increased potassium levels…no, that’s not it. But I’ll figure it out eventually.

Three Little-Known Facts About Leonardo DaVinci

poem strip: "Three Little-Known Facts About Leonardo DaVinci"

Once a year, I send a check for my Eagles season tickets to my buddy Mark. Most people in my situation would just put the check in an envelope and mail it. But most people were not raised by my mother. My mom somehow got it in my head that that any envelope that clearly had a check inside of it would be opened and the check would be stolen. This was a fait accompli. So even though I know that is not the case, whenever I mail this particular check to Mark, I wrap the check in what I call “The Mail Bandit Baffler”, which is typically a bizarre drawing using a Sharpie that would leave any potential mail bandits thinking “There obviously isn’t a check in here, since this is clearly being sent by someone in a mental institution.”

Last year, the Mail Bandit Baffler took the form of a poem with a drawing that Mark’s kids really liked. Eager to solidify my place in his children’s minds as “the eccentric uncle”, I threw together this poem strip for this year’s Mail Bandit Baffler.

The great irony, is that Mark and I will both be attending a graduation party this afternoon and I will in all likelihood simply hand him the check, but wrapped in the Mail Bandit Baffler.

Upsidedown Poem (After Robert Grenier)

Upsidedown Poem (After Robert Grenier)

I discovered Robert Grenier’s Penn Scans (71 drawing poem images presented at the Penn’s Kelly Writer’s House in October 2009) online a few weeks ago at work on my lunch hour and was delightfully mystified. I tried several “drawing poem images” immediately that I liked at the time, but then in retrospect, looked completely horrible (one sort of mined the same ground as Neter’s “Witches Head”, but with words). They’re lost somewhere in a pile of papers. Maybe someday I’ll find them and like them and post them.

But a few weekends ago I was trying to explain Grenier’s Penn Scans to Carol and quickly tried to sketch an example for her of what I was talking about.

I looked at what resulted and the first thing I did was to flip it upside down. I actually found the poem more aesthetically pleasing upsidedown. This is the poem above.

Click here to see Robert Grenier’s Penn Scans online at Whalecloth Press

Click here to see Robert Grenier’s notes on the pieces.