Comicology Photos

Stewie did it!

You can check out a couple of supersweet MIGHTY SAMSON covers.

BONUS: Tonight we played the D&D super-mini campaign that Paul and I are running. My part started out with the characters all tangled up with about 20 other people in the roots of some sweet beery-smelling plant coming out of the wall of some dwarven complex. They were all suckling on the nectar from the tubes, and nobody has any memory of who they are. Now they’re exploring the dungeon, which seems to have been affected by a very recent earthquake.

DOUBLE BONUS: Annoying news on the Thickets front. Due to the bad weather and Mario’s wayward ways, we’re pushing back the recording date a week. So that’s one more week you’ll have to wait for the finished album.

Combs Grass in the City

Slackademics: Comicology 101 went over bright and beautiful tonight. Martin gave a bit of a talk on the social origins and development of American comics which sparked some intriguing discussion. There was lots of food (including some kickass salad with cranberries and some kind of delicious cheese and fresh baked cookies) and probably about 15 people all together…many comics were traded and I now am the proud owner of many The Tick comics which I never thought I’d have the opportunity to own. The hightlight for me is absolutely this page out of a MIGHTY SAMSON comic (I can’t even begin to describe this comic), which I absolutely will be putting on a t-shirt come Thursday. Anybody else want one? I mean LOOK AT THIS PAGE! How can you not fall in love with it? Resplendent.

(updated with link to Mighty Samson toonpedia entry)

Slackademics*: Comicology 101 – History & Appreciation of Comics

Slackademics*: Comicology 101 – History & Appreciation of Comics
will occur
Friday Dec 1 at 7pm
Chez Toren: 1015 13th Ave West (corner of Oak) – apartment 302
604-737-4283 (cat on premises)

It will also be a comic book swap meet!
By all means bring foodstuffs if you are able.
Superhero t-shirts encouraged.

*What is Slackademics? See below.



Yeah, school is okay, but there is another way to learn things. People I know have lots of skills. They are willing to share them, and they want to learn new ones, and nobody has to spend any silly school fees – just a little time. Regardez le Slackademics Vancouver. Whenever somebody wants to teach a class, we determine demand and set it up. People bring food and, where applicable, required supplies.

WHAT? Communal learning.

HOW? If somebody offers to teach a subject, they can contact me, Toren Atkinson at or post a comment at Then we wait for the news to spread, interest to grow, and people to raise their hands and say “I want to come.”

WHERE? This is mostly up to the teacher. Quite often a teacher will want to work in a familiar environment, possibly his or her home.

WHEN? When we have a teacher and enough students for a specific subject and a place to have the given class, we will organize it subject to the majority’s availability. Usually weeknights or weekends.

WHY? Because I want to learn guitar and you want to learn how to draw.

HOW MUCH: A potluck donation.

Yes, Slackademics is FREE.

BUT! It is an institution created in the spirit of cooperation and awesomeness. You will be expected to be courteous and respect your host and teacher and the environment. You should bring food to the classes/workshops for your teacher and fellow students. You should not say you’re going to come and then cancel at the last minute. If you have any skills that you can teach, we hope that you will volunteer to teach a class.

PRIVACY: I have had my email address and my snail mail address on the internet pretty much since 1993. I have never had any problems as a result of that, but then again I am not a woman. This whole concept involves potential strangers coming into your home, or that of your buddy’s. So please be aware of that, and let me say that it is your right as an instructor or a slackademics host to refuse anyone–on any grounds without any kind of explanation–of your services or personal space. Please feel free to screen your students before you give out your home address or any other personal information.

I won’t be sending out bulletins willy nilly. I doubt we’ll have more than one class a month, but there will be announcements made when there’s a new class offered and similar news.

Slackademics: Comicology

For a Comicology 101 Slackademics workshop and comic swap meet, what do you guys (who are interested in attending) think of these dates:

Thursday Nov 23 (eve)
Saturday Nov 25 (day or eve)
Wednesday Nov 29 (eve)
Friday Dec 1 (eve)

Where: my place

Slackademics: Musicology

Tonight Joyce and I met John at Stephane & Sheri’s for a night of food and learning how to read music! It was very edumacational, as are all Slackademics courses. There was some degree of surprise to find out that I do all my “songwriting” by humming and vague drawing.

Does everyone know what the Circle of Fifths is? I do. Jealous?

Well you’ve got another chance for learning, just pipe up and let me know what you’re in the market for. We got some call for comic book appreciation, voice acting, vegetarian/vegan cooking, horror/scifi film theory, and Photoshop/Digital graphic manipulation.


My good friend Stephane will be teaching a one night “Slackademics” class on Music Theory/How to Read Music on Wednesday, Oct 11 @ 7pm. Venue will be either his place (cats) or my place (cat) depending on the number of respondents (me= Oak & 13th Ave, Stephane = 12th Ave & Glen). Right now we have the following interested parties:

John M
Michael B
Chris G

I know there are other interested parties (David, Amanda) but I haven’t heard from them on availability for the date/time.

Note that this is also a potluck! Stephane says:

I don’t have any specific food requests for the potluck.  I’m sure there’ll be food I like there.  (I don’t like onions and funny mayonnaise-based dishes)


Here are possible topics I could cover. If anybody feels any of this is redundant or not interesting,

1) Explain the two main musical clefs/staffs
2) Run through all the types of notes and rests for those that don’t remember from elementary school music (it’s all simple math)
3) Go through the note value of each note on the staff.
4) A brief run-through of the history and evolution of musical theory, both in the West and in the East.
5) A brief run-through of the ‘periods of music’ in the West (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, 1900s) and its main contributors, along with interesting facts about their lives/music.
6) Talk about the differences and correlations between Major/Minor keys
7) Go through the key chart explaining how to figure out how many sharps/flats are in each key, and what the corresponding Major/Minor keys are.
8) Run through some scales in both Major and Minor keys.

Those are all the basics, so depending on every one’s level we could just skim that and go into more advanced. Let me know if you have any comments or requests.

Please contact me if you or anyone you know is interested in attending!
Slackademics – BSing our way to higher education

Rock Star Enough to Get Free Comics

Today I went to ComiCon, the monthly comic convention in the Heritage Hall on Main Street. I like it, and now that I’m getting closer to actualizing a comic, it’s become more important to me to see what’s going on. Michael T Gilbert, creator of Mr Monster, was very kind in offering advice. He showed me the tools of his trade (even let me try out his pen) and he liked the WWFJ characters that I showed him and his charming wife Janet (she writes for Uncle Scrooge and some manga). On his advice I’m going to draw a three or four page story of the WWFJ.

I always feel bad for the indie comics people. They went to all that trouble to print up their dreams, come to the ComiCon, and lay it all out, and I don’t even have the common decency to throw money at them. Even the ones that aren’t that good I have to admire, because they’ve put so much love and effort and time into it (that’s more than me). But I can’t possibly support them all. I was walking past the Critical Hit Comics table (good name, by the way) and the fellow began to give me the hard sell on their comic Outnumbered. I certainly listened and flipped through the books but I just got laid off and I’m going to be spending a lot of money in the next week or two, but I thought geez, this guy is a good salesman. The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets needs a guy like him. Anyone who reads my blog knows that self-promo is my achilles heel. So I thanked him and moved on. On the way back he called out “You know, you look a lot like Toren” as if I would know who Toren was if I wasn’t Toren, which of course I was and am. So it turns out the guy (Kevin Leeson) is a big Thickets fan and he is excited there’s a new album in the works, and he just handed me all the comics he was trying to sell me. So there you go, if you’re going to become a musician do it for the right reasons – free comics. I am in turn going to be good enough to read them (and plug them on my blog. Oh look! Done).

Oh and Brian Fukushima was there. We talked about kobolds. Ironically I am going to miss the next Vancouver Comics Jam because I’ll be at CampyCon. Wait…that isn’t ironic at all.

Almost lastly, there seems to be a local collective of girl comic artist called The Radar Friends. I like that. Okay that’s more than enough plugs. Soon I’ll do another I’m Drawing A Children’s Book Diary entry. But not right now.

On another (Slackademics) note, whose interested in learning how to read music, for free? Because Stephane will teach.

Things to Do in Vancouver When You Are In September: Mark It, Dude

Sunday the 3rd – my Birthday Auction 3pm

Friday the 8th – Movie Marathon at Toren’s place (courtesy of Turner Classic Movies) 6:30pm – cartoons 8pm Harold & Maude 10pm Arsenic & Old Lace 12:15am The Ladykillers

Sunday the 10th—Vancouver Comicon at Heritage Hall 11am-5pm. $3. I’ll be there earlyish so I don’t miss the premiere of Caleb’s Call of Cthulhu campaign.

Saturday the 16th—Playland!

Tuesday the 19th—Vancouver Ukelele Circle plays at Our Town at 7:30 (I will probably be in Chilliwack that night writing my own music but if I’m not, I’ll be there)

Friday/Saturday 22-23–Campycon!

Sunday the 24th—Word on the Street: including more ukulele, Nardwuar the human serviette, all day comic contest, zines, bookmaking, webcomics (with my chum Ed Brisson who directed Graveyard, plus Jason Pultz and Jordan Neufeld ) several panels on how to get published in magazines, books, comics, the art of storytelling, and for you kitchen people, lots of cookbook authors. 

 Friday the 29th—The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets perform at The Vault in downtown Chilliwack 9pm. $5! (plus a trip to Chilliwack)

If we can get quorum we’ll probably do a Music Theory and a Voice Over Slackademics workshop. I bet Stephane & Sheri will have a Wednesday board game night. Plus I think there’s an agenda or two on my computer that I’ll consult and add to the list when I get home. If anyone knows of any interesting events, concerts, gatherings, I’d like to hear about them!