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     Or you can click over to the Table of Contents to see the Terebinth strips arranged according to their storylines. Otherwise, this stuff'll make even less sense than it usually does....

January 2023
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February 2023
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With many thanks to Daniel Coble for the calender code...


     Back in March of 1992, I wrote a story called "St. Georgie and the Dragonfly" based on this drawing by David Bliss. I'd bought the original at the ConFurence art show in January of '92 because, well, because I could smell a story behind it: a mousie knight sent off to battle a ferocious dragonfly...

     And not just any dragonfly, either, I decided as I drove home with the picture on the front seat. No, this would be one of those giant Jurassic dragonflies with a wingspan of two feet, huge bulbous eyes, and a taste for whatever crops these mousies grew. And it would be fire-breathing, too, its scorpion tail poised and quivering to spear any hapless mousie who stood in its way! Who but the valiant St. Georgie could protect the poor villagers?

     Well, it didn't quite turn out like that, but still, I sat down, wrote the story, and started sending it out to the SF magazines that had recently begun buying my stuff. And none of them were interested.

     Which always shocks me, but this time, well, this time, I started seeing that the story was missing something. And in the summer of 1993, I decided that that missing element was pictures: this was really a comic book, not a short story....

     So I re-wrote it in script form and sent it to Elin Winkler, still at Antarctic Press in those days. I hadn't heard anything by January of 1994, so at that year's ConFurence, I asked Elin about it. She said it didn't ring any bells with her and asked me to resubmit it. So I did. And again, heard nothing.

     I was still sending the prose version out to the magazines, but no one had taken it by the time ConFurence rolled around in 1995. Elin was there, and when I asked her about the script this time, she remembered it and said she really liked it. She'd find an artist for it, she said, and get back to me.

     I was overjoyed, of course--a story of mine was gonna be a real, live comic book! But as 1995 went on and I worked on other stories, made other sales, did other stuff, I kept waiting to hear from Elin. And I never did.

     So at ConFurence in 1996, I asked Elin about it. And she said she'd found the perfect artist--Diane Harlan Stein--and that she would start on the comic later that year.

     But then Diane got pregnant and had to drop the project. And then Antarctic decided to drop all their "furry" books. And Elin started Radio Comix to take up the slack. And, well, the Radio Comix guidelines from the very beginning stated in no uncertain terms that they would not connect writers and artists. Elin was very understanding, but she was equally adamant: she just didn't have the time.

     In short, as 1996 went on, it became increasingly apparent that "St. Georgie" was not gonna get drawn unless, well, unless I drew it. The couple artists I knew personally didn't feel that they'd be able to do anything interesting with the script, and I didn't have the kind of money a person would need to hire the stuff drawn. No, it would hafta be me...

     Now, I'd done a bit of drawing here and there since high school, but "hieroglyphic" was the biggest compliment anyone had ever paid my stuff. So I figured I'd put "St. Georgie" aside for a while and try my hand at something else first. Just to see if I could manage to put a story together in graphic form.

     And after looking through my files--by which I mean I rummaged around on the floor and in the cupboards where I jam all the paper I'm too anal to throw away--I found some drawings I'd done back in college ten years earlier, drawings of a spotted bird sporting a disgruntled look, a smiling lizard wearing a knit cap, a bushy-branched tree, and a rock with staring eyes and an alarmed expression. I remembered the vague outlines of a story, too, and some names that I'd associated with these pictures: Terpsichore was the lizard, someone named Jamaica Al was involved, and the tree was called Terebinth.

     So I knocked the bits around, smoothed them into an actual storyline, and on January 1st, 1997, I started the layout for the first page.

     Terebinth has been printed in a couple places previous to this. The fanzine Yarf, the Journal of Applied Anthropomorphics ran what became the first story, "HatDance," 8 pages at a time from 1999 till 2003, and it appeared once a week on the Chimerical Comics web site back before Chimerical imploded in May of 2002 and the web site disappeared from the virtual world.

     A year later, I started putting it up myself, and in June of 2003, after going through the application process, I got accepted at the first version of Pandora Family Comics. When that dissolved on Labor Day, 2005, I had to spend a few days rejiggering the site, and now here we are here. Wherever here turns out to be...

     Oh, I finally got around to drawing "St. Georgie," too. My art was a bit too primitive for Radio Comix, though, so I ended up selling it to Mike and Carole Curtis at Shanda Fantasy Arts for their now-defunct New Horizons anthology series: issues #11 and 12, to be specific. I managed to get part one of the 2nd "St. Georgie" story printed in issue #13, the last issue of the series, so who knows what the future holds for it?

     I blame two people for the existence of Terebinth--well, three people, actually. I suppose I've got to take some measure of resposibility, haven't I?

     But this comic strip wouldn't be here at all if not for the work of George Herriman and Dan O'Neill: Krazy Kat and Odd Bodkins, to be precise.

     I came across collections of these two comic strips as a lad in high school while creeping around the stalls at the Orange County Swap Meet and the musty shelves of Acres of Books in Long Beach, California--it's not much of a web site, but it's an incredible store. I mean, sure, I've heard folks sing the praises of Powell's, but, well, I have a hard enough time getting myself the mile and a bit up the road to work. How'm I s'posed to get all the way to Portland or Seattle or wherever?

     It shocks me to realize it, but every house I've ever lived in, every school I've ever attended, every job I've ever held, they've all been located within 5 miles of the hospital where I was born; it's like I'm living the life of someone from a previous century. A village idiot of some sort possibly...

     Anyway, when I was in high school, my brother Tom and I would ride our bicycles up the hill to Costa Mesa, California, just about every Saturday, stop to collect our friend Dan Goodsell, and head on over to the Orange County Swap Meet.

     And this was back in 1980, 1981, back when it was a real swap meet; nowadays, you're more likely to find retailers selling new luggage than some old guy with half his lower jaw missing selling comic books out of cardboard boxes. The Jaw Man, we always called him, and that's where I bought my complete runs of Howard the Duck, Man-Thing, Defenders, all the good old weird stuff.

     And at one point, in a box of large size books, I came across a strange thing called Hear the Sound of My Feet Walking Drown the Sound of My Voice Talking, an Odd Bodkins Book for two dollars and fifty cents. I bought it, took it home, read it, and thought to myself, "Hey, I can draw as well as this guy..."

     I had completely different stories to tell, of course, but the idea of these elementary images being real honest-to-goodness characters, it was a revelation to me. And it led me to draw my very first comic, a thing called "Far Afield" about a scarecrow named Ned whose work in a massive corn field leads him to meet a strange multi-legged creature named Carmen; she's trying to get to the cliffs over the ocean to watch the sun set, but she's lost her way.

     Well, Ned and Carmen eventually got jobs over on my radio show, but other comics followed. They still had something missing though, something I couldn't put my finger on, something that would stay missing until a stray mention by the aforementioned Mr. Goodsell...

     I don't remember when I saw my first Krazy Kat comics, but I know that Dan Goodsell had mentioned how much he liked the strip at some point. Because when I came across a big Krazy Kat collection at Acres of Books, my first thought was that it'd make a great gift for Dan's birthday.

     I read the thing before I gave it to him, of course--it's still the only collection of Krazy Kat I've ever seen that had a whole bunch of the daily strips, including the entire "Tiger Tea" storyline--and the wonderfully strange way George Herriman used the English language made as big an impression on me as the way he designed each and every strip, especially the Sunday pages.

     So when Eclipse Books started releasing their Krazy Kay collections back in 1988, I bought them, read them, and ruminated over them. The loose and easy style of Dan O'Neill's Odd Bodkins had already made me think I could do a comic, and as soon as I read Krazy Kat, I knew what I wanted that comic to look and sound like.

     And, well, you can see the result...

     I've only recently come to realize that modern computer screens can be set to different "sizes." By which I mean the monitor can encompass a varying amount of pixels, though most folks seem to have their screens set to either a size of 800 by 600 pixels or to a size of 1024 by 768 pixels.

     The things I missed by using the same computer from 1989 till 2003... Still, Terebinth looks about the same at either setting--I personally like the 800 by 600 one since it makes things a bit bigger and my eyes can use all the help they can get--so I don't think I'll worry any more about it.

The link here should take you to the current Terebinth page. And thanks for stopping by.

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