Memoir & Diary Comics
by Brian. J Kelley
To the Reader, One of my cousins was more of a grandmother figure when I was an adolescent--Beppa. Born in 1900, she was 78 years old when I was 10-years old. On the cover of this issue, I drew Beppa scolding butterflies. Beppa told me, in a mix of lyrical Italian and disjointed English, that butterflies were fairies in disguise and up to no good. “Tch tch tch” her tongue would click. My great-grandparents, and my cousin Beppa, were immigrants from southern Italy. When I look at the old photos, they are filled with family. Walk into any house on a holiday and the bodies of cousins, aunts, and uncles would be draped atop the furniture, sprawled across the foors. We dipped hunks of bread in simmering pots gravy, meatballs, sausage, and braciole. We ate so well the men often loosened their belts or unfastened their pants at the table. My mom once said to me, “We thought this was how everyone lived.” My getting into comics is partly because I have always loved to hear the old stories about my great-grandparents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and I have always loved to draw and paint. All of this collides now, in earnest, as I turn 53 this year. As I draw, I remind myself that life is about the experiences we have with the people we love and the places that will always resonate deep within us. Enjoy “Big Chooch #1” Brian *P.S. Chooch in Italian means “jackass.”
Big Chooch Comics #1; June 2021. Published by Brian J. Kelley. P.O. Box 193, Kemblesville, PA 19347. Write to me snail mail or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit me on IG bjk925 or on Twitter @RealBrianKelley. ©2021 Brian J. Kelley.
Great-grandparents Ferdinand & Josaphine Quattrone
Brian Kelley is a middle school teacher and now a cartoonist. He is the author of the autobiographical comics series “Big Chooch Comics” and his work has most recently appeared online at “Hobart: another literary journal.” He lives in Chester County, Pennsylvania with his wife Karla and a menagerie of dogs and cats.