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Lia Eastep Editor Joel Chastain Cover

SPECIAL THANKS TO: Todd and Doug for your assistance and bravery

BLINK: So It Goes Chapter 1: Wonka Wonka Kochalka ©2012 Maximilian Ink

“Guinnevere” written by David Crosby, © 1973 Stay Straight Music, “Comic Book” written by Jason Quicksall © 2009 Jason Quicksall, “Birdhouse In Your Soul” written by John Flansburgh and John Linnell © 1990 They Might Be Giants, ASCAP, “Bacharach Galactica” written by James Kochalka Superstar © 2009 James Kochalka, “Pure Imagination” written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley © 1971 Taradam Music, Inc.,

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical without having your parents or official guardians filling out the necessary permission forms. If you’re a reviewer or journalist or an intelligent/enthusiastic reader who wants to sing the praises of Blink, feel free to post/print anything from the book you want. Because you’re awesome.

BLINK is published by Point Media Printed via CreateSpace ISBN: 978-2475016984 Y’know what’d be really sweet? If you’d do a search for “Max Ink’s Blink Comic Book” on Facebook and if you’d “LIKE” it, that’d be totally awesomesauce. :)

Chapter 1: Wonka Wonka Kochalka


Max Ink

Creatorial Hello and welcome! If this is your first time experiencing Blink, let me tell you a little about it, okay? Blink is the comic book series, So It Goes is the name of the graphic novel (which is in progress) and “Wonka Wonka Kochalka” is the title of this chapter. Of course, I’m sure you could figure all that out by looking at the indicia, but I just want to be certain that we’re all on the same page, capisci? When the entire So It Goes graphic novel is all finished (sometime around the summer of `16), it will end up having 13 chapters and be over 400 pages long. This is my second Blink graphic novel, the first was Blink: So Far. (There’s an advert for it in the back of this book.) When I created the “chapters” that one, I didn’t have an overall plan for the book; I just created whatever came to mind story-wise in 4-8 page self-contained vignettes. (Never mind that there’s a 20-page chapter, “Barefoot in America, Breakfast in the Park” which is sandwiched in the middle of the book and was nominated in 2008 for the S.P.A.C.E. Prize.*) This time around, I have a pretty well-defined concept for how the whole story of So It Goes will play out.** The title–So It Goes–is taken from a phrase used many times in Kurt Vonnegut’s seminal book, Slaughterhouse Five. Kurt is one of my all-time favorite authors and his works and life will be featured prominently in chapter 5–”Tales From Tralfamadore,” which (if all goes well) I’ll be writing and drawing about two years from now. Yeah, I’ve got some long reaching plans for Blink, Sam, Hank & Co. and this chapter kicks things off in that direction. A little history about this first chapter. “Wonka Wonka Kochalka” is one of the earliest “long-form” Blink stories I ever conceived–way back in the Spring of 2004–and for various reasons, never actually finished it. (Back then, a “long-form” Blink story was anything that had a page count in the double digits.) The story originally had Blink and Hank meeting “officially” for the first time. (I adapted that dialog and used it a few years later in that “Barefoot In America, Breakfast In The Park” chapter of Blink: So Far.) Also, the characters’ personalities were still evolving–in the original WWK, Blink acted more like Sam than herself–flying off the handle at the drop of a hat. Hank was pretty close to how he is today, but for some reason I used up almost 6 pages with Hank explaining to Blink about author/physicist Fred Alan Wolf’s concept of infinity–it was clever, but completely unnecessary. I was still learning about what makes these characters tick and what it is that makes a good story a good story. Speaking of history and this story, I’ve incorporated a few different things in this version which have been mentioned or alluded to in past stories. For instance: in 2006 I made my first free Blink mini-comic, Let It Be As It Is*** and had Hank talking about three of his friends playing Dungeons & Dragons. Now, they finally appear in the book. Also, there are little details from the Blink: So Far chapters “A Brief Hopeless Case” and “Snow Day” woven herein as well as bits of back story that were laid down as far back as Poetic Pop (the very first Blink comic I ever did, back in 2003). There you have it. A brief (albeit rambling) introduction to Blink: So It Goes, “Wonka Wonka Kochalka.” Enjoy. ~Max Ink Columbus, Ohio 2012.03.11

* S.P.A.C.E. = Small Press & Alternative Comics Expo which is held every spring in Columbus, Ohio. I got a nifty plaque for being a runner-up in the S.P.A.C.E. Prize competition. It’s pretty cool. The plaque and the expo. ** I’ve made comparisons between music and sequential art–specifically songs and comic books. Songs use lyrics and music and comics use speech balloons and illustrations. There are “beats” and “rhythms” in both and while songs use aural stimuli to evoke images, comics use visual stimuli to evoke sounds. I also see parallels between how songs have been generally packaged for a listening audience (sold as singles and collected on albums) and how comics are generally published for a reading audience (in 32 page booklets and collected into trade paperback editions). When I wrote the chapters that make up my first graphic novel, I was essentially writing individual “songs” that were then collected into the “album,” Blink: So Far. Now that I’m composing my second graphic novel, This time around I’m working from the “concept album” model, one that tells a story. Popular examples of that form are The Who’s Tommy and Quadrophenia, Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Styx’s Paradise Theatre and Kilroy Was Here and the “mother” of them all, Pink Floyd’s The Wall. (Two other not-as-well-know concept albums are worth mentioning: Jon Anderson’s Olias of Sunhillow and Mike Batt’s Zero Zero.) :) *** If you haven’t read the Let It Be As It Is mini comic, it’s FREE and constantly being reprinted. Just email me your mailing address, and I’ll send you a copy! Or I might send you the other FREE Blink mini comic, FYI,IDK.

Dedication: To Bob Shortel & the Time Warpers and to all my fellow Comics-Music-Movies(etc.) Geeks. Joshua, Amy & Kevin are our people.

Chapter 1: Wonka Wonka Kochalka

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Platonic Social Intercourse Welcome to the inaugural edition of “Platonic Social Intercourse,” the Blink comic book letters column! I’m sure there are plenty of modern day comic book readers who aren’t missing the absence of letters columns in the comics that they read; and what with the proliferation of graphic novels and trade paperback collections, I’m sure there are lots of people who’ve not even been exposed to a comic book letters column. That’s not to say that comics letters columns have gone the way of the Dodo, but they aren’t thriving in the way that they once did. Once upon a time, letters columns in comics was half the fun of reading those monthly mags of four-color fun. Some of my favorite comics had my favorite letters columns: Groo the Wanderer ("Groo Grams"), The Question (“The Answer”) and Animal Man ("Animal Writes"); but my favorite was “Aardvark Comment,” which ran in the back of Dave Sim’s self-published Cerebus. What was discussed there was more than just the comic itself. There was a conversation being had on those pages—between the readers and the creator and between each of the readers themselves. I know that in this 21st Century day and age, commenting/liking/tweeting and whatever in the social media has generally replaced writing thoughtful letters. But that doesn’t mean that thoughtful people must limit their comments to 140 characters or less. What follows is the beginning of a conversation that will take place in the coming chapters of Blink. I hope that you enjoy what these readers have to say and I also sincerely hope that you’ll join in on the social intercourse (platonically speaking, of course). ~::~ I feel the first letter needs a bit of explanation: I often go out and about to work on drawing Blink—usually at a library or a coffee shop. So long as wherever I am is well lit and not too busy, I can get my work done. I like the flow of people around me while I work, and most of the time I am left to my own devices. However, being as I am creating art in a public place, from time to time there are people will notice me and notice what I’m doing and maybe take a passing glance or proffer a comment or question. Typically, I will explain what I’m doing (making

comics) and ask the person if they read any comics. Regardless of the answer, I offer them a free Blink mini comic and autograph it with a sketch as a sign of appreciation for their interest. There are times when their interest in my work is a step above curious and that’s when I offer them a copy of BLINK: SO FAR. (I keep a few stashed in my backpack for such occasions.) There have been times when people have actually bought the book on the spot (which is awesome) and other times when they decline (which is understandable). On a few occasions, the people are genuinely enthusiastic about the book, but have no funds with them. I typically give them the book—with the mutual understanding that they’ll pay me when they can. One afternoon, while working on Blink at Stauf’s Coffee House in Grandview Heights, I struck up a conversation with a pleasant young lady, Norah who noticed my work. Although our chat was brief (she’s a freshman at OSU and had homework to finish), she was one of those people who was “a step above curious” and a lover of comics, which prompted me to give her a copy of BLINK: SO FAR to be paid for later. Later that evening, I received an email from her like none I had ever received before-Dear Max Ink, I cannot tell you how happy I am to have met you at Stauf’s! It was really the most wonderful timing and I want to tell you why. Somehow, over the past few months, I have found myself in this ugly depressed state. It is the most unusual thing. I've always been very happy, and curious, and quietly silly, but lately, it's been hard to keep hold of these innate Norah qualities. I have felt very alone because I have known no one else who thinks like me, until this evening when I met Blink. Without a doubt, Blink is the loveliest comic in all the world. Reading it has given me a revitalized sense of self, which I really needed at this time. Please allow me to pay you back for the book.

Send correspondences to: or 1645 Elmwood Ave. Apt C Columbus, Ohio 43212

remind me why I write and draw this book. I hope that you find some people with whom you can relate to in a mutually understanding way. This next is a letter from the blogger who makes certain the world knows about “Comics Worth Reading” (and she was the very first contributor to Blink’s Super Keen Wonka Wonka Kochalka Kickstarter Campaign!): Although as a critic, I try to evaluate a work on its own merits, it's nearly impossible to do so in practice. That's complicated even more by someone like you, Max, who is so devotedly old-school about your comic making. You're practically a time capsule -and that's become part of the appeal of Blink to me, knowing how you've labored over it by hand, putting down material that means something to you and attempts to communicate something important. Please don't ever stop doing what you're doing, because I love spending time with Blink and her friends -and by extension, you. Johanna Draper Carlson Thanks so much Johanna, I can always count on you to be cheering me on! I remember when I first encountered Johanna in person, way back when in the 20th Century at a Pre-Convention party (I can’t recall which convention) in The Laughing Ogre. That was back when I was the artist on a little small press comic, talk about an “old-school/time capsule!” Speaking of old-school and comic shops, the next letter is from a gentleman whom I’ve known since I was in high school and he worked at a comic shop, The Wizard of Comics. (He’s also a Kickstarter contributor.) Max,

Wishing you all the best,

Normally, I make contributions to charity... and I still do. Pearl S. Buck foundation, and Kiva. I make political donations as well, but this year I wanted to help people who were really doing something I admire.

Norah M.

And that, my friend, is you.

I am so grateful to know that my work has reminded you of your “innate Norah qualities” and that you’re a wonderful person. Your letter and response to Blink

Make your art, keep it going, and let's make the world just a little fucking better.


Wrich Printz

Blink: So It Goes I’m doing my darndest to do just that, Wrich. Although making art and staying sane (literally) can sometimes be a serious struggle for me, I’m doing my best. Thanks for your generous support and encouragement all through the years.


This next letter is from a gentleman who shares my understanding of the struggle in creating comics.

Now, I'm not saying that this is what you draw about, but ... as I was doodling and listening, well, I doodled and looked at my doodle and it kind of reminded me of Hank's facial expression in one/few/some of your panels in Blink while playing the guitar. So, I mean, if you listen to this full song in a relaxed and peaceful state, and look at your drawings of Hank or think of them, you'd probably feel the tranquility that I'm feeling.

Max, One of the stories I could relate to the most in Blink: So Far was “A Spark's Desire.” Part of that may have had to do with watching those pages slowly take shape on your Facebook page. That’s one of the few times I’ve read a comic where silence was captured so well. Maybe it was the fact that we as an audience were watching you succeed that helped make it more compelling. Your community of friends and well wishers watching you rise to your own challenge. I’ve come to realize as of late how important “community” is to any work. It’s the context in which we find ourselves amongst our peers. It's never just Blink by herself, it’s Blink and her friends. Her friends are the context in which she expresses herself and that is what makes her interesting. I have found that being an indie comic publisher can be a lonely road. It’s partly self imposed exile and partly an arduous task that many people simply don’t want to do. There are plenty of other immediate and gratifying ways to get your kicks in this world. So when we meet another weary traveler, I think we feel a deeper sense of connection. Perhaps why artists of any medium tend get along so well. It could be that we inherently recognize the struggle and know that we would want them to succeed just as much as our self. When I read Blink, I feel Columbus. I don’t know what that means or how it’s possible. I don’t live there and I've only visited 5 or 6 times. Maybe a better way of saying it is that “Blink belongs to Columbus just as much as Columbus belongs to Blink.” Columbus has such a long history of outstanding comic artists and it's no surprise that an art like yours would come along and try to capture it's magic. Best Wishes, David Branstetter

I was listening to some music by Great White, came across this song--"She Only"--and noted that I had been doodling & journal-writing while listening to this song.

I encourage you to encourage your readers to accompany their Blink reading with peaceful music like this... Or whateva. It's just prettysounding. And what music do you usually listen to when drawing Blink, anyway?? Gigi Oh, music! Sweet music! I used to listen to the internet radio a lot but gave it up because I’d get distracted when I heard a new song and go searching for the song on YouTube or emusic. These days I have a rotation of playlists with songs from the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 2000s (generally speaking, I loathe the music from the 90s). Sometimes, I’ll jot down songs that I’m listening to when working on a page. For example: as I worked on page 10 (the “Comic Book” song page, I was listening to R.E.M., “Turn of the Century” and “Heart of the Sunrise” by Yes were playing as I worked on pages 2 and 32 respectively and (of course), I was listening to the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie soundtrack while working on page 29. When I write, I don’t listen to any music. (Outside of whatever’s playing in my head already.) And now, for the last letter of this inaugural letters column– Hey Max,

Absolutely right, David—community is darned important when it comes to making art. Although I do write and draw for basically my own enjoyment, I love to share what I’ve made with others and try to make the world a better place. And bravo to Facebook for being such a boon to me in reaching out to new readers and staying connected with the faithful.


As a Kickstarter supporter, I have the benefit of having read “Wonka Wonka Kochalka” before writing this letter. I have to say I love the story, love the art, and, as an Ohio native, love that it’s set in Columbus. It really is an excellent book. Blink reminds me of what I love about the work of both Harvey Pekar, another great Ohio comic book creator, and Terry Moore of Strangers in Paradise fame. To paraphrase Pekar, Blink demonstrates that real life really can be complicated, and interesting, stuff. And, like SiP, Blink features real, complex, and engaging female characters. It’s everything that I love in a comic book. As I mentioned before, I’m a native Ohioan. But it’s actually been some time since I’ve lived in the state. My parents moved west while I was in college, and I followed suit by going to law school in Arizona. Except for a brief stint back in Ohio shortly after I earned my law degree, I’ve lived out west ever since. Sometimes that’s meant going *really* west, as I’ve both lived in Japan and currently live in Taiwan. I’m a recovering lawyer now, and instead spend my days teaching students at the American school here about government, public speaking, and debate. And I enjoy living overseas, especially the opportunities it gives me to travel and learn about other cultures, and I appreciate the long vacations I get as a teacher, which allow me to get back to Ohio twice a year. But I still very much miss the state, and even though I’m from Cleveland instead of Columbus, “Blink” reminds me of home and warms my heart. Thanks so much for creating such a wonderful book! I’m very much looking forward to the chapters to come! Adam Nelson Taipei, Taiwan I’m looking forward to writing and drawing those chapters! I’m also looking forward to reading the posthumously published Harvey Pekar's Cleveland, written (of course) by our man, Harvey Pekar, and illustrated by Joseph Remnant. Whelp– that’s all the letters I have this time around. I hope the next P.S.I. is just as thoughtful and even longer!

Wonka Wonka Kochalka

SKETCHBOOKERY As I wrote in the Creatorial, the idea of making a story titled “Wonka Wonka Kochalka” has been knocking around in my head and in my sketchbooks since 2004. Two years in, I thought that I had a good enough story figured out and decided to prompt myself (and my readers) with this little “coming soon” teaser. It appeared in the back of the Blink digest book, Experiencing Creative Difficulties, which featured the vignettes,”A Brief, Hopeless Case” and “Snow Day.” Six years later, the tease is over and the story is complete. Since I’ve done so much work on WWK over the years, making dozens of sketches and page layouts and more sketches and more notes... Well, there’s enough to fill an entire book with it all. So that’s what I’ve done. I’ve made a separate book, Behind The Sketchbook: The Making of Wonka Wonka Kochalka, filled to the brim with copious amounts of sketches, commentary and the page roughs of the original version of the story. What follows on the next few pages is a glimpse of what can be found in that book.


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There are lots more sketches, early draft page layouts, revised page layouts, commentary and so much more in Behind The Sketchbook: The Making of Wonka Wonka Kochalka Visit for more info


Blink: So It Goes

THE LOCAL STORY/NOTES RAVINE RIDGE APARTMENTS / IUKA RAVINE (page 0) My decisions on choosing locations to illustrate tend to be intuitive–not always directly related to the narrative–and difficult for me to articulate why they are chosen. At least until after I find the location; then the reasons fall into place. When I decided to set new and improved “Wonka Wonka Kochalka” in the block of Summit Street just south of E. Hudson Street I went looking for a nearby location that “spoke to me” to draw as the frontpiece illustration. On a whim, I bicycled south along Summit and passed through some nice areas and good possibilities but nothing was saying, “Me! Me! Pick me!” Not until I stopped at the bridge that passes over the Iuka Ravine. There are a good number of ravines in the North Central Columbus area (most are east of OSU, mainly in the Clintonville neighborhood) and they have a long and storied history; much of which can be found at Just a little south of the bridge, on the west side of the street, I noticed some innocuous steps leading down a stone path winding between some shrubbery and overgrown flowers. It was there that I heard the sound I was searching for–that visual melody I was waiting to see. Beauty can be anywhere, so long as you keep your eyes and ears open. WILD GOOSE CREATIVE (pages 1-8) The `Goose is a non-profit completely volunteer run organization that is located at 2495 Summit Street. It’s a space for art, creativity and so much wonderful awesomeness. They do all they can to celebrate the voices and methods and modes of artistic expression that exists in Columbus. In fact, they do so much that it’s hard to keep track: they have over 40 feet of gallery space that hosts a wide variety of creations every month (including the original art from WWK ), offer cooking classes, a writers group, anatomy classes, as well as an ongoing rotation of live comedy and music events. “GUINNEVERE” (page 1-4) The song “Guinnevere” was written by David Crosby and appeared on their first eponymous album (which happened to have been released on Thursday, May 29, 1969– the same day I was born). The lyrics that Hank is singing are referencing Joni Mitchell. ÜBER GEEKY BLINK TRIVIA ALERT! In Blink: So Far, when Hank met Blink and Sam in Goodale Park in the “Barefoot In America, Breakfast In The Park” chapter, he


Wonka Wonka Kochalka

told them that one of the artists whose work he plays during open mic performances is Joni Mitchell. ELIJAH AARON (page 1) I first heard Elijah play at a little Kafe Kerouac gig (I think there were maybe two dozen people in the audience) and bought his album The Gift of Every Word then and there. (Actually, I think I traded some comics and a sketch I drew of him during his set.) He’s a multi instrumentalist–his music and songs are sweet and fulfilling to hear and it’s supremely entertaining to see him perform his original songs live. Lots of fun (and his beat boxing is astounding!) BONUS! Elijah’s song, “The Buckeye City” was one of 29 finalists in the “Celebrate Columbus in Song” contest held as part of Columbus’ 200-year anniversary. You can hear songs, watch videos and buy his albums at THE SATURDAY GIANT (page 1) Thanks must be offered to my good friends of Available Light Theatre for inviting The Saturday Giant (the stage name of the unassuming Phil Cogley) to collaborate on their production, The Food Play, and participate in their Feed Your Soul annual fundraising event. I was captivated by the way he played his guitar in such a tender, heartfelt way. Later in the year, I attended the release party for his When Death Comes EP and was completely blown away by his use of loop pedals to create a sonic soundscape. Check his stuff out now at THE BEATLES (pages 6,8) These guys need no introduction, of course. I love how people can be so very passionate and invested in their opinion when talking about popular commercial music. Some little ditty written in an afternoon and then recorded with a bunch of friends later that evening can “change the world.” The Beatles did change the world in their own way, but they’re not the only ones. And just because something’s popular, that doesn’t mean that it’s good for everyone. Sam’s definitely not alone in her derision of the world’s most written about rock group. Oh, and COLEOPTERA is the scientific term for beetle. Sam’s a whiz at crosswords, so she knows lots of little facts. “DINOSAURS FOR CHRIST” / “YOUR ADOLESCENT FANTASIES RUINED MY ADULTHOOD” / “DICK’S PIZZA” T-SHIRTS (pages 6, 8, 29) The T-shirt has reached a golden age, thanks to websites like Snorg Tees, Busted Tees and print-on-demand shops like Cafe Press and Zazzle. The t-shirts which Joshua, Sam and that one fellow in the Rumba crowd (on pages 29 and 30) are all of my own creation and available for sale at the BLINK BLING SHOPPE at 43

Blink: So It Goes

SKREENED (page 8) Skreened is a “print-on-demand” t-shirt shop (much like Cafe Press and Zazzle) that once had a small, charming storefront in Clintonville, over the past few years, it has flourished and relocated to 2887 Silver Drive in Columbus. It's really easy to use their t-shirt creation tool to upload images and make cool, super-soft prints on responsibly sourced apparel. (The company only sources garments that do not utilize sweatshop labor and have been manufactured in the United States.) You can also browse or search thousands of t-shirt designs (there are lots and lots of cool Columbus Pride type designs). QUENTIN CRISP (page 7) Crisp was a celebrated, iconic gay author-artist who was very much his own person. I mainly know of Quentin Crisp through having seen John Hurt’s portrayal of him in the pseudo biopic “Englishman in New York” and the Sting song of the same name. In late 1986 Sting visited Crisp in his apartment and was told over dinner – and the next three days – what life had been like for a homosexual man in the largely homophobic Great Britain of the 1920s to the 1960s. Sting was both shocked and fascinated and decided to write the song. It includes the lines: It takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile, / Be yourself no matter what they say. “Is there anything worth being, other than true to one’s nature,” indeed! “...IF IT WAS GOOD ENOUGH FOR EINSTEIN, BRUNDLE AND MALCOLM...” (page 7) One of the nice things about writing Blink, features fictional people talking about lots of... um, various stuff... They can say things which they believe to be true, but it’s okay if they’re wrong. We all do that–that’s the way real life is–and that’s what happened here. When I wrote Kevin’s dialog, I was remembering a scene from The Fly (1986) in which Seth Brundle, (played by Jeff Goldblum) explained to Veronica Quaife (played by Geena Davis) why he owned five sets of the same clothes. “Learned it from Einstein. This way I don’t have to expend any thought on what I’m going to wear. I just grab the next set on the rack.” Well, I later learned that that was not, in fact, true. Einstein didn’t wear a “uniform,” but he certainly didn’t care about what he wore. He did say that “if most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes and shoddy furniture let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas and shoddy philosophies.... It would be a sad situation if the wrapper were better than the meat wrapped inside it.” As for the Malcolm part of the “geek joke,” in Jurassic Park (1993), Jeff Goldblum again portrayed a character, Dr. Ian Malcolm, that played the “I don’t want to think about the clothes I wear” game. He dressed entirely in black. In the book, he says that he only ever dresses in black and gray, so that he never has to waste time thinking about what to wear.


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RUMBA CAFE (pages 13-36) The Rumba Cafe is not a cafe. It’s actually a pretty sweet bar that features top-notch live music nearly every night of the week. Some are local musicians, some are touring bands, but there’s always gonna be something for everyone here: rock, funk, alt country, jazz and Latin jazz and every Sunday night, the Hoo Doo Soul Band take the stage. Oh, and they’ve got a healthy selection of locally brewed beers, too. More info and calendar events can be found at JASON QUICKSALL (page 10) On one of my photo reference trips to Rumba (there were a few), I met Jason Quicksall while he was working the sound board for a show that night. I ended up talking with him about Blink and comics and local music. Jason works both behind the board and on stage, playing some very cool “Americana Pop.” When he told me about his song, “Comic Book,” I asked him if I could include it in this story, then Zip! Zap! Bing and Kablam–there it is. Every Wednesday at Rumba Cafe, Jason hosts the Cowtown Round, which features local and national singer/songwriters trading songs onstage. Listen to his tunes and see what he’s got in the works at "BIRDHOUSE IN YOUR SOUL" (page 11) I was in high school when They Might Be Giants’s first single, “Don’t Let’s Start,” hit college radio and the video played what seemed like every hour on MTV (back when they played music videos). For over 30 years, John Flansburgh and John Linnell (the duo behind TMBG) have been making music that’s filled with infectious melodies and laced with a quirky, bizarre sense of humor. "Birdhouse in Your Soul" was off of their third album, Flood, and is their highest charted single to date (#3 on the US Modern Rock chart). More TMBG goodness (and free mp3s can be had at RANKIN/BASS HOLIDAY SPECIALS (page 11) For nearly two decades during the late 60s to the early 80s, few television events got kids so excited as did the stop-motion-animated specials produced by Rankin-Bass. These programs remained beloved even as the children grew up into adults, turning many of the shows into holiday classics to be enjoyed again and again, year after year. My personal favorite R/B shows--Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964), The Little Drummer Boy (1968), Frosty the Snowman (1969), Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town


Blink: So It Goes

(1970), Here Comes Peter Cottontail (1971) and The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974) (that's the one with "Heat Miser" and "Snow Miser"). SNOW GOONS, CALVIN & HOBBES (page 12) Bill Watterson's Calvin & Hobbes was one of the all-time best comic strips that have ever been printed in American newspapers. The strip featured a number of reoccurring elements–-Calvinball, Stupendous Man, G.R.O.S.S. (Get Rid Of Slimy Girls) and Spaceman Spiff. But his Snow Goons has received the most recognition with "best of" collections of snowman strips being emailed for years. There's even a YouTube short, "A Very Calvin & Hobbes Christmas" that recreates classic snowman torment scenarios out of playdough, wire frame sculpty and paper mache. I don't know if Watterson owns the copyright or trademark to "Snow Goons," but that doesn't matter. Blink doesn't build "Snow Goons," anyway. She builds "Snow Zombies." JAMES KOCHALKA (page 19-20) James Kochalka is a force of cartooning nature– he’s one of the most prolific cartoonists alive in America, frequently releasing new comics, mini-comics, graphic novels and music CDs. James and his alter ego character, American Elf, are what sparked this whole "Wonka Wonka Kochalka" story thing way back in 2004. Although Kochalka’s style of cartoon art looks simple, the content of his work is astoundingly varied. American Elf is a daily four-panel autobiographical comic strip, then there’s Magic Boy, Johnny Boo, Pinky & Stinky, Dragon Puncher, Monkey VS Robot, Super F*ckers (that’s the actual title) and of course (my favorite)– Peanut Butter & Jeremy’s Best Book Ever. (And, of course, PB&J is out of print. But you can find used copies through Amazon.) His comics are noted for their blending of the real and the surreal. Largely autobiographical, Kochalka's cartoon expression of the world around him includes such real-life characters as his wife, children, cat, friends and colleagues, but always filtered through his own observations and flights of whimsy. In March 2011 he was declared the cartoonist laureate of Vermont. 46

Wonka Wonka Kochalka

GERARD WAY (page 14) Gerard Way is the writer of the Eisner Award-winning comic book The Umbrella Academy but he’s even more well known for his other career as the founding member and lead singer of the chart-topping, million album selling band, My Chemical Romance. JOSS WHEDON, "ASTONISHING X-MEN," "BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER," "DR. HORRIBLE" (page 15) Joss Whedon is another crossover comics creator. I used to watch Buffy every Tuesday with a group of friends and I was usually the singular male in the group. I learned so much about "behind-the-scenes" of womanhood from those TV watching sessions. I highly doubt I would've been able to create Blink if it weren't for Buffy. In addition to the aforementioned, Joss has created the television shows Angel, Firefly and Dollhouse, directed the movies Serenity and The Avengers and written a variety of comic books including Astonishing X-Men, Fray and Runaways. Then there’s a little musical thing that happened online called Dr. Horrible's SingAlong Blog, starring Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day. THE TICK (page 15) Here we have a comic book writer/artist, Ben Edlund, who created The Tick as a comic book in 1986, which spawned an animated series (1994) and then a live action series (2001). Ben also worked as a writer on Joss Whedon’s Firefly, Angel and had a hand in helping with Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. SPOON!

BATGIRL (page 15) The names that Kevin rattles off are all the various comic book characters who adopted the Batgirl persona since she was created by Julius Schwartz, Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino in 1967. (There was an earlier version of “Bat-girl” created in 1961, but... never mind about that.) Yvonne Craig is the actress who played Batgirl in the Batman TV show. Sam's crush on Ms. Craig was revealed way back in the very first Blink comic, "Poetic Pop." I met Yvonne Craig in person at a Mid-Ohio-Con back in 2003 and showed her the “Poetic Pop” comic and she signed the original art on which Sam confesses her adoration for the purple-sparkled skin-tight suited crime fighter.


Blink: So It Goes

COLUMBUS ALOUD (page 16-17) The ALOUD is a fictional weekly that exists in the Blink Universe. It combines two real-life Columbus alternative papers, The Other Paper and The Alive. The editorial slant of the ALOUD is full of bluster and snarky articles. A typical promotional blurb is "Hey C-Bus, we're awesome. Deal with it." Expect to see more ALOUD in the future. MAINSTREAM OHIO EXPO (MOE) / SMALL PRESS INDIE COMIX EXPO (S.P.I.C.E.) (page 17) Like the ALOUD, the Mainstream Ohio Expo and the Small Press Indie Comix Expo are Blink Universe constructs based on real-life Columbus conventions. MOE is a stand-in for the Mid-Ohio-Con, one of the longest running comic book and pop-culture conventions in America. My first experience with the show was in 1987, just after I graduated high school, when it was run by former radio host Roger Price and held in a ginormous shed in the boondocks of Mansfield, Ohio. Eventually, MOC migrated to Columbus, moved into more posh digs and, in spite of being purchased by the conglomerate Wizard Entertainment TM, it continues to be an autumn tradition for thousands of Mid Western comic book lovers. The other annual Columbus comic convention is S.P.A.C.E. (Small Press Alternative Comics Expo), run by Bob Corby and held every spring since 2000. This show focuses on creator-owned comics and draws a healthy variety of cartoonists, writers and artists from the Mid West and beyond, with table space usually selling out months in advance. Although the date and/or location of the show has bounced around year after year, the attitude and amount of enjoyment had by both exhibitors and attendees alike has remained consistent. MATT FEAZELL and SHANNON WHEELER (page 21) Matt Feazell is the writer, artist and self-publisher of the minicomic series, The Amazing Cynicalman. Drawn in a deceptively simple “stick figure” style, Feazell’s work has accumulated admires (and imitators) far and wide. Matt appears (as a character) in the introduction to Scott McCloud’s seminal non fiction book, Understanding Comics. More info and comics can be found at Shannon Wheeler is the creator of Too Much Coffee Man. He began TMCM in 1990 as a comic strip while at college in Austin, Texas. Shannon went on to publish the character in a series of selfpublished zines, comic books, magazines, and webcomics for a number of years and has since been published through Dark Horse Comics. In 2006 he produced the Too Much


Wonka Wonka Kochalka

Coffee Man Opera (in one act), followed by Too Much Coffee Man Opera, The Refill (in two acts) in 2008. Check out his blog which features new TMCM strips and his hilarious The New Yorker cartoons (and most of them rejected!) at "PURE IMAGINATION" (page 27-29) In 1971, Roland Dahl’s book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was adapted into the colorful cinematic musical Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Directed by Mel Stuart, it starred the scrumdiddlyumptious actor, Gene Wilder as the titular confectionarian. As bright and kaleidoscopic as the movie is on the surface, there’s a dark undercurrent that runs throughout the story. I can still recall being scared silly as a child when Wonka took his guests on the boat ride through the trippy tunnel of tumultuous psychedelia (That scene secured the film a place on the “Bravo List of 100 Scariest Movie Moments.”) The immensely tuneful score by Leslie Bricusse with delightful fantasy-laced lyrics by Anthony Newley received a well deserved Oscar nomination with songs like “The Candy Man,” “Cheer Up Charlie” and the various the “Oompa Loompa” songs. However, it’s the beguiling nature of Gene Wilder's rendition of the song "Pure Imagination," as he works his way through the lyrics and the melody that captures the spirit of the film and the book. Both Mr. Dahl’s and this one you hold in your hands. "AWESOMESAUCE" (page 30) Can anyone tell me when this word first came into existence? I've used it since at least the middle of 2010 when I came up with Blink & Sam’s Awesomesauce Adventure, a story about Blink and Sam joining in on a role-playing game with Hank, Kevin, Amy and Joshua. It was intended to be included in a science fiction comic book anthology which has since been put on hiatus. I was soooo happy to be able to find a place to insert the word into Blink.

Coming soon! Or maybe later. Maybe later...


Blink: So It Goes

Thanks to all the supporters of “Blink's Super-Keen WONKA WONKA KOCHALKA Kickstarter Campaign!” I was totally blown away by all of the support I got from so many of my readers and friends. I was shaking with joy when I received enough pledges to reach my goal in less than 24 hours. On top of that, all the contributions over the following weeks amounted to almost twice as much as I had hoped for! Here’s a list of everyone (to the best of my knowledge) that helped to make my first Kickstarter Campaign a resounding success!

Adam Daughhetee

Dan Mushalko

Adam Nelson

Daric Gill

Andrea Grigoropol

Dave Hearn

Andrew Woods

Dave Van Domelen

Aran Carr

David Branstetter

Billy Mizrahi

Elena Perantoni-Fehr & Jason Fehr

Benjamin Jay "Les Pencils" Bayliss

Emily Bach

Benjamin Frey

Eric Adams

Ben Smith

Evette Langford

Bob Corby


Bob Hoskins

Green Brain Comics

Brant & Lauren Jones

Jack Tiberi

Brent Richardson

James Moore

Canada Keck

Jamie & Teresa Colgrove

Chris Howard

Jamie Gambell

Chris Pitzer

Janeiro Blackmon

Dan & Katie Merritt

Jason Mosack 50

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Jeff Cannell

Michelle Whited & Ian Short

Joe Dallacqua

Mike Kitchen

Joel Chastain

Nathanial Perkins

Johanna Draper Carlson

Nick Tomashot

John Dranschak

Packrat Comics

John Scrudder

Paul & Beverly Guevin

Joshua Irish

Paul & Sheila White Guevin

Katie Wright

Paul Hornschemeier

Ken Eppstein

Rafer Roberts

Kevin Freeman

Rob McMonigal

The Laughing Ogre

Robin Savage

Laura Guzzo

Ron Weber

Lauren Zakreski

Ryan Claytor

Lenny Cooper

Sara Plowman

Lia Eastep

Shannon Slayton & Carrie Byrd Slayton

Lis Huey

Shawn Schulte

Loring Resler

Steve Peters

Margaret Liss

Stormwatch Comics

Marina M端ller

Sue Olcott

Mary Gordon Hanna

Suzanne Goldsmith-Hirsch

Matt Miller

Talcott Starr

Matt Slaybaugh

Tatiana Gill

Matthew Swift

Travis Hoewischer

Michael & Mary Neno

Underground Video Network

Michael A. Carroll

Wolfgang Parker

Michelle Schroeder

Wrich Printz 51

I got the idea of hanging all of the pages from this story on the wall of the Wild Goose Creative gallery in October, 2011 when I attended my friend and fellow Columbus comics creator, Michael Neno’s comic art gallery show, Simplexity. I talked with the gallery coordinator, Katie Dune, about my idea and showed her the pages I had finished up to that point (which included the Wild Goose scene). She was excited about the project and everything fell into place shortly after that. I spent the next few months working diligently on finishing the book and drew the last panel on the last page on February 25, 2012–eight years and one day after the “Dreamy Kochalka” sketch which got his whole thing started. As a comic book reader, artist and writer, I’m more accustomed to seeing comics in the pages of a book rather than hung as art on a gallery wall. But when it does happen, it’s quite a sight to see.

Photo credits: all but bottom panoramic are by Robert Walker, the panoramic photo is by Max Ink


Outside the Lines Comic artist crafts Columbus-based graphic novel By Lia Eastep The world is full of artists brimming with passion for creative endeavors, but often the obligations and detours of life can diminish the level of commitment it takes to consistently turn those impulses into art. That’s never been an issue for artist/writer Max Ink, whose work will be featured in an exhibit at Wild Goose Creative this month. “I’ve always been committed,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to pave my own path, which is a challenge.” Ink pens the comic strip Blink, which follows the lives of three friends: Blink, a sweet spirit with a dark past; her best friend Sam, a cynic protecting a tender heart; and Hank, Blink’s love interest and all around good guy. Born in Pennsylvania and raised in Connecticut, Ink’s family settled in the Columbus suburbs when he was in high school. A self-proclaimed typical geek, his foray into comics emerged out of necessity. After becoming engrossed in the Marvel comic series, STAR WARS: The Continuing Adventures of Luke Skywalker, he found he could not wait a month for another issue. So he began writing his own, creating 50 issues in all, featuring his own characters and story lines. Ink spent the next several years networking and collaborating with other writers, all the while honing his craft as an artist. “From 1996 to 2003, I was trying and trying and trying and failing and failing and failing.” And then the character of Blink popped into his head. “I thought, ‘This is it,’” he said, “I get it. Then I had to figure out how to adequately express just what it is that I get.” He has found that drawing and writing about women allows him to be more 53

honest in how he expresses himself. “It has been my experience that women seem to be more forthcoming in sharing their feelings.” Blink first appeared in the pages of a local ’zine, Theatre Summit, in 2004, which Ink picked up at Stauf’s, where he spends much of his time writing and drawing. He emailed the editor and was given a four-page spread to do with as he pleased. The Short North Gazette took notice and ran the strip from 2008 to 2010. The decision to exhibit the first chapter of the Blink graphic novel So It Goes at Wild Goose came about when Ink attended the exhibition of a fellow artist. He showed his work to gallery coordinator Katie Dune, who felt the work was a good fit. “Max’s enthusiasm for the book was what most impressed me,” she said. “His attention to detail and ability to remember everyone he comes into contact with really makes his work come alive.” The fact that Ink’s work happens to feature Wild Goose as a location in his comic was inevitable. The local landscape of Columbus is featured prominently in Blink – places like Rumba Café, the Topiary Park, Max & Erma’s, the North Market, the Park of Roses and Stauf’s – “Celebrating Columbus as it is,” he explained. In preparation for his Wild Goose exhibition, Ink understood the endeavor would take more of a financial undertaking than he could manage on his own. So he turned to Kickstarter, the online pledge site for funding creative projects, and posted a modest goal of $1,500 that was reached in a mere 24 hours. Ink estimates it will take him five years to complete the 400-page graphic novel. “But if I keep putting put in 30 to 40 hours each week, every week, I’ll be on track.” Published in (614) Magazine, March 1, 2012




BLINK: SO IT GOES - Chapter 1 - Wonka Wonka Kochalka  

So it begins-- Blink, Sam and Hank join forces with Amy, Kevin and Joshua for a thrilling evening of conversation and music at Wild Goose C...