January 22, 2015
January 20, 2015
January 15, 2015
The subject of this post is feeling sad.
Whenever I feel down, as I do often and as I do especially now, I seem to find myself googling my horoscope. First I’ll read today’s and then this month’s and finally my horoscope for the year. Maybe it’s just to convince myself that things will look up eventually. Probably it’s to feel like there is a bigger picture, or purpose that I can’t see. Like there’s something else going on here. And that’s one thing I can hold onto and reassure myself with. For example my horoscope for January 2015 (according to gotohoroscope.com) says this:
“Cancer, the leading sign of the Water trigon, will face a choice in January 2015 that will in many ways impact his further fate.”
Now, what the fuck is that? Also, how did they know that I’m a male??
There are a few things this could mean for me. For one, I’m trying very hard to keep going as a full time artist and I am doing it but it’s really tough. A big part of me yells to just hold on. If I can just continue to work hard and push myself I will survive doing this. But it’s so lonesome sitting and drawing, and I keep feeling the urge to get a day job. Maybe that’s my big choice?
Or maybe it’s something I haven’t even come upon yet. Maybe tomorrow someone from Cartoon Network will offer me a job in California and i’ll have to decide if I’m going to stay in Denver or move on to a big future in animation! Wow!
Or maybe it’s just all bullshit.
This horoscope isn’t necessarily reassuring, but it does distract me. And that’s pretty good too.
Why do I feel down right now? I can’t even pinpoint it for you. I can’t figure out how it happens but it creeps up on me. It hides behind a bush and as I walk by it jumps out and throws a blanket over me, and I’m dragged off.
I always say (ask anyone) that I’m susceptible to bouts of depression because I’m very aware. And being aware is the leading cause of depression. Plus, I’m trapped inside of my head too much. The best thing would be for me to just go out and buy some video games and a big screen TV. To put blankets over my windows and to blast some Linkin Park. If I could only dumb down I’d be sitting pretty.
But if I want to figure out this current bummed feeling, maybe the solution is to dissect how I spent my day and rate how I felt on a scale from 1 to 10. 1 being the saddest clown you’ve ever seen and 10 being a very happy Mormon housewife. Okay, here we go:
I woke up around 9:30 this morning after staying up late drinking coffee and drawing pages for an upcoming graphic novel. I showered and gathered some art supplies up in my back pack to take out to the coffee shop to draw. RATING: 7
As I sat and drew in the coffee shop I thought about how a girl I really like (and who likes me) moved to LA and hasn’t been talking to me as much as she used to since moving there. I had predicted that this would happen and wondered why I was allowing it to bother me so much. I should just leave it alone. Okay, I’ll leave it alone. RATING: 4
I finished up drawing and came home and answered some emails. I started feeling stressed about money. RATING: 4
I worked on my Westword comic strip in photoshop and sent it to the editor. Then I went out for a walk. I started to feel lonely. I thought about calling my long suffering ex to see how she was doing but decided to leave the poor girl alone. I came home and listened to Howard Stern interview Bradley Cooper about his new movie American Sniper. RATING: 6
I walked to the barber to have my hair cut so I would look less like a modern day Rasputin and more like a middle-aged man who’s family had been killed in a fire last year (less scary and more like a man doing his very best to hold on). I scanned the shop and noticed only beautiful alternative type women working. Anxiety filled my insides as I thought of one of these people touching my awful, deforested head. Fortunately I was paired up with a very nice woman and we talked about her old life back in Texas. And I really enjoyed it. RATING: 8
Then I had the idea of going to see American Spier in the theater this evening. I walked over to the mall and stopped inside of a Barnes and Noble to see what graphic novels they had. Nothing good, so I continued onward to the theater only to discover that the film wasn’t playing tonight. RATING: 6
By this time it was dark and cold out and I stopped into 7-11 to get a coffee for my walk home. During my walk I felt it all. My face felt heavy. There were suddenly too many people around me. Every male hocked up loogies on the sidewalk and coughed. Every female pushed a stroller with a crying child while holding a cellphone to their ear and cursing loudly. Everyone wanted spare change from me. All were poor. All were ready for a confrontation. And I just wanted to get inside and hide. RATING: 2
So there it is. Just check out the 4 point drop! That’s the blanket being thrown over me. All of a sudden I was too sensitive. Maybe there’s some kind of correlation between creativity and the feeling of melancholy.
Aristotle once asked “Why is it that all men who have become outstanding in philosophy, statesmanship, poetry or the arts are melancholic, and some to such an extent that they are infected by the diseases arising from black bile?”
January 14, 2015
It’s that time again!
I’m selling some pages now. Please email noahvansciver(at)gmail.com and tell me which one you’re interested in!
THE HYPO PAGE $100 (SOLD)
THE HYPO BACK COVER $100
THE WOLF ONE $200
THE WOLF TWO $200
DUELING PAGE ONE & TWO $150 (two pages that have to be kept together)
DON’T TURN ON THE LIGHTS (From Youth Is Wasted ) $150
BURIED ALIVE (Blammo 7, Youth Is Wasted) $150 (SOLD)
October 7, 2013
I originally wrote this piece for Forbidden Planet. Here it is once more, on the one year anniversary of my first graphic novel’s publication!
The Hypo: Behind the scenes
The idea to draw The Hypo came in early 2009. I had just drawn a story called “The True Tale Of The Denver Spider Man” and it had been accepted by Eric Reynolds at Fantagraphics for his anthology MOME (it appeared in issue #15). It was about a man in Denver, Colorado who, in 1941, had broken into another man’s home, killed him, and then began secretly living in the home’s tiny attic without the notice of the dead man’s wife. The research for this comic was very satisfying, and led me to look for another obscure historic story to illustrate.
After digging around, I found a story of a near duel, in 1842, between Abraham Lincoln and an Illinois state auditor named James Shields. I had never heard of this before and was fascinated. I decided to draw the incident and publish it in my comic book series “Blammo.” I remember that I was going to call the story “Broadswords” after the weapon of choice for the duel. I went to a bookstore and bought a copy of Carl Sandburg’s “Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and The War Years” to familiarize myself with Lincoln a bit more before attempting to draw him.
Chapter 4, of Sandburg’s book consists of Lincoln’s early days in Springfield, Illinois. A time when young Lincoln was practicing law and trying to establish himself in Springfield’s society. Though this book rushes through this period of Lincoln’s life, it mentions that Lincoln was a “Haunted man.” He was melancholy. At the end of this chapter, Lincoln is quoted from an 1841 letter to John T. Stuart, at a time when he seemed to be going through a manic episode. In the letter he wrote:
“Whether I shall ever be better I can not tell; I awfully forbade I shall not. To remain as I am is impossible; I must die or be better, it appears to me.”
This really struck me hard. It was so dramatic and I wrote it down in my notebook.
After finishing the book I realized that what I was really interested in wasn’t his rise to presidency, or the Civil War or even his assassination. I was interested in finding out more about his struggles with the restraints of poverty and how he dealt internally with his deep gloom. His apparent emotional troubles made him more three dimensional to me, and more relatable. I made a choice to expand “Broadswords” into a bigger story that would focus on, and make a story out of his time in the burgeoning new Illinois capitol, when not many knew the name Abraham Lincoln. And I would name the book after Abraham Lincoln’s term for his depression: “The Hypo” (short for hypochondriasis). Now the hard part was to find out as much information about this particular period in his life as I could. Most books I would find on the bookstore shelves flew through Lincoln’s bachelor years on their way to the Civil War. I gathered as much as I could from the first few chapters of as many books as I could find, but most told the same anecdotes over and over again offering me only slightly different wording. The book that fixed that problem for me was “Lincoln’s Melancholy” by Joshua Wolf Shenk. It’s a real treasure. An in-depth look at where Lincoln’s depression may have come from. It was an irreplaceable and inexhaustible information bank for me during my time working on “The Hypo.”
Drawing “The Hypo” was an all consuming process that required me to become a shut-in and a loner. I was drawing pages all the time! I would ditch work and go to a coffee shop to draw until it was dark out. I would draw in bed while my girlfriend watched a movie. I would draw on the couch all alone. Most days I would only leave my apartment to get a coffee from the 7-11 across the street. But I am extremely proud of this book. I believe it is the most original book based on the true life of Abraham Lincoln that there has ever been. I created the exact book that I wanted to read. A story about the struggle to make something of yourself, to become something great, even when it seems the world and even your own mind is conspiring against you.
-Noah Van Sciver
July 11, 2013
June 30, 2013
So basically, I drew most of the comics in this issue after splitting with a long time girlfriend who I had shared an apartment with. I had to move in with my mom in a spare bedroom. I spent my time there locked away writing. This issue is the result of that time. A mix of comics that all in some way were about what I was going through. If you want a copy and can’t find one in a store please paypal firstname.lastname@example.org $5 and I’ll mail you one. Here’s a review on the Comics Beat!
May 7, 2013
I’ve been drawing a story lately called “Saint Cole.”
The story centers around a 28 year old man named Joe in an American suburb who works overtime at a pizza restaurant to support his girlfriend, Nicole, and their child, Oscar. Nicole invites her mother, Angela, who has recently split with her boyfriend, to move into their 2 bedroom apartment and sleep on the futon. Only until she gets herself on her feet again.
Angela is a battling drug-addict with only 9 fingers. A bad influence who has a strained relationship with her own children. Nicole being the exception. Angela is an emotional manipulator who knows how to play Nicole and used tactics to gain a place in her daughter’s already crowded small apartment.
Nicole and Joe have been having problems ever since Nicole got pregnant. Joe never wanted to have a family, didn’t necessarily want to stay with Nicole and feels trapped by her. Nicole is a sweet girl who loves Joe in spite of his mood swings and is trying to keep things together at least for the sake of Oscar. Nicole doesn’t work. She hasn’t since she had Oscar. This is a giant cause of tension between herself and Joe.
Alcohol is becoming a major problem in Joe’s life. Since gaining the responsibility of raising a child and supporting Nicole Joe has been escaping into alcohol and work everyday. His life isn’t what he wanted for himself and he doesn’t want to deal with it. He thinks he loves Nicole but resents her at the same time. He wasn’t ready to settle down with anyone at all, and when she got pregnant he had to. Probably they wouldn’t still be with each other if he didn’t feel he had to be. Joe wants out somehow. He’s angry. He’s in a position to act rashly.
I’ve been posting the chapters of the story here:
Every chapter represents one day of 4 days in which the story unfolds into a chaotic mess.
April 18, 2013