Neil Gaiman says:

Neil Gaiman says:
pic by Allan Amato

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Joyous Yule

Christmas 2011

Hello dear friends and family, once again another year has passed and left us wondering ‘what happened?!’ For fun, Clayton and I decided to present our newsletter in multiple-choice form! Answers are at the bottom (no peeking). Unfortunately the only prize you can claim is the smug knowledge that you know us better than ourselves! Scary :-O.

1. What was one of the COOLEST things that happened this year?
a) Clayton shaved his beard.
b) Sue got to see Further in Canandaigua NY and stayed at a haunted B & B.
c) Hank discovered a ‘new smell’.

2. How many 24 hr. Comics Day Events did Sue attend this year and how many did she complete?
a) Attended 2 and succeeded at 1.
b) Attended 1 and didn’t pull it off.
c) Attended 47 and hurt herself badly.

3. Amazing things happened to Clayton this year. Put them in order of importance (to him)!
a) Discovered Netflix.
b) Found a stray kitten attached to the house in a rainstorm.
c) Successfully completed a 24 Hour Comics Day challenge.
d) Coordinated three Ottawa Comic Jam events solo.

4. Working at Brain Power Studio has many, many perks!
a) We get to weigh everyone’s brain during meetings.
b) Our Secretary of the Interior is an orange cat named Max.
c) Having our first corporate retreat at Great Wolf Lodge, sweet ‘Brain Power’ running shoes, going on a 2 day Pixar workshop in Montreal.

5. Cooking figured in many blog posts and Facebook status updates. What was the MOST successful recipe attempted?
a) Dijon Dill Maple chicken.
b) Butternut-sweet potato soup.
c) Roasted cauliflower Parmesan.

6. What travel method got used this year?
a) Planes, trains and automobiles
b) Planes, trains, automobiles and buses
c) Swimming, mostly

7. This year, we attended lots of fun bday parties. Sort them in the order they happened!
a) Micheline’s party prompted crazy stunts & surprises, as well as the design of a silly card.
b) Tom’s party included a spontaneous comic jam with Lara & Mia and introduced us to Telestrations (a fun drawing game)
c) Keith’s bday brunch hit the right note with spectacular Dim Sum and hilarious stories.

8. How many children’s books did Sue draw this year, for whom and where can we get ‘em?
a) 47 and hurt herself badly…
b) 3 for Swordfish Toys in Australia & 1 for local author Bobby Salvin. The Aus books are currently in production, ‘Momma’s Magic’ is available from Sue, Bobby, Art Mad in Stittsville or Chapters in Kanata.
c) Children’s books? Nahh the real money‘s in independent COMIX!

9. This year saw the 2nd anniversary of the Ottawa Comic Jam. What other comic-related things happened?
a) Troy’s Comic Book Shark Week celebrated in Summerside PEI.
b) The launch of the Orleans/East End Comic Jam group (December 2011)
c) Making it to the Toronto Comic Con and getting to pester various celebs (and check out the DeLorean from Back to the Future).
d) Being interviewed by reporters and having to explain what a comic jam was (mostly letting them know it had nothing to do with ‘stand-up’)

10. Sue spent tons of time traveling to Upstate NY. Pick the statement that’s false!
a) The State Troopers didn’t believe that Mom was only speeding to get to the outlet stores before our dollar was no longer ‘par’.
b) April was the last trip to the clinic in Utica NY for follow-ups to Sue’s surgery.
c) Watertown features ‘The Crystal Restaurant’, a vintage 40’s jewel worth the trip!

Bonus Question!
11. Sort these Things that made 2011 spectacular and especially fun in order of MOST FUN (sub-categorized by date and time.)*
a) Sharing great times, food, stories and humour with friends and family from St. Catharines to the East Coast.
b) Sue and Mom tour the Niagara wineries with Barb.
c) Finding ‘Boz’ attached to the house and sending him to his Forever Home in Stittsville
d) Our friend Shu’s new baby, Emma entering the world Oct 31st!
e) Thanksgiving with family and friends, with surprise guest Rob Anderson!
f) Sue tackling the 3-Day Novel Contest and cranking out 141 pgs!
g) Clay leaving Lowe-Martin Ltd. to find new, creative opportunities.
h) Introducing Westin & Nadine to the pleasure of traditional RPG gaming!
i) Sue doing 2 book signings at Chapters (thanks for your support!)
j) During torrential rains, the basement refused to flood. YAY!
k) Mike & Shelagh got a brand spankin’ new house a 5 min walk from Mom.
l) Crashing the Harris Family Reunion in Fredericton, NB.
m) Sue’s review of Carol’s Hide Your Life Away accepted by the Antigonish Review (forthcoming Spring 2012).
n) Word games keeping Sue’s brain happily active vs brilliant challengers: Lisa-Marie, Danya, Carol, Bobbie, Carolyn, Mom, Fiona H, Lee, Judy, Jo, Julie, Matt and Jennifer B. Thanks!
o) Making homemade grape jelly with Mom.

Thanks for hanging in there and playing the ‘multiple choice’ Christmas newsletter game. Lots of other things happened, but we didn’t want to turn this into a Federal Government Language Test(!) that’d take 3+ hours to complete.

Suzanne & Clayton

1. b) 2. a) 3. a), c), b), d) 4. c), 5. b) 6. b) 7. a), c), b) 8. b), 9. They ALL happened! 10. a) *11. Are you kidding?!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thank you Neil

I'm always grateful for wisdom, compassion and humour to sand the edges of heretical madness. I want to thank Neil Gaiman for being an emissary of that crinkled wisdom, grinning laughter, sober fourth and fifth thoughts (and sixth shots). I love Charles de Lint dearly, but today I needed Neil and only Neil would do.

First off, Troy Little posted a link to Frank Miller coming across like a lunatic about the Occupy movement (which made me come up with the idea that an Occupy Sin City poster would be quite interesting.) Then, while I was absorbing this and shaking my head, I read a Tweet from Scott McCloud about it: "BTW, No matter how batshit Frank's political rant may be, that's a great silhouetted drawing of him on his blog."

Then, I read a Tweet from Neil that lead to a post from 2006, which I'm reposting here, to better describe my own thoughts about it (content is copyright Neil Gaiman (c)2006):

Neil Gaiman's thoughts on "...not feeling guilty about liking the art of people [I] disagree with personally or politically..."

Hi Neil,

I've been a fan of your work for awhile now and I just came across your site. I've had this nagging question, about authors, stuck in my brain for awhile now and I thought you might have an answer or opinion.
If you really enjoy an author's stories and then you find out the author (not you) is a jerk or believes in some fairly wretched things would you keep reading this author's works?
I suppose it's similar to the whole crazy celebrity dilema. Do I really want to go see a movie that looks good even though that guy is in it?

If I were only allowed to read or enjoy art or listen to music made by people whose opinions and beliefs were the same as mine, I think the world would be a pretty dismal sort of a place. I love the work of many creators who self-avowedly believe or believed things that I consider to be "fairly wretched", not to mention wrong-headed, lunatic, irresponsible or simply wrong. Worse yet: there are artists, actors, songwriters, authors, whose work I love, like or admire and who, biographers or historians tell us, actually did things that were utterly reprehensible. And worse even than that, there are all those things by Anonymous, who could have been or thought or done, well, anything, and we'll never know...

Ezra Pound was a fascist, an antisemite on a level that makes the Aryan Nation seem wishy washy, a traitor (or at best, a collaborator), and I'm very glad I got to read his poetry, and appreciate it and learn from it. I could list dozens more without breaking a sweat. Most, probably all, human beings get to do awful things and believe things that other human beings think they should be burned for believing, and they get to do and believe wonderful things too, and artists, writers, musicians, creators, actors, are nothing if not human beings.

The art isn't the artist, the poem isn't the poet; trust the tale, not the teller.

(The sad flip-side is I've met people -- writers and artists -- over the years who I liked immediately, with whom I found myself agreeing on everything to do with art and aesthetics so closely that we might have shared the same head, people whose world-views were pretty much mine, whom I'd talk with far into the night and whom I parted from excited that I'd met them, looking forward to nothing more than reading their writing or looking at their art... and then I would find what they had done, and, at least as far as my taste was concerned, the books would be uninteresting, the drawings ugly or clumsy. And in an odd way, that hurts more than liking the work of someone who behaved badly, or thought in a way that I consider offensive or wrong.)


I'm an easy-going person, and like to try and get along with everyone I can. I hate being judgmental (and dislike being judged intensely), I avoid confrontation as much as possible. Finding comfort in an author's artful words for something that makes me uncomfortable and upset was such a relief and a soothing balm, I actually did send a quick reply to Neil in thanks. That is why they are the writers, these 'Kindly Ones', who can hammer the words together and throw them down for us to nod and grin at and to take that solace from.

In crashing about in Neil land, I came upon the following "I believe" from American Gods, which I would love to just have stapled to Womangue as an emblazoned motto (though it's rather large). Instead, I'll repost it here. Apparently it is available in t-shirt form at Neverwear. This is also copyright (c)2011 Neil Gaiman. Thank you so much.



"I can believe things that are true and I can believe things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not. I can believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and Marilyn Monroe and the Beatles and Elvis and Mister Ed. Listen–I believe that people are perfectible, that knowledge is infinite, that the world is run by secret banking cartels and is visited by aliens on a regular basis, nice ones who look like wrinkledy lemurs and bad ones who mutilate cattle and want our water and our women. I believe that the future sucks and I believe that the future rocks and I believe that one day White Buffalo Woman is going to come back and kick everyone's ass. I believe that all men are just overgrown boys with deep problems communicating and that the decline of good sex in America is coincident with the decline in drive-in movie theaters from state to state. I believe that all politicians are unprincipled crooks and I still believe that they are better than the alternative. I believe that California is going to sink into the sea when the big one comes, while Florida is going to dissolve into madness and alligators and toxic waste. I believe that antibacterial soap is destroying our resistance to dirt and disease so that one day we'll all be wiped out by the common cold like the Martians in War of The Worlds. I believe that the greatest poets of the last century were Edith Sitwell and Don Marquis, that jade is dried dragon sperm, and that thousands of years ago in a former life I was a one-armed Siberian shaman. I believe that mankind's destiny lies in the stars. I believe that candy really did taste better when I was a kid, that it's aerodynamically impossible for a bumblebee to fly, that light is a wave and a particle, that there's a cat in a box somewhere who's alive and dead at the same time (although if they don't ever open the box to feed it it'll eventually just be two different kinds of dead), and that there are stars in the universe billions of years older than the universe itself. I believe in a personal god who cares about me and worries and oversees everything I do. I believe in an impersonal god who set the universe in motion and went off to hang with her girlfriends and doesn't even know that I'm alive. I believe in an empty and godless universe of causal chaos, background noise, and sheer blind luck. I believe that anyone who says that sex is overrated just hasn't done it properly. I believe that anyone who claims to know what's going on will lie about the little things too. I believe in absolute honesty and sensible social lies too. I believe in a woman's right to choose, a baby's right to live, that while all human life is sacred there's nothing wrong with the death penalty if you can trust the legal system implicitly, and that no one but a moron would ever trust the legal system. I believe that life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you're alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it."

The photo of Neil Gaiman at the top of the blog is by Allan Amato and is available in poster form
Sin City comic image is by Frank Miller.
Scott McCloud's head comic panel is by Scott McCloud.
The poster from American Gods is by Molly Crabapple.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Sue vs Lake Simcoe

"An exciting story from my past". What could be more fun than getting completely lost on a simple 4.5 hour trip? I don't know... root canals? Anyway, it's taken a Loooong time to get this comic put together, It will be available as a mini for sale at the Small Press Fair November 5th. Come out and buy a fresh comic from the gal who brought you '14 Steps to Mango Bliss', 'Ivy & Dummy', 'It only hurts when I drive the screwdriver deeper into my frontal lobe' and other classics n__n.

Ok, back to doing kid's drawings again.... (Sword Fish Toys, forthcoming Magic-Glow series). The kid's drawings look something like this...

Friday, September 30, 2011

Le Nichoir Wildcard project

Last week I submitted a couple of 5" x 7" pieces of original artwork to the Wildcard Project. The work will be used in an upcoming fundraiser at Le Nichoir Wild Bird Rehabilitation Centre. The sale takes place Saturday, November 19th at Coll├Ęge Sainte-Anne in Lachine, QC. The unframed pieces will hopefully go for $65 (the average cost to rehabilitate and release one bird back into the wild).

My pal Colleen also submitted work, so hopefully between the two of us we can raise a bit of money for Le Nichoir and also get our art circulating for all to see n__n. I'm posting images of the work as a teaser for y'all. If you would like to purchase these originals, you can check them out during Le Nichoir's sale in November!


(c) 2011 images Suzanne Marsden

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

We don't need no stinkin' sleep!

In honour of the upcoming 24 Hour Comics Day event at my place, I took time to post my 24 Hour Comic from this August. Actually, this is a chunk of history in the making... I've completed four 24 Hour Comics out of six tries, and the upcoming event on Saturday will be my seventh go 'round. It will be the first time I've ever tried to do two 24 Hour Comics in one year. Wow!

Anyway, I'd like to thank Troy Little for hosting the August 4th's 24 Hour Comics Day event at the West End Cottage in Summerside, PEI to cap off Comic Book Shark Week. I had a grand time, met some truly creative and cool people and made a crazy, blood-soaked comic. What could be better? Oh and there's swears in it. Sorry!

To check out my contribution to 24 Hour Comics Day history: "The Hour Before the Dawn", please head on over to my Deviant Art account and take a looksee.

Cheers, and hope to see y'all out either at the 'Backwards' comic jam tomorrow at 7pm, or on the weekend for 24 Hour Comics Day.


PS--here's some fantastic photos of the 24 Hour Comics Day event in August! (All photos, including the one below are (c) 2011 Troy Little).

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Grapes of Jelly

A fresh comic for y'all! As I speak, the first jar of grape jelly has pretty much been eaten up. Yum!

For those interested, there are two very cool events coming up: The Ottawa Comic Jam presents: 'Backwards Jamming' Wednesday, September 28th, 7pm - 10pm @ the Shanghai Restaurant.
Next weekend (October 1st to be exact) is Scott McCloud's famous, annual, International 24 Hour Comics Day. Come to DragonHead Studio and give it a 'go'. It is a lot of fun, challenging and a one-of-a-kind experience. That being said, it will be my seventh 24 Hour Comic (so far, I've completed 4 out of 6 tries).

Registration for 24 Hour Comics Day is Sept 28th. Please email me: suzanne(at)brainpowerstudio(dot)com and let me know if you are able to attend. The event begins Saturday Oct 1st, 10am and runs 24 hours 'til Sunday Oct 2nd, 10am. There is ample overnight street parking available and the bus also serves the area (there will be a shuttle set up to pick ppl up at Kanata Centrum--call ahead to arrange: 613-863-8264).

Bus service from Rideau Centre to Kanata Centrum

Sat, Oct 01, 2011
At 8:51, walk to station MACKENZIE KING 2A (3000)
At 8:56, take Bus route 96 (OC Transpo) direction Kanata - Terry Fox.
At 9:37, arrive at station TERRY FOX 3C (3058) (41 min.).

For further info, please head on over to the Ottawa Comic Jam site, or email me and pepper me with questions.
There is also a dandy article in the latest ed. of the Fulcrum, Ottawa U's English newspaper, by wordsmith Keeton Wilcock about the event and the Ottawa Comic Jam. Thanks man!

Cheers and happy jelly-making,

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

That boom-shaka-laka-thang

A comic from last weekend's fun Rock N' Roll Burlesque Show III at the Elmdale Tavern, featuring: the Rockalily Burlesque troupe, the Polymorphines, Chang-A-Lang and a great art show with Mike Pender's amazing illustrations. I didn't really drool in my beer, but in the low light; who could really tell?

I'm off to get some Pump House Blueberry Ale, Donair Pizza and grand company to celebrate my bday. I'm toting my towel with me to underline the lovely fact that I have achieved "The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything".

Cheers, babies!

PS - Check out the fun trailer to Russ Meyer's 1965 Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

Thursday, September 08, 2011


Ever have one of those 6-month stretches? Where you haven't worked on your journal comic? Oops! Special thanks to Lee Kennedy and Jason Bradshaw for helping to re-inspire me to get back at it. I can't promise it'll be daily... but I will try and post more frequently!

Cheers & thnx for reading,

PS--if you have not heard, it is TRUE DragonHead Studio & the Ottawa Comic Jam are co-hosting this year's 24 Hour Comics Day Event. You have until Sept 28th to register. Come out to the studio Saturday October 1st, 2011 and get drawing! (We start at 10am and will continue for 24 hrs. until Sun Oct 2nd at 10am :-) At least, that is the plan. Feel free to email me at: suzanne(at)brainpowerstudio(dot)com and sign up!

For more information on 24 Hour Comics Day, please head on over to Scott McCloud's site, or to the Official 24 Hour Comics Day site.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wearing of the green

Ok, this has nothing to do with St. Patrick's day (except for a couple of clovers :-) Happy Leprechaun celebration day/ rainbow-pot-of-gold hunting day and general drink 'til your face falls off day.

All the above forgotten-travel clothing events are true... arg!


PS--thnx to Gilbert Shelton for the great Freak Bros.' quote ^__^

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bean squeezer

I suppose there is a certain irony to flavouring roasted, ground bean juice with pressed bean juice... hmm...

Thanks to Brain Power Studio, I'm going to be at Wizard Con this weekend in Toronto! So, you will notice a delay of comics for a few days. I won't have a table, but will be circulating around. Hopefully I'll see YOU! I'll be the girl that looks like my comic-persona... and I will have a fuzzy ex-Saskatchewan guy with me.

I'm looking forward to getting all creatively reinvigorated with the comics everywhere and also catching up with the creators of Angora Napkin: Troy Little and Nick Cross! Get out to the Con and check out their stuff.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Crappy Tire

I thought the blond college kid was going to get punched out today on TPIR, but no luck. That's what you get for consistently bidding $1 more than your neighbour in 'contestants' row'.

The Fortune Express kicks butt! The parking lot is terrible! This was the first time we couldn't find a spot though. We parked over behind the spa and took our lives in our hands crossing the road. Clay favours rice wrapped in leaves, I like the little potstickers and Mom was adventurous with calimari ^__^

It was one of those crazy days. At least I had good company while I waited to hear from the guys at Cdn Tire. I'll eventually have to get the rest of the work done, but the quotes on everything were ridiculous ($150 for 4 spark plugs & labour??) Anyway, clearly I should've gone into auto mechanics rather than art apres High School :-P

The Ox Head Restaurant was faboo--I'd never tried it. It's across from the AMC in the Centrum plaza in Kanata. Had a giant noodle bowl for about $10. You can't beat that.

I started watching the Food Network after my surgery last year which is kind of interesting. I got hooked on cake decorating contests, then Chopped and now enjoy the dubious pleasure of watching Restaurant Makeover (and recently the Opener). Sad I know! ^__^

Cheers & bon apetit

Friday, March 11, 2011

inky fingers

The irony is not lost on me that as I upload this image, the ink bottle is sitting open on the table, along with the ink wash jar. Duh!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


Remember to drink when you drink, breathe when you breathe and try not to combine the two. Arg!
I finished re-reading my Dragonriders of Pern book and now I'm onto Anne McCaffrey's Dragonsdawn, which I probably haven't read in 20 years. It's nice ^__^

There are two fresh panels on Deviantart in my 1,000 Themes folder. Check 'em out!

if you are inclined, there is also a silly 'blast from the past' comic over on Deviantart as well. Remember, you can click on the image to make it bigger!


Tuesday, March 08, 2011


It's a Grateful Dead type morning: possibly 'cause of IWD making me want to hear 'The Women Are Smarter'... then I was desirous of hearing 'Touch of Grey' (because I figured out how to make my new journal grey in PShop (yay!). So.. we will get by, we will survive!

The Antigonish Review accepted my piece on Carol Little's kickin' novel Hide Your Life Away, which is righteous! I'll post when it'll appear as soon as I know. In the meantime, if you are interested in picking up Carol's book, you can contact her directly, or truck on over to Amazon.

Another 1,000 Themes panel done today #6 "Break Away". Thoroughly enjoying myself, experimenting with pen & ink, ink washes, Pantone greys and smearing with my thumbs everywhere.


Monday, March 07, 2011

One down one to go

Well, I finished off my cute lil' Moleskine notebook yesterday. This morning I got to crack open my new, bigger Moleskine notebook. It is fun drawing bigger'n with more space to move my elbow and less hand-cramping action. Nice!
I cooked all weekend, and moved between pots, pans, broiler racks, cookie sheets, freezer bags and the like. My kitchen is ridiculously messy now. Which is annoying to me. So I'm ignoring it-- I'll probably venture back in there later today.

I'm well on my way to my 1,000 Themes project, which is a lot of fun. I finished page 5 Saturday evening. I'm not going to call it the 1,000 panel project, because my strip template can have from 1-3 panels on it. It's also taking me far longer to do this than a panel would normally take. I'm probably mad I suppose.

I'll be posting the panels on Deviantart soon and you can go and check 'em out.
I'm very open to suggestions and things like that; so if you have some swanky/cool ideas for the direction of the 1,000 Themes throw them my way. Who knows YOU could find your suggestion on page 162! Or even.. page 680! Or I might just ignore your suggestion ^__^


Friday, March 04, 2011

It's not me, it's you...

Yeah, so I got the crummy-mc-crumb-bum email from the NFB and didn't make the cut into this year's round. Ahh well, it was a little disappointing, but the competition was pretty fierce, so I'm not going to let it get me down too much. I will post the art I put together for my proposal anywayz.

It was awesome going out and about yesterday; it was sunny and every time we got out from a store the temp had risen bit by bit. Ishina is a delicious restaurant, though their Bells Corners' locale is only open for lunch, and only open M-F. The people are awesome and food is spectacular (and it is reasonably priced :-)


Hothouse 7

The theme this year was 'Here be dragons', so of course I had to give it a try! Here are a few conceptual sketches of dragons (and the maiden-chained-to-a-rock of course). Don't worry, in my 1 minute short, I had a great M. Night Shyamalan tweest all planned out, so the girl definitely came out on top. Which is how I like things to run :-)