Hi Buddies, Paige here.
Last year, (2018) I lost my dad to cancer and my son moved out on his own. I was left with an empty nest, a heavy heart and a big void that needed filling. So, I promised myself I’d write a comic strip every day for a year, and post it on Instagram @nowwhatcomics.
Why a comic strip? I have no idea. I’d never written a comic before in my life. As an actor in a sketch and improv company, I’d written plenty of jokes. As a person with a ball point pen in her hand, I’d drawn plenty of cartoony pictures. It somehow never occurred to me to try and put them together until now. Once I started, I just couldn’t stop. I could turn my yucky feelings into gags. I could literally draw the people back into my life who had left me. Like a dummy, I thought, “How hard can it be to write a decent joke every day?” Turns out, pretty hard. But, pretty fun too. And the comic strip was just the beginning.
I started reading all the comics, all the books about comics, and then I discovered graphic novels and holy shit- the nerdy, creative writing grad student in me woke from a 25 year coma. I had to write one. But, I didn’t really know how. I mean, honestly, I could barely draw. So I started taking classes at SILA (society of illustrators LA) and The Animation Guild. You know who takes classes at the Guild? Really, really good artists. The professional kind. I am so far out of my league. But somehow they let me, a middle-aged, jackass, Instagram cartoonist sit in that room with them and draw. DId I mention we’re drawing live nude models? To answer your next question- No I don’t always draw a cartoon fart coming out of their butt when they pose backwards. Only sometimes.
I got a BA in creative writing from USC, and started a master’s program in writing at Vermont college, but dropped out to get married. When that didn’t work out, I went through the Groundlings school, and joined their Sunday company. That is intense! You put on a new show every Sunday, kind of like SNL but for 99 people at a time instead of millions. I’ve taken Robert McKee’s Story workshop and writing classes at UCLA Extension. I’ve written 5 un-produced movies, a couple of original un-produced TV pilots, and a few really stupid web-series I did produce. Whatever. All of that was just preparation for COMICS. Have I mentioned I love comics? I do. Writing a daily comic is like putting on a mini-show every day. You’re the set designer, the costumer, the lighting crew, the key grip, and of course the director. Sometimes my work is seen by tens of thousands of people. That’s crazy to me.
I hope you’ll enjoy my first Graphic Novella, “Baby.” Writing it was a catharsis in so many ways. Purging my most difficult feelings, and shaping them into something beautiful and funny that I hope a lot of people will relate to. I love when my friends text me pictures of themselves crying after they read it. What the hell is wrong with me? If you wanna read it and cry, you can buy it in the shop section.
I’m taking a break from the daily comic right now to work on my first full-length graphic novel. It’s the truly unbelievable story of Sherry Odom, who started the biggest gay club in Pensacola in the late 1980s. Because of her Memorial Day street party, Pensacola was dubbed the Gay Riviera - in the middle of the AIDS crisis. The Pensacola City Council lost their shit. Sherry went to war with the city and won. That’s how she’s famous, but her whole life is non-stop, redneck action - gun fights, incarcerations, drugs, heists, car chases, love, loss, retribution and redemption. And she’s funny as hell too. I’ve amassed 50 hours of interviews for this book. The stories are so good, I’m considering releasing a podcast as a sister project. I can’t wait to share it with you all- stay tuned!