Up the River Rollercoaster

December 14, 2013

I love Chicago.

As far as cities go, this gritty gray, snow coated, L-rumbling mash of midwest folks takes the cake.

I’m heading into my sixth year here. The city is all dolled up with a fresh coat of snow makeup, bringing back the sensation that I live in a cheap crime novel from the 1950s. The mad Santa-lookalike down the street has put his army base issue loudspeaker out on the stoop, blaring FM holiday carols for a six block radius. The corner mart is doling out shots of whiskey to patrons in paper cups. Humboldt Park is devoid of impromptu dance parties and Puerto Rican septuagenarian bike gangs and has returned to the big white empty.

Holed up in my treehouse in a dilapidated threeflat, dancing to music that contrasts the old timey snow-and-brick-addled scene outside, nostalgia starts to creep in. Year end lists abound. I am moved to sling words up against the blog that hasn’t been touched in far, far too long.

The last year has been a rollercoaster.

My mom and brother came to visit Chicago, which was a blast:

I finally decided to dive in and start inking my supposed Big Book that I’d been trying to craft for AGES. I am happy with random, tiny parts of what I’ve drawn so far, and feel like it joins the ranks of other comics I’ve done in the past where I really REALLY tried to grow and do something beyond my comfort zone, only to find it falling flat when folks read it. Very frustrating to say the least. Because then I’ll shit out some quickie comic that I don’t feel very challenging and people eat it up. I should really take a hint (don’t count on it).

Here are a few pages I liked:

I had a fun winter trekking in the snow taking photos:

My mom visited again!

Then I grew a huge beard and CAKE #2 happened:

Alexander Stewart and Lilli Carré got married in Mineral Point, WI:

Soon after, I went camping in Wisconsin:

..and a 3-day canoe trip down the Wisconsin river with Joe Tallarico and 13 other drunken goons on 8 canoes:

Following that we invited folks over for a summer BBQ in my backyard to make use of our newly installed firepit, and to say farewell to my outstanding moonwalking pupil, Ohn:

To continue my summer theme of roaming the great outdoors equipped with aging film equipment, I went “camping” with my dad and brother in Yachats, Oregon, which was really more of a yearly booze-it-up and group interpretive dance of the motions of fishermen:

Throughout the year, the one comic project I’ve managed to stick to is the Wolfman series. I’ll have a big new issue out for CAKE #3 (May 31 2014). In the meantime, you can get more regular updates on my foibles at tumblr.natebeaty.com.

Oh my, I’ve exhausted my brief interest in posting to my bloggy catacombs, but hopefully this six-pack will fog my brain enough to think it’s worth it again soon dear reader!