Len’s Tattoo

tattos, Edge City, comics, Terry LaBanWhen I was a lad, the only people who had tattoos were bikers, sailors, ex-cons and ex-marines; the marines, at least the ones I met, almost always regretted them. By the time they started appearing on the arms and torsos of middle class college students, in the mid-90s, I was past the age when I would’ve been tempted to get one just because it was cool. Even today, when it seems like there are more people who have tattoos than not, I have not lost my distaste for them. To me, people with tattoos, particularly when they have a lot of them, look vandalized, like graffitied subway trains in 1980’s New York. Getting covered with tattoos at age 23 seems an act of madness. How will you feel about this in 20 years? On the other hand, tattoos have been a mainstream thing long enough so that I could ask people who got tattoos in the 90s what they now think of their tribal arm bands and tramp stamps. But I never do.

The Zeitgeist

John Stewart did a segment of “free-range kids” last night, which got me all excited because, of course, that’s what our current story is about. We do our comic strips approximately 2 months before they run, so it’s rare for us to to be running a story about a topic that’s actually being discussed by the rest of the media at the time. Of course, the free-range thing has been ongoing for a while now, cropping up from time to time. Still, operating as we do in what’s become a relatively obscure corner of popular culture, it’s nice to feel like we’re part of something that’s happening right now.

Colin’s Bar Mitzvah: The Grand Finale

This series ends the story of Colin’s Bar Mitzvah, which we’ve returned to several times over the last 8 months. It’s a story we took years to work up to…I don’t know if the subject is sensitive for everyone, but it is for us. I have to thank Teri Leibson, who does The Pajama Diaries for leading the way on this topic. Our approach is different from hers, but looking at the way she put Jewish ritual in a comic strip context was reassuring and inspirational. I don’t know why showing our characters actually reading Torah should make me nervous, but it does. But between the ritual and the party, I think we’ve been able to walk the line between being respectful and being funny. And of course, it’s been way easier than putting on a real bar mitzvah. If you want any advice on that, feel free to ask. Having been through twice, I feel imminently qualified to help.