Archive for September, 2023

“Farewell to a Poor Bastard”

This photograph is from the book Drawn & Quarterly: Twenty-Five Years of Contemporary Cartooning, Comics, and Graphic Novels. It depicts five comics artists who founded a new era and style of autobiographical narrative: Adrian Tomine, Julie Doucet, Chester Brown, Seth, and Joe Matt. After I purchased this wonderful book and first saw this photograph, I could have fainted. I have just about everything each of them has ever published. Each of these artists has altered how I regard literature, art, and life.

Joe Matt is the fellow on the right. He seemed to disappear a few years ago, to the point that his books were no longer available from Drawn & Quarterly. I asked one of the owners of Olympia, Washington’s Danger Room Comics (you must go there!) what was going on with Joe Matt, and he told me that Seth (second from right, above) stays in touch with him; this seemed to me a courteous and circumspect way to indicate that Matt was not doing well.

Jeet Heer’s goodbye to his friend Joe Matt in The Nation, “Farewell to a Poor Bastard,” is beautiful and right.

‘Holy Cow Look at Me Now’

Miles, Colby, Luke, and Alie Basil at NICU reunion.

Kristi Coulter

My friend Kristi Coulter and I go back a ways – to the old Usenet newsgroup days of the early 90s, particularly the newsgroup, where her insights enlightened me and her prose style thrilled me. In 1997 I asked her to write for a project I was starting called Ellavon: An ezine of basic culture. My editor’s input into her work consisted of never having a single thing to change in her submissions – nothing, literally nothing, not even a comma (something that had never happened before or since in my career as a professional editor) – and then asking her for another piece.

Kristi’s career as a published writer went quiet for awhile after Ellavon was put on hiatus, but she was very busy professionally otherwise, editing and then working in a variety of roles at Amazon, which is the topic of her second book, Exit Interview: The Life and Death of My Ambitious Career.

The book received a very laudatory prepublication review in the New York Times:

And here’s a very fun interview in The Stranger, Seattle’s famous alternative weekly:


My sister-in-law kept calling until I finally answered. She said, “Turn on CNN.” I did, just as the second tower came crashing down. I thought there must have been sleep in my eyes, so I went and washed my face.

Fall term …

… starts today at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. I have 85 new students, and life is very good.

Basil DocTalk

I am very proud of my son!

The Nashville Basils

For my birthday my grandson Colby sent me his first Polaroid photos. I am feeling very lucky and grateful today.

The artist himself: