Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I drew a boat!

I guess doing historical fiction means you sometimes spend most of a day drawing a boat.
click to see bigger.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

chapter one drawn

on the positive side, finished drawing chapter one of my book on WIlliam Seabrook, 
covering 1884 to 1916, after he was gassed at Verdun while an ambulance attendant.
Now I have to ink these 40 something pages. wah. comics is hard work. 

Monday, November 11, 2013


So I was in NYC for COMICS ART BROOKLYN with old Andy Brown and the Conundrum Press retailing juggernaut. I got to see a lot of cartoonists I like and a lot of writers about cartoons that I like. I drank beer with some of them. and took pictures of NONE of them. I've done some fast, sub-pathtic doodles to illustrate missing pieces.

I do have SOME pictures though! They are blurry and random, but there's a couple of rare pleasures in there as you will no doubt see. CAB was a great show, very busy and well-organized. Gabe from Desert Island and his crew did a great job. From the stack of FREE Smoke Signal comics at the door, to the reasonably priced CAB T shirts (5 bucks!) and the free coffee for exhibitors, it was a real generous show, and like TCAF, it makes me so appreciate benevolent comic shop owners like Gabe and Peter and Chris at the Beguiling. These guys are like the medici's of the comics world.
 I have no pictures of the venue, of course, but I was there a day early scoping out the locale and suddenly saw John Martz, standing in front of the church. I was waving and grinning and walking goofy till I got closer and saw it was just another guy with beard and glasses. I kept walking. I apologize to that bearded kid. sorry.

NYC pizza slices are some of the best in the world. I ate a couple, then went to Dash Shaw's animation screening. Some fun stuff there. These great limited animations illustrating inane tv shows which really show how insane Wheel of Fortune and Blind Date are, good stuff. Sat next to good old Tom Spurgeon. After the show, went out for beer with the Spurge, Paul Karasik, Mark Newgarden and James Sturm. Do I have pictures of this? No I do not. I was trying to pretend I was not starstruck hanging out with all of these guys who work I just love. A really nice time in a quiet bar, a few beers and talking comics shit with guys that really know their stuff. A really nice night. then midnight breakfast at an all night deli.

Saturday, meet up with old Andy Brown. He's launching two new books with the authors signing, Other Stories and the Horse You Rode in On, by Dakota McFadzean and Brooklyn Quesadillas, By Anthony Huchette. Two very nice and talented young cartoonists. This time I DO have a picture. Anthony sketching, Dakota selling.

Below: BONUS, behind the crowd, the floating head of Tom Spurgeon, smiles on approvingly.

I really wanted to meet Simon Hanselmann and tell him how much I like his comics, but he looked too cool and I felt like a nervous old fanboy and didn't go say hi.

I had a new comic in a photocopied form, Shut Your Piehole, Johnny Pinetop, which I mostly forced on people I like. John Martz thought it was called: Close Your Gob, Little Woody or something, which may be a better title.

Highlight of the show for me was these two handsome dudes below, who both at separate times, inquired about who they should sue for me appropriating their image for the cover of my book Science Fiction. They were kind enough to pose for pictures with said book. They even had the red shirt. Amazing. Thanks guys!

As Tom Devlin says, sitting isn't selling and we stood for 800 hours. 
Dakota, at the Conundrum table, we fold our arms for photos! Get with it, son! Andy's got it going on as usual, showing good arm-crossing form.

I thought the show was two days in my typical bungling, so I had to stay an extra day in NYC. wah wah. So I trucked out to Flushing Meadows to the site of the old World's Fair and the home of the Queens Art Museum, which my son Sam and I had just read about in the FANTASTIC book Wonderstruck, by Brian Selznick, (He of the movie Hugo fame (He wrote and illustrated the book Scorsese based the movie Hugo on. Again, a wonderful, amazing book you should read!). He describes a giant model of NYC, the largest architectural model in the world, that I assumed was fictional until I looked it up! So I promised Sam I'd take pictures. A really beautiful museum. The Panorama is unbelievable. BONUS, I was re-reading World's Fair, by E.L. Doctorow on this trip! (A great, sweet book that everyone should read.)

Hung out at the airport with John Martz who had missed his flight and was waiting anxiously on standby while I blathered away about me, me, me. He kept hearing names over the intercom that were almost his; Johan Moharz, Jonah Murharge… Later, like a good son, he texted me that he made a later flight.

I had a great time in Brooklyn, thanks to Gabe and everyone, great job on the festival. 
Thanks to my brother Andy Brown, who it turns out snores even louder than I do! Good hanging out with Dakota and Anthony. Great seeing all the people I got to see. Inspiring to see so many cartoonists I like in one building.
That's a wrap!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

not nine panels…

Latest page of the Seabrook book I'm working on. I goof around with the layouts a bit in this book, but still very strictly within the nine panel grid work. I'm not completely mixing it up.
This is the young Seabrook out in the woods having visions with his laudanum-addicted grandmother, “Piny.” Yes, those are giant roosters.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

look at that ink splatter!

what a mess. working with ink is like working with nitroglycerine.

Friday, October 18, 2013

all the news thats shit to print…

These are old newspapers that me and my son made. He furiously types gibberish on his mom's old typewriter and make's me draw “photos” to go with them. I say, you can spell, why not type up real stories? “Naw,” he said, like that was the dumbest fucking thing in the world to say.
Look, people, this is hard-hitting news.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

page one in progress

well, looky here, an old-timey “splash page.” Page one of Seabrook. To be destroyed and redrawn another day.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

seabrook in new york

a panel drawn today of Seabrook, in 1945, drunk in NYC wearing his war correspondent uniform.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

another portrait in my underpants…

back cover of that new little book I just finished.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

get to work!

I can't put it off any longer. Today I start drawing this 300 page biography of Adventure writer explorer William Buehler Seabrook. Seven years of research, with research trips to Oregon, New York City and  North Carolina. Settings include Haiti, the Middle East, the Ivory Coast and Paris in the 1930's. But no pressure here. Warm up drawing of Seabrook this morning.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

johnny Pinetop cover

So, this is what the cover of that new little book I am doing will look like.
It's not finished, of course.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

notes from the gutters…

Another page I'm working on. On the left is the page as I scanned it, on the right I've increased the margins a bit. The biggest complaint about my “artwork” is how claustrophobic it is, seriously, every review ever, after they describe vividly how scratchy and shitty my drawing is, they mention this word claustrophobic. Could it be as simple as adding wider gutters?? Or keep it real/claustrophobic? What do people think of this?


Friday, September 20, 2013

R.I.P. Seabrook

So, today is the anniversary of the death of William Buehler Seabrook by suicide in 1945, 68 years ago. Seabrook was an explorer and adventure writer who is credited with introducing the word zombie to the english language. He was a complicated, twisted individual who is most often reduced to the short bio of, “alcoholic, sadist, cannibal, suicide.” All of which he was, but it's definitely not all of his story. He was close friends with a plethora of the royalty of American and European arts and letters in the 30s and 40s from Man Ray and Gertude Stein to Aleister Crowley and Jean Cocteau, yet he died in relative obscurity and none of his books remain in print today.
That's his photo and that stack of papers is the rough layouts for a biography in comic book form that I've spent the last 7 years researching. It's the next project I'll be starting on.  I just have to sit down and draw and do justice to this guy's life. Check back in several years… Anyway, rest in peace, old Bill Seabrook. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Here's page 14 of a 26 page story called: Shut Your Piehole, Johnny Pinetop. I hope to have this in a shittily-printed, slapped together edition for sale at the Comic Art Brooklyn show on November 9, where I'll be hanging out with old Andy Brown of conundrum and his new releases.
That's my new Hamilton studio in the background. I know, it's the same as the Montreal studio. Also, no panel borders!!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Kiitos means thank you…

Hey Everyone, just got back from the Helsinki Comics Festival where Conundrum Press was a guest. It was a fantastic festival, good in terms of sales and also just a wonderful group of organizers and events and I spent the weekend hanging around with a bunch of great friends, new and old; Andy Brown, Howard Chackowicz, Philippe Girard, John Martz, Michael Deforge, Lilli Carré and Alexander Stewart, Bill Kartalopoulos and Julie Delporte. When Howard learned the Finnish word for thank you, he NEVER stopped using it, charming the hell outta the locals.

Howard! Doin' his thang.

A quote from Alexander about the sauna, which we Conundrum guys missed. I'm okay missing out being naked with a bunch of other cartoonists (been there, done that…) but I am sad to have missed the sour cream and onion chips and beer.

Spoke with Ulli Lust again, her book, The Last Day of The Rest of Your Life is fantastic and should be read by everyone. I met Jooste Swarte and spoke briefly to him, then he bought a couple of Conundrum books. Filled up an entire sketchbook over the weekend keeping up with Martz and Deforge, who NEVER stop drawing. Kids, the secret to comics, as with everything, is always HARD WORK.

Here is the damage we did to the table cloth.

In that same bar, Howard Chackowicz–one of the best the best cartoonist travelling companions in the world– made friends with a seriously drunk Finn named Pikka, who was filled with a love for Howard that bordered on homicidal. “I come back and smash your face” is an actual quote, though he never returned.

And here's a bunch of cartoonist's drawing good ol' Andy Brown. (Look out Annie Koyama, Andy's a close runner for the most beloved comics publisher though no one could hope to beat him in terms of hirsuteness.) Andy's giant, picture-filled report is  HERE!

Thanks to The festival organizers, especially Otto, Maura and Kalle and all the volunteers, they all made us feel so welcome. This really was a wonderful festival, if you can attend next year, you should!
Okay, back to work.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

another page

new page

This is a short 30 page comic I'm working on.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

more shite about MEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!

Here's a bunch of new reviews of my book Science Fiction.
(click the links below to read 'em, old timer.)

Scroll down to read this one by Brian Heater (I didn't realize he was reviewing comics on BB.) in :Boing Boing.
A review in Quill and Quire always makes me feel like I'm Margaret Atwood or something. How nice. Quill and Quire.
A Nice review from John Seven, co-author of the great kid's book, Happy Punks 123. Reverse Direction.
A great, in-depth review by Rob Clough, who makes a few good critical points about my last book too. High Low Comics.
This one's from NY writer, Dominic Umile.
And this was in yesterday's Globe and Mail, by Sean Rogers. In Canada, a review in the Globe means you are special. I will sleep easy tonight.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

old joe ollmann's not dead yet!

I've moved to Hamilton. Met Dave Collier and son james at the waste transfer centre.
Fuck all the Hamilton haters, this place is a paradise of nature. I am not kidding and will document the mountainous bike path behind my house that is part of the Bruce Trail.
This city is for real. It's a union town and that permeates the psyche of the populace. There is literally a revolution going on here to change the focus of this town from post-industrial wasteland to an artistic community. It's an exciting time in old Hamilton.
But I've been moving for months, I'm exhausted, scarred, arthritic and wake up every day as if I've been beaten liberally with hammers. I've lost 10 pounds since Montreal, mostly from building shelves and swearing.
I am set up enough that I drew a page tonight for a new short story I'm doing.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Here's a few links to reviews of my new book Science Fiction. Thanks to all the kind reviewers! Everybody else? Come one, I'm googlin' like crazy over here! Write something about MEEEEEE!
(click the links below to read them, gramps.)

LA Times    Publisher's Weekly      Sequential    London Free Press

Algonquin Side Table    Cult Montreal

Saturday, June 8, 2013

mean old weiner

An old drawing by me and Sam. When he was a little guy I would draw things and he would destroy them by scribbling on them.

Friday, June 7, 2013

cartoonists, give up, or the utter banality of words and pictures.

so says one poomakmak (see below) anyway in the comments section after a great review of my book Science Fiction by David Ulin in the LA Times. I'm gonna play videos games now. Or reread all of ancient philosophy.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

crazy old stuff

We are moving, so I am sorting through years of shit that I didn't burn in my great depression of '97. This old super hero stuff survived that purge. hooray.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

the most belated TCAF post ever, (and it's just photos)

Breakfast before we leave Montreal. Andy Brown all smiles despite a 16 hr drive the day before.

Joe Ollmann pursed lipped dissaproval.

Andy listening to Gangsta rap and gettin' into it. Bitch this, bitch that, oi yoi yoi!

at the Los Bros Hernandez TCAF opener. 

Los Bros and the Spurge, 3 great guys, 1 terrible photo.

Michael Kupperman and Inkstud Robin McConnell.

Conundrum, “we care enough…”

Before the Doug Wright Awards, 4 handsome ladies: Julie Delporte, Robin McConnell, Caitlin McGurk (which would be a great name for a girl detective, just saying) and Uli Lust.

Whiskey party at the Conundrum Suites, Andy, Billy Mavreas, and Pat McEown.

Walking over to la Fortuna Restaurant, I feel like I'm a street photographer in 1940, or Weegie.
Look this way Mr. Heer, Tania and Seth, all lookin' good. 
My daughter, Liz, usually a flight attendant, happens to be working at La Fortuna that night, about a million super biggie cartoonists are at this place and they all are polite to Liz 'cause they know she's some minor cartoonist named Ollmann's kid and they've been warned he would probably gut them like a fish if they were rude to his dear middle child. (The tips were good, Liz reported.)

Billy Mavreas in a traditional Greek sleeping apparatus.

It takes extra large blankets as Andy covers his majestic swath of chest hair.
No joke, he's one of the most hirsute publishers of comics in the world.

A TCAF tradition, I visit my mom on the Sunday morning which is mother's day.
Also, my brother Tom, who often beat me as a boy. He's nice now.

Philippe Girard, flies in to sign the English edition of his great book Obituary Man.
Phil has the infectious energy of a Charles Dickens or something.  

We drive back to Montreal with Chihoi (author of the wonderful book The Library) and he sleeps through one of Canada's most-beloved attractions, the big apple. Chihoi, wake up! Aw, ferget it…

Back in Montreal, checking out the TCAF Loot. Chihoi and Andy.

Playing musical cameras, when the music stops, anyone without a camera has to drink a shot.

Chihoi and my kid Sam, best buds.