German Tourists In The Mist (or: We Went To Iceland)


Our plane from JFK to Reykjavik was uneventful except for the young man who was sitting in front of us. I spotted him drinking beer when we first boarded, and I can only assume he also consumed something more “powerful” as his behavior eventually degraded to the point where the flight attendants confined him to one of the bathrooms for an hour or so.

After he was released from the bathroom he sat down, wedged his face in between the seats in front of us and passed out.

I didn’t sleep on the red eye flight, and after an hour driving through Iceland’s trade mark fog and rain in our rental car, we spotted an Ikea. Jean remembered reading that Ikea is a popular breakfast place in Iceland and we were in desperate need of coffee. Sure enough, even though we were the first people there, the place soon filled up with hungry people. It was cafeteria style and the woman who made my waffle was VERY eager to cover it with chocolate. I had to tell her “No” several times. She seemed saddened by this.

The rain eventually cleared up on the drive to our Bed & Breakfast. We saw many lamb and beautiful horses along the road and in the mountains. In fact, the restaurant we ate at that night had beautiful things on the menu.

Breakfast at our Bed & Breakfast included waffles, but our host didn’t try to push any chocolate toppings. we met  two couples from Canada who were riding motorcycles around Iceland. One of them was a chef and commented that he tried the beautiful horse at the restaurant. He felt it was over cooked .

We left our rented car behind and took a ferry to Heimaey Island, one of the Westman Islands. We’re not full fledged birders, but brought our binoculars on a 5 Kilometer trail along the sea cliffs of the island in an effort to see Puffins. We saw many birds and sea lions before finally spotting a Puffin that was flying out to sea and then back to it’s nest. Our walk to the end of the island had lasted about four hours and we forgot to bring snacks. Ruth, the woman who ran our B&B said that if we didn’t feel like walking back from the end of the island, people who drove out there would be glad to give us a ride back. Eventually, people in a SUV drove up to the plaque we just read, never got out of their car, and took off back to the other end of the Island. It was a hungry three hour walk back. I thought about waffles covered in Chocolate.

A volcanic eruption occurred on Heimaey in 1973 burying a good portion of the town and increasing the size of the Island. The next day we hiked up Eldfell, the now dormant volcano. While climbing we were hit with fog, rain, wind and at some moments, clear skies.  As we approached the top of the rim of the crater, a rain cloud moved in causing the German tourists ahead of us disappeared in the mist. It also made for this cool photo.

I really don’t know if they were German, but they didn’t return a hello to me except for one person who mumbled something in German. I think. It makes for a good title to my post anyway.

Heat vents at the top of the volcano are still fairly hot and will warm you up and dry you off. Our host, Ruth baked bread up here in the heat vents until recently. She told us that it’s cooled off and is only hot enough for fondue now.

We walked down the side of the volcano to what is basically the lava field created in 73. The landscape is barren and covered only in moss and some interesting pink plants.

We also stopped by the Natural History Museum on Heimaey and met Toti, a rescued Puffin. He (or she-they’re not really sure) lives at the museum and has the run of the place.

Hiemaey’s main industry is fishing so they have a great array of ships to sketch! We hated to leave.
ships 1

Everywhere we went in Iceland, signs warned us that we could be burned, fall to our death and or be crushed by falling rocks. It was great! Strokkur Geysir had a sign warning you that you should NOT put your hand in the water running down the rocks as it could scald you and the nearest hospital was 47 Kilometers away. Of course I saw a few people test the water with their hands.

Mainland Iceland was also amazing, if a bit more full of tourists than Heimaey Island. There are many hitchhikers and we picked up a woman from Boston who was not afraid to hitch rides in Iceland due to the low murder rate. According to her, Iceland had one murder last year.

As with most adventures, our trip ended with Vikings, and not chocolate covered Waffles as I had expected.  Actually, it ended with a Viking ship. A museum dedicated to a Viking ship a sailor built and sailed to America in 2000. I sketched it.
viking ships


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Friday Promo (a bit late)

No animation or sketching this week. Just a quick reminder that I have been remiss in reminding people that Paul Levitz and myself have a continuing story running in Dark Horse Presents.  It’s called Brooklyn Blood and the latest issue (issue 21) is on sale…last week!  Details are here! Pictured below is the cover by Aaron Lopresti and a peek at the latest installment of B.B.




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Old Fart Friday (with animation)

When you want to learn how to do new things on the computer in today’s world, the best thing to do is to go to youtube and find a tutorial video made by a 12 year old. They know everything! I made some gifs of late and became interested in what I could do with some more elaborate (if you can call this elaborate) animation. So, with the help of Youtube instructional videos made by kids, I basically made what Terry Gilliam was making on Monty Python way back when.  This animation was made with photos I took, along with photos I bought at a flea market and smoke animation I did by hand. Very basic music is also by me. it plays on a loop so that you will hate me.

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Big Read and Twin Peaks (Not an April Fools)

Why? Read the amazing post below and find out. Or don’t.motocycle2

This week I travelled to Independence Missouri for a Big Read event.  I’ve done many of these over the years since adapting Fahrenheit 451 into a graphic novel. The Big Read creates events around well known books for schools and libraries, thus if they choose to do events around Fahrenheit, I am often invited to be a part of it. I had a great time talking to students at the Kansas City Art Institute, and the local libraries. If you live in Independence, check out my original art work on display at several library locations. Yes, I forget which ones. Check local listings.

These events are mostly uneventful, and this trip was no different other than my hotel being right next to a restaurant called Twin Peaks. The first day there I wandered over to this “Twin Peaks” to grab lunch as something in my head told me there was something in my head about Twin Peaks I should remember. Not something to remember about David Lynch or Log ladies, but something else. As I got closer, I did notice that the windows were tinted and I could not see who or what was inside. Also the front door was plastered with pictures of women in bikinis or wet t-shirts. Then I heard the roar of a motorcycle and saw that the parking lot on the other side of the building was occupied by a biker gang. As in Harley’s and guys dressed in leather jackets with patches. Then I remembered why I knew the name Twin Peaks. Last year at a Texas Twin Peaks location, there was a motorcycle gang shoot out of some sort. Twin Peaks is basically a Hooters for bikers. Thus, I pretended not to like what was on the menu in the window (there was no menu in the window) and continued walking to the Mexican restaurant conveniently located 5 miles away.

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Three Easter facts That Will Blow Your Mind

Easter Fact One:
This weekend is Easter, and many of you are busy with the Pagan (or not Pagan depending on what side of the “War on Easter” you take) ritual of painting the unborn embryos of chickens in bright happy colors. Likewise, some of you may be tempted to partake in the eating of Cadbury Creme Eggs. This is not a Pagan ritual per say, but…large swaths of society will shun you if your are caught dating someone known to frequent Cadbury Creme Egg dens.

Easter Fact Two:
I tried my hand at submitting some Eater themed cartoons to the New Yorker, but as you can tell by the above title, it didn’t work out. I guess they didn’t want the hate mail.  last tupperwear1Easter Fact Three:
Bunnies are cute.

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Friday’s Closet of Misfit Gags

It’s been a while since I showed off a few of the gags from my massive pile of rejected New Yorker cartoons I have in my closet labeled “Closet of Rejected New Yorker Cartoons.” Some get resubmitted so I don’t like to show off too many, but one of them was topical and the other was offensive to Frasier fans. Thus, I think it’s safe to say the short painful lives of these gags are over. You could say they can now go back to Florida and throw away all their Paleo diet books.  Obama do



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