Thursday, October 31, 2019

Gojira on the beach

Happy Halloween, everyone! My housemates Max and Gabe bought this print of a palm beach sunset for $3 at an auction to support the Pecos Valley Grotto. To give some irradiated life to this beach scene, I painted in Godzilla, King of the Monsters! He now stands proudly on our mantle, risen from the sea and with an appetite for destruction. Artwork © me, Godzilla TM Toho Studios.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

New Comic Book: Follow The Moon, for sale on Etsy

A wise grandmother sea turtle gathers a crew of young mother turtles on the beach, and shares the story of how their kind came to be.  She tells the misadventures of a mischievous land turtle, who learns the hard way about the importance of following the Moon. 

This story was originally published in the anthology Oh Comics! #27: Moon by Back Porch Comics, 2019. I republished it as this mini-comic, which debuted at ABQ Zine Fest 9, in Albuquerque, NM.

This story is partly inspired by my grandmother, Evelyn Wood Moyle, who, in her elder years, frequently told a story about a bird dropping a turtle on her rooftop!

8.5" by 5.5"
8 pages
black and white

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Come see me at ABQ Zine Fest 9

Evidence that comics by me are popular! :)  ABQ Zine Fest 9 will be my singular convention appearance for this year.  Saturday, October 5, 2019, 11 AM - 5 PM.  National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 4th St SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102.  Come see me if you can! #ABQZF9, #ABQZineFest

Friday, September 20, 2019

Guest author Raven fights for a habitable earth for her daughter

The Sea is Rising and So Are We

A parent finding hope in a time of climate crisis

by Raven Shade Brookner

Ever since I became a mother, I have been deeply troubled by the horrors of the world in a way I never was before. Before I had my daughter I could easily avoid the news, avoid processing the ills that are often too much for a sensitive person to bear.

When I was in college, majoring in Environmental Studies, I found out about climate change. I can’t forget the way I found out. It’s one thing to hear about it in an abstract way, to read about far away sea level rise, melting icebergs you have never seen or cared about, and imagine this danger will happen after your lifetime. But one particularly descriptive textbook captured the predictions of famine, drought, plague, extreme natural disasters, inescapable heat waves, and pestilence in raw detail. The timeline for extreme damage to begin (2050) was not something I could rationalize away. In response to this information, my eyes went wide, I was scared, shocked, and then… at some point I just kind of shut it away. I let it go, compartmentalized it to an area of my brain reserved for wars, mass shootings, and other disturbing information, so I could move on with my day to day.

Once I had my daughter, those timelines came rushing back. I knew I was bringing a child into a world that wasn’t safe, wasn’t guaranteed—and yes, those are facts for any new parent at any point in history. What makes this different is the scope. We can’t guarantee any life will be fully lived; people die all the time, and all we can do is enjoy our time, be our best selves, and try to minimize suffering by loving each other as best as we are able along the way. But, the now very realistic possibility that our entire species may become extinct in the course of my daughter’s lifetime—the heavy burden on our collective psyches as we head toward the collapse of the ecosystem that allows us to survive—is almost unbearable. It is now highly likely that if this isn’t addressed, we may literally not have enough oxygen to breathe, let alone food and water, by the end of my daughter’s life. I have awoken to nightmares of raging wildfires. I feel like the canary in the coal mine; as life continues on as normal for most people, I struggle to find a sense of calm.

It isn’t my style to proselytize. It’s generally ineffective and counterproductive. I also respect that people are wherever they happen to be upon their own paths, and I don’t like the conflict of political debates. However, I am choosing to make myself vulnerable at this point, about something I feel is worth it. I am doing this because I feel I have to do something and that what I’m doing, while significant, isn’t enough.

I am choosing to reject that fatalist attitude that is so prevalent surrounding climate change. Everywhere I look online, in the comments section, what I hear from people around me is that we’re doomed. It’s too little, too late. You can’t convince them all. Even if we change, they won’t, so why bother? But it is my belief that we shouldn’t go down without a fight, and that however small of a chance we have to mitigate the damage we have already incurred, it is still a chance, it is still possible. We stopped slavery. We pulled away from the tobacco industry. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring stopped pesticide use that was killing insects and birds en masse. We have so many problems; we have so much corruption, but we also have a history of making change. These are small victories compared to what we now face, but the point stands that when people come together, when we say we’re done and demonstrate that with our actions, as a group we can change our fate. We need a radical Green New Deal yesterday. We need a new president with an aggressive plan to combat climate change, in spite of the filibuster that blocks progress in the Senate. We have to stop using fossil fuels. While we do need politicians, lawyers and new infrastructure, I am not content to do nothing while we wait around for other people to solve our problems and clean up our mess. Parents, children and families need to stop it, without waiting for permission. We need to demand change, and risk everything—in order to avoid losing everything. It is the greatest existential threat humanity has ever or will ever face and there is no later, there is only now.

There is so much we can do. My family drives a fully electric vehicle. We shop locally at farmers' markets and in the bulk section. We live in a very small, beautiful home. We plan to keep our family size small. We have gone zero waste, and reject all plastic products unless there really is no acceptable alternative. We eat a plant based diet. We buy non-toxic products made from sustainable materials. We buy less and make more. We started a garden and a compost pile. We offset our carbon use online. We are starting to be more vocal. It hasn’t been easy to change, but it has been rewarding and gratifying to do something. There have been so many unexpected benefits to a lifestyle built around less consumption, like more quality time together, better health, more beauty and more meaning in our lives. Before dismissing these tasks as something you can’t do, consider we were equally convinced we couldn’t do it before we started, and now it’s just what we do. We did one thing at a time, in a positive feedback loop, encouraged by our successes. Lastly, we all have to be activists. I am inspired to see young activists like Greta Thunberg leading acts of civil disobedience. We have to use our unique talents to reach as many people as possible; we have to vote; we have to march; we have to sound the alarm; we have to have hope.

Ross comments: In addition to Raven's suggestions for fighting climate change, I will add: divest from fossil fuels. This means choosing financial institutions, credit cards, and stocks that will not invest your money in fossil fuels. There is no way to completely avoid using fossil fuels in the civilization of 2019. However, investing in fossil fuels is another matter. Investments in fossil fuels are bets that our civilization continues to be powered by fossil fuels far into the future. Such investments work against a rapid transition to renewable energy. Banks like Wells Fargo, J. P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup invest billions in companies that are aggressively expanding fossil fuel infrastructure. From the Dakota Access Pipeline to fracking to mountaintop removal coal mining, these banks have oil and methane and coal and blood on their hands. Luckily, alternatives to these climate-wrecking giants do exist! Many local banks and credit unions do not invest in fossil fuels. Several years ago, after attending some divestment rallies in Asheville, North Carolina, I got rid of my checking account at Chase Bank and replaced it with one at HomeTrust Bank, a local company which does not fund new fossil fuel infrastructure projects. I obtained a Sierra Club Visa and made it my primary credit card. The Sierra Club Visa is one of several types of earth-friendly credit cards available through Beneficial State Bank; these cards fund environmental causes instead of climate-disrupting energy sources. I still have more work to do to fully divest from fossil fuels, but these were important steps, and they were surprisingly easy. Beyond divesting your own money, the next step is to pressure cities, universities, and financial institutions to do the same. In recent years, many institutions—including Georgetown University, the City of Seattle, and the European Union Investment Bank—have committed to divest from fossil fuels, in response to public pressure.

When I attended the Forward on Climate Rally in Washington D.C. in 2013, featured speaker Bill McKibben told the crowd, “you are the antibodies kicking in as the planet tries to fight its fever.” Although the fever is ferocious, the antibodies are stronger and more numerous than ever. The stakes are daunting, but the battle is not over. 

Essay, comment, and illustration copyrighted to their respective authors.
To learn more about saving the climate, is a good place to start.
#climatestrike, #climateaction, #climatechange, #globalwarming, #science, #nature, #environment, #action, #carbon, #GND, #climatestrike2019 #grettathunberg #sunrisemovement #loveyourmother #fridaysforfuture

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Junior Bat Biologist

Allow me to present Junior Bat Biologist, an all-ages educational activity book, which I had the special honor of contributing to over at that place I work, Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Many park rangers put a whole lot of work and love into this book, with culminating efforts happening in 2018 and 2019. My heartfelt thanks goes to Toni Gould Nelson for roping me into this project. It’s a thrill when we get to make the office into an art studio. We’ll receive our first stack of print copies in August, and you can download the PDF here: Learn the way of the bat!

NPS illustration by yours truly, public domain

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Journey Into Rock

A post I made for the Carlsbad Caverns National Park Facebook page:

“The ultimate aim of all science... to penetrate the unknown. We know less about our earth than about the stars and outer space. The greatest mystery is right here under our feet,” said the geologist-explorer Oliver Lindenbrook (James Mason) in the 1959 fantasy film Journey to the Center of the Earth, which was based on the 1864 novel by Jules Verne, and filmed in Carlsbad Cavern.

These words still ring true, as cavers continue to discover hitherto-unknown chambers and tunnels, in Carlsbad Caverns National Park and all over the world! 

NPS / Ross Studlar

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Follow the Moon, my first print publication of 2019

My five page comics story “Follow the Moon” has been accepted for publication in Oh, Comics #27: Moon, an anthology edited and published by Bob Corby over at Back Porch Comics. The anthology will debut at SPACE (Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo), April 27 & 28, 2019. I will not be at this convention (I tabled in SPACE 2017 and loved it) but my work will. My contribution to the Moon issue is likely to be my first print publication of 2019—unless Carlsbad Caverns National Park sends the Junior Bat Biologist book I illustrated in 2018 to the printer first. I think that "Follow the Moon" is one of the best comics I have ever done. I plan to find more venues to publish it in. However, a book full of Moon stories is a great place to start! In the story, I bring together several topics that fire my passions—marine turtles, Native American legends, and our friendly natural satellite. As is often my process, it started with a single drawing... this one... and later on, I searched for the story behind the image. And I found it.

Notably, there is also a story which preceded the image, a story which my grandmother, Evelyn Wood Moyle, frequently shared in her elder years, about a bird dropping a turtle on her rooftop.  In my comic, I expand upon her anecdote and push it into new territory.

 Page One:

The fourth panel of page two:

And that's all I'm sharing online.  Buy the print version (online sales of the anthology will start after SPACE 2019) to read the full story.