I finally finished editing the Lovecraft letters chapbook for the Kickstarter campaign. Here’s a clip from the letter that inspired me to work on this collection; written to his aunt, on my birthday, 1926.

To Mrs. F.C. Clark – April 8th, 1926
“I really won’t need to bother about the mattress, for I’m not at all particular about sleeping arrangements at all. Half the time I don’t go to bed at all but sleep in my clothes on top of the couch…
No I don’t think I shall miss such social activities as I have had here–the Longs excepted. And I can discuss things as well by post as by word of mouth with Sonny. What I want are rest & oblivion–or at least, a seclusion amidst ancient scenes wherein I may cast off the actual modern world in a quiet round of reading, writing, & pilgrimages to quaint & historick places. I want to dream in an atmosphere of my childhood–to sit on Prospect Terrace with an old book or a pad & pencil in my hands…”

Here’s a picture of Prospect Terrace during Lovecraft’s time.

View from Prospect Terrace Providence, RI

And here’s how it looks today, from almost the same angle.

prospect_1

Hey, everyone — here’s my top 6 (wtf?) list of books I enjoyed the heck out of in 2014.

1. The Drop – Because it’s Dennis Lehane.  Best enjoyed: With a bag of ice on your head, two shots of whiskey, and a bottle of Advil while you recover from the pistol whipping you took for being a rat fuck, you rat fuck.

2. The Nasty Bits – A collection of articles and short non-fiction pieces by Anthony Bourdain. Raw, honest, and one of the best opening chapters in food book history. Best enjoyed: With a bloody steak and glass of red.

3. My Life in France – Julia Child’s memoir. Mostly a story about not giving a fuck about what other people think you can or can’t do, told in the politest way possible. Best enjoyed: Standing in the kitchen with a glass of wine, waiting for the water to boil. Bonus points if Edith Piaf is on in the background.

4. A Good Man is Hard to Find – Flannery O’Connor’s collection of shorts. My first step into the sweaty dark corners of American southern gothic. Best enjoyed: In the dog days of summer with a glass of bourbon and your darkest thoughts.

5. The Underwater Welder – Jeff Lemire. It’s winter, summer, fall, spring, loneliness, anxiety, fear, joy, and magic. Best enjoyed: Alone, on a rock, near the ocean.

6. Pleasures of the Good Earth – Edward Giobbi. In a lot of ways it’s the cookbook companion to my all-time favorite book about food and life: The Unprejudiced Palate. Everything you need to know about connecting with the food you eat, and living responsibly. Best enjoyed: In early spring, after a long day of turning soil in your garden.

Hope you all had a great year, and here’s to a wicked good 2015.

The original art pages below are from Shadow Show #1, the comic I did with artist Charles Paul Wilson III and Joe Hill. Charles, being the super generous guy that he is, gave me these pages and with his permission I’m offering them for sale to benefit the Boys & Girls Club, an organization that was very important to me when I was a kid.

Shadow Show 1 Shadow Show 2 Shadow Show 3
Shadow Show 5

Shadow Show 4

 

Pretty, huh? The pages are 11×13, pencil and ink on bristol board. The price of each page is $175. That price includes shipping, a limited edition 11×17 print from Shadow Show #1, and two randomly selected comics signed by me. A smorgasbord of comic book goodness! These are being offered on a first-come-first-served basis, and I’ll update this post as the pages are sold. Email me at jason.ciaramella@gmail.com to get your page locked up.

Score some sweet original art, and help out some kids in the process. All good things!

Payments accepted via Paypal.

I’ve been spending a lot of time with H.P. Lovecraft these days. The Kickstarter campaign for C is for Cthulhu, my Lovecraft alphabet book, is coming to a close, I recently participated in the Lovecraft Readathon at the Providence Public Library, and I’m editing and annotating a collection of his letters for a book due out this winter. It’s a whole lot of Lovecraft, so it’s no surprise that he showed up in my dreams last night. Brief, yes, but so textured and vivid it feels like a real memory.

I was sitting on the front steps of a beach house in southern Rhode Island, waiting for everyone inside to finish getting ready for a day at the beach. I had a glass of red wine and an English muffin with butter. It was sunny and warm, late summer. It was now, this day and age. A tall figure in odd clothes came walking across the lawn towards me. As he got closer I recognized him as H.P. Lovecraft, the man himself.

“Good morning, squire”, he said.

I moved my plate and glass over to make room for him on the steps next to me. It was obvious we were friends. No need for handshakes or formal introductions.

“Are you hungry?”,  I asked. “You can have this or I can get you something from inside.”

“Wine and bread for breakfast?!”, he said, the words mixed with a laugh. “You complete Roman, you!”

I laughed with him.

He took a seat next to me on the wooden steps, let out a sigh, and wiped sweat from his face with a brown handkerchief he had in his pocket. He was young (my age at most), clean shaven, and he wore cotton overalls with a long suit jacket over them. The clothes made no sense, and I knew they were from another time. He smelled of mothballs and aftershave. His smile was warm, honest. He said “I spent the night thinking about your offer, and, well, I’ve decided to take you up on it. The only problem is, I haven’t any clothes fit for a day at the beach.”

I guess I had asked H.P. if he wanted to come to the beach with us, but I don’t remember that part of the dream.

“I’m sure we can find you something in the house”, I said. “I’m glad you’re here.”

His final words in the dream were said as we both stared at the saltwater pond that could be seen past the house across the street.

“So am I”, he said. “But I’m slightly nervous about it all. You see, I’ve never worn short pants before…”

 

Happy 124th Birthday, H.P.

August 20, 2014

Hps124th

The Lovecraft Readathon

August 18, 2014

Saturday night (August 23rd) I’ll be a guest reader at this year’s Lovecraft Readathon at the beautiful Providence Public Library from 7-10PM. I’ll be reading in the opening story, The Tomb, and the closing story, The Haunter of the Dark. There will be music by Ian Fitzgerald, Vudu Sister, and Haunt the House, as well as food and drink from local vendors. Should be a really great time. Hope to see you there.

Tickets and more information can be found here: Lovecraft Readathon

providence-public-library

 

c is for

It’s really happening. After a year of anxiety, C is for Cthulhu, the alphabet board book I created with artist Greg Murphy, and Tyler James of ComixTribe is finally available to pre-order via Kickstarter. I can’t tell you how proud I am of this book… but if I could it would certainly be WICKED.

Info on all the fun can be found here: OMG I NEED THIS!

Free Comic Book Day 2014

April 29, 2014

This Saturday, May 3rd, I’ll be at Jetpack Comics’ world famous Free Comic Book Day celebration in Rochester, NH. It’s gonna be a big one, dudes. Like…whoa — free comic books for days.

My pals (and fellow Massholes) Chris Golden (Baltimore, Sons of Anarchy) Tom Sniegoski (Bone, Vampirella) and Tyler James (The Red Ten, Epic) will be there, too. We’ll all have a bunch of stuff to scribble on for you.

Plus, you know, Rebekah Isaacs (Buffy) and those Ninja Turtle guys will be there. I’m sure at least a few people are excited about those three :)

This year I get my very own Free Comic Book Day issue: SCAM: CROSSWORDS #0, written by me, and drawn by Joe Mulvey. Even if you can’t make it up to Rochester, your local comic shop should have them to give away. It looks like this:

COMIXTRIB-FCBD14-SCAM-0-df788

Looks badass, right? You see the blood on his mask, and the stuff on fire? Blood AND fire = Bad. Ass. BANG! BANG! BANG! GHAAAK! *bleeds to death*

I’m also bringing along early copies of my new MAGIC: THE GATHERING trade, tons of MAGIC single issues, and at least a few of pretty much everything else I’ve ever worked on. So drop by, say hello, and let’s celebrate. It’s our day.

PS

Saturday is my older son’s 13th birthday. I’m bringing him along, and he loves punches on the shoulder…a lot.

 

A Fresh Start

March 31, 2014

It’s been raining for three days on the South Coast of Massachusetts. This morning that rain turned to fat globs of shaved ice for a just a few minutes while I was in the car. Normally that would piss me off. Sitting here, on the edge of April, seeing snow pelt my windshield — enough’s enough, you know? But it didn’t piss me off, not today. Today it made me smile.

Baseball is back. And for those of us in the north east, today is the official end to what was a long (and sometimes bleak) winter. At 3:05 this afternoon my beloved Red Sox play the first game of the 2014 season that matters. Everyone gets a fresh start today. We start at 1 and count to 162 between now and September 28th. And hopefully, with a little luck, our boys of summer will be playing well into the fall again.

“Everyday is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again. That’s the way life is, with a new game every day, and that’s the way baseball is.”  Bob Feller

Making Magic

October 9, 2013

Out today: MAGIC THE GATHERING #1, the first issue of my new ongoing series with Martin Coccolo, and part one of the Theros arc. I’m pretty sure the alternate art card included with the issue is High Tide, which should bring a smile to all you old-time Magic players. Hope you dig it.

Magic #1

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