Jugs & Capes: Radioactive Dirt Candy

I had to miss this month’s Jugs & Capes. Life got in the way and I never read it in time, even though the book was my suggestion.

R a d i o a c t i v e  is a biography about Marie & Pierre Currie, written & illustrated by Lauren Redniss. While I did not make Sunday’s meeting, I finally picked up my copy at the library and I’m super excited to finally dive into it. The illustrations and design of the book are simply beautiful, reminding me more of Maira Kalman than a comic book. Illustrated books that appeal to the adult demographic which mix gorgeous typography and drawings are definitely my soft spot. Just look at these stunning layouts.

So while I missed the comic ladies of J&C for September (and their ever-awesome food spread), I attended the graphic novel launch party for Dirt Candy: A Cookbook, coordinated by Amanda Bullock (Jugs & Capes creator) at Housing Works Bookstore.

“Amanda Cohen’s crazy story of building a restaurant from the ground up to its currently being one of the hardest-to-get reservations in New York City—all illustrated as a brilliant graphic novel.” (check out the book trailer here!)

Onto the food! Free booze, free appetizers, free giveaways. Too good to be true? We didn’t think so at first, up until the rest of Manhattan showed up to grab some free veggie cuisine. For all the trays brought out to the crowd, and despite being super early, here are the two little bites that Tim & I got to sample (left, Popcorn Pudding: salted caramel corn, and right, Pepper Appetizer: smoky red pepper mousse, yellow pepper soup, jalapeño chips).

Stangely (and unintentionally) our hands mimic one of the spreads from Radioactive.

The crowd got a little feisty once the free food came out. Below is just a snippet of the insanity, even though this photo doesn’t do it justice:

Since I couldn’t capture the craziness, I’ll leave you with my own drawing that pretty much sums up the food experience in one panel. (Or, because all NYC roads lead back to Seinfeld, think George Costanza pushing through the crowd in The Fire, only this time to snatch up some seriously delicious morsels). Enjoy!

photography & zombie comic © 2012 Andrea Sparacio (artsparrow), Radioactive illustrations © 2010 Lauren Redniss, Dirt Candy: A Cookbook illustrations © 2012 Ryan Dunlavey, book by Amanda Cohen & Grady Hendrix


U P D A T E  The photo below was emailed to me by Grady Hendrix from Dirt Candy! I call it “The (zombie) view from up here.” I also found myself in the crowd, just in case you were wondering:

Jugs & Capes: American Born Chinese

For our August Jugs & Capes meeting, we decided to read something light & summery: Printz & Eisner award-winning graphic novel American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang. A majority of the group felt that they “almost loved the book” (<–thanks to Oriana for coining the phrase!) but perhaps Yang’s character of Chin-Kee’s was a bit of a drawback. We wondered whether this over-the-top sitcom stereotype was necessary, much like Long Duck Dong of Sixteen Candles or Mr. Yunioshi of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and didn’t find his scenes as interesting as the others (ie. first love & monkey kings). Could Chin-Kee have been played more subtly? Realizing this overstated character was created for a purpose, we still wondered if the Young Adult target audience played a part. Most of us also agreed that the ending was a little abrupt, though we did love the art and humor.

And speaking of overstated, ever since our book club moved from weekday nights to Sunday brunch, we have been enjoying some seriously delicious & well-themed food spreads. Special thanks to Amanda Bullock for picking up those yummy dumplings & den den mein at M. Noodle in Williamburg.

One of my favorite pages (below); Jin’s expression is priceless!

Last but not least, this is how we artists drink: Exquisite Corpse games + free shots! Thanks to Sam (of Lady Jay’s) for contributing with me & Miss Laura Lee. The rest are hanging up in the bar. xo, artsparrow

book images © Gene Luen Yang & First Second; food photography © Oriana Leckert & Amanda Bullock

Jugs & Capes, Bushcraft, and The Brooklyn Art Library

I have been part of an amazing NYC supergroup of graphic novel-reading ladies called Jugs & Capes since May 2010 (although I only blogged about it once here). Our monthly book club seriously rocks!!! And it’s only getting bigger & stronger in it’s third year. We’re growing in size with new members, added a Jugs & Capes Facebook Page, started a Member Bio page on Tumblr, and completely upping our game in food spreads ever since we moved the meeting time to Sunday afternoon. This month I really pushed hard for AYA, which I have been wanting an excuse to purchase every time I pass the beautiful book cover at Bergen Street Comics. I loved this book so much! While the group agreed the story felt a little light (we only read book 1 in a series of 6), the artwork is gorgeous in every way imaginable. It’s the graphic novel I have always dreamed of making. Reading AYA has pushed that dream into tangible motion, as my partner Tim & I have finally begun working on our graphic novel together, just like AYA’s dynamic husband & wife duo featured below: Clément Oubrerie (illustrator) & Marguerite Abouet (author).

Since I am also food-obsessed, one of my favorite moments is where characters Aya & Bintou convened over a giant pot of homemade peanut sauce to chat about life and love.

I swoon over anything with peanut butter in it! Making peanut dipping sauce (see recipe in the back of AYA) for Jugs & Capes was my first overly ambitious thought for a Sunday morning. And although I didn’t end up making it, what we may have lacked in Ivory Coast peanut sauce we surely made up for with peanut butter pie from Brookyn! Thanks Colleen AF Venable & Daly Pie.

After Jugs & Capes, I head over to Williamsburg to meet up with my ARTner-in crime Laura Lee and the rest of the artsy Bushcraft bunch. We gathered at the Brookly Art Library – it was about time I gave this place a visit!

Just look at all those gorgeous sketchbooks!!!! Over 14,000 to choose from! We had a such a blast flipping and sharing each of our selections, spending hours of inspiration inside the Brooklyn Art Library.

Declan Zimmerman with his Sketchbook Project doppelgänger.

Then it was time for beers, German food, and exquisite corpse drawing games over at Radegast Biergarten next door.


photography © 2012 Andrea Sparacio (artsparrow); drawing table photo © Laura Lee Gulledge; AYA book images © Drawn & Quarterly