mumbling at the altar

I want to remember how this feels, but I don’t know how to write about any of it. It’s the reason I haven’t updated this blog in well over a year. The reason I said nothing after Hurricane Irene hit the Schulz Library, the reason I said nothing when Dylan Williams died, the reason I said nothing about having to say goodbye to my comics family when leaving White River Junction, nothing about moving alone out to Columbus, Ohio for the position I’ve always wanted but never could have possibly imagined I’d get. Nothing about the million other instances in between.
Because no matter how hard I try, I can’t do any of this any justice in a blog post. I just don’t have the words to.

But for some reason, right now, buzzing after a morning spent exchanging ideas with Carnegie zine librarian Jude Vachon, after a weekend spent in Pittsburgh with folks I hardly knew who welcomed me to be a big part of their zine fair and gave me a place to stay and beer to drink, days after chasing my cat around in our pajamas with John Porcellino, Noah Van Sciver and JT Dockery. One week after the 2012 Small Press Expo came to a close, one of the best weekends of my entire life, with everyone still seemingly high from it. For whatever reason, after the past week I’ve had, it seems unfair to keep all these feelings to myself in journals, that I have to at least say something. But, hell, don’t expect it to be well versed- this is why I stick to comics and zines.

It seems so goddamned trite, but really, the most I can come up with is: thank you. Thank you so, fucking, much. I would write the entire comics medium and community one long thank you letter if I could, but instead I’ll settle for a love letter in the form of my entire life. A humbled and dedicated existence is the least I can possibly give back.

This weekend at the PGH fair, Jim Rugg and Jason Lex interviewed me for their podcast “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know” (hopefully I’ll post a link when it goes up). This is the first time I’ve been put center stage like that, an interview that was generally just About Me, and it was really overwhelming and flattering. But beyond the worry of just sounding dumb, nervous or fanatical, I was paralyzed by the thought of trying to concisely get across why I’m doing what I’m doing and what this all means to me. Why I love comics, and even moreso why I love cartoonists. How I don’t know what my life would be without any of this. And it isn’t just about my career by any means, either. It’s everyone I’m closest to, it’s all of my friends, the folks who mentored or influenced me early on, people I’ve fallen the hardest in love with, everything I put all of myself into and hold important.

So, really, I guess I just wanted to say thank you. To the format, to the community, to anyone who might ever read this. For continuously being there to fall back on, for continuously holding me up during some really awful times. To everyone who has taken me in, without question or judgment,  made me feel like I’m a part of something, even as my roles change, everyone who has ever taken me seriously and enjoyed taking comics seriously with me, everyone who has introduced themselves or spent time with me at a convention, or in WRJ, or here at the Cartoon Library, everyone who “gets it”, everyone who has made me feel less alone in this strange pursuit, everyone who is also alone right now in front of their drawing table or computer, everyone who has contributed to this messy nest we’ve built, I look forward to knowing all of you for the rest of my life. I feel like the luckiest person in the world to be part of it. Thanks for letting me. In the eternal words of Alec Longstreth, comics really will love you back.

I don’t know where else to take this or how to say any of it more succinctly. Below is the only page of original comic art I’ve ever purchased for myself. It’s by Sean Knickerbocker.

one of these days / things wont be so good / so i'll try to remember / how happy i was / what will i remember / what will i forget?

There are certain things, among this fractured comics family, that I know I don’t need to try to say anything about. Things I could just sit down next to you with, at a place like SPX, and know you’d understand.


Oh, hey, you’re still here! Look at that, I have a website! I nearly forgot.

Well, this is no time for me to start updating about how comics have started to rule everything around me ever since I was hired as the first degreed librarian for The Center for Cartoon Studies, in White River Junction, VT back in November. I didn’t tell you that? Oops, my bad.

A lot has changed in my life, all for the absolute better. For some updates on my time and position here at CCS, feel free to peruse these guest-blogger posts I made for The Desk Set back in January:
Comicbook and Zine Librarian TAKEOVER
Librarianship at the Center for Cartoon Studies’ Schulz Library
The Existential Loneliness of A Freshly Graduated Librarian
Comics Librarian Starship: The Final Frontier

Also, I was interviewed by The Comics Journal’s Panelists blog about minicomics storage a few months back.

But the grand finale of announcements is that I, Caitlin McGurk, whoever the hell I am, was asked to moderate a panel for this year’s Toronto Comics and Art Festival! And it’s… this weekend! I’ll also be tabling with the lovely Colleen Frakes, at table 157, right by the bathrooms. This works well if you get so excited to see us that you have to pee like a puppy.

Here’s the info on the panel:

Panelists: Lorenzo Mattotti, Jillian Tamaki, Adrian Tomine
Moderated by Caitlin McGurk
Location: The Pilot
…Time: Sunday 12:30 – 1:30
Many cartoonists also have a career in illustration. Come listen to four prestigious comics artists and illustrators discuss the difference between creating in a narrative form (comics) and a static one (illustration).

I’m nervous as hell, but will try to play it as cool as possible. Good thing my table is right near the bathroom.

Also: I have new comics out! Well, sort of. Here’s a peek at my “Know Your WuTang” educational flashcards, which debuted at MoCCA in April:

Til next time, kids.


I’ll be reading tonight alongside Eric Nelson (author of Silk City Series), Katelan Foisy (author of Blood Pudding), Mike Lala, Allyson Platy, and Matthew Zingg at the Northeast Kingdom at 7pm.

The Zinester’s Guide to NYC

mamas zinesters guide

A few months ago, I was invited to participate in illustrating the Zinester’s Guide to New York City, edited by Ayun Halliday, the prolific author behind the “East Village Inky”. It’s being published by Microcosm, and I believe it’s due to hit stores all over this town by November! The illustration above, as well as two others of St. Marks Bookshop and Snack Dragon, will be included in the guide. If you haven’t ever seen the Zinester’s Guide to Portland which it’s modeled after, it’s essentially an illustrated Time-Out magazine for the thrifty. Each contributor was also asked to fill out an extensive survey about their experiences in the city: favorite make out spots, good stories, songs that take you back here, etc, which is somehow being worked into the book as well. Pick it up, kids!

net birth

Hello, people looking at computers!

Well, here I am. Officially ON THE INTERNET. It feels kinda funny, I’m actually feeling bashful sitting in front of my computer right now and typing this. Like maybe I should tell some jokes to warm up or something. This is like an awkward first date with the entire world! I’m already fumbling for words.


So, uh, well, it’s good to be here! You all look great, and thanks to the incredible web design of the intimidatingly talented Kenan Rubenstein, I hope I appear approachable too. It has taken me a really long time and a lot of persuasion from “webby” friends (webby?) to finally have a site, and once I get a proper scanner you–whoever you are–can check back for more regular updates. This section will mostly be used to post about events, the things and people that I like, photos, drawings, etc. Who knows what could happen. Anything could happen on the internet. 

See ya soon!