Don’t you wish that you had been at the recent UNDERGROUND USA symposium, which was a celebration of the legacy of Portland’s underground newspapers, the Willamette Bridge and the Portland Scribe? Here’s what you missed: Comics historian Patrick Rosenkranz blew our minds by proving that Basil Wolverton made it into print as a cartoonist by 1929- the crack of dawn of comic books. Also by identifying the exact points in the lives of Basil Wolverton and Carl Barks when their careers paths crossed those of the underground cartoonists who followed them. Former Scribe staffers Maurice Isserman and Norman Solomon discussed the urgency and political outrage behind the deceptively casual “fly by the seat of your pants” appearance of the underground press. Event organizer Anne Richardson talked about the several “undergrounds” which influenced the thinking and film writing of Sheldon Renan. I, David Chelsea, gave a tour of the artists/cartoonists who appeared in Portland’s underground press. Event moderator Richard Gehr and surprise guest Matt Groening drew a verbal map of a Portland stuffed with record stores, bookstores, live music, and Ken Kesey sightings, and both identified themselves as former Willamette Bridge newsboys. Animation legend Bill Plympton joined the panel discussion and Portland’s Poet Laureate Walt Curtis spoke in appreciation of Norman Solomon. A very complete experience! These photos may give some idea:

David Chelsea is watching: The Witch
Starring Anya Taylor-Joy

Continue reading UNDERGROUND USA: The Pictures

The Modern Love Podcast: Take Me As I Am, Whoever I Am


The Modern Love Podcast has repurposed another of my illustrations from the long-running New York Times column. In this episode of Modern Love: The Podcast, English actress Rebecca Hall (“Please Give”, “The Prestige”) reads the essay “Take Me As I Am, Whoever I Am,” Terri Cheney’s explanation of what it’s like to date while having bipolar disorder.

David Chelsea is reading:The Trouble with Dilbert: How Corporate Culture Gets the Last Laugh
by Norman Solomon

Continue reading The Modern Love Podcast: Take Me As I Am, Whoever I Am

UNDERGROUND USA On Words And Pictures

I recently blogged about Saturday’s Symposium UNDERGROUND USA, a nostalgia-fest about how awesome Portland’s underground papers, the Willamette Bridge and the Portland Scribe were. Tomorrow I talk about the event on KBOO-FM’s comics program Words And Pictures with fellow panelist Patrick Rosenkranz and KBOO host S.W. Conser. Listen in at 11:30am on 90.7 FM or online.

Produced by:
Produced for
Words and Pictures
Air date:
Thu, 10/13/2016 –
11:30am to 12:00pm

David Chelsea is reading: What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
by Randall Munroe

Continue reading UNDERGROUND USA On Words And Pictures



I pass along this message from AMERICAN BYSTANDER editor Michael Gerber:

Big week for Bystander: Newsweek just called us “the last great humor magazine.”

But we hit a perfect storm with the crowdfunding on #3 — the election, and a change in Facebook’s algorithm that artificially suppresses our Kickstarter links (they want everybody to buy ads).

But the issue is still on track: an angel has agreed to make up any shortfall as long as we get to $25,000. We’re at $22,205 as I type. Deadline is Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 7:00pm PDT.

Please tell your friends to go back the issue.

We need to raise at least $2,795 before Tuesday at 7:00pm PDT. It should be a piece of cake, if everybody tells a pal or five.

Well, now I’ve told EVERYBODY.
Continue reading Two Days To Save AMERICAN BYSTANDER #3!



This Saturday, October 15th, I will be taking part in UNDERGROUND USA, a one-day symposium examining Portland’s radical past through the history of its underground newspapers, The Willamette Bridge and The Portland Scribe. Or, to quote the copy from the event’s official website:

UNDERGROUND USA is a one day public history/arts education event focusing on one chapter of Oregon print cartooning history.

Two underground papers, the Willamette Bridge (1968-1971) and the Portland Scribe (1972-1978), provided first jobs for a generation of artists and writers who went on to have national careers. Oregon Cartoon Institute invited five of them – artists Bill Plympton and David Chelsea, and writers Norman Solomon, Richard Gehr and Maurice Isserman – to return to Portland to taIk about these early experiences.

Among the questions they will address: What makes Portland so comics and cartooning friendly?

Two time Oscar nominee Bill Plympton drew covers for the Scribe. Political journalist Norman Solomon wrote for it. Historian Maurice Isserman edited it. Graphic novelist David Chelsea illustrated it. Village Voice columnist Richard Gehr sold it on the street.

Patrick Rosenkranz, the author of Rebel Visions: The Underground Comix Revolution 1963-1975, is our keynote speaker. He too worked for the Scribe.

What was the underground press?

Who read it?

Who wrote it?

What role did underground comics play in creating the sensibility of the underground press?

Was Portland’s current affinity for comics/cartooning already in evidence during this forgotten period of regional media making?

Through talks, presentations, onstage conversations and one gigantic culminating panel discussion, UNDERGROUND USA participants will explore these and other questions.


UNDERGROUND USA is open to the general public. It is presented by Oregon Cartoon Institute in partnership with UO Comics & Cartooning Studies and PSU Comic Studies, and with support from Oregon Historical Society.

David Chelsea is reading: War in the Neighborhood
by Seth Tobocman

Continue reading This Saturday: UNDERGROUND USA

Rebecca Talks Socks


In case you missed Tuesday’s edition of PORTLAND TODAY, here is a link for you to watch Rebecca talking with the hosts Drew Carney and Cathy Marshall, and Sock It To Me Design Director Alicia Reese about her third-place-winning sock design for the Design-A-Sock Contest from last year, by way of promoting this year’s contest. Rebecca is at the right in the photograph above, wearing her own pair of Penguin-festooned socks. Unfortunately, you’ll miss all the ads and the live reports from Powell’s Bookstore interviewing people standing in line to have their picture taken with Bruce Springsteen, but you can’t have everything!

By the way, you can order Rebecca’s socks by using the link below. If enough people use my website link, I get a payment which will benefit the Feed And Clothe Ben And Rebecca Fund!

The Secret Stash On Patreon: Looking Glass Ads!


It’s been a while since I’ve posted about my Patreon page. Last Thursday I posted a new selection of Secret Stash material– a selection of newspaper ads drawn for the Portland Scribe advertising the Looking Glass Bookstore in the years between 1976 and 1978. The Looking Glass Bookstore was run by Bill Kloster and Katie Radditz, a married couple and good friends of mine. I had been a long time customer from the time I was in high school, frequently sneaking looks at the off-limits-to-minors underground comics they had displayed on a rack.


David Chelsea is reading: Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened
by Harry N. Abrams

Continue reading The Secret Stash On Patreon: Looking Glass Ads!

I’m Going Off Caffeine!


The reason being, that I’m drawing my first 24 Hour comic in three years this Saturday to Sunday from 8 am to 8 am, at Books With Pictures, a comics store at 1100 SE. Division St. in Portland (this is the store that was also the site of my recent SNOW ANGEL signing). My traditional method of preparing involves going off caffeine for a week before the event, then taking a ritual first sip at the eight-hour mark, after which I chomp chocolate-covered espresso beans all through the night. Feel free to stop on by and have a chat- if you missed the signing, I’ll even sign a copy of SNOW ANGEL for you!

David Chelsea is reading:The Fade Out Volume 3
by Image Comics

Continue reading I’m Going Off Caffeine!

In The Studio With Jacob And David


Ever wish you could eavesdrop on the chatter between me and my sometime assistant Jacob Mercy? Well the first of what promises to be many episode of our new tandem podcast is up on iTunes. The talk ranges from Tim’s Vermeer to Milo Manara to Thomas Eakins’s habit of tracing from photographs, but the overall stress is on comics. Lend an ear!

David Chelsea is listening to: The Kingdom of Speech
by Tom Wolfe