Augustine is my cartoon alter
ego but I'm not going to explain who my ego is. The 'alter' means
that she is either completely different or somewhat similar to me
- that's for her, or others, to decide.
Augustine began her paper life
in London around 1984. She had been preceded by another cartoon
offspring of mine named Gabriel (as in the angel) who carried on
lighthearted but probing conversations with God and the Devil about
cosmic matters such as good and evil etc. These became The Gabriel
Books and I'll be putting some of them on my website's COMICS pages
in the near-ish future.
Augustine was more down-to-earth
and preoccupied with everyday questions. Each of her questions became
a small booklet:
1. Augustine Escapes
2. Augustine Finds the Ultimate Deterrent
3. Augustine Seen
5. Augustine Private and Public
6. Augustine Not In Love
7. Augustine and Identity
8. Augustine and Time
9. Augustine and Money
10. Augustine Angry
I published the above as a series
called Small Packages which were distributed mainly by subscription.
Although they were very well received and reviewed, after a while
I became fed up with the time-consuming procedure of photocopying,
collating, stapling and mailing several hundred copies of each booklet
every month and, after number ten, decided to stop and apply myself
to finding a normal publisher (i.e. not myself). I sent out innumerable
hopeful letters and samples to every relevant publisher. The replies
were usually full of praise for Augustine, followed by a 'but…'.
The praise fed my ego but the buts just made me tired. So - and
this I confess with heavy heart - I abandoned Augustine and got
on with other work and life. This was the equivalent to putting
your baby in a basket and abandoning it in the middle of the Gobi
desert - or in my case, in a trunk in the attic.
Somehow or other, Augustine survived
my shameful betrayal and has come back not just alive but kicking
me every day. I am forever grateful to her even though we bicker
and battle constantly. And I want to say to everyone who visits
Heather's inspiring Café: never abandon your babies! Your creations,
your little alter egos, are there to be fed and watered and allowed
originally published in MAKING WAYS
(Artic Producers Publishing Co.Ltd. 1987, U.K.)
Copyright Natalie d'Arbeloff and Artic Producers.