Alaska Robotics


Tuesday, March 1st 2011 by Pat

Unshelved is a webcomic about libraries and is well loved by those who inhabit the stacks. I had an opportunnity to meet the creators, Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes, when they were in Juneau last week for the Alaska Library Association Conference and had a great time talking shop.

Gene and Bill have been publishing their comics online since 2002 with much more frequency than I can boast and have had enormous success in the library niche. This year alone they’ll be speaking at over a dozen librarian conferences and they seem to have a deep enthusiasm for their work and culture.. and for well… Buffy.

Talking to Bill and Gene helped me remember that I actually have a link to the niche world of library comics myself. When I was a Sophomore in high school I was hired by American Library Association President, Ann Symons, to illustrate a few pages of her book “Protecting the Right to Read,” a manual on intellectual freedom.

I dug my copy out of the closet, the book actually has a pretty good grasp on the internet even though it was written around the time the first web browsers were being made. It’s an interesting mix of many of my current interests.

My illustrations are atrocious but they make me feel all kinds of nostalgic and I can’t help wondering how my drawing style might have developed differently if I hadn’t set that interest aside for the ten years after high school.

Clockwise from the top left, you can see I was fairly literal with my interpretations of the subjects I was given.

The guy reaching for the book shelf was pretty much my standard cartoon dude back in the day, I drew everyone with rolled up pant legs. This one isn’t a bad censorship themed illustration and it’s even got some attempt at perspective.

The guy in the lower left has an arm coming out of his chest and maybe his pants are on backwards? Awesome.

One Response to “Unshelved”

  1. Arlo says:

    You know, I have to say, these characters are not unlike the unshelved ones.