order of oddfish cover

The Order of Oddfish


Post-show roundup: Freya’s Odd-Fish art

I had intended to blog about every single piece of Order of Odd-Fish fan art I’d received before our big gallery show. But then preparations overwhelmed me, time slipped away, the show happened, and there are still artists to recognize! Let’s enjoy their work in the next few posts.

This first is from my protegee Freya. There she is to the left, above, with Arne and Georgia. She came to the party costumed as “the personification of the Apology Gun” (there was a switch from “sincere” to “sarcastic” on her beret. It worked!)

Freya’s particularly good at taking the world of Odd-Fish and extending it in unexpected directions, enriching it in startlingly cool ways, and integrating her writing genius into the art. Here’s some of Ken Kiang’s diligent note-taking, from when he was choosing what costume he should wear as an evildoer (click image for a larger version, to read it better):

ken kiang costumes export

Freya nails Ken Kiang’s self-absorbed, absurd egotism. And these are some seriously dapper evildoer outfits! The perfect Kiangian touch: “Must get more of this desk stationery. I love it! It just screams ‘professional.’”

But Freya’s just getting warmed up. Readers of The Order of Odd-Fish may remember there are 144,444 gods in the story. Thus, keeping one’s Eldritch City catechism straight might be an onerous task. To help, Freya dreamed up the resourceful Nanookina Dinkle, a staff writer for the Eldritch Snitch, who has a weekly column describing various gods. This week, the indefatigable Dinkle chronicles god #97 (Vutowener, God of Flowers) and #98 (Mizz Magizz, Goddess of Circles) — again, click the image for a larger, more easily readable version:

Eldritch City Gods 97 - 98 export

An elephant who is “the patron god of an elite tribe of bouquet-arrangers, florists, and gardeners,” who communicates in an ever-changing language of whistles? And an orange circle who is worshiped by solid black cubes on hosiered legs? Freya’s gods, and the stories behind them, are frankly wilder and better than what I would’ve come up with. Here’s two more gods from Nanookina Dinkle (click to enlarge):

Eldritch City Gods 99 - 100 export

“Nuv, the Purple Shack of Politics” is awesomely weird and witty (especially the earnest scholar who actually listens to the talking shack’s lectures) but my hands-down favorite of all Freya’s gods is “Cqzxtoo, God of Chairs.” Just in case the scanned handwriting is hard to read, I’ve typed out her small masterpiece of theology:

Cqzxtoo can take on the shape of any type of chair in the universe. However, his favorite form is a Gosling 5200, perfected in the year X?018 by MipQuoo.

Cqzxtoo’s followers, the Jonkarsei, claim that every festival to every god in Eldritch City is actually secretly dedicated to Cqzxtoo. Thus, at times they will invade random parades and chant Cqzxtoo’s motto, “Nakeem goli meeta” (meaning “go away, I own this cannon and this bowl of soup”), completely ruining everything.

Then the Jonkarsei return to the “Chair Lair,” apparently some cave somewhere, but nobody knows where it is, and the Jonkarsei are so unpleasant nobody cares anyway.

Freya has better control of the precisely deployed absurd detail than many adult authors I could name. To paraphrase what Jack Donaghy said of Kenneth on 30 Rock: “In twenty years we’ll all be working for her, or dead by her hand.”

The Dome of Doom Odd-Fish Art Party


Here’s a gallery of pictures from the Odd-Fish art show part of the evening. And Time Out Chicago has a great gallery of pictures from the battle-dancing part of the evening.

The Dome of Doom party on Saturday was a delirious success! THANK YOU, all you artists, guests, dancers, performers, and the fine folks at Collaboraction.

The evening began as a gallery show of fan art for The Order of Odd-Fish. (You can see all the fan art online here.) My brother-in-law Max used to hang art for a living, and it’s thanks to him (and Matt and Kevin at Monobrow Studios) the gallery turned out so smashing:


Many of the artists who contributed made it to the show! Max Pitchkites (who did cut-paper mixed-media illustrations of all 28 of Odd-Fish‘s chapters), Amanda Baylie (who made an Apology Gun), Karen Alexander, Hailey McLaughlin, Teddy Bihun, Carol Mollica, Britnee Berman, Dawn Heath, Kathleen Spale, Mike Bricis, Zach Dodson, Heather Ring (who made Dame Myra’s garden of improbable botany), Jac Jemc, Freya Trefonides, Georgia Greenberg (who made the fish that hung as a centerpiece in the gallery), and Heather Norborg (my wife!) were all there. Here’s Max Pitchkites, Georgia Greenberg, Teddy Bihun, Hailey McLaughlin, and Kathleen Spale:

me_georgia_and_fish teddy_and_girlfriend

Biggest surprise? John Karp, who flew in from California to show up in character as Sefino, complete with immaculate suit and ascot. Every time I spoke to him, he was impeccably Sefino-esque. I had never met John before; now I will never forget him.


At around 9 o’clock we headed downstairs to the Dome of Doom (constructed out of PVC pipes!) and had an under-21 Dome of Doom dance-off, which was tremendous fun. Favorite moment: Theo, dressed as the God of Apologies and toting a gun that shot marshmallows with apologies hidden inside, demolishing the United States Marine Corps. Then, unfortunately due to Chicago liquor laws, I had to bid the under-21 artists goodbye.

Soon the gallery filled up with all manner of odd costumed creatures. The air crackled with expectation for the fights to come. My co-judges Cynthia Castiglione and Seth Dodson showed up, we introduced the costumed battlers to the crowd, Collaboraction impresario Anthony Moseley gave a speech, and costumed marching band Environmental Encroachment led a parade of battlers and spectators downstairs to the DOME OF DOOM. Here’s Cynthia, Anthony, me, and Seth — all very tall people, I might add. I look like a angry little chicken in comparison:

band in dome closeup holding_up_schwenk

Aswirl in smoke and flashing lights, the Collaboraction dancers struck poses and galloped around the Dome, rhythmically banging its sides with sticks as the god-judges cavorted about inside, until the crowd was well and truly hyped up. Yes, Seth’s costume did twinkle with a hundred little Christmas lights:


Then: the FIGHTS! Battlers eneterd the Dome and danced fiercely at each other for glory. The god-judges decided who moved to the next round, based on costume, concept, and dance moves. We made some controversial calls.


Undersea grudge match: Octopus vs. Jellyfish. GO!


Earlier this week I posted a video of the battle between Indestructa and Tex-Mex Party Mix. Here’s another battle — when the eventual champion, Notorious S.A.D. (aka “Sparkle Motion”) wowed us with her moves:

(This is clipped from a longer video by Matt Mayes, which has much more Dome of Doom mayhem.)

The battles continued, broken only by the screams of the wounded, the pitiless roar of the victor, and the raucous music of the marching band:

At last the time for the final battle came. It was between Notorious S.A.D. and Rowlphie, a young man who quickly did away with his trousers and bounded about like a randy puppy in all his bulging glory. But although Rowlphie had annihilated the competition in previous rounds, he just didn’t bring the same energy to the final battle, and the judges named Notorious S.A.D. the winner — and proceeded to tear out her heart, and feed her to the All-Devouring Mother:

Once digested and excreted on the other side, Notorious S.A.D. was glorified forever in the annals of the Dome of Doom! Verily, the tournament brackets ran with blood, and were slashed with her name:

Thank you, everyone, who helped make this surreal, incredible night happen. Thanks to the artists who did such fantastic Odd-Fish fan art. It was an honor to feature you in the show. Thanks to everyone at Collaboraction, and in particular Anthony Moseley, for making this bizarre party possible. Thanks to Seth Dodson and Cynthia Castiglione for judging with me, thanks to Hannah for emceeing, thanks to Harrison Adams for controlling the fighting music, and thanks to all the battlers who fought so bravely and hilariously. Thanks to Max for helping me put up the art, to Heather Ring for making Dame Myra’s garden on the third floor, to Kevin and Matt at Monobrow Studios, to Environmental Encroachment . . . the list is too long. And finally thanks to my wife Heather. Now I can spend some time at home again, at last!

Time Out Chicago put up a great gallery of Dome of Doom pictures. And here’s my own collection of pictures of the art show part of the evening.

I’ll leave you with the fight between INDESTRUCTA and TEX-MEX PARTY MIX:

Dome of Doom: IT IS FINISHED

Right now I’m too wiped out and exhilarated to blog! Full post coming soon. Thank you, everyone — artists, dancers, collaborators, workers, and especially Collaboraction — who made the Order of Odd-Fish fan art gallery show / Dome of Doom battle-dance party such an insane, surreal, roaring success! Special honor to NOTORIOUS S.A.D., a.k.a. Sparkle Motion, who was the night’s champion, and thus had her heart torn out, and was eaten by the All-Devouring Mother, as promised.

In the meantime, check out the above video of one of the night’s battles: INDESTRUCTA vs. TEX-MEX MIX. Who gained glory, and who went down in ignominious defeat? Watch!

More coming soon! Thanks again, everyone, for a tremendous night.