At Home With: Ed Piskor | Community Profile | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

At Home With: Ed Piskor

click to enlarge At Home With: Ed Piskor
Screenshot from Cartoonist Kayfabe, April 9
Ed Piskor (left) with Jim Rugg
Everybody is dealing with the COVID-19 quarantines and restrictions in different ways. While there's no single right way to cope — social distancing and staying TF home aside — connecting with friends, family, and neighbors is a good place to start. You can contact your loved ones on your own, but you might also be curious how your favorite strangers in Pittsburgh are coping, so Pittsburgh City Paper is reaching out once a day to artists, activists, workers, and makers to see how they're doing.

Today, it's comics artist Ed Piskor.

What is your day-to-day routine like now?
Nothing much changes in my day-to-day. I spend most of my time holed up in my studio drawing comics anyhow. The only changes have been the intense heart-pounding when I go to the grocery store, thinking that everything and everyone will be the culprit for making me ill. I also have been making sure to get necessary sleep, which will be a luxury if I catch the bug and am constantly hacking and coughing all night.

Are there comics — your own or others — that you’ve revisited during quarantine? If so, what has connected with you?
I'm seeing the virus everywhere and in everything. So I'll read comics and novels and there will be a part where a character is sick or there's a threat of some extinction-level event. It's like I'm subconsciously torturing myself about the issues at hand. Can't escape it, even in fiction. Remember when something like COVID-19 was sci-fi? It even has a sci-fi name.

What is your favorite food to eat at the moment?
No creature comforts or snacking here. I've even cut down to maybe 3/4 my usual portions to stretch out the shopping trips. I do like to make a giant vat of soup, though, which yields about 21 meals and will set me up for the week. I'll make that every couple of weeks.

What piece of art/film/comic/book/TV/music is bringing you comfort/inspiration at this time?
Consumption of nothing brings me joy right now. The way I feel my best is while sitting at my drawing table making comics. It's always been meditative. It's always been something I have complete control over. I've been losing myself in the world of my comics and I have no incentive to stop down this path. I never needed much excuse to become an ersatz Mark Hogancamp kinda person.

What are you most excited to do when the restrictions and quarantines are lifted?
I'm just staying the course. When they lift the restrictions you're not gonna see me lighten up my situation for probably the rest of 2020. The restrictions have made me appreciate my independence even more than before. Everyone else is going to be the canary in the coal mine. I plan on being like that one Japanese guy who didn't get the memo and was fighting WWII until like 1975 or whatever.

When was the last time you went outside, and for what?
Every nice day I bring my workstation out onto my terrace. I also have a four-mile loop that I enjoy walking. My life rules and I'm in no hurry to become a slob.

You released a new episode of Cartoonist Kayfabe yesterday. When was that interview shot? What is the status of your show moving forward?
Jim Rugg, my Cartoonist Kayfabe partner in crime, is in a similar situation than me. We work from home anyway. I've known him for 20 years and he is probably the only person I trust thoroughly to abide by the rules. His only vector for infection is the same as mine, a trip to the grocery store. We're going to keep our YouTube channel rocking for now.

What’s an organization you’d recommend giving to or supporting at this time?
Fuck if I know. I don't have the luxury to look out for anyone other than my family right now.

Hands off Rafah protest in East Liberty
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Hands off Rafah protest in East Liberty

By Mars Johnson