Natural Gas Therapy by Heather McAdams
'Natural Gas Therapy'.

Heather McAdams is an American female alternative cartoonist who finds her inspiration in humorous slice-of-life moments. McAdams additionally  performed in a country band and made low-budget short movies. Unfortunately her graphic career has been put on hiatus for several years now, though she still makes time to design country music-themed calendars every year.

Early life and career
Heather Clary McAdams was born in 1954 in in Northern Virginia. Her father worked in the U.S. Defense Department. Her two older sisters shared the same gift for drawing and their parents often encouraged them to make collages and clay figurines. In high school McAdams participated in a drawing contest organized by The Washington Post, which also had a professional cartoonist in the jury. She won 50 dollars with her submission. Among McAdams' main graphic influences were Mad Magazine, Dr. Seuss, Archie Comics, B. Kliban and Robert Crumb. During the 1970s she worked at her father's office in the Pentagon, yet still went out to protest in the streets against the Vietnam War. Originally McAdams aspired to become a director of avant-garde films, but when the Chicago Reader published some of her single panel cartoons she decided to take this job instead, as it at least paid. In 1979 she graduated from the School of the Art Institute and settled in Chicago a decade later.

Cartoon by Heather McAdams
'There's nothing I like better than...'

Cartoons
McAdams published her work in magazines like Harper's and Mother Jones. Her cartoons are of an autobiographical nature, and mostly deal with everyday subjects, which she handles with a lot of humour. Her first book collection was published in 1994: 'Cartoon Girl'. Matt Groening and Charles Burns are admirers of her work, and she is close friends with cartoonist Nicole Hollander.

Other activities
McAdams has worked as a teacher at the Universities of Kentucky, Rhode Island and Chicago, and is an avid collector of playing cards, which she often resells on eBay. She is also active as the drummer in the Millie Orchid Show Band, which also features cartoonist Lynda Barry and performance artist Brigid Murphy. Since 1991, she annually publishes her country calendar 'Anything BUT Country', which consists of drawn portraits of country stars with biographical information. Since 1997 McAdams and her husband Chris Ligon also organize the Country Calendar Christmas Show every December.

Country calendar by Heather McAdams

Film career
Heather McAdams has also directed a couple of short films, including 'We Hope You Enjoy This Film' (1979), 'Scratchman II' (1982), 'Black Coffee' (1985), 'Fake Previews' (1985), 'Holiday Magic' (1985), 'Better Be Careful' (1986), 'Pinball Laffs' (1986), 'Meet... Bradley Harrison Picklesimer' (1988), 'Luv Sux and Then You Die' (1989) and 'Mr. Glenn W. Turner' (1990). Her film experiments evenually came to a halt because 16mm film is no longer in production. She also stopped making cartoons and comics, although she still illustrates an occasional CD cover.

Comic by Heather McAdams

Series and books by Heather McAdams in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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