Literary Identity Packs

Jul 7, 2016

My bookshelves overflow, filled with compelling information about the world. Art. History. Sociology. Comics. Curated over years of working in bookstores, and then the ability to expense books for work, quite the weird-girl library has accumulated. But, a twist, I am determined to escape my hoarder lady destiny, and am forcing myself to part ways with some of my faves. To make this fun and lessen the pain, I’ve carved them into Identity Packs, $15 for each one. You pay shipping. Email with your fave.

suzy mae


Disaffected Young Urbanite Pack

Identity Packs_suzymae_6

Sickened by the masses’ acceptance of humanity, you know better, trusting your intrepid sense of integrity to lead you astray from the lie society wants you to lead. Considering a move to Vegas (The History of Vegas, stories by Jodi Angel), Hunter S Thompson book in your pack (Generation of Swine, Gonzo Papers vol 2), you play an LP from the raw, angry years of Sonic Youth (Alabama Wildman, poems by Thurston Moore) on your iPhone. No one understands the life of a Gen X libertarian (Everybody Is Stupid Except For Me, a decade of political comics by Peter Bagge)—this world is yours to decipher alone.






Eager Entry Level Millennial Pack

Identity Packs_suzymae_5

You did it! Went out and got a college degree and a job. But the world is not like college. Ideology is not enough (More Than Good Intentions, by Dean Karlan and Jacob Appel). Your boss won’t negotiate deliveries of late work. No one respects your demands for fair trade coffee in the cafeteria, and you’re pretty sure that joke you made at the copier came off racist. (If You Have To Cry, Go Outside, by Kelly Cutrone.) You just wanted to impress everyone at the office with your quick wit, sensitive and respectful political correctness, and knowledge of 15th Century Fashion Design. What you’re quickly realizing is that people just want you to get the job done (How to Be Useful, by Megan Hustad).


American Spending A Semester In Europe Pack

Identity Packs_suzymae_9

Western Europe is so vast and diverse, you’re thankful for any guidance and history you can get (Western Europe travel guide). You’re dying to see the real life sites of history class (Sources of World History). But straight up facts can get dull on long train rides (World War Z, by Max Brooks). Thankfully, beer is cheap.


Budding Cult Leader Pack

Identity Packs_cult

Wise, cunning, and ecstatically psychopathic (Valis, by Phillip K Dick), you’ve tried Scientology, Jehovah’s Witnessing, and Chaos Magic. You even went to University of Phoenix for psychology (Rebel With A Cause, by John Sperling)! None of them truly know how to place their callused fingers on the pulse of a malleable lamb and press… press just softly enough to restrict the blood flow to the brain and lead followers deep into an unrecoverable void (Stephen Lives! Ann Puryear’s delusional tale of finding her son’s ghost after his tragic suicide)… But you’ve got the answer! Just a few more notations to make in your handmade goat leather journal (Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior, by Ori Brafman and Ron Brafman). See you at the public library!



Graphic Novel Nerd Pack

Identity Packs_suzymae_4

Nothing jerks your emotions like the blend of line and copy. Comics are your heart, your lifeline to the touching and sentimental (Empire State, by Jason Shiga.) Even profanity can be sweet in comics (Palookaville; Sticky-Icky-Icky). Great issues of importance and meaning can be illustrated poetically (The Three Paradoxes, by Paul Hornschmier; Other Lives by Peter Bagge). But your favorite is when words and illustration combine to form something uniquely graphic and expressively original (1-800-MICE, by Matthew Thurber).



Person On The Brink Of An Existential Realization Pack

Identity Packs_suzymae_2

Life is fucked-up. You know this, deep in your soul, but are overcome with a nagging suspicion that there is more—there is meaning, and all pain has a purpose. But what about those occasions when it doesn’t (A Slow Death: 83 Days of Radiation Sickness, by Iwanami Shoten)? And when our perversions and preferences subvert the animal intent of sex, not to mention the social mores that bind us (Sexology, Kinky and Kooky Excerpts from America’s First Sex Magazine)? It sometimes feels meaningless—but with a glimmer of hope (X’ed Out, by Charles Burns).



Women’s Studies Major With An Undying Passion For Learning Pack

Identity Packs_suzymae_10

“What are you going to use that for?” they asked. “You gonna run a lesbian bookstore?” they joked (Will Work For Drugs, by Lydia Lunch). It was never a choice made to make money (Women’s Madness: Misogyny or Mental Illness? by Jane Ussher). It was not a career path. For you, it was a basic block to life (Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex), to becoming the person you are today (Stories In The Worst Way, by Gary Lutz). It was a journey of realization and growth (In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts, by Gabor Mate). You wouldn’t be this passionate, driven, articulate or wise if you’d majored in Business.



First-Time Creative Director Pack

Identity Packs_suzymae_

Over the cutting board table, defending your serifs and unexpected colorways late into the night, you battled your way through three different bosses, two alcoholic strategists—one a secret cokehead– and a nightmare client who uttered nothing but uninspired mandates (Advertising For People Who Don’t Like Advertising, by Kesselscramer). Now, you’re a creative director with no idea what the hell you’re doing (Clutch: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure And Others Don’t). You need inspiration. To learn from those who came before you (The Creative Process, Ilustrated: How Big Ideas Are Born). And most important, how to win this pitch on Friday (The Genius Machine: The 11 Steps That Turn Raw Ideas Into Briliance.)



Hyper Nostalgic Hipster Pack

Identity Packs_suzymae_7

Remember when moustaches were cooler than beards? When American Apparel from head-to-toe meant you were a model (Do’s & Don’ts: 10 Years of Vice Magazine’s Street Fashion Critiques)? That time when overlit photography against a white background was fresh? (The Vice Guide To Sex And Drugs And Rock And Roll) Man, maybe you remember when street art went legit (Graffiti L.A, by Steve Grody). Or further back, when the 90’s weren’t even nostalgic and still had their 70’s tinged hooks in the beginnings of the 2000’s (Pad: The Guide To Ultra-Living, by Matt Maranian). The 70’s man! The decade that spawned the 80’s (Retro Hell, by the editors of ben is dead magazine)! But everything comes back around again… you and your terrycloth shorts will be ready.




Silver Lake Tinder Date Conversation Pack

Identity Packs_suzymae_8

You have no idea who this person is—but they’re hot, and odds are they’re somewhat literate and sufficiently philosophical, so the correct mix of knowledge and wit will send them home with you tonight. You need to be sarcastic and wry (Unpublished, Unknown, Unbelievable, a compilation by McSweeney’s). It would help to toss out an acclaimed fiction book you’ve been reading (Absurdistan, by Gary Shteyngart). If a more intense conversation begins, throwing out existential assumptions can set you up as a lonely genius (The Mystery of Consciousness, John R. Earle). Maybe throw out a little knowledge you picked up in UCB 401 Advanced (Improv Wisdom, by Patricia Ryan Madson). But above all, be sexy (How To Think More About Sex, by Alain De Botton).


Jun 6, 2016

For the past two years, I’ve been infatuated, obsessed, with comedy.  It’s my new creative baby.  A fresh form of expression to explore.

There was a time, years ago, when the only comedy I cared to engage with was indie comics.  Eightball, Hate, Flaming Carrot, Angry Youth Comics.  The usual suspects.  Although my friends were all deeply funny people, and my favorite things to draw made me laugh, I never thought of comedy as a genre that had meaning.  Comedy was annoying and sad.  Sitcoms, canned laughter, bad fart jokes, stale and desperate attempts for attention.

Then I got to know a few stand-ups.  I stumbled into some ridiculously good improv.  My eyes opened to the worlds of storytelling, long-form improv, stand-up, and even clown.  (I love my clown classes.)  It’s through the comedy community that I’ve met the women featured in this new series, called Maker Mantras.

Maker Mantras are simply individual creative philosophies.  Kara Haupt, the very cool founder, editor, and creative force behind online magazine Babe Vibes, was rad and published my Maker Mantra illustrations in the Babe Vibes “Work” issue.

Super thanks to Kara & all the funny, excellent women who shared their Maker Mantras with the world, and brought their energy to these gifs:

  • Anousha Hutton
  • Lucé Tomlin-Brenner
  • Natalie Taylor
  • Ruha Taslimi
  • Amrita Dhaliwal
  • Jade Law
  • Vivian Martinez
  • Anna Salinas

May you be fantastic forever.

suzy mae


Amrita Dhaliwal is an actor and comedian. Her work has spanned multiple areas, from theatre to film to clown.  Want more of this Idiot?


Anna Salinas is a comedian and writer based in LA who likes cats (but doesn’t have one). She’s one half of the all-female sketch comedy duo, John Baxter; you can find their sketches on Youtube or at their biweekly comedy show, The Pickle Hour. Anna also publishes a daily webcomic, Badcomixbyanna, which is fun to make (but if you don’t like it, don’t tell her).


When Anousha Hutton’s not shooting photography, she is devoted to writing her TV show “Fletcher” with writing partner Davin Wood. In addition to “Fletcher,” Anousha is churning out tons of comedy sketches and short films in her Winnebago style house.


Jade Law is a comedic actress who loves sci-fi, live-streaming LoL & Starcraft, and the inevitable rise of the robot empire.


Lucé Tomlin-Brenner is a LA based comedian and improviser at the Upright Citizens Brigade. Her life is a whirlwind of comedy, as she hosts two monthly improv shows, produces sketch and storytelling shows, and edits the comedy zine “HiJinks.”


Natalie Taylor is a comedian who loves showing women how to be bold, fearless and confident through creative self expression when rocking a head wrap! It is your birthright, Queens, so #GetRoyal.


Ruha Taslimi is an artist. She is proud to currently be performing with her Upright Citizens Brigade improv team, Moon Hundred.


Vivian Martinez is a native LA comedian, but enjoys many art forms, including storytelling and photography. Recently, she won iO West’s Funny Women’s Fest Stand up Competition; awarding Martinez a monthly show. You can also catch her at The Callback, her weekly open mic in Highland Park at the Hi Hat.


Suzy Mae (me) created the Maker Mantra series and illustrations.