Sketches of Fishtown

Jeffro's picture

Sean Gallagher and I are heading up an art project called "Sketches of Fishtown". The project will consist of a series of pieces that depict Fishtown landmarks, neighbors, events and memories. The purpose of this art project is to save and document our memories. The pieces will be distributed in the neighborhood for free and hopefully collected in bookform somewhere down the line. These "sketches" will vary in style and content from as long back as we can remember right up until today. If you would like to participate in the project, you can email photos and anecdotes to

Please make sure to include your name, mailing address and other contact information. If we do reference your words or photos, you will be given full credit.

Jeffro's picture

This week's Sketches idea

This week's Sketches idea came from Paul Malvey, whom many of you know I'm sure. He came to me with the concept for this one right at the beginning of the Sketches of Fishtown project. Paul is a wise and amazing guy, who I am lucky to know. He has always done A LOT for this neighborhood.

Visually, I always associated Paul's idea with an ad I saw in the Spirit when they first started up - an ad designed by another cartoonist in the neighborhood - Roger "Gramps" Petersen. Rog is an accomplished comics artist with many many books in his work history (Swamp Thing, Aliens, Predator, Project Romance, to name a few). Rog and I have become pretty good buddies over the past couple years in spite of our differences in style and religious affiliation (he's a Superman guy, I'm a Hulk guy). ;)

So instead of just stealing his idea and doing a hack job of it, I asked him to ink the drawing for me. And Rog was gracious enough to ask me to ink this week's "Gramps" strip. Take a look at the Spirit, and you'll see the Big Fishtown Cartoonists Switcheroo!

In this "Sketches", you'll notice I lampooned myself as one of the old schoolers trying to pull back the borders. Can you guess who the other fella is? Hint: he knows his history. I loosely based the realtors on Fishtown personalities too.

Anyways, enough of the how and why, here is this week's "Sketches":

Incidentally, there will only be 52 strips total in the project. This is # 33. If you have some strong visual ideas or some historical facts about the neighborhood you want me to explore, feel free to lay it on me.

As always, thanks for reading.

Jeffro's picture

This week, we look at a

This week, we look at a newer business in the neighborhood. Incidentally, I'm probably gonna get hit with a bottle at the Starboard for this fella's quote. Just so you know, I like football. I wish I had time to watch more of it, so don't kill the messenger.

Hope y'all like the alien.

Jeffro's picture

Posting this week's issue a

Posting this week's issue a little early on the message board:

I messed up drawing this one four or five times. I kept making the outlines way too thick. Then last night I take my sketchbook around to the Happy Tap during the football game and the drawing finally came together for me in like 2 hours.

I wish it'd snow more so I could spend more time huddling up at the bars.

tudor's picture

The Germ yo with the Arctic

The Germ yo with the Arctic Splash is really cool--

Jeffro's picture

Thanks, Tudor. I remember a

Thanks, Tudor. I remember a while back some folks were talking about the local kids harassing the mannequin at GERM. I thought they'd get a kick outta the "uniform 1" alien.

Jeffro's picture

Just bumping the thread

Just bumping the thread again with a question:
Since I'm only going to do 17 more issues of the "Sketches of Fishtown" project,
I wanted to put a call out for requests again. Here's what I have on deck...

Reverend Woolston and all his neighborhood projects
Tom Thumb Weddings

Les Thompson (of Les n' Doreen's)
Tom "Hooker" Lynch (when I get a decent smiling photo to reference...*hint to A.J.)
Joseph Konrad ('cept I can't seem to get a reply from his family for permission or a reference photo)

FISHTOWN BUSINESSES (these are maybes, because I don't want to overload the project with businesses):
Fran's Deli
Surly Jim's Guitar Repair
Bambi Gallery
Rocket Cat Cafe
Sis and Bill's Candy Store at Dakota and Dauphin (seems to be the last of a dying breed in these parts).

Penn Treaty Park

So are there any others people would like to see?
Do we have prominent Fishtowners who'd fit the "KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS"
strips that I'm overlooking?
Also, I can always do actual "scenes" from street corners,
parks, old photos, and stuff too.
But the more input I have, the better the project will be as a whole I think.

Anyways, if anyone has some good ones, please email me with ideas:

Of course, I credit anyone who gives me a quote, idea, or photo for reference.
Thanks for reading.


Jeffro's picture

Joe - Could you email me?

Joe - Could you email me?

I'd like to get a quote from you on one of the upcoming Sketches.

Jeffro's picture

Thanks, John Connors for the

Thanks, John Connors for the quote!

Jeffro's picture

(No subject)

Jeffro's picture

I posted this a minute ago,

I posted this a minute ago, and it was mysteriously deleted. If this turns out tomorrow to be a repeated post, I apologize.

Jeffro's picture

Thanks to Joe Walker, for

Thanks to Joe Walker, for this old tymie memory. Many of you would probably recognize Joe Walker from Sulimay's diner. He eats there almost every day. I'm sure many of you had conversations with him and may not even know his name. I love Joe. He's an awesome neighbor.

AM's picture

This one brings back so many

This one brings back so many memories. I remember my mother giving us hell for playing in the coal bin (storage area in the front of our basement to hold the coal)because we would come out black. I thought we were cool because we were the only house that still had coal. People would knock on our door at christmas time and ask for some coal so they could put it in their kid's christmas stocking. Thanks for the the memories Jeff!!!

nhb's picture

My husband's aunt just

My husband's aunt just changed her coal heat to gas heat last year. And she couldn't beleive how much it cost to heat her house with gas. She has a 3 story 5 bedroom house.

Jeffro's picture

Yeah, I'd never seen one in

Yeah, I'd never seen one in person. But the way Joe Walker describes those old coal trucks makes me wish I'd been around back then. Joe is an awesome guy. He's had an amazing life. I did a write up on him for North Catholic's website last year because he comes to help out with the school plays. Check it out if you have a minute:

Jeffro's picture

Thanx, A.J. for encouraging

Thanx, A.J. for encouraging Fishtown kids to study harder and be productive with their time:

Pure_Fishtown's picture

Jeff: I saw the coal truck


I saw the coal truck and the sneakers on the wire; they were great and brought back so many wonderful memories of growing up Fishtown. The coal truck made me think of the ice truck, Fuller Brush man, the hucksters, milkman, breadman, the man who fixed umbrellas, the knife sharpening man (who also did lawnmowers) and, my favorite, the horseradish man.

Thanks, Jeff, for taking me back to simpler times.

Jeffro's picture

Thanks, PF. I have to admit

Thanks, PF. I have to admit after almost 3 years, the sneakers are my hands down favorite.

tudor's picture

Jeffro wrote:I posted this a

Jeffro wrote:

I posted this a minute ago, and it was mysteriously deleted. If this turns out tomorrow to be a repeated post, I apologize.

This one is really cool, Jeff

Jeffro's picture

Thanks, Tudor. That's my

Thanks, Tudor. That's my niece in that one. I used her for photo reference. She's much taller now. I believe that was in Autumn 2004. Kids grow so quick. It's crazy, isn't it? I guess if I had some kids, I wouldn't be so dumfounded by that fact.

Jeffro's picture

Since they're having the

Since they're having the Paddy's Day parade today, I'll post this week's Sketches early. Les Thompson loved his Irish heritage, and provided many a fine memory in this neighborhood. I miss him and can't believe he's been gone for almost a year. One of the neighborhood's finest. If you don't know his wife Doreen, you should stop by the Happy Tap at Thompson and Sesquehanna some night and say hello. She's a great woman.

It's tough to lose people. God bless their family.

Jeffro's picture

I'm not exactly sure if the

I'm not exactly sure if the direction is southbound, because Girard (Girahd) Avenue curves. But here is this week's latest:

Pure_Fishtown's picture

THANK YOU!!! The image of


The image of Les is so beautiful and the words; what can I say. Les was a terrific guy who cared not only for his family but for his community which he loved. He's untimely passing left a noticable hole that cannot be filled.

Your correct; Doreen is one terrific lady. And, did you know that their son, Patrick, celebrates his birthday on St. Patrick's day.

Jeffro's picture

Thanks, PF.

Thanks, PF.

tudor's picture

and thanks for the

and thanks for the directions to the zoo too--

Jeffro's picture

Sure thing, Tudor. I think

Sure thing, Tudor. I think I need to take next week off from the "Sketches" because I am on an April 1 deadline for a six page comic for an anthology. But I'll be back as soon as that's done.

Jeffro's picture

I ate a sandwich from Fran's

I ate a sandwich from Fran's just yesterday...

Jeffro's picture

Sorry I haven't been on top

Sorry I haven't been on top of the project lately. Family stuff and charity art shows have required most of my attention these days.

But I have also been planning more of the Sketches projects, and school is letting out soon. I decided to keep it going for as long as I can. Originally, I was only going to do 52 drawings, but people are requesting some really good ideas. So I'll keep it going as long as people have ideas and memories to share.

One of the recent ideas that was reqested was Marzel's bakery, Columbia and Thompson. Anyone have any visual reference for that? If so, please email me:


Jeffro's picture

I don't think I ever posted

I don't think I ever posted this Walt Pomroy issue here:

And here is the latest one:

Nunzio's picture

That's a great drawing of

That's a great drawing of Walt. I'm glad his good deeds are recognized.

On the wireball, about a month ago, a few kids were playing baseball in the church yard across the street from our house. One of the hits went over the fence, rolled across the street, and landed on our sidewalk. I picked it up and tossed it back. Unfortunately, I hit the wire (like I always did back in the day)(smile). It bounced back onto our street and dang near plopped onto the roof of qbert's vehicle who happened to be driving by at the time. Whew. That was close.

Jeffro's picture

Thanx, Nunzio. Walt is an

Thanx, Nunzio. Walt is an awesome guy. And he's a fairly quiet guy who just goes about his business doing good in silence. I just saw him the other day.

As far as your wireball skills go, maybe there oughtta be a tournament some time this summer. You sound like a ringer.