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Showing posts from 2013

In his natural habitat, the creepy bastard.

World War Dragonball Z

--a draft of a comicbook parody--

[page 1]

[The background for the comic is a vague or abstracted cityscape.]

NARRATION: The zombie apocalypse is upon us. Outbreaks have broken out across the globe. Can Goku, Vegeta, and Brad Pitt stop the flesh eating cannibals? Find out in... World War Dragonball Z!

[In a wide panel, we see a mass of ZOMBIES shambling towards three figures at a distance. We zoom in separately on the encroaching undead and their opponents: GOKU, VEGETA, and BRAD PITT. The Saiyans are loudly powering up, the ZOMBIES are mindlessly moaning, and BRAD PITT is looking cool. We switch between the groups, with a closer view each time. The panels alternating between moaning zombies and shouting Saiyans are repeated two to four times, depending on layout and space concerns. We end with an extreme close-up (perhaps just a shot of an open mouth) from each group. This dialogue, such as it is, must be prominent, and may even break out of the top or bottom of the panel (preferably…

Game of Dwarf

Game of Thrones (hereafter Game of Dwarf or just Dwarf, in honour of the only reason to see the show) is about as banal as the prose in the novels which spawned it. Though I continue to watch (for the dwarf, of course), I don't care about the vast majority of the characters, fights, or intrigues on screen. They tend to be as joyless as the sex-as-penetration-only to which we are regularly treated in Dwarf, which seems to hold a world with perhaps five people who are even aware of the possibility of foreplay.

Though much of this is likely the fault of the ham-handed George R. R. Martin, I do not blame him. What more can be expected from a formerly illiterate pirate? You may think I'm just making this up, but how else would you explain the prominent 'R's in his name; his poor understanding of strategy and better grasp of tactics; his tepid and repetitious prose juxtaposed with his crisp banter; his largely transactional (or rapey) and generally uncomprehending view of se…

I am a humanitarian.

In frustation, a lady told me she just might kill a particular person. If she had to, I replied, bathrooms lack cameras, and people might believe the person in question had simply drowned. Visibly shocked, the lady decried both me and my suggestion as terrible. But I  wasn't the one who brought up the subject of murder, I retorted. I merely supplied a way to lessen the likelihood of a prison sentence should she feel compelled to actually kill that person. Neither did this mollify her nor make her feel her complicity in my jest, for the implicit absurdity of my suggestion did not impress itself on her mind so much as the image of the act, offering further evidence for Hitchcock's maxim that it is best to leave violence largely to the imagination of one's audience. You've foist a horrible image upon me, she declared.

Later on, I laughingly told this story to a friend of mine. She seemed earnestly troubled by my conduct. There's too much premeditation there, she told…

Purple Rain and Purple Rain

I have been a sometimes-fan of Prince since I first sat down and listened to an LP of Purple Rain back in the early '90s.  That 1984 record is probably the best rock album of its decade. Still, in all that time, I've never been able to bring myself to watch the movie in its entirety until this last Wednesday. I'm not sure I've seen a better representation of mid-80s goofiness, self indulgence, or childish faux-sexuality in a single movie. It was fantastic--almost as good as the record, though, of course, for completely different reasons.

I'm not sure if I can't recommend it, or can't recommend it enough.

Pointless Man takes a walk. (3)

Pointless Man takes a walk. (2)

Recognizing comics as a medium of nearly immediate apprehension, I am sensitive to the effect of difficult-to-read pages. It almost hurts to decipher the writing above. But such is the result of the best and quickest method I have to upload comics at present. Apy-polo-logies for the inconvenience.

Pointless Man takes a walk. (1)

It occurs to me the smaller print didn't make a good transition in the photo. It would be nice to have my scanner up and running, but that would require a working PC. Alas.

The dialogue in the upper right corner is as follows:

THUG: I heard he pissed off a mob boss what throwed acid in his face. Afterwards.

PREACHER: Lo, he was a lost lamb, a wandering heathen, 'til the light did come unto him and cleanse him of his face. Behold the tender mercies of the Lord.

SAILOR: I posit he is a primitive ancestor of man--a proto-man, if you will--decked out to appear human. He is a clever fellow, you see.

Now preaching at a bus near you:

Yesterday, I was riding the bus with my son when an urban camper climbed aboard with what I assumed was the sum total of his worldly possessions.

"Telling stories to teach lessons about Jedi powers. It's about goddamn time," he was saying as he strode past. After mumbling to himself for awhile, he began regaling various passengers with his dogma. I couldn't quite make out what he was saying until he took his gospel to someone in front of me.

"What do you think about my flag?" he asked the cornered passenger, pulling at his hand drawn t-shirt. "What do you think about my cross? Seven stars for the seven continents." He sat down.
"See, it's not just about Jesus. I'm the second coming, but I'm beyond Jesus. I'm the resurrection of Luke Skywalker.
"I finally cracked the Bible!" he happily declared. "I'm not crazy anymore!"

Quick sketch cartoon: Homoerotic Philosophy 101 Smackdown!

The tiny text at the bottom is about Wang Yangming, a general, governor, and neoconfucianist scholar from the Ming dynasty. He earned the nickname 'Mad Ardour' after keeping his newlywed wife waiting all night long, while he spent his honeymoon in a marathon conversation with a Taoist monk.


Somewhere in the Seattle in my head.

West Seattle comprises many streets, most of them winding. Among these are 'Simon' and 'Belmont'. The Internet admits to no such intersection, but in my mind, the corner of Simon and Belmont is sandwiched between The Point and Yellow Submarine. Its people eat hearts and hunt monsters. Its houses constantly play chip-tunes, and will serve you roast ham if you whip them in the right spots. Even shiny vampires avoid that place.

A Narrow Miss

Strolling through my lazy neighborhood, I came to a corner with a clearly marked crosswalk. I stopped, checked traffic, and proceeded over the boldly painted, white stripes. There was a single sedan quickly heading toward me, but there was also several blocks between us. Partway into the street, I could tell this oncoming car and I were going to have an unfriendly meeting if we kept our current rates.

I have never been bulky enough to pose a serious threat to a mid-sized car travelling 50mph, but it has been twenty years since I might have been called 'small'. In the middle of a spring day, with a break in the clouds, it would've been hard to miss me crossing a nearly deserted street.

"Still," I thought, "maybe he hasn't noticed me."

I slowed, raised my hand, and attempted eye contact with the driver... eliciting nothing from the speeding bastard, who had certainly seen me by then. I lifted my hand further, turning it in a salute halfway between a f…

"Lo, a rabbit."

I work at a supermarket. This might surprise you, but it's a job.

The other day, I was stocking the frozen aisle when I made eye-contact with a white haired lady who seemed like she needed help. "Hello," I said in my most professional manner.

"Am I not seeing frozen cranberries?" came her confusing reply.

I raised a finger. My mouth opened, then quickly closed again. "Why are you asking me?" I wanted to inquire. "Surely you know what you're 'not seeing'. Or were you using 'to see' as a verb of achievement, where whatever you might perceive, you cannot see it unless it is actually there? Do you think I have more direct access to reality than you, or are you checking to see if I'm psychic?" In my fantasy conversation, I let this sink in. "Either way, that's weird. I'm not sure how to address your bizarre question, ma'am."

It took me a moment of mouth-closed, finger-raised pondering to get through t…

What you don't know may bother you.

On the bus the other day, there was an older Filipino lady clad in varying shades of red, from hair to handbag, except for powder blue shirt sleeves peeking out of her crimson jacket. Seated next to her was an asian college student drowsing off, half hunched over his backpack. This inadvertent couple made a pleasing picture, so I began to sketch them.

On the other side of the Asian kid, nearer to me, there was an uninteresting, white, middle-aged business-man. He kept shifting around and looking at me uncomfortably. I didn't say anything, but I wanted to tell him, "Relax, this isn't about you." Maybe I should have. Of course, I doubt I could have kept myself from adding, "You're boring," which is why I kept my mouth shut.

My other thought was to show him the drawing, but I wasn't sure he'd understand. There had to be a more reassuring course of action. After all, not talking is often a poor way to communicate with strangers. Unfortunately, nothi…

Musings on the imbued feelings of paper, and a self-evaluation

When I was a kid, I was an angry little dude. As a teen, I struggled to translate this into my drawings.  Those efforts were exercises in frustration, both in what they exhibited and in how I felt about them. They were failures to my eyes, but plenty mad enough for others. I guess I could capture the desired emotion in a sketch, but it was hard to make my pages empathize, to burn from the inside and share their heat with the world.  In this way, drawings may be said to lose out to shots of whiskey and punches on the nose.

It's been a while since I last tried any of that--I sip my overly expensive whiskey, thank you. In the interim, I think I've done a better job of making my pages collected, bored, and aloof than I ever did of making them angry. What does this say of me? Clearly, I have become a healthy, well-adjusted individual.

Not unlike Morrissey's affinity for Joan of Arc

The other day, I was reading some misguided blathering from a young freelancer about why moustaches are staging a mostly ironic comeback. She concluded the trend (including jewelry and stickers) wasn't jocular at all, and had almost nothing to do with style, but was instead an expression of a longing for things to slow down and regain shades of 'simpler times'. No, there wasn't really an argument, not as such. Nor was there much humour, as such. I do not believe the absence of either to have been intentional. Out of a sense of charity to the author, I shall assume this was an exercise in seeing whether or not highschool journal entries, written after a bowl or three, are acceptable as paid opinion pieces in today's dying newspaper industry.

Before coming up with a poor excuse for someone submitting nonsense like this to the only daily newspaper in a major metropolitan area without dying of shame, I remember thinking, "This is all wrong," a sentiment I sti…

Why my drawings are as they are:

As a child, I had several drawing instructors.  I had a huge crush on one of them.  She was a talented cartoonist with fine arts training. Smart, cute, a no-harness and no help kind of rock climber before it was cool to go off and break your leg, she listened to early eighties metal and let me draw whatever I wanted to. I still have the sketchbook and card she made me for my birthday one year.  I pretty much hated my other art teachers. They had no interest in helping me realize my comicbook dreams.

Still, I guess I did okay under them.  In 1990, a pastel of mine sold for $125. After agent and gallery fees, this netted me $75 (which, at age nine, was still a lot).  My mom reinvested the cash into my classes. I was dismayed.

A few years later, I received some some of the most serendipitous advice I have ever been given. A family friend, who worked as an editor at DC Comics, looked over my sketches and suggested I avoid taking any art classes.  I was so pleased by this, I almost forgave…

Self Extension

In many martial arts, there is a sort of pervasive holism. The mind, body, and soul must be of a piece;  weapon and wielder must be one; it even helps to think of the bricks one is about to break as part of oneself. The studios I attended as a child all stressed the place of the student as a part of the school, and the school as a part of the community.  Each move imparts a greater understanding of the art, illuminating the self, which in turn assists in acquisition of the art. Self improvement is a duty of the student to the master, the school, and the community, whose qualities are reflected in the student. Implicitly, each thing dovetails into all things, becoming a unity.

A similar line of thought exists in behaviorist psychology and philosophy, which (to simplify) holds thought to be action, and the components useful and conducive to mindful action  (i.e. thought) to be an extension of the mind. As I understand it, Andy Clark claims this makes us all 'natural cyborgs', wh…

Overheard at a bus stop

Featuring teenagers1, 2, and 3,  playing hooky and waiting for a bus to downtown  Seattle.

1-  Is that the 31?
2- We could take the 31.
3- Where's it go?
1- Mongolia.
2- Mongolia?
3- Ha.  It says 'Magnolia'.
1- Well I couldn't--it was at an angle, so I--it looked like 'Mongolia'.
3- Isn't that a type of teriyaki?
1- I think it's a place. Isn't it some kind of place?
2- That's in, like, West Seattle.

I could have put on some music. Instead, I listened to this.  ... For those who don't know, Magnolia is a neighborhood in Seattle. Neither it, nor Mongolia can be found in West Seattle.