Tuesday, December 30, 2008

More Creatures, More Carré

A reciprocal tip of the hat to Mike Baehr at Fantagraphics for posting a link to The Oregonian's "Best of Beasts 2" post, featuring, among others, Lilli Carré's contribution to the book. I've been an unabashed fan of Lilli's work since her days interning for me, but this has got to be one of the best drawings I've seen from her. Ever. Absolutely eye-popping.

And I'd be remiss if I didn't say that I received my copy of Beasts! Book 2 and it's easily as impressive as the first. I understand that can be taken as biased since I contributed, but trust me when I say that designer and editor Jacob Covey has done it again. Another tip of the hat to you, sir.

The Most Dangerous Beard

The ever beardless but nonetheless talented Mr. James Kennedy (author of the aforeposted book The Order of Odd-Fish) has a new story published in the Chicago Reader's Pure Fiction issue, entitled The Most Dangerous Beard in Town, which I had the pleasure of reading some time ago and am glad to see it finally in print. As with anything James writes, I recommend an immediate reading. He's a master juggler of words and motion.

And while you're at the site, be sure to stop by and see Lilli Carré's illustration for Jona Meyer's story, The Strong.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Video Largesse 2008

Merry Christmas.

I thought I'd celebrate the day with the gifts of odd or laughable bits I've come across lately, in no particular order.

I don't know if this first one is real, but frankly I don't see how it can be. This is comedic writing on the level of Monty Python, and I certainly mean that as the highest praise possible.

What else can be said about this? It's Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis.

Zach Galifianakis again with three of my favorite laugh makers presenting: It's the Ass 'n Balls Show.

One of my favorite shows when I was a bored youth was Press Your Luck. My favorite moments of that favorite show? The whammies.

I've been addicted to this duo and their emotionally dead delivery since I saw their rendition of Business Time on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Now they're back: Flight of the Conchords Season 2 premiere.

I heard a bit from this sketch on Fresh Air and had to seek it out. Learn the secrets of the craft... Acting with James Franco: scene work.

And of course, Christmas wouldn't be complete without the train wreck that is the Star Wars Holiday special.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Chicago! Number One!

In checking what airline delays were like yesterday (when my girlfriend Emily was flying out to Boston), I was pleased to see that Chicago (O'Hare is ORD on the map) has maintained the highest standard possible, solidly trouncing the rest of the country.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Look Back, Plus Hot Dogs

I didn't know this would be available online (and arguably it's not)... but Time Out has posted the cartoon I wrote and drew for their Year in Review section: Local Events with Bearsly Windinski. Sort of. The Powers That Be put it up panel by panel, rather than as the actual pages, and ripped the text out of the panels, putting the words below the art. Which probably raises some great questions and potential discussion about the nature of comics and the juxtaposition of text and picture, but I haven't slept enough recently to get into a dissertation. And in Time Out's defense, there was so much text to begin with, it was more like illustrated prose than comics proper.

Regardless: at least it's free to read this way (a boon in this economic desert). And while you're being cheap, be sure to check out Anders Nilsen's strip for that issue. It has a sort of Where's Waldo? feel to it.

Friday, December 19, 2008


I came across this recently after getting sucked into one of those internet-search-black-holes (where I can't even recall what it was I was looking for in the first place): a 2005 interview with Chris Ware and Charles Burns.

There are those seemingly requisite, banal questions (with an original question thrown in occasionally) posed by the interviewer, but the two authors manage to get into some interesting territory nonetheless.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Real Bearsly?

I just handed over my contribution to Time Out Chicago's Year in Review section (Issue 199, Dec. 18-31), a two-page story featuring Bearsly Windinski, my squat, slightly verbose Chicago everyman. Bearsly's won the lottery, makes films of sanitation workers, and has a time travel helmet. Just like most people in Chicago. Oh, and he likes sausage.

Working with Bearsly was entertaining in its own right enough, but the real excitement came just after I had turned the cartoon in to the art director and was watching a bit of the local coverage of Rod Blagojevich's arrest.

A U.S. Marshal, one Kim R. Widup, appeared on the screen to discuss the case, and my jaw dropped. Bearsly! Not that these two were exactly separated at birth, but when the big budget Bearsly buddy cop movie comes out, Kim's my man (not to mention apparently one hell of an accomplished Marshal).

Make your own judgments. But pick up that issue of Time Out if you're in the Chicago area, because Anders Nilsen has a couple pages in there as well, which I'll be looking forward to reading.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Day in the Life(s)

Speaking of work patterns and daily methods: Boing Boing recently posted a link to a great site compiling various discussions of daily routines of authors, artists and others. There's some insightful bits here that all serve to demystify the world of art and literature production.

An example from an interview with Jonathan Safran Foer:

"I try to write every morning, from about nine until twelve. It’s really rare that I would ever write more than that. I know it’s a good idea to listen to music on the way to writing, but I often just can’t quite get it together, for some reason, to do that. I try not to speak to my extended family before I write, because that just clouds everything up."

Die Drei Paradoxien Cover

Here is the cover for the German edition of The Three Paradoxes, from the initial original art to the final stages before printing (the lettering on the back cover was just to indicate placement and was to be hand-lettered later by the publishing house). The half-toned "Paul" on the right of the front cover was inked on an overlay, and the non-photo blue "Paul" on the left went through an arm adjustment when I realized it could be construed that he was reaching for a paw full of his neighboring Paul's crotch.

The arm revision says something about how I work. Probably it's over-thinking, possibly no one would read that from the image. Who knows. But it's one of the things I do each day: I look at what I'm doing and try to interpret it every way possible, especially from the viewpoint of the uninitiated, anyone unfamiliar with my work (which I assume to be the entire population of the world) or comics in general. I'm constantly inserting symbols that I know no one will find, not even on a second or third reading, and I'm always surprised what I find in the image that is unintentional. I'll often find something disturbing or overly revelatory in an image and just leave it in for someone else to potentially discover. Implanting or accidentally creating those little layers – those mental mine fields – is one of the great joys of drawing, though I often lose sight of it.

So this errant arm was one interpretation I came up with, thought it best to avoid in this case (since that's not at all the nature of the book this image was covering (or is it? Maybe I should have left it in)), and made the revision. I'll leave it for psychologists to dissect what exactly that means: a meta-fictional version of myself gratifying a fictional version of myself.

Hello, therapy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Elephant and The Bear

Two illustration sets worth perusing by way of Drawn, from Leo Timmers and EH Shepard:

Though I, along with most of the world, am familiar with EH Shepard's Winnie the Pooh art, Leo Timmers (above) was completely new to me. His colors are wonderful, as is his design... And his characters remind me of a sort of three dimensional Richard Scarry.

Bibliodyssey – a blog that's instantly become one of my favorites (for posting these sorts of gems) – has posted some original Winnie the Pooh drawings that exhibit an ease of line that's as humbling as it is gorgeous. I love the Soviet version, but there's just no replacing EH Shepard's simple elegance.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Gum is Not a Food... Yet

To wrap the day's postings up neatly: I started with a mention of Funny or Die and ended with a mention of Steve Buscemi, so here's Steve Buscemi on Funny or Die, in Stavenhagen's Food Pawn Shop.


Space Blog 1.2

As promised, this one has even less to do with outer space, but far more to do with David Bowie.

Jonathan Lethem – along with a bevy of admirable sorts like Patton Oswalt, Bill Plympton, and Steve Buscemi, among others – contributed his top ten picks of the Criterion Collection. I was honored to see that Jonathan's author picture for the Top Ten is from one of my sketchbooks, a drawing I did while listening to him and fellow authors giving a panel discussion at Columbia College here in Chicago last year.

Seeing that drawing surface on the site was pleasantly surprising (Jonathan had asked me to send it a while ago, though I had no idea where or if it would ever show up), but nowhere near as great as noticing Jonathan's number ten pick (and Mike Allred's second pick): The Man Who Fell to Earth, staring David Bowie as a visitor from afar.

About two nights before this Top Ten was posted, I had watched this film. And while I can agree with Jonathan that the first portion of the film – upwards of four fifths – is masterful and entrancing, the last fifth or so spun way out of control, to an extent that seemed unintentional. Not that it loses itself in an uninteresting way altogether, but... well, you'd just have to try it. I'm not sure I'd recommend it on hard drugs. Though if you want a more throughout solid but equally twisted and underrated trip, I'd recommend The Ruling Class, starring Peter O'Toole, also from Criterion. Absolutely nuts, creepy, and one of those films I'm surprised was ever made (and I mean that as the highest of compliments).

Space Blog 1.1

I, along with anyone interested, have been waiting for this a long time, as evidenced by the old trailer advertising the film coming out in 2003: The Flaming Lips' Christmas on Mars. As I've mentioned before, I'm a massive fan of the band and have been since I was about fifteen, so I'm a bit biased about this movie and what it will be like. That said, it looks a least a little awful, but infused with enough unabashed weirdness and enthusiasm that I'll go right ahead and love it anyway.

A more updated – but more spoiling (warning for those that want to go into the film completely untainted) – trailer is below, should you be so daring as to inquire further.

Space Blog 1.0

This is the first of three posts today that will have something to do with outer space, aliens, aliens visiting from outer space, or David Bowie. It's up to you if those last two are redundant.

Starting with the most space-oriented post and moving toward David Bowie: December (or more precisely late November) marked the tenth anniversary of the space station, and cnet.com has posted some great photographs of the station's various stages. I can't even begin to imagine the stress of connecting these sections, or the satisfaction of utilizing the expanded station once those connections were made. It's hard enough to imagine drinking your own urine.

"You Went On A Kinda Weird Ego Tornado"

While grabbing the links for the previous post, I came across The Landlord: Criterion Edition. I'd not seen it before and now I'm torn as to which I like better, this or the original.

Watch it on your lunch break, take a picture of the food you spit on your monitor. Call it modern art.

"Mmmm... Shrimp Cocktail!"

I'm not sure how long I've been looking at videos on Funny or Die, but I've been an avid fan ever since the painfully good sketch The Landlord appeared there some time ago. Well, much like guffaw-worthy pie graphs and Snagglepuss, Funny or Die has weighed in on Proposition 8 with an amazingly packed cast including Jack Black, John C. Reilley, Andy Richter, Neil Patrick Harris, and a ton of others.

The shrimp bit was extra rewarding to see, as this was always my go-to passage from Leviticus whenever I was confronted by the requisite bible-thumping hatemonger on my college campus.

After all, God hates shrimp.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Life Size Mego (or: Why I Loved Thanksgiving)

If there was one thing I loved at Thanksgiving growing up (and there were many things), it was getting to see the Marvel superhero float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. This float couldn't stay onscreen long enough, as far as I was concerned, and it was the one element of the parade that was completely above reproach. This was serious.

Looking back at one of these clips just makes me shake my head while smiling... Saying it doesn't hold up too well is almost completely wrong. These scenerios are just flat out insane. Did a six year old weave this narrative together? Maybe that's why it played so well when I was young.

It's strange enough that the entire adventure is set to the Back to the Future theme, but when Robocop (Robocop?) comes in and Power Man (a character with whom most of the viewing audience couldn't have any familiarity) makes an appearance... what? Captain America then tosses Hulk, who is caught by Green Goblin and Doctor Doom? Why would bad guys catch the Hulk? I mean, I know Hulk was never the unproblematic hero that Captain America was, but come on...

But as I said in my previous post about Megos, this was just one step closer to these beings existing in the same world my scrawny self occupied, and I couldn't get enough of it. I'll miss the parade this year, I'm sure, but I'll still be thinking of these epic battles rolling down the New York streets.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Reverse Bailout

Fantagraphics clearly doesn't care if you're already broke, because you're going to have to figure out how to buy these two books, Supermen and Boody: The Bizarre Comics of Boody Rogers ... as well as picking up the always brilliant Lilli Carré's full-color 32-page story in Mome number 14.

Have fun wearing a barrel and carrying a bindle.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Landscapes and Smoke: AN in LA

Anders Nilsen will be having his first solo show at LittleBird Gallery in Los Angeles in December. If you're able to travel or live in the area, be sure to stop by and see his comics, drawings, and paintings. I've had the honor of exhibiting with Anders before and can attest to the fact that his (often quite massive) originals are a sight to behold.

The information for the show is as follows:

Anders Nilsen / Landscapes and Smoke
LittleBird Gallery
3195 Glendale Blvd. L.A., CA 90039
Artist reception: Saturday, December 6th, 7:00-10:00pm
Exhibition continues: December 6 - January 14 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Shape-Shifting Cars. Finally.

I'm no automobile enthusiast in general, but this is pretty undeniably cool: BMW has built a shape-shifting car with a skin of cloth. The pictures are great, but the video is pure nerd heroin, especially for those who grew up on a diet of Transformers and the like.

It might not be Turbo Teen, but the winking headlights have me sold.

"Being Drunk is The Worst Feeling of All... Except for All The Other Feelings"

Tony Millionaire always impresses, be it with "Sock Monkey" or "Maakies." His comics hold firm to a strange place between early 1900's cartoons and tomorrow's gross out humor. It's a balance not easily obtained, and only Tony could maintain it as he does.

So I was curious to see how that unlikely balance would play out in the animated version of Tony's comics: The Drinky Crow Show. I wasn't disappointed. Of course, I'm completely biased and still prefer Tony's comics to the show, but the show is pretty brilliantly put together with surprisingly high production values (from what I've heard the budget for such shows can be fairly anemic).

Give the show a watch, then decide if you need to cut off your eyes with a razor blade, blow up the world, or impregnate a pile of dirt.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Digital LIFE

Thanks to BoingBoing for posting this link to Google's hosting of LIFE's photo archives. There are millions of great shots here, including the above photograph of journalists in the City room of the Louisville Courier Journal during the 1937 Louisville Flood.

What Will Become of Our World?

Ever reliable Graph Jam provides us this perfect graph of the disasters prevented by Proposition 8.

And if you missed it, even Snagglepuss weighed in on the subject. What better authority?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Crying About the Dying Cassette"

Ian Rogers, the head of Topspin (the company responsible for the incredibly well-considered release of David Byrne and Brian Eno's new album), posted his recent keynote speech to music industry bigwigs at the GRAMMY Northwest Musictech Summit 2008.

His words are direct, insightful, and paint a picture that should stir hope in independent artists and fear in the inflexible corporations myopic enough to cling to previous (outmoded) models of success in music. He makes the clear point: music is and always has been about the relationship between the artist and the listener, the fan. The only thing failing in the industry is the paradigm of exploitation. As Rogers says, "The 'two hit songs for $17 at Best Buy' business is over."

It's certainly no mystery that David Byrne would work with a company headed by Rogers, given that Rogers' speech directly mirrors Byrne's own (equally direct and insightful) thoughts and observations in his piece for Wired magazine (which I posted about earlier this year).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

12.08. The Mark of The Beast(s!, Volume 2)

The second volume of the Jacob Covey-helmed Beasts! Will be out in December and is available for pre-order now on Fantagraphics' site. I contributed my rendition of one of the strange beings in this cryptozoological encyclopedia, as did Craig Thompson, Dan Zettwoch, David B., Eleanor Davis, Gene Deitch, Jaime Hernandez, Jon Vermilyea, Lilli Carré, Mark Todd, Olivier Schrauwen, Tomer Hanuka and a slew of others.

Jacob (Fantagraphics' master designer who I've mentioned on this blog before) never fails to wow the world with his production, so if you haven't already pumped all your money into the new Kramers Ergot (and having seen the unbound printed pages, I couldn't blame you for skipping a meal or two to get it), send Fantagraphics their due.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Further Into The Extrasolar

Since I failed to link the actual photographs in question in the last post, here's an article featuring those.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Scientists Photograph Eye of Sauron

Okay, okay, so it's not the all-seeing evil eye of Tolkien lore.

This (above) shot is merely of the star Fomalhaut, which UC Berkely scientists recently photographed with an orbiting planet, released at the same time of other photographs of a star (HR8799) with three planets larger than Jupiter orbiting it, some 128 light years away.

Almost as nerd-out inducing, isn't it?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Omega in the Amazon

I'm a bit behind in this, as I think this was announced over a week ago, but Omega the Unknown was listed as one of Amazon.com's Best Graphic Novels of 2008. I had just received my copies of the book around when this list came out, and it was an odd experience flipping through the collection, not having looked at any of this since we sent things off to press. I'm sure I'll re-read it in the coming months and will hopefully be able to appreciate it as a reader, rather than someone who has his faced glued to a computer screen, making sure I filled in the corner of this mouth, or that shoelace.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

On the Infinite, and Water, and Mutants

This has been drifting in the public sphere for some time, but I only just recently came across the commencement speech of the late David Foster Wallace, given at Kenyon College in 2005. (Thanks to Patton Oswalt for posting it on his blog in the wake of Wallace's suicide.)

The speech should be mandatory reading not simply for graduating students of a liberal arts college, but for a great number of citizens of the modern world. Patton said a day hasn't gone by where he hasn't thought of some aspect of the speech, and while it's too soon after first reading the speech for me to make the same claim, I can only say that Wallace succinctly put into words the sort of thought processes that go into most of my writing... And I certainly don't think I'd have been able to do that otherwise.

So often I'm standing in a grocery, the airport, the flow of foot traffic, wondering at the people swarming around, "What is your day? What is your life?" Thinking of the bridges, conscious and unconscious, between all of those people, realizing that I'm but one dot, with a million points radiating to and from all these other dots. It's simultaneously humbling, inspiring, and freeing. Even writing that, I don't feel that I'm getting it across a tenth as well as Wallace did at that commencement.

Bizarre as it might sound, this (connection, awareness, etc.) is what part of my short story for Marvel, involving Nightcrawler of the X-Men, was about. Really.

Thanks, Mr. Wallace, for these words. I already thought your death a loss (though I agree with Patton's general comments on suicide), but reading this I appreciate that loss all the more deeply.

Four Years of a New First Family

In addition to getting precisely the sort of president I think the country needs right now, as a mighty bonus we get a rather adorable first family with an infectious love for one another. I won't be opposed to seeing pictures like these (above from The Boson Globe's compilation of Obama photographs, and below from David Katz of the Obama campaign, on the night of the election) for the next four years, or eight. It'll certainly help to offset the mountain of post-Bush woes.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

From Shit to Social Progress

The events of election day were so massive and moving that you'd be hard pressed to find any way to joke about them. But that's why we have The Onion... who gives us this article.

My favorite line: "Carrying a majority of the popular vote, Obama did especially well among women and young voters, who polls showed were particularly sensitive to the current climate of everything being fucked."

Congratulations to everyone that worked for the campaign and to everyone who finally conceded that, yes, it had all gotten plenty shitty enough. Here's to less shittiness.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

If You Needed Another Reminder...

...Please vote today.

And if you missed this video (below) when it aired (as I unfortunately did), give it a watch. One of the towns featured is not far from where I grew up. It's the town where I went to church, played soccer games, had my first serious relationship. Sardinia, Ohio.

Not that I needed this campaign to be any more poignant, but this short film definitely accomplished that. Pass it along to anyone who is still somehow undecided.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Blob and Sketch World of Olle Eksell

On one of my recent stops into Quimby's, I picked up their last remaining copy of Olle Eksell: Swedish Graphic Designer, based on a cursory flip through. The book is absolutely gorgeous, and while it's all in Japanese (in which I'm completely illiterate), it reads just fine, since you really need little more than his accessible line and colors to understand the universes he was crafting.

Eksell died in April of last year, and I'm sorry to have found out about his work posthumously, but I'll definitely be seeking out more, wherever I can find it.

Flaming Homes and Gardens

Recently, The New York Times ran a feature on Wayne Coyne, the mad genius frontman of one of my favorite bands in the world, The Flaming Lips. Or more precisely, The New York Times ran a feature on his house. Which is every bit the mad genius, in inhabitable form.

I thought it was enough that he and his fellow Lips were inspirational in their ability to use mainstream dollars to create precisely the sort of warped musical world they've envisioned, but then the guy has to go and do it to his home as well. Hats off to Mr. Coyne.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Halloween Woot Wolf: Tomorrow

My contribution to Woot Shirt's "Hallowoot" series of Halloween-themed shirts will go on sale tomorrow, starting at midnight (midnight tonight, or tomorrow morning, however technical you want to be about it). I await the battling comments decrying (or defending) another sad sack design. What can I say? I love mopey monsters.

Yoda, Yoda, Yoda

In keeping with my earlier post about convention sketches: I'd be remiss in my duties as the boyfriend of a die-hard Star Wars enthusiast to not mention that my drawing of Yoda, along the legion of Yoda drawings amassed by Mike Baehr ( tireless web editor for Fantagraphics), is featured on the Star Wars blog, with a short interview with Mike. Strong with the thematic sketchbook he is.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Powell for Obama

About as massive an endorsement as Obama can get, and it couldn't come at a better time.

If you've thought of donating, working for a phone bank, or going door to door, please do... there's a couple weeks left and more than ever, it's not over 'til it's over.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Build a Time Machine, Bring Back This DVD

When I was in Bologna earlier this year, I grilled the ever-informative Paul Gravett about what was new (or at least newer) in British sketch comedy. He suggested "The League of Gentleman" and "Little Britain." Returning home, I purchased a few of the DVDs, which quickly led to acquiring the entire series of each. And I've been hooked on both ever since.

Well now the good people at HBO have had the sense to import Little Britain, in the this incarnation named Little Britain USA. If I had cable, I'd be glued to the set Sundays at 10:30.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


A tip of the hat to my sister Mary for alerting me to the existence of fivethirtyeight.com, an exceptionally well-conceived and meticulously executed site analyzing all the polls, statistics, and overall trends swirling around this election. For anyone else as addicted to statistics as I am, be forewarned: this place is the data junky's heroin.

Cleese on Palin (No, The Other One)

Ah, John Cleese, as if I needed another reason to love you. Here you are again, making sense out of insanity.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Obama in My Home Town

A few days before I was out canvasing for Obama in northern Indiana (with the lovely and seraphically patient Emily Eirich), he was in my home town, Georgetown, Ohio. He stopped by the restaurant that's one street over from my parents' house, the restaurant whose fried goods you can smell if you stand in my parents' lawn, especially in the crisp Ohio autumn.

According to my mother, he took the above picture with like-eared Tyler Fox and said "Ear power!" before the photo was snapped.

Now come on, right wingers, if that's not adorable, what is?

Purple and Brown

This was posted over at Drawn! a couple days ago and I couldn't resist re-posting it here. While I love Aardman in general, this bit of gleeful idiocy is perfection.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Look Around Tarvuism

The next hilariousness from the minds that brought you the aforeposted Look Around You series. Why isn't someone putting all of this on DVD? I mean, sure the worldwide economy's in a tailspin, but this is a serious problem.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Convention Sketches

At this most recent SPX, as with any convention, I (along with myriad other artists, including Mark Burrier pictured beside me above) ended up drawing doodles and sketches here and there in people's sketchbooks. But I have to compliment those requesting the drawings for one of the widest varieties of themed sketchbooks I've ever encountered. Top prize goes to the head-spinning theme of "draw something you would never draw." I was flummoxed. It was sort of an aesthetic liar paradox. Or barber paradox. Even creating an adequate analogy is screwing with my head.

In the aftermath, I'm not sure what all I drew. I've posted a few above and below here (the themes being "Dreams" (above) and "Calvin and Hobbes" (below)), but I lost track of what happened over two days. I know someone out there has a drawing I attempted, from memory, of Panthro from Thundercats. There was a horribly botched Yellowjacket from The Avengers. A skrull drawn onto the cover of a Marvel comic? That happened somewhere in there as well. Anyone who has any other attempts, disasters, or embarrassments I'm forgetting, feel free to share. It's hard to know what I wouldn't draw when I can't remember what I've already done.

(Thanks to Vy Tran for the first two graphics, David Ryan for the last.)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Forlorn Gallery

I'm pleased and honored to say that original artwork from my books – as well as uncollected comics, drawings, and various oddities – will now be represented by Charles A. Hartman Fine Art.

Feel free to peruse the pages the gallery's put up. And in the near future I'll post more information about the show planned for next spring.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

On Associates and Judgment

I am saddened, disappointed, angered, but not at all surprised by the recent resurgence of character assaults on Barack Obama by Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Her insistence that Obama is "palling around with terrorists" (in reference to Obama's connection to former radical and Weather Underground co-founder William Ayers) is barely relevant, even if it were accurate (which it is not).

That Obama chooses to befriend (though in this case it would be seriously straining the term "befriend") those who did wrong in the past (as Obama has explicitly denounced Ayers' violence, I think it safe to say he would construe it as "wrong"), merely speaks to a capacity to forgive and to reach across differences for a common good. That he is "palling around" with a currently active criminal or terrorist is beyond ludicrous, though that is certainly what Palin is attempting to evoke. Ayers is now a tenured professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and conducted his suspect actions in the late 1960's and early seventies, before Obama was even ten years old. Obama's involvement with Ayers – which included accepting a small donation ($200) from him in 1995 and serving with him on philanthropic boards benefiting schools – hardly qualifies as being fast friends, and certainly has nothing to do with condoning his actions decades ago, when, again, Obama was a mere child.

But infamous Savngs and Loan fraud czar Charles Keating conducted his wrongdoing (which I would argue affected more lives in a far more negative and long-lasting way, bilking the American public of billions of dollars) not when John McCain was a child, but when he was a U.S. Representative. And he (Keating) had contributed hundreds of thousands to McCain's campaign. And Keating's fate was directly influenced by his association with McCain and McCain's subsequent (lapse of, or poor) judgment. THAT sort of association and subsequent judgment about what to do with fraudulent persons (or the environment of non-regulation that leaves their activities unfettered) IS relevant and certainly worth closer examination. That said, I recommend the above video.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Joost Swarte and Some Other People

If you're anywhere near the Baltimore/Washington DC area this weekend, or if you're anywhere near the east coast at all, stop by SPX, The Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland. It's always been one of my favorite conventions, being a near perfect blend of gritty, quick xeroxed minicomics and polished silkscreened and lithographed eye candy. And this year you'll get a chance to meet the inestimable talent that is Joost Swarte in person. What's not to like?

I'll be at table D15, almost directly across the aisle from Fantagraphics (and Joost Swarte will be just around the corner from them). I'll be hiding behind the second printing of The Three Paradoxes and piles of t-shirts. Stop by, say hello, and ask where the restroom is.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Good Ol' Pappy

I don't where he finds it all, but God bless Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine. I could spend days – probably weeks – just reading through the treasures there. There's something about these pages that is everything right about comics, a sort of playful recklessness that's lacking in so many modern comics (and I include my anal retentive self in that). Something about just banging those comics out on their dynamo schedules imbued them with this sort of kinetic insanity, and I can't get it enough of it.

There's nothing more to say other than to give a long due hats off. Keep up the good work, Pappy.

Rube Goldberg Used a 290

A student of mine was recently asking how to use a ruling pen, along with other questions about various time honored tools of the trade, and I realized how little material there is out there about these tools and their uses, save a couple books on inking like Steve Rude and Gary Martin's (which has some decent pointers in it) and the stalwart, if limited, How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way (which, if I recall correctly, just has a handful of pages on inking and doesn't focus much on the actual tools). Reminded of that dearth of information, I wanted to be sure to point to comicrazy's post of Lesson 3 from the Famous Artists Cartoon Course: Inking the Head and Figure. It's fairly basic, but packed with useful bits. Featuring art from some of the best the business has ever known doesn't hurt either.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Digital Huston

My best buddy in the world, John Huston (pictured above in slightly younger days), has finally been given the nod by the provincial powers that be to start his blog at the Pioneer Press here in the suburbs of Chicago. The city (and the world at large) is better for it. He's one of the funnier people I know, and no one enjoys getting under people's skin more. So expect great things, or at the very least (from the looks of things on the blog thus far) expect some great lunches and dentistry.

"People Want This More Than We Do, Actually"

If all Thieves of the Night (comprised of my pals Charlie Deets and Deric Criss) ever put out is this video (above) and this picture (below), they'll still be one of my favorite bands. In fact, that's the best way they can guarantee it. One hundred percent pretense, no music.

Finally, we've reached the logical conclusion of the music industry.