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, 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.