Oct 6, 2015

Paul Verhoeven's "Starship Troopers" (1999): Revelation of the Bimbo

I knew that I needed to watch this movie when I heard it described as a satire that most people probably misunderstood as a failed attempt at a conventional Hollywood sci-fi action flick. That intrigued me, and indeed I was not disappointed: it is exactly that, a brilliant dark satire of propaganda and mass society. Let's look at it in some more detail though, and also discuss some of the ambiguities it presents, and where it possibly misfires.

Aug 11, 2015

The Obscure Origins and Hidden Agenda of Postmodernism

UPDATE 10/6/15: Finished!

Please scroll down (and to the right...) to read all 18 pages, plus front and back cover (or would-be front and back covers, if it were printed.)

Aug 1, 2015

Goldbug jungle jam sketch

I was reading an old comic by Walt Simonson and Mike Mignola called "Wolverine- The Jungle Adventure," and got inspired to draw something on a similar theme, using my character "Goldbug."

This was done using Chartpak markers, which I've somehow never messed with before. I'm kind of impressed by how Seventies professional they seem. Is that a thing, Seventies professional? That's how they strike me.

(Now, the black marker is non-toxic; the gray marker is "known to the state of California to cause cancer." Not that the Seventies professional would care or anything, but let me tell you, the smell of that thing really is a serious chemical cocktail. I can understand how California probably took one whiff of these babies and was like, "Uh-uh. Take it to Alabama, Chartpak, or some other hick state where they don't pre-sniff the markers." )

Jul 31, 2015

Art Store Coupon Escapades

There is a very Larry David-esque thing going on with my local art stores, and craft stores. It drives me nuts, but at the same time it's very amusing and I wish I could call up David and have him include it in a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode. Of course he probably doesn't visit art stores, but that aside. Maybe it could be a "comedy store," for purposes of his script..

Anyway, the thing:  For a long while, the big chain store Hobby Lobby has had these weekly 40% off coupons on their website. Well, art supplies can be damn expensive, so I would go to the trouble to print these things out. And to make it extra absurd, since I am blessedly free of Internet service, I have to go to a library to print them out. For 15 cents-- that's usually the going rate for a black & white print.

Okay, fine. Your wish, Hobby Lobby, is my command. Now on one occasion I can recall, I happened to blow through one of their fine outlets without remembering to print a coupon beforehand. So I got up to the register and asked the cashier if she could forgive my indiscretion, since I knew about the deal. You see my point? I'm not some hick who isn't even aware of the existence of the coupon. In theory, I  could have printed it out -- any bum can go to a library and print one out, after all.

Of course, cashiers are a merciless breed, and she pooh-poohed my request.

But what difference can it possibly make to you, or your employer, that I waste my time and money, and the world's ink and paper resources, jumping through this hoop? There's no value to you in the Coupon Production Process (CPP), in itself. No possible benefit to Hobby Lobby or its shareholders, in having legions of craft consumers bent sheepishly over their inkjet printers, cartridges whirring back and forth in dogged pursuit of less pricey pencils.

And it's all the same to you, whether I want to have a smartphone or not -- apparently one of their many fine benefits is that they establish beyond a reasonable doubt our mutual awareness that your website contains coupons.

And so it came to pass that I was once again clawing around in my pockets for nickels and dimes, hunched over the inkjet printer, listening to its sing-song whirring back and forth, back and forth, as it laid down the jagged lines that were my Golden Ticket to reduced-price Bristol board.

You can imagine my surprise then, when I told the art store cashier, "Oh, I've got one of those coupons.." as I reached into my pocket, and heard him say: "Don't worry about it, I don't need to see it."

Why, what a CHUMP that makes me! You see, I engaged in a protracted CPP to obtain this precious facsimile. But alright, now I know-- in future, I will merely call to your mind the Platonic ideal of the coupon, and leave the fussy CPP to less enlightened sorts.

You would think. But come today, and my request for the Discount is met with, "Oh, you have to have the coupon."

"But... I've been here in the past, and.."

Here's the thing-- the owner guy was standing there. Him plus the cashier. So I think the cashier was constrained from his usual casual ways. The owner says, "We can do 30%. That's the best we can do."


So I started thinking aloud, sort of figuring out the logic of it, "So if I went and printed out a coupon.. then I could get 40% off... I mean I guess I can do this another time..."

I actually didn't mean to take it nuclear like that. Threaten to not buy the stuff at all. But that got them moving, and the cashier tactfully said, "Oh, somebody forgot to give you one of these," and found a coupon somewhere behind the counter. So that got things squared away on protocol I guess. The owner was fine with it, but at the same time very intense about the whole process. I just wish it could have been Larry David in my place, and that I could've watched him make some big speech about it all, and then play that great scene transition music before we see him talking about it with Sherry or his agent pal. That's what I need in the way of coupons, would be Larry David Request Coupons.

I'll even shell out 15 cents at the library if he insists.

Jul 6, 2015

"Those Crazy Cool Kids" pencils

I really struggled with both the text and art on this single page comic. Could not work out anything I was entirely happy with. I think it's the autobiographical content that made it difficult. I realized as I was working on it that I really was not interested in talking that much about myself. Or at least, not in this form, where you have to decide what to leave in or take out, and so it's never really "accurate," it's always a selective piece of the whole. Probably will not be inking it, but I thought it might be interesting to some just in its pencil form.

Jun 26, 2015

False Starts

Maybe it's the summer heat...

Whatever the case, I've begun a few comic pages lately only to find myself growing frustrated with them, and eventually deciding to cut my losses and put them aside. Maybe I'll return to them, maybe not, but at least for now I'll just work on other stuff.

Still I thought people might like to see these abortive efforts (I know how much people like images of abortion, after all) so here ya go...

The first one was going to be a bit of a rip-off/homage to Winsor McCay's "Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend" (great strip, by the way.. I actually kind of like it better than his more famous "Little Nemo" comic. It's slightly more "adult" in content, more irreverent, and can be quite visually witty and hip, esp. considering it's 100 years old.)

My version is just a conversation between a couple in "the future," but I found it very difficult to maintain a Winsor-ian consistency or naturalism to the drawing.

The second page.. actually now that I see it scanned, I see more potential in it. So this blog post has been useful after all-- I think I'll refrain from posting the pencils on that one until I see if I can get it in better shape and have a finished page to show as well.

Jun 19, 2015

"Whole Foods" - a poem

Whole Foods

The popularity of Whole Foods
causes me many dark and sullen moods.

'Tis a battle just to reach the lot,
and then, can I cross it?
No, I cannot.

The shoppers are an anxious bunch,
and do not care that I just want something on which to munch.
They block my way, and I theirs;
how long before we all can get back to our lairs?

The stockers look savage and piratical,
perhaps disdainful of those who are health food fanatical.
Or do they resent, and have bad attitudes,
because they cannot afford to shop at Whole Foods?

I really can't either, but they have certain items,
which lead me to brave the crowds
and occasionally fight 'em.