Dec 28, 2014

The Perfect Couple

Here is a one page comic I just finished. Some inspiration for format was taken from Carol Lay's strip "Story Minute" which used to appear in Birmingham's weekly "Black & White" paper back in the 90s.

Please click through the "Read More" link, I have to get it low enough on the screen that it doesn't overlap the text at right!

Nov 14, 2014

Ripley's style "Fun Page"...

Please click the "Read More" link to view at full size.

Nov 7, 2014

Dronar - "America's Greatest Drone-Based Superhero" - Pt. 1

Welcome to the first installment of "Dronar"! 

This is Part One in a (possibly, hopefully) 3-part series (of around 9 pages each.) But, I may do some other comics in-between, so who knows when or if that will happen. But meanwhile, check out Part One and please let me know what you think in the comments.

By way of introduction to Dronar, if you need one:  Dronar is basically a guy merged with a drone (aren't most superheroes guys merged with something or another?) His backstory (which we see a little in this episode) is that he works at the Pentagon, and witnessed horrible misdeeds. So he became a whistle-blower.

But of course, all they did was bury his report, and use him in a crazy Man-Drone experiment of some sort -- turning him into Dronar, "America's Greatest Drone-Based Superhero," (as the tag-line says)!! 

Nov 4, 2014

Curb Your Credulity: What Thomas Kuhn can Tell Us about the Science of Global Warming

I'm only mid-way through reading T.S. Kuhn's excellent short book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, and already I feel like mouthing off about some of his ideas. (Perhaps it's better to do so while I'm in the thick of it, anyway: often enough, I forget everything in a book the moment I turn the last page.)

First a caveat, Kuhn's book climbs at some fairly rarefied heights, and would probably need to be read several times over, along with related works, by anyone really hoping to gain a firm understanding of the topic. So this short essay is just an attempt at a rough sketch of some of his ideas, that may, I hope, give pause to some who have an unshakeable belief in the reality of man-made global warming (or a belief strong enough that they would favor setting policy by it.) A tall order, I know, but I think his book offers a mind-expanding antidote to much that is overly simplistic about our current either-or debates.

So, what is the topic of Kuhn's book anyway? 

Oct 14, 2014

New gag panel -- Public Radio

New comic -- "On Meeting Al Pacino"

3 1/2 black & white pages, magazine dimensions.

Click below to read the full comic!

Trollfoon Central

"Send me your tired, your poor, your huddled Trollfoons yearning to breathe free..."

Morris Berman has a problem.

Oct 11, 2014

The Shock of the New (Hollywood)

In which I stand revealed (or do I?) as an Old Fogey, after a Viewing of Will Ferrell and Zach Galifinakis in "The Campaign"

I was telling some friends lately (though they might not have been paying much attention...) that I was shocked, shocked I tell you, after a sojourn away from most Hollywood pap, when I tried to dip my toes in the water again, to find just how much filthier that water was.

Specifically, I watched the Will Ferrell/ Zach Galifinakis comedy "The Campaign." And yes, I found it a bit "shocking" and disturbing, actually. It made me feel like an old fogey, to have my tender sensibilities offended by some piece of mainstream drek... Plus, I've enjoyed Will Ferrell's work in the past, so it was kind of a surprise for that reason as well.

And I did actually enjoy most of the movie. There were just a few scenes here and there, that seemed almost designed to undercut any pleasure one might take in the rest of the movie. To exaggerate to make a point, it would be like if you were expecting a sweet G-rated story and there were a few awkwardly shoehorned-in scenes where the characters suddenly lapse into explicit pornographic activities. Well, that's sort of how I felt watching The Campaign, although on a much narrower spectrum of course. ...

The Latest Thing in Guru-dom

Of Gurus, Self-Promotion and Image Crafting

Part I:  I Enjoy Positing -- Do You?

Let me posit two kinds of people: the Gurus, and everybody else.

Actually, heck, let's make it three since that's such an appealing number, and toss in the Official Conventional Wisdom Arbiters (OCWA, as Morris Berman would be quick to point out, were he here. Of course he's tending to his own self-proclaimed obscure blog, though he's got nothing on me in the Obscure Blog Dept. (OBD) I'm sure.)

Or maybe they are the FARMers:  Fatuous A**holes Retailing Malarkey. Choose your own acronym. The point is they are the official word from on high, the appointed (by who?) Voice of Reason, that the "Lamestream Media" (haha good one) listens to above all others... The credentialed yahoos who run this joint, can you dig it.

And let's give them their due. They have an impressive edifice of tomfoolery called the Academy that wanks around with particle accelerators and such, and it can't all be just for show.

Respect. Word. Word to the particle accelerators. Nuc-u-ler reactors too. And Whatnot.

But this story is really about the Gurus...

Oct 9, 2014

Arts & Entertainment Off the Beaten Track

There are some great TV shows out there (the "new golden age" etc.).. and there are lots of movies that aren't so great... but you probably watch them anyway. Because it's a thing to watch movies, and what can you do. Just take what they give you, that's all you can do. And sure, some of them aren't *that* bad, I could be persuaded of that.

Okay, what else are you consuming... FaceBook, random internet stuff, Pinterest, Reddit I guess.. I don't really know the specifics, but I do know that while that stuff is all a lot of fun, it is also a bit shallow if taken to extremes. Just melts into a wall of empty fluff if you binge on it.

Videogames, some of you play videogames. I'm sure there is some good stuff there at least in terms of the craft of the things, and the challenging puzzles you must solve, as well as the aesthetics of it. But, I will just go ahead anyway and paint with a broad uninformed brush, and say I bet it's still a lot like movies... They can't escape all that corporate influence in their DNA, all that MONEY that goes into getting them made.

That's the bottom line with all this stuff we've mentioned so far, it all comes out of a very cloistered environment. Thousands of brilliant dudes (and dudettes, they try their best to find female nerds, I know) make this stuff, and it's really really good, in a way... HOWEVER. At the end of the day, about 6 or 7 princelings sit atop these Hollywood Fun Factories, signing off on every project and making damn sure it fits their "agenda." Whatever the **** that agenda may be.

Oh, you didn't know they had an agenda? Yep. I could tell you about the Agenda. But let's not get into all of that. Let me just ask you to CONSIDER... maybe in baby steps, start small... CONSIDER getting off their reservation to some degree...

Sep 29, 2014

You Got Farmed

Let me posit that there are three kinds of people in the world:  the happy farmers, the happily farmed, and those who hate the farm.

Of course there will be degrees of each, those are just the pure types. In fact most of the farmed are unhappy with aspects of the farm, they just don't realize that the farm itself is the problem. For all I know it may be even worse for the farmers, who are under a lot of stress to be exemplars of the farming lifestyle. The lower classes (those getting farmed to the hilt) at least don't have to pretend to themselves that they like it. And too, most farmers have some farmer over THEM. So, lack of autonomy is pervasive.

Now, this has been going on for a while. The result is that the Happy Farmers (those of the pure type, who "embrace" farming) and the most Happily Farmed, are creating two new species ("specieses"?) Viz, the Morlocks and the Eloi (as H.G. Wells predicted in his classic novel "The Time Machine.")*  Bit by bit they are getting rid of everyone who doesn't like the Farm. Breeding them out of existence. Have a problem with the Farm? How uncivilized of you. Git. Scat. (But don't go live off the land:  we took care of that back when we enclosed the Commons.)

They are in a big hurry, the Farmers. People just aren't adjusting to the farm well enough! They will need drugs, licit and illicit. They will need experts to advise them, they will need to be "educated" (brainwashed to love the farm.) The new models coming up might even need to be genetically engineered, to speed the whole process along. It's for their own good, really. How sad would they be if they did not adjust to the farm? Boo-hoo. We shed a tear for the unhappily farmed.

What to do? Yes, that is the question. There are always Marx Bros. movies, I suppose, while we drift on the undertow of the coming "new world order" (ooh, scary!) That is some compensation, I suppose. (Of course that's the idea--- entertain yourselves... don't worry about the farm... We'll take care of the farm... go back to sleep... good baby...) Perhaps too we can try to seek out those of like mind, commiserate, and even help to open the eyes of those who perhaps thus far only see the farm "through a glass darkly." How elegiac it all is! I tell you what.

*Okay, slight simplification, but that's the gist of it.

Copyright 2014 Tim Rocks (I invoke my farm priveleges on this good shite...)

Sep 16, 2014

Charm School Psychopaths

The fine line between "authenticity" and "manipulation" -- and who decides where to draw it? 

Dave Asprey interviewed a guy who does charm "boot camps." His program walks people through their interpersonal blind spots and hang-ups, and coaches them on how to improve. Asprey brought up the sub-culture of "pick-up artists," but the guest assured him that's not what he does. Those people are "creepy" and "psychopaths," he told Asprey, and in fact he "screens out" anyone who is just taking the course for such shallow, immature reasons. If they're just there to learn how to manipulate people, rather than to become more authentic, and grow as a person, he doesn't want them. He described how the inner self really does have to change for the outer persona to be more charming:  one begins acting differently, which creates a different response from people, which sets up a positive feedback loop that encourages more confident, outgoing behavior. (Although there is a hitch in that logic --- initially at least, he's telling you people will be faked out -- "fake it till you make it" I guess. Then eventually you grow into your "fake self" and that becomes your real self. Or something.)

Another slight --- or perhaps major --- contradiction:  he hates "creepy psychopaths" as I said (interesting how that term "psychopath" has taken off), but then he went on to describe how, among his other graceless candidates for charm school, were Navy SEALS. That's right. Sometimes you don't just want to drive around in other countries looking tough, breaking things, and killing innocent bystanders who get in the way. You might want to cozy up to the enemy --- just long enough for him to get comfortable, at least. Then you sneak up behind him and slit his throat!! Or take him to a black site for a little (no doubt charm-filled) enhanced interrogation. That's no problem, apparently, but picking up chicks for casual sex is just too much for his tender sensibilities...

Jul 15, 2014

Parking Garage Planet #1

One color cover and 18 b&w pages. Of "retro sci-fi Southern trash" comics, according to one reader.

That might about do it for me on this project, for a while at least. I had a few more pages planned for this issue, and notes for #2, but I'm thinking I will just see what "folks" think of the story so far.

Click here to read the story on the Creatavist platform!

Jun 8, 2014

The Day the Comics Died

("American Pie" lyrics by Don McLean, changed slightly by me)

A long, long time ago
I can still remember how those funnies used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people laugh
And maybe they'd be happy for a while

But February made me shiver
With every paper I'd (not) deliver
Bad news on the TV station
I couldn't take one more cancellation

I can't remember if I cried
When I read there'd be no Far Side
But something touched me deep inside
The day the comics died

So bye-bye, Beetle Bailey
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
And those news-readin' geezers were drinkin' whiskey and rye
Singin' "This'll be the day that I die
This'll be the day that I die"

Jun 3, 2014

Stanley's Brain

Peak Fun Megacorp announces the galactic release of a new 8-page full B&W comic!

Times have been slow around the old megacorp, but now we have finally managed to trickle out a few more sweat-logged pages of comicy goodness! It's like squeezing blood from a turnip, I tell you, but nevertheless we think you'll agree the wait has been worth it! It's a rollicking good time in this short comic featuring Dr. Stanley, a brand new Invention from the fertile minds at PFM! He has a beard and Dennis the Menace style hair-do! Enjoy!

May 2, 2014

Caricature by Matthew Cox

I worked a gig recently drawing caricatures with Nashville artist Matthew Cox. We had a break where the guests were in some ceremony, and I asked him if he'd mind drawing me, which he kindly agreed to do.

It might be, just slightly, a little bit flattering. For instance, rather than nice, evenly spaced features and chiseled, movie star good looks, I'm more of a chinless hunchback with a lumpy potato nose and giant hairy ears. But a flattering style is good business, you know. People want "caricatures," but they also don't want to be reminded that they're pretty much genetic dead ends, whose lifestyle choices have mutated them into circus freaks.

Anyway I'm a fan of Matt's very mainstream caricature style, which he delivers consistently and with professionalism. I've been studying his approach and plan to ape it myself, so I can make millions (or whatever Matt makes, at least. I'm sure he lives in a big mansion like most caricature artists. I would myself but I blew it all on hookers and out-of-print art instruction books.)

Apr 26, 2014

some charicateratures

in the good old boring style of non-creativity (or something)

Apr 8, 2014

Idea for Brian Crane's "Pickles" strip

This idea seemed like something from Brian Crane's "Pickles" strip so I drew it as such (in rough thumbnail version anyway.) I was going to send it to him, but could not find contact info. Maybe I'll post a link to it on his blog comments and see what he makes of it, if anything.

(Right-click and "open in new tab" to enlarge.)

Mar 12, 2014

Old-School PSA

(To view full size, right-click on image and choose "open in new tab/window." Warning, Language may offend some people, view at own risk.)

Mar 4, 2014

school T-shirt designs

Some new commissions:
(This pencil sketch was not used, unfortunately; I think it might have been more interesting than the wide angle shot they chose.)

Mar 1, 2014

Podcast Review: JHK yaks with New Urbanist Andres Duany

Interview w architect Andres Duany sharing some insights from decades in the field. Points raised include:

- The whole LEED-certified green building movement has been the greatest "success" of the environmental movement, but at the same time it's a very limiting vision that assumes a well-moneyed client. Actually it sounds like what the cynics among us would imagine it is without even investigating -- there's good money in it, so many of the architects are just "along for the ride" with it (cynically!) whether they think it's very beneficial or not. And/or some of them may be taken in by the hype of it all.
Duany suggests that in addition to the "gold", "silver" LEED levels, there be a "dirt" level, a spec for building green when you're not rolling in dough. The LEED racket though generates lots of good-paying jobs, since it takes an MIT degree to manage a LEED-certified building properly, it sounds like. And of course for everyone setting it up.

-Duany and the New Urbanists "succeeded" in inserting their ideas into the belly of the beast (into the building codes), but in the process became the beast to some extent. He still favors what they were/are trying to do (walkable communities for one), but he sees how, over the 30-something years since he started, the bureaucratic regs have gotten much more stifling. Young architects today could not do what he and his peers did then, he says; his generation could talk mano a mano to officials and persuade them to make allowances. Now, it takes teams of lawyers and millions of dollars to make sensible local decisions possible.

-He mentions that all the great cities, such as Paris, were developed with "form-based code" but did not elaborate... I must look it up someday... ha

-This was funny -- Duany worked on the early experimental walkable community "Seaside" in Florida, and others; He and colleagues were able to use resort communities as "test labs" for new ideas, because clients wanted something better than ordinary, everyday neighborhoods. They were open to more "utopian" ideas. Something amusing about that, the mindset that daily life is naturally a dismal slog, but a resort town can be permitted to dream a little. And yet I would think that viewing things that way, will actually undermine the attempt, because now you have this sort of enforced idyll -- it *must* be joyous here! No unhappiness allowed!

Overall, I liked his open-minded perspective towards "the little people" and trying to avoid stomping all over everyone who can't afford to be high-minded, but at the same time, he seemed to be trying to have his cake and eat it too; in the belly of the beast as he said, and favoring some of its ideals, but skeptical of implementation, and looking for some way to accommodate both worlds. Which I admire, but my sense is that the bureaucratic world will generally just steamroll over "the little people", and take all the pie while patting itself on the back for its high-minded commitment to ideals.

Feb 18, 2014

Buying food

I don't know, maybe I've read too many nutrition blogs so I view the world through glasses of clarity, but this is how grocery stores look to me nowadays. Maybe it's *slightly* exaggerated to say most of the stuff is poisonous, but I'd say most of it has ingredients that we'd be better off without. And really this cartoon is even drawn with rose-colored glasses to some degree, since a lot of the time the stuff *claiming* to be healthy is just as bad or worse than the stuff that's making no claims.

Feb 15, 2014

Cartoon art commission -- School mascot

Nae Nae dancin' tiger b&w art for a school's Spring Break T-shirts (you'd almost think I was a jolly person to draw something like this...  =)):

Feb 3, 2014

Jan 5, 2014

Slob-oids "Book & Record Set" video

Planet Of The Slob-Oids from King Power Cinema on Vimeo.

This is a faux book & record set, or basically, a comic with audio and video effects. My pal David M. Smith suggested the adaptation.

Story and art by me
Film & audio production by David M. Smith
Voices by me, David, Eric Hawley, Brian Collins and Pip May