Category Archives: Comics

Summer in the Desert

Serves you right for wearing a fur coat.

Serves you right for wearing a fur coat.

This is more or less a true story, as long as you accept the premise that I have such a deep personal understanding of my cat that I understand the precise meanings of her vocalizations. Fairly certain this translation is accurate. The only thing that I’ve exaggerated is the size of the lemon tree and its proximity to the pool. Everyone knows you can’t plant trees that close to an in-ground pool.

It’s hard not to feel sorry for someone who has to walk around in a heavy black coat in the desert summer, but at the same time, she also has the option of hanging out in the air conditioning and waiting until the sun goes down to hang out outside. I get that she wants to be near me, but given her typical feline disdain for swimming, it’s hard to see why. Like, we don’t have to be together all the time (that you’re awake), Cat. When I’m doing stuff you don’t like, such as hanging out in the sun or submerging my body in water, you’re not required to join me. It’s your choice, meaning it’s really not cool for you to complain about it the whole time.

Fortunately for desert cats, there are always cool tile floors upon which to splay ones furry limbs.

For the record, the cat is perfectly capable of swimming. I once saw her swim the entire length of the pool to get away from a another cat that was threatening her. So she could totally jump in and join me instead of whining about it.

Anyway, this comic took about 5 hours to draw, and it among the best ones I’ve done so far. I’ve come a decent way in a year and a half. Maybe I will be ready for my next big project when the script is finished, hopefully in August.

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Upstream

I actually don't see what you did there.

I actually don’t see what you did there.

Another serving of strangeness out of my virtual sketchbook. A fish camouflaged as an eyeball with so many rippling little fins that it almost looks furry makes perfect sense. Also, it was fun to draw. The water effect for the background really did come out beautifully. Just yesterday I was watching the ripples of sunlight on the bottom of the swimming pool and thinking how difficult it would be to capture that effect in paint. But really it’s easy with basic Photoshop tools. The little tendrils look sweet, too.

Today was another non-starter for me, but my censorship article went up on Panels and got a great reception: retweets, comments, Facebook shares!. It’s called “I Expected Batman and Robin, Not Pornography” and it’s just a little rant about people who don’t get the concept of liberal arts education. Go on and click it you like comics, dislike censorship, or just enjoy stories about clueless people or straight up ranting.

Nothing to Report

I have no new art to upload today; the new design isn’t quite finished yet. The last bits are the hardest. Basically what I have to share with you is this:

Time flies.

Time flies.

Yes, an entire year since I started this blog, although I was doing the art bit for a few months before that. In some ways the blog has superseded the art, but I’m trying to get away from that, probably by changing the blog schedule as soon as I figure out the new plan. The blog is still a useful tool for me, and I have 130 followers, 98% of whom are total strangers who liked my work well enough to follow me. Thanks for caring. Tell your friends.

Other than that, all I have is a hilarious article about The Savage Sword of Conan coming out Tuesday morning. For a long time I’d thought about writing something in the style of articles from Cracked or Buzzfeed, sarcastic and mocking but also loving and full of admiration. I love these books, which transport me to the sort of world I loved as a child, even though the adult me can’t help but unpack the insane messages it contains. The thing is, yes, Conan does something that’s worth joking about, but it does that thing incredibly well.

I could probably write another article from a feminist perspective and tell the story in a very different way, but maybe simply pointing out the ridiculous can be just as effective as dissecting and analyzing it.

Fear and Loathing on the Internet

Eddy when he said he didn't like his teddy...

Eddy when he said he didn’t like his teddy…

When we were in grad school, the Rabbit used to draw little comics, which she sometimes stuck on my office door. I still, somewhere, have a rather dark one (which probably in part inspired this comic) with a little teddy bear and a big teddy bear, and the big teddy has spaced out eyes and a bottle in his hand, and the little teddy has a worried expression on his face, and the caption says, “Daddy, why do you drink?” This probably tells you more about the Rabbit than my comics do. She also had a surreal one about Sylvia Plath, except Plath was represented as a roast turkey. If this doesn’t make any sense to you, you probably don’t have an English degree. But trust me, it’s darkly humorous.

I fell into a click hole the other day at a website called getoffmyinternets.net (GOMI), which is basically a platform for a sarcastic blogger to make fun of other bloggers. The author chooses her targets–they’re exclusively the sort of  entitled popular attention-seekers who post dozens of pictures of themselves and their fabulous lifestyles we secretly want to watch fail–and takes a bitter joy in tearing them down, or, as often happens, watching from the sidelines as they self-destruct. She’s talking about people with thousands of followers, with monetized sites, with book deals, so it’s not as if she’s hurting anyone. These people will sink or swim regardless of her snarky opinion.

Still, after a dozen or so pages, I started to feel bad about myself for reading it. After all, if you think someone’s blog is overly precious, or ostentatious, or oozing with braggadocio, or petty, or stupid, or ugly, or pointless, or whatever, you can just not read it. Sure, it’s frustrating to see someone you deem utterly talentless succeeding on any level, particularly when you can’t reach that level yourself (I would know), it’s utterly unhealthy to focus on your distaste and make it the target of all your emotional expression (I would know).

Obviously, GOMI is successful because it’s mean, because it doesn’t pull punches, and because it lacks any sympathy for its victims. It doesn’t play safe.

You can like something even when you think it’s inappropriate. Weeks ago I read a scathing criticism of the fact that in Age of Ultron, Tony Stark makes a joke about prima nocta–that is: a rape joke. And yes joking about rape is horrible (although I would argue that this sort of thing results from the existence of the rape culture, rather than being responsible for its perpetuation) but to be totally honest, I laughed when I heard the joke in the theater last weekend. Hardly anyone else laughed, although I expect this was more because hardly anyone else got it, rather than because people were unamused by a casual historic reference to state-sanctioned rape.

The viewer knows that Tony Stark would never consider raping anyone, because he’s a billionaire philanthropist playboy genius and probably needs the Iron Man suit just to keep women from crushing him to death with their desire to get on him. And it’s totally the kind of unconsidered joke the character would make. (That was sort of the point of the movie, that Stark is a guy who is so intent on answering “Can we?” that he doesn’t consider “Should we?”) Sure, the movie would have been just as successful had he made no joke at all, or if he had instead joked about some other right of totalitarian dictators, but–screw it–I’m sorry, but that joke was funny to me, in context. It was dark and violent and inappropriate and it made me laugh at loud.

By and large, I’ve tried to keep my blog rated-G. My stepkids and my nephews read it sometimes, and other family members, and, I would imagine, my stepkids’ other family members. Occasionally I edge into PG territory. Anyone who actually knows me probably realizes what an accomplishment this is, because I myself am a basically R to NC-17 kind of person, despite the fact that I’m able to dial it back in the presence of children, the elderly, and the ethically prudish. So I drew this comic a while ago, and a big part of me wanted to run it because it amuses *me*, but at the same time, what it is is very dark, in its way. It’s different than what I’ve run in the last year. (Oh, wow, it’s been a year….)

Let me say this: I understand that domestic violence is NOT FUNNY. But a little girl’s relationship with her stuffed animals and primary love object can be very funny. Anyway, if you don’t like me, you’re free to get the hell off my Internets. The inside of my head is a weird place, and not everything can be compartmentalized all the time.

My Memorial Day Post

You'll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You'll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go.

You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go.

If all goes according to plan, when this little drawing goes live, I will be way, way, WAY off the grid, far away from any sort of amenity that features running water. This is a shame, because, while I love nature, I am also fairly dependent on those running water features and am uncertain how I will do without them. At least without the most necessary one. However, we will be next to a lake, so there will be *some* options.

Camping is not a big one in my repertoire. I’ve gone a handful of times, but always to a campsite with bathrooms and fire pits and such. I don’t have any camping skills, except for the ability to cook gourmet meals over an open fire. That’s actually the reason I don’t have any camping skills: I would always be so busy cooking that other people were required to pitch my tent, &c. It’s another one of my super privileges. No one has ever even considered that I should learn to pitch a tent. It was always assumed that someone else would do it for me, because I was cooking a 3-course meal over an open flame in the dark. That’s just how I roll.

We’re not even going to pitch a tent: we’ve got a futon jammed into the back of a Honda Element. I have a decent expectation for us being more or less comfortable there. It should be dark; even the moon is just a bitty sliver this weekend. It should be quiet; there will most likely be very few people around, if any.

Well, if this site is never updated again, you’ll know why. I’m lost in the wilderness and have possibly been eaten by a bear.

The birds I’ve drawn are just fanciful birds. The balloon and the feather/leaf thing are me working with light. The balloon seems to have come out pretty well, for what it’s meant to be. For the feather, I was messing around trying to draw an iridescent effect. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than I could have done before I drew the blue morpho butterfly. The quote above is from Dr. Seuss’s Oh! The Places You’ll Go!, which I read every year to kindergarteners the penultimate week of school. It’s summer break already around here, which is a good time for adults to stop and take stock.

Oh! Also, I finally wrote a kids’ book review for Best Children’s Books, a site I haven’t posted on in more than a year: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. Read it! Then click on the Amazon link!

Anyway, I’ll be in the desert.

These Things Happen

What? It's not like we don't share the same kingdom.

What? It’s not like we don’t share the same kingdom.

Just a silly little comic. The teddy bear thing was a *bit* off color; it may come around a bit later. But here’s a small sketch of a blossoming friendship based on mutual interests.

We have a little date tree like this in the front yard and the dates are getting closer to harvest time. They’re really better if you go in early in the spring and cut half the dates off; it allows the other dates to get bigger. Otherwise you end up with a million tiny dates that are 90% pit. Maybe tomorrow I’ll cull some of them. They need to be dried for a bit after harvesting, but fortunately, the desert atmosphere is perfect for this. You can just lay the strands of dates down on the porch and eat new dates in a few days.

Dragon Comics 91

It doesn't work of course. Politicians are in your schools, your churches, and your police stations. They'll get your kids, one way or another.

It doesn’t work of course. Politicians are in your schools, your churches, and your police stations. They’ll get your kids, one way or another.

Presidential elections terrify me. Our American political process is so bloated and corrupt. Tempers run high. The country is too big; we’re all too different. No single candidate can satisfy even 51% of us, and for people like me, with political views so far out of the mainstream that no one ever represents us, it’s just a farce. The money wasted is just a slap in the face. How many people could be fed, clothed, and housed for the nearly one billion dollars that a couple of billionaires focused on increasing their own assets casually promised to their favorite candidate?

The worst part is the campaigning. It’s not confined to any arena. It’s everywhere, and you can’t escape it, even if you want to. In the last election, I literally couldn’t figure out how to make Google News stop showing me election news. I strongly believe in compartmentalizing, but it’s not possible in presidential elections. Everyone has opinions and everyone shares them everywhere. You can’t not hear the mudslinging and muckraking and empty promises and bombastic bloviation.

It used to be considered in poor taste to discuss politics outside of political gatherings. Now it’s considered ignorant to not constantly spew your views regardless of whether or not people care to hear them. When you ask people to change the subject, they refuse.

I’d like to see some actual degree of democracy in the political process. The way I see it, it would be most fair to lay things out like this: anyone can establish a candidacy with a certain number of signatures on a petition, but all interested individuals would have to attain their own signatures in the same forum. No advertising in any other forum would be allowed, and in the first round, only position statements could be displayed. People would have to go to this political forum to determine which candidates interested them. Then, there would be a series of run-offs to limit the number of candidates to a reasonable degree, after which each viable candidate would be allotted the exact same amount of money to produce whatever campaign materials they needed, all of which could only be distributed through the same political forum: videos, pamphlets, ads. Debates would all be held on the same forum. We could all vote there, online, as well.

It’s the only non-disgusting way I can see it working. Right now what we’ve got is something between an oligarchy and a plutocracy, and it’s not working. Right now, we’d be seriously better off running the presidential campaign like American Idol or Survivor. It would be far more dignified than what we’re going to be subjected to in the next 18 1/2 months.