Tag Archives: otter

Dragon Comics 117

Who has time to read when there's a Buffy sing-a-long starting in 10 minutes?

Who has time to read when there’s a Buffy sing-a-long starting in 10 minutes?

Honestly, I think one of the nicest things about Comic-Con is that it’s a venue for the weirdos to let their freak flags fly, and to see that they’re not alone. I get that this subverts the intended purpose of the Con, but we live in a tough world, and if spending 3 days out of the year dressed at Pikachu is what you need to survive, I wholly support that, and will work to make the Con a safe place for you to do so.

I love comics, obviously. I don’t buy a lot of them, because I am poor, and because I am partial to graphic novels/trade paperbacks, having little patience for story lines that are doled out a dollop at a time over a space of years, and because I have very little shelf space left and would rather borrow comics from the library or a friend and not have to store them if I don’t love them enough to make them part of my permanent collection. The allure of that type of acquisition eludes me, as well. If I buy a comic, I’m damn well going to read it, and I’m going to use my bare hands to turn the pages. I maybe even dog ear it as I do so. But I’ve known serious collectors, and I support that madness too.

There were probably fewer than a half dozen straight up comic book dealers at this convention: we have 3 major independent shops in this town, all of which were represented, and maybe 1 or 2 retailers came out of Phoenix. Most of the vendors weren’t selling comic books. They were selling swords and wigs and T-shirts and plushies and stuff that’s of interest to people who come to comic book conventions. Even the artists weren’t primarily selling comic books, but were instead selling paintings of dragons, or their own drawings of popular characters, or books with more words than pictures.

But comic books are the catalysts. And while the Star Wars area was bigger than the Marvel section, and I don’t even know what to make of the replica cars from non-comic related movies and TV shows, there’s room for every fandom at a good Con.

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Indigenous Peoples’ Day

I discovered this joke in a Garfield comic. Just kidding! No one's ever found a joke in a Garfield comic.

I discovered this joke in a Garfield comic. Just kidding! No one’s ever found a joke in a Garfield comic.

I don’t believe in holding historical figures to our modern standards, but I also don’t believe in celebrating shameful chapters of history. It’s important to study the past from every angle and to acknowledge the parts of it that make us uncomfortable along with the parts we want to glorify.

There was a bravery to the life of Christopher Columbus, the explorer, in sailing across the ocean in a direction that none of his people had ever sailed before. Columbus was acting in accordance with his time and his station in life, and according to the morality of his culture; by the standards of the time, he deserved glory and accolades for his success. Yet, there can be no bravery in the exploitation of people who couldn’t compete with him in terms of weaponry, and were unaware that his overtures, designed to gain their trust, did not reflect truly friendly intent.

There’s no honor in being the progenitor of the American slave trade.

We can’t hold Columbus entirely responsible for the genocide on the mainland, and yet his arrival in the western hemisphere still marks the beginning of the subjugation of native people in the Americas by white people of European descent. It’s 2015, and I don’t think we should be teaching schoolchildren a happy cartoon story about what happened in 1492 without discussing the enslavement and eventual murder of most of the continent’s original occupants. I don’t think we should celebrate Columbus Day as a national holiday. I think it’s a lot more honest to celebrate Indigenous People’s Day and talk about what really happened, even if it makes us uncomfortable.

I like a day off as much as the next person. It just seems like we should be more careful with our shared history, and more conscious of how our decision to frame that narrative reflects on our culture, and on people who continue to experience racism and oppression as a result of the brutality of history.

Dragon Comics 97

How about just a postcard, maybe?

How about just a postcard, maybe?

Souvenirs get expensive actually. I used to bring the kids things, but they already own so many things. New things that were actually in my budget (and I go away at least 4 times a year) just ended up in already existing piles of things, forgotten minutes after they were received. Postcards, though…postcards I approve of. You can get lot of postcards for a little bit of money (it’s a good idea to travel with your own stamps, though: touristy places are usually out, and it’s not always easy to get to a post office) and it’s always nice to get real mail, especially when you’re a kid and no one sends you mail.

I have pretty much every postcard anyone’s ever sent me, which is a decent number of postcards, but, being mere scraps of paper, they still fit in a single milk crate, with room left over for another couple of decades of postcards. I imagine that I’ll want them toward the end of my life. Every once in a while I dig through them for a bit, but mostly it’s nice to just have a box of tangible proof that people think of you from time to time.

Dragon Comics 51

Why I otter...

Why I otter…

Apparently people are enamored of “the machine.” Personally, I think it’s kind of a mean-spirited device. It gives you *almost* what you want, but not quite, because it delivers the thing you want in such a way that you almost don’t want it anymore. You would be better off without its generosity.

At any rate, a machine this powerful probably can’t be destroyed, although it can be stored in the guest bedroom with all the craft supplies and exercise equipment you never use, buried under antique furs and baby toys and ugly prints inherited from long-dead great-aunts. Dragon’s Cave, unlike my house, offers unlimited storage space, so there’s no question of setting the machine on fire on the front lawn.

Just so you know, the otter will share the doughnuts with the fox and the girl and the boy. He can’t eat that many doughnuts himself. Although I suspect the real otter would have no problem taking doughnuts from a kid for the sake a big laugh. But I’m sure he would give them back later.

I feel like the fox is as much a victim of this prank as the little girl, but something about the way he’s drawn suggests that he knew this would happen and he’s in on taunting the kid. But that’s not the kind of fox he is, I swear. I wanted to give him the punchline in panel 4 but nothing sprung to mind, so there it is. He’s just watching, feeling relatively certain that the otter is just messing with him and will dole out the doughnuts soon enough. Also I like the kid perspective: the girl did suffer, as only a child denied is capable of suffering.

Dragon Comics 44

And we’re back!

We all know that feeling. Thus concludes this treaty on gluttony as a cultural imperative.

We all know that feeling. Thus concludes this treaty on gluttony as a cultural imperative.

A couple years back, the Fox, The Man, the Cats, and I were driving to Tucson from Death Valley and I had the clever idea that we should stop for lunch in Las Vegas. Specifically, I thought the Fox, who had never been to Sin City, would get a kick out of the buffets. Stupidly, we chose the cheapest one on the strip, which, at the time, was Planet Hollywood.

I didn’t even feel like I ate that much much, but apparently I did. The Cats and the Fox were perfectly happy to nom all the things. The Man and I did not fare so well. The man literally threw up. I was not even so lucky as that. All I remember is lying on the floor of a casino bathroom crying because I wanted to throw up, but couldn’t, and then finally demanding that we leave Las Vegas immediately, so that I could vomit on the Hoover Dam.

Sadly, I was unable to effect reverse peristalsis on one of the greatest modern marvels of the 20th century. Instead, I spent 7 hours crying to myself.

Since then, I’ve only eaten myself into a stomach full of angry bees once. Typically, I’m pretty moderate about what I eat; even if I eat a lot, I rarely eat things that my stomach can’t tolerate. As I was completely sick this Thanksgiving with a perfect storm of what appeared to be 3 separate microbial invasions, I couldn’t have overeaten if I tried. We’ve been really conscious about not cooking too much food, not going overboard with the Thanksgiving meal, for some years now. Still, hanging out with the Cats and the Fox, I am offered a lot of opportunities.

Dragon Comics 32

If we’re using the Andy Kaufman metric, this comic is a complete success because it amuses me.

The danger of time travel is not that you might become your own grandpa. It's that you might have to clean up your own mess.

The danger of time travel is not that you might become your own grandpa. It’s that you might have to clean up your own mess.

We’re just taking our meta experiment as far as it can go. The 4-panel layout has some particular limitations in terms of what you can do horizontally and vertically, but it also allows for this perfect setup mocking the passage of time.

Personally, I find time travel to be primarily comedic. I’ve never seen a time travel story that actually made sense, and while I was a big fan of Quantum Leap in its time, a lot of what was going on there was more fantasy than science fiction. There’s an X-Files episode that covers time travel as well, but the storyline has a guy from the future returning to the past to kill the people responsible for discovering time travel, because the knowledge of how to conquer time has made the world a horrible place. Generally speaking, though, time travel stories are ridiculous. Looper, for instance. If you can send people back in time, wouldn’t it made more sense to just send them farther back? Instead of sending back assassins and paying them in precious metal and then forcing them to assassinate themselves and run the risk of them balking at that task, why not just send your targets directly to the Jurassic era and let them be eaten by dinosaurs for free? I know people loved that movie, but I found it completely nonsensical. If I were a criminal and going to break the time travel law anyway, I can think of a million better things to do in the past than kill people.

As for the comic, originally the gag was just going to be that Dragon goes to all this trouble to see the future, only to learn that the future holds no surprises: Dragon will be drawing. But I think having the kids in there adds another dimension: Dragon realizes that jumping ahead to the future means that certain things have been left undone in the interim, and then we get a final zinger when the girl references traveling back in time.

I also like some of the poses I’ve gotten the different characters into. In reality, The Man cannot kneel like that, on account of a sudden and unplanned high-velocity meeting of his knee with a guardrail, which resulted in the metal volume of his patella being somewhat higher than that of a normal human. The rabbit really would wrap her ears around her eyes, if she could, to unsee anxiety producing activity. In panel 2, I guess the fox is jumping off the otter’s back to whack the remains of the shattered 4th wall with the broom. That is what is happening. And I also like the way the otter’s tail wraps around the panel frame for balance. And I’m glad the animals in panel 3 have taken it upon themselves to clean up the mess, so that panel 4 Dragon can draw in a clean environment.

That’s the shocking revelation of adulthood. Whatever it is that you do, you will most likely keep doing it.

Dragon Comics 22

Remember when you were a kid and your could ignore anything?

Remember when you were a kid and your could ignore anything?

Vampire Bat fits into the scope of this comic, I think, and creates a nice contrast to some of the other characters. I could probably draw a better bat, but I’ve been sick and frankly I don’t even really remember drawing most of this comic, which I apparently did in the middle of the night with a mild fever while watching 3 episodes of The X-Files on Netflix, which I also don’t remember. Thank you subconscious mind. Way to be way more functional than my conscious mind, even if you do keep it all to yourself.

In panel 4, the girl is, of course, rocking out to Taylor Swift. They really do like those big headphones, which are a lot more comfortable than earbuds. As adults, it’s sometimes hard to know how to handle kids and technology. We don’t want them on their devices all the time, but we also don’t want them constantly complaining that they’re bored. We don’t like hearing the random sounds their devices make, but we also don’t like them being completely checked out and unable to hear anything you say to them because they’ve got the headphones on.