Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Monday, February 27, 2006

Pulpatoon Apochrypha pt. 8

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

What's the venereal term for deadlines? Is it up to me to coin one? Do I go with the "line" and say a "spool of deadlines?" Or the "dead" with a "morgue of deadlines?" Or maybe the experience, with a "sweat of deadlines." Whatever you call it when deadlines gather together and start hanging out on your yard, drinking beer and making a point of checking their watch every few minutes, that's what I've got.

A firing squad. That's what it is. A firing squad of deadlines.

So, updates may be a bit spotty this week. Along with things like bathing, sleep, and eating. Sorry.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Pulpatoon Apochrypha pt. 7

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

The worst gag, but some of my favorite drawing, in this chapter. I'd finally figured out that, when using ink, you're not drawing shapes so much as light and shadow. That's a good lesson of which to remind myself.

In case you just can't get enough of the hashing-out of maritime minutiae, Anonymous Jersey Jim and I are still chewing over a passage of Melville from way back in the ancient days of 12/01/05 .

Here's the other relevant post: 2/6/06.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Pulpatoon: Apochrypha pt. 6

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Only one image today, because I didn't want to break the next two pages up. So you can just really linger on the implications of this one.

I understand that David Cross has since done a bit of stand-up on the inherent creepiness of people buying porn at the airport. I assume he did it better, but, by golly, I did it first! Which isn't really saying much, is it?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Pulpatoon: Apochrypha pt. 5

1, 2, 3, 4

This is the first page that I look at and think "that doesn't suck." It's not all smooth sailing from here on out, but progess is noticeable. Go Pilates!

The monologue Row listens to is a quote from a book called Hyperchen. I don't know if this book actually exists. I've never found it. I read this quote in, I believe, a Tim Powers novel (probably the Aunbis Gates). But Powers has a tendency to invent literary figures and then quote them in his novels. So, who knows?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Pulpatoon Apochrypha pt. 4

1, 2, 3

Okay, having confessed my inability to pull off jokey, I hafta say, I kinda like this one.

Although I've always wondered how, if Row has just turned himself off, does he get reactivated later on in the flight? If you have any ideas, there could be a no-prize in it for you.

Continued yet further...

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Small Stories Review

For those who aren't reading the comments, the local Memphis paper, The Commercial Appeal (yes, that's really what it's called. Ralph Nader said it's the only honestly named paper in America), ran a review of the MiniComics show this weekend.

The site requires registration, but here are the highlights:

"Small Stories: A Minicomics Reading Room" at Memphis College of Art's On the Street Galley on South Main, is the sweetest exhibition in town: funny, odd, poignant and often beautiful.

JP Coovert, Brendan Burford, BB&PPinc, and Ahn Woojung are singled out for special mention, while Matthew Bernier, Vincent Stall, Tom Gauld, and BB&PPinc have images reproduced.

There's also a drop-it-in-a-blender-and-scotch-tape-it-back-together interview from which I'd like to distance myself.

Anyway, Woo-HOO! They liked the show!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Pulpatoon: Apochrypha pt. 3

1, 2

This was probably funnier pre-9/11. Or maybe it's funnier now. I don't know. I like this first page of it. I don't think the second one is really neccessary. But here it is, anyway:

Generally, the tone of this "chapter" is kinda jokey. One of the big lessons I learned from this before moving on to the stuff that actually became Pulpatoon: Pilgrimage was that I'm not very comfortable being jokey. I'm okay with whimsical. I can handle absurd. I wouldn't mind bumping into witty some day. But everytime I try to pull off an actual joke, I feel like I'm stepping into the footprints of every lame gag strip that ever graced newsprint.

More next week!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Pulpatoon: Apochrypha

Okay, following up on Primeval Pulpatoon (1 2 3 4 5 6), here's a couple pages from the abandoned, non-cannonical "first" chapter of Pulpatoon: Pilgrimage. As you will immediatly see, the story changed an awful lot after this first wild stab in the dark.

To be continued...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Primeval Pulpatoon pt. 6

I made a little one-fold minicomic out of this and handed it out to the very first comics class I ever taught. And immediately felt like the biggest dork on the planet for using my own characters in a scholastic context.

Anyway, I find this quote more amusing than educational. I found this passage quoted elsewhere, and haven't read the source text. But I like the methodical tone, as though there could be a taxonomy of phylacteries. This led to one of my favorite comics assignments: a strip where the student needs to use 10 different phylacteries - four of them invented.

Interestingly, the "famous phone voice" isn't used much anymore. I suppose better sound quality is the culprit. One could still use it for cell phones, though. Or public address systems.

Actually, come to think of it, the broken-line "whisper voice" is also in decline. I think you still see it in newspaper strips, which are inherently more conservative on formal issues. But in comics, as far back in the Eighties, the small-letter-big-balloon attributed here to astonishment and shame began to do duty as a whisper as well.

Ah, minutiae.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Primeval Pulpatoon pt. 5

You may notice a big leap forward in the art from the last page. This page was drawn before Pulpatoon: Pilgrimage, but after what I thought was going to be the first chapter. That abandoned first chapter (the previously mentioned Pulpatoon: Apochrypha) was only about 20 pages long, and was completely wrong in dozens of ways that will become immediately apparent once you see, but, boy howdy, did I learn a lot about how to draw while doing it.

This is the thing that always gets me about comics: they are the hardest kind of drawing one can do. When I started these pages, I'd been drawing pretty consistently for most of my 29 years. I'd earned a Master's Degree in Illustration. I'd lived as a freelance illustrator for about seven years, working with some pretty major clients. I had a lot of reasons to think that I knew what I was doing.

But I grew by leaps and bounds in space of twenty pages, once I tried comics. Comics are the Pilates of drawing.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Primeval Pulpatoon pt. 4

Here we have, for the first time, all three characters together, and interacting in a way similar to what one sees in Pilgrmage. The drawing is still pretty crude, and Bull is huuuuuge, but we're getting there.

When I signed up for this blog, it was not because I had any intention of keeping it going or taking it public. I had decided it would be a good idea to get my senior students to record the development of their Senior Show projects online, and I wanted to see how difficult or technical it was to maintain a blog. The answer, I quickly discovered, is not difficult at all. And so, you'll notice that there are four new links on the sidebar (I have an unusually small group of seniors this semster). I'd like to encourage you to visit them, and please, please, please make comments. One of the benefits of this form is that they get to hear feedback from people that they haven't been stuck in class with for the past four years.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Primeval Pulpatoon pt. 3

This piece made a lot more sense to me at the time I did it. I had done a few other strips and text stories around then conflating the underwater environment with the afterlife. Looking at it now, I just wince at the inking. But for those of you have been wondering all these years what Row looked like in the buff, here you are.

The veil of contagion has lifted enough that I made it to work today. Everything still has a vague feverish shimmer to it. Lord only knows if I've said a rational word all day. Which could be very amusing, since I just gave a phone interview to the local newspaper about the minicomics show.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Primeval Pulpatoon pt. 2

Hmm. I'd forgotten that these pages are already up on my website, and so don't really need to be showcased here. I blame the terrible illness with which I am bravely coping. How bravely? Well, not to use the words lightly, but the fact that I've made it out of my plague-bed and to the computer to post an image for you does, in all likliehood, make me the Greatest Hero in the History of America. This is one merciless disease with which I am afflicted.

So, anyway, you may have seen this strip before. But it's leading to the wholly unseen Pulpatoon: Apochrypha.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Color me Schooled

In an earlier post, I said:

Melville claimed that the crew had a better voyage than the officers, because the fo'cstle was upwind of everything else on the ship, while the officers where back in the stern. Makes sense, especially on a whaling ship, which had a giant stove for rendering whale blubber in the middle of the deck.

Anonymous Jersey Jim recently commented:
Actually, it doesn't make any sense. The front of a sailing ship is always downwind, because the ship is propelled forward by the force of the wind. That's exactly why the officers lived in the stern - and why, incidentally, the "head" is literally in the head of the ship, where none of its smells will drift through the rest of her.

If the stern was downwind of the stem of the ship (as it is in a ship propelled by coal or oil, of course, which usually move faster than the wind) then the entire waist of the ship would be blotted out by the smoke from the galley fires at mealtimes.

Dang! What Anonymous Jersey Jim says is pretty sensible, and, if my description led anyone to picture Ishmael standing ala DiCaprio at the prow of a steadily-chugging Pequod with the wind streaming constantly past him, then I do humbly apologize.

But, similarily, you shouldn't imagine that ships are like hot air balloons, pushed in whatever direction the wind is blowing. Sailing is the art of dealing with the fact that the wind is almost never blowing in the direction you need to go. Hence all that tacking at odd angles and whatnot... and the occassional starving to death without being able to make any progress at all.

So, while acknowledging AJJ's natical lore as being superior to mine, I continue to defer to the Master:

Finally, I always go to sea as a sailor, because of the wholesome exercise and pure air of the forecastle deck. For as in this world, head winds are far more prevalent than winds from astern (that is, if you never violate the Pythagorean maxim), so for the most part the Commodore on the quarter-deck gets his atmosphere at second hand from the sailors on the forecastle. He thinks he breathes it first, but it is not so.

By the way, the “Pythagorean maxim” referred to is an injunction against eating beans. That’s right, it’s a fart joke.

Primeval Pulpatoon

I thought I'd spend the next few days sharing some of the early cartoons that eventually led into Pulpatoon: Pilgrimage. These were basically notebook doodles. I'm not sure when it occurred to me that they might become a graphic novel. I had a fair idea who the characters were at this point, but I was unsure about their millieu. I was also pretty unsure in my use of ink.

I had an unusually culture-packed weekend. I saw: a lecture on cybernetics by suppossed "World's First Cyborg" and media whore, Professor Kevin Warwick; the Opera Memphis' staging of Don Giovanni (Happy 250th Birthday, Mozart!); a lecture by Dr. Anna Bess Sorin on evolution (Happy 197th Birthday, Darwin!); and a broadcast of an athletic competion while in the company of sports enthusiasts.

This was my first Super Bowl, and my second opera. Gotta say, I preferred the opera. Although, there was better beer at the Super Bowl.

Today, I'm sick in bed with a sore throat. But not just any sore throat. This is the kind of sore throat that, I'm pretty sure, has destroyed civilizations.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


I think I drew this while looking at some Hogarth prints.

Ah, beleaguered youth. When will the world be cool enough that teenagers won't be bored by it?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Finger of Fate

I've drawn this image before, but I don't remember where. Maybe a convention sketch? Anyway, I liked the idea of it enough that I drew it a second time.

Kinda tired today. Not much to say. How're you?