Nov
19
2008

A Proposal: No More “Obama as F.D.R” Images, Please

The comparisons between Barack Obama and F.D.R. are obvious: a president taking office during a severe finanacial crisis who will likely institute a large government infrastructure-building program as part of the way out.  So, you can’t really blame folks for capitalizing on this visually.   On the other hand, these images seem to be nearing the “post-9/11 crying eagle” saturation point–and they’re, well, obvious; there’s really nothing to this visual metaphor other than that one point of comparison .  Maybe it’s time to move on…

Here are just a few exmples, culled just from stuff I had in my recycling bin:

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Now, that’s not to say nothing good has come from all this.  That last image by Richard Thompson (and published in the New Yorker) is beautiful.

Nov
09
2008

Sketchbook 11/09/08

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Nov
07
2008

I’m a 2009 Eisner Judge

“Having read 5,000 comics in a single sitting to win a bet, this poor man suffered brain damage and appeared directly thereafter as – the Flaming Carrot!”

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Looks like I’ll be seeing if you really do turn into a Flaming Carrot as a result of reading tons and tons of comics in a short time period of time since I’ll be one of the judges for this year’s Eisner Awards!

In addition to me, the other judges this year are retailer Amanda Emmert (née Fisher), librarian Mike Pawuk, Diamond Books sales manager John Shableski, and editor/critic Andrew Wheeler.

Full details, bio info for each of us, etc., can all be found on the official Comic-Con site.

Nov
05
2008

Father/Daughter Halloween Costume: Luke & Yoda

This is easily my most half-assed Halloween costume of recent years–but, hey, what can I tell ya?  I’m keeping pretty busy these days and I don’t have the time I used to have available to construct elaborate Halloween costumery.   In this case, I just managed to find an almost-matching top and bottom that I thought would pass as Luke’s “Bespin” outfit, added a cheap light saber and some newly spraypainted brown boots and called it a day.

For my daughter, I’m letting the ears do all the work.  She’d never really been in this carrier in the backpack configuration before, so she was kind of freaked out–which is why she’s looking pretty grumped up in these pictures.  We did manage to get out, though, and gather some free candy, which obviously will be eaten by me and my wife, not the baby since she only has two teeth at the moment.

(And, yeah, I realize that Luke was actually wearing just his tank top when he actually had Yoda on his back in Empire… but, I’ve got a fair amount of artwork up both of my arms and if I’d done it in a tank top with a bunch of tattoos hanging out it’d look like maybe Luke was on Dagobah not to learn the ways of The Force, but maybe to learn to repair his Camaro IROC-Z.)

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Nov
05
2008

Congratulations, Obama Supporters

“The most important thing that Barack Obama brings to the presidency is his willingness to reason.” –  Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize–winning economist

Nov
04
2008

Go Vote!

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(bumper sticker courtesy Michael Cho)

Oct
27
2008

Sketchbook 10/27/08

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Oct
23
2008

Sketchbook 10/23

I’m back to some sea monster designing and am much happier with where this one is headed than with my previous doodling from a week or two back.  I hope the Don King hair isn’t too obviously a Maurice Sendak grab.

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Oct
23
2008

Sketchbook 10/22

Ron Wood – of The Faces, one of my all-time favorite rock bands.

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Oct
18
2008

TIME Magazine Adds Comics Section, No One Notices

You’d think that when a magazine with a weekly circulation of over four million copies (that’s about 240 times the monthly numbers of, say, an issue of Batman, for example) adds a comics section there’d be some talk about it in the usual comics circles…. but I sure haven’t noticed any.  This actually isn’t that surprising since most of us comics folk often exhibit a peculiar myopia when it comes to comics that aren’t of the variety you can purchase at your local Android’s Dungeon.  Case in point: when Parade magazine ditched all of their then-current comics features and replaced them, there was nary a peep from most of the comics press–despite the fact that the gag panels in Parade are probably the most widely read comics in the U.S.

Anyway… about a month ago, TIME magazine gave itself a bit of a design revamp and among the few substantive changes to content was the addition of a comics page, called “The Drawing Room.”  In deference to the comics press, you’ll realize once you have a look at the comics page in question that perhaps one of the reasons that there’s not been more of a hubbub about it is that it’s not really very good.  Here’s a scan of this week’s page (strips copyright their respective creators, I guess… or maybe copyright TIME):

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As you can see, they seem to be going for topical, news-related stuff… which makes sense.  The choice of the gag panel format, though, is predictable and uninspired, and the other ancillary bits (usually little charts or graphs) aren’t really pulling a whole lot of weight themselves.  Also, none of it’s very funny.   Actually, this third installment of the feature is substantially funnier than the previous two, but still not exactly side-splitting.

The problem here is that you can’t really out-New Yorker the New Yorker–not even the modern version.  Obviously, a magazine with the editorial bent of TIME isn’t going to pick up something like Get Your War On for its new comics page, but with the wealth of great cartoonists out there either explicitly doing “comics reportage” or something close to it, the current TIME comics page seems to really stand out as a lost opportunity to do something really interesting.  Imagine what a magazine like TIME could do with, say, a serialized story by Joe Sacco–or even Peter Bagge.    This is only the third week of the feature, though, so perhaps things will change.  As noted, this week’s batch are better than the previous two, so at least one can perhaps expect continued improvement of this sort, but something as bold as running some Sacco-esque work is probably not in the cards I’m guessing.

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