Archive for December, 2009

Year End’s Odds and Ends

Belated Happy Birthday to Ivy! We went to Disneyland for her birthday on Tuesday after a very full day of work Monday, and yesterday was a lot printing and mailing, so I didn’t get much blogging, tweeting, or, um… facing… in this week.

Round One of the “rough draft” for the graphic novel is done! I’ll be working on revisions/rewrites for the next couple of months and then, starting in March, I’ll be doing finished art for two years. The book is currently at a whopping 461 pages, but I’m hoping it’ll get shorter in revisions. (Note that my “rough draft” is basically just a rough sketched-out version of what the finished book will look like, all captions and balloons in).

Fun fact: My roughs are done forty pages at a time in a single photoshop document so I can slide panels back and forth and think of the flow more organically and not let the page dictate pacing too much. They’re really big files!

The whole family is getting into the Avett Brothers this year.

Winter and I finally finished watching Deathnote on DVD. All the kids in anime club were yelling at her to finish it already so they could talk about it. That is one crazy show! (And oh, man, that opening theme and animation for Season 2…)

Still loving Mad Men.

The preview for Iron Man 2 makes me feel 14 years old again. In a good way.

Best comic of the year? For me, probably Asterios Polyp, but now that I have a bit of free time, I need to read a few more contenders.

Creatively, I thought 2009 was a great year for comics, music, and movies. Financially, though, it sucked donkey balls for a lot of people in our community. Let’s hope ’10 is better.

Happy New Year!


From the Inbox:


Last year, my friend Brad and I created a website with a randomized premise-generator called PlotBoiler. I recently shared it with the (mostly-dormant) Oubapo America group, and Matt Madden pointed out it might come in handy in the creation of 24 hour comics. Well, anytime someone says “24 hour comics,” I naturally think of you, and it occurred to me you might be interested in taking a look at it.

Michael Avolio

This reminds me (both in concept and execution) of a program Kurt Busiek and I whipped up in middle school for generating random superheroes and villains. We used an ancient PDP-8, operated from a dumb terminal, and programmed the thing in Basic, but clicking on Michael and Brad’s link, I swear there’s a family resemblance!

Give it a try yourself and see what you get.

Taking a Holiday Break

I’m taking this week off from everything but drawing and doing Christmas-related stuff with the family. Look for more posts next week.

We celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, and Ivy’s B-Day all in December, so life can get pretty hectic around here this time of year, but for those of you feeling a bit low on holiday cheer for whatever reason, I offer the above wonderfully insane video from many years ago (thanks to our friend Tom) as the secret to all happiness in the universe.

So Happy Holidays and, well…


Name that Movie

Here’s a great time-waster spotted by our friend Lori:

Paul Rogers asks if you can name some of his favorite movies based on just 6 drawings in sequence (with no movie stars).

I did pretty well, how about you?

Happy 20th Birthday to The Simpsons!

The Simpsons first hit the airwaves 20 years ago today! Great excuse to congratulate its creator Matt Groening (rhymes with “raining,” guys) for all his great work over the years.

AND a good excuse to link to this wonderfully creepy image by Roberto Parada:

I Have Nothing to Say Today

So here is a picture of former U.N. General Secretary Boutros Boutros-Ghali:

That is all.

The Original Nancy Remix

Here’s one from the vaults: The original Nancy collage that I made many years ago which helped inspire creation of the game.

I did a lot of strange things in those days.

Are You Insured?

“It turns out though, that because most of my friends are cartoonists, they’re uninsured too…”

Julia Wertz on living with lupus and being uninsured. (link via Mike Lynch)

Ivy and I were uninsured for the first several years of our marriage. Then Winter swallowed a penny when she was two and it cost us seven hundred thousand pennies to get it out.

Getting health insurance is a really good idea (as is fixing the whole system, though that’s another topic). It’s sad that so few in this business—at least on the alternative/small press end—feel they can afford it.

[More on this topic from Evan Dorkin, plus (via Tom in the comments) here's some older, but still relevant info from Colleen Doran.]

“…the emergence of a mind”

You can accuse him of hyperbole if you like, but I think James Gurney is exactly right. The fact that this sort of thing is happening all around us with increasing frequency is both fascinating and a little spooky.

There’s a sublime scene in the first Terminator movie where a hapless psychiatrist turns off a pager on the way out of a building just as Arnie’s cyborg from the future walks in. Most viewers see the link: how the tiny, primitive devices of today lead to something far more sophisticated (and in that context, sinister) in the future.

There are little fragments of AI in consumer devices that aren’t just incremental steps, they’re markedly different from what came before. They have the flavor of reasoning. Think of mobile apps for pulling songs out of the air, recognizing products from sight, or listening to and understanding our words, translating them.

These are the things in your pocket or just lying around the house right now. On the nightstand. On the kitchen table. They’re convenient and cool, but not much more for most people.

After all, it’s not like they’re walking or anything.


Dude, Why Doesn’t Everyone Do This?

Our friend Robynne has been photographing low-tech re-creations of her dreams! Such a cool and improbable idea. Check out her “I Dreamed…” section on Flickr to see the latest.

(Of course, for all I know, this is a giant meme and they already have clubs for this in middle schools, but hey, it’s new to me!)