Archive for May, 2010

Have a ______ Memorial Day

I’m taking a day off from blogging since it’s a holiday here in the U.S. and I really need to re-arrange the studio this morning.

I should just say “Happy Memorial Day” and be done with it, but that sounds disrespectful considering the purpose of the holiday, so you’ll have to substitute your own adjective.

See you tomorrow.

Friday Odds and Ends: Music!

Okay, it has nothing to do with comics, but wow, what a great performance. We’re talking me watching on an iPhone at a Payless Shoe Store and getting a tear in my eye. Seriously. Janelle Monáe. Janelle Monáe. Janelle Monáe. Damn…

Anyway, I was talking to our friend Matt yesterday about death music (note change of subject, since the above video is 100% LIFE) and he volunteered Radiohead’s “Pyramid Song” before I could, but that one is definitely on the list. Got me thinking again about my own short list of death songs.

By “death songs” I don’t mean songs with lyrics about death, or music with a morbid style. I mean music that takes you right to edge of what-it-is-to-die. Existentially transportive songs, if that makes any sense.

On my list:

“River Man” by Nick Drake
“Pyramind Song” by Radiohead
“Meeting Across the River” by Bruce Springsteen
“Wayfaring Stranger” The Charlie Haden Quartet West
“Old Man” by Randy Newman
Chopin’s Nocturne in C Sharp Minor (personal connection there)
Purcell’s “Man that is Born” from the Funeral for Queen Mary
The theme for NPR’s “Selected Shorts.” Not sure why.

What’s on your list?

Oh, Somebody PLEASE Write these Stories

You just know that the comics underneath these covers will be the same old Iron Man stories.

But can you come up with stories that would actually deserve such adorable covers? (Short summaries of course, not a whole script.)

C’mon, The Internet. I know you can do it!

Happy Accidents

Simon Cottee’s A Brief History of the Modern Pixel is the latest entry in an ongoing discussion in videogame circles about the power of the simplified aesthetic of early lo-res games. I get roped in as usual in connection to cartoon art and the points I make about universality in Chapter Two of UC, but it’s a very game-native presentation with some interesting points.

Comics and games both have some sorting to do when it comes to old technologies. Some of the old technical limitations have genuine aesthetic advantages and are worth hanging onto long after they’re no longer necessary. But mixed in with those happy accidents are other artifacts bathed in nostalgia and fetishizing that sometimes makes it hard to tell the useful from the merely warm and fuzzy.

Cottee obviously wants to help with that sorting so more power to him.

[link via boingboing via fpinternational]

The Last Airbender Boycott Explained

Gene Luen Yang sums it up in a short comic.

I signed the original petition and will skip the movie. Sadly. Because, like Gene, I deeply loved the animated series.

[link via Dirk]

Hey, They let you take Pictures!

Had a great time in London with Ivy last week. Thanks to all the great people at UXLondon (hosts, guests, and attendees all) and to the friends who came out on ridiculously short notice to see us.

Swung by the British Museum, among other sites, and was reminded that they allow picture-taking, so I went to town on the sculptures (mostly with my iPhone, but later with a semi-real camera).

I wish all museums allowed snapshots. There are times when a postcard just won’t do, especially when looking closely at the rich textures and beautiful decay of ancient works like these.

Anyway, here are a few I liked.

Racing the Volcano…

Ivy and I are in London for my talk Wednesday at UX London. We arrived a couple of days earlier to beat the ash cloud from Iceland’s ever-spewing Eyjafjallajokull (can you pronounce it? I’m working on it).
oyun oyna
Taking the week off from blogging. Back to regular updates Monday the 24th assuming the volcano gods are merciful.

Friday Odds and Ends

Here’s a cool idea: Rene Engström and Rasmus Gran have a long distance relationship and have decided to chronicle it in parallel diary comics (I would say it’s a unique idea, but I’ve actually seen at least one other!).

From the site:

“Every Tuesday, since the 16th of March, Rasmus Gran and myself have documented our lives in the form of autobiographical comic strips. We have quite the buffer now so we feel pretty good about finally launching the comic. Our hopes are to give a little glimpse into the lives of a modern family spread out over the Swedish landscape, from downtown Östersund to Möllevången in Malmö. Sometimes we do things together but a large part of the time we have to live our lives apart.”

In other news, my host in Barcelona, David Macho Gomez, is launching Spanish comics site spanishinq.com.

For those of you who enjoyed Choose Your Own Carl (back in the Jurassic era), here’s another crossword-style comic.

And finally, on the work front, I’ve now finished the second rough draft of my graphic novel (working title The Sculptor). Next step: Beginning many months of finished art (and probably going back to make some more changes to the roughs, but that’s to be expected.) Wish me luck!

Can’t… Stop… Watching…

One of the things I love about this cheerfully insane page is that but for the load times, this is something that could have been approximated with software dating back to the early nineties.

We sometimes neglect the fact that when we graduate from one generation of technologies to the next, that doesn’t mean we’ve exhausted the creative possibilities of the previous ones. The advent of CSS or PHP didn’t negate the inventiveness of something like this brain-scrambling oldie, for example, it just opened the door to new shenanigans.

Creativity is backwards compatible!

[link via... um, I don't know! Who told me about this??]

[Oh WAIT! Chuck in the comments points out that the same artist has a Webcomic! THAT'S probably what led me there. Definitely check out this equally long-loading but nevertheless great comic!]

Four Kinds of Beautiful

Close-ups of the four color printing process, courtesy of Half-Man Half-Static.

[via Tom Gauld]