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Archive for ‘Causes’


Wanna Help Jim Woodring Build a Big-Ass Pen?

When one the greatest cartoonists of our time decides he wants to build a seven foot long dip pen, y’gotta answer the call!

Check out the video. It’s actually a terrific idea and worth the Herculean effort it will take to pull it off.

Meanwhile, if you don’t have Jim’s gorgeous new book Weathercraft yet, well… what are you waiting for?

link via Fantagraphics.


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]


Mr. Bissette Remembers

Battle-scarred freelance veteran and CCS teacher Steve Bissette has been posting his remembrances of some “Forgotten Comics Wars” over at his blog. It’s a fascinating series covering debates that were raging during the years I was just entering the business.

Since the series took the form of scattered blog posts, Mark Evanier has done us all the favor of collecting the links for all 12 parts and offers his own commentary here.

Get ready to start a few tabs:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12

…and enjoy a blast from the past.

A lot has changed at “The Big Two” over the years and a lot remains the same, but with recent developments like Marvel’s new Editor-in-Chief, I’m cautiously optimistic.


Kickstarting E-Sheep

Patrick Farley is a friend, but I can say without hesitation that he’s one of the most innovative cartoonists of the last decade and the e-sheep archive (currently under reconstruction) is a treasure trove. Anything that helps him make more comics would be a very very good thing.


Friday Odds and Ends

Okay one more cool music video (via Lori M) playing with one of my favorite topics (as seen in UC chapter 5).

Nawlz returns with “Season 2: Real Werld Information Breakdown.”

Bravest Kid in America. (Imagine going to school the next morning? She did it.)

Also note sidebar: Italy in April, London in May, and South Bend in 12 days. And when not traveling: 11 hours a day, 7 days a week on the book—and loving it.

Back to work!


Thought Crimes, Curling, and my Big Ugly Pen

In looking over this travesty, keep in mind that the “crime” in question is essentially a Thought Crime with no victims, and that the man going to jail is doing so for a small fraction of the comics in his collection. If these sorts of victimless crimes sound insane to you as they do to me and my family, please consider a donation to help fight such cases in the future.

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In happier news, I notice today’s Google Doodle (Feb 16) is Curling! Since Ivy’s curling these days, I’m giving a shout-out to a great sport that’s finally living large in a country that appreciates it. You can bet we’ll be watching whatever meager coverage it gets here in the States.

***

Meanwhile, this post about hand strain (via Dirk) gives me an opportunity to share some tips that I’ve found useful for avoiding hand strain.

1. Fatten your grip. A simple, easy way to reduce hand strain is to widen the radius of the tools you use most often. Above left is a shot of my big fat Cintiq pen, courtesy of some masking and packing tape. Ugly as hell, but just as easy to use and less likely to freak out my tendons.

2. Feet on the Floor. Seriously, your whole body relaxes when your feet are flat on the floor. If necessary get one of those raised foot rests. I was surprised how well this worked, but it really did.

3. Drawing big. If you’re all digital like me, zooming in can help make most drawing tasks a matter of forearm movement rather than wrist movement, which makes a big difference.

4. Use your breaks. When I was having problems and was taking breaks of five minutes for every twenty, I used a timer and took it as an opportunity to catch up on some reading. It was actually kind of fun to have to read about an hour more each day.

5. See a Pro. If you ever get the tingles, see someone right away. There are specialists who can help and save you a lot of money in the long run.

And of course there’s a ton of information online as usual. Click around to learn more (at least until the clicking starts to hurt).


The Free Flow of Credit

Today’s Google logo featuring E.C. Segar’s Popeye made me happy, though for a personal and kind of obscure reason.

I have this vivid memory of seeing the movie Annie in ’82, probably with Kurt Busiek and other friends. It was the year we graduated college and were seriously pursuing our hopes of making comics professionally.

Annie was based, of course, on the popular Broadway musical, and the musical was based, of course, on the famous long-running comic strip Little Orphan Annie by Harold Gray.

The movie was okay (we had low expectations in those days), but there was something missing. Something important that a lot of people in the audience were unlikely to notice, but which Kurt and I were especially attuned to.

The name “Harold Gray” was nowhere to be seen in the credits.

It still pisses me off that they thought to list the screenwriter, and the author of the book for the play, the composer, the costume designer, the frickin Best Boy, but they couldn’t take a moment to add in the name of the man who CREATED the characters.

So when I saw Popeye on the Google logo today, it was gratifying to see that instead of triggering a search for characters or companies or movies or toys, the logo simply took me here.


Visualizing Religion

Today is the release date for R. Crumb’s massive, fleshy, and strangely literal adaptation of the book of Genesis. It will make some people happy, other people mad, and still other people shrug, but from a purely comics perspective, all you really need to know is that it’s 224 pages of new Crumb artwork (Hell, I’d buy it if it was the official R. Crumb adaptation of the Boise, Idaho Yellow Pages).

Coincidentally, on NPR this morning, I heard this depressing story about “feuding” Atheists. Apparently, even though I’m a sometimes “angry” atheist myself, I would actually be classified as “old school” according to this story. The idea of going out of one’s way to offend believers seems pointless and self-defeating to me—a resounding demonstration of how religion can dominate a person’s life instead of a good case for a compelling alternative.

I don’t know about you, but I always thought the alternative to blind faith was knowledge. If some people insist on ignoring scientific evidence (150 years of research on evolution for example) maybe it’s because we’ve done such a bad job of teaching that science. There are no quick fixes, but I can’t help thinking that simply getting knowledge out the door by any means necessary is our only way out of the swamp.

In a way, Crumb’s Genesis is a step in that direction, because it makes visible a document that even the faithful are sometimes a bit sketchy on as they cherry-pick the lessons that sound warm and fuzzy and conveniently forget all that weird, crazy, ancient gibberish. I can think of one instance where actually reading the Bible finally convinced one Catholic to give it all up.

Note that I have no idea if that was Crumb’s intent or not.  All I know is that I’d be much happier if everybody had a fuller understanding of all religions and all sciences and could simply make up their minds based on information instead of merely taking sides among warring tribes of fanatics.

I’ve said it about art, but I guess it applies here too:

We can’t define ourselves by what we’re not.


Fair is FAIR

I don’t know why, but this one really made my blood boil.

I know that, all things considered, this is a relatively low rung in the great ladder of corporate abuses, but it hits close enough to home that I needed to give a cheer for Cory and Xeni and I hope you’ll do the same.

Fair use has been under steady attack from legal weasels long enough. A flamboyant gesture or two may be what it takes to finally hit the nightly news and embarrass the hell out of these jerks. Shame is a powerful disinfectant.


How Many Schools in Laos have You Helped Build Today?

Now available through BreadPig, with their profits going to Room to Read. And if you need a reminder of why everybody loves this strip, today’s entry ought to do it.