May 30, 2007

Ancient AMVs Recovered From Ocean Floor

These two videos aired on MTV in 1991, when I was 10 and a constant viewer. I was completely and instantly hooked. I didn't even know what that style of art was called, but I knew I wanted to draw sexy girls just like that. Also, I wanted to run around having adventures with a cigar and a gun. And blue hair.

(Nice to know I haven't changed that much since I was a kid.)

I can't even remember how many times I'd tape a sheet of tracing paper over the TV and copy the paused art right off the screen.

I eventually found out who Lum was in 1995, when I turned into an Internet freak and discovered Urusei Yatsura fan galleries.

You should have seen my locker door Lum shrine that school year.

That's all I have to write about for now. Tomorrow we leave for Texas, and so I'm off to get some sleep before the drive. Hope everyone is doing well!

May 21, 2007

AFK! Con season

Wish me luck! I'm off to North Carolina for Animazement, and then to Texas for A-Kon the following weekend.

I've never driven 1000 miles on my own before, so I'm a little bit nervous. But I've filled my iPod with about 26 gigs of good, solid road-trippin' music (a deliciously butt-rocky melange of Rush, Grand Funk Railroad, Tupac, Jackson Browne, Jay-Z, Tom Petty and Bonnie Pink, to name a few) and fully intend to have a slamming good time.

This morning I woke up from another of my corpse-in-the-water dreams. This time I was working at a meat packing plant, and whenever I looked out the window there was this nude, mutilated human corpse half-submerged in the shallow bend of the river.

The story around the plant was that the corpse had been a tranny who surprised the wrong boyfriend and was murdered and dumped in the water. Everyone in town knew about what had happened, but nobody seemed to care about cleaning it up or calling the police. So there it stayed, putrefying and growing steadily more horrifying with every passing week. It was lying belly-up, and the face was the worst thing I ever saw.

People mostly didn't even notice it anymore. I was the only one who thought it was still worth discussing. I very deliberately turned my attention elsewhere every time I walked past the place where the body was, I could still see the shape out of the corner of my eye and smell the stink no matter how hard I tried not to.

Then there was an incredible wind-storm, and the next day the body was gone. I woke up still worrying about where it might have fetched up, and vowing I'd never swim in that river again.

In July I will be celebrating the 14th anniversary of this recurring dream. Such a momentous occasion!

Should I bake a cake? Stay awake? Swim in a lake?


I'll end this post on a slightly less grotesque note. Here's the spiel I've crossposted everywhere else people check for comic updates:

Kagerou will be back on the 9th of June. While we're gone, don't forget to check out the ongoing raffle for a chance to appear and die in the comic!

May 19, 2007

Art Post, The Second

Because everyone has been asking for them, I finally got around to redoing the Naruto chibi. Then I added three others for good measure, just because I was on a roll.

I haven't seen enough of the show to be familiar with their quirks. Except for Sasuke, who is a flaming homosexual, and Naruto, who you can kind of just tell is one of those borderline-retarded kids with sticky fingers, constantly fapping it to his sexy-no-jutsu reflection in the mirror.

Note to self: find out their catchphrases so I can make fun of them...

Art Post

Con prep has been completed, so I had time to throw together a pic of Chopper. Huzzah!

May 18, 2007

Dream On

I had another dream about Mom.

This time, she came to my house in her old lime-green Impala that she used to drive when I was a little kid. In the real world, this car had rusted in our driveway for over five years after it broke down, before they finally hauled it away. But now here it was, working again. The back was full of boxes. Her parakeets were there too, making the usual racket from their cage.

I was pissed because she was wearing herself out coming up to see me like this. Mom said she'd had it with the Midwest and was on her way to the East Coast. I panicked and told her I would get her a plane ticket right away so she wouldn't have to drive. She laughed and said she was doing just fine.

"But you don't even have a license!" I said.

"I just got one yesterday." she replied, and smiled. And then I noticed that she looked younger than I remembered. She wasn't even wearing her oxygen cannula anymore.

Right around then I started to figure out it was a dream, but I deliberately ignored the idea because I wanted it to go on for as long as possible.

I ran to the car as she was making her way out of the parking lot and gave her a huge hug and said embarrassing stupid emotional things.

Then she drove away, heading on down the road to the East Coast, and I stood in the parking lot crying harder than I've cried in years because Mom was actually dead, and this was only a dream.

May 16, 2007

Not Quite Dead Yet Raffle!

We're raffling off a chance to appear in Kagerou... and DIE!

Click here for details.

Your Weekly WTF

I really tried to like this video because the music was so good, but... but...


Dancing Holocaust victims in spandex.

May 15, 2007

A Very Sad Day Indeed

So Jerry Falwell died.

I propose we commemorate the loss of this pillar of the community by remembering the words and teachings he left behind:

"AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals."

"I truly cannot imagine men with men, women with women, doing what they were not physically created to do, without abnormal stress and misbehavior."

"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped [9/11] happen.'"

"I always get sloshed before I go out to the pulpit. You don't think I could lay down all that bullshit sober, do you?"

You were a great man, Mr. Falwell. Wherever you end up in the afterlife, I hope it doesn't get too warm for you.

May 13, 2007


Con prep happens. It was supposed to be my day off, but I can't really afford to slack when I have one week and a LOT of stock to prepare for Animazement and A-Kon.

So far I've gotten all the prints queued (a two-hour job in itself) and finished the studio keychains that were nudging toward overdue status. Remaining jobs:

1. Buttons. This is the most dire job and deserves priority status, since they're the fastest sellers and the good ones tend to run out fast. I need enough to get me through 2 in a row, and that means lots of work.

2. Stickers. This is the least problematic of the jobs. We seem well-enough stocked that it shouldn't be an issue.

3. Bitches. These are somewhat in need of a refill, but not as much as usual because AWA, our last con, sucked monkey ass. We're waiting on a fresh shipment of snake chains, because I noticed too late how low the stock was.

4. Pack up the con stuff, clothes, and Lukas in the car.

5. Get road directions to the various conventions.

Luckily, the rest of the studio is helping out on this one, so I'm optimistic. But I'd rather sit here in my soup of workaholism and pine for the great outdoors now than pull another all-nighter when I have a thousand some miles to drive. If I get done early, I can go frolic at Como Park then.

Unless it rains. Which it generally does when I have a day off.

May 12, 2007

Update Post

Three new pages are up!

I'll be hitting the road next week to attend a couple of conventions, so there won't be any new updates until June 9.

If you're planning to go to Animazement or A-Kon, come to our table and say hi! We'll be in the Artist Alley, selling buttons, keychains, prints and stickers.

May 10, 2007

Twenty Minutes of Awesome

I need some cheering up, and this did the job nicely.

Almost done inking for this week's update. Yup, I'm actually ahead of schedule this time.

Raffle happens this weekend. I am thinking it would be cool to have the prize be a chance to appear as a character (and be killed off horribly) in Kagerou, Book 3.


May 9, 2007

Now We Know What "One Piece" Is...

Talk Like A Corgi

This pleases me.

Art Post: Nami As A Witch

May 8, 2007

Update Post

Three new pages are up!

Art Post

May 7, 2007

Snap, Crackle, Pop

Spiders lived in boy's ear: Doctor pulled out two arachnids; one was alive

By Jennifer Moody
Albany Democrat-Herald
David Patton/Democrat-Herald

Jesse Courtney keeps the two spiders that were removed from his ear in a small container of alcohol.

Jesse Courtney isn’t climbing any walls or spraying sticky threads from his wrists, but his friends now have a reason to compare him to Spider-Man.

The 9-year-old Albany boy went to the doctor’s office a little over a week ago with an earache. A flush of the ear canal revealed the source: Two spiders, both about the size of a pencil eraser.

And one of them was still alive.

“They were walking on my eardrums,” said the South Shore fourth-grader, who says he doesn’t mind spiders but was a little “concerned” upon learning they’d taken up residence in his left ear.

His mother, Diane Courtney, had a somewhat stronger reaction.

“My first thought was, I’m going to go home and bomb the house,” she said.

It all started, Diane thinks, on April 22, when Jesse was weeding outside. The dirt was really flying, and the tiny arachnids might have landed on his head.

Jesse remembers his ear feeling a little funny over the next couple of days — not exactly painful, but uncomfortable. And he kept hearing a faint popping — “Like Rice Krispies,” he told his mother.

But by Wednesday, April 25, the ear really started to hurt. Jesse called his mother from school, and Diane took him to his doctor, David Irvine.

“I just examined him, examined his ears, nose, throat, eyes, just like I normally do,” Irvine said. “It looked like he had something in his ear. We couldn’t really identify it. So we irrigated his ear — and two spiders came out.”

Actually, it was just one at first, Jesse recalled. The second one, which was still alive, didn’t come out without a struggle, and a second dousing.

“I went to grab his shoulder, ’cause I was afraid he was going to bolt,” Diane said.

Aside from the time some 15 years ago when he extracted a live moth from a patient’s ear, Irvine said he’s never had such an experience.

“It was the only time I ever pulled out an invertebrate,” he said.

Irvine directed a nurse to get a small container so Jesse could keep the now-deceased crawly critters as a souvenir. Since then, Jesse has taken them to school and his mother has taken them to work.

“It was real interesting, ’cause, two spiders in my ear — what next?” Jesse said.

“Everyone we’ve told this story to has told me ... they haven’t slept very well,” Diane said. “I know they’re not very big, but when they’re in your ear, they’re big enough.”

All I have to say is D:

May 6, 2007

Dozens Of Inkmen Lying Dead In The Gutters

An unsettling story is making the internet rounds, in case you missed it.

It seems Matt Boyd, the author of Mac Hall, was fired from his job for discussing his plans to buy a low-powered firearm.

He recounted the experience in a three-part comic strip, which struck somebody as a very, very subtle terroristic threat, and now the police are involved.

...Ay caramba!

In other news, here is a picture I took today at the park:

Today's Weight Lifting........FAILED.

Argh. First time in two weeks I've felt mentally here enough to get dressed, brush my hair, and hie my ass off to the goddamn gym, and my keycard won't scan. I was going to go walk around the lake again, but it looked like a storm was coming.

I thought about all the errands I need to run while I was out, but nothing is open at 6 AM. And in defeat, I returned home.

I guess I'll get to work inking instead. I managed to pencil 7 damn pages yesterday and make another pot of soup.

Oh, and I've discovered something interesting. Tending to the needs of a bunch of seedling tomato and basil plants feels quite a lot like taking care of a litter of tiny immobile puppies, only seedlings are less likely to return your affection and don't shit or piss everywhere.

May 5, 2007

I've Seen Many Shops In My Time

There is a very interesting argument making the rounds in the digital art community.

What seems to have happened is that Linda Bergkvist, the Internet's darling/sacred cow of photorealistic digital fantasy art, has been discovered painting over other people's photographs.

Here's Bergkvist's work:

And here's the book cover she painted over:

This is a fascinating topic to me because the artist in question is widely hyped as one of the finest digital painters on the Internet for her amazing photorealistic fantasy art.

She has stated that she does not do photomanipulation or work from photographs; her work comes right out of the ether, just like magic. Anyone could do it if they would just practice like she does. That's why people are so impressed--her natural ability and sense of realism is just too good to be true. Well, you know what they say about that...

Her work is certainly not my cup of tea (I am not a fan of cut-and-paste twee fairy wings or her choppy photoshopped something-is-off-here-but-I-can't-tell-what sense of composition), but she rakes in the cash doing commissions and is published in many artbooks. She is, in a word, established.

I did admire the way she painted such realistic feet-- assuming that she painted the feet at all as she claims and thus deserves technical praise.

Whether she splices photos into the work is not even a question anymore. If you adjust the brightness on her most inconsistent pieces, the wonkier parts will look like a brightened painting, but the "Oh, wow, that looks SO REAL!" parts fairly pop out with funny compression artifacts and look, basically, like a chunk of brightened photograph.

Here's Linda's work, again:

And here's what comes out when you mess with the levels a bit to bring out what's hiding in the black areas:

Look at the scribbly, chibified cat-monster with the crippled forepaw, murky shapeless fluff of tail and so-real-it-looks-alive head. Bad form and shortcuts can lead to irregular results and ultimate drama once your fans find out that the skill you're known for isn't even something you actually did.

Photomanipulation is a great skill. I've seen people create some truly incredible scenes with it. So why not brag about your awesome photoshopping skillz if that's your joy? The great masters worked from sources all the frickin' time, and they were, like, famous. And why trace other people's art at all, ever? Shouldn't being an artist and dealing with rippers of one's own be enough to inspire honesty? Or am I just naive? Yeah, probably just naive.

I feel bad for all those admiring would-be artists who follow her fraudulent tutorials to the letter and then feel discouraged because their results don't look like a photograph.

I guess it's just natural talent; you're either born with a liquefy brush in one hand, or you're not.

In conclusion, I give you...


1. Credit thy sources.
2. Don't be uncool to thy fans.
3. Draw or paint from life.
4. Thou shalt not be ashamed of needing references.
6. Credit thy motherfucking sources.

May 4, 2007

Feeling Slightly Better

My depression is slowly lifting and I'm finding it easier to handle more than one thing at a time. Dealing with anything that sets off my anxiety is still hard, but it's no longer as overwhelming as it was. And I've stopped wishing someone would just fucking kill me, which is great. I am not the "woe is me, I wanna die" type as a rule, and it helps to know my Mom would kick my ass if I walked in front of a garbage truck just because she had the gall to go and die on me.

I'm still having really vivid and disturbing dreams about people getting killed and chopped up and thrown in creeks, swimming pools, pig wallows and other assorted bodies of water. The other night I dreamed I took Mom's severed head and wrapped it in a blanket to throw in a river, but some people downstream found it weeks later and everyone was freaking out on the news because they thought it was a dead baby. They were all like "WHO KILLED BABY FRANKLIN!?" And I was pretty fucking pissed, not to mention horrified.

The bodies-in-water dreams date back to 1993, and I have at least two or three every month. Just lately, they've been freaky as hell. Like the one where the guy's wife and kid got sucked into some kind of machinery at a swimming pool. I could see her pale, limp hand bobbing around on the water and it was eerie how real it was. Not to mention that was one of the dreams where I could smell. Ugh.

And then there's the one where Henry Rollins and I were hanging out. I asked him for tips on how to be a champion bodybuilder, and he was really mean but somehow still fun to be around.

He took me to a hog farm and we spent some time digging around in the muck for pieces of some guy who'd been killed and eaten by the pigs, and I ended up accidentally poking my fingers into somebody's brains. Then we went to a concert but his voice gave out, and Rain showed up and drew a picture to cheer him up.

My tomato seedlings are thriving, and I'm considering planting some stuff outside in a few weeks. I've tried to garden before, but the results were shitty due to bad soil and space limitations. Plus it was 1999 and I didn't think of using the internet for help when things went wrong. Even though it took my skull splitting open from stress to make me slow the hell down, I do enjoy having a hobby. Maybe it's the endorphin rush I get from wasting time, but it seems like my days matter more now than when I tried to make every single second of every day count.

I just beat FF8 again. I liked it better this time through even though they really dropped the ball on a certain Disc 2 plot twist. I think I even like junctioning more than 7's Materia system. I never use the majority of my summons, but at least they were still useful in FF8. Also, I never used the item menu except once toward the end of the game, to summon Phoenix. And I didn't even need Phoenix; I just wanted it activated so it'd show up now and then when my party got annihilated.

And that, aside from the return of my art mojo and my sudden love for time-consuming, boring housework, is pretty much all that's going on around my neck of the woods just now.

I feel a bit like the dad in Beetlejuice, trying desperately to bird-watch in the middle of a maelstrom.

May 3, 2007

Fat Post #45

I didn't watch the whole thing, because the beginning had me in such gales of outraged laughter. The Fatty in the Mirror in this video (who is meant to be a boogeyman symbolizing out-of-control indulgence and shame) isn't even fat.

Come the fuck on. If you want to steer little girls away from developing eating disorders and body dysmorphia due to everybody and his mother's constant harping on their bodies, does it really make sense to skew reality right there in the anti-ED film?

I headdesk and headdesk, but the hurting does not stop.

In other news, I hereby acknowledge that I have a tendency (a near-obsessive tendency, if I may be honest) to revisit certain topics and concepts that prove difficult to express fully in words. I'm not as embarrassed by this tendency as I was even a month ago. It's just part of the thinking process, and as I develop as a writer, hindsight can kick in and give me access to all those tricky little nuances that escaped me the last time I hit on the topic.

You get what I have to say in bits and pieces, sans the editing and rewriting that would, in time, forge the important thoughts and ideas into one single streamlined essay.

Anyone who wants to stop tuning in can do so at any time. I promise I won't kill you for it. I get tired of hearing me go on a lot more often than anyone else ever will.


I think I've put my finger on the source of my particular loathing for singers and other American parasites who blather on about self-acceptance and how they're not perfect but somehow (sob!) manage to drag themselves out of bed every morning (sob!) and love themselves even though they have... (sob! GASP!)


How many times have we seen this woman, who turned heads by preaching 'revolutionary' self-love, posed on the cover of a trashy magazine, wearing a sexy bikini to maximize the impact of her airbrushed goodies?

What a phony.

The message itself is powerful and should be spread, but it gets corrupted and ends up perpetuating the social evils you think you're fighting against. When you start tacking on those society-mandated qualifiers ("I deserve to live, even though I gained five pounds last year!") you are doing the devil's work for him. Where is the elevation in that?

All I see is more of the same hollow judgmental crap, dressed up as a daring act of Cosmo-terrorism. It's a revolution, all right. In the hamster-wheel sense of the word.

Tell me how you are loving yourself when you flash a list of your imperfections, begging someone, ANYONE to tell you that you still deserve to live on the same planet as Kate fucking Moss.

That ain't no kind of self love, any more than our latest sighting of the Fatty in the Mirror is actually fat. It's just the same old mouthful of reality-distorting bullshit getting swished around into the other cheek. I, for one, am getting tired of the taste. Are you?

Do not be conned into perpetuating the lie. True revolution will bring peace and an end to petty insecurity and thinly disguised self-criticism. It does not require you to justify your flaws or reinforce the media swill with empty statements about how you feel you should be loved 'anyway.'

There is no crying in baseball, and there is no 'anyway' in revolution. There is only you, and the courage to let that be the only thing that matters.