Monthly Archives: March 2008

In Chick Tract Form, Too!

front cover

I’ve Been Thinking About Renouncing My Christianity by Dean Rankine is funnier than sin.


Wanderlost “Tongue-Tied” Page 21

wanderlost p.21 shrunk
Click the image to see the whole thing

Al Jaffee

The NY Times Arts & Leisure section has a wonderful profile of Al Jaffee, the cartoonist behind MAD Magazine’s long-running “fold-in” gag and “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions” series.

Among the many great MAD cartoonists, the most influential for me as a young, budding toonster were Sergio Aragones, Mort Drucker, George Woodbridge, and Jaffee. Drucker had spot-on caricatures, and Woodbridge had such a biting style. But Jaffee and Aragones drew what I considered proper “cartoons” by proper “cartoonists”: they wrote and drew their own stuff in a less realistic, more funny style. And they hit on a wide variety of subjects, from current events, politics, fashion and pop culture, to more sinister aspects of modern American society. I love this fold-out as described in the NY Times profile:

July 1968: “What is the one thing most school dropouts are sure to become?” A picture of teenagers at an employment center folds into a piece of artillery with a kid stuffed in it, and the answer: “Cannon fodder.”

Jesus, that’s brilliant. Bitter, angry, caustic – yet funny. It’s something I aspire to with every In Contempt strip I draw. Glad to see Jaffee continues to put out his stuff, despite cancer and advanced age, with a technique I am still too timid to take up: water color and gouache.  Photoshop has made things too damn easy.

Buddy Never Rests

Buddy Never Rests
Our dog Buddy has made a permanent indentation in the back cushions of our chairs. This is a very typical pose.

Rendered with a Pentel brush pen Friday night 3/28/2008.

Match It for Pratchett

I just donated a humble ten bucks toward the Match It for Pratchett charity drive, an effort by fans of author Terry Pratchett to match his donation of half a million pounds (about a million U.S. dollars) to research to treat and cure Alzheimer’s Disease. Specifically, the money goes to the Alzheimer’s Research Trust. I have also put a donation button on the right column of my blog.

I had considered offering up original artwork for sale – a move launched by Shaenon Garrity of Narbonics fame (or many other avenues to glory; woman be bizzy!) – and I may still do that. But the quickest and easiest route for now is just direct donation. If you have a PayPal account – or wish to use your online bank account – the donation process shouldn’t take more than three clicks. Any donation amount is acceptable and, in fact, encouraged. The Match It for Pratchett fund-raisers strive to get at least 500,000 people to donate a pound (or $2.00 U.S.) toward Alzheimer’s research.

For those needing a little more background, Terry Pratchett is best known for the 35 novels in the Discworld series, stand-alone novels set in a comical and magical universe and featuring a wide assortment of mythical creatures. Call it fantasy, sci-fi, satire, parody, what-have-you. Pratchett is an excellent humorist and, as time goes on, a much needed humanist observer of war, money, belief, crime, equality and so on.  I have not read all of them, but I’m getting pretty close; and when I finish, I’ll move on to his other novels he has written outside of the Discworld series. The guy is crazy prolific, highly inventive and demonstrates a sharp wit. So the irony of his affliction escapes no one of his fans.

That said, he’s quite well and flourishing. He “atetn’t dead yet,” and I hope our efforts will contribute to keeping his mind alert and fertile for many years to come. Moreover, the benefits he might derive from the products of Alzheimer’s research and development should help others who share his affliction, if not his wealth and fame.

In Contempt: The Wrath of Hillaron

3/27/08 snippet
Click the image to see the full cartoon

Despite a vow to myself to avoid all articles or blog posts with the words “Hillary” or “Obama” in them, I have failed spectacularly. Shoot, I just posted on Hillary Clinton’s tenacity the other day. It’s what Britney Spears is to most people; I can’t look away.

Maybe it’s because she is so hell-bent on self-aggrandizement. Or because she resorts to the most Right wing methods of attacking a fellow Democrat. For instance, I think this Bok cartoon, bad as it is, gets at what bothers me so much about Clinton’s “not my pastor” opportunism. Like Bok, she is mainlining white fears of The Black Anti-American Other, while adding her own personal dollop of goody two-shoes condescension. “My pastor never said anything controversial, mnyah-mnyah-mnyah.” Or, as I vented at MightyGodKing the other day (see, not avoiding well at all):

Hey, Hillary, ya know why you wouldn’t have belonged to Obama’s church and had Jim Wright as your pastor? Because you’re fucking white! Were you not listening to your rival’s speech last week? About the racism, and the history, and the anger? Hel-looo? You went to a lily-white everybody fold their hands and don’t fart too loud church. You went to a church where people didn’t come in the door completely oppressed and pissed off and wanting to let off steam. You’ve spent the last 35 years in the privileged enclaves of ivy league and political elites. Obama may have been teaching at the UC, but he stayed with the same church for 20 years. That means the community that church belongs to. So shove your opportunistic self-righteousness bullshit!

So, yeah, I need to take a breather from the Democratic in-fighting. This recent Gallup Poll doesn’t help things, either. Seriously? McCain? Granted, in 2000 11% of Democrats went for Bush, including 13% of self-identified liberals, so what do I know?

My Name is URL

I bought a new URL today: – which essentially redirects you right to my WordPress blog.

I still have not decided if I am going to use or get a host and install the wp management system there. I really like how Barry’s Hereville site is turning out, and he has offered to share me his infinite wisdom (at which he arrived in a Classical Greek way – through much suffering) in modifying the Comicspress MS to my own purposes. There are a lot of arguments in favor of the latter, but one big counter-argument is Time + Energy > Making Cartoons. I have a lot of web development experience, but all that has really taught me is what a GIANT ASS PAIN it can be. I’m like YoYo Ma in those old Apple commercials: I wanna plug it in and start using it.

But I’m not afraid to put in a little blood, sweat, tears, earth, wind and fire. So long as the end product is a site I can use for several functions.

Hopefully you are all asleep at your keyboards from sheer boredom induced by this post. Feel free to re-read it during those nights of inexplicable insomnia.