Archive for September, 2014

Post Mortem

September 18, 2014


If you’re reading this I will assume that you’ve read the entire Underworld Saga ‘Redux’, and I hope you really enjoyed it. It’s the longest story I ever wrote for MythTickle and I remember that when I first wrote it over four years ago I began with an idea and didn’t plan where I was going to go with it nor knew what was going to happen. At the first I wanted to kill Boody and have him enjoy an adventure in an afterlife but I didn’t know that Dudley would go after Boody and wind up in a different afterlife and I didn’t have any notion of what I’d do for an ending. I just wrote it moment by moment, and no farther ahead than maybe three strips. It was an exercise in creative writing that happily turned out well. If the saga was new for you I’m very glad to have you along.
I thought I’d just write a note about this, nothing major, just wanted to say thanks for indulging my rerun and thanks for staying with me. The time off that I’ve had from the strip these last few months has allowed me to focus more on my health and I have to tell you that I am a much healthier and better guy now than I was last April. My knees rarely hurt anymore and I’ve dropped 25 pounds since then. And I can carry my daughter up and down the stairs in my arms with ease. It’s a great feeling to have all that weight off my knees, go down two full waist sizes, and wear my old favorite shirts again. Somehow now I have to try to keep my work, gym, and MythTickle schedule juggled effectively. I really don’t know how I’m going to do this but we’ll see.

cartu I also want to clear something up:
The recent cartoon I posted on Sept. 17th seemed to garner some sympathy comments which isn’t what I was going after at all. I was making an allusion to the recent free download of U2’s new album on iTunes. Some people got that, but I wanted to clarify this for people who didn’t understand what I was trying to do. I kept it subtle because I like subtle, especially in comics. My readers are smart people, they pick up on ‘subtle’. But if the comic was too obscure then I congratulate you on not being so tuned-in on pop culture and the snarkiness of the web. After U2 made their new album available this week to everyone on iTunes for free and uploaded it to their “cloud”, I was really surprised at the resentment and even anger I saw on the internet from many people. I read things such as “an infringement on my account”, “trespassing”, and “forcing” their album on the public. I was just astounded at the derisiveness for a band who made their album free for everyone. They didn’t download it onto anyone’s device, just made it available. If people didn’t want it, they were free to delete it and not download it. But oh boy, the hipsters and wanna-be rock critics were in a uproar. I only wish they could get that angry and active at election time.
I got to wondering about that, “No thanks, damn you!” perspective and how I believe it proves that artists can ironically damage themselves by giving away their content. It seems so silly, one would think they would be thanked. Or at the least, “thanked but no thanks”… thanked. Yet many people want to burn Bono in effigy right now. For giving them a new album for free. I just don’t get it. But what about other people who give their talent away? The artists who aren’t already rich rock stars. Artists who seed their paintings onto the city walls and streets, actors who perform shows for nothing, non-syndicated web cartoonists, and musicians who perform in the subways and street corners, all of these noble artists are looked down upon by most people, sometimes even as harshly as a mime. YIKES! The thinking is, “If it’s free it can’t be that good. Must be crap”.
I wish I could figure out a way to make this perspective change but it seems impossible in our fabulous übercapitalist culture, I can’t even imagine what it would take. People rarely look past a price tag to value content or talent.
But anyway, that last frame wasn’t about a pity-party for me, I wanted to have someone respond to Karma with the line “You too?”, as in ‘U2’, but I couldn’t think of anyone in the strip who gives their work away to the public for free, except yours truly. Sure I wish I were syndicated in newspapers, even if it were Sundays only (which is the only way I think MythTickle could survive in papers really). But I have many web comic artist friends who aren’t even syndicated on the web like I am from Universal, who have to distribute their work on their own websites and try to pull readers over to them, who have been struggling for years and their work is absolutely amazing- far superior to most of what I see in the newspaper. Not every strip in the paper, but most. That comic wasn’t about me, more for my web cartoonist colleagues who aren’t paid something by the syndicate like I am. My fault for not being clear on that, it was a complicated thought and I tried but wasn’t clear enough. Mea culpa.
I guess my message is, think twice about the artists of every stripe who is just putting it all out there just so you’ll notice them, and appreciate them. Maybe give them a break. Maybe open up a Sunday paper and think, ‘Gee, that’s not very funny or imaginative. Why is that even in here when there’s so much more unique work being done out there in the cold?’ Or maybe you’ll hear a song and think, ‘Why am I hearing this person on my radio? I heard someone in the subway yesterday who’s voice could melt this singer to ashes.’
Then maybe write a letter.


My Inner Voice Is A Movie?

September 11, 2014

I just put this on again and I’m blown away by what I realized.

Listening to (only partially watching) ‘Annie Hall’ again is becoming revelatory for me right now. I’m realizing (1) how much of this film I have actually memorized, and (2) what a pervasive influence it has been throughout my life for whatever reason. Lines from this film pop into my head nearly every day and I know that they have since I first saw it when it came out. I was 13 then and I had never seen anything like it before. For some people the film that blew their mind was maybe ‘The Godfather’, or ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, but ‘Annie Hall’ was my monolith-moment. It made me climb up to a new shelf, to think differently. It caused me to listen to humor differently, want to read more, and it made me want to go to New York.
And be in love.

It must have been that it hit me at that crucial age and time when we most change. The edge of teen when we begin falling into a world of change and start grasping for sense. My parents had recently divorced, I started going to my first new school since first grade, and suddenly there was this totally different kind of movie on the screen which has, over nearly 40 years now, dogmatically guided my perceptions and responses to life’s moments as I go along. I’m sitting here now realizing how often these lines have bullhorned inside my brain all this time and I have so often repeated, sometimes involuntarily. “That’s OK, we can walk to the curb from here”,
“Oh really? Well I happen to have Marshall McCluhan right here. So…”,
“… but, uh, I guess we keep going through it because most of us… need the eggs.”
“..a city where the only cultural advantage is being able to make a right turn on a red light.”
“Darling. I’ve been killing spiders since I was 30.”
“I forgot my mantra.”
and of course ultimately, “…what we got on our hands,.. is a dead shark.”

It’s just extraordinary discovering something like this, I feel like this is something very significant that would have come out of me on a therapist’s couch after two or three years of whining.
The question now is, what do I do with this information?