Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Post Mortem

September 18, 2014

PM

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.

Advertisements

My Inner Voice Is A Movie?

September 11, 2014

A.H
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?

Kickstarting?

May 15, 2013

Image

First off, my second new knee is doing really well and I’m settling into the idea of having a set. I’m not limping much anymore and that’s good.
So, news; Firstly, that Venus strip today (May 15th), is the first of a 4 or maybe 5 part little series so I hope you enjoy these new ones. I’ve recently written about 30 new strips that I think are really fun, I just can’t seem to get the time I need to ink and color them. But I’m trying, I really am. I’m running on very little sleep this week, preparing these strips, but damn it’s fun to get back into it. I’m really enjoying doing this. I was supposed to have written this blog you are now reading last night but I fell asleep on the couch before I could even get a few words down. That’s why it’s posting a little late.
Secondly, ‘Kickstarter’: Have you heard of this? Where you hit up your fans on the internet and try to raise money for your project? My buddy Alexis Fajardo of ‘Kid Beowulf’ recently did it and he funded the publication of his lasted book (I’m glad to say I helped) and now I’m wondering if I should do that to raise the money for the new MythTickle book. Whether I do Kickstarter or not, I will have a new book this year, likely this fall. What is attractive about Kickstarter is you get your funding to publish your book and the fans who contribute are guaranteed a copy. What I don’t like about it is if you don’t raise enough money to reach the goal, you don’t get any money and you look like a total failure and have no confidence to ever even think about publishing a book or doing anything creative ever again. Also, it seems like… I don’t know, there’s just something… desperate or “beggy” about it. It’s never seemed ‘overly classy’ to me, but I’m just too old school I guess. It looks like this is how things are done now so maybe I should just get over myself and do it. Let me know what you think about this, OK?
One last thing, I checked my subscription numbers yesterday over at GoComics and was just blown away. I don’t look at that very often, maybe once every 4 or 5 months or so, and I saw that I’m very close to having 10,000 subscribers! I am so happy! Mainly because I do hardly ANY promotion for the comic and I still seem to be growing and that tells me it’s all word of mouth. That’s all about YOU guys!

Thank you so much for spreading the word around to your friends, please keep that going.

Worst Day, Best Day, what’s the diff?

February 22, 2013

Image

Hi Gang,
I’m glad you like this strip, I actually did a version of this a very long time ago. So long ago that I had completely forgotten about it. I think it might have been way back when I was on Comics Sherpa, before GoComics. I never reran it because I remember getting one bad comment on it so I didn’t want anyone to see it. I don’t even remember what it said but it hurt me and I couldn’t rerun it so I completely forgot about it. Then something happened and triggered the memory a few days ago so I completely reblocked and redrew it and there ya’ go. See how crummy comments can hurt a strip? I like this and I wish I could think of more strips like this. Hopefully in future I can.

Anyway, in other news, my knee continues to heal. I am getting better, although it seems that every time I go to physical therapy I strain it and I get set back a few weeks. I’m at that point where the pain is just SUCH a freaking’ nuisance. But it’s a hump I have to get over and I can be patient. I’m only using my cane about 40% of the time now so that is encouraging. But I really do love that cane. I like pointing at stuff with it and turning out the lights to my office with it. It’s cool like that.

Work: If you guys want to keep following my work outside of MythTickle, you can buy the monthly Peanuts comic books that are published by KABOOM! comics. I always do something in every issue, lately I’ve been inking and coloring. I rearrange the old Schulz Sunday strips into a vertical format (not an easy thing to do since they were designed to be seen horizontally and so obviously the frames don’t always line up) and that is a fun and challenging task. Always a bit of a puzzle, really. There are usually three of those per issue and I always do the reformatting on all and usually color about 2 of them. I will likely be traveling back to Japan again in mid April on Peanuts business, I’ll keep you all posted on that.

So that’s about it for the progress report, if there are any questions feel free to ask, I’l answer them.
Cheers!
-Justin

Ra, Ra, Sis-Boom-Bah.

January 22, 2013

Image

Briefly, here’s what’s going on with me:
My knee is healing just fine, there’s still a lot of pain and rehab is a bitch but it’s all good. This knee is healing much better and faster than the left one did a year ago. So that helps my spirit when facing those excruciating exercises and rehab treatments. I’m still working from home but hope to be back up to my office at the Peanuts Studio in Santa Rosa this coming Monday.

So in the earlier saga, Robin Hood, Karma, Sir Dudley, and Boody travel to ancient Egypt to gather new bees (because the bee population here, all but dwindled). They heard that they were referred to in that time as ‘the tears of Ra’. With the help of the beautiful Queen Nefertiti, the wife of Ra, they tricked Ra into shedding ‘tears’ and they herded the bees through the time portal they created with the ‘Go-Yo’. Ra, angry at being tricked, plots revenge on the heroes who took his tears.

Here’s a little bit of background on how I made the choices I made with this mini-saga.
I love Egyptian mythology I’ve always loved it. It’s probably my favorite pantheon to read about and study. In fact when I was in high school, I studied it so much that I was all set on going to college for archaeology. But I grew up in Arizona and I soon saw that studying archaeology in Arizona meant that over the next several years I would pretty much be digging up and studying Native American pots. Looking back at that now, I think it would be fascinating but back then I wanted no part of that. Now, here in my MythTickle world, I can play with this pantheon and do whatever I want. In a HUGE saga I wrote about four years ago, Boody actually dies and winds up going into the Egyptian afterlife and meets Anubis, Horus, and Ma’at. I had the most fun I’ve ever had doing this strip while creating that story and I hope to rerun it for you soon.
Here’s the poop on the gods represented in this storyline.

Ra is the God of the Sun, and really the big palooka.
He’s the lord of all the Egyptian gods and is usually shown in human form with a falcon head, crowned with the sun disc encircled by a sacred cobra. After a bunch of sketches I thought the sun disc was a more suitable image for his head than a falcon, plus a gigantic head sorts well with his ego. His leather pants and boots are pure Jim Morrison. Why? I don’t know, I just thought it would be funny if Ra sort of idolized ‘Mr. Mojo Risin’ and copped his look.

Ra sailed across the heavens in a boat called Mesektet. Hang in there with this saga and you will see him in this boat a little later. Or, just look at the drawing above, I guess.

Toth is the god of wisdom and knowledge, shown with an Egyptian ibis head. So he’s a professor, a brain guy, a scribe, the kind of dude Ra would go to for answers. Toth is usually shown wearing a crown consisting of a crescent moon topped by a moon disk. Meh, not funny. I drew him wearing a graduation cap, it’s much more scholarly looking. There’s a reference to Sekhmet in part 5, and she being at camp. Sekhmet is the daughter of Ra and a fierce and scary warrior princess. She is depicted with a lioness head and her breath actually created the desert. More from heat than odor, I’m sure.

Toth here thinks about unleashing Sekhmet’s wrath and terror upon the world again but alas, she’s at camp and unavailable. Why is she at camp? Kids go to camp sometimes, why not? My son is at a three day camping outing with his school right now as a matter of fact.

I hope this answers some questions,

Thanks so much for reading, and I’ll try to keep coming up with things to write here.

Justin

Oh, PS!
I want to mention an astounding movie that I recently watched. It moved me so much, its message is so profound, that I really want you all to see it. I’m actually BEGGING you all to see it. It’s the most important film I’ve ever seen. Rent this, please:

‘I Am’, by Tom Shadyac. Yes, the ‘Ace Ventura’ Tom Shadyac.

Here’s what it looks like, please watch this. It’s what I’m all about.

Image

What Did You Expect?

December 21, 2012

MAYa

So let’s move on, OK?
Some people seem genuinely disappointed that the world didn’t end today, isn’t that messed up? Not only does that come off as a tad selfish, but I have to wonder- have these people grown so bored with real life that a ‘Michael Bay Day’ really sounds like the best alternative to a hum-drum afternoon?
So do it!
What better day than today to blow up some aspect of your life that you would rather not live with anymore? Be it an old hanger-on friend who you just can’t stand but don’t have the heart to blow off, or really face that personal fear or horrible bad habit that you have and declare a doomsday on it.
Think about how empowering that is. Choose today rather than January first to make that life-changing resolution.
You have the power to blow up your own world and change it, and if you do that- you’re bad ass! You’re Galactus, Cthulu, Shiva, all of them!
Don’t feel all powerless and shaky, looking up at the sky today, thinking about it all happening upon you,….
Make a change to be that better person you’ve always wanted to be, today is the perfect day.

Doomsday comes but once in a lifetime.

The Hobbit

December 17, 2012

Image

No spoilers here,
but I assume that 90% of you readers of my comic strip are familiar with what happens in the story anyway. I was not. I never read Tolkien (not for lack of trying, believe me) so I went in cold and didn’t know what would happen in the movie. Now I feel really lucky for this because I was completely involved in this movie the whole time. If I knew the book I wouldn’t have been invested in the action I don’t think. I would have remained ‘outside’ and been nit-picking on what was in the book and what they left out and such. Man, it was incredible! Honestly, I’m not a LOTR fan, but a week ago I went to a marathon showing of all three films in a row on the big screen. I went with William, my 10 yr old son and we sat there from 11:00 AM to 11:30 PM, an entire day in Middle Earth. I thought I would be in hell but y’know? Seeing all three of them like that in a row as one long story- I finally ‘got it’. I saw the big picture, the whole story, and I really liked it. Maybe that’s what opened me up to the Hobbit movie.

But I have to say it was by far a much better movie than any of the other three are, mainly because this movie had such a great sense of humor to it. The characters and even some of the antagonists were genuinely funny and I SO appreciated that. It was quite a welcome change from the other LOTR movies where everyone seemed to be crying every five minutes. That got tiresome for me very quickly. But The Hobbit had a wonderful balance to it, the drama and action were perfectly balanced and offset by the frequent humor and it all complimented itself beautifully.
And what imagination and art! It was a total feast for me visually but what kept me really involved the most was that these ‘heroes’ were such underdogs, they are up against so much and they just keep going forward with ultimate confidence. How can you not love that?

I haven’t read any reviews on it yet but I hope they are good so I don’t look like an idiot for writing all of this. I hope you all like it too.

I’ll write again soon, post-surgery.

Cheers,
Justin

On the cliff again.

December 13, 2012

12-14-12
Surgery is scheduled for Monday around 1 PM and although I went through the same operation last December with no problems, this time I’m freaking out. I can’t make sense of why, I should be more confident. As I said, last time went very well and my pain was manageable. I know exactly what to expect and I know I can handle that fine. But now I can’t sleep, can’t concentrate, and have to take an anxiety med called ‘Lorazepam,’ which does no discernible service.
This will be the second surgery on this right knee, I’ve had three on the left over the years. I told the doc he should just sew zippers on the damn things, seeing as how often they get opened up. Yeah I’ve gone through a lot of pain on these knees and I’ve wondered if I had known what I would be going through to engender these problems, would I go through those acts again?
A hundred times ‘yes’.

When given the chance to fly, you should never worry about the landing.
To fly on a zip-line dressed as Batman over a crowd of hundreds of spectators,
To fly over jumps in the desert on a dirt motorcycle and ramps on a street motorcycle in a stunt show, and
To fly up for two-handed slam dunks in high school was worth the crashes of the multiple landings that have led me here.
My basketball coach in High School, Coach Burdett used to say, “Man, I love to watch you dunk but you are going to have a lot of problems with your knees later in life.” From the height I was descending he told me. I was only 6 ft. tall in high school and I payed no attention, it was just too fun.
So here I am.

The strip: I’ve planned ahead for MythTickle and in the next few weeks there will be a mix of repeats and newbies just like normal. But someday soon I’m going to have to run the long storyline that I ran about three years ago, ‘Boody In The Underworld’. For the new people here you’re really in for some surprises. For those who have read it, I think you’ll like seeing it again, judging from the great response it garnered the first time. But more on that as it approaches.

I’m going to really try to keep up with this blog while I am recuperating so drop by every day or two and see what I’m on about, OK?

Oh, and please write back. My responses should be entertaining, seeing as how many heavy medications I will be on.
Cheers.

Justin

Results

March 13, 2011

Evidently the bees have it. But it clearly wasn’t a landslide, and it showed me that there is a whole lot of interest in the ‘middle ages’ story and that’s great. So I will be running that as well, later in the year. So. Both sides actually win. It’s just that the bees get first buzz, and that’s fitting since chronologically it happened before the other story.

So starting Monday morning, the bees saga will begin. Going back into these files, tweaking them, polishing them up, and getting them ready to go over the weekend, I found that I’m very happy to bring this to you again. There’s actually some good stuff in there, it surprised me a few times. I haven’t looked at it in a long while.

Keep in mind that this was three years ago and Boody doesn’t have his wings back yet. Although I’m sure I’ll get letters and comments anyway, and that’s OK. Just so you know, I thought that writing “Classic MythTickle” over every one of these would be kind of tedious, I mean you all know it, right?

So in closing, thank you all very much for your input and now here’s a bee joke:

Me– Aaaugh! Please doctor help me! I have been stung by a dang bee.
Doctor– Oh, calm down. I’ll put some cream on it.
Me– Fool! You’ll never find that bee, it must be MILES away by now.
Doctor– No, no, please understand. I’ll put some cream on the place where YOU were stung.
Me– It happened in the garden, where I was sitting under a tree. But putting analgesic cream on the grass is not exactly eco-friendly, sir.
Doctor– Grrrr!  No. I mean in which part of your body did the bee sting you?
Me– Oh! The bee stung me on my finger.
Doctor– Which one?
Me– Well how am I supposed to know? All the bees look alike to me……….. I’m not racist. I like bees, generally.

Decisions vs. Decisions…

March 8, 2011

Thanks for comin’ over, folks, I know… it’s been a long time since my last blog. Sorry. So here’s my dilemma; As some of you know, my job here at Creative Associates (Peanuts), has changed this year and as a result my duties have gotten extensive. Maybe you’ve noticed the increase in “Classic MythTickle” strips, well this is mainly why. Also, my commute just got another half hour tacked onto it every day so I have very little free time. What all this means to MythTickle is, I generally do not have the time to devote to our comic that I really need to keep it steadily going. At least not now in this new adjustment period. I have been assured that my workload will ease up sometime this summer. I so don’t want to end the strip, I really love it and many of you have told me that you do too but I’m kind of in a corner here. I either have to end the strip completely or rerun another long storyline and so, to keep these characters alive, I’ve decided to rerun a story. WAIT! DON’T TURN AWAY! I WILL be posting new strips intermittently during the run of the storyline, so it won’t be just a whole month of reruns. What I want to do here is run a good story, instead of digging around in my archives all the time for crap strips that I’d rather not even look at again anyway, let alone expose you all to.

So here’s my question to you: Do I run the old Egyptian one again where they go in search of the lost bees, or do I rerun the one where Boody gets captured by St. George in the middle ages?

Egyptian Bees, or Middle Ages, that’s the choice. I’d run the Underworld one again but it’s been less than a year for that one and it’s just too soon. So please email me at Justin@mythtickle.com or just respond here and I’ll tabulate the votes this coming weekend and start it rolling on Monday.

Thanks very much for your input, your patience, and your understanding.

– Justin