I spent way too long detailing a tree I'm only going to ink over last night, and today my index finger is in hideous pain. Do click here to see what I done did, posted (for everyone, but please take the opportunity to pledge) at Patreon. (or click image below to see less tiny version)
An Evil, Reptilian Pamphlet Disguised as a Show: Why You'll Never See Me Post Any "Yes, Minister"
Tried to watch the first season of YES MINISTER but couldn't escape thinking that its characters and creators are all horribly smug evil cynical bastards who should be in Hell.
Though Nigel Hawthorne is amazing, regardless, with a cold, ambiguous stare to rival Ralph Richardson (whom I never noticed he resembled a bit). Good that he moved on to worthier work. I only knew what he did later, not this.
It's propaganda, really, and not in theory but in fact, as one of its showrunner/creators was an advisor to Thatcher(the other later did NUNS ON THE RUN, so, you know, talent finds its own level). And I have studied propaganda since college; it's something my work examines and appropriates from sometimes. But this is so obvious and graceless. Did it seem so at the time? In Adam Curtis' THE TRAP, they brag about the messages they inserted into the shows.
Like they have to point them out. They're just there, THUD for looong stretches, long and barely dramatized, nearly every line a party political speech, with wry little what-fools-these-mortals smiles on their faces. Only watching Hawthorne makes it bearable. The kind of sitcom only a banker would enjoy.
But this is a keen example of satire from the Right, with all the attendant smug long speeches acting as though their alternative (Thatcher's) was common sense, and the only reason for opposition were people trying to cling to undeserved places. This show and Thatcher managed to recast unions, the civil service, and the like as a type of new landed aristocracy, and took advantage of that feeling to redirect the hatred toward the ACTUAL powerful, who remained undislodged and enriched. And this was only speaking to the educated classes, very dry by design, what one might call "sophisticated." Like Fox but classier.
It's an evil, reptilian pamphlet disguised as a show and I don't even like studying it as a historical artifact. I post UK comedy here often. This isn't comedy. It's tragedy, but not in the classic sense. Because it worked. As I understand it, it inspired THE THICK OF IT. Thankfully, I can only see the barest influence, because THICK OF IT is brilliant and leaves me with none of this feeling I've accepted a sales pitch without knowing it, as this seems to.
Pet Peeve: Flying Female Superheroes in Skirts So BATMAN rebooted recently, with Tom King (who I haven't heard of before) and David Finch. And it's not bad--certainly one of the least boring of the DC Rebirth stuff so far. As far as the unholy mess that's now Superman,no comment; it is interesting though whenever they reboot that they go to some trouble not to fuck with Batman in any permanent way.
There's a thing though that bothers me and brings one of my biggest character design pet peeves to the fore: why would a flying female character ever wear a miniskirt? And for that matter, a tiny girly mini? Here are two new mysterious characters they've introduced, Gotham and Gotham (ech) Girl, the latter name to me already amazingly sexist and dated:
A few problems are immediately obvious. the first being: why would a superheroine want people to always be able to see up her skirt? I'm sure Roger Ailes would approve, but he's not in charge of DC. (and hopefully, not much longer at Fox either, but that's a digression) Skirts. Thongs. Why would a crime-fighter not want to protect her legs? Do they not ever even get cold? Why would she want to display her ass and...more, every time she wears her costume? But also: why would you fight crime in a skirt anyway? I don't know a woman who even wears a skirt when she's doing a chore. Because skirts (and thongs, for that matter) are impractical and pants are not, if you're doing things in many cases, except
maybe dancing or like that. But surely if you're fighting crime and
flying. But even more so, a simple matter of physics. What happens every time she's descending to land? Well, if you know what an updraft is, and apparently many mainstream male comics artists do not, this:
And that's a much longer skirt. Now imagine one you can barely hold down. A skirt that would even make sitting awkward. Imagine this every time she lands.
I suppose that thought turns some on, but to me it's juvenile. No woman who intended to survive or be taken seriously would fight crime in a skirt or a goddamn thong. And even from a sexist point of view: if it's sexy legs you're after--as all comics artists know, without color all skintight suits, even
pants, are nude, so why bother with a skirt anyway even then? Doesn't make much sense even from that angle. ________________
Trump: Permission for Evil is Enough There is only one reason anyone wants to vote for Trump: Revenge. Or the perception they will get it if he wins anyway.
But many people think that even if Trump wins, he won't be able to do the horribly racist things he appears to want, that our government would never allow such a thing.
Adorable! You're not paying attention.
Have the cop murders of black people taught you nothing? The cops do this because they know they will not be punished. They're not being ordered to murder black people. They just do, and they do it because they know they will never actually be punished for it. (well, unless the officer is nonwhite. As that means one less nonwhite member of the force they're often QUITE diligent about that)
Sometimes it's just a matter of giving permission for evil and then letting things take their course. There are lots of white supremacists now mobilized behind Trump, and we know what they want. Trump doesn't need to aid them with laws or troops. He just has to let them know he won't do anything about it if they do. Look at what Obama is unable to prevent regardless of what he wants. Now imagine a president who's fine with black people, or Muslims, or any other group being harassed or killed, and who does nothing. And then ask yourself, won't it just be enough to have that man in the White House for such private attacks to skyrocket across the country the instant he's sworn in? Do not let this happen. It can be so much worse. ___________________
The Banned VLADRUSHKA #1: Yours for a Minimum Pledge at Patreon
As most of you know, I have had a number of censorship issues with Vladrushka, one reason I haven't drawn her in a while. Well, for those that pledge at my Patreon, the elusive VLADRUSHKA #1 is available again in digital form! For the minimum suggested pledge ($15--however, you can give as much or as little as you like otherwise and thanks) you can download the whole 60-page collection of all Vladrushka stories from 2003-2010. Check it out! ___________________
Your Random UK Comedy for Today #20: Nathan Barley (Brooker/Morris, 2005)
From UK dark comedy geniuses Charlie (BLACK MIRROR) Brooker and Chris (too many to list but if you come here often you know that) Morris comes a satire of, well, the early pre-Facebook/Twitter internet, but still hilarious. We do still have ridiculous hipsters, and some of the jokes here are more true than they were. On the other hand, the show revolves around a successful print magazine that doesn't seem to have a website, and that was already dying in 2005. Anyway, it's a great show. Enjoy!
Overlooked gem. A film that completely dropped out of sight in 1997, which is odd. You'd think a George Orwell adaptation starring richard E. Grant & Helena Bonham Carter would have gotten a bit more attention. Possibly this was partly to do with the boring title the US distributor put on it, "A Merry War," and having seen the film I still can't see what that has to do with the story. Most likely it's because we don't really know the word "aspidistra" in America. It's basically a kind of basic, hardy fern that requires little care and is hard to kill, though the protagonist Gordon Comstock, who sees them as a symbol of everything he hates about British middle-classness, does his best.
I will say it will warn you off ever thinking that writing is a way to fame and fortune. The beginning may remind you a bit of HOW TO GET AHEAD IN ADVERTISING, but this novel had been one of its inspirations in the first place. (and for WITHNAIL fans: Grant vomits on someone's shoes) Personally, I'm just happy to see one of his other works besides ANIMAL FARM and 1984 get some attention. A film of DOWN & OUT IN PARIS AND LONDON or HOMAGE TO CATALONIA might be cool too.
So here's pretty much the only place you'll see it. Enjoy:
Suzy Spreadwell In Progress: Two Latest Inked Pages (Unlettered, Uncolored) More work done on the newest SUZY SPREADWELL story. Click images below to see larger versions at Patreon, and please consider giving whatever you want to support this and my other work you know well. (if you come here, I assume...)
I've also started doing Patron-only posts there. While there are rewards for certain levels of support, these (which are the lettered versions of the pages as they're finished, and later the color versions, long before I start serializing them publicly; I only do that once I have the whole story) you get to see for any amount pledged.
So: give in any amount you can ($15 is suggested but all help is appreciated), and you get to see finished pages, as they're finished!
Brexit: Never have so many so regretted a decision they were tricked into by so few. Well, not in England, anyway.
Oddly done, England. As the saying goes, I guess then you've bought it. And my sympathies to my friends (and fans, I think there are one or two) in the UK who did not want Brexit, and whose money from American publishers is now fucked because of the pound dropping like a hanged man. Just a few of those whose lives will be made unnecessarily harder by this massive unforced error most Brits, it's said, now regret, and some of whom only googled "EU" the day after the election.
It all sounds too American. It's creepy, England. Stop being as stupid as us. That's not your job. (click for larger version)
LULU - Pencil Sketch Just a quick practice sketch of Lulu using Stefania as reference. With a little work it possibly might make a good cover image at some point.Click to enlarge. Don't forget to get the newest chapter in THIS SICKNESS #8 at Amazon,Comixology & Google Play! (If you'd like to buy this sketch send $30 to me via Paypal at john(dot)roberson(at)gmail.com)
Bonus: even quicker Suzy Spreadwell sketch done recently in prep for next story, which I've begun drawing. Also find her debut story in THIS SICKNESS #8. (this one can be gotten for $20. Both are postpaid.)
oh shit it's just downhill
language, Carly, don't make me burn you
I'll curse you
I know just
I can get my soul back in 90 days right Carly
I'd have to return my commission but I'll remind you
Actually, this is the second version of the rant: in both cases I had notes for reference but the first time was a lot more spontaneous, I think. But the technology failed us and not a bit of it was recorded, so two days later we recorded again. I know putting "Me" where it is in the title above is ungrammatical, but that's what O'Cuana gets for gloating like a bastard when he found that his precious segment was pristine and recorded.
In both cases my segment clocked in at one hour twenty minutes.
I hope it sounds as good as the first one, but it's hard to compare as the first one is, sigh, GONE FOREVER. But I came from theatre, so I chose to just view the first one as rehearsal.
The whole point of Suzy Spreadwell, down to her name, is that the most sexually repressed people, like "Purity" Christians, are not only the most sexually obsessed, and the most vulnerable to temptation, but the ones that no matter how hard they try always sound the most perverse, and like a pimple, the more they try to get rid of it the bigger and more painful they make it, till it bursts whether they want it to or not. If you think about something all the time, even negatively, you will be it. You'll just hate yourself and others for it, that's all.
The Moral Uplift of Jonathan Kent Clark's dad always smelled like fear. "So, what did the metallurgist say to people when he found something that rare?" "Oh, he won't be telling anyone with a slit throat." "WHAT? You killed someone?--" "After the first one it gets easier" "WHAT?" "Whatever it takes. I explained this. I'm willing. You can tell them I protected you when the time comes." "Huh? What time?" "Son, all I know is you were sent here for a purpose. And I just want the Elder Gods to kill me first as a reward for preparing your way." "Dad, you're freaking me out." "All I can do is submit and obey, son. I'm just one man and I mean nothing, and I know that, and I've taught you that too, that people mean nothing. Because I love you and don't want you to feel guilt on the day you rain destruction and chaos and fire till all the earth is rubble and skulls." "..." "I wish I didn't have to see it. I can pray for some great whirlwind or something to take me and kill me before it happens, but that would be too much to hope for." He choked back tears of anguish for the future. "I'd save you!" "Hm" ___________________
Nixon Invented the War on Drugs as a War on Black People: Larry Wilmore, Mike Yard, & Joe Morton Explain And following the last post with more to make you angry from the past! Although not even past.
Sometimes when you hear previously unrevealed information about famous people after they die, it humanizes them. It makes them seem better somehow in our eyes. In Nixon's case everything you find out about him only gets more damning each time. There was no bottom to the conscious evil of this man. I recommend Rick Perlstein's NIXONLAND and THE INVISIBLE BRIDGE as the most up-to-date and complete history; I read them last year and found things I never came across in my dead father's library of 70s books on the subject. Yes, when my dad died I found he obsessively collected Nixon books. Mostly in hardback. And there were a lot of them in the 70s. Anyway: As you may have heard, it was revealed this week that, as has long been suspected, Nixon deliberately and consciously concocted the War on Drugs--and it was continued by subsequent administrations, most especially Republican ones Reagan forward--to wreck the black and left communities. But let Larry Wilmore, Mike Yard and Joe Morton explain better. And also remind you why this is especially relevant (TRUMP) now as well. Read more »
50s-60s American Men Apparently Dreamed of Dead Wives
...or certainly it was considered an amusing idea, based on the cumulative evidence of their films, ads and TV. Here's a startlingly glaring example: the "button defense" scene in HOW TO MURDER YOUR WIFE.
Rise & Fall of the Clash (2012) - A Brief Reaction Regarding Authenticity In Rock
Watched THE RISE AND FALL OF THE CLASH, a pretty fascinating documentary from 2012 that examines the last years of the Clash, when the band kind of went crazy and steered itself, hard, into a ditch. Read more »
This right here is the precise moment Cerebus turned irrevocably
serious. Despite the "no poetic license" punchline. That it turned away from humor is not a criticism in
the slightest by the way: it simply grew beyond it for a while. I fucking love JAKA'S STORY and with
HIGH SOCIETY it's the most directly influential on my style, especially
LULU, of all the Cerebus books. Though CHURCH & STATE is my actual favorite. It was JAKA'S STORY, along with my background in theatre, that taught me talking heads can be dynamic in comics. Also: no movie could do this. Here's an example of what intrinsically comics bring to an action scene and what it can do dramatically
a film can't. You're looking at three, maybe four points of view, and
foci of drama, built architecturally in front of you in time. All there
simultaneously, paced together. Only Roeg ever did anything
approximating this (like PERFORMANCE and most especially THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH, without which WATCHMEN would not exist) and even then, it's impossible for film to present
simultaneity in quite this way. And with as much real impact. You STOP
on this page, you study it, it sinks in. You would not freeze a film the
same way, and it wouldn't register the same.
It's also a good example of what a double-page spread does best, but in the age of the internet and landscape screens that may be less distinct. This was brought to mind, by the way, by this post including the image, about the Cerebus Oversize Project. Click here to find out more about that.
HIGH-RISE - Clint Mansell Complete Soundtrack (2016) A movie I cannot wait to see of my favorite Ballard novel. (I'm not sure ATROCITY EXHIBITION counts as a "novel" in the same way) Here's a playlist of the complete soundtrack by Clint Mansell, whom you may know as a frequent collaborator of Darren Aronofsky. Read more »
SUZY SPREADWELL: Print 2.1 - Thus Was Satan Confounded
Yay! Just in time for Easter! That was actually accidental! But anyway! As I also need inking and color practice, I might do more of these. A fully rendered inked & colored version of this preparatory drawing of Suzy & her boyfriend Greg from earlier this week. I think it's a warmhearted illustration for the young people that Jesus is always there.
"Wait--why a watery life?" "Aquaman needs a bride." "But--" "--it's the 50s. Don't fight the Code." "But--it doesn't move! It's just one solid piece of gold!" "I found it myself from sunken galleons all over the world." "WAIT" "You will swim" SPLASH "Hm." "Aquaman? I missed Lois falling out the window and she disappeared. Seen her?" "Who?" "God, you're useless." "Yes, useless"
Marco Rubio, Far Too Late, Condemns Trump for the Right Reasons No lame, ineffective dick jokes this time. Shame he and the other candidates also encouraged this and let this ride till it was far too late--as well as his rotting party having created the perfect environment for something like Trump to succeed. They have to stop him too. So do you. Read more »
And just in case the orange skin-wrapped shit deletes it, a screengrab of Trump's threat, involving supporters he's whipped up to violence and actually told at rallies he'd pay their legal bills if they attach protesters.
here's a cool thing a very nice Trump supporter just sent me because they are very rational and not at all violent pic.twitter.com/54dCnBZXp8
Anyway, I penciled a couple of pages of a favorite sequence with Red Sophia in vain hopes of inclusion. I've heard nothing about the project proceeding, but this is one page of three I'd do if given the chance. In any event, I just felt like finishing it. As I just finished a big project, I'm mostly just practicing, sketching and prepping right now, so this is mainly an exercise for fun.
As I mentioned in the essay above, Dave Sim redrew a VITRIOL page (which I must have lost in a move at some point, and it pisses me off) with an improved layout as a constructive critique of how I could approach it. So here's this inadequate tribute back, though I followed Dave's layout as exactly as I could. There's no attempt to draw like Dave here though: it's that page done in my style, for better or worse. But a style heavily influenced by Sim, so... (click images to enlarge)
And here's the pencil...
And here's the original from CEREBUS vol. 1, p. 212. Which is still funnier. I just couldn't do that wicker crosshatching though. It all looks like Mysterio in there.
Absolutely, because then they are left with the sense they are a plucky minority fighting the power. Classic fascist morale-building-through-resentment. Fox has profited off that for years. There are a lot of leftists who refuse to vote in every election. Their reason they see no difference between the sides, that to vote is just to prop up an unjust system they want ripped down and replaced entirely. If someone horrible is elected, especially a Republican, all the better because they believe this will radicalize liberals and wake them up to revolution. They also believe a seemingly liberal president anesthetizes them to injustice and makes them complacent, so all the better to have an overt monster instead. They call this "sharpening the contradictions." It's a strategy that depends on things getting worse and people suffering. They thought this would work in the Bush era. As you know, it didn't. There are also a lot of Democrats now on either the Clinton or Sanders sides saying they won't vote if their pet candidate does not get the nomination, because they prefer a punch in the face to a burger without cheese. There is a fascist plutocrat named Trump running who is not only a monster, but gives comfort and encouragement to the monsters that make up his supporters. We believe Trump is a fascist. His supporters are COUNTING on him being a fascist.
Make no mistake: if he wins, they will all see this as a validation of and permission for what they think is revenge.
Know what that would be?
I don't give a fuck about your leftist principles. If you have any at
all, you know a fire to be put out is more important than how the chairs
are arranged. Swallow your fucking pride and fight this, and choose
ways that WORK, rather than making you feel good. (Today was one way that works) And don't wait till he wins to fight him. STOP him.
Unless he's what you actually want.
A lot of leftists like to quote 1984. I used to be pretty fond of Orwell too till those folks made him such a cliche.
Here's Grant Morrison explaining the true appeal of 1984. (art by Phil Jimenez, from the Invisibles)
There's a certain
kind of leftist that secretly dreams for the ultimate despot: to prove
themselves right all along, because they foolishly think that's the only
way to spark revolution(forgetting the first thing such a despot would
do is kill everyone who would revolt before they're ready to
resist--see: all history forever).
And sometimes, it's a masochistic
desire for a daddy to punish them; to give themselves a big simple horror cartoon to define themselves against. Sometimes they sharpen contradictions just because they like to cut themselves.
Grow up. Help put out a fire before it gets far worse. The Republicans are Neville Chamberlain to Trump's Hitler: they will not stop him even though he's revealed their whole brand is poison. Only you can stop him.
"Eternity with Beelzebub, and all his hellish instruments of death, will be a picnic compared to five minutes with me and this pencil." - E. Blackadder, 1791 Questionable
words & pictures from John Linton Roberson SUPPORT US AT PATREON!