Previously Unpublished: UNCLE CYRUS 2- "Cyrus at the Con" (2001)
This is a story written, and with breakdowns, by John E. Williams and drawn by me, that would have been in PLASTIC 9 in 2001, had there been one. It's the continuation of the adventures of comics' favorite hack, Uncle Cyrus. Here we see him at the San Diego Con, though a version none would recognize nowadays. To be honest, I'd only been to APE in San Francisco, so this probably looks a lot more like that as far as the venue. The art's early and rough, but it is what it is. Click to read. (and both Cyrus stories can be read here) If you look closely you'll find my attempt at numerous cameos, including Trina Robbins, Dave Sim, Alan Moore, Eddie Campbell, Scott McCloud, Julie Strain, Rick Veitch, Dean Haspiel, Dan Clowes, Steve Leiber, Gary Groth, R. Crumb, Grant Morrison, Danny Hellman, Archie Goodwin, Harvey Pekar, Neil Gaiman, Chris Ware, Steven Weissman and Austin English, with a speaking guest appearance by Fantagraphics' Kim Thompson.
For just the sake of fun, I wanted to draw something fast in a sketchy, simple style in pencil. I chose this, which is based on a real incident in October 1991, hence the name. I wanted to pick a memory enjoyable enough to draw three pages a night of. Which was the pace. I will say no more of its backstory except that "Rosa & Annalisa" were not their real names, nor were they actually meant in this story as "Rosa & Annalisa" yet; they grew into it. In this silent story, there are no names along with any other words. This was just supposed to be the real women.
However, on that this is subtitled a "memory," yes. It was the early 90s and things occurred. One of the characters has had their appearance changed to a totally fictional one, but mainly because the real person's looks I cast as a different character in Vitriolalready.
Anyway, once I finished OS, later at the behest of my former wife when she read it--and to my surprise that she encouraged me to submit, because I still think it's drawn terribly(whatever our other troubles, she was always very supportive of my work, I have to say that)--I submitted it to Eros Comix/Fantagraphics and to my even greater shock, it was published, along with a number of stories afterward for the next three years. I also had the great fortune of a supportive and wise editor, Michael Dowers.
This one went into MENAGE A TROIS #3(July 2003), normally an anthology comic, but this got all 24 pages. I always thought it funny it was the third issue. It took up the whole of the comic(in fact is listed as a "spotlight issue") but I did not do the cover, which was by one "Kovik." If you ever try to track a copy down, this is what it looked like. I'm...not that keen on the cover, truthfully. It's not terrible, it's just not that reflective of the contents. I was glad when I later did get to do the cover for the last full-length one Eros published, Gulag Gangbang. My pencil style was more refined by then. I hope. So, if you'll excuse the roughness of the drawing, enjoy the story.
In Memoriam of Michael Hutchence (1960-1997) - INXS & Max Q
In memory of a reminder that sometimes "pop" and "good music" coincide, some Michael Hutchence and what INXS once was. Pop can be good, it's hard to recall these days. It's just that most of the time they don't try.
See? Fuck Autotune and anyone who uses it. Just TRY to keep your butt still with an INXS song on. And nobody could say INXS did not work their asses off to get where they got. These were not prefabricated pop stars, it was a band that put sweat into making pop its own.
And this was one of his better performances. It's difficult to take one's eyes off him. If you were a straight girl back then, you wanted him, and if a straight boy you wanted to be him, or kill him for being so much more interesting to your girlfriend than you could ever hope to be. Look, I'm straight and even I know he was killer sexy. Don't believe me? Okay, well, there is this with the band kicking ass on "Original Sin" at Wembley in 1991.
See, good pop IS possible. And good pop stars.
As the great Molly Kiely(a far better erotic artist, or just plain artist period, incidentally, than I am) said, "Hutchence was a masterful rock star: unconventionally handsome, with sexy phrasing and swagger." And immensely likeable. If we admire Freddie Mercury for his charisma and ability to take a stage, while never acting like he was better than his band, then Michael Hutchence has to be given his due in the generation that followed Mercury. Or Bryan Ferry, along with David Sylvian a very obvious influence on Hurchence.
I guess, besides just that my generation was INXS' audience, another reason I feel a little nostagically sad and personal when it comes to Hutchence is my birthday was last Sunday(Jan. 22). And it would have been his too. A waste. RIP, Hutchence. We could use good frontmen now. Poor guy though. It's a shame he had to die so stupidly.
My Stuff at Eros Art: Vladrushka, Story of OH!, Lulu, Martha (all NSFW; updated)
A number of my pieces of "art" had the honor in the past few days of being displayed at the Eros Art blog. These included Vladrushka, Lulu and Story of OH! Have a look! (and check out the other art featured, some really good stuff) Click on any image to go to each post, with a much bigger image.
He left his first wife when she was dying of cancer. Know why he decided to leave wife #2? Because she had MS. And he called her and said he "loved" her while being blown by the CallistaDroid. Who, he said to his wife when he requested an open marriage(saying, "you want me all to yourself"--well, yes, Newt, that's what marriage is, correct?) "doesn't care what I do."
Some of you may know that before my mom died of cancer, she suffered MS for years. (the MS drugs in fact, because of their immunosuppressive effect, were what led TO her getting cancer) And my mom's name was Mary Ann.
So you may imagine that this feels very weirdly personal now to me.
Here's the thing: Newt Gingrich is a fucking pig who should not be president of a neighborhood association.
He said tonight at the debate his private life should be respected. That would be less hilarious coming from someone who did not crack the nation in half to impeach an effective president because of HIS private life. And who defends "traditional marriage" every time he opens his piehole and would deny marriage rights to gays.
Newt, Your private life is the fairest game there is, and if your stated fascist intentions (he plans to ignore the Supreme Court as president, for one, he stated yesterday) and your barely-veiled wish to re-enslave impoverished African-Americans are not enough to flush you, this may do. There is nothing about you that is presidential. And if this country makes you president, and it will not, it deserves what it gets.
Newt Gingrich's daughters excuse it by saying "it happened a long time ago." I wasn't aware that ever mattered to elephants. Are they forgetful? They seem to still go on about the 60s and a lot more that was a long time ago. In fact the GOP seems to go on a lot about things that have nothing to do with the present day. And frankly, to paraphrase Bill Hicks, I'll shut up about it when YOU shut up about the crucifixion. Seems that was a long time ago too.
Newt Gingrich is the sleaziest living fuckpig in US politics. That takes some doing. But this nominal "man" is soulless on a level I simply thought unimaginable. Sleazy in freaking IMAX.
South Carolina, I was born and raised in you and got away from you as soon as I could. We've never been friends. But if you never did a decent thing before, surely Mark Sanford should have taught you something. I implore you, do not give this pig a primary win tomorrow. Show me you have some sense of decency. Take out the trash.
If you support this pathetic thing that calls itself a man, shut the fuck up about "traditional marriage" forever and ever.
But they won't. Here's Maddow on how Jon King fucked up the question in such a way that Newt could appear to be the persecuted hero. It's not his sex life, it's the multidimensional hypocrisy it represents.
What happened last night was that CNN immunized Gingrich against this question. The manner they asked it made it seem it was just sleazy gossip, not proof of his intense and multidimensional hypocrisy.
And Gingrich is now relying on the very open-mindedness that ultimately saved Clinton in the public mind that he raged against when trying to impeach him for the very things--and WORSE--he was doing at exactly that time. And that he babbles about traditional marriage whenever he opens his piehole on Fox.
And...we could go on and on. It's not that his sex life is so sleazy, it's not that he has always been a bad husband, it's that he has the balls to judge others when his feet are soupy clay. And that he's running in a party that presumes to tell others how to live their lives and would deny rights to people on these very issues, that claims to be the "moral" ones. ___________________
"OH NOES, SNOW! WHATEVER SHALL WE DO?" -Seattle, every goddamn winter
Only Seattle would react to a snowstorm like it was Katrina.
The LA Times called Seattleites "wimps" for the reaction to its (by Chicago standards rather laughable) snowstorm. Said reaction is basically, even after the 2009 storm, to be crippled. This is a major city, they claim, and yet right now half Seattle is without power and they're begging citizens to stay in after dark. In a "major city."
Now, granted, that's coming from LA. The news asked if a "wimp" would wear short sleeves in this weather.
No, but an idiot would. Chicago laughs at you, Seattle. Chicago(a place I haven't much else good to say about, granted, but did survive 12 winters in) is used to snow and rain, but they also wear coats and use umbrellas because they're not completely dense. This is a city where they can barely drive in this weather, but don't wear coats because they're supposedly tough. And then they get the flu and give it to everyone else, which is why this is the only city I have EVER lived in where they actually have PSAs on the buses, every bus, reminding people to cover their mouths when they sneeze. Because people here are so stupid (and rude)you actually have to tell them to do that.
They say also on the news, "If you haven't been to Seattle don't knock it." Well, that might make sense for LA.
But if that's the standard?
As I've lived here over 4 years, I GUESS I CAN THEN.
So then--SEATTLE: NO, THEY'RE RIGHT. YOU ARE WIMPS. AND NOT JUST WITH SNOW.
What's wimpy? Your response. A real city is NOT crippled by a snowstorm, especially one they see coming. It's the kind of place it is. It's barely a city and they KEEP it that way. Because they like to think like it's a small town. While wanting the respect of a big city. They are only a major city up here in the same way gas stations on the highway in Wyoming call themselves the best service station because the next one is 100 miles away. It's only that there are so few things you can even call a city in the Northwest, that's all.
They pretend that snow is rare here. Not for the last four years, it hasn't been. And the last mayor is no longer the mayor because of just as much of a pathetic response to a snowstorm. McGinn should realize this.
Now, an ice storm is on the way, and I'll bet they won't use salt, because they don't here; they fear environmental problems. Pollution is fine in Puget Sound and there's plenty of it, but oh no, not SALT in SALT WATER. Pathetic.
The rich are thrilled about the snow because they can now ski, and they have the kind of cars to get them up there. The working class are not, because they have no power and getting to work is now three times harder. And the poor? As usual in Seattle, they will just die.
If I could afford to, not only would I leave here tonight, I would have done it within my first year here. Seattle is a terrible excuse for a city. They can stay as quaint as they like. I just want out. ___________________
Something the Big Corporations Have Not Considered About SOPA
I have been studying copyright law on my own since I was in HS. And it just hit me: Under post-1978 copyright law, anything you create is copyrighted by law whether you register it or not as soon as it is in final "fixed form." So if someone uploaded something to Youtube they shot themselves, that's theirs, registration or no.
Yet networks take people's footage from the web all the time. Mostly without permission.
So that means that any of THOSE people could take NBC, FOX, CBS, CNN, ABC, all of them, right offline under SOPA as well. No court fight, no nothing. Poof, just like that.
Corporations may believe that only they have copyrights.
Not so. Media giants: the same gun is to your head.
Also, little indie cartoonist guys like me would never have had their work seen if not for the free and open internet. I make my own content, but I would be crippled if SOPA passes because much of the infrastructure I depend on would be gone, and the corporate guys would own the playing field.
And the web would end up something you have to pay for, every time you use it, on your phone. At best. DC and Marvel support this bill precisely for this reason.
And given the shit Hollywood already tries to cram in your every orifice, just imagine what would happen if they controlled the internet and had say on what is and is not there.
Lots are protesting or blacking out their sites. That's great. But you also need to write your senators and representatives. And do so in a firm, but CIVIL way. You're looking to persuade, not give yourself catharsis.
UPDATE: There was a massive response and many, many members of Congress withdrew their support; the Senate version is basically crippled now. But that doesn't mean you should stop the pressure, not until SOPA and PIPA are stone cold dead. Here's Rachel Maddow finally reporting on it(I honestly can't recall her bringing it up till now, which to her credit she mentions):
I must admit though her rah-rah-power-to-the-people schtick gets old fast. I like her, but Maddow has a habit of falling too easily into cheerleader mode.
HOWEVER. It should also be pointed out that mostly the Congressional scum sponsoring & backing the bill she mentions by name are Republicans.
Now, you know I am no friend to the GOP, whatever my criticisms of the Democratic Party and Obama may be. But she gives the impression this is a Red-Blue issue. It is not. It is a Corporations vs. The Rest of Us issue. Lots of right-wingers are against this bill just as much as left. We all have much to lose if it passes.
And plenty of Democrats support this bill too, despite Obama's claim he would veto it, which means little if they can overturn the veto. Another reason to keep up the pressure.
And I have to wonder: she frequently has Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) on the show. She is a prime co-sponsor of the bill. Also head of the DNC. Now, why doesn't Maddow ever ask her about this bill?
As an addendum to the 2008 parody of Dominique Aury's(aka Pauline Reage) classic STORY OF O that I did with Charles Alverson, and because you don't read enough Eurocomics, here is an excerpt from the opening scene of the late, great Guido Crepax's famous adaptation of the book that I was paying homage to. Whatever your feelings about the novel, his adaptation is exquisitely drawn and had a major impact on my own work when I discovered it. Basically, it hadn't occurred to me to make these kinds of comics till I looked at how beautifully he did it. My parody is very much a tribute to him, if a poor one.
Unfortunately, I do not have scans of the English version, and don't want to scan my own copy for fear of the binding, so hope some of you know French. (I don't)
Utterly filthy but beautifully so. Crepax also did adaptations of JUSTINE, VENUS IN FURS, EMMANUELLE, and DR. JEKYLL, but this is the best one. In fact, he did a sequel to this--where O has come to be in charge of Roissy--and later a film came out based directly upon it, meaning Crepax was (along with the Valentina film BABA YAGA, which you can get at Neflix and which he's in), along with Robert Crumb, one of the first major comics artists to get his work made into films in the Bronze Age.
This is a pretty exact visual equivalent of the novel and its tone, which was--at least the first half--written by Aury as a love letter initially to her married lover, the editor Jean Paulhan. Essentially, it's an extreme type of romance novel, despite appearances.
This is 17 out of 116 pages. To read the whole thing you can buy it here. Click any image to see Crepax's art in its full, creamy, inky and larger glory.
Brief setup: O here(the one based on Louise Brooks, who Crepax also based his character Valentina on--surprising he never did a version of LULU) is taken by her lover Rene(the guy in the car) to a place out in the country called Roissy. To prove her love for him(in...some odd mid-20th century way), she has freely given her consent to everything you see below.
(c)1973 Estate of Guido Crepax.