Vladrushka 6: "Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart" All 8 Pages Now Up (NSFW)
Surprise! Because moving to California, and unpacking, might delay the installments of the new Vladrushka episode(which is the start of a new story I will be returning to later), I have elected to put up the whole thing ahead of time. For those who saw everything up to now already, including the most recent page, here are the two new pages starting here.
As always, quite unsafe for work, very much for adults; as usual you have been warned. (and the previous pages are of course, still there)
Note: There may be a hiatus next week as I will be in transition with my move to California, and will not have access to my machines. I will of course update as soon as I can. In the meantime, my remaining moving auctions are still going because I still need to gather funds for the move, so please have a look at all this awesome stuff and buy yourself some! All now ship free in the US, have Buy It Now prices close to bid(so there's no need to wait for fear of being outbid), and I will still include a free, signed, brand-new mini-sketch per item to buyers who mention they saw this via here on my blog, Twitter, or Facebook. Jump on it NOW! If you buy before Monday, I'll be able to ship before I go! (otherwise there may be a slight delay as I unpack) ________________
HIGH SOCIETY Negatives by Dave Sim Destroyed in Fire: An Appeal to Anyone Who Has Originals (UPDATED)
Just about the worst possible news one can imagine of anything that can happen to an artist. Especially one who dedicated his life to a 6,000 page work. The negatives being used to digitize Dave Sim's HIGH SOCIETY were completely destroyed in a fire that consumed the home of the one doing the work(who did get out okay):
"Dave Sim, here: Just thought everyone should know: Fisher came over today and asked if I had heard from Sandeep. No, I hadn't. Hands me today's Record. Front page: Sandeep's place -- and the buildings on either side of him -- were gutted by fire yesterday afternoon. He got out in one piece but with nothing but the clothes on his back and his wallet (he had been in the shower and a cop showed up at the door: "You have the leave. Now") The whole place went up in about five minutes.
All of the negatives for High Society were destroyed as well as the 11x17 scanner and the new negative scanner. No insurance. So, I thought I'd better let everyone know that we're definitely not on track for the September 12 launch at this point.
I don't expect that I'll hear from Sandeep for at least a few days -- he's staying with friends and obviously has a lot more important things to think about than High Society Digital.
Okay -- gotta run to make my 3:00 prayer. Please feel free to relay this to anyone you think should know. Particularly people who are waiting on High Society Digital.
To the youngsters: Dave sold all the pages before scanning was a thing. So the negatives basically WERE the "scans." This means that HIGH SOCIETY cannot be digitized or printed, except from, at best, second-generation copies. Ever again. We're talking 500+ pages of Dave's best-loved work. Indeed, the only reason the negs were not in Dave's hands was because of a Kickstarter campaign to digitize CEREBUS, and it's that HIGH SOCIETY is so loved that it was going first.
UPDATE: A few things. If you have an original, this comment tells you what to do: "Hi, George Peter Gatsis here... If you ARE considering scanning in an original CEREBUS art page... PLEASE go to this site and read up on the specs. Sincerely, GPG email@example.com"
Words don't even cover how horrible this is. His best book (CHURCH & STATE and JAKA'S STORY too, but the energy of HS was IMO the greatest in the whole series, and please, no crap about what happened later. Seriously. This stuff was the Dave we all loved) and one that had, personally, an incalculable influence on my comics, and the fact I even chose to start doing them. For HS, I owe him everything. I would not be doing comics were it not for Dave Sim. Full stop.
And when I started doing VITRIOL, I told him so by letter. He wrote back pleasantly surprised that anyone would go from being a playwright to being a cartoonist. And offered constructive advice. And even redrew a page of VITRIOL (from a copy of PLASTIC 2 I'd sent him) to show me ways I could have approached the layout and things to think about in future.The only pro before him that had taken that time with me was when Michael Bair at a convention personally gave me a lesson in anatomical proportion(a lesson which I use to this day).
I no longer seem to have either that letter or drawing, though I hope in my packing as I keep digging I'll find I'm wrong. Because I want that. But I did just come across this last night and in light of what happened, I post it here. In 1999 when he was doing FALL & THE RIVER, he sent out work sketches on tracing paper he was going to throw away to people who corresponded with him, and I was one of those. This is what he sent me, a sketch of F. Stop(aka F. Scott Fitzgerald) and Jaka. And I cherish it. And I scan & post it here so that it cannot be lost.(click to enlarge)
And here is the letter that accompanied the sketch--this one not personal like the one I describe, but I'm assuming the same one went to all his correspondents. Side note to all cartoonists everywhere: Dave could not scan and back up the art he sold long ago--scanners did not exist then. Let this be a lesson. Always scan your art at the highest possible resolution, the instant you finish it, and always, always, always back it up, because YOU CAN.
The violent suicide of Tony Scott is a serious shock, and as the child of a suicide myself, my sympathies for the family he left behind and the wound he has now left them with forever are immense. There is no more horrible feeling, and no way to ever really heal it.
It is also sad, though, that everyone is remembering him as the director of the loathsome pro-military propaganda film TOP GUN. Scott was as talented a director as his brother Ridley, but only rarely got a chance to truly show it. One example would be a film many think of as a Tarantino film(which it is, but only as screenwriter), the nearly perfect TRUE ROMANCE. But you may also know this one, one of the classics of 80s horror, and I present it here in his honor(if a version with Spanish subtitles). THE HUNGER. Forget TOP GUN. This is what Scott could really do. And if you like Bauhaus(and they're one of my cherished favorites), chances are you only heard of them(at least in the US) initially because of the opening of this film; because of Tony Scott.
Overused Pop Culture References on the Web That Should Never Be Used Again
I often read the Cracked website. Most particularly for Seanbaby, but he's not there as often as I'd like. But the rest of the week, most of the articles are fairly entertaining and informative. (side note: Well, except this one yesterday about San Francisco written by a writer who begins by saying he mainly used to live in South Dakota, only lived in SF for three months--and how did he afford to on what Cracked pays anyway?--and seems to not understand that LA, where he escaped SF to, is far worse in all the things he names, as are all actual cities. I think he just can't deal with big cities.)
But for the most part, I enjoy their stuff. But then I notice something: either their writers or most of their audience have only ever seen the same roughly ten or fifteen movies in their entire lives, or only saw the worst 80s TV cartoons. And it's not just them--this is the case across the web. To the point the references they still think are witty are now utterly played out.
And I believe there should be a moratorium. There won't be, because this has a lot to do with making sure your article is Search Engine-Optimized, and these things obviously get you pageviews. But I do not care. I am sick of all these things, and more I'm sure I'm forgetting. But these are the ones that spring to mind. For the love of god, never, ever use any of these references in your articles ever again, whether you're at Cracked or elsewhere.
I should also point out that a lot of these are things I personally don't give a shit about and never did, even as a kid, which adds to my annoyance. But mainly, I don't even think making fun of any of these things works any more. It's lazy and betrays the lack of adventurousness in your consumption of entertainment.
FERRIS BUELLER's DAY OFF (and indeed, anything with Matthew Broderick, or directed by John Hughes. Anything) BACK TO THE FUTURE STAR WARS(any of it) DIE HARD Anything involving INDIANA JONES TRANSFORMERS GI JOE SMURFS SAVED BY THE BELL MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE THE KARATE KID THE MATRIX SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION or GREEN MILE (which are hard to convince me aren't basically the same film) RESERVOIR DOGS Sorry, but WILLY WONKA(it's played out, beyond played out) Tesla OR Edison
...there are more but those are the most repetitive ones that come to mind. I invite you to add your own in the comments. ___________________
You may find this odd, but when I first discovered it, it was the final, totally insane episode "Fall Out" I first saw--and I loved it, and that was what made me want to watch the rest. Then again, my first Velvet Underground album back when I was 17 was "White Light/White Heat." I tend to go for the most difficult stuff first for some reason.
Those of us who live in Russia often feel like we have been forced into a time machine. Now the rest of the world has seen it happen: three women shaped by 20th-century thought tried by a 17th-century court. Consider the testimony of altar warden Vasily Tsyganyuk, classified as a victim because he claimed to have suffered psychological trauma as a result of the performance.
VICTIM: “Those who are possessed can exhibit different behaviors. They can scream, beat their heads against the floor, jump up and down...”
DEFENSE ATTORNEY NIKOLAI POLOZOV: “Do they dance?”
VICTIM: “Well, no.”
JUDGE: “Stop questioning him about those who are possessed. Tsyganyuk is not a medical professional and is not qualified to render a diagnosis.”
POSSESSION IS A DIAGNOSIS?
The only reason the judge stopped it was not that it was ridiculous medieval crap, but that a doctor was not stating it. This is Putin's Russia now.
And what Westerners do not understand as well as they should: when Pussy Riot chose to protest Putin in a Russian Orthodox Church, they were specifically calling attention to the dark partnership between Putin and said church. Because if he ever steps down, independent tribunals will be right there, ready to send him to jail for his manifold and obvious crimes--his murders, his bribes, his abuses of power--hell, there's not a single exercise OF power by him that can't be called abuse.
This is a restoral of the church as the other head of the eagle back in tsarist times. What Putin gets from them is the church making it a sin to protest. What the church gets is a kind of power over policy the likes of our religious right only dream of right now. It also reminds one of just why the Bolsheviks took such pains to persecute that church and destroy its power. It wasn't so much ideological opposition to religion itself as specifically that the Russian Orthodox Church as a temporal institution was instrumental in the oppression of the Russian people for centuries. They were one and the same. (think of Potemkin and the priest counting out the moments till the execution with his cross, not helping the sailors or speaking for mercy on their behalf. That's an image that expresses exactly what the church was--not even a church at all in any way, not even pretending to be)
And that is what Putin is doing now.
I am very surprised Pussy Riot are still alive. It's not as though Putin cares a thing about how he looks. In fact, he LIKES people to realize he's willing to kill anyone who stands up to him. These are literally the first ones to remain alive.
But anything can happen in a prison camp far away, as Stalin well knew, as the tsars well knew. And that is the tradition Putin is in. But this is a man who showed that he is willing to gas his own people to death to get rid of anything that challenges his power.
And again, it cannot be said enough--these women are goddamn brave. ___________________
Paul Ryan, Rage Against The Machine, and "Ashes in the Fall"
Paul Ryan has said he loves Rage Against the Machine. When I heard this something inside me died screaming.
Though I don't find this as surprising as some might--first of all, Ryan is only 2 years younger than I am. They were very, very popular in the 1990s and even fratboys loved them. Mainly for the metal sound. But with Rage, it's very hard to avoid the lyrics, so it's still more than a little weird. But Ryan is an objectivist. He may well believe he shares their views to a point--he just thinks HIS philosophy is the way to achieve a solution to our problems, which of course it is not. He also loves Black Flag, and they too are a favorite of jocks, fratboys and straightedges. One has to assume Ryan means this--this is not a band you mention to gain favor with GOP voters.
Then again, maybe he does in fact find it "funny how the factory doors close/Round the time that the school doors close/Round the time that the doors of the jail cells/Open up to greet you like the reaper."
I guess once you've reconciled being a Roman Catholic with following Ayn Rand, any kind of cognitive dissonance is easy. After all, what he says he is depends on the audience. For Ryan, A is not always A. If it helps him get elected, A can also be B, or even Q if needs be. ___________________
They find it worth the risk of creating a martyr if they overwhelm you with the EXAMPLE. The eyes of the world are upon it, and they may want that. If it happens, the message of all this will be, "Shut up or we will kill you, in front of the world." This is what it looks like when they stop giving a shit about what anything looks like to you. Even his public arrest will send that message, but the fact is, at this point, it will solve a lot of problems for the UK and the US if he dies. We will see.
Speaking generally, there are three kinds of writers of fiction. One is just trying to divert you, entertain you, and get paid for it. An example might be Stephen King.
The second is trying to impart wisdom to you, often merely articulating concepts in your head already there that you could not put words to, to open your mind. An example might be Tolstoy, or for some(not me, but I respect many love him) David Foster Wallace, or many more.
Then there is a third kind, who is simply trying to rape and impregnate your brain and along the way steal all you have. And examples of those would be Ayn Rand or L. Ron Hubbard. They are the ones to be dreaded.
Joe Kubert passed away yesterday, and it hit me like a truck. (from 1974; click images to enlarge) I guess we all assumed he would live forever because Joe was bigger than life. Not an exaggeration. Joe Kubert was the closest--along with Kirby--comics ever had to a god. But he was also so great, and so prolific, he was easy to take for granted. There are very few cartoonists who ever worked as long as Joe did--maybe Al Hirschfeld. From the age of 12, for god's sake. 69 years of drawing professionally. And even fewer whose power is so evident in the slightest line. And even fewer that had such an impact in every part of the profession, not just in his art, but in how many he inspired and, through the Kubert School, taught. Never did anything he made seem hacked out. Never did you see Joe as just more meat going through DC's grinder(though DC seems to have seen him that way, and that is all I will say on what you already know I mean). Joe was bigger than anyone he worked for and we all owe him everything, even in the indie world. There was love and brilliance in Joe and he did as he wished because you could not make him be other than what he was, and everything he drew was gold. Joe's blood was storytelling. Joe was living comics. He may have been the earliest cartoonist I read whose work I could name, and identify by style. But really there was never mistaking his work for anyone's. This is the first comic I remember reading. I was 4. I still have it and will forever. This too, though his art is only on the cover. And who ever did more striking covers than Joe? For some it was Sgt. Rock. For others Enemy Ace, for others Hawkman or any number of others Kubert worked on in his 69 years in the business, and I liked those too, as well as TOR, a character he also owned, a rare feat for a cartoonist of his generation who worked for the Big Two. For me personally though, Joe's work on Tarzan was very dear to me--though I never actually cared about the character as such in anyone else's hands. Joe made me care. I mean...LOOK at that. I can add nothing except to say when I look at Joe, along with Gene Colan, also dear to me as a kid but later, I look at whatever eventually led me to deciding comics was my medium. Here is a cover that was my favorite as a kid, from DC's THE BIBLE, 1975. Another one I still own, and will never, ever part with. A labor of love for Joe. Though inside, his only art was historical info pages between the stories Nestor Redondo drew(and very beautifully), somehow when I look at them I still see evidence of Kubert's layouts. Here are some of those pages. The Big Two were Joe Kubert and Jack Kirby. None else. Here is a beautiful tribute from a major influence upon me and one of Joe's greatest students(ditto John Totleben; and consider this--without those two plus Alan Moore, mainstream comics would not be what it is today--no Joe, no Kubert School; no that, no them; no them, no most of the comics you may love now. Joe's shadow is huge and long), Steve Bissette, who says more than I ever could of his teacher, mentor and friend. I only read Kubert. Bissette was taught by the man himself in person, and that is...lucky as hell. Read it and try not to choke up. The warmth and greatness of Joe is reflected through every word. But then, it was also glowing from every beautiful, graceful, dancing black line of his work. Goodbye Joe. With you goes an entirely different world in comics we will all miss. ___________________
What the UK Olympics Shows Were About: Our Pop Culture Sucks
What the Olympic ceremonies were actually about:
The UK reminding the US just how much our pop culture sucks. Hence NBC's monkeys and other interruptions. Can't have us seeing what actual talent looks like.
Was there a single entertainer or artist in Britain that Danny Boyle did not have on hand? Monty freaking Python for god's sake. The Who. It goes on and on.
Don't care to hear some jingoistic twaddle. The fact is that we(US) suck, have sucked for a very long time, & keep sucking more every day. And until we in the US face up to this suckitude, we will only keep sucking more until we disappear up our own suckhole.
Amd sure, tell me "But we created rock and roll!" or whatever. Yeah, yeah, and then we couldn't wait to buy their version instead, right? Whatever we created and gave Britain, comics, music, anything, they always give back to us better than we could ever have imagined.Bastards.
The UK's advantage over us is that they know when they suck and have no problem mocking it. We think Tinkerbell will die if we stop clapping.
This is what makes the UK far stronger and more resilient--and funnier--than us. And we really should start facing this sometime. Being able to kill people with flying robots only gets you so far.
ARISE! - The Church of the Subgenius Recruitment Movie
Christians call me an unbeliever. Atheists say I'm not atheist enough. Well, I should come clean. You're BOTH right. Actually, I do have a religion. The one true faith. And here, I bring you slack. "Bob" loves you.
Courtesy of Corn Stone, "Bob" and Connie at home.
"Eternity in the company of Beelzebub, and all of his hellish instruments of death, will be a picnic compared to five minutes with me & this pencil." --E. Blackadder, 1789 Questionable
words & pictures from John Linton Roberson