Sunday, September 2, 2012

Worst. Blogger. Ever.

Soooo....but volume 2 of To The Power Against is coming out soon! Also, keep your eyes peeled for an exciting new project called Lunata. Details to follow....

Monday, August 29, 2011

Coming back slowly...

Hey. Sorry I've been away a while. Worked on a couple of extremely taxing television series for the better part of the year, ate up my life a bit. But I miss doing these little squirts, so I'm working up a new one. Thanks for sticking with this blog, if you have.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Revisionnnnn URK. Doh.

Been gone for a while, sorry about that. *cough* Been in a wee dark room, digitally making things that happened inside a warehouse in L.A. look like they happened outside in Kentucky. (Think the people on Tee-Vee are actually driving them cars? Think again.)

Just finished laying out a new issue of our comic, too. I didn't have a formal script written down this time, I just had the basic story worked out and sorta test-ran the dialogue ideas out loud for Stephanie--crossed my fingers and hoped that my (amazing) jokes would make it through the patented Lantry Eye-Roll Filter--then we figured out what should go where, and she drew little thumbnails, etc.

This process took us several evenings, and by the time we got to the last page--surprise!--I had completely forgotten what the dialogue was supposed to be from the previous 20 pages--we only had thumbnails to go on, mind you, no word bubbles. Doh! However, it was an only slightly panicked kind of fun to read back over this silent cartoon story and try to remember who said what, and when, and why. Like subtitling a mime show. Stephanie was very patient and gave me several sympathetic, sad looks, as though I were a swiftly degenerating Alzheimer's patient. Anyway, it's all down in black and white now. Story wheat and story chaff = separated. S'gonna be a great issue.

Hot dang, I'm sleepy. I'll have a new one o'these out on Wednesday. G'night!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Case of Writer's Block: From the Story's Point of View

Violet, the well-dressed villainess, stood frozen at the top of the stairs, her right leg hoisted in the air, suspended mid-step.

“Dammit!” she swore under her breath. "Can’t even get me to the bottom of the stairs without a hot shower, three cups of coffee, and a run around the block. Come on, man, focus!”

Violet was stuck like that for three days, and developed an impressively painful charley horse before her foot finally came crashing down onto the next step. She rushed wickedly to the bottom of the staircase, only to run smack into a stalwart blue swarm of policemen, who fingered their pistols and eyed her in that steely municipal "Myaah, nowhere ta go now, sheee?" sort of way. Violet stopped in her tracks and posed in a cloud of glamour.

“Well, boys,” she purred dangerously. “You’ve got me. But how did you ever guess it was me all along? What was the clue that put you hot on my trail?”

The policemen stared and blinked and blinked and stared, but none of them spoke. They scratched their heads and opened their mouths as if to say something, but no words came out.

“Well?” said Violet.

The policemen blinked some more, but no one had anything to say. About a week and a half passed in this manner, during which Violet was obliged to bring sandwiches and coffee around to the speechless squadron in her foyer, for they were growing faint. Violet banged her head against the wall in despair and wailed:

“Oh, wait, I know! It must have been my fingerprints all over the butcher knife--monogrammed with my initials, incidentally--which you found plunged into the back of the corpse!”

The cops blinked again.

“That was it, right?!” She glared up at the ceiling now, addressing some unknown force.

The cops jolted to life.

“Uh, yeah," they agreed with an exchange of tentative looks. "Yeah, that was it! Shheeee? We’ve got the goods on you now, sister, and you’re coming downtown.”

Violet sighed.

“Thank frickin’ God…let’s get on with it.”

She resumed her glam posture, raised a no-goodnik eyebrow, and winked an evil wink.

“But I’m afraid I’m not going anywhere with you coppers!” she said and slyly twisted the head of a marble statuette on the bookcase to her left--“Ha HA!”--but to her dismay, the bookcase did not swing aside to reveal a secret escape passage, or anything useful like that. It didn’t budge.

Violet balled up her fists and hissed at the ceiling: “Aw, come on, you cookie-pushing bastard! I gave you that codswollop about the fingerprints, throw me a bone, here!”

As if by magic, the bookcase sprang aside to reveal a secret passage, through which Violet, the well-dressed villainess, promptly escaped.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

On the Origin of the Fanboys

You know what a fanboy is. In a very basic sense, it's this guy, who dressed like Boba Fett for his own wedding. Everything you need to know is right there.

Insane fandom is one of the hallmarks of 20th century culture, and the 21st looks like it's gonna be more of the same. Huge social networks, intense arguments over canon, fictional languages, detailed homemade and official-issue costumes and memorabilia, pilgrimages to symbolic locations, long lines for performances and releases, speculative fan-generated fiction, annual gatherings and group interrogation of the creators--obsession.

You can trace the sci-fi brand of fanboy at least all the way back to WorldCon--that's the annual World Science Fiction Convention, the birthplace of the respected Hugo literary award and ancestor to the holiest of all nerd proms, ComicCon. WorldCon started in 1939 and, aside from a brief hiatus while everyone went to stomp on Hitler's face, it has been chugging along ever since.

But there were fanboys even earlier, in the late 19th century. Over what? H.G. Wells? No, Sherlock. No, no, seriously, I mean Sherlock Holmes. The curator of the Sherlock Holmes museum at 221B Baker Street in London tells me that unfathomable numbers of people (both children and adults) have been writing letters to Holmes as though he were truly a real person ever since the first stories were published in 1887. It's easy to see why: he was a superhuman character with incredible powers, the first superhero, really. But it seems like he was also the first character to inspire fanboy behavior, too. People joined clubs like the Baker Street Irregulars, smoked pipes, argued over canon, and speculated very seriously about what may have happened to Holmes between certain stories and what his mysterious personal history might have been. I would argue especially that the intense speculation over his unwritten romantic life (concerning Irene Adler and the significance of women named "Violet") was the precursor to modern fanfic, slashfic and "shipping".

But it all seems to have come out of the blue in the last half of the 19th century. I don't quite understand why people suddenly started acting this way. It seems too easy and too flippant to note the cultural timing of it all, draw a line after the Darwin bomb, point to the void beyond and say, "Ok, there be fanboys, because the more skeptical people drifting away from the church needed some other myth to latch onto with equal, but secular, fervor." But it might not be too far off the mark, especially since this first big fanboy target was essentially the patron saint of empirical observation and cold hard reason. Miracles, but through science.

I wonder if there are any earlier precedents, though. I remember seeing a footnote in a textbook once, which suggested that there was some equivalent fanaticism surrounding Don Quixote in the 17th century, though nothing near the scale of fandom we're accustomed to in our time--a few incidents of people dressing up like Quixote and Sancho Panza and sorta riding around town looking for crimes to thwart, I kid you not. But I have never found another reliable reference to this anywhere, so I have to chalk it up as apocryphal for now, no matter how much I want it to be true. And I cannot tell you how much I wish and hope that, someday, someone will unearth an ancient tablet describing a group of hardcore Homer nerds (I picture some of them dressed in homemade Polyphemus and Scylla costumes, because that would be awesome) who waited in line for months to hear a recitation of The Odyssey or something.

I'm only half joking when I say that this should be a serious area of academic inquiry. Obsessive fanboy-itis such a bizarre and powerful part of modern psychology, and I want to know where it comes from.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Gift

Whenever anyone asks me why I'm so willing to resort to fisticuffs in defense of books as the greatest art form in the history of humanity, I say it's because a good book may look like an innocent heap of nouns and verbs at first glance, but then it sneaks up on you like a ninja and stabs you in the face with something like Vladimir Nabokov's description of a simple street:

It rose at a barely perceptible angle, beginning with a post office and ending with a church, like an epistolary novel.

In one sentence he's managed to give you the street you asked for and roundhouse you in the skull with his clever clogs. It's just one sentence plucked from three hundred pages of hotshot dexterity, almost a throwaway there on page two, like the quick flick that bloodies a nose at the beginning of a long kung fu fight. And like the martial arts masters of yore, in that one slight sentence the author reveals his lifetime of training, discipline, education, understanding and anticipation of human nature, and pure, mind-boggling talent. This is a man who spent his youth behind the bleachers making out with every foxy bit of language and literature he could get his hands on. With tongue. Ok, I'm mixing my martial arts and sex metaphors here, but it's an accurate reflection of my personal experiences with the very best books in the world: I'm seduced, assassinated, and reborn all at once.

(P.G. Wodehouse knocks me out with clockwork regularity, too, although within this kung fu analogy he's more like Sammo Hung, the harmless-looking doofy dork who couldn't address a serious topic if you put a gun to his head and started counting backwards from five, but who nevertheless lays you out with his relentless superhuman moves.)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Nicholas Shakespeare

I just flipped through a bit of a novel called The Dancer Upstairs by Nicholas Shakespeare. S'pretty good so far. I would put him on par with John Le Carré or someone like that. Solid work. I'll read the whole book later on down the road, but not right this second.

You know what I'm gonna say.

I cannot even begin to wrap my head around being a contemporary English writer saddled with the surname Shakespeare, having to maintain a professional countenance and not get stressed out that each manuscript you produce is simply not Hamlet. I mean, yeah, on the other hand, when you brush your teeth every morning, you are fully entitled to jab that toothbrush at your reflection and declare "Dadgummit, I AM SHAKESPEARE!" through your mouthful of foam with righteous authority. I would. But somehow I don't think this guy indulges in that kind of thing.