Friday, July 3, 2015

Random Update: LeRage, Snakemeat + Triggers (oh my)

Two-day time-lapse of work-in-progress

Sneaking in a bonus Friday post here: been chipping away at the backlog and have emerged with a good half-year buffer zone of finished Nuggets cartoon panels all cued up + some pre-posts for the blog in draft stage. Feels good going in to another busy summer season - which paradoxically is when there will be another huge upswing in material generated as classroom demos. But the best is when the daily pressure is bled off enough to allow for the fruition of some other projects that have been simmering away on the proverbial back-burner for some time now. Perhaps a more apt metaphor would be that of a crock-pot instead, as I like to think that the time spent incubating such endeavors allows for the a better infusion of aesthetic favors after everything steeps inside of you for a spell. You know what they say about "sleeping on it" - same thing except it sometimes slumbers for months or even years. Hence the value in cultivating a sketchbook repository: the oft-cited "mental mulch-pile" of material. So as of late I've been opening up the horizons a bit more than usual, pushing the boundaries that are basically ruts by now, eroded by constant habit. The inspiration goes hand-in-glove ink-in-pen with constant exposure to the outstanding efforts of aspiring talents within the classroom: it definitely works both ways and as a creative catalyst the energy feeds off itself. Or to look at it another way, one can only see other folks having so much fun focusing their time + energy on longer works before finally saying to oneself "Hey - I wanna do that too!"

One of my subjects during our tenure in Maine, the current governor Paul LePage, recently made a comment to a group of youngsters at a leadership (wtf?) conference that he's like to shoot a particular editorial cartoonist. The son of the cartoonist, George Danby, also happened to be in the audience. The ensuing and appropriate responses recall Mark Twain's adage "Never pick a fight with people who but ink by the barrel," not to mention a looming threat of impeachment. I remember one afternoon while over lunch with an local editorial cartoonist, I jokingly offered to trade Sarah "Crosshairs" Palin for LePage, which he declined. Still a tough call. The Newspaper Guild Communications Workers of America has issued a statement condemning the governor's remarks:
The NewsGuild-CWA and our Maine local are sickened and appalled that any public official would make such a “joke” in any context. To do so at a time when the nation is mourning a mass shooting, and in a year that began with the murder of cartoonists and other journalists at the satirical “Charlie Hebdo” shows the worst possible judgment.
We call on Gov. LePage to make a swift and sincere apology to Mr. Danby and his son. Further, he owes an apology to all journalists for suggesting that violence is the solution to unfavorable news converage. Lastly, he should apologize to his state for once again embarrassing Maine on a national stage.
History suggests he won’t show appropriate regret. We welcome him to prove us wrong.

Meanwhile on the opposite coast, one of my friends from grad school days, Max Clotfelter (see Snake Meat here) migrated to Seattle (previous post w/action shot here), and has been having success ingratiating himself into the local creative community by fast becoming a staple feature in Intruder Comics (website here + Facebook page). Another random sign - posted above - came across my feed with the release of the annual Best of Seattle newspaper poll for the Seattle Weekly,  and to see his name on such a roster of talent is simply awesome. Still really hard to pick a favorite, and here's some linkage to peruse the pages of the other folks: David Lasky, Ellen Forney, Eroyn Franklin, Jim Woodring, Josh Simmons, Kelly Froh, Mattew Inman, Michael Heck, Michael Litven and Peter Bagge. While the merits of such ranking contests is debatable, they do serve to publicize the work of many artists whose work you might not otherwise come across, and along with the big names on this list there are some mighty impressive alternatives from up & coming talents. A big congrats to Max.

Lastly, via BoingBoing comes this dismaying encroachment on academic freedom that touches upon much of the course content that I teach in my own studio classes:
"Tara Shultz, 20, of Yucaipa, CA along with her parents and friends are protesting the inclusion of four award-winning graphic novels that are taught in an English class at Crafton Hills College because they feel they are too violent and pornographic to be read by college students. On Thursday they assembled outside the campus administration building to express their outrage. The four graphic novels are Fun Home by Alison Bechdel; Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1 by Brian Vaughan; The Sandman, Vol. 2: The Doll’s House by Neil Gaiman; and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi"
Fortunately the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is on it, and this escalating issue over "trigger warnings" ought to serve as a warning sign that the erosion of rights and consequent closing of minds is in itself far more obscene than any imagery from a cartoon or comic book.

After all that, in closing here's an action shot of Atticus the Omnipresent Editor, on the job in the studio & doing his part to ensure there's something ridiculous going on in my life at all times.

"I'm Here to Help"

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