Good Birthday, Mark!

I'm so fucking tired of this Happy Birthday shit and someone getting paid every time it's sung in a movie. Fuck that. Right, Mark!? So instead, I'm writing you a new song that hopefully will be used in movies and I'll get paid like $75 each time.

Good Birthday to you!

Good Birthday to you!

Good Birthday, Dear Mark!

Good Birthday to you!

Fuck....Yeah!

You're real present is me sending your sketchbook back to you this week. I hope you had another to use for DC. Otherwise you're going to have to kill me.

Love you, Paul

Lost Girls – Alan Moore

Cory graciously gave me this massive tome for my birthday. It relates the story of three women who, in the shadow of WWI, rediscover themselves in the exchanging of tales of their childhood sexual awakenings. The three are actually Alice, Dorothy, and Wendy of Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, and Peter Pan, and it seems that those stories were actually metaphors for the pedophilic and often incestuous exploits. The comic is suppose to be erotica but simply reads as porn to me. The distinction between the two terms? Porn, to me, has a heavier emphasis on anonymous group sex with absolutely no repercussions such as pregnancy, emotional discomfort, or diseases. Quick question: isn’t Moore, the one who is writing this tale of three characters he didn’t create, but turned into promiscuous, sexual taboo breaking, insatiable bisexuals, without the slightest permission to do so, the same guy who rants about the horrors of companies he willingly and knowingly sold his own writings to having the audacity of modifying those writings? Lost_Girls

Oliver VII - Antal Szerb

Mark Beta gave me this novel, translated from the Hungarian original, for my birthday (Mark Beta is a Magyar at heart). It revolves around King Oliver VII of Alturia who is exiled after a "coup" (there is a reason for the quotes) and attempts to experience "real life" (those quotes are self-evident). Unfortunately, this involves his participation in a confidence scheme wherein he must play the unlikely role of the exiled ruler of Alturia. Written in 1942, and filled with humor and poignant statements on the roles we are all forced/born to play, I wonder if the Fascists liked it as much as I did? Oliver_VII

Harry Potter: And the Half-Blood Prince

Peter and Nick took me to see this at two AM. The beginning had some pretty good 3D effects (it was at the IMAX) and I kind of wanted the whole move to be that way. I think this was my favorite of the movies, as it really focused on inter-character relationships. This was also the reason half the theater hated it. If you are a real HP fan, and read the books, then you would appreciate it. If, however, you've just seen the movies and were looking for action, then prepare to be disappointed as even the climatic, action-packed ending was rather anti-climatic due to lack of action. potter

Late B-Day Party

I and twenty-five others somehow managed to fit into the back room of Perdition (the bar in NYC between 48-49th street, not the afterlife between Heaven and Hell) the other night to celebrate the greatest person ever: me. OK maybe he isn't the greatest, but I have known him all my life and he's a good guy (read: Geek!). To all who made it, thanks for coming, I hope you had as good a time as I, and that you got home sooner than the ten hours before I did. Those that missed it, you suck and should be destroyed but I love you all anyway (I'm just not IN love with you all).

Why My After Life Sucks

Click to enlarge

Happy birthday, Mark!

What? Mark's birthday was weeks ago? Well, better late than never---which I should know, because I'm still waiting on Mark to make a comic for my birthday.

With this comic, Mark has now appeared in more of my comics than I have. And his mother is a close runner up.

Drawing Board This one took awhile to do, largely because I couldn't really decide how to lay it out. I'm still unhappy with the pacing. The set up takes too long (the first 1/3rd of the comic). I tried to shorten it to 2 panels, but it just didn't quite work. Because that took longer, I had to cut out some of the (admittedly weaker) panels, which truncates the "exploration" of other ideas. And then the final panel/ending is too quick, but it isn't really enough for two panels. So the whole thing seems mis-timed.

I attempted the checkerboard pattern that Mark suggested a few comics ago (alternating black and white panels), and it's not as distracting as I thought it would be. And I also added some grey tones to aid with depth as Paul suggested a few comics back (via thin black lines, since true grey tones don't reproduce well). The "greys" didn't work quite as well, but I think that's because I didn't use them as effectively as I could have.

For the longest time, I had no idea what to call this comic. I tried all kinds of plays on the word "death." It wasn't until I thought of "afterlife" that the title became obvious, as Why My Life Sucks is the name of Mark's infamous comic series.

Almost There (with the Hard-Traveling Hero)

Click to enlarge.

Drawing Board

What do you know: two semi-scatalogical comics in a single month both squarely aimed at satisfying the need to avoid buying real gifts for birthday buddies.

Or, put more succinctly: Happy Birthday, Paul!

The idea for this one came to me about the time I realized that I had only a few weeks left before Paul's birthday (April 2). Originally, I was planning for it to be a typical panel comic. But I realized that it might be more clever to have photos (which Paul is notorious for taking) and a map (which I assume he sometimes uses in his travels). I thought about creating a collage with an actual road map and actual pictures, but I reckoned it might be a lot more work than it appeared on first consideration; and besides, I needed to show Paul that his adventures could become comics.

It came out okay, although I definitely need to work on my exterior drawings. In case any of the panels are unclear (which they seem to me): That's Jungle-cutting Paul, Sahara-crossing Paul, spelunking Paul, breast-stroke Paul, mountain-climbing Paul, skydiving Paul, and bladder-bursting Paul.

And just for your birthday: I spelled "travelling" with one "l."

Man Without Peer

Daredevil: Jerk Click to enlarge.

Drawing Board Happy Birthday, John!

A few years ago, I pointed out that Daredevil sure seems to get beaten up a lot. Well, as you can see from this comic, the reason DD gets beaten up is because he's a real jerk.

As any true fan will instantly recognize, this comic is based on "classic" Daredevil covers. When John and I were young, we collected comics, and we loved them so much that we hung dozens of our most prized possessions on our bedroom walls like fine art. We'd stare at our valuable treasures for hours as the sunlight and poor packaging slowly degraded them before our innocent eyes. As we got older, we'd sometimes try to copy (or make fun of) the artwork of some of our favorite (and not-so-favorite) artists. This comic is both an homage to some of those cool covers and a fond remembrance of days gone by. Probably only John will appreciate it, which is why it's a birthday gift to him.

I drew this comic freehand, while looking intently at the original covers. If you look closely, you'll see how far off my version is from the original, as well as how many shortcuts I took. It's a little disappointing, but given that I was drawing at about 1/5 to 1/4 of the original size, I think I came reasonably close.

I drew this all out in pencil on tracing paper, where I worked out all the kinks. Even so, it was difficult to get everything to fit, which is why the characters break through the panels in several instances.

Click to enlarge.

With the sketch finished, I used a lightbox to trace the image onto Bristol paper while cleaning up some of the problem areas. Then I inked it all using pens. I would have liked to have used a brush, but the details are just too fine and my brush skill too brutish.

Click to enlarge.

Next, I scanned the image into Photoshop, colored the whole thing, and cleaned up the lettering. (That makes it sound quick, but this was a time-intensive project. The whole thing took many days.) I knew that I was going to re-do the lettering. The only reason that I hand-lettered the original was so that I could give John the artwork. I got done earlier than expected; John's birthday is April 18.

Here are the original covers. For some reason, I can't seem to find that last one.

Mark's Life as Literature

mark martyr click to enlarge

Yes, another year has come and gone. Happy birthday, Markie!

Drawing Board

Concept Obviously, was inspired by the need to do something for Mark's birthday as well as his excellent cartoon series, My Life as Literature; oh and the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, too, but let's stay focused on what's important.

I wanted to give it a bit of a feel of Medieval texts (hence the initial part of the title) as well as some Medieval art (hence the pseudo-triptych and the faux landscape).

Layout Lately I've been doing a lot of layout work in Photoshop, but I decided that it would be nice to have an actual piece of paper that I could give Mark. So, except for the word balloons, this is all sketched out on a single sheet of Bristol. I even wanted to do the lettering on the page as well, but as you can see from what lettering I did do, I probably made the right choice. I originally had additional text that made even more fun of poor Mark, but the image was getting pretty cluttered. I almost dropped the first guard's balloon, since it doesn't really flow well, and probably only Mark will appreciate it.

Inking Lately I've mostly been using a brush, but this comic had so much small detail that I decided to use a pen instead. The large black areas were filled in using Photoshop.

Crap. I just noticed a typo in the comic. Guess I'll clean that up later....

299

So this is the birthday present that I intended to give John back in April. But then I had a little bout with an appendectomy. And then I got lazy for a good long time. So, roughly 8 months late, here it is. This was an idea that John came up with, I just did all the heavy lifting. Really, this is the kind of comic that makes you think how ridiculous cartooning really is. It may take you all of 5 seconds to read this thing. It took me about 5 days to make it. Something is very very wrong. Click to enlarge:

299

Happy Birthday, John!

Happy Birthday to long-time friend and ArmzRace co-founder, John Reeves. My original plan was to have a spiffy new cartoon ready for John's b-day, but general laziness and a surprise appendectomy (more details on my wifey's blog) foiled my gift giving.

And just to show that I am good for it, here's a look at birthday gifts past:

Happy Birthday, buddy!

(And here's a little cartoon about John that remarkably parallels my own experience this weekend.)

Let's Level About Daredevil

Happy (Early) Birthday, John! You must not show this comic to your children. And it's probably best to leave the wife out, too.

click on image to see the full disgrace
Let's face it: you have to be a special kind of crazy to choose Daredevil as your role model. DD started as the poor man's Spider-man, except they stripped him of superpowers, they stripped him of his sight, and they stripped him of any fashion sense. And if that weren't enough, they went and made his alter ego, Matt Murdock, a member of that most respected of professions: a lawer. Is it any wonder that everyone in the Marvel Universe took a turn at beating the crap out of him? Just take a look at some of the covers in Daredevil's illustrious publication history. Do you see what I see? On the covers of his own magazine, DD is getting his clocked cleaned about 50% of the time.
Again...
...and again...

...and again...

...and again...

...and again...

Do you understand what that means? That means seeing DD get pummelled is a selling point. People read Daredevil comics because they like beating up on the cripple---it makes them feel good. And not just bad guys, the good guys do it, too! The Submariner came all the way from freaking Atlantis to put the hurt on DD. It made no sense, but it was a great smackdown.

Even at Daredevil's high point, under the artistic direction of cool-kid Frank Miller, the humiliation continued:

Miller gave Daredevil a girlfriend who kicked his ass. (Okay, I guess we've all been there, but still...)

DD's whipping-boy status doesn't just rest on his obvious shortcomings, but also for his lesser known foibles. Let's look at some of the features that make him a complete joke:

  • Daredevil's main weapon is a cane. That's right: a cane.
  • Like Batman, DD once carried a full arsenal. And what did his weaponry include? Was it Daredevil bombs? Was it Daredevil armor? DD-arangs? Nope. A microphone and a roll of aluminum foil (hidden in his cane, naturally).
  • Daredevil---a blind superhero---has a major villain named "Purple Man." Think about it for a minute:

Cop: There he is, Daredevil! The purple one! DD: Got him! Cop: Dude, I said the purple one. DD: But, but...

  • His alter-ego, Matt Murdock, once went into hiding by "disguising" himself as his fictitious twin brother. And people say Clark Kent's glasses are dumb.
  • You can't hide from Daredevil, because he can...um...smell you all the way across town.
  • Daredevil once teamed up with world-famous spoon-bender Uri Geller.
  • And in case those tidbits don't convince you, Daredevil was played on the silver screen by none other than Ben Affleck.

Like I said: complete joke.

And anyone who'd choose DD as their hero, well they'd have to be a complete joke too, right?

But here's the thing. Yeah DD gets the crap beaten out of him again and again; but he shows up for the fight. He shows up for every damn one of them. And yeah, he'll fall down if you hit him with a 2 x 4. And yeah, he'll spend a month or two in the hospital as a result. But he'll come back and punch your ass through a window, you illiterate piece of shit.

So yeah, DD is a complete joke with no sight, no dignity, and no respect.

But that just means DD ain't got nothing left to lose. And a man with nothing to lose? That's a man without fear.

And, brother, those are the baddest motherfuckers of them all.

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Happy Birthday, John! -------------------------------------------------
*Daredevil is the property of an evil, souless corporation that doesn't have 1/10th the love for the character that I do. Nevertheless, they do OWN the property, not me---in case that was in any way unclear. This parody falls under fair use. And even if I were to make any money on this obvious forgery, which I emphatically will not, it would all just go to buy more Marvel Comics, Inc.-Brand funnybooks anyway. So there.