Free Pancakes on National Pancake Day!

28 February, 2006 at 10:31 pm (comics, dear diary)

Free Pancakes on National Pancake Day!

On February 28, 2006 from 7 AM to 2 PM IHOPs across the country will celebrate National Pancake Day (also known as Shrove Tuesday) by offering our guests a free short stack of pancakes*. This is going to be our biggest one day celebration in our history.

National Pancake Day has a rich history that stretches back centuries and has always been a time of celebration. National Pancake Day always falls on Fat Tuesday and this year it will be a celebration at IHOP.

* Limit one free short stack per guest. Valid for dine-in only, no to go orders. Not valid with any other offer, special, coupon, or discount. Valid at participating restaurants only, while supplies last.

Pancakes! FREE PANCAKES! I LOVE PAMCAKES!

However, a) I only just found out about this, and b) there are an insufficient number of local IHOPs in my vicinity.

So I cannot have IHOP pancakes, and shall have to make my own. Because since I leanred about this, I have to have pancakes for dinner. Which means that I have to do the dishes. Damncakes.

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Holy Crap, Batman

14 February, 2006 at 4:16 am (batman, comics)

Full-sized Lego model of Batman, ganked from THE BEATA final Bat-comment: I haven’t read Frank Miller’s All-Star Batman and Robin; I’ve skimmed it. I’ve skimmed the first issue, which featured some ludicrous dialogue, and some ludicrous artwork. Jim Lee is well-renowned for the hyper-idealized physiques of his figure work, which are rippling and sexual and refined in a superheroic sort of way. I have grown to find them both stiff and tiresome, despite the fact that are technically quite excellent. Issue number one featured a two page — ahem! — spread of Vicki Vale getting dressed, and the third issue pushed the veil of irony even further by having a lengthy T&A segment starring a woman who beats up a bunch of guys after growing past tired of being objectified. There’s some interesting writing going on prior to this last sequence, because Miller can’t avoid playing arround with narrative structure. But because I’ve only skimmed it, I can’t honestly say that it justifies the rest of the OTT schtick.

Miller’s Batman: Year One and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns are the conceptual and thematic bookends of the contemporary Batman mythos, and so one naturally wants to give Miller the benefit of the doubt when it comes to redefining and reinterpreting the character for the current generation and reflecting the current worldview. His Dark Knight follow-up, Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again was worrisome, and All-Star is baffling, but this newest press release seems to indicate that the premiere bat-scribe has gone bat-shit crazy.

During his WonderCon panel, Frank Miller discussed his next graphic novel. Once again, Miller returns to the world of the Batman, this time with Holy Terror, Batman!. Though the title plays with Robin’s classic catchphrase, the book deals with a serious subject. Gotham has been attacked by Al Qaeda and Batman sets out to defend the city he loves. The book, which Miller has inked through 120 pages, is expected to run roughly 200 pages total.

Miller proudly announced the title of his next Batman book, which he will write, draw and ink. Holy Terror, Batman! is no joke. And Miller doesn’t hold back on the true purpose of the book, calling it “a piece of propoganda,” where ‘Batman kicks al Qaeda’s ass.”
IGN, 12 February 2006

Batman fights the original, pre-Crisis Axis of EvilThe justification for this is that Batman and DC superheroes have always been vehicles for American public sentiment, and that Batman fought Tojo and Hitler in the 1940s, and he should continue to participate in American martial wish-fulfillment. However, due to my current faith in Miller’s “satirical” edge or his ability to judge what core aspects of a character woudl appeal to a contemporary audience — and again, I haven’t closely read this stuff, I am going merely upon impressions gleaned from skimming — I predict that this book is going to be a massive train wreck. Back in the hype height of Sin City, it was anecdotally suggested that Miller was going to write and illustrate a comic about the life of Jesus, and comicdom went nuts! It was thought that this was going to be boundary-pushing, inventive, dangerous stuff, and the collective were eager for some daring, provocative stuff. I see now that this current Batman vs. Osama comic is born out of the same envelope-pushing sensationalist instinct, and I hope it comes to a similar nonexistent fruition.

Also? There’s already a comic called Batman: Holy Terror. Calling a book “Holy Terror, Batman!” therefore loses a significant amount of its punch.

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Calvin and Hobbes

4 May, 2005 at 5:46 pm (comics, webjunk)

Along the lines of the Gillen film, this is another digital project I’ve been planning on getting ’round to for quite some time. However, while the Gillen footage was taken in November of 2002, I clipped the original version of this from the newspaper almost ten years ago. Long before I knew of a computer program that would allow me to animate pictures, I knew not only that there had to be one but that one would eventually come into my possession. Thank goodness for free scanner software and Adobe Elements, for I can now animate GIFs to my heart’s content.

Bill Watterson has been very outspoken about controlling licensed and unlicensed reproduction of his creations, and with the recent announcement of the publication of The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, a number of C&H archives have disappeared from the web. I don’t begrudge either Watterson or Andrews McMeel the right to control their product, and I repoduce the following strip only as reference and context for the following animated image. After all, while I assume and hope that Watterson assumed and hoped that people would cut out these images and paste them onto three by five cards and staple them together into a flipbook, scanning them into Photoshop Elements, making the slightly uneven squares match, and making a digital flipbook is much the same impulse.

Calvin and Hobbes strip from 18/06/05.  Reproduced with respect, but without permission.

Stick Figure Natural Selection

And rest assured that I will be plonking down a hundred and fifty dollars in October when that gorgeous behemoth hits shelves.

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Motivational Punishment

2 March, 2005 at 7:28 pm (comics, webjunk)

From AllPosters.com:

Sorry, PUNISHER has been discontinued... how about a nice CAPTAIN AMERICA poster?

It doesn’t surprise me that someone has discontinued the above Punisher Motivational Poster. It also fails to surprise me that someone in Marvel’s increasingly omnipresent marketing department — I’m not willing to track down the webpage of the new venture partnership they’ve embarked upon where one can pay for Marvel Superhero Clip Art — thought it was a good idea to to have a gun-toting, skull-wearing vigilante on a cubicle-sized motivational poster.

No, that sort of appalling ignorance is in perfect keeping with the sort of marketing folks that create children’s action figures based upon characters in Rated-R movies. And I’m not even talking about the MacFarlane Toys line, as those action figures are primarily designed for adult collectors, no I’m talking about the vintage TERMINATOR 2 action figures and the like, before the “Grown-Up” Toy Market really ballooned. Marketing execs are soulless freaks, embodying a particular combination of fierce imagination and total lack of social awareness. And besides, the Punisher was in a recent film (although the poster has been around for about two years) and is therefore a recognizeable commodity.

No, what really gets me is that someone felt that a Captain America Motivational Poster about patriotism would be a suitable substitution for the sort of person who would be buying a Punisher Motivational Poster in the first place. That’s just mind-boggling.

By the way, the “motivational” text on the Punisher poster is as follows: “To fight when others fold, pursue while others retreat, conquer while others quit, and make right when all else is wrong.”

Woo! Makes me want to buckle down and improve my corporate efficiency rating, I tellya!

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Arlo and Albert

10 November, 2004 at 6:04 pm (comics)

It's like Alan Moore's SWAMP THING all over again...w00t! Got name-checked in Jimmy Johnson’s daily ARLO & JANIS website, in which he shares thoughts about the world, the cartooning process, and the context behind some of of his strips. And, most wondrously, he reprints a few archival strips each weekday, so not only do web-savvy readers get the ordinary daily dose of A&J, but about three to five additional blasts from the past.

A few months ago Mr. Johnson announced that he was taking requests for strips, and I had already sent in a request prior to that, with a nice little caveat about “I don’t know if you take requests, but…” It seemed too quick to fire off the same request, so I waited until what seemed like the appropriate time. It wasn’t until he mentioned that some sequences where he abandoned traditional structure and went off on a tangent from the ordinary “family-friendly” comic strip format, that I felt I could do so. For it was this very aspect that got me to read the strip regularly, after finding a truly bizarre sequence where Arlo takes a break from appearing in the strip and has an alligator stand in for him. Really good cartooning, he mentions POGO in the commentary, and I get an online shout-out; what could be better?

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Original Speed

13 July, 2002 at 8:48 pm (comics)

I have received a second package of original artwork from the comic book Finder by Carla Speed McNeil. Speed always includes a couple of sketches or roughs with every mail order, and they are about as helpful of a resource to an amateur comic book artist as any text could be. The ability to compare the roughs to the actual finished art to the reproduced art on the printed page tells volumes about technique, detail, evocation, and reproduction.

My first order of original artwork is a major source of pride, and one that I can’t help but show off to any guests or visitors. It consists of the first two pages to a short story called “Counting Coup”, the title being a theme she has explored at various points over the entire series. Finder is the comic book I give to people who don’t read comic books. It is currently the standard against which I judge all other works.

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