Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Self Employment For Bohemians: The Book

I've compiled a collection of the most pertinent and pithy entries on this blog and published it as a book. Part entrepreneurial primer and part swashbuckling memoir with lots of hilarious anecdotes, Self Employment For Bohemians is available for $12.00 plus shipping.
The book offers a lot of nut & bolts advice for freelancers, wound up with tales of my adventures in cartooning, publishing and running a wholesale custom T Shirt shop.
Just like the header on this blog says, if having a regular 9 to 5 job is your idea of a living death, this is the book for you!

Friday, September 25, 2009

El Vocho updates

Today is the fourth day in a row that I'm posted new comics to my El Vocho blog. El Vocho is the name of my upcoming graphic novel, a love story/thriller with a green energy angle. I've been previewing the book on the blog to see if I can't generate a little buzz for it before the print version appears next year. I hadn't posted new material for a few months, as I've been more focused on production than posting.
Earlier this week I had a little fire set under my butt by the great comics news site Comics Reporter -- two days in a row, CR posted links and info to El Vocho and my traffic spiked. The standard blog wisdom would be that you build audience by posting new material on a regular basis. So there you have it.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Foilhead Fashionista

Two people have emailed me since yesterday regarding the appearance of a funny hat in New York during fashion week on a male model. The hat, from designer Thom Browne, looks just like the foil hood that my character Gerald Forge wore in my college comic strip, Aluminum Foil.
Gerald appeared with his side kick Benb for four years in the Massachusetts Daily Collegain. The strip was so popular in it's hey day in the late Seventies that the foil hat became the default Halloween costume for the tripping masses at UMass (yup, the late 70s saw Halloween become a three day psychedelic bacchanal at the UMass, Amherst campus).
Was Thom Browne even alive then?! Who knows. But I got a huge kick out of seeing Gerald's doppleganger on the runway. The only thing missing was a GIANT DOOBIE OF STINKY BUD!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Conservative Dopes Duped Again! Anti-Healthcare March

I quote from "internews UK" as follows:

Thousands of people have marched across Washington DC in protest against government spending and president Barack Obama's healthcare reforms.

The protest on Saturday stretched for blocks across the US capital, bringing together a number of groups organised by the conservative Freedom Works Foundation.

So, what is the "Freedom Works Foundation"? A buncha lobbyists funded by big biz? Something along those lines no doubt. Once again, regular folks who identify as "conservative" have been duped by lobbyists and big business to do their dirty work for them. This reminds me of the masses of working class and lower middle class folks who went over to the dark side to vote for Ronald Reagan. They were fooled into identifying with the ruling elites, cloaked in the myth of the "rugged individual". These regular folks voted conservative, against their best interests as the rich plunder the treasury with tax give away legislation, military spending and other programs that help the rich and leave the rest of the population scrambling for health care, jobs, housing, education and the basic services that a just government should foster.
You can't fool all the people all the time, but man it's sad to see regular working folks played for suckers by slick rich vampire lobbyists and entrenched fat cat scumbags who have not worked an honest day in their life. Sure, the fat cats work hard, but it's all about beating the life blood out of the masses.

Monday, September 07, 2009

You Can't Do That

One of my favorite early Beatles numbers is “You Can't Do That”, a splendid burst of churning guitars (it's as if the Talking Heads based their first two albums on this one song!) wherein John Lennon lets loose with a snarling, jealous diatribe at a girl who entertains other suiters besides him. It's an almost perfect Rock & Roll song—short, to the point, emotionally potent, if not a bit too angry. The two guitars interweave so as to enhance and bring to a boil the tension the narrator feels. George never really takes a formal solo so much as he pitches the rhythm to the bursting point, giving vent to the Lennon's frustrated, angry young man.

You Can't Do That. It's a great four words, a message we've all given or received, to and from family, friends, co-workers, lovers and enemies. Often it's not spoken, but implied in a million subtle and not so subtle ways.

About a year ago, I started playing guitar in earnest after occasionally noodling around it with for almost 30 years. I'd owned a couple, played friends guitars, even sat in with buddies for some atonal plucking, but I'd never really dug in and applied myself before.

As a career cartoonist, I've devoted most spare moments of my life to slapping ink on paper with passion and gusto. I've put out plenty of comic books and graphic novels and gained a certain notoriety. All my life it's been pretty clear to me that I came to the planet to write and draw comics. However, due to a confluence of forces, I was utterly compelled last year at the age of 51 to embrace singing and playing in earnest.

I've been playing in a “Oaxacabilly” band of expats here in Oaxaca. We get together Thursday nights and play country, blues, rockabilly, rock & roll and yes some sappy pop ballads too. The biggest fun for me is singing and playing my own tunes, of which I've written a few. The words come easy for me, the chords I just grab from basic blues and country blues progressions.

Which brings us back to You Can't Do That. I'm intensely na├»ve and the king of the faux paux to boot. So it was surprising to me that my friends and family, among others, have less than no interest in hearing me caterwaul and hack away at the guitar! Who woulda thought?! And so it is that I realize, here I am, just another mid-career indie cartoonist with a musical penchant, doomed to croon away in my garage. Well, there is the Thursday night band, and the fact that I'm having an insane amount of fun with this music stuff. All in all, I can't complain, but I have learned my lesson—I ain't gonna go outa my way to make anyone listen to my tunes! Except of course, anyone reading this blog can go ahead and play the video to Ballad of the Bug by clicking on the link here, and heading over to You Tube for a listen. It's a song I wrote with my pal Todd Spiehler, and hell I think it's good--but I would, wouldn't I?