Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A Random Thought for a Random Day ...

This week, instead of an Eddie/Kurt/Layne comic, I decided to do a “Random Memories” one. There are two reasons for this, one is because I haven’t done one in awhile and the other, I will get to in a bit.

Of all the strips that I have done (this is my 20th), the ones that get the most feedback are the Random Memories. I’m not sure why, but they seem to resonate most with the people who read the strip. In fact, I was thinking of focusing solely on them, but I think they’re a dish best served once in awhile … like cookie dough ice cream.

There’s cookie dough ice cream on the web now? Really? Let me see … Uhmm, sorry Sport, there isn’t any real ice cream on the web, just a lame comparison between a comic strip and America’s favorite frozen dairy product. If you want to check out the virtual ice cream though, be my guest at www.room19comics.com

Anyhow, I’ve been telling this story for years, so if you’ve known me for long enough, chances are that you’ve heard it before. The thing is people seem to dig it, so I’m more than happy to illustrate for this page. The best part is that this is a true story, though I’ve made Buck a bit more of a blowhard than he really was.

A couple of quick things about the freshman baseball team:

We had about 30 guys on the team at the beginning of the year and we whittled it down to about 27 by the last game. And that wasn’t because of cuts, the town that I grew up in, Amesbury, MA, had a rule that no one can get cut off a team. So, just about half the boys in my grade went out. Like I said, three or four got knew that they sucked and they quit, but the rest of us stayed on, hanging out and playing ball.

The problem was, we all sucked. And since there were so many guys on the team, there were times when our focus was lacking. This caused us to do a bunch of stupid stuff that pissed Buck off to no end. There was one kid (who actually was our best pitcher) who would leave in the middle of practice, run across the street to buy a bag of donuts and then come back to tempt us with them. He would stand behind a fence and say, “Who wants a jelly? Who wants a crueller?”

It was like we never saw food before, the practice would stop and everyone would run over to the fence literally begging for a donut. Buck would go insane, calling us “Fucking Ethiopians” and start peppering the fence with frozen ropes (he was in the Brewer’s minor league system for a few years prior to this and could hit the ball harder than anyone I had ever seen). This would send us all scattering back to our positions.

It’s not as if Buck was completely blameless in these stories. Buck loved to chew tobacco, just loved it. He always had a chaw in his mouth, and he regularly gave dips out to anyone on the team that asked for it. Especially to our backup shortstop who’d take a dip, swallow the juice and puke behind the backstop. He did this three or four times, and every time Buck would laugh like a maniac.

This one day my friend Ray Arthur and I were playing catch in the outfield, Buck comes up to us, “Arthur, Magrane … you wanna dip?” We said no and he said, without missing a beat, “You guys are fucking pussies.” The thing is, he was probably right, but at that time in my life I wasn’t planning on ingesting any sort of tobacco product, drinking alcohol or doing any kind of drugs. Less than six months later, I fell off that wagon.

Also, Buck loved making the fattest kid on the team run. I mean, this literally brought an ear-to-ear grin to his face. At the end of every practice, he’d hit everyone a pop up. After we shagged it, we were to run in and stand next to him as he hit another teammate a pop up. By chance one day, the fat kid on our team (Derek Garvey, who was jut morbidly obese and an all-around dick) was the last kid to get a pop up. Buck looked at the rest of the team and with a huge smile said, “Watch me make the fat fuck run.”

With that, he launched a ball into orbit that had to go over 320 feet on the fly and continued to roll for another 100-120 feet. There was no fence in right field, so the ball just kept going and going. As Garvey ran, the rest of us just laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed. It really couldn’t have happened to a nice person. Anyway, he stopped coming to practice after that.

As things happen in life, I saw Buck about 10 years later at the local gym. He was still living in Amesbury (less than a half mile from my folks) and was a real nice guy. He came up to me and asked me if I was Byron Magrane and wondered if I remembered him. Of course I did, you don’t forget a dude like that. We talked a lot about the old team and he’d always laugh when I brought up a story and he was seemed interested in where everyone ended up in life.

I saw him a bunch of times over the next few months to a year and he always said hello and stopped to chat. He was a pretty cool guy to talk to and looking back, he was a cool guy to play ball for.

Oh yeah, the other reason why I went with a Random Memory instead of the normal cast of characters. Last week I really screwed the pooch on the strip. Everything was too small, from the layout to the wording … people didn’t know what was said, what Eddie was doing in the first panel (for the record, he was slamming his fist into his open palm) and the whole thing was a mess. And despite checking the spelling of Nietzsche three fucking times, I still spelled it wrong in the strip.

I’m sorry for posting a craptastic cartoon last week. I tried to hype it up a bit in last week’s Blog entry, but I guess it just didn’t work. I guess we’re allowed to have a clunker every now and then, and that was mine. Trust me, this week’s strip is much better. And I’m sorry if you’re new the site and that was your introduction … read the archives and stick around for the next few weeks and you will definitely see better pieces.

Before I forget, beginning on Friday, I will be in San Antonio, so unless I have a computer in my hotel room, there is absolutely no way I’m going to be able to update this space. Next Tuesday, I’ll be home for about five hours before I go to class, so hopefully, I will have a longer entry then.

And if you’re really looking for long entries, check out last Wednesday’s entry where I review five books … it’s really pretty good.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Byron’s Belated Bookmobile

Quick note: if you're looking for the cartoon blog, it's right below this entry.

One of the things about life is that it gets in the way of other things. During the last six weeks I’ve had the whole wedding thing, the honeymoon, two classes, the comic strip, a search for a new home and other miscellaneous stuff that pops up. That really hasn’t left me a lot of time to write in my Blog, which, in the grand scheme of things, is ok because it’s better to live life than to just wish that you had a life to live.

An enjoyable part of blogging was writing about the books that I had just read and for the most part, I did a good job of keeping up with the writing with the reading. But, as I said, the last month and a half was a busy one, so I haven’t been. Because of the honeymoon and the relative ease of the subject matter of the books that I chose, I was able to burn through five in little over a month. The one book that I’m reading now is over 600 pages of meticulously researched book on the life of Howard Hughes. It’s really good stuff and I will be writing about it soon.

For now, I offer you the five things I’ve read since I last wrote a book review.

1. “Superstud” by Paul Feig.

If you’ve read “Kick Me”, seen “Freaks and Geeks” or “Undeclared” you know who Paul Feig is. He created and wrote the two TV shows as well as the book.

Basically this book is about Feig’s life as a teenager growing up in the early 80s in suburban Michigan. While “Kick Me” is more about his day-to-day trials with popularity, bullies and other teen age potholes, “Superstud” is about one thing, women. Specifically how Feig both loved and was afraid of them.

And for 90% of boys, that’s how it was growing up. Most of us didn’t take the fear as far as Paul did, he ended up having sex at 24, but guys always viewed girls with a mix of lust and mystery. He goes into cringe-worthy detail about his first time he masturbated, his first date, his first kiss, his first girlfriend and his first break up.

After rereading the last sentence, I thought, “Why would anyone want to know about this guy’s first anything, I don’t even know him.” But, it’s better than that because Feig is an expert story teller who is able to be self-effacing and damn funny in just about every story he tells. He also has a bit of wistful nostalgia and pocks his stories with that twinge of teenage uncertainty that pervades every person’s mind when they’re about to grow up.

Feig doesn’t sugar coat things and try to save face with the reader by making believe that his teenage years were ideal and that he enjoyed being a geek. He seems to be really embarrassed by some of his travails and in one chapter begs the reader to skip over the coming ten pages. All in all, it’s a terrific book and one can only wonder how many of these stories would’ve let up the small screen if FOX and NBC weren’t idiots and cancelled his brilliant shows after one season.

2. ”Hustle: The Myth, Life and Lies of Pete Rose” by Michael Sokolove.

There aren’t many people in the world that I dislike more than Peter Edward Rose. I think he’s a cheat, a narcissist and a total scam artist that has hurt baseball more than anyone in the last 50 years. This book does little to change my opinion, but it does bring me into a better understanding of a man whom I just don’t like.

Written in 1988 and updated in 2005, Sokolove did a tremendous job researching how Rose grew up and cut away the bullshit American myth of Pete Rose being all about, “Mom, baseball and apple pie”. About the only truth to that cliché is the baseball part. Aside from impressing his dad, Pete Rose didn’t give a shit about anyone except himself. Time after time after time, Sokolove shows how Rose would lie and manipulate everyone from his teammates to his family to the media to better Pete Rose’s life.

Essentially, he was a bullshitter’s bullshitter. You know most of the stories; the gambling, the not getting along with teammates, the never ending search for one more dollar. All of those stories are told here, though probably not for the first time.

There are three anecdotes that I took away from this book, two of them are surprisingly positive.

One was the way Rose stuck to his convictions when it came to hanging out with the black ball players when he was a rookie. Most of Rose’s teammates hated him, in fact the nickname “Charlie Hustle” was said by Mickey Mantle as a mean-spirited joke. The only clique in the clubhouse that liked Pete was Vada Pinson, Frank Robinson and the other black players, and they felt sorry for him.

As Pete became more and more famous, he was told by everyone; the manager, the general manager, his white teammates, even his father, not to hang around with the black guys … it just wasn’t the thing to do. Pete told them all to stick it and continued his friendship with them. This is one case where his stubbornness was a good thing.

Another interesting story is when Pete showed up to his first day of minor league ball. Basically he hopped off the train, showed up at the ballpark at 1 pm (the game was at night) and pretty much jumped the fence and began hitting. When his manager asked who the hell he was, he stuck out his hand and said, “I’m Pete Rose, your new second baseman.”

That kind of self-confidence is rare in a person and is something that I wish that I had. If there is one thing that I want to instill in my children, it’s that.

The third is an example of what a prick he was, but keeps the themes of self confidence and stubbornness. During the 70s, whenever a Red was selected as player of the game, he got a bonus from the radio station that covered the team. Every guy put the bonus in a pot and at the end of the year, the Reds had a pretty big party. Not Pete, as far as he was concerned, it was his money and he kept it.

Yes, there is something to say for individualism, but that has a time and a place. While baseball is the most individualized of team sports, it’s not golf or tennis. You need your teammates to pick you up. Pete never realized that and is one of the main reasons (along with his stubbornness and misplaced self confidence) why he still remains out of the game that he loves so much.

3. “Now I Can Die in Peace” by Bill Simmons

If you’re reading this and you don’t know who Bill Simmons in, than we don’t have much to talk about. For the uninitiated Simmons is a writer for ESPN.com’s Page 2 that is from Boston and has a supremely pro-Boston slant on things. I’ve been reading him since my old roommate Eddie, emailed me columns of his from back when he had a page on Digital Cities (an old AOL portal).

I know that back in June I swore that I’d never buy another thing about the 2004 World Champion Boston Red Sox. I just have spent way too much green on them and I was done, but since I have no willpower I didn’t stop and I probably won’t stop until I get this. By the way, that would make a great Christmas gift.

In any event, Simmons has gone through all of his old columns and picked out the best 30 or so and jammed them into this book. Most writers with a rabid fan base would probably call it a day and just sit back and count the dollars rolling in. Thankfully, Simmons isn’t like most writers as he jots down hundreds of notes on the sides of each column explaining what he was thinking when he wrote the pieces and when he was mistaken.

Like Simmons has said many times, it’s like a DVD commentary … except in book form. And he’s right. I can honestly say that I’ve read about 95% of everything that he’s written on ESPN.com and Digital Cities, so I’ve seen these articles before. But, it was a lot of fun to go back and read about how pumped he was when the Sox traded for Pedro, signed Manny, the Nomar experience took flight and the craptastic years of 2001 and 2002.

Simmons has always done a fine job of capturing what the every man thinks about sports without being condescending. Honestly, there isn’t much else to say about the book, if you’re a Sox fan, you should get it. If you’re a fan of humorous sports writing, you should pick it up. If you’re just a fan of writing in general (while Simmons does repeat certain ideas, he can turn a phrase), you should buy it … but wait until it comes out in paperback.

4 and 5 “Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs” and “Fargo Rock City” by Chuck Klosterman

Ok. I think that I know a lot about pop culture, but I bow to the feet of the Master, Chuck Klosterman. The first book I read, “Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs” completely blew my mind. Why? Because I didn’t think that it was possible for somebody to write a bunch of well thought out essays on seemingly trivial subjects and get them published.

Klosterman did. And do you know why he got them published? Two reasons: a. he’s passionate about his work (and he’s a hell of a writer) and b. he treated each subject with maturity (and he’s a hell of a writer). There are some hacks who bring up an interesting subject from their childhood, let’s just say the Snorks and will snidely make fun of it while attempting to lionize it.

Klosterman doesn’t do that. He will make fun of himself for liking the subject that he’s writing about, but he doesn’t make fun of the subject itself and that is why he is awesome at what he does and why there a million other Chuck Klosterman wannabes who don’t get it.

As I was reading this on the beach while lying on the beach in Hawaii (ok, I threw that last phrase in there to get you a bit jealous) I kept telling Aly about how this is one of the greatest books that I’ve ever read and how inspired I was by it. And it’s true. Klosterman is the shit. There, I said it. One of the great things about this book is that he doesn’t take any prisoners either. If you don’t get what he’s talking about, or can’t remember the name of Blair’s retarded cousin from “the Facts of Life” (Geri Jewell) too fucking bad, you’re not going to get the theme of the essay.

The best part about it is that much like a college professor who expects you to come to class knowing the material, Klosterman doesn’t care. With his books, you’re expected to bring something to the table. If you don’t, you’re going to be very hungry.

The other book I read, “Fargo Rock City” is a lot like SDACP, however instead of bouncing all over the place with essays on TV shows, books, movies, Klosterman sticks to writing about heavy metal. And he does a great job of lending the genre some sincerity and why it wasn’t as bad as many mainstream critics felt it was.

Basically his take is this, the music from his youth (heavy metal) defines his generation and if you trash the music, you’re really trashing his generation. He’s not about to take that lying down. He isn’t so naïve as to think that Slaughter or Firehouse or Krokus are the Beatles. What he says is that the music reflected the times and like it or not, that’s pretty much the way it is.

Like “Superstud”, Klosterman is able to weave his experiences through the music and is a masterful storyteller. He has another book that I can’t wait to read.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Little Late 19th Century German Philosophy, Slater?

Ok, so I pretty much cribbed this title from “Dazed and Confused” … and if you didn’t know the real quote is, “A little foosball Slater?” said by Wooderson (Matthew McConaughey) to Slater (Rory Cochrane) outside of the Emporium right before Mitch Kramer throws the bowling ball through the car window.

An aside from the comic strip, I just got the “Dazed and Confused” deluxe edition on Friday with a bunch of cut scenes. We (Kim, Jamie, Aly and I) watched them before we put the movie on, and it completely made the movie different.

How? For one thing Benny (Cole Hauser) was more a dick, he calls a couple of Asian kids “gooks” and talks about how the country is going to hell, there was more of a division between the jocks and the stoners, there was a scene where Benny really lays into Pink (Jason London) about quitting the football team and there was a scene were O’Bannon (Ben Affleck) shows up at the Moontower keg party.

These scenes made the flick much more dark, especially the Benny moments. Without his cut scenes, Benny seemed like a good-natured big guy, one of those tough dudes that really was a nice guy. But with the added scenes, he was a xenophobic dick. And it was cool to see Affleck leave the Emporium in a huff, the incoming freshmen winning their battle, if only for the night. With him returning to the party, the paint on the head scene really doesn’t mean too much.

Anyway, the original is a great flick and the new and improved version is pretty cool too, if you have an extra $15, go out and get it. You won’t be disappointed.

Ok, now to my comic strip. I have to admit, when I was plotting this out, I wasn’t really pumped about the art, especially coming on the heels of last week’s entry. Like I’ve said in other entries, after doing the inking, I think that it actually came out pretty good. There’s a few things that I’d change if I had to do it over again, but overall, the art is decent.

What am I talking about? What comic strip? What the hell does plotting mean? Check it out here: www.room19comics.com and all will be revealed.

The bottom line is this; there are some strips that are carried by the art and others that are carried by the writing. This strip falls into the latter category. I think it’s a clever turn on Nietzsche’s philosophies and working the Sox into the mix is always a bit fun. I think that one of the funnier parts of this strip is the juxtaposition of the Sox and something completely unrelated, namely the rantings of a syphilis-filled Friedrich Nietzsche.

When I originally wrote the idea for the strip, I was knee-deep in “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” and really looking for the message behind that book in other areas of entertainment. Although I never said what Eddie said, I was toying with the idea of punctuating all of my sentences with “Thus spoke Byron Magrane”, before realizing that everybody a. wouldn’t get the joke and b. think I was a complete retard or insane, or probably both.

So, I let my alter ego say it with the results happening just as I imagined that they would.

BTW, this is the first week in a while that a t-shirt graphic isn’t an old-school hockey logo. It’s the “A” from the title of the Avengers comic strip. Out of all of the comic logos that I grew up on, the Avengers were the best. I think I like the angled A and the way that there is an arrow in the middle (BTW, that’s where the word “The” was located, as in The Avengers). I’m just throwing that out there … I don’t know what it means in the long run.

I’m hoping that today I can post a book report on the last five books that I’ve read. I am really behind in this, so hopefully you’ll come back and take a peek.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Form of … A Funny Comic Strip

I’ve been thinking about the direction of this strip during the last two weeks. What I’ve decided is that there are three ways that I can go with this strip: I can continue to do college style humor, I can hone in current and past pop culture using these characters that I’ve created (and the Random Memories stuff) or I can do a bit of both until something shakes out.

Last week I did the first type of humor and it worked pretty well. Since I usually use SoSH as a spring board for the strip, I get a lot of feedback there. One of the comments I got was that [last week’s strip] worked because of its simplicity. And I agree, it was a very uncomplicated joke where hubris was the downfall. This week’s joke is a bit more complicated and will probably only hit about half of the audience (if I’m lucky).

Let me say, first off, that this isn’t some Dennis Miller rant that only college professors and fans of 18th Century English Restoration novels will get. I mean, I would wager that most people are aware of the Saturday morning cartoon the Super Friends. And of those people, the Trouble Alert was a main part of the show. However, if there are some older folks who happen upon this corner of the Internet, some real younger people who never got to see that cartoon or people who think comic books are stupid; then this strip will completely suck.

Holy Hannah! What are you blabbering about, Super Fool? Take it easy, Lex and go to www.room19comics.com to see what I mean. There all of your questions will be answered.

I think that’s the risk you take when writing/drawing about a specific genre of pop culture. In the last two months I’ve read two Chuck Klosterman books (“Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puff” and “Fargo Rock City” – two awesome books, BTW … I haven’t gotten around to reviewing them here yet, but I will) and have been plowing through the second and third volumes of the Peanuts cartoons. If you’ve been reading this Blog, then you know about my obsession with the Peanuts characters, but Klosterman is a new obsession.

The guy is a pop culture maven. He seems to remember everything and just throws as much knowledge into every book, article, essay that he can. For those that get the jokes, they really work. For those that don’t you end up feeling a bit stupid (especially if you’re from his generation [Generation X … don’t get me started on that moniker]) and if you miss enough, you get pissed at him and stop reading his stuff.

This is what I’m wrestling with right now, do I stay on the relatively easy track of writing everyman, college stories or do I delve into a more fertile ground of skewering pop culture? On one hand, the everyman college stuff seems to be done to death, I found a web site the other day (Girls and Sports) that is a dead ringer for Room19Comics. From the tone to the settings to each strip’s stories, they could be the exact same thing.

Someone SoSH hipped me to it, and frankly, it scared me. I didn’t think that there were a lot of college-based strips out there, but when I saw one that is almost exactly like mine, it made me reconsider my overall goal.

Don’t misunderstand, turning to a more pop-culture based strip isn’t a knee-jerk reaction, and to be truthful, I’m not even sure if I will do it. However, becoming the Chuck Klosterman of the comic world is an intriguing idea to me. I have an excellent memory when it comes to this stuff and it is something that comes rather easy to me. From the time I saw “Clerks” I wondered how I could do what Kevin Smith and Klosterman and Bill Simmons do. Will it work? Does a comic strip, as a medium, lend itself to that kind of writing? I don’t know … but I hope to find out.

So, to make a long story short, in the coming months expect to see more pop culture related strips and thoughts. If they suck or if you dig them, let me know. I haven’t been getting a large amount of feedback, and this is shameless begging folks, I really need it.

That’s what’s been going on in my brain for the past two weeks, aren’t you glad that I’ve been updating this Blog once a week? Turning to this week’s strip, there are a lot of cool things that I think that I did. In the first panel, I think I did a fine job with the pacing. Again, our dynamic duo are standing at the bus stop just shooting the shit, when Eddie brings up the Super Friends.

And I’ve always wondered about this, whenever the Super Friends wanted to all they had to do was turn on the Trouble Alert (that gigantic TV in their headquarters) and tell it to find the Legion of Doom. It always found them. What I thought was completely uncool is that the Super Friends would watch the LOD do their dirty work and then break into action. Superman, the Flash or the Green Lantern could get to where they need to get in under five seconds. Why don’t they do it?

For some reason, they wait until someone cries for help and then break into action.

Furthermore, who set up all of these cameras? There has to be a way for the Trouble Alert to transfer all of this information to the Hall of Justice, right? Unless it’s an insanely powerful satellite.

So, Eddie and Kurt are talking about this (Eddie, BTW, is wearing a Kansas City Scouts jersey and Kurt is wearing a “Rest in Peace Arrested Development” shirt – I am absolutely crushed about AD getting pulled from the schedule. It’s total bullshit and FOX sucks as do the public that doesn’t support a show like this.)

The second panel could be done a bit better, it’s extremely wordy and could’ve been plotted a bit better. If I could do it again, Kurt would be in the full frame. I guess it could be argued that skewing with the perspective is interesting, I’m not sure.

In the third panel, I’m not wild about the “super pervs” line either, sounds kind of forced. Should Kurt really be that mad at a cartoon? But, in all I think Eddie does a good job of being the straight man here.

The last panel is one of my favorites. I think I did a bang-up job of drawing Batman. It’s not as easy as you think, especially from behind. Also, I enjoy how I set the strip on it’s ear … is it a comic set in real life, is it a comic set in the DC world? Who the hell knows, all I know is that Eddie’s paranoia was rewarded.

And the best part is that I got to make fun of Aquaman. There is no better comic character in the world to rag on than AM, especially the Hanna-Barbera Super Friends version. He’s the best, mainly because he’s such a pussy. You would figure that a guy who ostensibly controls 75% of the world would be tougher, but he’s not. In the comics, they ripped off his hand and replaced it with a hook and made him more mean, but he’s still Aquaman in my book. Also, the WB is coming out with a “Smallville”-esque type Aquaman show for next year.

Anyway, if you’ve been reading 19Thoughts for any length of time, you know how I love to write about him (go through the archive, I hate to pat myself on the back, but it’s really some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever written. I love writing for douche bags.) The last panel has two jokes in one, really: Batman spying on the boys and Aquaman’s horny admission.

So there you go, a long-winded explanation and a meandering meta column. If you’ve read this far, I commend you.

Yahoo! Sucks

For some reason I can't get my Blog which I saved in my Yahoo! account last night ... so half of it is not going to posted here. You can get the whole Blog by clicking on the link below this explanation.

This totally sucks, because it's actually a good update this week.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Hi-jinks and Pratfalls

Today’s comic isn’t usually the way we roll (man, this is my new favorite saying by the way and I am glad I get to use it in the Blog) around here, but I think it’s a good idea to branch out into different types of comedy. Actually, it could be argued that there is really only one branch of comedy on the Room 19 comics tree, but that is left to be debated for another day.

Trees? Comics? Rolls? Mmmmm … cinnamon rolls. What the hell are you talking about? See what everyone is jibber-jabbering about on www.room19comics.com right now. Then come back here and read the rest of this super interesting Blog.

The basic set up for this strip is that young Eddie is getting ready for a night out, probably not a party, perhaps a date. He’s got the clothes, he’s got the shoes and he’s got the cologne. Too bad he’s the same dude we always are when we get dressed up. BTW, the Adidas line was one that I wrestled with for a long time because though he is wearing sneakers, he feels that they’re dress up sneakers. That’s sort of a built-in joke, and one that I actually put in there for my wife.

Quick aside: whenever Aly and I go out, inevitably I say the same thing, “I can wear sneakers right?” She usually says, “Nope. It’s a shoe night.” And I go into a diatribe about how Jerry Seinfeld wears sneakers out and Larry David wears sneakers out. Then she says, “I thought you said Jerry Seinfeld is the worst dresser on TV?” At which point, she’s caught me in my stupid logic and proceed to put on my dress shoes.

The point of that panel is (and is a microcosm of this week’s strip), no matter how smooth you think you are, chances are that you’re not.

The one thing that I think that I’m really beginning to do well is to establish timing in the strip. Check out the doorway of the first panel, all you see is a shoe. The second panel, Kurt makes his appearance, but only half way. Third panel, he is there, but hasn’t said anything. Fourth panel and there’s the punch-line. A few months ago, I would’ve just had Kurt standing next to him or sitting on the bed and I don’t think it would be as funny. Mostly because the element of surprise -- Eddie thinks he’s alone and he’s talking to himself to psyche himself up for the big night out.

There are a few things I don’t like about this strip though; for one thing, you have no idea how long it took me to draw Eddie putting on his shoe (which is a shitty version of an Adidas shoe, BTW). I had him bending over to tie his shoe, but he looked like a gorilla with really long arms and stubby legs. I had him putting his foot on the bed, but again the drawing was terrible as his arms were too long and his leg was too squat. So I made the best out of a bad situation and had him slipping into some sneakers.

Also, the chair in the corner of the first two panels is a poor excuse for a bean bag chair. I don’t know what the hell I was trying to do there, but that doesn’t look like a very comfortable seat.

All in all, I think this is a solid strip and it should get a chuckle out of most people. Not only that, but it should also remind us that we are only great in our minds.

Chances are pretty good that you’re just going to get one Blog entry per week from now until the middle of November. With school and other stuff, I just don’t have the time … as you can probably tell. While it sucks, things are going to start picking up soon.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A Week Too Late?

This would've been a great strip last Wednesday, it was the exact year anniversary of the Red Sox winning their first World Series, the Series just ended with another Sox victory (White this time) and Theo Epstein was still with the team. However, life happens, so this was pushed to this week.

It's still a kick-ass strip, but the one thing that I have learned from this is: in life, timing is everything.

What the hell am I talking about? If you don't know, you should go on over to: www.room19comics.com and check out what you're missing. It's quite a lot this week.

There's a lot to say about this strip, for starters I did a bunch of things differently. I actually drew humans and not comic strip characters when it came to Keith Foulke, Jason Varitek and Doug Mientkiewicz (that is the first time I've ever spelled his name correctly). You might recognize the second panel, it's one of the more famous scenes from last year's World Championship image galleries.

The first one may not be so memorable, this was immediately after Foulke flipped the Edgar Renteria grounder to Minky (I'm not typing his name again) and from the looks of it, let out a primal scream. In my drawing, it sort of looks like he's bitching about a bad call or something, but I swear to you that's how he looked in the picture. I really think that I did a good job of capturing the joy in the face of Minky though; his armed raised, gigantic smile on his face. I'm really proud of that.

The second panel is something new, as Varitek is leaping out of the normal constraints of the box. I don't think that I've ever attempted that before, and I must say that it came out pretty good. With most new things, it became a necessity as when I started drawing Varitek hugging Foulke, I realized that I either made the box too small or the figures too large. I'll leave that to the future philosophers and art critics to judge.

The final panel is tying it all together with the strip, as Eddie, Kurt and Chris celebrate the utter bliss of watching your long-suffering team finally win a World Series after 86 years. I drew Kurt's right arm way too short, but I think that this panel is secondary compared to the other two because that is where the action really is.

This week I experimented with a new way of doing the boxes, I made heavy, dark lines with Adobe Photoshop after my initial lines were messed up. BTW, the text is from none other than WEEI's own Joe Castiglione.

I'm going to try do update the Blog a bit more, but with school and now married stuff, it's getting really hard.