Archive for the As if you cared Category

Rejected Vows, pt 1: Voltron

Posted in As if you cared, Diary, not comics, romance with tags , , , on 8 September, 17 by cantocomics

My younger brother Eric did me the great honor last month of not only choosing me as his best man, but having me officiate his wedding ceremony. I’m proud of the kid.

That’s him on the left there, next to his patient and lovely bride.

The hardest part about this was writing an Officiant’s speech that gave the occasion its proper respect. Not that I don’t respect my brother, but yo, it’s hard to be serious when you and the groom have been laughing at each other’s farts for 25 years.

I went through two drafts before I got to one that we we’re both happy with.

Here’s one of them: 

Dearly beloved, affectionately acquainted, and total strangers with whom I hope to exchange names in the near future, I bid you welcome.

We are gathered here today, sheltered from blinding Texan sun, to celebrate the union of my little brother Eric and my soon to be little sister Shannon.

How came we here, friends? What wild-ass string of unforeseeable events brought us to this pass, where these two unthinkably attractive young people, one with eyes of winter crystal, the other with the cascading locks of Ceres framing her comely visage are about to forge themselves into one mighty weapon of matrimony?

I’ve had the great privilege of knowing Eric his whole life, from tiny baby to Young Bobby Hill to the strong, willful, intelligent and often hilarious young man you see before you today. I am honored to have had the opportunity to see him grow, to share in his joys and sorrows, to see him metamorphose from lowly caterpillar to razor-winged murder moth.

A large factor in Eric’s maturation over the past few years has been, in fact, the bride herself. I haven’t had the opportunity to get to know this beauty as well as I have my brother, but seeing the effect of her patience, good humor, generosity, and kindness have had on him I have no doubt she must love him deeply and passionately. I anticipate getting to better know this goddess of compassion, whose smile is the light in my brother’s eyes, and watching the two of them grow together over the decades to come.

The bond of marriage is one of great power, my dear friends. These two will in a short while possess a strength far greater than that which either of them have separately. Like Voltron or the Megazord, they will combine into a force to be reckoned with.

But with great power, as Uncle Ben once said, comes great responsibility. The road ahead will not be without bumps or windings. In order to maintain the bond we assist in forging today, these two must work together–moving as one through thick metaphorical jungle, soaring through storm-tossed metaphorical skies, blasting through the metaphorical voids of metaphorical deep space. They must shore each other up against the unceasing onslaughts of the enemy–who must surely also be a metaphor, because how could anyone have ire against these two beauties?

My dear and patient bride and groom, please now profess your devotion and make your vows to one another, so that we will know the strength with which you cleave together.

(They would have said their vows here)

Eric, do you take Shannon as your copilot, in sickness and in health, to wind the starship of your love through asteroid fields, to have and to hold, to share in the plunder of successful campaigns, until the heat death at the end of the universe?

Shannon, do you take Eric as your sidekick, for richer or poorer, to stare down evil, to clench the mighty fist of Justice and plunge it through the gankity-ass grill of crime, forever and ever, until death do you part?

By the power of Grayskull, I now pronounce you Husband and Wife. You may kiss the bride.

I was okay with this one, but the bride and groom were not. Understandably, I think. Weddings are, like, important or whatever.

I have another draft of the same speech as an extended nautical metaphor if you’re interested in reading it. But that’s a matter for another post.


I know what landscapes look like.

Posted in As if you cared, Paint, Sketch, We Mobile with tags , , , , , , on 8 September, 11 by cantocomics

Here, have some watercolors from a recent trip to Maine:

That’s what I assume must be Thomas Point.

This one was penciled on-site at Pemaquid Point, then inked, blown up, and watercolored over back here in the Junc. That’s Jess in the pic.

Also, this happened:

Legs, shoes, tartar sauce.

Sorry if I’m not as verbose as normal this week; there are a scant six days left before I hit the road, and I’m freaking out a bit for a wide variety of reasons. Is it weird that I’m only moderately less stressed about this move than I was about thesis?

Observed: Lebanon,NH; Work business

Posted in As if you cared, Sketch, Uncategorized, Unsettling with tags , , , , , , , , on 1 September, 11 by cantocomics

A woman walking a child on a leash:

The leash looked like a stuffed animal, which was perplexing for a variety of reasons. Did the manufacturers of this product  want to  lull the child into forgetting the fact that it’s being treated like a pet?  Ease the eventual emotional trauma with soft fuzzy embraces?

Also, while I was working at my day job (housekeeping for a local installment of a national chain hotel), my supervisor found this note:

My supervisor asked me to draw part of this, so I did:

Putting my MFA to good use, to be sure.

There are literally 13 days until I move back to Texas. I aims to update this here blogamajig  at least  two more times before that happens. Here’s hoping I can actually manage that.

The Esteemed Doctor Sketchy presents an Evening of highly scientifickal and edufying Diversion

Posted in As if you cared, Sketch with tags , , , on 8 August, 11 by cantocomics

So last Wednesday, the local Dr. Sketchy’s Drink-and-Draw was held in White River Junction’s humble American Legion. Our theme? Steampunk Extravaganza!

Note: No clocks were dismantled, sewn unnecessarily to patent-leather boots, or otherwise harmed in the making of this blog post.

I had the pleasure of accompanying the typically well-groomed Msr. Radical Warren to this event, which was organized by none other than the remarkable Miss Phoebe, who, according to all readily available information, organizes all of the good Doctor’s clinics in this locale.

In drawing our remarkable models for this event (The dashing Landship Lieutenant Nathaniel Flint, at left, and the darling Lady Kirst Callahan, below at right) my thoughts wandered toward what it is about steampunk couture that irks me (This line of reasoning had very little to do with the models, I assure you, dear reader! It should have become relatively clear to longterm visitors that your humble narrator’s likes and dislikes have very little basis in communally-defined reality).

What is irritating for me about steampunk is precisely what interests me about it: It’s a simultaneous fetishization of past and future, the retroactive production of a time that never was, a fusion of Victorian culture and post-modern technology that somehow manages not to retain the essence of either of the two. This is somewhat problematic for me–I’d have the amount of suffering in a society (particularly in one as rigidly stratified as the Victorian Empire) exaggerated rather than downplayed. Granted, I don’t think it would be terribly fun to cosplay a cholera victim, or child laborer or, you know, a consumptive prostitute who’s never been to a dentist. But I guess that’s what makes it a fetishization–willful idealization and intentional glossing of the facts (and I guess that makes my fetish human misery on a societal scale? No wonder I’m so happy all the time.).

Do not, however, take this as a blanket statement of annoyance with all things steampunk, oh impetuous reader; I thoroughly enjoyed the inventiveness of Gibson and Sterling’s The Difference Engine, the energetic drawing and familiar setting of Kazu Kibuishi’s woefully out-of-print Daisy Kutter: the Last Train (published, it should be added, by Texas indies Viper Comics), Moore and O’Neil’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and, for goodness’ sake, everything ever about Trigun (no, those don’t get hotlinked. If you don’t know what they are, I don’t know how you got here.).

Also, putting extraneous gears on things (my chest excluded) seems a waste of perfectly good gears to me.

I leave you with what I thought were to two best of my inked sketches from the event, which oddly enough happened one-after-the-other. Lady Callahan, Lt. Flint, if you want me to scan these in a way that is more legible but less ‘authentic,’ just give a holler.

Anyway, this evening was a lot of fun, and a great excuse to draw boots and hats. Thanks, Miss Phoebe!

HORNS UP, NH!; Zé do Caixão

Posted in As if you cared, Diary, Sketch, Sound, Unsettling with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 26 June, 11 by cantocomics

Friday night, Jess took me to a show in Newport, NH, at which there was much moshing, metal, and mayhem. Some really great local metal bands played: TEETH, Rumors of Betrayal, Ballast, Twisted Legacy, Wake the Sleeping, etc.

I’m an almost complete newbie to metal. I was scared of it till recently, okay?

The covers of the records have death and stuff on them and a lot of the vocals sound like a low blood sugar Cookie Monster. This shouldn’t have made much of a difference to me–my favorite band sounds more or less like a bunch of Germans having a pipe fight in a sheet metal factory*–but a difference was made nonetheless. So this was my first ‘real’ metal show, aside from having seen Meatsaw play in Manchester not too long ago.

Consider me a convert, dudes.

There was such great energy in that little club that my drawing style changed from the normal curve-and-hatch approach (seen in the pics above) to this angular, energetic, cartoony approach which I guess has more in common with Jesse Mead’s stuff than anything I normally do.

I kinda like it.

More on the show so that I can place the rest of the images without resorting to creating a slideshow: Jess and a few of her friends noted that the crowd had really changed in the past year or so. Upon hearing this, I looked around and saw that there were dozens of high school or middle school-aged kids throwing ‘bows and jumping around like most of the other patrons. What does this say about the youth of today?  That they are unsatisfied by the overproduced pop confections offered them by mainstream media? That they have deep seated angst and antisocial tendencies? That they like double-kick drums? WHO KNOWS WHAT LURKS IN THE HEART OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER?

I kept mostly to the back, being somewhat ill, intimidated by the mad press of pubescents toward the stage, and in the middle of a very important beer. And then another beer. And some drawings.

Everybody I spoke with was somehow involved with the bands, or knew someone who was involved–Seth Rogan Bro was a member of one of them, I think. I wish I had gotten the dude’s name instead of just being the creep drawing him from the back of the room. Sorry, Seth Rogan Bro. I didn’t mean to seem pervy or whatevs. Here’s some drawings of you on the internet.

Towards the end of the night (I think during TEETH’s set, actually–you can see all of it on the YouTube), the aforementioned youngsters’ parents showed up to whisk them away to their comfortable domiciles. You could tell that these people felt incredibly out of place–there was a man with a well-groomed salt-and-pepper mustache who looked like he had just found a mummified finger in his oatmeal. I guess they were waiting till the end of the set before they grabbed their young ruffians by the ears and dragged them to the car whilst spouting invective against that ‘devil music.’ I’m exaggerating, of course–these were probably people who were blasting Black Sabbath and Zep in the middle of the night, much to the chagrin of their parents, who had done the same thing with Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly records a scant few years prior. We all know how it goes.

Anyway, the metal scene in New Hampshire is, it would seem, incredibly vibrant, and taking on new recruits just as fast as the old tyros must retire in order to take care of their kids or whatever. I’m really thankful that Jess helped me get over my fear of metal–it’s not something I ever would have done on my own.** \m/

Tangentially related: at a recent Movie Night, Steve Bissette showed a couple of José Mojica Marins’ Coffin Joe films, including 2008’s brutally uncompromising Encarnaçáo do Demônio/ Embodiment of Evil. I’ve been watching the other films in the series over the past couple of weeks, and each one has given me weirder dreams than the last. So I decided to do some more PS coloring practice.Thank god for Google translator.(It was also an excuse to look up words in Portuguese, a language about which I know next to nothing, aside from the fact that it favors accent marks and using Ç’s.).

More to come, sooner rather than later, I hope.

*Also, I  listen to MERZBOW, for chrissakes.

**There are also some drawings of Matt Verdine, the vocalist of Twisted Legacy aquí y aquí. I could only barely see him from where I was standing/drawing/drinking,  and the rest of the band was obscured by adolescents. Sorry dudes! Holler if you want me to draw you, I guess.

I Graduated!; Wesley Dodds; Guardian of the Forest of Intestines

Posted in As if you cared, CCS, Sketch with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 24 May, 11 by cantocomics

It’s true! On Saturday 14 May, 2011, your humble narrator became a certified Master of Fine Arts. I’ve spent much of the intervening time in varying states of unconsciousness, which was much needed, after worrying myself sick that I’d walk into my thesis review committee meeting only to seeFortunately, Alec Longstreth, Michelle Ollie, and Jason Lutes saw fit to award my ass a diploma. Huzzah!

I know that blog posts have been sparse and generally pretty miserable of late, but I think a large part of that was due to THESISCANTO taking over. He’s not the nicest of people to be around, generally due to his irritability and borderline-delirium, but I promise, readers, things are going to be more cheerful, or at least more frequent, from here on out.

I’m determined to make comics until I can no longer hold a pen in my dusty, skeletal fingers, and I’m fairly sure that the rest of the CCS class of 2011 feels the same way.

God help whosoever stands in our way.
We will draw them into boxes and erase them.
We will do a batch edit that replaces them with pictures of dumb-looking cats eating ice cream.
We will flood the world with our ink and clog their rivers with our nibs.

Right. I also read all of Sandman Mystery Theatre over the course of the past couple of weeks. Wesley and Dian stole their way into my heart easily, like the seasoned detectives that they became over the course of the series’ seventy issues. Matt Wagner, Steven Seagle, and Guy Davis (along with the guest artists who filled in every couple of arcs) crafted an amazing expanded cast of characters in a convincing portrayal of 1930s-40s New York that left me pretty confused as to what decade I was actually in when I was done. It’s one of Vertigo’s less popular titles at the moment, unfortunately, most likely due to the lack of supernatural elements and the fact that it was completed over 10 years ago, but damn, y’all. If there was ever a book for pulp noir fans who actually enjoy well-written characters, this was it.

I’ve also been doing some research into Sumerian/Akkadian myth, more out of curiosity than towards any particular project (though there are a couple on the back burner right now, I assure you!).
I stumbled across Humbaba.
Those of you who actually did all your assigned reading in your high school English classes (or who play Final Fantasy games) may find the name familiar. Humbaba (or Huwawa in some translations) was the guardian of the cedar forest that Gilgamesh and Enkidu slew in the epic poem of the same name.
He’s described in the poem as having the head of a lion, but the depictions of him discovered in Sumerian ruins generally (as far as I can tell) depict his face with “a single coiling line, like that of the coiled entrails of men and beasts, from which omens might be read.” This description interests me for obvious reasons. It should also be noted that Humbaba is the brother of Pazuzu, the demon of the Southwest Wind, whose name you might remember from the Exorcist movies. I’ll post a drawing of ol’ Pazuzu later, but for now, feast your unholy peepers on this beastie:

HOSPITLOLZ; Yoke and Crown art preview; MoCCA Recap, all too late

Posted in As if you cared, CCS, Comics Pages, Diary with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 14 April, 11 by cantocomics

True story. I guess that might be offensive to rectal cancer sufferers, but my reaction amused me, even though it was a horrible situation.

Sorry for having been gone so long. Things in the personal spectrum have prohibited me from sparing the time for this internets thing. I know that when a blog or webcomic I’m following doesn’t update for a month or so I start to debate deleting the RSS feed from my bookmarks. I rarely do, but that impulse–of breaking a fictional tie to what is, in these times, essentially a fictional person, simply for the fact that maybe they’ve been too busy to put free things online for the gratification of my peepers–it’s not one that I like. Obviously, nobody would notice, and even fewer would actually care, but these are the nature of my anxieties.

I’ve been, since we last spoke, working REALLY HARD (probably harder than I’ve ever worked at anything) to finish the Yoke and Crown. To the exclusion of much of my responsibility as a grown-ass man, unfortunately. It looks okay, though, so I guess that’s worth something. Here, have a sneak peek:

Those of you who immediately assumed from the panel layout that the Yoke and Crown is a comics version of The Brady Bunch Movie are woefully incorrect. It’s actually an adaptation of A Very Brady Sequel. 6 is Jan.

I’m about ten pages of inks and forty pages of letters away from being done with this mug. I hope to have it finished before my Thesis at the Center for Cartoon Studies is due on the 2nd. We’re down to the wire here folks, and tensions are high. You’ll probably not hear from me again until that thing is done with.

Also, I went to MoCCA Fest in New York this past weekend, where I was fortunate enough to trade with a wide assortment of fantastic individuals, including, in no particular order:

  • Josh Bayer, from whom I received an incredible ROM, Spaceknight tribute comic
  • BORT, perpetrator of a multitude of small mindbending comics
  • JP Coovert, CCS alumnus and author of There Must Be More
  • Agent Agnes, executioner (not a typo) of a wonderful ero-guro story about botflies in Nice Guts volume 0 (probably you should not click on that link until you get home)
  • Ken Wong, who tells stories through folded paper, which is significantly more interesting than that description would entail JUST GO TO HIS SITE
  • A bunch of other people whose work was equally appreciated, but isn’t in from of me at the moment

I was tabling with my cohorts Andy Christensen (Giving ‘Stag Party’ a horrifying new meaning since 2010) CJ Joughin, whose webcomic City of Cards debuted in time for the show. Go read her comic. GO.

I don’t know when I’m going to table again. MoCCA and NYC were so overwhelming that even though CJJ, Carrie Griffin, Lindsey and I all went to see Kaiju Big Battel, I still came out of the con feeling drained and somewhat demoralized. When time to think becomes less of an extravagance, I need to reassess my goals with and approach to this comics thing.

I know, right? Existential crises always come at the most inopportune time. Call it a quarter-life crisis.

Thanks for reading all that flagellation. Here, have this thing:

Thanks for stopping in, my dears. I’ll have more things for you soon, I promise.