Sunday, April 29, 2007

Bad Egg

Recently, at the Small Press and Comics Expo in Columbus, Ohio, I got talking to a cartoonist whose work I liked and was telling him about how I have been trying to break into comics for years but have actually have had more luck breaking into screenwriting, which doesn't seem to make sense. He said, "What, isn't that enough for you?" I guess not, as my first love is still comics.

About ten years ago a failed comic company was looking for short stories for an anthology that I don't believe ever came out. I wrote a little something for it. I'd like to think the company failed before they accepted my great work, but I suspect not. Anyway, I am releasing BAD EGG under a Creative Commons License listed at the end of this post. Careful readers might notice the seed of the plot of "Bad Eggs," my first 24 Hour Comic, posted here recently. I thought it might be fun for y'all to read.

BAD EGG: Defense Mechanisms
by John Oak Dalton

PAGE ONE: A series of long, narrow panels which feature extreme close-ups of the hands of DR. ANTHONY VOLAND, an older, heavy-set African-American man.

Panel One: Voland is writing “Defense Mechanisms” on a yellow legal pad.

1. DR. VOLAND (off-panel): So let’s talk about your father’s death.

2. BILLY STOMPANATO (off-panel): He got iced in the joint. What else is there?

Panel Two: Voland is fiddling with his pencil.

3. DR. VOLAND (off-panel): He was a supervillian’s henchman, is that right?

4. BILLY (off-panel): Yeah, that’s right. The job he went in for, that was with The Crystal Skull.

Panel Three: Voland is unbending a paper clip.

5. DR. VOLAND (off-panel): How did that make you feel?

6. BILLY (off-panel): One of them things. Until the Fear-Strikers busted out the Skull, and let Pops sit there and sweat it out.

Panel Four: Feature a close-up of a gleaming metal gauntlet grasping a chair arm.

7. DR. VOLAND (off-panel): So do you see yourself now in your father’s role?

8. BILLY (off-panel): His role?

PAGE TWO: A full-page splash of a heavily-armored man with high-tech gauntlets,
butt-kicking jet boots, and a mirrored, expressionless helmet. A text box in the corner lists the appropriate credits.

BILLY: I ain’t nobody’s henchman.


Panel One: Dr. Voland looks at his watch.

1. DR. VOLAND: I’m afraid that’s the end of our session today.

Panel Two: Billy stands to his full height, towering over the desk.

2. BILLY: Huh. Dint feel like an hour.

Panel Three: A close-up of Voland’s uneasy face.

3. DR. VOLAND: It’s actually, um, fifty minutes.

Panel Four: Billy produces some cash from a slot in his leg.

4. BILLY: Oh yeah, I always forget this is one of them fifty-minute hours. Here ya go, doc.

Panel Five: Voland still looks uneasy.

5. DR. VOLAND: Um, about the money—

Panel Six: Billy shrugs.

6. BILLY: Yeah, it’s from a job, doc, if that’s what you wanna know. What, you think I got the swing shift at a burger place now?


Panel One: Voland thumbs the cash.

1. DR. VOLAND: No, it’s not that…I wanted to know if it’s…been cleaned.

Panel Two: Billy gives Voland the thumb-up, with one foot on the office windowsill.

2. BILLY: No worries, doc. I’m glad to see you’re getting into the swing a things, though.

Panel Three: Voland offers a weak smile.

3. DR. VOLAND: Until next week, then.

Panel Four: The rest of the page is taken up with a large panel featuring Billy flying away from Voland’s upscale office building.

4. BILLY: Stay cool, doc!

Panel Five: Inset into the corner of the larger panel is a CU of a nervous Voland, on the phone.

5. VOLAND: Patrice, clear out my schedule for the rest of the day. I-I’m going home.


Panel One: Billy is flying over a convention center sporting a banner reading “Collectibles and Antiques 2-Day”.

1. BILLY: Hey now!

Panel Two: Billy smashes through a skylight, sending bystanders fleeing in terror.

2. BILLY: Line up, folks! Watches, coins, necklaces—hey, lady!

Panel Three: An older woman cowers in terror in front of a “Bean Bag Buddies” booth as Billy lands.

3. BILLY: Hey, you got Whiplash the Blue Giraffe?

Panel Four: The woman’s indignant face.

4. OLDER WOMAN: Why, that’s worth three hundred dollars!

Panel Five: Feature Billy.

5. BILLY: Yeah, how much is your life insurance worth?


Panel One: The woman hands over the stuffed toy.

1. OLDER WOMAN: Why, I never!

Panel Two: Billy tucks the toy into the slot in his leg.

2. BILLY: Then you should get out more, doll.

Panel Three: Suddenly, a giant log smacks Billy across his neck, sending him flying.

Panel Four: Billy crashes into a booth of old carnival glass.

3. BILLY: What tha—

Panel Five: LOGJAM, a bearded, powerfully-built lumberjack, fills the frame, casually draping a huge log over his massive shoulders. Behind him is SPLINTER, a bright-eyed teenage girl in a miniature version of Logjam’s costume.

4. LOGJAM: Time to crack some eggs!

Panel Six: Billy shakes his head.

5. BILLY: Ah, jeez louise, not today!


Panel One: Logjam clenches his teeth, ready for another swing.

1. LOGJAM: Our first week in the big city, Splinter, and we’ll be on the front page!

Panel Two: Billy lets loose with a blast of flame from his gauntlets.

2. BILLY: Don’t even THINK about doin’ that again. It’s not like I can go down to Radio Shack for parts!

Panel Three: Logjam throws his flaming log aside, casually.

3. LOGJAM: S’okay—I’ll take you apart with my bare hands.

Panel Four: Billy looks threatening.

4. BILLY: Straight up? I ain’t losin’ to no dude in a flannel shirt and a little girl.

Panel Five: CU Logjam’s face, giving Billy a leer.

5. LOGJAM: Oh, she’s old enough.

Panel Six: Billy lets loose with a sonic blast.

6. BILLY: Okay, now I’m REAL pissed off!

Panel Seven: Logjam is blown across the floor, hair and teeth flying.


Panel One: Billy, smoke rising from his gauntlets, stands above an unconscious Logjam, ready to deliver a killing blow.

Panel Two: Billy’s POV, as he sees Splinter, tears and snot running down her face.

Panel Three: CU Billy’s mirrored helmet, her face reflected in it.

1. BILLY: Ah, nuts.

Panel Four: Billy approaches Splinter.

2. SPLINTER: P-please don’t hurt me!

Panel Five: Billy crosses his arms.

3. BILLY: Where ya from, kid?

Panel Six: A confused Splinter.

4. SPLINTER: M-Missoula. We-we’ve only been here a few days.

Panel Seven: CU Billy’s mirrored helmet.

5. BILLY: You know, I got two daughters.

Panel Seven: The slot in Billy’s leg opens with a hiss.

Panel Eight: CU Billy’s gauntlet, clenched around a wad of bills.

6. BILLY: Look, here’s bus fare. Go back to Missoula.

Panel Nine: Splinter, wide-eyed, takes the money.

6. SPLINTER: Yes, s-sir.

Page Eight:

Panel One: Bird’s-eye view of Billy as he jets for the hole he made in the ceiling. He looks down at Splinter and waves.

1. BILLY: “Sir” was my old man!

Panel Two: A longer panel showing Billy jetting across the skyline.

Panel Three: A well-appointed kitchen. ROSE, an attractive woman in her 30s, is preparing a dinner. From a window facing the backyard:

2. YOUNG GIRLS (off-panel): Daddy! Daddy!

Panel Four: CU of Rose’s face.

3. ROSE: Bill?

Panel Five: POV Rose, through the window. Billy is handing his daughters the blue giraffe.

Panel Six: Feature Rose smiling.

Panel Seven: Bill in the backyard, getting hugged by his two girls.

4. CAPTION: End.

Creative Commons License

work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Cisco Kid Was a Friend of Mine

Nothing eases my mind more than a book sale at a library. I got a pretty good bag of stuff that included T.C. Boyle's THE TORTILLA CURTAIN, Wiliam Faulkner's THE UNVANQUISHED, Neil Gaiman's AMERICAN GODS, Alexander Solzhenitsyn's STORIES AND PROSE POEMS, Philip K. Dick's VALIS, Philip Pullman's THE TIN PRINCESS, Norman Spinrad's THE IRON DREAM, and Jeff Lindsay's highly recommended DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER which I got for the bargain price of 50 cents, and it looks freshly minted. I think my summer reading list is shaping up nicely.

I found SEX MACHINE, streeting Tuesday, on Netflix today. Queue it up here.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Hot Off the Press!

The new ish of Fangoria hit the stands today, and right there on page 14 is a nice write-up of "Sex Machine," coming to a DVD shelf near you in just a few short sweet days.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

SPACEd Again

Working on a few new scenes for NEW JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH. I was asked to actually add some dialogue, a rare treat for the b-movie screenwriter.

I'm still reading some of my great, and great big, stash from the Small Press and Comics Expo in Columbus this past weekend. I bought a lot of good stuff from Microcosm Publishing, and got to meet their head guy Joe Biel. Once upon a time, their "Stolen Sharpie Revolution" got me back into reading 'zines again. I told him one big thing has changed since I last read 'zines in the 80s; now, if you wonder how the zinester is doing after you get done reading their work, they usually have a MySpace page, or a blog. Some of the mystique is gone, but I still like that whole DIY ethos, that even in the face of advanced technologies some dude with a typewriter and a gluestick can keep on keepin' on.

Did you know that two of the top five oldest people in the U.S. live in Indiana? Ah, the good life.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Voyage Into S.P.A.C.E.

I've been gorging on minicomics, comics, and 'zines since I returned from Columbus Ohio yesterday, and the Small Press and Comics Expo. I journeyed with my brother Eric, always up for an adventure, and cartoonist Tom Cherry, who I last hung out with during the 24 Hour Comics Day Event at Reader's Copies comic book store in Anderson, Indiana, where I sore-handedly penned most of "The Liberator."

I brought a thick stack of "The Liberator" as well as some issues of my sporadically printed, but steadily poor, minicomic series "Volunteers." I was surprised how many people were willing to take a copy, and wanted to give me back something in exchange. It was like giving somebody a stick of gum and getting back an ice cream sundae.

Some good things I've read since I got home last night include Carrie McNinch's "You Can't Get There From Here" #2, Ken Dahl's "No," Matt Feazell's "Board of Superheroes" #1, and Christoph Meyer's "28 Pages Lovingly Bound With Twine" #13. Things I'm looking forward to reading still are Al Burian's "Things Are Meaning Less," Pal Bliss' "Kekionga," Pat Lewis' "Abominable," Moe Bowstern's "Xtra Tuff" #5, and "Papercutter" #4.

A lot of good people doing good things. These kinds of trips always get the gears turning for new projects and new ideas.

Give me a yell at

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Live from S.P.A.C.E. #2

I have been a fan of Hoosier Pam Bliss' comics and minicomics since "Back Issue," my comic-book cable access program ten years ago. I bought her latest at the Small Press and Comics Expo in Columbus, Ohio. And I still think her work is great.

Live from S.P.A.C.E. #1

Christoph Meyer (with son and fellow zinester Herbie) at the Small Press and Comics Expo in Columbus, Ohio. I have followed his 'zine "28 Pages Lovingly Bound With Twine" for some time. I've found it in many reputable zine stores across the country, which seemed to surprise Christoph.

Friday, April 20, 2007

I Killed Bill Shakespeare

About this time last year I was asked to write a short script for an advanced video class at the local high school. Although this project fell through, I recently re-opened the script file and re-read it and thought, well, somebody might find some use out of it. So I have been interested in the Creative Commons movement, and thought this might be the chance to check it out and see how it works. Rather than me write a lot about it, check it out on the web.

Anyway, here is I KILLED BILL SHAKESPEARE, available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.


We see PUCK, a man in a hockey mask, creeping through the trees. He stops, and looks around.

O what fools these mortals be!

Puck lifts up a chainsaw, and revs it to life.


We see CURTIS and LEX, two high school students, watching the scene spool out on their editing screen. Curtis taps the keyboard for a moment, SIGHS, and leans back.

It's done.

He and Lex tap knuckles.

"A Midsummer Night's Chainsaw Massacre" is in the can, bay-beeee!!

Curtis and Lex are standing in the hallway with a spool of DVDs, trying to sell them to disinterested passers-by.

Local movie for sale! Only ten bucks! Support independent filmmakers.

TRACY, MICHELLE, and Michelle's boyfriend ERIK walk up. Erik, looming over the others in his letterman's jacket, takes his arm from around Michelle's shoulders and sticks his hand out.

Let me peep one of those, yo.

Lex hands him one.

It's called "A Midsummer Night's Chainsaw Massacre," dude.

Erik flings it down the hallway. Tracy LAUGHS while everyone else looks surprised.

Flies pretty good.

Aw, dude--

Erik holds his hands wide.


They stroll off, but Michelle hangs back. Lex CALLS after him.

Whatever, dude!

(to Curtis)

Curtis shrugs.

Don't matter.

Well, it sounds interesting.

Curtis spins a DVD on his finger and hands it to her.

Here ya go. On the house.

Michelle takes it carefully, and slips it into her backpack.

The bell RINGS.

Well, gotta go.

See ya.

They part, with Lex and Curtis walking one way and Michelle the other.
When they are out of earshot, Lex punches Curtis.

What'd you do that for, dude? That's eating into our profits!

She's just somebody I knew back in the day.


Michelle hurries in to sit next to Tracy and Erik.

Ohmigod, what were you talking to them about?

Their movie.

Like, you do not want to be seen with them, Michelle!

Well, we used to be neighbors when we were kids.

Ummm, like I didn't know you used to live in a trailer park!

Michelle turns away, her face clouded.

Curtis and Lex are supposed to be doing research but are stretched out at a table not doing much.

When was that, dude?

We moved into the same apartment building when we were both five or six, we probably both lived there until we were about ten or twelve, maybe. Then her mom got remarried to a pretty cool dude, a doctor or something. My moms went on and had about twenty-five more boyfriends, you know how that game is played.

I feel you.

We lived all over the place until we moved back into town I guess what, a couple months ago?
(beat, thinks)
I doubt she remembers all that anyway.

Hey, it's all good, dude, when we start getting the money together to build our own skatepark, we're gonna bust out big time.

Curtis thinks.

We used to put on plays. Our own plays, you know. Get all the kids in the building to act in them, put them on in the laundry room.

Lex looks at him.

Plays, huh?


Yeah, you want to keep that one on the low, okay dude?


Curtis and Lex get to work.

Tracy and Michelle are walking along, books in hand.

Plays? Ohmigod!

I doubt he even remembers doing them.

Ohmigod, it's like he's a skater boy, and you're like probably going to be prom queen if I don't get it.

Tracy stops in her tracks.

This is almost like "Romeo and Juliet"--
Only more boring.


Tracy starts walking again.

Seriously, like you are dating the most popular dude in the school, why are you even talking about this?

Michelle just walks on.

Curtis is sitting on the stone steps, watching Lex fool with his skateboard.

I'm going to grind some sick Tony Hawk moves up in this thang, dude!

Dude, if you break your arm again I am not taking you to the hospital unless you pay for gas.

Aw man, why you got to hate?

Curtis opens his backpack and gets out a paper and pen.

That looks like homework, yo. That's a real buzzkill, dude.

Curtis puts the pen and paper away and walks out.

Catch you later.

Lex watches him go.

Michelle is sitting on her bed reading a textbook and doing homework.

The phone RINGS.

(calls out)
(into phone)

(over phone)
Hey, what's up?

Just doing homework.

Erik is slouched in his room playing video games.

Well hurry up, I still need you to do some of mine.

(over phone)

Naw, I'm serious, listen, I got this great idea, I want you to hear it.

(over phone)


Michelle sits and thinks, waiting.


Erik keeps playing his game.

Yeah, DFL, Dirtbike Football League. You know, like Arena Football, only with dirtbikes. It's like the best of two worlds.

(over phone, dryly)

I know I could throw a tight spiral on a dirtbike. I'd be like the Peyton Manning of the DFL.

(over phone)

Yeah, it would take over the NFL in like, five years or something. And I'm on the ground floor with this idea, yo.

Michelle is just holding the phone.

(over phone)
So when are you gonna be over to do that homework?

Michelle hangs up. After a moment, she roots through her backpack, and comes out with Curtis' DVD.

We see Michelle coming down the sidewalk. Lex is still fooling with his skateboard. He stops when he sees Michelle.


Is Curtis around? I heard you guys hung out here sometimes after school.

Nah, he went home.

Michelle hesitates.

I liked your guys' movie.

Aw thanks. Curtis did all the writing and shooting and editing and all that, and I...I did the chainsaw.

I liked the Shakespeare riff and all that.

Shakespeare? You mean the dude that wrote all the plays? Curtis ripped him off?

More like an homage.

Aw dude, if I had known Shakespeare wrote about serial killers and chainsaws and all that noise I wouldn't have skipped English class all the time!

Well, you ought to try it sometime.

Michelle turns to leave.

Yo, you're not trying to play my boy, are you?

Michelle turns back.
Why would you say that?

I'm just trying to have his back. I think he still has a thing for you. You know, from back when you were kids, putting on the plays and all that. I don't want to see him get hurt, is all.

I didn't know he remembered all that.

Lex looks at her closely, then makes a decision.

Look, you want to know where he lives?

Curtis is stretched out, writing.

A soft KNOCK comes at the door, and Michelle opens it.

Curtis sits up straight.



Michelle holds out a thick, dog-eared paperback.

I borrowed this a few years ago. Thought you might want it back.
Curtis takes it from her, looks at it, gives it back.

"Complete Works of William Shakespeare?" Got me another copy.
It wasn't really a loaner. I wanted you to keep that.

She thinks.

Maybe I could give you some Ibsen. I've been into "A Doll's House."

I'm still kicking it old school. Euripedies, Sophocles, Aeschylus. Just read "The Oresteia."


She looks at him.

I liked your movie.

I sold out the Bard. I guess that's Hollywood.

Is that the sequel?

He holds up the notebook.

Naw, I'm going back to the stage with this one. Trying to keep it real.

She nods.

There is a long silence.

Need any help?

Michelle and Curtis are sitting on the steps, talking and laughing and looking over their notebooks.
Erik joins them, his arm around Tracy.

Look, it's "Romeo and Juliet!"

All I know is somebody needs to spray some Febreeze up in here!

Curtis ignores them.

Yo, Curtis! I was going to punk you out in front of the school, but now that I got my own thang going it ain't worth it.

Hi, Michelle.

Whatever, dude!

Erik suddenly looks angry.

What, you think you gonna front me like that?

Suddenly Lex appears.

'Sup, Erik?

Erik looks back and forth.
So it's two against one, huh, that's how you want to play?

Lex just opens his hands.

Whatever, I'm out.

Erik struts away, and Lex watches him leave. He then looks at Curtis and Michelle.

So you guys are on the "Romeo and Juliet" tip for a minute, huh?

Not so much, dude. They were doomed.

Whoa, sucks to be them!

And we're just getting started.

Curtis and Michelle exchange smiles. Lex nods and strolls away, as the camera PANS UP into the clear blue sky.



Creative Commons License

work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Recently I reported that my IMDBPro STARmeter (TM) had gone up over 100%, and I was thinking about what a wonderful, valuable tool the STARmeter was. Now I noticed I'm down 2%, and I realize what a foul, cruel sham the IMDBPro STARmeter (TM) is perpetrating on the public.

In local news, the tornado siren in my town blew off during a storm. Now, I guess if we want to know if there's a tornado, we have to look around on the ground for the siren. If we see it lying around somewhere, it's time to head to the basement.

Punching up some pages for NEW JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH for the Polonia Brothers and gearing up to go to SPACE in C0lumbus this weekend. If I'm lucky I'm going to check out GRINDHOUSE tomorrow night.

Give me a yell at

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

One Piece at a Time

Last night I had a dream that I went to a screening of Christopher Sharpe's next movie, called DEATH MACHINE. It was debuting in Austin in a place that looked a lot like the place where Don Johnson goes to the movies in A BOY AND HIS DOG. I woke up at 6 a.m. thinking that the plot of the movie was pretty interesting and that I should write it down. But I just drifted there listening to the clock radio and in a few minutes I had forgotten the thread of it. I should start keeping a journal by the bed, instead of a stack of comics.

My Pacers are out of the playoffs for the first time in about ten years. In basketball-crazed Indiana, there is hardly a more unkind cut.

In other sporting news, there is nothing I like writing to better than a drowsy baseball game. Catching the Reds and the White Sox and the Indians on AM radio on my drive home from work always gets my gears turning.

In other writing news, I got good news about both NEW JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH from Mark Polonia yesterday as well as some good news on the progress of MENTAL SCARS for producer Richard Myles. Hopefully I'll have production stories to relate before long.

I was thinking last night that once upon a time I was too cool for Johnny Cash. Now I'm not cool enough for Johnny Cash. It's a short trip from too cool for everything to not cool enough for anything. Losing your ironic detachment helps.

Give me a yell at

Monday, April 16, 2007

Once More, with Sea Serpents

I fired off my first draft of NEW JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH last night, then celebrated by eating a nice pot pie and watching a good movie, VOLVER, with a luminous Penelope Cruz. (I know this reads like I watched it with her. Let a boy dream).

This is the kind of stuff I'd like to do.

Still hoping to go to the SPACE show in Columbus, Ohio this weekend, and talk my brother into going to see GRINDHOUSE.

By the by, Happy Birthday to my brother today!

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Unstuck in Time

Every blogger in the blogosphere talked about great Hoosier Kurt Vonnegut dying this week, so all I will add is that if you haven't read one of the great novels of the 20th Century, SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE, take it upon your ass to read it soon.

This guy may be my new hero.

A lot of people seem to be talking about GRINDHOUSE, which I want to see badly but will never get my wife in the theater for. Some are questioning whether Rodriguez and Tarantino could have actually gone to any real grindhouses. I know they were hard to come by in Indiana, though a nearby town actually had a drive-in porno theater. A lot of people don't believe me when I tell them this, but you could actually drive on an access road behind the drive-in and see carnal knowledge across a field, fifty feet high. It's a wonder me and more of my friends weren't more messed up than we were.

We had a theater called the Rivoli, an old broken-down downtown place, and one called the Delaware which was in an ill-used strip mall at the edge of town. The Rivoli was once a grand old theater, with crumbling balconies and a cherub-painted dome, but they carved a second theater out with corrugated tin, and you could actually sit in a seat next to the tin wall and the person the next seat over was watching another movie which you could also hear perfectly fine. This is where I saw the 3D movie METALSTORM: THE DESTRUCTION OF JARED-SYN and NINE DEATHS OF THE NINJA and the like. The Delaware was where I saw the double-feature BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS and SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT 2. But mostly we relied on late-night horror hosts Sammy Terry and Son of Svenghouli and the "Kung Fu Theater" late night movie where I first fell in love with FIVE DEADLY VENOMS. Although I don't remember seeing Don Dohler's ALIEN FACTOR on TV I know it flavored a lot of people's childhoods with its ubiquitousness at one time (though I clearly remember HERCULES AGAINST THE MOON MEN and SAMSON VS. THE VAMPIRE WOMEN). So we didn't have the real grindhouses, but we had something, and certainly that influences some of my current views as I'm sure it does QT's and Rodriquez's.

Anyway, I actually shopped a script around 1999 about a cop who finds a porn star floating in his bathtub, and solving the crime leads him into the underbelly of porn and snuff films. This was called GRINDHOUSE, though later I was convinced to call it HANDS DOWN. Somebody asked me if this was just a coincidence. Of course it is. I have never been within one thousand miles of either QT or Rodriguez. There's only so many ideas under the sun, and they've all pretty much been thought of. Which is not what the aspiring screenwriter clutching his treasured script to his chest wants to hear. This title was probably more influenced by my visit to Times Square in the late 80s (see previous post) than the other type of grindhouse movie, but it is funny how the world goes 'round. We'll see if everything old becomes new again.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Spring Break 1987

Twenty years ago this month I won the first David Letterman Telecommunications Scholarship given to a screenwriter. Back then the award consisted of a collapsible cup, a sponge, a baseball cap, a big check, and VIP tickets to the show. So that spring break my pregnant wife and I climbed into our 1980 Mercury Monarch and headed out. My daughter leaves on her Senior Trip to New York tomorrow, her first time out of the womb but her second trip overall. And so it goes.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

...and Tom Cruise as John Oak Dalton

I haven't done a meme in a while, but this one, from comic book scribe Will Pfeiffer, cracked me the hell up. The important thing is not to cheat and make yourself seem cooler. With my MP3 player, not a problem.

Got this meme from my old pal Nik Dirga (now living in New Zealand, but still posting at his pop culture blog, Spatula Forum). It's called "If your life was a movie, what would the soundtrack be?," and here's how it works:

1. Open your music library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5 . When you go to a new question, press the next button 6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool.

Opening credits:
"Magic Man," Heart

Waking up:
"Operator," Jim Croce.

First day of school: "Shining Star," Earth, Wind, and Fire.

Falling in love: "
Little Less Conversation," Elvis Presley (remix).

First love song:
"Please Come to Boston," Dave Loggins.

Breaking up:
"Lost Without Your Love," Bread.

"Dancing Shoes," Nigel Olsson.

Mental Breakdown:
"Solitary Man," Neil Diamond.

Driving: "Hello, Darling," Conway Twitty.

Flashback: "Let's Get It On," Marvin Gaye.

Getting back together: "Domino," Van Morrison.

"Who's That Lady," The Isley Brothers.

Birth of Child:
"Spiders and Snakes," Jim Stafford.

Final Battle: "
Treat Her Like A Lady," Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose.

Death Scene:
"Shelter from the Storm," Bob Dylan.

Funeral song: "
Tangled Up In Blue," Bob Dylan.

End Credits: "
Kiss An Angel Good Morning, " Charley Pride.

Reading back, it looks like I cheated, but I didn't. It's like playing "Dark Side of the Moon" and watching "The Wizard of Oz." It's just funny what happens. Try it and see!

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Jesus Is Just Alright With Me

I was just re-reading last weekend's post about how happy I was that it was Spring, coming in on the wings of Pam Grier. Since then we have had record cold for April and some accumulated snow. We had a Green Christmas but are having a White Easter. The good news is that I gave up all sweets and baked goods for Lent and didn't cheat once (and lost a couple of pounds in the bargain). The bad news is we should be at Mass, but an arsonist burned down the church yesterday. Happy Easter, everyone!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Wonderful Tonight

Is it just me, or did this week's LOST have the same plot as BLACK MAMA, WHITE MAMA?

My daughter is looking for a prom date, so I was helping her in a fatherly way by looking through her yearbook.

ME: How about this kid?

HER: He, like, got some girl pregnant, so he had to drop out of school to, like, work.

ME: I guess he's out, then.

In the meantime, I am cooking along on NEW JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH and have gotten the thumbs up from Mark Polonia on the pages thus far.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Liberator: PostScript

This was the last page of the original photocopy of my 24 Hour Comic "The Liberator."

My arm is still numb from fingertip to elbow, but here is my account of 24 Hour Comics Day, with apologies to the late Hunter S. Thompson....

We were somewhere around Daleville, Indiana when the Vanilla Pepsi kicked in. In the passenger seat was my brother, wild-haired and red-eyed on five hours' sleep. Some band called Mah-Jongg spat 70s funk smashed with electronica out of the speakers. In the backseat we had a dozen felt-tipped pens, a fat blue Sharpee, two mechanical pencils, three shades of drawing paper, a half-dried jar of white-out, a bottle of Tylenol, and a thick copy of last year's "24 Hour Comics Day Highlights." It was almost 9 a.m., and we had a dozen miles to go. I knew they would be tough miles. And many more miles to go before we slept. It was 24 Hour Comics Day.

I had started 24 Hour Comic Day at 4 p.m. the day before, doing preliminary research on the internet into Nedor heroes and getting some random idea prompts from the official site (this includes the title of this comic, “The Superhero Diagnosis,” as well as “Feral Robots” and “A Punch to the Jaw” (seen several times within these pages). Then I went to dinner with my brother and family to celebrate his birthday, and stayed out too late talking about philosophy and life and so on. I learned the happy news that he would join me the next morning and draw his own 24 Hour Comic, a story in a fantasy setting. He would start at midnight. Meanwhile, the whole time my own clock was ticking. I drew about two pages and made the bold decision that I would do better after a few hours of sleep. I crashed out around 11:30 and got up at 5 a.m. I did four quick pages, with my favorite muse albums by ELO and The Fifth Dimension chugging in the background, before I had to leave and pick up my brother a half-hour away, then head to Reader Copies in Anderson, Indiana, an official site for the event. Another hour gone.

Reader Copies in Anderson welcomed us with open arms, and plyed us with food and drink all day. I met Robert, a professor at Ball State University with actual artistic talent, trying to tell the history of creation through his story. Mine was about a giant robot invasion.At around 11 a.m. Tom joined us, another actual artist with one "noble failure" under his belt. Fresh blood gave the rest of us a shot in the arm, but a few hours later and we were all at low ebb together, the waves crashing on our splintered rafts. I genuinely didn't think I would finish, but so much interest from patrons of the store helped egg me on the last mile. I did 18 pages in seven hours, ending at 3:45. So I got a little frisky and drew the cover as well. I am so not kidding that my hand hurt like hell, more than the last time I did a 24 Hour Comic. I should have trained. My brother ran out of steam, as did Robert, but I later learned that Tom and his fish-headed friend crossed the finish line. We had left to go see "Sin City" and have BBQ to celebrate. But I was slowly slipping away, and fell asleep with Nedor heroes dancing in my head at about 10 p.m.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Liberator: Final Pages

I don't know if anyone was really waiting to read these or not, but here are the final pages of "The Liberator," my 24 Hour Comic done for the 24 Hour Comics Challenge in 2005, shown on this blog for the first time. Here, The Liberator (from the public domain Nedor Comics line) meets up finally with the Over-Think. I might have been overthinking this part. I was tired.

The Liberator has his "2001" moment.

I know I can't draw. It took me forever to figure out how to draw The Liberator lying on the ground. So I am proud of that panel.
Dick Martin was the original Pyroman. And The Cavalier was a real Nedor character, though some doubted it at the time. The Black Terror is more famous, but I felt like drawing my own Cavalier. I made the Woman in Red look pretty foxy there, didn't I?

The Liberator: Last Page!

Sniff! And that's my take on Nedor comics. Man, did my hand hurt! If you liked it, give me a shout at Yes, I know that says page 23! I drew the "roll call" page last, and since I had numbered the pages, that became page 0.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Hugging A Tree When You Get Near It

Spring is in the air. Arena Football, NBA Basketball, and baseball are all on the same day, and college basketball and hockey are still going on, too. NEW JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH is flying off of my keyboard. Yesterday I spent the day in the window of a coffee shop punching up MENTAL SCARS and cranking out pages for NJTTCOTE. I was polishing my shotgun and waiting for my teenaged daughter to come back from a double date and caught some of BLACK MAMA, WHITE MAMA on cable and thought, I still love movies. And wasn't Pam Grier cool? I don't like the new IMDB interface, but somehow my STARmeter (tm) has gone up 122%. I presume that is from a negative number. If I had a paying IMDB Pro account I could find out why, but it's all good. Spring is in the air.

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