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Friday, December 23rd, 2005

Subject:Big box of hate
Time:4:39 am.
Brought by UPS today to our doorstep, containing the prototypes for the Milk and Cheese figures. "Heads", arms, hands, hands with holes so they can hold things, feet, things to be held by hands (broken gin bottle, stick with a nail through it, hammer). I have a little Milk and a little Cheese, both quite angry, standing on my dining room table downstairs.

I am trying to get used to them.

We're monkeying with them a bit, I have been asked by sculptor Mitch Martinez to draw revision notes onto Cheese's eyebrows to get them straightened out, and we've been looking at whether or not both figures need their legs lenghtened a bit. I'm very nervous about this because I want these to look good, we all do, because this is the only shot I will likely have to make my characters into a toy for myself and others to toss onto shelves, and I want them to come out as good as they can. This plugs into my inability to make decisions easily or quickly, something running my productivity and career into the side of the road for the past bumbledumblmm years. I'm feeling very "Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House" here, wondering about the shade of white (eggshell) I'll be sweating when the time comes. If it comes.

This has also been a difficult process for me because M&C were never designed to be rendered in 3-D, they were barely, drunkenly, designed to be rendered in 2-D. So they look very creepy to me, these two clay-things downstairs. Yet they look very familiar to me, as well. I am unsure as to whether they will appeal to anyone, even fans of the characters. They look "wrong" to me. Not off.

Wrong.

See, when I draw them, as their ink father, I am fond of them and overlook certain qualities they share. Meaning, the poor design. Their arms and legs never make sense, they never had a decent profile until I did the sculpt turnaround drawings, and they're, well, creepy. I have never really realized their creepiness until we started this project. I'm not talking about the "cute" versions of M&C I sometimes draw, the big eyes, the blank eyes or the dot eyes version, but the basic version, with the squinty eyes, the eyebrows that I never really understood (and which grew over time), the jagged teeth, the deep smile lines and cheeks...after seeing these sculpts, which are very close to "on model", I understand why so many drawings/sculpts of the characters by other artists have creeped me out. I don't draw very well in any technical sense, and I have a limited knowledge of actual anatomy, so M&C seem very flat and cartoony to me, because when I designed them they were amateurish flat lines on a napkin, with no thought other than connecting the lines. But other artists, with keener eyes, realize those pen lines of mine represent eyes, and cheeks, and teeth. So they draw eyes, and cheekbones, and teeth. I see them as sort of cute when I draw them, but every other version I've seen hammers home the truth that they are ugly creepy little bastards. So I am really wrestling with these sculpts, because they are accurate, and they reveal things about the designs I never paid much attention to. Sort of like hearing your own voice on a tape or a broadcast. "I sound like -- THAT?" Unflattering, and , well, creepy. I don't like my drawing just like I don't like the sound of my own voice (I know, anyone who's had to listen to one of my spiels would be rolling their eyes like Mario Andretti clocking the Indy 500 right about now), and I'm trying to see outside of that to "see" the characters as others see them. Sarah's been a lot of help, as usual, but I need more time to get used to looking at these guys. Some revisions seem obvious, but I'm worried we're going to reach a ppoint of no return, where we're locked in with my choices, and I've screwed up.

But that's my general working problem in a nutshell, so why the hell am I surprised? I guess it's because other people's work is involved, and that makes things a bit different. Anyway, I hope we can gte these to a place where everyone's happy with them. I can't stand it when someone puts out a bad version of a character, and I hope we don't stumble. Clay fingers crossed.

Otherwise, nothing much. We're all getting over pretty bad colds that have kept us away from work, der blog, everything but the boxes of napkins, throat drops and the bed. tranist strike never touched us, we're freelance shut-ins living on the lost borough, wouldn't have mattered if we were in our prime, one small benifit of the life we have here. The Real World seldom intrudes. Today it intruded a little, as a friend of the HOF helped us get our Roadrunner cable problems hashed out. SO maybe it'll be easier to post this long-winded dribble more often, you lucky bastards you.

New/recent comics out that you might give a shit about:

Acme Novelty Library #16
(supposedly out, our shop didn't get them because of some goof-up at the main store)

Daydreams and Nightmares
FBI's re-issue of this out of print Winsor McCay collection. I wasn't planning on getting this, as I have the originla edition, but goddamit, they made this one bigger and all. McCay looks good bigger, hence my desire for that insane $125 Little Nemo monolith recently fallen to Earth.

Wimbledon Green
Everyone seems to be apologizing for this book, about it being slight or whatever the hell, even Seth mea culpas for his poor widdle comical book in a very irritating introduction (and again in an irritating author's bio page). Oh, woe, it's badly lettered, oh, ah, it's poorly drawn, oh waaaah, I've gotten salty tears of regret on my vintage hand-painted tie and one of my sock-garters has snapped from my convulsive sobbing. Stop your bloodclot crying, sob-sister and re-lax. So what if it's slight, yeah yeah, but it's great slight. Give me great slight over not great heavy any day. Shut up, Seth, you dork. You made a fun, imaginative, brisk, pretty, page-turner of a book. And designed it up the ying-yang (and if you're really embarrassed by your silly little comic, why put it out as a $20 hardcover? They make newsprint for jokebooks and other such flummery, m'boy!). The comic industry might be on a bit of a roll these days, but in some ways it's been a grim, joyless journey, with everyone grimming and grittying their stupor-heroes, and the arteests putting on their black clothes and berets in search of artistic acceptance and the Great American Graphic Novel. I'm quite happy to see a solid, lighthearted book filled with good humor and interesting bits of business from somebody with some brains and chops. It's a friggin' swell book! So everyone shut up and enjoy it. I hope it becomes Seth's most revered work over time and it drives him bug-fuck crazy. It would serve Mr. Sad Dandy Fakey-Name right.

BTW, I am well aware that some of you may be thinking that it is hypocritical of me to criticize a cartoonist for running down his or her own work, when I myself do it all the time. The difference is, Seth is wrong, and I am right. So there. Now shut up.

Cromartie High School #4
It's out. I don't have it yet. I shall have it soon, like cancer. You should get it as well. Why haven't you people been reading this series? Or are you, and are shutting up about it?

Have I mentioned the Mark Newgarden collection before? I don't recall. Anyway, it's called We All Die Alone. I forgot how many of these strips I had clipped from the New York Press back in the day when CBGB's still booked decent bands and I had the time and energy to go see them. Ah, thems were the days. And Newgarden's strip, along with Amy and Jordan and Steven, was the shit. We need a complete Steven, come to think of it. This is a great collection, and a great book, besides. There's a difference. Check it and see.

And now, before we sign off, a brief HOF/SLG announcement: Dork #11 will very liklely be solicited for July of next year, and will very likely be out on time. Don't all drop dead from excitement or anything, because it's going to be an incrediobly slight issue. I apologize in advance.

Okay, that's the typing for tonight. I needed to go to bed ages ago, have to be up in four hours, wa-hey. Have a happy whatever the hell, survive the holidays, and I'll see you back here soon.
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