friday odds & ends

As you may have noticed, there haven’t been any new comics this week. I could give you a ton of excuses, but I realized the true reason I stopped comic-ing this week: I only have TWO comics left to draw about this past school year! One of ’em will be up on Monday to finish out last week’s batch, and then I have another “one comic covers a full week” strip similar to the comic I drew here back in February. That’s pretty much all she wrote for the 2009-2010 school year, and I think that sort of froze me up a bit. I don’t often have insight like this into my creative process (as cheesy as it sounds); most of the time, I’m just plodding away blindly.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I feel I learned a lot about the things that work and the things that don’t work about this comic, and I’m anxious to get started on next year… one that I think you’ll see, is a crucial one for both my career AND my school in general.

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I got sunburn this week. First sunburn of the summer, and with my pasty complexion, it’s sure not to be the last sunburn. I couldn’t sleep last night, so I stayed up late reading my new book, The Passage by Justin Cronin. I usually wait until I am done reading a book before I give it a recommendation, but it’s a real page-turner in the vein of early Stephen King. Heck, I think The Passage owes quite a bit to King, especially his post-apocalyptic masterwork The Stand, and I say that as a compliment.

I won’t give away too much more than that, except to say that Cronin does something absolutely genius in the first third of the book by setting the time directly before the world ends in a distant future America where a tank of gas is $200 dollars and New Orleans exists only as a toxic waste dump. By taking the problems of today and ratcheting them up to a not-entirely insane degree, Cronin creates this great “out of place” feel for readers that just gets more and more eerie as the story goes on.

That bein’ said, the first third of the book is a preamble for the rest of the story, dealing with the literal and figurative fallout of what happens in the beginning, and I’m only now getting into that section. If you’re looking for a great summer read, look no further.

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As I think I’ve mentioned before, I don’t watch a whole lot of television. You could say that I am in the presence of television quite often, as I normally lie on the floor and draw while Ellen watches stuff… or we both watch things together, and I pay half of my attention toward. I’ll listen to a TV show, almost like a radio play, as I’m drawing comics. This is how I’m able to know what’s going on with ABC’s The Bachelorette without being able to pick any of the contestants out in a line-up.

There are some shows that I’ll put away the pen and Bristol board for, however. Summer for Ellen and I has become synonymous with “cooking reality shows” and Ellen and I were both pumped for the return of Bravo’s Top Chef and the lesser but still enjoyable The Next Food Network Star (from The Food Network, natch). Weirdly enough, we’ve also really gotten into this other show on Bravo, Work of Art: The Next Great Artist. It’s a premise that’s absolute baloney, taking 12 aspiring artists and having them compete in challenges akin to those on Project Runway. I don’t think anyone expects “great art” to arise out of this hoary premise, but it’s been fun to watch in the past few weeks.

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