I inaugurated Joey Manley's new Web Comics Nation by drawing 25% larger- not that they have anything to do with each other.
I've always been afraid to draw larger, and every time I've tried I lose control of the space. This time it opened up. I love it.
I've never used "Furious when furious wasn't cool" in a strip, and wanted to see who needed to say it. I shoulda squeezed "Let's throw the bums out!" into Fristoe's dialogue but that wouldn't fit.
"Let's drive stakes through our hearts!" is a line that makes me giggle.
This is one of those strips that has so many competing threads that it comes apart, or never hangs together in the first place.
Jimmy Buffett? Marshmallows? Forks? Nothing rises and falls here, leitmotifs just come and fall away. Somehow, still, I like it.
I like it cause it's clunky weird and at cross purposes. A lot like life. And since I say I want to draw less jokes and capture more life in these 3 or 4 panels, I have to acknowledge that this little colt of ours is as pretty and perfect as the gussied up mechanical horses we see elsewhere.
This week's cartoons didn't start as an echo of last week's despair driven ones, but they have become it. Shutting down and giving up seems the them of late.
This was an engineering nightmare.
Let's keep in mind that "Speak for yourself" is not the point of the strip. The joy and nuttiness and despair (that's why this strip is unique- layers upon layers) is the point. But things have to be read in the right order. I flipped and switched balloons and moved stuff around and all sorts of things to get this to read right. The lines from Fristoe's mouth in the first frame are key, for instance. I am also starting to love crossing tails, and I'm not sure if they work well in the last panel, but I think so.
In addition, this was written as the 4th strip in the series, drawn as the 2nd, and reposted and moved to be the 3rd.
Someday I'll look at this and think that I was trying to stay alive and happy amidst terrible terrible crap going on in our country, but I can't even think clearly now.
Breaking our legs on concrete= Dean Haspiel (Hi Dean) and Robert Wyatt (he doesn't know me.) Lighting matches in the weeds is something a bad kid in my neighborhood did when we are all 12. He was really bad.
I also want to say that my downstairs neighbor is smoking so much pot right now that it is making my head hurt. And that I pencilled some of this drinking (way too much) coffee with Vanessa Davis- hi Vanessa!
More confessions of an artist masquerading as a newspaper cartoonist: most the time I have no idea what I'm doing, until the very end.
This is a much more desirous situation to be in than it may seem. This is life, chaos and art, rather than joke conception and execution.
An example: I wrote a very long list of crazy fun ways to say "let's fuck shit up", in my sketchbook just a couple of weeks ago. "Let's fracture our bones! Let's knock over traffic cones! Let's drive in the bus lane! Let's break our legs on concrete!" Etc.
I say I don't know what I was doing, and I mean it here. I was just playing. So when it comes to time to mine this stuff and spin it into gold, to mix metaphors, it wound up in the mouth of Fristoe, as encouragement, excitement, something to be cynical towards. Now, this is NOT the voice I heard when I wrote this stuff. It sounded more like Hutch, more arrogant, more of a call to arms.
So what happens is that I watch it go from one context to another, then try to find a way to respond to it in its new context. In other words, at this point, I have no idea what's going on, this is all new to me.
Again, this is a wonderful state to be in. This is Brian Eno's territory, this is the territory of painters, composers, and photgraphers, the state DeKooning worked in, the state Arbus shot in, the state Mahler found his greatest sense of aliveness.
But it makes for atypical cartoon strips. And every once in while, I miss a punch line, or some dialogue alludes me. For instance, what is the right punch lines here? I feel like it needs a beat. After Hutch's last quote, he could add "I want to make sure he takes off my jewelry first." Or something. Which of course makes no sense. So maybe it will come, or maybe it will have to lie like it is.
Nothing embodies my current mood more than this strip. "Now there's an idea, huh?" is a kind, funny phrase.
This one was directly inspired by Tim Kreider on our Laugh While You Can Tour, who in the final Q and A, decided "they can't have this country. It's our country too. It's Hunter S Thompson's country and Jimi Hendrix's."
This choked me and Jen both up. Later, in an attempt to recreate the moment in my head, I imagined what I might say in a similar situation. I immediately thought of three artists that I felt represented this great country: Kubrick, Baker, Scott Walker.
A moment later I realized they all fled. Such is my subconscious.
I thought Cassatt had returned, but Leela tells me she lived out her years in Paris. God bless her.
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Some Recent Favorites of Mine:
--The Unpajamable Snowman
--Oswald decides to make his break into Hollywood by writing scab scripts during the writer's strike,
--Hutch Owen in France (3 weeks)
--Trashistan turned into a themepark called" Rebelville" (8 week story)
--The Rockabilly Kid (part of the above story)
--The women leave Earth (as seen on Cute Overload!)
--An entire office building goes feral after selling all their clothes and equipment
--The Dalai Lama's Tibetan Monopoly board game
--Blumer's PR Stand
--Hutch's Jar of Change
Latest book: Unmarketable
Order here from Top Shelf- or look for it on Amazon, BN, Powells, etc.
Tom Hart homepage
Links and Inspirations
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All Work and projects by Tom Hart
Other Super Web Comics:
The Pain- When Will It End..?
(Kevin Huizinga, Ted May, Jeff Wilson, Dan Zettwoch )
(Jeffrey Brown, Paul Hornscheimer, Amders Nilson, John Hankiewicz)
Jordan Crane's REDDINGK
The DUMBRELLA gang:
Jeff, John, Jon, Phillip, Andy and Rich
Boy on a Stick and Slither
Did I mention
Spaniel Rage ?
My buddy Box Brown's weird cute comic:
LAUGH WHILE YOU CAN TOUR (2005)
The tour is over! Thanks for all who showed up.
Click here for pics.