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99 Days to Wed

99 Days to Wed published on No Comments on 99 Days to Wed

I’m a pretty singular person. Not in the sense of “oh look at me, I’m so great, there’s no one like me!” singular, but singular in the sense that I don’t like being in relationships. I like being single. Also in the sense that I used to work for Cingular. I was a singular Cingular person. Except I worked for them twice.

My point, readers, is that I like my own company. I’m a great conversationalist with myself. I could talk to myself all day. Sometimes I do. If you and I meet face to face, you will probably call me a good listener. Anyways, I’ve been fine with this arrangement for a few decades now. But the other day, my mom said something to me that changed everything. “What would happen” she asked, “if you were alone and a black widow bites you?”

(it’s this)

I can stomach the idea of a childless existence (prefer it, actually) and will gladly traverse into my twilight years alone if it means that I will always have the remote control, but this was an Achilles heel I had not considered before.

Some of you may have noticed, I’m a little scared of spiders. Actually, I know you’ve noticed because I have the gruesome stories, videos and pictures to prove it, you sadists. When I first started drawing about my arachnophobia, some doubters thought I could not conceive of 99 ways in which I was afraid of them. At least consider a different title, the doubters said. Leave yourself a back door. Sure, those doubters may have been in my head and this could have been one of those conversations with myself. What matters is that the doubters had a point.

Even if you revisit some themes.

30 plus comics in, I am running out of steam. Not because I am running out of ways to be afraid, but because I’m running out of ways to convey it in my chosen form. How do you draw a stick figure representation of a spider crawling in your mouth and down your throat and laying eggs in your stomach so that it’s million babies eat you slow from the inside out? Seriously. I’m asking.

Not that it matters, because I had a flash of inspiration. It is very, very easy to take horror movies of all shapes and sizes and drop a spider in as the villain.

Norman’s mother was a spider and you know it.

Why is it so easy? Because spiders are very very evil and they do in fact want to kill you. I know they do all sorts of awesome things like kill pests and other stuff I guess, but I’m sticking with my them or me mentality.

Which brings me back to the beginning. My circular, singular journey. You cannot remain vigilant when your enemy can seize you in your sleep. I now know I have to be married, post haste. All you have to do is promise to be by my side, always always always and protect me from any and all spiders in line of sight. For this, I will pledge my eternal love to you and perform any service you consider to be a spousely duty and in the bounds of legality, or at least ethics.

All applicants may send reply via any small animal antithetical to the presence of spiders or time travelling carrier pigeon, serious inquiries only please.

Matrimonially yours,
Martin

(the preceding article is dedicated to Vince who lovingly shared that he found a black widow in a space which I regularly visit… thanks for the inspiration?)

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Arachnophobia

Arachnophobia published on No Comments on Arachnophobia

So in case none of you have noticed, I have a thing about spiders. And by thing, I mean of course crippling and debilitating terror. I started 99 Ways to Spi as a way to convince myself that my fears are ridiculous, that there is no way possible that they are as terrifying in life as they are in my head. You know what happened? I MADE MY FEARS WORSE.

Seriously, spiders are now the ISIS of my life. The weather is turning cold and rainy and they come indoors and I see them and it’s like they’re slowly encircling the camp like natives surrounding the heroes in a bad adventure movie. “I don’t like it Thompson, it’s too quiet out there”. I feel like whatever I suspected them of was only the icing on the terror cake they bring to the table.

And suddenly my facebook feed is full of spiders. Giant spider on a broom. Jumping spider takes out the cameraman. New species of spider pretends to be a dried up leaf. A dried up leaf! And in my heart if not my head I know… I KNOW that if it can be a leaf, it can be my cell phone. And once I put it up to my ear it can burrow through my auditory canal to lay eggs in my brain and eat me from the inside, killing me and driving me mad simultaneously. Just like I know that if I wash a spider down the drain it will somehow find a way to merge it’s DNA with one of the mutant alligators that was flushed in NYC and their monstrous spawn will return for revenge.

spider6
This is why you don’t brush with the water running.

 

It would seem I would have better things to worry about, and I do. And it would seem these fears are silly, and they are. Nonetheless, spiders are terrifying and evil and harbingers of Cthulhu, but I won’t quit drawing them because I title promised 99 of these puppies and I love you, readers. Not going back on my words, I’m just playing through the pain.

Taking one for the team,

Martin

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The Home Stretch

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I know these past few months have been rough on all of us and this is the last chance I have to throw my two cents in before we pull the ripcord on this freefall. I know that the idea that voting for the lesser of two evils is still endorsing evil is a tantalizing proposition (in a loose sense- because it’s not exactly going to get Tantalus foaming at the mouth like one of Pavlov’s dogs), but there comes a time when the focus needs must go onto the lesser part.

devilfin

I know that’s not very elegantly phrased but I was hoping to confuse anyone who might want to send me to a camp next week. Oh please, let Born in East L.A. stay an amusing vehicle for Cheech Marin and not a harbinger for an entire disinherited generation. I don’t want to go to a camp. I’ll be good! … ish…

In the mean time, please enjoy this new comic as the first in my new side series, 99 Ways to Spi. It’s a gentle and hopefully cute reminder that no matter what your creed, color, orientation or presentation, there is still one common enemy of which we can all be soundly afraid.

spider1

And that enemy is spiders. Spiders that will kill us all.

May (deity, ideology or force of your choice) have mercy on us all in 2017 and protect us from the spiderwrath,

Martin

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Introspection Dust Kitties

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Those who know me best will not be surprised by the following confession:

I am not exactly a neat freak.

And now those who know me best can kindly stop laughing and shut up. I’m still trying to impress these other people over here. By impress I of course mean lie through my teeth to. There. Now I have a messy living room AND a dangling preposition. I’ve abused the truth, cleanliness and grammar.

Since I’m not really good at lying or grammatical malfeasance, I must admit I hate cleaning. I hate it. I REALLY hate it. If you give me a choice between coating my arm in albacore tuna then locking myself in a room with a group of catnipped up kitties who haven’t had their claws clipped since birth and had no scratching posts or doing the dishes, I would want to know how many cats. Because I don’t believe in committing to blanket generalizations. The point is the dishes bug me.

It's a Horror Show
Yes. This much.

 

So I have recently decided to step up my art game and to that end want to make my bedroom something of a dedicated studio space (which seems efficient and smart since I don’t believe in sleeping anyways). That means I have to clear it out. This is a triggering concept to me.

I start thinking of the near archaeological expedition this will entail and questions… disturbing questions… unthinkable questions pop up. Not, I wonder, if- but how many dead bugs I may find under that pile of books. What if there are live bugs and one of them is a spider like from the Mist or Eight Legged Freaks and it wraps me up in a web and saves me for a later night snack and no one can find me because he didn’t wrap up my phone with me and I live in secured building? Why do these strata contain life sections like a sedimentary rock? This is a college stratum! I didn’t even live here in college, where did this come from? Should I make art out of my diplomas? Bold statement? Pretentious? What am I doing with my life?!

So… best to leave things as they lay, right? Nonetheless, I am expeditioning in an expedited manner to efficate my exit from this sanitation ASAP. I am proud of that sentence. I feel like I should drop a beat on it. It is a darn good sentence and not an effort, say, to pad out an entry and avoid approaching the spiderbook pile for five more minutes.

I guess my point is that if you don’t see a cartoon from me come Tuesday, call the Orkin Army.

Fearfully,

Martin

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#NotAllClowns

#NotAllClowns published on No Comments on #NotAllClowns

So now that we’re into October, it’s that time of year when we’re hyper focused on all sorts of creepy, crawly beasties. I’m talking, of course, about politicians and clowns (assuming that’s not tautological).

Honestly, what is up with all the clowning around? School campuses across several states have heightened security because of clown sightings and here in Utah, one PD has issued a statement telling people not to shoot random clowns and also detailing the scenarios in which they would (read: We’ll shoot any clown we would have shot even if he didn’t have a stupid red nose). Someone took a shot at a “clown” yesterday in Kentucky with an AR15, but the only problem was that clown was a woman in a white afghan walking her dog. But hey, let’s make sure we keep those second amendment rights strong or clowns… are gonna getcha.

Now I’ve been a lifelong fan of horror and one thing I know is that the things people find entertaining in a frightening sort of way are a way of minimally addressing the things of which they are actually afraid. You can talk about things without talking about them. Like how Invasion of the Body Snatchers is about communism or War of the Worlds is about colonialism or The Day the Earth Stood Still was about about the 2016 election cycle (boy that GORT was prescient!).

I’m going to go out on a limb here that’s probably going to get me hung from it, but I’m going to say this clown hysteria is our collective fear about racism coming to a boil. There’s a hashtag floating around out there, #IfISeeAClown. It’s people talking about all the things people say they’re going to do to a clown if they get attacked by one. You know why there’s an IfISeeAClown hashtag? Because people know they can’t post an if I see a Muslim. Or a Black. Or a trans person. Or whatever it is that you hate because they are so different that their mere existence makes you fear for your life.

sadclownfinal

I’ve seen articles about how sad this furor is making the real clowns. Stephen King went on Twitter and told people to stop it with the clown hysteria already. Cops have told people to knock it off or they’re going to get shot. The Ringling Brothers Clown College have thrown their two cents in. Think about this. We are more aligned as a country for stopping hypothetical clown killings than we are understanding of Black Lives Matter.

My point is that we have to quit dealing with our problems through evasions and metaphor like kids at a fourth grade dance that won’t cross the room to talk to each other because boys are icky and girls have cooties. If you want to talk about racism and otherness, America, let’s talk about racism and otherness.

Get on that dance floor already.

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