Skip to content

The most insane things I have done because bugs.

The most insane things I have done because bugs. published on No Comments on The most insane things I have done because bugs.

Sorry for the absence, everyone. I had computer problems. Where did we leave off? Oh yeah… bugs are terrible.


This cartoon was inspired by real life events, a bit of an unusual move for me. If there’s a lesson to be learned here, it’s that it’s not just spiders that terrorize me. Once upon a time, which is fancy story telling terms for ‘about a week and a half ago’ I had an incident which started out with a clogged toilet, It was that toilet that prevented me from noticing the wasp on the faucet when I went to wash my hands. This left me with a dilemma- do I brave the wasp again to turn the faucet off or do I leave the water running forever? Gathering every single iota of bravery I had, I lunged at the faucet and promptly tore my fingernail down to the quick (boy am I glad I didn’t get stung!). Miraculously, the wasp didn’t move. Not wanting to press my luck, I backed slowly out of the bathroom, which seemed like a brilliant plan until I tripped over that shoe.

I honestly don’t know why bugs frighten me so. I have no enemy more determined to do me in than me. Over the course of the next week, that wasp moved around my sink just far enough to let me know he was still alive and could (I assume) kill me. Sure, you can lighten up on the liquids as much as you like, but eventually you’re going to have to go in there. I thought about hitting it with a magazine, but what if I only made it mad? It could be a mutant super wasp. I thought about catching it under a cup, but it kept hanging out on the edge where nothing could really cover it, so clearly it had the genius of at least Einstein, if not Stephen Hawking,

Finally, I broke out the vacuum cleaner. Thankfully I have a super light super tight Dyson (who did not pay me to characterize it this way, but I wouldn’t say no to a few bucks Dyson reps who may be reading this), which allowed me to get him from a verrrrry long ways away. But even though this vacuum is so mighty that I can tear the nap right out of my carpet if I’m not careful, I had to immediately run it to the closet because what if this adamantine warrior of the miniature set survived and was really really mad about the involuntary amusement park I just ran it through? Clearly the vacuum will need to be quarantined for oh… I think about two years. Just to be safe.

This is part of a larger pattern with me. A laughably irrational pattern. In the past I have:

*Thrown a laptop across the room because a spider crawled across the screen in the dark. My panic as it left my fingertips doubled when it hit the wall.

*Slept under a nest of blankets because I couldn’t force myself to turn off that lamp while that moth kept hogging that space around the switch.

*Gone to the movies just because, the because being that I would assume that spider was somewhere less visible by the time I got home from the theater.

*And of course there’s the ‘I don’t want to look like an idiot’ dance I do every year because I’m really trying to play it cool but I have yet to discover signature scent that bees don’t recognize as ‘pollen’.

Please tell me, oh loyal readers, that I’m not alone in this bugaphobia. Because my shrink and I have been at this make me less insane thing awhile now, and we haven’t even got to the bugs yet.

Please follow and like us:

The Antiquated Art of Satire

The Antiquated Art of Satire published on No Comments on The Antiquated Art of Satire

When I was a kid I was addicted to Mad magazine. Which tells you something about my age. We used to have to get our satire at the newsstand before getting that paper copy of the Onion at the student center. I loved everything about Mad. I loved the writing, the irreverence, the detail- but what I loved most of all was the art. I was especially enamored of Mort Drucker, whose insanely intricate cross hatched masterpieces were right up there with anything John Tenniel ever did for Lewis Carrol’s books and it was every bit as iconographic.

Mad doesn’t hold the same audience it used to anymore. I think it’s at about a tenth of the size it was at the height of its circulation. The Onion is more known as a website than a newspaper, the same way Cracked is known for its online presence instead of the Mad magazine knockoff I grew up with back in the day. Bill Watterson took Calvin and Hobbes out at the height of their dominance at least in part due to the declining influence of the funny pages. Aaron McGruder left the Boondocks after a few years for television pastures on animation late night.

But there is one place where I think the best of cartoonists are still practicing their art at the height of their game. No, I’m not talking about the Family Circus, though I will admit that circular frame is pretty groundbreaking for a feature so square. I’m talking about the political cartoonists. These are the guys you see on the editorial page that aren’t Doonesbury and don’t have names even though they have recurring characters. There it is just smack dab on the page, that’s ART.

These troops in the trenches come in at varying skill levels just like any other genre of cartooning out there (and if you have thoughts to share on my level- be kind. I’m new) and the one I’ve been most entranced by is David Horsey. He has been cartooning longer than I’ve been alive- and it shows. His art is every bit as detailed and exaggerated as Mort Drucker’s work and the nuance and insight with which he illustrates make for immediate poignancy. He’s a columnist too (and a darned good one), but the words are almost unnecessary as his pictures are worth about 3156 words.

In the works of Horsey I see the best of both worlds. He is an obvious master with a pen and his lines are confident, flowing and varied. I don’t know his method for color, but it’s obviously done digitally and right skillfully as well. It’s easy in these rapidly changing times to try to cling to rules that no longer make sense, but I admire artists like Horsey who see the evolution of art and hang ten on that wave, holding for dear life. That’s inspirational.

I look forward to David Horsey and other eagle eyed Americans looking out for our interests for the next four years (more or less). I hope someday to be within telescope distance of these great satirists someday. In the meantime, I leave you with this cartoon which I swear is political. Think about it.

Please follow and like us:

Night Owl!

Night Owl! published on No Comments on Night Owl!

I’m one of those people that has trouble with the whole being awake during the day thing. It’s never been easy for me. There’s a good chance I’m sleeping while you’re reading this. Just like there’s a good chance you’re sleeping while I’m writing it. I’m one of those people known as a night owl and that gives me plenty of time to think about things that probably don’t cross the minds of the Normals.

Thing 1:
th-38
Apologies to Dr. Seuss. It’s an homage. This is how Things look in my head when I think about Things.

Why do they call us night owls? Isn’t that redundant? I mean, if you take something that’s most well known for being that one thing, do you really need to add the thing it’s known for as a qualifier? Shouldn’t we just be owls? We don’t call that drinker with the hollow leg a water camel. Or a camel at all I guess. Yet. Try it and it might catch on. Anyways, I mean, what’s the danger of misunderstanding here? “Oh? You’re an owl too? I love eating mice?” Also, language evolves. Owls might be awake at night, but vampires burst into flames in the day. Their claim to being  synonymous with the night is way over that of owls. I know someone will come in and tell me that vampires (or night vampires as I now like to call them) have historically not until recently been inextricably tied to the night. But that’s my point.  Besides, mistaken ideas lead us neatly into

Thing 2:
thing2.jpg
It’s running because it’s a wave.

I’m sure you know this, but things are louder at night. They don’t seem louder and people don’t do things louder. Sound just likes to be louder at night and murder those things that bring sleep to the world. I call this the psychological Doppler effect. PDE will soon be playing at a rave near you. It’s what makes those upstairs neighbors sound like they’re wearing the kind of lead boots that leads to deepwater expeditions for giant squid. I’m sure there’s probably some big scientific explanation about how the air is thin and carries sound better or something. All I know is the volume at which I can barely hear my tv during the day is 3 times the volume at which I’m afraid it will wake the neighbors at night. There’s no ambient noise that makes a difference or anything. It’s just a case of PDE gone awry.

I have other things but the sun will be up soon so I should hit the sack. I’ll leave you with this old doodle. I drew it at night.

vamp

 

Please follow and like us:

The Day After

The Day After published on No Comments on The Day After

Catchin’ up, catchin’ up, catchin’ up… Hope you all had a great holiday weekend and that all family get togethers ceased screaming long enough for pie. Pie should bring everyone together and everyone should have at least 3.14 slices of it per get together. Too stuffed to be racist. It’s my message of healing, yo.

As for me, I spent most of the weekend arting. I got quite a few cartoons done for your viewing pleasure. I was consistently terrorized by tub spiders who accommodate me when I want to suffer for my art. I drew these (with a few more in the pipes):

Soon to be merchandized at a web near you

But I also took some time off because it’s a holiday, why not? I saw a lot of things online about DAPL and Black Friday and I get it. The holidays are stressful. It’s not just you. You don’t think Martha Stewart is freaking out right now? You think she doesn’t know that if she doesn’t have those hand carved compostable centerpieces then she’s going to hostess hell? She can smell Gwyneth Paltrow nipping at her heels. She gets it.

I just want to say there’s no wrong way to be thankful and that gratitude doesn’t need to built into a holiday. I was lucky enough to spend the day with my best friend and she’s all kinds of amazing. If you don’t have someone that amazing in your life, maybe get involved with something you’re passionate about because we sorely need amazing people to be amazing together.

Finally, the best reason I can think of to be grateful for the things you have is that it highlights all the things you don’t have. I don’t mean that in an envious my neighbor has a 90 inch tv and all I have is this 60 inch piece of crap way. I mean by contextualizing who we are in the world, it imposes on us humility. By assessing what we’re missing, it defines the path of where we need to go. Gratitude is a way of accepting our imperfections.

I’m grateful for this chance to move forward with you all.

Thankfully,

Martin

Please follow and like us:

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

Please follow and like us:

Cha Cha Cha… sameness…

Cha Cha Cha… sameness… published on No Comments on Cha Cha Cha… sameness…

I’m making some itty bitty teeny tiny changes here. Little tiny things really because I know in these times of uncertainty and upheaval, you need something to rely on. Like you can rely on me. I understand there are a lot of people out there that like people that say they are the best. So in the interest of building bridges, I’ll go ahead and say I’m the best. There. Don’t you feel better?

So… changes. If you’ve only been looking at the main page, you may not have noticed my new pet project 99 ways to spi. It’s my therapeutic way of coming to terms with the fact that tiny killers come into your house the minute you let your guard down and they will take out your whole family. That doesn’t seem a valuable trade in return for them ridding you of tinier insects. Anyway, I’ll be adding those into the regular rotation here on the main page as well as maintaining them on their own page.

I have a third comic that I’ll be adding into the rotation as well, date TBD. Those will be coming up here on the main page and on their own as well. It’s just good design. When you have spider based material, you need backups. Because spiders will crawl off the page and destroy anything that shares a location with it the minute you let your guard down. They’re just that devious.

And that’s it. That’s not so bad, is it? It’s really just more of the same and I mean that in the best way possible. In the meantime, here is a comforting meme of an old white guy we can all agree is awesome to brighten your day.

tommy

Please follow and like us:

Now Back to Our Show

Now Back to Our Show published on No Comments on Now Back to Our Show

Ok, I haven’t felt much like updating lately because my goal here at the end of the day is to be above, all other considerations, a humor site. I mean, a comic strip should be funny, right? It’s not like we’re at the New Yorker here

*disclaimer: If any of you are scouts for the New Yorker, I retract and I would be proud to appear in your fine publication

 

**disdisclaimer: If any of you are White Supremacists who have no use for New York intellectuals or their namby pamby sympathizers, I retract and would under no circumstances appear in that commie rag

 

***disdisdisclaimer: If you are white and offended that I used the phrase White Supremacist than you are free to go and read the New Yorker, The Guardian, The New York Post or any other publication more aligned with your proclivities. Or you can write and tell me why I’m wrong. Martin is not above intelligent discourse from the fan.

So…. yeah… not feeling funny and I decided to go and lift my spirits by going to see Christopher Titus, my all time favorite comedy legend. For an hour and a half I laughed until my sides hurt

Then I was back here. In the world. Where things are happening.

ticket
Things like this.

Or not happening. I’ve been told those things may be in my head. But they seem to be in a lot of friend’s heads as well. So maybe we as a nation lost our minds collectively in some sort of Jungian soup. Or maybe it’s the Matrix, Neo. Or it’s possible it’s the Economy, stupid. I know I feel malaise but I can’t pinpoint the source.

Repetition
I’m not smart like this guy.

 

But then, I go to tie my hair up and I can hear something crinkly and I feel something papery and I know there’s something in there. Leaf? Receipt Jimmy Hoffa? I spend a good three minutes trying to comb it out before I realize I still have my wristband from the show on and the paper is rubbing the hair by my ear.

mnr
I’m also not smart like these guys.

I’m provided a moment for self deprecation, wry introspection and a moral (just because you can’t find something doesn’t mean it isn’t there and the things you find may be different than the things you sought) as well as a way through my writers block to this very blog entry.

And  when I (re)discovered that paper strip all I could hear in my head was Titus ultimate line from his 5th Annual End of the World Tour, thinking about the loonnnnng buildup to his father’s final punchline.

Oooooohhhhhhh………

Funny, a**hole.

Please follow and like us:

The More Things Change…

The More Things Change… published on No Comments on The More Things Change…

…the more they really change. Can we agree that 2016 has been a really weird year?

gothic
Yup. This weird.

 

I’ll start by saying that cartooning is something that I enjoy. A lot. I’m not the best in the world at it, but have you seen what Garry Trudeau’s early work looks like? Have you seen what Scott Adams looks like now? I will get better. It’s a promise from me to you and, more importantly, from me to me.

Speaking of Scott Adams, I don’t know how many of you noticed this piece he wrote regarding this hellstorm of an election, but he has formally endorsed Donald Trump after stating that he knows nothing about the issues but that he does know that Hillary’s supporters are bullies.

As a certain type of successful white man, he then goes on to talk about how his books are now being downgraded on Amazon as a result of his political uncorrectness (I know it’s incorrectness but I’m fighting back against PC thugs telling me how to wurd). Writers are speaking out against him motivated only by a desire to diminish his authority because of course that and jealousy are the only reason that any writer ever writes about another writer.

A Graveyard Smash
And we all know jealousy makes monsters of us all.

 

This is honestly the kind of writing I would expect from the apologist balladeer of the crappy workplace (my two cents are ‘it’s funny because it’s true!’ is the same logic that gave us Hogans Heroes).

Contrast this with something that I read recently in the book Only What’s Necessary: Charles M. Schulz and the Art of Peanuts. I would go so far as to say Charles Schulz was the most commercially influential cartoonist in American history. All of the plushies, lunch boxes, coffee mugs and assorted desiderata (I love that word so much) of all the cartoonists working today might approach the level that Snoopy and the gang reached. I assume so, without bothering to research- but it feels right doesn’t it?

In this book there is s0me correspondence between Schulz and a teacher named Harriet Glickman. Harriet very kindly writes Schulz and tells him his comic is so wonderfully received and influential, could he please see his way to add a black character to help with integration? Schulz, again very kindly, writes back that he wouldn’t dare as he would be afraid to come across as condescending to people of color. He writes back and forth with some of Harriet’s black friends expressing his concerns, they share with him some of theirs and eventually Peanuts sees the introduction of Franklin, its’ first black character.

My point? Success comes with privileges and responsibilities, just like being a spider powered superhero. Fifty years ago there was a cartoonist so beloved that he probably could have been president himself who modestly and circumspectly approached the controversial issues of the day- and to be fair I did get a whiff of the protection of his commercial interests at play. Fast forward to today and a niche cartoonist whose niche is not politics and who claims to know little of the issues asks us to upvote his books on the interwebs as a political statement.

I don’t judge or claim to understand either of these men because I have walked nowhere in their shoes. To that end I would like to propose that a well endowed ivy league school give me a LOT of money from their sociology department (first dibs to Princeton so I can meet Paul Krugman) and I promise to fully document all the effects overnight success imposes on a bleeding heart liberal. I look forward to discussing my views on the capital gains tax with you.

Frugally,

Martin

Please follow and like us:

Introspection Dust Kitties

Introspection Dust Kitties published on No Comments on Introspection Dust Kitties

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

Please follow and like us:

We Could be Heroes…

We Could be Heroes… published on No Comments on We Could be Heroes…

A few years back Utah was determined to be the nerdiest state in America based on Facebook posts and their contents. I live approximately a 4 minute walk from ground zero of the Salt Lake Comic-con and I’ll testify. Not like at the big churchy building across the street, where I’m not allowed to do that. Anyways, off-topic. I’m rambling.

My point is everywhere else I have visited or lived I am considered a hardcore nerd. I know many people here who believe the same thing. But those are people who don’t know the other people I know here. The real nerds. The ones who argued when the list came out that the nerd criteria and method of data gathering lacked empirical validity. The ones who model what commitment, enthusiasm, creativity and camaraderie can accomplish. And the alphas of those nerds are the cosplayers. The hundreds of hours that go into a costume are truly mind boggling. Not to mention the positive self image. I can’t even get away from using facebook avatars that look like this:

156844_118407618226773_1403870_n

So I will never understand those that laugh at these grownups playing dress up. They must not be not aware of groups like Heroic, who perform good deeds for charity and delight children and adults throughout Utah as the walking avatars of beloved fictional characters. Or the Mandalorian Mercs– an international group of Star Wars cosplayers who perform charity for underprivileged families while counterintuitively dressing as bounty hunters. (Side note- this is where I display my casual rather than deeply embedded nerddom by admitting that I don’t know if all Mandalorians are bounty hunters or if I’m racially profiling. If this is the case, I apologize for my insensitivity #notallmandalorians)

I’m not sure if it was evident before, so let me state explicitly that I do in fact have a point. Back during SLC Nerd in 2013 someone took a truly epic pic of Batman of Heroic riding off with a Mandalorian from the Krayt clan. It was a great pic, but the background was asphalt. Boring asphalt. So I made it into this: 554598_310070115727188_1569278052_nIt just felt better. I’d like to do it again. If this is the sort of thing you’d like to see more of, I’d like to invite all of our cosplay heroes to send me anything you have that you just know could be epic with a push. I can’t promise to get to everything, but once or twice a week at least I’d like to share these inspirational moments. And a big shout out to our heroes above for their kind permission in letting me put this out there.

 

Please follow and like us:

Primary Sidebar