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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.

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The Antiquated Art of Satire

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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.

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Night Owl!

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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

 

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The Day After

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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

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Arachnophobia

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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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