Words, words, words, art.

The Blatherings Of A Blitherer

Job Hunting

February16

I’m trolling (you know, trolling, moving slowly and methodically with lots of bait, trying to catch a lot of fish, not flaming people and being a jerk) CraigsList for a new job and I’ve found a few possibilities for Nesko, if he can ever sit down and apply, and a few for myself, same caveat. Every single thing in the entire world is harder when you have a child, especially when that child is a toddler, willful the way toddlers are willful, and possibly with a sinus infection and the attitude to match. What I’m trying to say is that I’ve been working on a cover letter for the same job for three days now, and haven’t finished it because I keep getting interrupted. Is it even worth sending out the email? Is the job already filled? Probably, especially considering that there’s 4 unemployed people for each available job right now. But I’m going to polish up the cover letter and send it off anyway, because nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Speaking of incredibly shitty ads that inadvertently reveal a lot about the company, one of the ads was full of screen shots of Will Ferrel movies and part of the application process required listing your totes fave Will Ferrell quote. Because people with a sense of humor are great employees, and boring, humorless drones are terrible employees! What better way of screening potential new hires than by asking them to prove how conversant they are in White, male, heteronormative, sexist culture? None! I’m not saying that every single thing Will Ferrell has been in is crap, but he’s been in a lot of dudebro stuff.

Also: oh my stars, the amount of job-related scams on CL is about to make me cry. Tears of blood. Blood of rage. My rage will shake the heavens. Or… no. It won’t. Sorry, got a little carried away there.

Also also: PEOPLE! Including you, Google, what the HELL, an administrative assistant? Is not a project leader! Or an HR rep! Or a graphics designer! Get your act together and stop cluttering up the admin asst rolls with your shitty paying highly qualified NOT OFFICE ADMIN JOBS. PS: it doesn’t take a college degree and ten years experience to make coffee and alphabetize files. I’ve been doing that since I was 14. Fourteen. It is very basic work.

I’ve got a story bug in my head and don’t know what to do with it. Basically, it’s an AU Authurian thing where Merlin manages to find Mordred and fosters/raises him the way he did Aurthur. I like the versions where Mordred is a hero (which is, historically, plausible and interesting). I’m also considering going ahead with a webcomic even though, GOD!, apparently someone reached into my brain and STOLE MY IDEAS. All of them. Only the entire cast is White and straight (helllooooooooo lazy default) instead of the slightly more diverse cast I have, but is that enough? Are there enough other differences to boot? I HAVE NO IDEA. But I keep coming up with ~~dialog~~. I’m a fairly crap artist, though, and that’s giving me the heebie jeebies about actually setting anything down on paper. I know, I know. Nothing will ever happen unless I start it. Hundred miles, single step. Won’t get better without practice. IT HAS TAKEN ME THREE EFFING DAYS TO WRITE A COVER LETTER WHERE WILL I FIND THE TIME TO DO A WEBCOMIC I don’t even.

I need a job, if only so I have a lunch break I can art/write over.

Ok. Need to kick this cover letter’s ass and get to bed. My kid’s breath smells APPALLING. I hope he didn’t jam anything up his nose. Gonna try and visit the doctor tomorrow to find out. I say “try” because I’m not sure they do walk ins (we’ve never had to take him to the doctor for anything but a scheduled check up) and their phone system is screwy and routing calls wrong. Wish me luck.

(PS– I need parenting advice. Got kids? Pacifiers? How did you wean the pacifier? He currently (23 months old) uses it only at naps/bed time. When he loses it, he wakes fully up and raises hell until it’s found again; his teeth are bucking out. I want to wean him off of it, but am not sure the best way. Tell me anything no matter how obvious.)

posted under life, web comics | 7 Comments »

ADCoTW: Riot Nrrd

July28

It’s been like a million years since I last did an “Awesome Damn Comic of the Week” bit, so I really want to thank Garland Grey of Tiger Beat Down for bringing Riot Nrrd to light.

Oh.

My.

God.

I basically fell in love with this comic like 2 or 3 comics in. The art is pretty rough, but in an endearing and trying-hard way, and the writing is awesome. The cast is extremely diverse, including characters who are disabled, and it doesn’t feel in the least like tokenism or inclusion for the sake of inclusion. It very much feels like a group of people who are friends, and some of them are different in some ways and some of them are different in other ways.

And oh, the nerdity.

It’s beautiful.

There’s only 35 comics so far, so there’s not much to catch up on. I really hope RJ continues with this project. I’m very excited about it and adore the characters.

Some of my favorite comics so far are:

The Whedon Problem
Community Service
Mae Jemison is awesome
Blind Date pt 3

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Webcomics not about White, underachieving 20 year olds.

December15

One of the big, huge, MAJOR themes in webcomics is “White 20-something hipsters working surprisingly enjoyable service industry jobs/generally underachieving, and saying witty things.” You know the kind. The main character works at a record shop/music store, book store, coffee shop, etc and despite making barely over minimum wage never has any money problems and has lots of free times. Also, these comics are frequently a Eugenics paradise. There are no or very few non-White characters.

I thought I’d put together a list of comics I read or know of that buck that trend.

I’ve noted race in a few instances not because I think it’s usually important to catalog race/ethnicity, and not in a “collect them all!” kind of way, but because the complaint/requests I’ve heard have involved looking for comics that feature a not exclusively white cast.

Achewood, by Chris Onstad, is a frequently surreal ongoing comic about “alive stuffed animals” and small real animals (mostly cats and a squirrel). It has both long storylines as well as stand alone one-off strips, and has been running for years. It features virtually no humans, and the characters’ personalities are extremely well defined– to the point where Onstad maintained blogs for characters, for awhile. Their voices were exceptionally distinct.

Bad Machinery, (formerly Scary Go Round) by John Allison, has massively shifted gears recently. It now appears to be about school children in England who solve mysteries. The relaunch is still very new and there’s just enough to be interesting and intriguing without being a swampy morass of backstory. As usual, Allison writes pithy, realistic dialogue and his characters are eccentric but also very grounded in reality. One of the characters is a young Black boy. , I think he might be younger than your oldest, but he still might be interested. I remember you’ve been looking for characters, in general, he can identify with.

Kate Beaton draws comics about books, history, and tiny ponies. Also, herself as a child interacting with he present day self. They’re really cool, witty, well done comics.

BobWhite by Magnolia Porter, follows the adventures/lives of 3 (female) college students. Ivy is Iranian, Marlene is Jewish (and dresses like Frank Sinatra’s Grandmother) and Cleo… has issues. Actually, they’re all kind of petty jerks, but they get called on their jerkdom instead of it being celebrated as cool and hip. They are very flawed and realistic feeling, and Porter draws on her own experiences in art school to inject a little more truthiness to the strip.

Dicebox, by Jenn Manley Lee, has had an erratic update schedule for a while (life happens) but has a VAST archive to go through. One of the main characters is Black. Additionally, the world of Dicebox has a linguistic system set in place to cope with non-gendered pronouns: “Peh” is used to indicate neither male nor female; “Note: used as a formality when assuming or noting the gender or sex of the antecedent is considered irrelevant to the subject at hand, i.e. government documentation, news reports, etc.”

Gunnerkrigg Court, by Tom Siddell, is about a freaky technomagic boarding school that houses mysteries. Gods and ghosts pop in and out. Katerina “Kat” Dolan, the main character’s best friend (and totally awesome character in her own right) is half Romany. Her mom is apparently full blood Romany, and if I remember correctly, the only reason we readers know this is because of an off-hand comment. There’s none of the ~~OMG GYPSY PRINCESS~~ stereotype crap that so frequently is attached to Romany characters.

Loxie and Zoot is a long-running niche strip about naturists (also known as nudists). It has a lot of nude people. They are very comfortable in their nudity. They are also all sorts of different ages, shapes, and ethnicities. There’s a VERY multicultural cast, although there’s also a sort of iffy “Magical Negro” Aboriginal Australian (it’s an Australian comic) who literally has magic, and acts wacky sometimes. A lot of the plots are kind of corny, of the sort you’d see on TV, but they’re handled well. There’s a bit of preachiness about the wonders of being unclothed, but frankly, that’s kind of the point of the strip. The art’s pretty decent, too.

Necessary Monsters, by Sean Azzopardi & Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, is a long-form comic that has recently entirely completed a story arc, which makes it a good time to dive in at the first comic and read it all the way through. In tone, it reminds me of Hellblazer when Hellblazer is firing on all cylinders. A secret agency exists, which has for some time now been essentially enslaving monsters and binding them to service. This is explored to a very good effect via the “recruitment” of Creeping Tuesday, the daughter of a Freddy-Krueger-esque dream monster who was recently killed. She has inherited his abilities, and is forced to don the shackle and keep the world safe from her kind. Tuesday is African-American, with natural (dreadlocked) hair. Other non-white characters include Knife Mother (Japanese) and a man named Levi Gibbs “The Ju-Ju Man” who I’m assuming is West African, or else from Louisiana or something (he looks kind of voodoo-y, but not in a Fail Way.), but his face is skull like so it’s hard to tell. One of the things I’ve enjoyed about Necessary Monsters is that even though most of the characters are male, and it’s a violent horror comic, the main character (and the one who has to Make A Fateful Choice And Resolve Things) is female. (I just read this one, and need to write a real review of it.)

Octopus Pie, by Meredith Gran, switched formats recently from updating regularly to updating when a storyline is finished. It also comes thisclose to being about underachieving 20-somethings, but the underemployed are mostly underemployed through idealism (working at an organic grocery store MEANS SOMETHING, dammit) and money issues exist. The main character, Eve, is Chinese-American.

Over Compensating, by Jeffrey Rowland, is a pseudo-diary comic that was originally about Rowland’s life, but now is about politics and the web comics industry. Which makes sense, because politics are important and Rowland runs Topatoco, which sells T-Shirts and other merch for webcomickers. Also he has some other long running webcomics. You may recognize Rowland, or the giant scar on his leg, from when he got bit by a giant brown recluse spider and it started rotting off. You may also have been linked to the Thanksgiving strips he does every year, about the hypocrisy and hate of Thanksgiving.

Pictures for Sad Children, by John Campbell, is done in stick figures, and done very well. It can be depressing/futile but also very poignant.

Skin Deep, by Kory Bing, is a long-form comic about mythical creatures that interact with humans. As she draws from mythology all over the world, her characters also all come from all over the world (although she’s focusing, right now, on some English characters in England, one of her protagonists is Egyptian-American). There’s a lot of issues about identity, both cultural and personal. It’s simply lovely art and fantastic story telling as well.

A Softer World, by Emily Horne and Joey Cameau, has been imitated, just about always poorly. It’s a 3-panel piece of art made up of photographs and lines of text that convey a vignette, emotion, or bit of story. It’s much more awesome than it sounds.

Templar, AZ, by Charlie Spike Trotman, is a long-form character-driven comic about an alternate universe city and its inhabitants. The main character (other than the city) is Ben, who is Korean-American, and who was adopted (from Korea) as an infant. One of his friends, Scipio, is a very large Black man with long dreadlocks, who habitually wears a kilt. He is Buddhist. He has a pet chicken. (another friend is Reagan, who is female and who ISN’T hot, or well dressed, or interested in any of the characters romantically. Carnally? Yes. Romantically? No. It’s… refreshing.)

Wapsi Square, by Paul Taylor, started out as a gag strip that has since moved to long form drama. I used to check it frequently, now I wait for long chunks to go by so I can try to get most/all of a story arc. One of the character is Hispanic-American (and does big brainy work at a museum) and one is Native American (and is a mechanic and a musician), two less central characters appear to be Black and Japanese (they are non-humans taking human form). Both central characters are female, and do a pretty good job in general in not falling into sexist tropes. In fact, most of the cast is female. There’s some boob fanservice where Monica is concerned, which is a bit jarring in contrast to how female positive the comic is otherwise, but w/ev.

I’m sure there’s more, but this is what I’ve come up with more or less off the top of my head.

Please feel free to add comments, links, etc.

Quick Thing: POD

November9

I’m pretty sure that when people ask “Is POD “worth it”?” they are asking how it measures up to:

1) contacting publishers and getting quotes
2) taking preorders
3) working out ISBN stuff
4) making room in their house/apartment/shack in the woods for five hundred boxes of books
5) mailing books out to people who preordered them
6) taking books to conventions/indy bookstores/etc

or

1) getting an agent
2) waiting for a publishing company to publish their work of genius

In other words, is the reduced money you get worth the time and effort saved?

However, my thinking may be colored by the people I hang out with, who tend to self publish art books and graphic novels/web comics collections. POD is asked about frequently by folks who have their first book together, and the people that I know who’ve compared POD versus self publishing pretty much all agree that self publishing is the way to go if you want to make actual money selling your thing.

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