Archive for June, 2008

Jack Kirby

tales-to-astonish Our good friends at Stabbone and McGraw made Stan Lee a Hero of the Month. While we at Falling Rock heartily approve of his choice, we feel it is our duty to call attention to Jack “King” Kirby, co-creator of many of those awesome heroes of yesteryear and one hell of an artist.

I met Jack Kirby in Tucson when I was but a wee redheaded kid. He was at a small comic book store (is there any other kind?) to chat with fans and sign a book called The Art of Jack Kirby. As I remember, my dad volunteered the information that I was a cartoonist. I was mortified. But Jack smiled and told me to keep on drawing – to draw everything. He said he had learned to draw while he was in the army. I cannot imagine a more different environment to hone your craft. While I sketched desert landscapes, Jack Kirby had learned to draw soldiers fighting in Europe during World War II.fantastic-four

They say that meeting your heroes can be a disappointing experience, but I can safely say that Jack Kirby exceeded any expectations I had for a cartoonist.

I recently read part of Jack’s Fourth World series; while the story was beyond my limited brain capacity, I really dug the way he drew robots. He is also well-known for monsters. His cover for the first Fantastic Four comic book is nigh legendary. There is, in fact, a website devoted to Kirby’s monsters.

While Jack Kirby the man is no longer with us, his art fortunately lives on. Without his amazing eye for perspective or his boundless imagination, many of the superheroes gracing the Silver Screen today would have long been forgotten.

Long live the King.

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no more golden age

airplane-graveyardThere are few things in this world that anger me more than air travel. We pay for the privilege of being abused for a day, all for what? Arriving a little bit sooner? Personally, I prefer to drive or take a train. If I have the time, that’s what I do. But more often than not, the “easier” way to go is by plane. I endure stoically, but boiling beneath the surface is a volcano of rage. Rage at the airlines, for their lack of accountability. Rage at airports, for their incompetence. Rage at the government for not solving an easy problem.

When a person goes bankrupt, his life becomes very difficult. When an airline goes bankrupt, as almost all of them have in the last decade, the people who suffer are not the ones who stupidly drove their company to ruin. The employees suffer and the passengers suffer. I would say we suffer together, but circumstances prove that we are pitted against each other, like dogs in the same cage. The FAA and the airlines and the airport authorities trap us all in an enclosed space and watch us fight, when we really want them.

Instead of making this post all rage and no substance, I will now lay out my master plan for airline travel. This post can be printed out very easily and submitted to your Congressperson, if you so desire.

1) Invest in a new computer system. Control towers use an incomprehensibly outdated computer system for tracking take-offs and landings. An overhaul of this system will save everyone time and do wonders for morale.

2) Abolish airport security. What kind of a world do we live in where we have to take off our shoes to sit on an airplane? Would you like me to take off my pants, too? This only serves to belittle paying customers. Instead of baggage inspectors, hire two or three military-trained guards to ride on every plane. Have them stand on either side of the gate as the passengers enter the plane. The only checkpoint you need in an airport is a simple metal detector. Oh, and let everybody wait at the gates. It’s always nice to see a friendly face when you step off the plane.

3) Rip out seats in airplanes. We’re crammed in there so tightly you can hear the heartbeat of the person sitting next to you. Take out every other row, or take out a column so there are two seats across instead of three. Airlines have already proven they can’t make money by packing people into planes; why don’t they try something different? Make more flights in smaller planes. They might even see people flying more often, if it is a pleasant experience and not something to be endured.
4) Don’t make passengers sit in an airplane that is not going to take off. Have you ever sat on the runway for an hour or more? It makes you want to strangle somebody.

These suggestions are not revelatory. They are so simple. Airlines have proven they cannot handle the business of flying people around, yet they are still allowed to do so. The Wright brothers (and their physics-minded sister, Katharine) invented a great thing. What we need today is a different kind of invention. We made air travel; we now need to make air travel pleasant.newport-birds

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obama carter ’08

We live in a special time. The future is knocking on our door. The winds of change are a-blowin’. We cannot back down, we cannot turn away from our destiny.

And what is that destiny, you ask? I used to be in the Carter/Obama camp. Yet until today that was only a dream. It’s funny how sometimes you dream something, then you wake up and it comes true but in a way you never expected. For me, that means flipping those two names. Welcome to the Official Blog of Obama/Carter ’08.

Look, I even made a new logo for it.obama-carter-08
Welcome to the future, babies.

hey everybody, I’m Frank Gehry


Joe Matt

I just finished reading a book called The Poor Bastard, by Joe Matt. This guy is hilarious, although if you have a low tolerance for whiny white guys, you will not like his stories.

I thought I’d share a few of my favorite panels. I’d give away the ending, but it’s a closely-guarded secret not unlike recent summer blockbusters.joematt1 joematt2 joematt3 joematt4

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Friday Robots

I cannot take credit for these robots. I’ve been reading this wonderful book: Siteless. There are literally hundreds of sketches just like these, and I’ve been copying them because they’re so much fun to draw. They are actually architectural forms, removed from their context.

I think they would feel right at home next to my other robots.friday-robots-6-6-8


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Beware of Plague

From the pages of American Survival Guide magazine, July 1988.plague1 plague2 plague3 plague4

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I am an ugly toad.

Let’s get this out in the open: I was never a good-looking guy. I’m not so hideous that babies wail and women shudder, but I’m definitely in that ballpark. In that arena. In that Wal-Mart Supercenter.

I made peace with this a long time ago, then sort of forgot about it. I never really had the need to think about my looks after I made the decision about how truly atrocious I am. Until recently.

My friend – let’s call him Barack – lives in a city we’ll just call Omaha. It isn’t Omaha, but that doesn’t matter for this story. Barack invited me to Omaha to visit him and see the Omahan sights. I was happy to go; it was a short trip, after all, and we hadn’t seen that much of each other when we were in school.

Barack, like me, probably thought of himself as not that good looking in his younger days. The difference is that now every female within eyesight pays a lot of attention to him. We went out for breakfast and the waitress flirted with him. We were at a ballgame and a woman sitting in front of us repeatedly turned around just to say a few words to him.

“What were you talking about?” I asked him later.
“Peanut skins,” he said. You know, the papery covering of the peanut after you’ve cracked the shell.

PEANUT SKINS. Who talks about that? Somebody who just wants to stare into your soulful eyes for a little bit longer.

When I got back home I reported this activity to A. She agreed: the ladies love Barack. It wasn’t just my perception anymore. It now has a woman’s agreement (which makes it true).

I have to admit, it’s a bit thrilling to be near a man who is so loved by the opposite sex. I can’t say that I’m jealous. The word I’d use is “intrigued.” This is a phenomenon I’ve read about many times in spy novels, adventure stories, Entertainment Weekly, as well as seen in such films as Raiders of the Lost Ark, A Hard Day’s Night, and every Woody Allen movie. But never have I seen such a thing in person, let alone to a guy I’ve known as long as I have Barack.

Barack, for his part, takes this as a joke. He isn’t a womanizer; in fact, he’s the opposite. He seems a little shy about the whole process. I assume that only helps his attractiveness.

This story is far from over. I will continue to report on Barack’s personal life for as long as it takes to unravel the mystery. When he gets a girlfriend, you, dear readers, will be the first to know.

Meet Your Next President

OBAMA / CARTER ’08 brings you photos of the next President and his VP, both taken in Portland.
Top: Obama in 2008, bottom: Carter in 1976.obama-in-pdx jimmy-carter-portland


I hate it when someone asks me if I’m “really sure.” I’m never really sure. Kind of, sort of, maybe, perhaps are all integral words in my vocabulary. That person is annoying in other ways, too, but it’s the “really sure” thing that bothers me the most.

I broke a spoon yesterday just by washing it. The scoopy part snapped right off as I was scrubbing. I was only trying to clean the house, but the whole plan fell to pieces.

Ginger is one of the most underrated roots.

I had an unfortunate dinner tonight. It was so bad; it left me completely unsatisfied. So I was full but felt like I still wanted something. I wished I could just throw up and start over again.

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