Archive for April, 2009



April Fools

april-fools-colorApril 1st means I get to have some fun with Falling Rock. Today’s strip combines my love of comics with my love for Easter Island heads. You can also see this strip in my BRAND NEW BOOK, which I believe I’ve mentioned a couple of times already.




Friday Robots: The Paintings

First in a series of three Friday Robots paintings I finished recently.friday-robots-4-3-9

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Falling Rock Book 3 on the Web

SHALEK_COVER-3News of the third collection of Falling Rock strips is making its way across the web.

First up, the good people at Pinball Press have written up Book 3 on their blog. I happily recommend Pinball for all your printing needs, especially if you want to be just like me in everything you do. Who doesn’t?

Second, the good people at Powell’s City of Books now have a link to purchase Book 3 without ever having to go inside their store. This is not a drill, people. We’re through the looking glass.

It’s not just a bumper sticker: reading IS sexy. Pick up your copy of Book 3 today.



Oregon’s Greatest Newspaperman

pittock6In 1853, Portland, Oregon was a one-newspaper town. The weekly paper, the Oregonian, was nothing more than a collection of stories of the End of Times, gruesome logging accidents, and poorly drawn sketches that passed as comics. A young upstart by the name of Henry Pittock bought the paper for $12 and the promise to never, ever drop Mary Worth from its pages.

Henry increased circulation by printing lies, innuendo, and scandal. He tried to change up the comics pages, but reader outcry forced him to keep every strip that originally appeared in the paper. That is why today, after over 150 years, the Katzenjammer Kids can be found causing shenanigans next to Doonesbury.

With funds rushing in from his newspaper, as well as an above-average take from his sheep ranching operation, Henry began planning his masterpiece. It was to be the grandest house west of St. Louis. It would overlook the Willamette River, Portland’s early industrial center, and the grassland that would later become Gresham. Henry would also have a commanding view of Mount Hood, Oregon’s highest peak. Finally, Henry would install a giant telescope with which he could spy on every Portlander at his whim. He would collect this information to put into future editions of the Oregonian.
pittock3 pittock2Pittock Mansion was built on Portland’s West Hills and stands even today as a symbol of the dominance of the American Newspaper. It is said that Henry, forward thinking man that he was, picked the spot for the mansion so that it would block TV reception for all of Portland.pittock1 pittock5
Built on an ancient Indian burial ground, the Pittock Mansion took five years to complete. It started as a sketch on one of Henry’s many, many cocktail napkins and soon thousands of coolie laborers were hauling granite up the hill to begin construction. Over 400 of these nameless workers died during construction, a troubling fact that caused Henry to increase advertising in his newspaper to procure more cheap laborers.

At 16,000 square feet, the Pittock Mansion could easily have housed all of Portland’s orphans, but Henry had better plans.

There, among the clouds, Henry livedpittock7
with his wifepittock8
and their cat
pittock4
and literally dozens of Pittock children and grandchildren [not pictured].

It was in his mansion that Henry Pittock, the man who brought the printed word to so many barely-literate Portlanders, breathed his last breath. It is said that among the countless curses to his enemies, Henry’s dying words were to his dear readers: “Please, whatever new news-carrying contraption that comes along in the future, do not forget your local paper. And for the love of God, give young cartoonists a shot.” Only time will tell if his last wishes are to be followed out.

Henry’s body, in accordance with his will, was taken into his backyard that looked out over all of Portland. There he was thrown into a giant bonfire fueled by a local rival newspaper, the Portland New York Times (its name was later shortened when it’s offices were moved to the East Coast). The ashes of Henry Pittock rained down on Portland that day, ashes that soon turned to mud because it was raining that day anyway. Though his physical presence is gone, we will never forget Oregon’s Greatest Newspaperman, Henry Nixon Pittock.