Archive for July, 2011

friday robots

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great leaders of our time

Without premeditation, I set my Optimus Prime action figure next to the official presidential portrait of Barack Obama.  It must have been my subconscious showing me the way, because I believe these two great leaders belong together.


I have not, and will not, see the most recent Transformers movie.  The cartoon is a crucial part of my childhood, and Michael Bay doesn’t get what those fighting robots are about.  When did misogyny and racism become a part of the Transformer lore?  Only after Bay got hired.


While you spend your July Fourth weekend studiously trying to avoid the most recent abomination at the cineplex, you should seek out Jeffrey Brown’s glorious sequel to The Incredible Change-Bots.  The ‘Bots are back for more comedy/action in glorious 2D.  Check it out.

friday robots

What we have here is no single Friday Robot but the entrance to the Valley of Friday Robots itself.

This is truly an awe-inspiring sight. Do not attempt to open the gateway without first considering the ramifications.  Do you want to be the next Pandora?  Do you want our world flooded with Friday Robots not just on Fridays, but on every single day of the week?  Do you know the meaning of the phrase “too much of a good thing”?


Have a happy Friday, but go no further.  The weekend lies in your future.  Don’t mess with the Robots.

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welcome to the world

As of today, Southern Sudan is a country.  Welcome!

My rudimentary knowledge of Sudan comes mainly from the book What is the What, an autobiography (with an assist by Dave Eggers) of Valentino Achak Den, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan.  A refugee to America, Valentino told his story to Eggers, who turned it into an engrossing and edifying narrative.  What struck me most was the senselessness of the fighting between northern and southern Sudan.  I had no idea that the South was even close to gaining independence, making the news today even more of a lift.

May the creation of Southern Sudan bring peace to the people, North and South, and greater happiness to all of Africa.

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rickmania returns!

Upon the release of the indie art house film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Alan Rickman will complete his portrayal of Severus Snape.  The world will not be the same.

I like to imagine this was filmed at Alan's real house.

Alan, you have given us so much throughout these 8 Harry Potter movies.  Specifically, you have driven traffic to my blog like no other celebrity or event.  Perennially, the keywords “Alan Rickman” (and more than a few misspellings of that name) have brought dozens and dozens of visitors to this little blog.  Why does your name bring up my blog?  Are there no other worthy writers extolling your virtues as master thespian?

Hands off, Helena. Rickman is for all of us.

New readers may think I’m not being serious.  They may wonder if I’m just using Mr. Rickman’s name in a cynical attempt to drive traffic to this blog.  To them I say BEGONE.  For this is a place where Alan Rickman is revered only slightly less than Bill Watterson and Moses.

Alan Rickman making Maggie Smith look even cooler than usual.

Alan, if you Google your name and visit my blog, welcome.  You have found a true fan, not just of your work as Snape, but for all the wonderful roles you’ve played throughout the years.  From Die Hard to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to Galaxy Quest to the Ang Lee version of Sense and Sensibility, you always make your roles your own.  You play badass as easily as comic, something I admire.


Even though Harry Potter has come to an end, let us rejoice!  We have many more years of Alan Rickman ahead of us.


Long live Rickman!

tomb of the zombies

After a year of drawing, my new comic novel is finished.

Tomb of the Zombies is 88 pages in beautiful black & white.  Kate Crane, while on her summer college break, travels to Egypt to help her mad scientist uncle with his latest project.  When Kate discovers that her uncle has been raising zombies, she must decide whether or not to save the undead from a life of slavery.


While Tomb of the Zombies is a stand-alone story, I like to think of it as the second in a thematic trilogy that began with Dancing With Jack Ketch.  I don’t yet know how Zombies will be published; I’ll be taking samples to San Diego to drum up interest at Comic Con.  If you, dear readers, know of anyone who might be interested in publishing a comic book about Egyptian zombies, please direct them to me.  I will love you forever.


While it took me a year to actually draw Tomb of the Zombies, I got the idea many years ago, when I was living alone in a basement studio in Boulder, Colorado.  The original story was about a huckster who was raising zombies in the shadow of a pyramid and teaching them to dance.  He was going to take his show to Vegas and make a million bucks.  I was writing it as part of the comic strip I was drawing at the time, The Family Monster, but the story became so long and involved that it was going to take a month or more to tell the whole thing in strip form.  I put it aside but never forgot the idea of zombies who weren’t just intent on eating the brains of the living.


About two years ago, after the runaway success of Jack Ketch,* I was trying to decide what my next big project would be.  I found my notes about the dancing zombies and decided to give it a go.  After maybe six months of writing I got a draft that made me happy.  As I was penciling, I decided to make this doubly challenging by inking with a brush.  I’d been wanting to try the brush again after leaving it behind in high school.  Bill Watterson inked with a brush, and that turned out pretty good.**  Maybe I could achieve good results as well.  88 pages + a cover later, I’m glad I went with a brush.  The line is more expressive, and I think it gets closer to the style I have in my mind – the style I’ve been aiming at for all these years.


I hope that you will all get to read this book soon.  I’m certainly excited about it.




*Overstatement alert.

**Understatement alert.

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thinking of you, rupert

Sometimes when you’re down
A friend will come around
To help you feel better
Which is the purpose of this letter

Dear Rupert,

I know exactly how you feel.  Times are rough, people are saying mean things about you.  You lost your newspaper and a majority share in a TV network.  But I’m here to say that you’ve got a friend.  If you ever want to talk, I’m just a phone call away.

Rupert, it will get better.  At least you’ve got your health, and family and friends.  You will live to conquer another media company.

Words can only do so much, I know.  Next time you’re in the Pacific Northwest I’ve got a big hug with your name on it.

Kid Shay
PS If you want to publish my comic strip, we can split the profits.  Don’t answer now; think about it.

friday robots

The first landscape you see upon entering the Valley of Friday Robots…

There will be more landscapes, maybe not next week but in the future for sure.  In the meantime, try to imagine what it would be like to hike through this misty alpine scene.  I bet if you focus hard enough you will achieve enlightenment.  Or the robots will eat you.  One way or the other.


Happy Friday everybody!

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see you at ComicCon

I’m headed off to sunny San Diego, where I will spend the next five days indoors.

This will be the third ComicCon I’ve attended.  Each time I go there are more people I know.  I’m beginning to feel like I’m part of a community of cartoonists.  Of course I’ll also be doing my share of star gazing.  Patrick McDonnell and Mark Tatulli will be there this year, two cartoonists I’ve never met but whose work I’ve admired for many years.  Also, these kids will be there.  But I’m going for Patrick and Mark.

If you’re going, look for the red-headed kid wandering the aisles.  That’s me.

friday robots

Although I’m in San Diego right now, enjoying the beautiful pop brilliance that is ComicCon, Friday Robots never take a holiday.

Today’s robots are dedicated to my brother.  We watched The X-Files every Friday night when other kids were joining gangs or dealing drugs.  Those early seasons of The X-Files are still some of the best TV I’ve ever seen.

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