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Crossroad Blues

I drew this comic years ago to facetiously answer the question “Where do cartoonists get their ideas?” Where else would we get our creativity but by making a deal with the Devil himself? I was kidding, of course. Old Scratch only deals with the Robert Johnsons and James Camerons of the world. If I had made a deal with Old Scratch, I probably would’ve come out with the next Garfield. As it is, I make do with Falling Rock.josh-and-the-devil-1josh-and-the-devil-2

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Blog fiction

my top Twilight movie moments

Dear readers,

You have been so supportive of me these past five years. You read and responded (favorably sometimes!) to my fan fiction. You engaged with me in many a late-night discussion (long past twilight and into the breaking dawn!). You and I have been down that long road. But the end had to come. Twilight, the best series of movies the world will ever see, is over. Shed a tear for that girl and her vampire boyfriend. Their story now belongs to the better angels of our nature.

What follows is a little trip down memory lane. Share with me, dear readers, some highlights of this beautiful love story, one last time.

That scene where Kristen Stewart sees the vampire boy in the woods and he’s eating a deer and she’s all like, whoa.2001 brian sanders 2

That scene where all the vampires see each other in a Whole Foods and they do that thing where they look away as they’re walking towards each other and then at the last minute, when they’re passing each other, they glance up and do a quick nod.

henri riviere paris

That scene where Kristen Stewart and the werewolf stoner get into a fight and the werewolf mauls her and then when she’s in the hospital dying he realizes he probably should’ve been easier on her.

henri riviere gargoyle

That scene where the vampire goes out to hang with his bros and Kristen Stewart is like “where are you going?” and he says “out” and she says “I thought we were staying in to watch season 4 of The Wire.”

2001 brian sanders

That scene where the vampire gets crucified for his beliefs.

happy jesus

That scene where the werewolf backpacks across the Southwest and becomes a Buddhist and moves to Boulder and sells beads on Pearl Street.

echo park

That scene where Kristen Stewart doesn’t know who else is watching “Girls” because after she started dating the vampire she let all her old friends sort of fade away and now her whole life is hunting homeless people, killing them, draining their blood into a bucket, and bringing the bucket to her vampire boyfriend.

varvara stepanova

Thanks for sharing this amazing journey with me! I don’t know what I’ll write about now that Twilight is over, but I guess I’ll keep the blog open just in case another supernatural teen romance comes along.

Categories
Blog fiction history

daniel webster: boogeyman

Longtime readers of this here blog will remember that John McLoughlin, Father of Oregon, was an infamous boogeyman. McLoughlin was not the only man of historical note to be a boogeyman.

Daniel Webster served in both the US Congress and Senate. He was Secretary of State. He was known by political allies and opponents alike as being the best speaker to ever grace the hallowed Capitol halls. Daniel Webster was also a boogeyman.
daniel websterWebster would finish a long day in the House with a quick trip to the pub, where he’d rehash the news of the day with his colleagues. Then he would discreetly adjourn, citing husbandly obligations, sneak to the nearest orphanage, and devour a few children.

Daniel Webster, boogeyman, did not need rest. Boogeymen get their energy from the blood of the young. They snatch children from their beds -straight from their beds! – and tear them apart in the bushes outside the family’s house. The parents have no idea that their precious little angel is becoming the next meal for the esteemed Congressman from Massachusetts.

Everybody seems concerned with “boogeymen” like nuclear war, global warming, Obama taking away their guns. Nobody is talking about the real Boogeyman who is lurking outside their bedroom window. The real Boogeyman is most likely laughing so hard drool is falling from his accursed jaws while the distracted parents are watching PBS Newshour.

Webster protected himself and his kind by surreptitiously enacting pro-Boogeyman laws and including favorable language into totally unrelated bills. He was such a skilled hand that the bedrock of this country, the Constitution itself, is a Boogeyman protection document. A Boogeyman can steal your children and devour them at will, and the Supreme Court can do nothing but sit back and watch the spectacle. Chief Justice John Roberts (himself a known swamp monster) has been quoted as saying, “when the United States of America is rid of all Boogeymen, there can be no United States of America.” That’s how intertwined we are.

Is there nothing you and I can do to save our children from these clawed monsters of the night? Unfortunately, no. We must come to terms with the cold hard truth: this is a country run by Boogeymen, for Boogeymen.

As you tuck your loved ones into bed tonight, remember this: Daniel Webster the statesman might have died 161 years ago when the country was on the brink of Civil War. But Daniel Webster the boogeyman is still alive, keeping to back roads and taking shelter in abandoned housing developments. He is hungry. He is coming.
old daniel webster

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autobiography Blog fiction

clearing the air

My parents certainly aren’t rich. It isn’t like they have $22 million. No, people with $22 million are rich. For sure. My parents don’t have $22 million, even if you add up all their stocks and real estate and horses.

Rich people have four homes, at least. My parents do not own four homes. The homes they do own are rather small, more like cottages or condos. One of them is a condo, in fact. Houses in the Swiss Alps cost a lot more than condos, I can tell you that. Rich people have houses in the Swiss Alps.

It isn’t like my dad buys my mom a pearl necklace every week. Rich husbands buy their wives pearl necklaces every single week. My dad could never in a million years do that. He only buys her a pearl necklace on special occasions, and when he gives it to her, she knows she won’t be getting another one of those for quite some time.

My trust fund isn’t even that substantial.

I just wanted to clear up any misunderstanding you may have had regarding the monetary value of my parents. They are not rich.

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Blog comic book fiction

I love you, (Bat)man

My love for the Batman is deep and abiding. That is why, while rewatching the three Christopher Nolan Batmen, I came up with my own Batman storyline.

Categories
Blog fiction

my neighbors are aliens

I’m not talking about the kind of alien that made this country great.
ellis island
I’m talking about the kind of alien from outer space. My neighbors, you see, have this oddly shaped garage:

What possible use could this garage have for a terrestrial vehicle? It is way too tall, even for a Hummer.  No, this garage was custom-built for a flying saucer of the UFO variety. Imagine the aliens putting their craft down in the cover of night. They jump out of their interplanetary ride, turn it on its side, and quietly roll it into the garage. Boom! No one’s the wiser.

Further giving this away as a garage for a UFO, it opens both in front and in back. Why would you need to drive your car into the backyard? Nobody does that. The occupants of this otherwise unassuming house need this garage to roll the UFO straight into a hangar, cleverly disguised as a Tuff Shed, where they can refill its fuel and make any repairs necessary for the ride home.

Now, as any person who has seen a few movies can tell you, there are two distinct kinds of aliens. The good (or benevolent) kind, and the bad (or nation-building) kind.

Which kind of aliens are living right down the street from me? I have yet to determine.  The lack of laser blasts and human enslavement lead me to believe they are the good kind of aliens, but this could also be a cover. They could be part of a sleeper cell, waiting for the right moment to awaken the fury of distant worlds.

What am I to do in the meantime? Now that I know for a fact that there are aliens less than a football field’s distance from my front door, I must be vigilant. Do I see suspicious activity in the area? Gatherings of two or more beings wearing fedoras and trench coats? Lights in the sky that could be some kind of interplanetary Morse Code? Cats going missing overnight? These could all point to alien collaboration, propagation, infiltration. I never, not once, imagined moving to this neighborhood would require me to save Earth civilization as we know it.

Couple the weird garage with this mysterious sign in another neighbor’s front yard, and you can see why the previous owner of my house was so keen to get it off her hands.

Categories
Blog fiction

prometheus spoilers!

Read no further! Loose lips sink ships. The Aliens have won already.

– the song that plays over the end credits is Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe

– the head Alien moves to Earth and takes the name Dr. Levon Buckles.  He becomes a podiatrist.
– Crazy Credit alert! “Lead Alien Wrangler”
– since 2000, Ridley Scott has had it written into his contract that there will be a shot in the woods.  Blades of light cut to the forest floor, floaties float in the air, a hawk will screech in the background.  Slow-motion violence will ensue.
– Sigourney Weaver has a hilarious cameo as the ship’s cook
– the mission in peril, the ship dangerously low on fuel and supplies, the crew not having slept for days, the movie ends with all actors onscreen looking directly at the camera and saying “What would YOU do?”  Cut to white text on black background: “THE END…..?”

Categories
Blog fiction

sambora: the future

In the last few months, Sambora confided in me her final wishes.  Over the course of many private conversations, Sambora indicated that she wanted to be placed in stasis until such a time when a cure for old age can be found.  I readily agreed to her plan.

Sambora’s head was surgically removed from her body and packed in dry ice.  A drone whisked her from Portland to a cryogenic facility in Scottsdale, Arizona.  She was scientifically placed in a head-sized jar and cooled to -196°C.  There she will wait in suspended animation.

The future will bring many good things, including cures for every conceivable ailment.  100-500 years from now, Sambora’s head will be removed from its jar, placed on a robot body and brought back to life.  Sambora will pick up right where she left off, meowing and sitting and walking and licking.  Isis and I will be right there with her, our heads mounted on robot bodies of our own.  In the future, almost everything will have a robot body.

Categories
autobiography Blog fiction

what i want to do tonight

I pride myself in being brilliant yet modest.  That’s why I surprised myself when, on my ride home, I thought:

Tonight I’d really like to dress up, go to a downtown hotel ballroom, and receive an award.

I smiled as the scene presented itself to me.  Isis sitting beside me, proud to be married to such an extraordinary man.  My friends and colleagues taking turns at the mic to extoll my virtues.  Thunderous applause as I rise from my seat.  The audience – my audience – sitting in rapt attention at every amazing word that rolls effortlessly off my tongue.

There are pictures of a young Dylan playing at concert halls.  The photos are taken from behind Bob, so he is mostly a silhouette.  The spotlight makes his fluffy hair look like a halo, and the audience, what you can see if it anyway, appears completely in awe of the man who sings the words everybody wanted to say but wasn’t clever enough to articulate.

I’m saying I want that to be me tonight.

What kind of award, you ask?  I’m not picky.  Cartooning would be nice.  I’d like to get credit for taking the whole artform in a new direction.  But, you know, whatever.  I could get an award for the short stories I wrote in high school and didn’t let anybody read.  The point is, I get an award for my greatness.  I get to take it home, put it on a shelf, and remember this blessed night of celebration.

Okay?
Okay.

Categories
Blog comic fiction

how to be a real cartoonist

[NOTE: I found this essay while perusing old notebooks last weekend.  It was probably written in May or June 2002.  I hadn’t yet started drawing The Family Monster and was uncertain if I’d succeed as a cartoonist.  The stakes were high.  This was probably an attempt to build myself up for what was to be the beginning of the rest of my life.]

You must posses at least one drawing hand.  It can be either left or right, or both, but it can’t be two lefts or two rights.  Once you’ve chosen, there are no take-backs.

Pick up a pencil or pen.  A pen is better suited for writing dialog, because when people talk they talk in ink.  Pencils are better for drawing because you can erase your many mistakes.  You will make many mistakes.

Find a comfortable place to sit and compose.  You can’t take my place because I’m there already and I can’t work with you sitting on my lap.  You also can’t take Charles Schulz’s place because, let’s face it, he was a giant in this field.  Also, his place is in a museum, the Charles Schulz Museum, and the docents won’t let you sit there.  Sit and compose.  You will find that, upon sitting, you will want to do anything but compose.  Resist this urge.  Eventually the phone will ring or you will need the bathroom so so bad.  Don’t get up before you absolutely have to.  Don’t take a break before you start composing.  That is not a break.

Stare blankly at a blank sheet of paper.  Do not think “How will I fill these?”  Think of something funny your character would say.  Think of the funniest possible thing your character could say, then think of the reason why she would say it.  Write all that down.  None of this will seem funny to you.  It never will seem all that funny to you.  This is a good sign.  As soon as you find yourself witty and urbane, you should stop composing.  When you begin to find yourself funny, it is the exact moment you have stopped being funny.

Don’t try to finish a joke if it is taking too long.  Move on.  Come back to it if you think the setup is unique or has merit.

Compare yourself unfavorably to published cartoonists.  Compare yourself favorably to published cartoonists who you feel don’t deserve their sweet publishing deals.  Try to understand why they have been published, regardless.  Spend lots of time hoping you’ll get published.  Spend more time doing something about it.

Follow the above directions to become a Real Cartoonist, unless you already have a better plan, in which case you should follow that instead.