Monday, February 19, 2007

Slow Motion

A heartfelt thank you to all our readers and friends who keep coming back to check on the comic. We apologize for leaving it unattended. The prolonged absence has its good reasons, but in the end, we just sincerely regret being away. When Jon and I started the comic, we agreed on a few ground rules to decide its future. The main thing, in my mind, is that we tell the story the way we want. Sprawling crazy backgrounds, strange perspectives, gritty textures, and messed-up page layouts are all part of the fun. But it shows you why so many artists focus on upper bodies in three square panels - the work is simpler, faster, and more repeatable. You can cut out some illustration and instead focus on the dialogue, and speech bubbles are pretty fast to draw. But the storytelling in WAIN has a necessarily visual tilt - the setting wouldn't be nearly the same if it were revealed through dialogue. (You can browse the archive and see where we changed page dimensions, in an effort to trade space for speed.))
Jon and I will continue to tell this story in the large, visual format we know it requires - but suffice to say we can't do it as regularly as we first planned. We have a whole stretch of stories planned and a climactic end-plot that we're both very excited about. There's so much more still to tell about this world, these characters - and how they change.
If you would like to receive an email message when we do update, please send an email here to get on the mailing list. We'll get our RSS feed up and running as well. After Jon has finished his long drive to Phoenix and settles into his new place, it'll be time to get back on the horse.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I Was Gonna Post Something Science Fictiony, But Oh Well

In psych there's a thing called the 'Availability Heuristic.' (heuristics are falling out of fashion, but meh, it works for this example.) Gist of it is, you judge the state of the world by information you've recently seen, that which is available to you. Pretty much all of our news works this way. You see lots of stories on CNN about shark attacks, you think the oceans are swarming with man-eating sharks. You read a story about a giant finger crawling out of a drain, you look twice when you take a shower or wash your hands.

Mostly the heuristic is used in the media to make people scared or insecure, for me it's the insecure. Media like NPR present these SuperPeople, intellectuals and dreamers that seem more profound and meaningful than anything you could conceive of. The guy who surfs on horseback in California while penning music in his mansion while he fucks a geek girl (who speaks twelve languages) and makes his living selling sculptures of surfing horses made out of driftwood. Any time I hear anything about someone like that, I feel like I've totally wasted my fucking life.

I have to keep reminding myself

1) These are not real people. I'm only seeing very small portions of them, essentially all of their goodness condensed into a half-hour radio show. I'm not hearing anything about their failed marriages, their drinking problems, their idle hours spent doing nothing. (Unless it's one of those "he's only got one arm and half a leg remaining, his wife left him, his dog ate a land mine and exploded all over him, and he still wrote the Great American Whatever" stories) It's like when I write a resume; I can make it sound like I've led a pretty damn impressive life if I have a small enough space to write it in.
And if they really are like the radio portrays them, they're almost certainly hopelessly lacking in other areas. I've known people who've traveled the world so much that they had no home, no lasting friends, minimal family contact. Being worldly and shit is portrayed as making you into an exalted being, but enough of it can just fuck with you.

2) These are people who have been working for a long time. NPR's audience is yuppie 30-40somethings, and the guests are of appropriate age. People who appear to have lived impossibly good lives are almost always like a decade older than me, and no one had ever heard of them until like five years ago. They've been gradually building themselves up, they didn't just instantly receive fame and excitement.

3) It's good that I'm bothered by these people, if it makes me want to improve my life. After enough job rejections, however, I worry that I'm to the point that I want to succeed merely so I can unleash a torrent of obscenities at the companies that never even fucking replied. That and I want a Scion tC with Flint Mica paint, side impact airbags, and a Speed Star shifting knob. Still, petty, stupid reasons are better than none at all.

As I get older, I have to accept that some possibilities are fading or have passed. My days of being a college quarterback sensation are now a complete impossiblity, and the chances of being a rock star are dim at best. Still, I refuse to believe that my destiny lies in an office somewhere, a cog to be used up and spat out when I'm 55. There may be people that are better than me, who have done more with their lives, who are in a better place, but they don't matter, and most of them are a sham anyhow. My confidence that I'm on equal footing with the great people of today is what will ultimately lead me to a place similar to theirs. Someday when I'm sitting at a stoplight in my Scion tC with Flint Mica paint and side impact airbags, Xeni Jardin will be crossing the street in front of me, and I won't feel inadequate or useless. The constant fight to prove myself will have subsided just a little, enough so that I can wave and smile to her, and swear, swear, swear.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


"I've never been a confident man, I've been in the tall grass all my life, but since you came along now there's one less thing wrong -- even though happiness writes white." -- Harvey Danger, "Happiness Writes White"

I'm at my parents' house for the weekend while they are in Tulsa, keeping an eye on their two blue-point siamese cats. They alternately fight and curl up on top of each other to sleep. (Even when they sleep they posture!) Currently, Elwood is being consoled by his brother, Jake. Elwood has a big, plastic cone around his neck to prevent him from irritating a small cut on his belly. The sight of an elegant creature with a radar dish on his neck makes for a pretty ridiculous contrast.

Sorry, I couldn't help but report the facts. They are fast asleep on the easy chair next to me.

All around, things are going very well... I'm satisfied with the new site design, Jon and I can produce comics on a weekly schedule with comfort, and all things otherwise are sunny. This weekend will be three days long -- maybe I can get some work done, down in the labs, on the various doomsday projects Jon and I once concocted in wicked, twilight hours. Yessiree.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

New Site!

Hey, gang! To celebrate our start at Modern Tales, we have a few goodies in store for you. First, as you can see, a spiffy new site design. It may look similar, but the back-end wiring has been scrapped and re-done.
  • It is about 1.3 gazillion times simpler for J and I to post updates (thanks to Blogger).

  • We have done away with the forum, which was always in a higher weight class than we needed, and replaced it with the Shout Box.

  • The billboards were fun for a while, but we decided to save you a mouse-click to get at new content.

  • The sketchbook will not resume a weekdaily schedule, but it will live on. It will continue in the form of yet another Blogger blog.

To all our viewers coming back, J and I are terrifically happy you've stuck with us. To new readers coming from Modern Tales, hello and welcome! We hope you like what you find.