Cartoons Work

Requiem for a Green Monster

Betty RossIt was 2001 when my friend Nick and I wrote our first (and only) cartoon about the sardonic, ever-suffering super hero The Sarcastic Hulk. And over the last two years I had been living that cartoon. I’m so damned observant I only needed my friend Lisa to point it out. You tell me if there are any similarities between a certain mild-mannered workaday tool and the jaded giant:

  • Pushover Bruce Banner gets laid off at his dead-end job.
  • Bruce dates a hippie. Their relationship consists mostly of arguing and making out.
  • Mounting failures and everyday frustrations make SH bitter and also kind of a dick.

And most of all…

  • Our hero is sarcastic.

Talk about life imitating art! If only someone had kept writing these I may have had some warning. Oh wait. But what gets me is I didn’t see this situation coming and I wrote it.*

*I will catch endless hell from one Nick Shaheen if I don’t mention that he also wrote the script, and that I’m an ass for taking out all his best jokes. Nick, nobody was going to get a joke about Meredith Baxter-Berney.


Slowboat to Hades & Super Mario Galaxy

The navigation for the Gorillaz DVD Slowboat to Hades puts you, the viewer, inside the Gorillaz world as an ersatz crime scene investigator / tomb raider, skulking through the not-quite-abandoned Kong Studios and all its leaking, shorting, smoldering disrepair. Navigation can be either an immersive or a tedious experience (depending on your point of view) as you move from room to dimly-lit room, shining your flashlight over whatever strewn detritus it is that will unlock the next featurette.

Kong StudiosJamie Hewlett’s design and animation support the themes established in the Demon Days album which this DVD is derived from. The premise, shown in broken 52″ flatscreen TVs hung askew on puched-in, graffitied walls, and studio recording equipment connected through a dizzying rat’s nest of patched, mismatched cables, states that all the money and success you enjoy will not stop the world from falling apart, and all those creature comforts will too succumb to systemic decay.

It was while immersing myself in this (fantasy… I hope) world that I noticed it had something in common with a few other games I enjoy: Super Mario Galaxy, Mario 64 and Myst.

Myst islandEach environment is an island unto itself (sometimes more or less literally so). Each game establishes a series of very detailed worlds, each with its own flora and fauna, themes and internal logic. Each is a puzzle; constrained but with enough room to allow the visitor to move freely, to explore and interact with this unique, peculiar environment. It’s comforting to know that the experience is bounded, but not limited — there can still be a great deal of variation inside its isolated shores, and maybe finding out what those limits are is part of the fun.

And is it a coincidence that they all involve islands?

Super Mario Galaxy

This reminds me of when I asked an artist friend to paint me a picture of “an enclosed space”, not really knowing myself what it meant (neither did she, which is probably why my fine art collection is floundering).

Whether it’s Noodle’s flying windmill island, the Stoneship Age, or Mario making his way across the Gusty Garden galaxy, I find something captivating (no pun intended) about each game’s world.


Puma Man & Dan Danger T-Shirts!

Some time ago, I had the brainstorm of making a T-shirt featuring the Puma Man of MST3K fame. I’m proud to say it was received with great enthusiasm! And zero sales. Big surprise. In fact, the only feedback was when a friend posted a link on A Special Thing and got back, “Neat shirt, too bad it’s on CafePress.” Yikes, I guess my one sale’s dog got run over by Baron Von Cafepress when he was a kid. But looking back at the shirts, I did have one legitimate design gripe:

I needed to make the logo bigger.

Enter Printfection. Though it has the look and feel of a beta of Windows Explorer, Printfection handles the nuts and bolts of creating merchandise better than CafePress: lower prices, multiple pricing levels for items, better image management tools, the ability to sell multiple designs for each clothing item. And yes, you can make the logo bigger (up to 4.67″ high)! All Printfection needs to do is fix their clunky and occasionally unclear interface.

But the most important question is: how do the shirts look? I took a chance on Printfection’s $2 t-shirt offer and printed up a quick Puma Man shirt for myself. Printfection doesn’t seem to handle solid, non-web-safe colors especially well,Puma Man printed image which resulted in a shade of yellow something like the one here. But switching to the similar #FFCC00 for the color of the text seemed to fix that problem.

The PUMA MAN tee is perfect for wearing to the gym, as if to say to the world, “I’m out of shape and a huge nerd!”

Puma Man!

And there’s a shirt depicting the cold-war kid’s drawing Dan Danger, available in special commie red:

Dan Danger!

Bigger logos, smaller prices. These as well as womens’ styles and other apparel are available all at a reduced price at my Printfection store!


Dan Danger wear

In reference to, jen and pete mentioned an interest in a t-shirt with a panel from Dan Danger on the front. Well, I’ve no idea how to silkscreen a shirt, but thought I’d put up the image I was thinking of using all the same.

Some people took a shine to the low-fi comic “Dan Danger” I drew as part of Pete’s and so, being the media whore I am, I put some effort into putting a panel of Dan Danger onto a T-shirt for your enjoyment.

Dan Danger always shot clean — right between the eyes!

Dan Danger always knocks ’em dead with his twin 9mm’s, now so can you!

You’ll find 6 different Tees for men and women at my CafePress store …along with some decades-old WWJD paraphernalia.

So please, put some money into the pockets of CafePress and impress your friends and co-conspirators by showing off the grade school-level artist you know!