Dan Danger tee

Dan Danger!

And there’s a shirt depicting the cold-war kid’s drawing Dan Danger, available in special commie red. Or read the original comic.


Eek! the Cat’s last life

Like many cultured cartoon geeks my age, I have been waiting patiently for Eek! the Cat to come out on DVD, so that I might recapture the halcyon days of the early 90s watching the best thing on Fox Kids.

You won't see a cat getting sucked into a jet intake on Saturday mornings anymore

I asked writer/director “Savage” Steve Holland about the fate of Eek at Cinefamily’s recent double-feature of Better Off Dead and One Crazy Summer, and learned that Disney had bought the entire lineup of Fox Kids cartoons — including our beloved show. However, Eek! the Cat is too “politically incorrect” for Disney (see above pic) and it has remained incarcerated in the Disney vault for the last two decades, no doubt to languish on a shelf between Song of the South and Education for Death. It was a delightfully freakish show with a great voice cast including Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons), Gary Owens (Laugh-In), Tawny Kitaen (that Whitesnake video), and Cam Clarke (everything, including the voice of none other than Max Sterling in Robotech). Eek still holds up because it was a kid’s show that didn’t dumb itself down and was great fun for those with the sense of humor to appreciate it. Disney is doing a disservice to animation fans by not releasing this (nearly) forgotten classic. I agree with Curtis Armstrong, character actor and voice of Scooter from Eek!Stravaganza, “It was ahead of its time.”

Until Disney decides to dust off this brilliant series, I hear there is a torrent somewhere…


The indescribable banality of Neonomicon‘s artwork

The art in Promethea tells a story. In From Hell it tells a story. The first page of Watchmen tells a story. Unless this is the story of a reliable Ford Focus with a FM radio/CD player standard, this page doesn’t tell me anything about Alan Moore’s Neonomicon that I need to know.

It’s a scene that takes place outside an asylum (…I assume it’s that afterthought in the distance?) but judging by the level of detail, the car’s center console and armrest are the two most important things in the scene. We don’t even see the faces of our protagonists. Also notice the eyes in the mirror reflect the eyes of someone who should be sitting in the driver’s seat. Sloppy.


Maybe I’m doing it wrong.

Consumerist posted this beautifully animated short visualizing the credit crisis.

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

Incidentally, I sure hope I don’t find out how insanely popular this video game reviewer is.

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!


There’s no way to emphasize in July

Two weeks without posting anything is kinda irresponsible of me.

For those waiting with bated breath, I can assure you that another Emergency 411 segment is on the way. Still, in the process of creating a 30-second cartoon, I can’t leave well enough alone and feel compelled to sift through multiple takes of audio for the one that just emphasizes everything just right.

It reminds me of Orson Welles, at one time the director of the greatest film ever made, who later in his career expelled his creative energy trying to hit the sweet spot on a commercial voice over for a can of peas.

But first a little background. Orson Welles, director of Citizen Kane and War of the Worlds, each a milestone in film and radio, is perhaps better known for his late career work shilling for Paul Masson wines.

Emergency 411 Video

Emergency 411: Having a Baby

I’m back with another installment of Emergency 411 — the answer guide with all the answers. In this episode, experience the joy and potential financial windfall that comes with having a baby.

Don’t let the fact that I’ve never fathered a baby have any bearing on my credentials in this matter. By now you should already know not to take my advice.


The Warning Label Generator

Fitting with my Emergency 411 series, there’s a warning label generator website just for making your own official-looking warning labels. I mean, who hasn’t needed this:

Warning Label

The Goons over at Something Awful have already put it to good(?) use, so check out their labels here, before they get reposted on Ebaum’s World or something.