Friday, April 30, 2010
Well, the witching hour is upon us. As of May 1, Blogger no longer supports FTP, so the SlowpokeBlog will likely not be updated at this URL again. Wordpress requires that I alter the URL slightly, so (drum roll) here is the NEW location:
Note that it's very similar to the old address, but there's no longer an ".html" at the end. The new blog is seriously not ready for primetime yet, but it at least it appears to be functioning at the moment. If you're currently subscribing to an RSS feed, that will almost certainly go kablooey. Hang on, and I'll try to get the new feeds set up soon. It's all very exciting, isn't it?
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Two events of note: Tonight I'm going to see Lloyd Dangle give his world-famous "Sly & Snide Slideshow" at the Jewelbox Theater in Belltown (2322 Second Avenue), Seattle at 7pm. Note that it does cost $15 if you are not a member of the Graphic Artists Guild.
Then, in NYC on Monday, I'll be giving a brief talk and taking Q&A at the Aronson award ceremony, along with other winners from The Nation, Mother Jones, and the New York Times. The event is open to the public. Details: 6 p.m., Monday, May 3 in the 8th-Floor Faculty Dining Room in the Hunter West Building, 68th Street and Lexington Avenue.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
This comic is a kind of companion piece to "The Vicious Circle of Stupidity" from a few months ago. As you may know, Republican Senator Mitch McConnell has been saying that new financial industry reforms designed to prevent bank bailouts will lead to more bank bailouts. This whopper, devised by political marketeer Frank Luntz, allows him to appear to stand up to Wall Street while actually protecting Wall Street. I felt that this deserved a cartoon, yet I can't bring myself to draw yet another screed against a lying Republican. Just typing that sentence feels like a cliché. The only way I could deal with it was to make the issue a whole lot more meta.
So that is McConnell in the third panel. He has always looked to me like a hairless mole that just emerged from a hole in the ground, blinking blindly in the sunlight. This makes him sort of fun to draw.
This morning, I got a kick out of some of the comments by wingnuts on Slowpoke's Gocomics page. I present them here for your reading pleasure.
pschearer: “Gross oversimplification” is what some people say to attack principle.Whoa, I had no idea so much meaning could be derived from a drawing of a bloated King Obama sitting on an eagle! The Constitution! The Ten Commandments! E=mc2! That is the effing theory of relativity, my friends. I guess the concept of GOVERNMENT = BAD really does explain it all.
Monday, April 26, 2010
It's tempting to think of the right-wing slime machine as a relatively recent phenomenon, but I came across a reminder the other day that swiftboating has been going on for a long time. My 93 year-old friend Del remarked to me how much my dog looks like FDR's dog Fala. Naturally, I looked up Fala on Wikipedia, and sure enough, he was right. I also found an account of the famous Fala smear. Much like the "Nancy Pelosi demands a luxury jet" baloney from a few years ago, FDR was accused of sending a Navy destroyer to retrieve his dog from the Aleutian Islands. Responding to the smear, he gave this speech:
These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala. [laughter] Well, of course, I don't resent attacks, and my family doesn't resent attacks — but Fala does resent them. [laughter] You know, Fala is Scotch, and being a Scottie, as soon as he learned that the Republican fiction writers in Congress and out had concocted a story that I'd left him behind on an Aleutian island and had sent a destroyer back to find him — at a cost to the taxpayers of two or three, or eight or 20 million dollars — his Scotch soul was furious. [laughter] He has not been the same dog since. [laughter] I am accustomed to hearing malicious falsehoods about myself — such as that old, worm-eaten chestnut that I have represented myself as indispensable. But I think I have a right to resent, to object, to libelous statements about my dog [laughter].Right on, Frankin Delano!
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Looks like I wasn't very far ahead of the curve in this recent cartoon, in which I portray a paranoid guy thinking the IRS has implanted a microchip in his brain. Via TPM:
Tuesday, we brought you the story of a Georgia woman who appeared before lawmakers debating a microchip implant ban and testified that the Department of Defense had implanted a chip in her "vaginal-rectum area."This seems to go beyond mere anti-Obama paranoia, considering when and where the bans are taking place. Nevertheless, it's a sign of the times.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
As if Fox News wasn't already bad enough, longtime reader John S. alerts me to a forthcoming on-demand channel, RightNetwork, that is supposedly even more extreme. What really blows my mind is this promo spot featuring Kelsey Grammer.
Wait a minute. I knew Grammer was a bit of a political oddball, but there's something wrong about having an urbane Shakespearean actor -- Frasier! -- as a spokesperson for a network designed to appeal to militant, ignorant kooks. Isn't Grammer the kind of cerebral sophisticate they're always deriding as "elitist"? Moreover, what's up with the insults to left-handed scissors and baby carrots? I like baby carrots. Is he trying to make baby carrots the new "latte"? Kelsey Grammer is a latte! Not to mention lipstick on the pig of dimwittery.
I'm in the process of switching this blog to Wordpress, as Blogger is ending FTP support. Probably something I should have done a while ago. If the site is acting funny over the next few days, you'll know why.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Yet another Twitter-inspired comic, this time taken (with permission) from Pandagon blogger Amanda Marcotte's tweets about how there are so many scary teen pregnancy ads, but none with positive role models saying "Thanks, condoms!" At the time, it struck me as a great concept for a Drooly Julie strip, but I actually found it harder to write than I expected. It's easier to be funny when you're tearing something down, as opposed to advocating something good. In the end, maybe this one is a bit too silly, even for me. But I do think the message is important -- think of how much human misery those little latex dudes have prevented! Condoms truly are the unsung heroes of our times.
To clarify, I don't necessarily think scary ads showing teens the downsides of gettin' preggers are a bad thing. I do, however, think they should also hear from giant, talking mustachioed condoms.
Monday, April 19, 2010
One of the great things about moving to Seattle is that there are lots of other cartoonists here, and cartoonist-type events, which is something I'm not used to. Saturday night I went to a signing at the Fantagraphics store for James Sturm's and Peter Bagge's latest books. Sturm, who recently wrote on Slate about giving up the internet, has a new graphic novel out called Market Day. Bagge was promoting his latest Hate Annual, as well as his soon-to-be-released Other Lives.
This photo makes it look like I know James and Peter better than I actually do, though Peter gave me a friendly welcome to Seattle. Note that James is holding Peter's book, Peter is holding James's book, and I am holding a Gilbert Hernandez book that Peter randomly shoved into my hands.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
As you may have noticed, Google frequently places a variety of right-wing ads on this site, and hardly any progressive ones at all (unless you, uh, count the ads for Progressive auto insurance). Either Adsense has issues, or progressive groups have a much smaller web advertising budget. I'm guessing it's the latter. Anyway, this particular one for the GOP caught my eye, as well as a reader's:
What fascinates me about this is the use of the stern-looking eagle. Now, we all know the right loves the symbolism of patriotic raptors a bit too much, as satirized in the opening to the Colbert Report. But to invoke the eagle here, as though the eagle is pissed off about liberals, seems a tad overreaching. No, you dingbats, you do not get to claim this majestic bird of prey for yourselves, just as the flag is not yours alone, either. Moreover, eagles tend to stop things by catching them with their talons and rending them apart with their hooked beaks. Is it just me, or do I detect a whiff of militant bravado? Because that would be so unprecedented.
Another way to view this, however, is that Unchecked Liberal Power is represented by the eagle, and they are imploring us to stop it. I greatly prefer that interpretation. I also wish that we actually lived in an age of Unchecked Liberal Power, as opposed to one in which it is almost completely checked.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
This one came out of a tweet I dashed off the previous week, after reading about California's ballot initiative to legalize marijuana. I think someday we'll view our current era of Prohibition as quaintly silly, much as we now look back on the 1920s.
I'm hoping you tech-savvy readers can explain something weird that happened to me as I was doing some Google research for this cartoon. I did a few cannabis-related image and web searches, and not long afterward, was startled to receive an email from an online head shop advertising their latest glass pipe specials. I had not entered any personal information whatsoever. Even stranger, they sent it to my slowpokecomics.com address, not my Gmail account, which I was logged into at the time of my searches. Could it really be sheer coincidence, considering I have never received such a solicitation before? Is there some super-sophisticated data mining going on here? Whatever the reason, it's... heavy, man.
Monday, April 12, 2010
I'm happy to report that my colleague and friend Mark Fiore has won a Pulitzer prize for his animated cartoons... thanks to me. You see, last week I referred to my Aronson award as a "Cool Pulitzer," since the Pulitzer committee has displayed, shall we say, very conventional taste for the past couple decades. I had a feeling that my use of the term "Cool Pulitzer" might jinx things, and sure enough, it did -- now I can't use it anymore! Congrats to Mark, and also to my pal Matt Wuerker, who was a finalist.
Thursday, April 08, 2010
There's a nice post about my Aronson award on the Ms. blog.
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
[UPDATE: Monday, 4/12 -- The paper just returned my call! Address update complete. Could they be readers of the SlowpokeBlog?]
One of the greatest hassles I've encountered as a cartoonist is getting clients to update my address when I move. This would be the address they use to send checks on a more or less monthly basis. Let me tell you a little story.
There is still one client -- an otherwise good one, I might add -- that has not updated my address from when I left Virginia last June. I sent them an email before I moved, and again a few weeks later. I heard nothing back, of course, because this particular paper seems to have a policy of never responding to emails, even from their own freelancers. Yet somehow they do seem to get my cartoons and pay me for the ones they run.
To make matters worse, the Post Office has been very sporadic about forwarding my mail. A lot of checks went straight to my old mailbox, and I had to beg my former landlord to send them to me. Several were from this paper.
So I tried calling. The first time I called, I got an actual dude on the line, who forwarded me to payroll. Of course it went to voicemail. I left a message giving them my new address and asked if the bookkeeper could please call me back to confirm receipt. Not only did I not get a call, but a few weeks later I received a check from the paper that had been sent to Virginia (USPS caught this one).
At some point, I sent the production director a pleading email to forward my new address to payroll and confirm receipt. Heard nothing.
So I tried calling again. This time, I got a recording that I assumed meant there was no one at the front desk. Today I decided I was going to talk to someone come hell or high water. I reached the same automated answering system as before, but waited long enough to press "0" to speak with an actual human. I was unceremoniously dumped into voicemail, where a recording of a friendly-sounding girl promised a prompt return call. I hung up and tried the editorial department. Something went wrong, and after a weird moment of silence, I was punted back to the main menu. Finally, I just left a message explaining that I was a freelancer who had been trying to update my address for a LONG TIME, and could they please call me back. I would wait until tonight, and decided that if I did not get a call, I would write a blog post. Well, you know how that ended. Seriously, I don't know how anyone can run a business this way.
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Yes, folks, it's a repeat this week. Moving from my secret underground bunker in the Rockies back to Seattle has left me even more scattered and exhausted than usual. I could have given you a half-baked piece of crap, but that's not how I roll. We return to our regularly-scheduled transmissions next week.
Monday, April 05, 2010
Well, the economy may stink, but at least I've gotten a couple nice accolades lately. It has just been announced that I'm a winner of the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism -- more specifically, I'm this year's Grambs Aronson "Cartoonist With a Conscience." Every year, Hunter College honors a handful of progressive writers and one cartoonist; other current winners include writers for The Nation, The New York Times, and Mother Jones. Cartoonists who have won in the past include Tom Tomorrow, Ted Rall, and Steve Brodner. I'm actually the first female cartoonist to win. Given the questionable taste of the Pulitzers (at least as far as cartooning is concerned), I'm going to start calling the Aronson the "Cool Pulitzer." As in, I will be flying to New York next month to accept my Cool Pulitzer.
You can read more about the Aronson Award here.
Saturday, April 03, 2010
Just wanted to second what my colleague Ruben Bolling said about "The Doozies," a newish daily comic strip by Tom Gammill. It's one of very few dailies that has interested me in eons; I especially love the artwork. Hoping to meet Tom when I speak at the Ohio State Cartoon Library this fall.
Friday, April 02, 2010
My restaurant gig in the Rockies has concluded, and I'm now in the market for an apartment in Seattle. If any of you readers out there feels passionate about a particular neighborhood, feel free to drop me a line. I'm looking for a handsome yet amazingly affordable place that allows small dogs and is located close to everything. No problem, right?
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