Mary Worth’s Howl, by Al “Screwball” Ginsberg

So, Lauren LoPrete‘s Peanuts + Smiths Lyrics mashup blog, This Charming Life, has been making the rounds; it ended up on Metafilter yesterday, which led to much riffing on other possible comic/band juxtapositions, and I saw someone mention Mary Worth and joked that it should in fact be:

Mary Worth and excerpts from Howl.

And it was just a dumb one-off joke, since who could be more square and straight and constitutionally terrified of something like unfiltered Ginsberg than good ol’ meddlin’ Mary.

But I couldn’t stop thinking about the idea, and so, here we go for real. Heavily excerpted in seven parts, because a one-shot wasn’t enough.

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I’m a little bit in love with Jerkcity HD

Jerkcity is one of the ur-webcomics, a weird chat-transcript-as-comic habit among some friends that started way back in 1998, facilitated by the almost nearly as weird application Microsoft Comic Chat, a piece of software released in 1996 and featuring the art of beloved weirdo Jim Woodring. You’d type, and cartoon characters would belch out the things you said emphatically into word balloon, lettered of course in MS Comic Sans.

jerkcity-orig-4452

The comic was surreal, profane, incoherent, hilarious, self-aware, self-loathing, etc. It managed though its mannered-nonsense approach to vocabularian freestyling to birth what indirectly became one of Metafilter’s favorite memes, “hurf durf butter eater“. The whole mess is a little hard to explain other than that everybody was probably pretty high at the time.

Jerkcity HD, then, is a brand new blog collecting submissions of reworks of the original Jerkcity strips by anybody and everybody, so long as you abide by a few rules. With the original Jerkcity being daily updated for 15 years now, the chances of actually catching up with the archives are vanishingly slim, but I don’t figure that’s really the point, so let’s not worry about it. The point, such that it is, is that people are jumping in and the results are lovely and awesome and so on.

I’m digging it, and looking forward to seeing all the weird directions people take these reinterpretations in. I’ve got a bunch of ideas of my own, and have chucked my first submission in their (reportedly a bit crowded already) bin, but here it is in the mean time, reworking this strip shown above:

jerkcityhd-73s

New podcast: We Have Such Films To Show You

So! I’ve started doing a podcast miniseries with my friend from the internet, Yakov “griphus on Metafilter” Grinberg. We’re watching all of the Hellraiser films—there’s nine of them so far—and discussing/reviewing/dissecting/boggling-at them, one movie at a time.

It’s called We Have Such Films To Show You—that’s the blog for the show, there—and you can listen to episodes there or subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or RSS.

We recorded our first episode a couple days ago, going over the original 1987 film (written and directed by Clive Barker, the horror author whose novella The Hellbound Heart was the basis for the film), and it was a fantastic time and two hours just flew by. If you’ve seen the film or are otherwise familiar already with the Hellraiser franchise or Barker’s work, you’re pretty much the target demographic already, but we talk in enough loving, rambling detail about the content of the film that it’s probably plenty listenable even coming at it cold if you enjoy listening to a couple of enthusiastic nerds bullshitting about the pros and cons of 80s horror filmmaking.

We’ll be doing another episode every couple weeks.

I Knew You Were Tribbles (When You Dropped In)

Probably about the third time that Taylor Swift sangs the “trouble, trouble, trouble” chorus hook in her song I Knew You Were Trouble, I found myself singing “tribble, tribble, tribble” instead, and things just sort of got out of hand from there.

And, so, yes: I wrote this parody on Sunday, recorded it Monday morning, and did the video edit (from footage from the Star Trek epsiode “The Trouble With Tribbles”) Monday afternoon, and here we are:

Keen-eyed fans of Swift’s videography will note the visual/narrative parallelism to the original video of the second-chorus barroom brawl, because that’s just how we do things in my head.

Bird Presidents #20: James A. Guineafowl

James A. Guineafowl

Few birds in our history have ever obtained the Presidency by planning to obtain it.
~ James A. Guineafowl

James A. Garfield; the guineafowl, which apparently tastes like chicken.

It’s been a bit of a haitus for presidential birds lately as I’ve gotten myself distracted by other things, but here we are again, and it’s nice to be back in the habit, though I sort of wish I’d done this one before I took a break to give my wrist time to recover.

I learn something from every bird I draw, and what I learned from this one is NEVER DRAW A DAMN GUINEAFOWL. Oh, it’s terrible, all those wee negative-space white dots everywhere. Nothing but dots and a tiny bald head. Nice bird to look at but next time I’m just taking a photo.

Garfield, for his part, went and got himself shot a few months into his first term and lingered the better part of another three months before finally shuffling off the ol’ coil. I was at his memorial in Cleveland last summer, by whatever odd chance, where I also pointedly touched Eliot Ness’s memorial because I am a scamp.

But! One of Garfield’s big legacy achievements (with some post-mortem followthrough from Chester A. Arthur) was cleaning up the Post Office! Yes, he cleaned house on some serious postal corruption, apparently. Finished the job that Grant sorta kinda started and then Hayes started some more. You don’t clean a post office quickly.

Sketchbook: Star Trek & Dune

Bird presidents have been on pause while I binge on some video games I’ve been ignoring and otherwise get distracted by things, but here’s a couple Trek sketches from tonight and some Dune scribblings from a week or so ago.

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Keiko O’Brien was a recurring character on Star Trek: The Next Generation and, more so, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine; she married transporter honcho Miles O’Brien on TNG in the fourth season, on the same episode where the viewer was introduced to her, and pedestrian marital strife between her and Miles was a frequent touchpoint of her appearances.

I’d never thought a whole lot about her as a character until I introduced her and Miles as characters in Larp Trek, the comic I’ve been doing for the last few months that supposes that the crew of the Enterprise makes up Deep Space Nine as a role-playing game because their holodeck is broken. And the comic is set prior to when viewers ever meet Keiko, which means I can define her relationship to Miles however I like as a dating couple. And it turns out that that’s a hell of a lot of fun, especially since I decided they’d skip inventing new characters for the game and instead just play each other.

This is a sketch based off a recurring Keiko image I use in the comic. Also:
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Happy Bird Presidents Day

What better day to put together an anthology of my ongoing Bird Presidents project than Bird Presidents Day?

I’ve been drawing these for a few weeks now, ever since I knocked out Theodore Crowsevelt as what I thought at the time was a one-off joke, and now I’m just about halfway done with the series with #1-19 (and Teddy at #27) done already. I’ve been pretty happy with the results so far and feel like I’m actually developing my drawing a bit in the process (not to mention learning a bit about birds and human presidents).

So: here’s a bunch of bird presidents. I’ve posted each of these as a blog entry with a bit more info about the respective bird and president and notes on my process, so if you want more detail go ahead and click on the name above a given image.

Bird Presidents

#1: Grebe Washington
Grebe Washington

#2: Guan Adams
Guan Adams

#3: Ptarmigan Jefferson
03 Ptarmigan Jefferson
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Bird Presidents #19: Rutherford B. Hawk

Rutherford B Hawk

Let me triumph as a bird or not at all.
~ Rutherford B. Hawk

Rutherford B. Hayes; the red-tailed hawk, one of a big variety of birds that fall under the “hawk” label but one which I’ve always especially liked for some reason.

This one goes out to my good friend rtha, for reasons.

Hayes got into office under contended circumstances; there was significant dispute over electoral votes in 1876, and ultimately the whole mess might have gone either way and by sheer count of non-disputed electoral votes was weighted heavily toward Samuel J. Tilden before it was finally resolved with Hayes taking the big chair and a bunch of compromises made on the whole Reconstruction situation. Woo, politics!

Also apparently he was big on the gold standard, so once Ron Paul gets out of the game maybe folks can re-animate Hayes at try and get him to run again.

William Can’t Sleep, a text adventure about William Carlos Williams

Spent some of today writing another very short Twine game (see previously), this time playing around with one of my favorite poems, “This Is Just To Say” by William Carlos Williams. And so: William Can’t Sleep.

I like the poem in its own right, but I also like it as a meme—refitting it to varying situations is a long-running joke on Metafilter, where all sorts of things seem to turn up in iceboxes or to prompt the need for forgiveness or to be describable otherwise as being x, so y, and so z.

I have in fact previously written a silly random This Is Just To Say generator, if you want to just reload to your hearts content. And Metafilter friend Joe Saunders collected mefi variations for a while on a tumblr.

But, so, yes: I got to thinking about the idea of the poem as a note, from someone to someone: why not from William to his wife, Florence? And if he’s leaving a note, why? How did those circumstances arise? What about the world where Bill didn’t eat the plums?

And so William Can’t Sleep gives the player a chance to explore that small set of moments. You can dotingly recreate the poem as we know it, or, depending on your actions and reactions and inactions, produce one of several possible variants, or something more or less totally unrelated.