Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Garry Trudeau, Petro-Paleo Art, Prez Privilege and Private Platoons

I'm cramming for an afternoon CCS lecture on Garry Trudeau (who is coming to visit The Center for Cartoon Studies in October, participating in fundraising for CCS and more!) and mystery novelist and fellow CCS instructor Sarah Stewart Taylor and I have a heady senior thesis class ahead I want to do a little more prep for. It's been a little weird resurrecting art from a beloved project writer Tom Veitch and I never could find a publisher for -- Grumm, which we pitched to Archie Goodwin at Epic (shot down due to a Native American component to Tom's narrative concepts, though one that was not central to the miniseries; as Archie put it, "Coyote and Time Spirits just haven't done that well for us") and Karen Berger during Vertigo's first year (and which, after a year, was rejected, though the rather clumsy conversation with Karen that followed at an otherwise pleasant lunch together at the World Horror Con I've ever attended left me with the impression Karen simply had not read the proposal, or had forgotten it completely -- sigh). Grumm still looks pretty good to me, and the proposal and sample art holds up well; anyway, this is part of what I'm bringing in to share with the seniors today.

On a completely unrelated track, I've also been excavating and prepping an expanded dino comics history piece, which has led me into research on the 1930s Sinclair Oil dinosaur promotional artists and campaigns, a curious slice of petro-promo history I'm finding more fascinating than I should. More on that -- later.

  • Will the Congress ever step on this ceaseless expansion of Executive privilege and domestic spying program?
  • I can't see how, given the fact that the Republicans are still calling the shots in the Congress -- note the 4-vote loss last night of yet another Democratic bill intended to somehow curb President Bush's Iraq War "strategy," in this case an attempt to limit the length of a soldier's Iraq combat tour. President Bush's allies blocked the bill.

  • Huh, so the interminable tours -- which have precipitated the highest suicide rate in the history of the U.S. Army and the National Guard -- will go on. As I've pointed out here before, this treatment of our soldiers is oddly parallel -- almost identical -- to that of those imprisoned in Guantanamo and elsewhere in this interminable "War on Terror." How long can anyone hold out once they find themselves in what is, essentially, service/imprisonment without defined parameters, limit or end? This Kafkaesque nightmare for those entrapped in Bush's concept of "service" and "justifiable incarceration" is an abomination, a form of psychological torture the Congress has sanctioned now (with inaction, and refusal to debate or act) for years now.

    Is this how the GOP honors our servicemen? Is this how they "support our troops"? How long will we stomach the Republican stonewalling of any change, however incremental, in the Bush policies the American people have had enough of? Honestly, with precious few exceptions, I simply cannot see how anyone can continue to justify this reprehensible crap. The Republican refusal to honor or impose any measure of checks or balances is reaping the whirlwind, and we all will pay (but none more than military families, still the only part of the American public to bear the brunt of sacrifice in the wars Bush is intent upon treading water within).

    The complicity of the still-Republican-led Congress in all the various shitstorms coming to a head presently begs the question: how can any American conscientiously continue to support the party?

    In other quarters, the lack of Congressional oversight -- again, blame the GOP Senators (and complicit Democrats like Joseph Lieberman, who is behaving like an ideological scum-of-the-earth, crowing over the blocking of the bill last night) who have rubber-stamped and refused to probe such a plethora of insanity that one doesn't know where to even begin. Inaction is as hazardous as action: for instance,
  • will the privatization of foreign policy operations ever be addressed, in any public arena? There's reportedly more private contractors in Iraq than there are US military serving -- all quietly established as if it were "business as usual."

  • For excellent historical reasons, "most countries forbid their citizens fighting in foreign wars unless they are under the control of their own national armed forces,"
  • a premise the Bush Administration blithely ignored (as they have other facets of the Geneva Convention). With the usual perverse skewed logic of this hyena pack, they've conveniently forgotten
  • the role similarly hired hands -- the Hessians -- played in the American Revolution, and our colonial forefathers's "insurgent" defeat of both the Hessians and the army of their employer, Great Britain, though of course Blackwater is paying its mercenaries much better these days.

  • But of course, that's not a lesson learned, nor does the Bush Administration or GOP care to make that correlation.

    Have a great Thursday...

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    Catching Some Leaves...

  • Woolly Bear Love!

  • Whoa, it's fall! With the colors coming out, the woolly bear caterpillars crawling everywhere while Monarch Butterflies coast the breezes and the nights get cooler and cooler, there's no doubt fall is in the air.

    I love this time of year unlike any other. Seeing the woolly bears -- the fuzzy larval form of the Tiger Moth, and beloved harbingers of autumn in whose black-framing-red fur some locals claim they can predict the intensity of the coming winter -- humping along in the grass, on driveways and roads, always traveling alone, is always a heartwarmer for me. They spark fond memories of childhood in Duxbury, the end of summer and the start of a new school year.

    Just some catch-up and links to share this morning, and a bit of all-over-the-place reading for you this AM.

  • Let's see, here's Mark Martin's and my old Tundra era compadre Marc Arsenault's new Wow Cool website: "News on Art, Video and Music by Marc Arsenault, Jason Martin, Simon Gane, Ian Lynam, Steven Cerio, Reverend Joshua Baker and the bands Brown Cuts Neighbors, nickname: Rebel, Evidence, Broken Seats, Krebstar and many more."

  • Marc and Wow Cool also hosts The Stupid Pages: "...taste the loveliness of the Stupid Pages, as comitted by Jason Martin, Marc Arsenault, James Kopta, and guests Colleen Martin and Steven Cerio (and maybe others). Every week we publish the webcomic The Stupid Pages. It’s stupid, it’s simple, it’s occasionally funny. Also, commentary on bad advertising, punk rock, psychogeography, green building and more. (OK not so much of that later stuff yet)."

  • Enjoy!

    I'll be writing about and posting links for this year's Center for Cartoon Studies new class (and they all have class!), but it's timely to post this link to
  • Publishers Weekly's article on Chicago Art Institute graduate and current CCS freshmen/grad student Lucy Knisley, whose new creation French Milk has been catching a buzz.

  • Congrats, Lucy, and best of luck!

  • Here's Lucy's current site; the link at the PW article seems to be, uh, dead, but this one's alive.
  • (And should you wish to own your own copy of French Milk, here ya go -- order it now.)

  • Have a great Wednesday, I gotta go teach...

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