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Merrily Merrily Merrily Merrily? A Not So Gentle “Dream Life”

In Salgood Sam’s words, Dream Life is “an unconventional narrative–what I’ve been calling neorealist comics. It tells the story of five childhood friends, loosely based off Peanuts archetypes, as they confront derailed expectations, reality checks, ethical & physical traumas, and loss. It showcases some richly drawn and hopefully narratively subtle pages, designed to lead you through and show the story in a lyrical fashion.”

Of Salgood Sam’s artwork, just google “Dream Life: A Late Coming Of Age” (or watch the YouTube vid above)–his style is incredible. His crowdfunding has been written about (that third link should be required reading). In his early days, he drew the work of Warren Ellis and Clive Barker through Marvel. Lately, as part of his next-to-no-sleep work ethic, he posts illustration instructionals on YouTube.

Dream Life is a beautiful book, with a minimalist cover and satin finish. BRAG: In my copy, le Montréalais drew my portrait–yay Kickstarter!

Me on a bookplate, by Salgood Sam

Me on a bookplate, by Salgood Sam

The surreal permeates a book otherwise grounded in reality, and it’s a wonderful experience for the reader. Most remarkable to me is its emotional depictions: the drudgery of the cubicle farm, being blindsided by sexual assault (the threat is palpable, though not ‘graphic’), rekindling friendships, and the hard, cold brevity of its few violent scenes.

Dream Life is a work of art. The best thing, though? There’s more story coming.

Find Dream Life: A Late Coming Of Age here.


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Sketch Lottery – Dennis the Menace

Thought I’d share this.


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The beauty of comics.

Jess Smart Smiley: the Internet Version

I love what comics can do and I love teaching this comics workshop.

Yesterday we were talking about panels and when to use larger or smaller panels. We found this page from Craig Thompson’s Blankets, where we see a thin panel of Craig’s mom waving goodbye, and then a large vignette of Craig driving away, leaving his mom alone in the parking lot.


The “waving goodbye” panel is quick. Fleeting. The panel with mom left alone has no borders, which allows time to float all around and fill up the empty spaces of the page and book. The vignette sits at the bottom of the page, like an unresolved thought on which every other thought is built. The larger panel gives us much more to look at, and we spend more time in that panel, looking at the details of tire tracks in the snow, the empty vehicles in…

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One Set of Footprints ~ Distractionism

One Set of Footprints ~ Distractionism

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2014-04-14 · 11:22 pm

The Best Superman Film (kind of): Man of Steel


I agree.

To me, & to many, the 1978 Superman film has the most rewatchability, despite the terrible actor Kidder is & Reeve was. I value the potential for repeated viewings, but it isn’t the only criterion that makes for a good movie.

To the point, Man of Steel is easily the best film of the franchise, at least to my eye.

I like that Cavill‘s Superman is green when it comes to big moral choices. We know that morality is not innate–religion wouldn’t lecture incessantly if it were–but it came too easily to Reeve’s Superman (& the Supes of the comics). It’s this inhumanness, apart from his strength, that makes Lex Luthor’s fear of ‘the alien’ reasonable.

When you have the ability, it’s easy to decide to catch falling person or thing & save the day. The Man of Steel, though, depicts a Superman that, if the franchise is done well, will describe for us the wisdom that comes from experience, independent of natural talents, & that regret–perhaps shame–can be a powerful motivator.

For the traditional Superman, the big question mark for me is his eternal goodness. Lately, I’m happy to see that moral compass shake, both in the comics & the Man of Steel film. I do not care how he’s ‘always been’ depicted; why would I want more of the same? Is not the mindless repetition of tradition that which is pablum for the mind?

I’ve wondered about Superman’s childhood, about the potential for resentment in allowing yourself to be bullied at the behest of your ‘merely human’ father. Sure, it can & does lead to self-restraint… sometimes. It can also lead to being wound so tightly it leads to a school shooting (or a ‘super’ version of same).

Is it extreme to speak of Supes like that? Of course. Just remember that Big Blue has been traditionally written at one extreme side of the moral spectrum; no one but the most ardent fanboy/girl can stand to be so damn bored. That’s what Bryan Singer gave us. Thankfully, this is not that.

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Unintentional Plagiarism, or You Can’t Possibly Read/Watch Everything

Community's Britta says 'baggle'

Community’s Britta says ‘baggle’

Many creators end up, at one time or another, “inventing” something that already exists. Knowing this doesn’t prevent the feeling of embarrassment that comes with producing something that seems, if not plagiarised, at least derivative.

In my previous webcomic, OpinioNation, I poked fun at myself and a couple of friends in one strip for the odd pronunciations each of us has for certain words.

Sarah says “ben” for “been.” Mike says “cue-pon” for “coupon” (my Mom and brother do the same; strangely, I don’t… or I don’t think I do).

According to Amanda, I say “baggle” for “bagel.” Of course, I don’t quite believe her, but the teasing she dishes out is a running gag between us, and so into a strip it went.

Thus, when I recently watched the episode of Community with the airdate of 2010-03-04 which featured the teasing of Britta for the same pronunciation quirk, I literally facepalmed.

So much for originality.

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Too Much Michael, an Anthology

Too Much Michael, from Problematic Publishing

Too Much Michael, from Problematic Publishing

I have two works in a new anthology called Too Much Michael (Problematic Publishing) based on Ryan Bray’s character, Michael (natch!), & available through Indy Planet (dot com).

Ryan developed Michael in the webcomics featured on the website Ryan Has Problems, & gave all contributors carte blanche to do with Michael anything we pleased.

And so we did. Enjoy.

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