Star Trek / Magic the Gathering Mashup

Here’s a gag that, without explanation, appeals to a niche audience.

Beebles is a race of characters from the Magic the Gathering trading card game. A friend has referred to MTG as chess & poker combined, “but more fun” (don’t shoot the messenger bro).

The various iterations of the Beebles characters reference a wide range of fandom, from Peter Pan to Futurama.

I think Bouncing Beebles is a reference to the Star Trek episode ‘The Trouble with Tribbles.’ And so, when my local comics & gaming shop Jack’s on Queen had 28 Bouncing Beebles cards in the drawer & a Star Trek GN on the shelf, the above photocomic became a compulsion (don’t sue me bro).

The link also features an animated .gif, my preferred expression of this idea. But this companion static image version is my obligation, because COMICS!

Shout out to Nathan Agar for his help sorting the cards.


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Octopodes’ Pie

The non-repro blue pencils & inked lettering of a panel of an octopus as it navigates landmarks while swimming through its underwater neighbourhood.

The Navigating Octopus, from ‘The Post-Vegetarian Omnivore,’ by Wm Brian MacLean

It is a Herculean Heraclean effort not to correct grammar…

…or at least not do it too much.  I’m a stickler for some words & phrases. ‘Regardless’ (not irregardless), ‘cut the muster’ (not mustard) & ‘couldn’t care less’ (not could) come to mind. An acquaintance called me elitist for my now-antiquated insistence on ‘an historic.’ Le sigh.

I drew this octopus with nine tentacles, so one needed to go. #5 has been outlined by an artist's knife, & a layer of Bristol board is about to be peeled away.

Tentacle Strangulation, pre-edit

I have a new one, which is in scant common usage. Sure, it has faded into obscurity…

…but that didn’t stop me from recently correcting someone before I could stop myself. (Sometimes when I try, I fail.)

I like ‘octopodes.’ B/c it’s right, dammit! And ‘octopi’ is really, really wrong.

The suckers of an attacking octopus, drawn in non-repro blue pencil.

Perfectly round octopus suckers are for suckers.

So, if you can suffer an Anglophone to say ‘octopi’ when they really mean ‘octopuses’ (or better yet ‘octopodes’), you can suffer this cartoonist a few tentacle suckers that aren’t perfectly circular. Also, I’m glad I don’t remember my dreams any more; they’d certainly be filled with snapping cephalopod beaks & blood.

Did I mention I was working on a horror story? (It was accepted! YAY!)

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Pacifistic Rimshot


Oh, no! The Jaegers are attacked from behind by… um, are those
Orson Scott Card‘s characters as they play ‘Buggers & Astronauts’?

Pacific Rim beat Shogun Warriors to film. Whether you think this is a good thing depends on how crappy you like your movies.

On one hand, Pacific Rim is fun. How can you go wrong with Shogun Warriors fighting a series of Gojiras? I’ll tell you.

P-Rim is a disgustingly transparent reinforcement of patriarchy. The lone significant female character (out of the two women with speaking parts, portrayed by Rinko Kikuchi) is painfully subservient. By ‘painful,’ I don’t just mean to watch; her subservience (which she explains away as ‘respect’) is painful to her.

There are a few bright sides, though. One is that she kicks the main warrior dude’s butt (Charlie Hunnam). Another is that gender collaboration isn’t a big deal (they share memories; so too, I assume, memories of desire & intimacy; it’s nice to see this kind of lack of fear of otherness in a mainstream flick). And this world is post-nationalist, which makes sense when under planetary threat.

Of course, the Americans save the day, with notable help from a hardline libertarian/anarcho-capitalist (i.e. criminal, played by Ron Perlman), but it’s okay b/c he dies. (Did I spoil that? C’mon – he’s a baddie in a Hollywood film; you knew he was going to eat it.) [EDIT: Or so I thought! That’ll teach me to leave before the post-credits in a non-Marvel movie.]

So, the Incredibles, inspired by the Fantastic Four, beat the FF to the cinema… & outdid the real FF films on all levels. Conversely, a Shogun film has the potential to out-class P-Rim, b/c it’s easy to rise above this; Pacific Rim is so bad, it must be easy to outdo.

P.S. I await the Man of Steel vs Pacific Rim ‘collateral mortality count’ meme. By Internet timescales, the mockery of MoS for its casualties in comparison to The Avengers is old news. My opinion is that Supes’ bystander death toll is tame beside the deaths caused by the actions of P-Rim’s Shogun Warriors knockoffs.

Judgement: Pacific Rim is not worth another viewing unless drunk. It isn’t bad enough to watch with irony.

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Lynda Barry’s Old Skull… a Professor & Her Teachings

Lynda Barry, as interviewed by NPR. Wonderful stuff. An excerpt:

In the spring 2013 semester of the course, students were required to apply to the course. Twenty were accepted — eight humanities students, eight science students and four “wild cards.”

“I was especially interested in people who didn’t draw or who didn’t feel they could draw,” Barry says. “I was blown away, especially by the people who had quit drawing around adolescence, what happened with their work when they started to draw again.”

Over the course of a semester, the students wrote about 50,000 words by hand (data known thanks to a student known as Brain Stem) and did hundreds of drawings.


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Sketch Cover: Hulk Did the Mash

Hulk Did the Mash, a sketch cover by Wm Brian MacLean

A few friends encouraged me to embraced my childhood love of superheroes & do a sketch cover.

But who can be bothered to just draw a pose? I mean, maybe I could bring myself to submit to the drudgery, but only with many beers before, during & afterwards.

And so, I hope you enjoy this mash-up of the best Thes I could think of: The Honeymooners, the Monster Mash & The Indestructible Hulk.

I learned a little something about Marvel’s sketch cover comics. The past few months have seen me eschew white-out in favour of an artist’s knife. Peeling away a layer of Bristol board to make corrections isn’t perfect (nothing is), but pigment doesn’t soak into white-out–before it dries, I smear it more often than not when inking a strip–and white-out doesn’t soak into the paper anyway.

But sketch cover illustration paper doesn’t peel worth a damn, & correction fluid works like a dream (nice & smooth, though pigment still smears if I’m not careful). I’m glad to learn this the first time out, but it would have been useful information going in.


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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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