As a Chicagoan, do I have any excuse for having never built a legitimate snowman? I’ve made snowballs, snow angels, and even a rudimentary fort, but never a snowman. Earlier this month, when old man winter dumped 20 inches of powder on Chicago, I neglected to build a snowman. Shame on me. Who knows, maybe March will bring another big snowfall, and with it another chance to make good. The “snowhawk” in this strip is excellent, but it needs a few more elements to really bring it to life. Hmm…a leather jacket here, a Mr. T-inspired necklace there, and…perfect.
Archive for February, 2011
Sometimes a phrase just jumps off the page and, even if it doesn’t rise to the level of art, it still does a splendid job of getting all up in your grill. “A nasty-lookin’ white loner” is just such a phrase. It conjures up images of maladjusted babblers and mumbling junkies. It brings to mind unapologetic groomaphobes with three-day-old stubble and somewhat greasy hair. And it shocks with its injection of race as a primary descriptor of the downtrodden. Combine the “nasty-lookin’ white loner” phrase with a look of knee-jerk disgust, and you’ve got a panel that seems like it was designed to provoke.
Coincidentally, today was my birthday too. What did I do to celebrate? Well, I woke up, ate breakfast, read the newspaper, and then scurried out of the house so my wife could prepare a surprise party for me. (I knew about the party, but was clueless about the theme.) I spent the next eight hours golfing at an indoor driving range, reading at a suburban Barnes & Noble, and drooling at a crowded Apple Store. I then strolled into my basement to find…a disco-themed roller skating party in full swing. Kudos to my wife for taking advantage of our unfinished basement, kudos to my friends for digging their rollerblades out of the closet, and extra kudos to my in-laws for sporting afro wigs, mullet wigs, and fake mustaches. Sweet.
Today’s Deflocked veers dangerously into emo territory with its depiction of a melancholy boy pouring his heart out to a beached baby whale. “Poor, dehydrated whale,” the boy sighs, his ennui hanging like a blanket of gray clouds above a cold, wet afternoon. “This world has forsaken us both. We are wretched, neglected souls who feel deeply the crush of the thousand muddy boots that stomp us into submission, day after dreary day.” To which the parched whale replies, “pfft,” a sputter so achingly pathetic and singularly strained that it makes the very air around him weep with sadness.
Some day in the future, when I’m good and retired and living off whatever savings I’ve managed to accumulate, I’ll be glad to have children and grandchildren who can keep me company. But before I can get to that point, I’ll have to endure the trials of parenthood. I’ll have to transform my marriage from one of blissful relationship-building into one of frantic child-rearing. I’ll have to create detailed schedules and then throw them out the window. I’ll even have to sit through hours of Radio Disney while driving the kids to and fro. Don’t get me wrong; I’m sure parenthood will be magical in its own, draining way, but I’m also sure it will inspire plenty of gripes.
Yesterday, Chicago held its first contested mayoral election in decades. (Our lame-duck mayor, Richard M. Daley, is finishing his sixth term in office and has never faced serious opposition.) Although there were six candidates on the ballot this time around, turnout was embarrassingly low – somewhere around forty percent. More voters participated in last year’s midterm elections, which included a race for governor, and even more voters participated in the 2008 presidential election. This is common. Apparently, Americans are drawn to elections based on the strength of the office, not based on the impact its occupant will have on their neighborhoods. But I’d argue that if we want to build strong communities, we have to get local and pay attention to races for mayor, alderman, and school board. Sure, these aren’t sexy offices; they’re just really, really important ones.
Whenever someone uses the words “cease” and “desist” in the same sentence, I get a little nervous. Whenever they add the words “cartoonist,” “intellectual,” and “property,” I get downright anxious. And whenever they throw in references to “WordPress,” I start to worry about the future of my own online hobby, The Daily Funnies. Will a cartoonist demand that my blog be taken down, as was the case with the Funky Winkerbean send-up Son of Stuck Funky? Or will the fact that I post a different comic every day protect me from this fate, as it apparently has with The Comics Curmudgeon?
I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t speak to the intricacies of copyright law. All I can speak to are my intentions. Hopefully the following will convince cartoonists and syndicates that I’m acting in good faith:
- The purpose of this blog is to highlight comic strips that I enjoy, and to serve as an archive of comic strips from years past. My hope is that a reader encountering 2011 strips in, say, 2031, will experience the same thrill I do when glancing at the comics page of a decades-old newspaper.
- The purpose of this blog is not to rob cartoonists of newspaper clients, book purchases, or page views. On the contrary, it is to inspire an appreciation of the depth and quality of the contemporary comics scene. Hopefully that will result in more money for cartoonists, not less.
- I have no commercial interest in this blog. I do not sell advertising or link to merchandise, nor do I intend to. If I ever get around to writing a novel, I may post a link so interested readers can purchase it, but that would require me getting off my lazy butt, so don’t hold your breath.
- I respect the rights of cartoonists to retain control over their creations. If any cartoonist does not want their comic strip to be featured on this blog, I will be more than happy to remove it. Simply send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and ask that your comic be removed.
- If, on the other hand, a cartoonist wants me to include their comic as part of my daily reading material, they should feel free to hit me up at the same e-mail address, email@example.com.
- Finally, please don’t sue me. I come to this project as a hobbyist who loves comics and hopes to inspire a deeper appreciation of them. I don’t consider this blog to be a violation of copyright law, and can only hope that others agree with my assessment.
There you have it. Thankfully, no cartoonists or syndicates (or lawyers representing cartoonists or syndicates) have told me to stop reproducing comic strips. Hopefully, they won’t start now.