Archive for the ‘Secret Asian Man’ Category

Secret Asian Man (4/22/09)

April 22, 2009

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Once, as a child, I walked with my friends to a nearby park to play softball and happened upon an empty syringe. We all stopped to stare at it and were pondering its origins when the only adult in the group (who also happened to be one of the boys’ fathers) smashed the syringe with his work boot in a none too subtle attempt to tell us what he thought of smack. So while drug paraphernalia strewn near a baseball diamond was part and parcel of life in the city, so was a protective chaperon whose narc-like tendencies would have made Nancy Reagan stand up and cheer. It’s also worth noting that suburban residents have substance abuse problems that rival those of their big city counterparts, despite the lack of evidence in their public parks.

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Secret Asian Man (3/18/09)

March 18, 2009

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It seems like everyone can identify a phrase that causes them to cringe upon hearing it. While “again” and “literally” are good choices, I’m even more put off by people who choose to start sentences with the word, “listen.” This phrase tends to rear its ugly head after someone has been asked a fair but challenging question, as if responding with a command asserts some measure of authority. To my ears it sounds presumptuous (as if the person is calling on some hidden reservoir of expertise) and condescending (as if the person is exasperated by the need to spell things out for his audience). It’s the type of usage that makes me want to wretch. Literally.

Secret Asian Man (1/25/09)

January 25, 2009

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When I was a boy, my parents almost moved from our home in Logan Square to an apartment in Wicker Park. If I had grown up in that apartment, then I would have witnessed the type of transformation shown in this strip whereby a cheap, unpretentious neighborhood develops a reputation as an artist’s hangout and quickly becomes overrun with trendy restaurants and expensive lofts. Wicker Park surrendered to that fate years ago but the funny thing is that my old neighborhood of Logan Square is quickly developing a hip reputation as well. There are still places that sell $1.99 tacos, but there are also a growing number of places that sell $7 beer. Ah, progress.

Secret Asian Man (12/22/08)

December 22, 2008

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I remember seeing a print ad for a Snuggie a few weeks ago and thinking, “what a great idea!” My apartment isn’t cold by any means, but when the temperature drops down to three degrees (like it has in Chicago tonight) a little bit of extra warmth is definitely appreciated. And who knows, if it stays frigid for the rest of the winter, I might buy myself two or three or six Snuggies, sit down on the couch with a plate of cookies and make “nom” sounds as I munch them down. No milk, though. It’s too cold for that.

Secret Asian Man (11/15/08)

November 15, 2008

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There’s something strange about a grown man playing with writing utensils, especially when he’s pretending they’re representative of racial minority groups. That strangeness is captured in the final panel, which also underscores the potential for conflict in a multiethnic society. While the strip seems to end on a sour note, it also contains a kernel of optimism. Consider that a cartoonist uses a pencil to sketch his comic strip, a pen to ink it, and a marker to color it. These writing utensils may be different, but they also work well together – an illustration of the American melting pot at its best.

Secret Asian Man (9/29/08)

September 29, 2008

I’m not sure which city this train is supposed to be rumbling through, but it sure isn’t Chicago. One telltale sign is the friendly conductor, whose job would have been cut by the Chicago Transit Authority years ago. But an even more obvious clue is the clarity of the speakers. The boy in this strip is able to repeat the announcer’s message verbaitim, which would be impossible if he were listening to gibberish like, “aatnghn custhymers, thye reghd lyylne whilgh bheee rhunninhgh awhn thehe elelvahhatted tratacks thhish whiwkkinhd” over Chicago’s antiquated public address system.

Secret Asian Man (8/23/08)

August 23, 2008

I’m no art director, but I do know my way around GIMP, a free image manipulation program that functions much the same as Photoshop (at least to my untrained eye). It’s the same software I used to change the color of the beast in today’s Secret Asian Man from yellow to green. The original strip was so striking that I felt compelled to test the main character’s claim that his nightmare suffered from poor color choices. It was a fun exercise and, if nothing else, I can see how the first panel, reproduced using beasts of many colors, would make for an interesting Andy Warhol-style collage.