8, 2003 -- ORDER NOW!
It's Wednesday, and even though I screwed up and said I'd be taking orders on the 15th, I really meant this Wednesday, the 8th, so here we go. Click the link to go to the order page!
A couple of things...
Also, a brief recap of all the stuff you get if you
Pretty hot stuff, huh? Now order, people, order! And don't forget, I'm
offering a special 4-pack deal, all four books at a go, for a smoking $44
US! Check it out now now now!
October 3, 2003 -- Quick mini-update
This is gonna be real quick here folks, cuz I gotta take off to see an early screening of Kill Bill. I'll be back later today with details, and more stuff about the UBOPE, but I just wanted to throw the toon up real quick before I head out. Here it is.
I got an e-mail asking whether I was offering any special incentives for pre-ordering. Why, sure I am, I thought! What do you folks want? Here's what I've got. I'm gonna sign and sketch in all the pre-orders, of course, and the first 50 orders, I'll personalize it to you. Plus, I'm going to be cramming in stickers as long as they hold out, so act early and get some. I'm also gonna drop the price by a dollar for all the orders that come in before the books are actually ready and shipping. And, if you guys want, I can include Apostrophe posters in the first 50 orders, though I'm telling you now they'll be folded and included in the package instead of mailed separately in tubes. Any takers? Tune in on Wednesday to order your book!
Links and links
Is that it?
October 1, 2003 -- Hang on, hang on...
Now NOT taking pre-orders!
Howdy folks. Yesterday I started taking pre-orders for the UBOPE, but
I got a message from CCNOW saying there might be a problem if I can't ship
the orders right away... something about credit card authorizations expiring.
We're gonna figure something out tomorrow, but I just wanted to put a brief
hold on incoming orders until this is sorted out. Soon, though, soon, and
I'm sorry to pull a switcheroo on something so vital...
September 30, 2003 -- Finally!
Now taking pre-orders!
Yes, the damn thing's finally at the printers, so I'm taking orders as of now. Plus, I'm offering a special 4-pack deal, all four books at a go, for a smoking $45 US! Check it out now now now!
September 26, 2003 -- Older than Jesus
Or at least the same age as Jesus, now. Thanks to everyone who wished me a happy birthday. Your wishes came true.
Sooooo... here's a new cartoon:
**mini-update Friday afternoon**
I'm in it, along with a bunch of cartoonists I'm too busy to link right now, people like Alison Bechdel, Jennifer Berman, Max Cannon, Barry Deutsch, Emily S. Flake, Marian Henley, Justin Jones, Keith Knight, Tim Kreider, Aaron McGruder, Kevin Moore, Eric Orner, Greg Peters, David Rees, Mikhaela Blake Reid, Neil Swaab, Brian Sendelbach, Tak Toyoshima, Shannon Wheeler and Jason Yungbluth. Yep. It's comin' out in February 2004, and it looks to be incredibly great.
Not quite ready to take UBOPE orders
Bob's Quick Guide to the Apostrophe, You Idiots posters
September 19, 2003 -- Almost there...
Oh, I can feel the UBOPE, it's so close. All the content is finished, and now I'm just waiting for my stalwart design man to lay out the text pages and it's off to the printer. My plan is to start taking pre-orders once I deliver it, and my dream is to be doing that by the next update, though I've got a stinky feeling it'll have to wait for the update after that. But rest assured, soon enough it will be impossible to come to this web site without knowing that an exciting new product is being sold.
Okay, this week's cartoon:
Previews, folks, Previews! Time's runnin' out!
It's my birthday!
Is that all?
I dunno... it sure looks like Bob. And I gotta say, if it is, that would be pretty damn cool. I adore Alan Moore's stuff, and I've been ripping off his narrative approach like crazy (especially in LoveBot Conquers All). From what I understand he provides his artists with exhaustive scripts that lay out all the little details that appear in each panel, so if this maybe-Bob is there through his agency, I'm a-tremble with glee. And if it wasn't Moore's idea, but simply a little detail thrown in by artist Zander Cannon, that would also be highly cool. And if it has nothing to do with Bob, well, that's less cool, but at least I knew for an instant that heaven would be the cruelest of places.
I almost feel like a jerk going on about my maybe-cameo in this issue without going on about how good the comic itself is. Let's remedy that. If you're not reading SMAX, and by extension Top 10, the series of which SMAX is an offshoot, and thus by further extension all of Alan Moore's work, then you're missing simply the best comics going. This most recent issue takes SMAX's cute fantasy world and, in true Moore style, spins it into stuff that's so real it hurts. Plus, this week also sees the sensational final issue of Volume 2 of Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series, praise Allah. If you've only seen the movie, please disregard it. The comic series is one of the greats, and this capper does what Moore always does, which is pay absolutely everything off as well as it could while simultaneously confounding expectations and keeping secrets that shouldn't, couldn't, have held as long as they did.
Oop! One more thing!
September 12, 2003 -- 2 years and counting...
Whew! Kind of a late, Friday-morning-instead-of-Thursday-night kinda update for y'all this week, brought to you with all the electronic speed of the Internet. So, a new cartoon:
PREVIEWS, folks! PREVIEWS!
Comic store owners place their orders this month, and man, it sure would help my cause if you went to your local store and bugged them to order some. And while you were at it, you could let them know that they can order copies of the first three books from Cold Cut Distributors or Last Gasp Distributors.
Anyway, I wasn't the only one complaining about slow sales this time around, so I know it wasn't just me. I gotta give the SPX folks credit for trying some new stuff, and for responding to people's suggestions (chief of which being that Sunday should be a sell day), but it's clear there are still some bugs that need workin' out. The key thing to remember seems to be that a lot of people leave on Sunday, whether or not there's a softball game or the Ignatz awards, and the programming should take that into account. But there aren't any easy solutions. What seems to be very clear, however, is that the center of gravity for East Coast comics conventions has decisively shifted to MoCCA in New York. Pretty easy to understand; given the choice of going to Bethesda, MD or New York, NY, I think most people are more interested in going to New York, even if it means giving up the everybody's-trapped-in-the-same-hotel chuminess of SPX.
The alternative is to switch to a vertical format, something closer to that used by Tom the Dancing Bug, something that's, like 1 wide by 1.5 high. Suddenly it becomes easier to find space for the strip and the eventual next book. The downside is that the fifth book would be weirdly out of shape compared to the first four. A more mysterious downside is that I'd have to rearrange my writing style away from "top line of panels = setup, bottom line = payoff" over to some strange new thing, where I'd be working with three rows of panels rather than just two. Tricky. If any of you folks have opinions, let me know. I'm curious to hear what you think.
Tearful Sept. 11 Restrospective
So how are we doing, two years on? Well, shockingly, the "make peace through war" plan seems to be stumbling a bit; for some reason, all war seems to make is more war. Oh, I know, I know, it's only been a few months, we gotta give this war a little time to mature and magically invert its nature to become peace. But still, I can't help wondering... is it possible that war isn't the answer?
Steve Notley's Thumbnail solutions
Now, admittedly, the drawback is that this leaves Saddam in power, so all those people in mass graves from ten years ago go unavenged. But still, if we're actually trying to help the still-living people of Iraq, isn't it a good trade if we don't have to wage war on them, killing tens of thousands of them (cuz hey, Iraqi soldiers are people too) and wrecking billions of dollars worth of their stuff?
Yes, Saddam was (and presumably still is) evil. But to those who get choked with outrage at the idea of allowing Saddam to live and hold power after all he's done, I merely point at our buddies in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Israel. If we're gonna get all realpolitik with these people, why not with Saddam? Or, to turn it around, since we hold a fair bit of responsibility for making Saddam the dictator he is, maybe we should rethink our whole "propping up repressive regimes" policy today.
Everyone assumed that the only way to deal with Saddam was with the stick, becaue he was such an inveterate liar (he kept denying he had any WMDs, for Pete's sake!), such a mad dog, that the only thing we could do was, y'know --GET 'IM! Now, with a little hindsight, we can maybe note the fact that all through the UN phase of the runup to the war, Iraq was as compliant as they possibly could have been. They allowed the insepctors, they allowed them in the "presidential sites", they allowed scientists to be removed for questioning, they destroyed missiles that violated a UN limit on the flimsiest technicality, etc, etc, etc. Clearly, they were willing to do whatever they could to avert the war.
If we'd added the carrot (phased-in benchmarked dropping of sanctions), who knows hat we could have done? There's no reason the weapons inspectors couldn't have stayed in the country for years, however long we liked, making sure Saddam wasn't cooking up some kind of superweapon in a basement somewhere. Hell, the UN could have even established political benchmarks for sanctions, and could have applied pressure to Saddam that way.
A brief aside -- I find it amazing that when people ask "Why wasn't the Pentagon better prepared for post-war Iraq?", the given answer seems to be, "Oh, well, our sources led us to believe that the Iraqi people would love us and everything would be easy." And for some reason, people seem to accept that answer. I mean, excuse me --isn't it your job to not be incredibly wrong about stuff like that?
Well, wrong they were, and now we're stuck with it. Now the problem is that the American occupation is itself the problem. The longer we're there, the more we're going to anger and radicalize the population. The harder we hit out at "terrorists", the more people we sweep up off the streets (hundreds of innocents for every few actual enemy soldiers we catch) in "raids", the more civilians we kill through twitchy trigger fingers, the worse everything is gonna get. But at the same time, if we pull out, the whole place is going to fall apart. So what do we do?
First, I think we have to face the fact that since the war, the whole place may fall apart no matter what we do. We had a shot, described above, at holding Iraq together and moving it and us forward, but we blew it, so shit will probably go down no matter what.
Given that, if we went into this thing for the sake of democracy, then let's let democracy help us out and, oh I don't know... hold an election? It's pretty simple, really. The UN takes over and monitors the election, with no restrictions on which parties can run, and whoever gets elected, the US Army in Iraq does what they say. If a pro-American government is elected, maybe they ask for the soldiers to stay on and help out. If a Shiite theocratic party wants all the soldiers gone yesterday, then get 'em out.
Now, does that mean I think that all we have to do is hold an election and everybody will suddenly learn to get along? No, not at all. In fact, there's probably a good chance that everything would start falling apart during or right after the election. But since there's a better-than-good chance that that's going to happen anyway, we might as well take a stab at doing the right thing, see if it helps at all.
Of course, the US still has a fair bit of responsibility to shoulder. I know it'll never happen, but the sensible thing is for the UN or the World Court to find the US guilty of waging an unprovoked war of aggression, and awarding reparations to Iraq. This sounds bad for the US, but it's actually good for both parties. If the US pulls out of Iraq, then it doesn't have to spend most of the $87 billion a year on maintaining troops who are, ultimately, causing the problem. Instead, you just award reparations, say $50 billion, and the US spends less and more goes directly to the Iraqis.
Admittedly, that's more pride than I think America is willing to swallow. But y'know, after screwing things up as bad as this, I think a little pride-swallowing is in order.