| Thurs Jun 10 --
Look, everybody, it's a Friday-style update, with a new cartoon and everything!
Yes, I'm off to a wedding and some hangin' out with my PopCap-runnin' buddy Jason in Vancouver, Canada. I'm gonna be there a week, so there won't be any Tuesday update next week, kids. Deal in your own private ways.
Today has been kinda, well, political. I've been working on the campaign of my longtime friend Malcolm Azania, running in my riding here in Edmonton Strathcona for the New Democratic Party (the socialist political party here in Canada I'm kinda born into). yesterday it appears a hooferaw erupted when Colby Cosh, an objectivist Malcom and I both knew back at the University of Alberta and who now writes a column for the National Post, dug up a comment Malcolm had made ten years ago on a newsgroup and posted it on his web site. The posting was entitled "Jews: Friends? Enemies?", and, well, I put up a link to it; read it for yourself.
This caused a huge stir, or at least some opportunity for Malcolm's opponents to take some shots at him. Today I made it over to Malcolm's campaign office for his press conference and watched him handle it like a pro. My favorite part was when he was asked, "How do you think this is going to affect your campaign? Will people still trust you?" and he replied simply, "Well, that really depends on you." Considering that the whole thing is a little media whirlpool rather than an actual event, I'd say Malcolm was dead on.
Here's the letter I sent this letter to the Edmonton Sun, which broke the story today:
"Regarding your story about Malcolm's "questionable remarks", I invite anybody who cares to actually read what Malcolm wrote. Anybody who reads that post won't help but understand these are the words of a thoughtful, attentive, empathetic young man grappling with powerful ideas. He's civil, he's fair, and he makes good points -- there is, for example, no question that there are huge differences between the relative positions of Jews and Blacks in the hierarchy of American oppression. True, he's writing through the lens of intense Afrocentrism, and while he may be embarassed about the phrasing and the emphasis he used back then, what is crystal clear is that Malcolm Azania was and always has been profoundly committed to justice and the end of oppression in all its forms. He sees things differently now; he sees things better. But he saw things pretty well back then too."
It's strange to feel that this election is actually heating up, that staid boring Canada is actually looking around going "What? Huh? Election?" and then actually thinking about what that means. I frankly didn't expect it, but I'm delighted to be proved wrong.
Well, I guess I can throw a movie review at you, a smaller pic entitled Mayor of the Sunset Strip, an oddly haunting little treatise on fame.
Buy some books!
C'mon, folks, even though this whole Drawing On Demand thing is working out good, that doesn't mean you get to slack off and not buy books! Jeez!
Tues Jun 8 -- Mid-week madness
A fairly short mid-week update for y'all, as I'm busitng my ass trying to get all my Vue duties completed before I take off for Vancouver on Thursday.
As promised there's action in the review front in the form of my take on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Not bad, I must say, not bad at all.
It may amuse the American readers out there to know that we're having a wee election of our own here in Canada. It's a little hard to get worked up about, mostly on account of how Canadian politics has a baseline rationality and reasonableness that ensures that no matter who gets elected we'll end up with a competent government -- very different from the U.S. in that respect. Still, last Sunday Edmonton played host to Cross Canada Checkup, a national radio call-in show, in which the three candidates of my particular riding (Edmonton Strathcona) faced off and delivered hot piping D-E-M-O-C-R-A-C-Y to the eager crowd. Yummy!
The Leaden Angels
This week also sees the fourth chapter of Paul Notley's The Leaden Angels, "Rose Attar Gum and Mermaid Soup," in which curious details of the Wilentz, Seinkewicz and Roget families are revealed.
Fri Jun 4 -- Potterday
All right, all right, everybody calm down, take your seats. There's no need to panic. All goes according to plan. Here's a cartoon:
Nothing right this second, having blown my load in the Tuesday update for all my movie review stuff, but in a couple of hours I'm a-gonna go see Harry Potter and I'll have something all writ up right quick, yes I will. And if you're interested here's a quick link to a restaurant review I did for Vue.
Drawing on Demand 2
Time's a-tickin' away on the Drawing On Demand eBay auction, only two hours left as of nowish (8:15 Pacific time Friday morning). Last time I checked it was up to $255! You people are frickin' AWESOME!
And while we're at it...
BUY MY BOOK!
Tues Jun 1 -- The Lost Month
This is gonna be a strange month for me, another one where I'm here for a week then gone for a week then here for a week then gone for a week, which I always find very dislocating. But that's my problem, soldiers, not yours!
Friday I promised to have a review of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. If you click that link, though, you'll just go to the review page rather than to a review of Azkaban. Why? Because I'm a retard. I went to a party Friday night, got blotto, thought seriously that I'd set my alarm and then woke up Saturday morning to see that it was already 10:45. I shrieked in horror, clapping my hands to my face in a Home Alone rictus. I totally missed it. Luckily my editor at Vue was understanding about it, so I'll still get to review it, just a week late. And as punishment, Paul got me to go see the new Kate Hudson flick Raising Helen, so there's that, and I also reviewed Tamala 2010: A Punk Cat in Space, a loopy little bit of quasi-anime playing this weekend at the Metro, for those Edmontonian angryflower.com readers out there.
The Leaden Angels Chapter 3
The Leaden Angels continues this week with its third instalment, How M. Savoir Committed Suicide, a locked-room mystery that will take all of Louis Dramsheet's combined wit and Catholicism to solve.
Drawing on Demand 2
Don't forget to bid! Only a couple of days left! Own original art!
Fri May 28 -- Update so late
I'm a little tardy with the update today, I'm afraid. I hope all you East Coasters out there aren't too furious that 3 pm your time has rolled around and still no new Bob. It's coming, it's coming!
In fact, it's here:
As promised, I've got something new in the reviews department, to wit: a semi-scathing look at Roland Emmrich's new assualt on civilization, The Day After Tomorrow. But the real cream is coming; tomorrow I get to see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and I've got some real good feelings about it. Oh yeah.
Drawing on Demand 2
Well, the first one went pretty all right so let's head back to the well and see what happens a second time. Click here to be transported on velvet wings to eBay, there to bid on a 12" x 15" sheet of paper and the ability to command me to fill it according to your specifications. It's the perfect gift --for yourself! Bidding lasts only 7 days, so don't miss out!
Killing People is Wrong
Oh, I know what you're thinking: "Steve Notley hates America." How else could he lead off a paragraph with such a flagrantly unAmerican sentiment as Killing People is Wrong when we all know Killing People Is Wrong has been ditched for the much more eyes-open, grown-up, real-world, pro-active Killing People is Necessary.
Take, for example, that crazy Iraqi wedding that got bombed around the middle of last week. Of course, the US Army denies it was a wedding, insisting over and over again that it was a legitimate target, a safe house for insurgents. And I mean, who are you gonna believe? A General in the United States Armed Forces or just some nobody whose two children were killed in the attack?
This either/or thing, this seeming discrepancy between the two accounts whose apparent contradiction creates a nullity, is I think the reason that the wedding massacre has dropped from the headlines even as the Abu Ghraib scandal heads into its fifth week. There's not a lot of wiggle room on those torture photos, but if the Good Guys are totally denying that this massacre took place and if American TV isn't interested in broadcasting any of that footage of decapitated children being tossed into the back of a truck, then we can just chalk it up to "conflicting reports" and forget about it.
Of course, it's not necessary to believe one story or the other; both could easily be true. That is, it could have been a wedding, and it could also have been a gathering of insurgents. We can easily imagine a scenario like the first scene of the Godfather, a big wedding party with lots of kids and food and music and celebration even as dark discussions and murderous plans go on after the women and children have gone to bed.
Thus Brigadier General Mark Kimmit may in fact be right; there may well have been some legitimate bad guys present. So the question then becomes: is it okay to kill 40 innocent people to get 4 or 5 enemies? Clearly Mr. American General believes it is: "Bad things happen in wars. I don't have to apologize for the conduct of my men." Sometimes, Killing People is Necesary.
I would suggest that in fact it's not okay to kill 40 innocent people to get 4 or 5 bad guys. I know, I'm being hopelessly naive. This is war; things happen, gotta look at the big picture. But of course that's the whole point. The big picture us just the sum of all the little pictures. Wars are made up of little operations like this, little pieces of Killing People is Necessary calculus. And I know, condemn me as an America-hater, lambaste my Canadianness, but I can't help but think America could use a bit more Killing People is Wrong thinking these days. I mean, hell --what would Jesus do?
Tues May 25 -- Something
Got a couple of things for you folks this mid-week. First, the result of what I hope will be the first of many Drawings on Demand, the first ever Bob strip scripted by somebody other than me:
Not too shameful, I think... sounds sorta like something I'd write. I hope to get another auction up at e-Bay right away, so sharpen your imaginations!
Nothing at the moment, but I'll have The Day After Tomorrow for Friday.
The Leaden Angels
We continue the weekly instalments of my brother Paul's peculiar literary novel The Leaden Angels. This week observe strange figures, hidden secrets and curiously stained eyewear in The Philhellenon Club.
Fri May 21 -- Wheels and wheels
AWRIGHT! Let's blow the lid off this crazy mess we call life with a cartoon!
Not much else to report this update. I finally broke down and bought my flight to the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies conference in San Antonio at the end of June. Even though it kills me to give up a return to trip to New York for the MoCCA show the same weekend I'm pretty interested in a journey to the heart of Bush's America. Texas, by God.
I'm gonna have to be careful with my smartass Canadian lip down there if I don't want it sliced off, and I guess I won't be packing the T-shirt with the "Kill More Americans" logo. But it should be interesting. Most of the places in America I go, I only run into people who rightly think the President is a disaster. New York, Boston, San Francisco, everywhere I go it's all in the bubble of comics and alternative press, a flatly anti-Bush community. But down in Texas, by God, they believe. Or some of 'em do, and I'd like to try having a mild-mannered chat with a true Bush supporter, see where he's coming from. I'll go all Socrates on him, but in a gentle way. I don't wanna get killed or arrested if I can help it.
And I'm flying out of Austin, sister-city to Edmonton in so many ways, so my plan is to bus from San Antonio to Austin on Sunday the 27th and hang out for three days. If there are any Austinite Bob readers who have suggestions of stuff I should do or places I should crash, hey, e-mail me, suckas.
BUY SOME STUFF!!!
Look at this book, DUDE! It's frickin' AWESOME! You can BUY IT! TOTALLY, man! Seriously! It helps me live! Dammit, there's thousands of you readers out there, and I damn well know thousands of you haven't bought any of these books cuz there's still thousands left! So cough it up, people!
Also, there are posters to buy!
That is all.
Tune in next week for the result of the first eBay Drawing on Demand!
Tues May 18 -- A Light Smattering
Well, let's see what we got this week for y'all. I don't have a cartoon for you folks, but I whipped up an ad for the Comics Journal that's kinda cartoon-like, so here it is:
The Leaden Angels
Back in 1993 my brother Paul wrote a rather peculiar novel about murder, Catholicism, atrocities, blue bouncing balls and homocidal grand pianos. It's an odd read but I like it, and as of this week I'm gonna start publishing it in Tuesday instalments here on angryflower.com. With only the small caveat that the first chapter ain't exactly the most acessible, I present The Leaden Angels.
In the wake of my Friday commentorial about awfulness and beheadings I got a mini-surge of beheading-and-awfulness-related links sent to me. Here's a site that suggests we're not hearing the whole story on the Berg beheading. Here's another. Here's a site that discusses that plus all kindsa other crazy conspiracy stuff.
Sort of on the same topic is a link to Rotten.com, a clearing house for grossness that actually has some fairly good articles in its library despite the fact that most of the site is dedicated to photos of people who've been hit by trains and the like. Here's a link to their Abu Ghraib article, and here's a link to their piece on one of the private contractors that may have been involved.
Meanwhile, another reader sent in a link to a site that asserts that John Kerry is a douchebag but the site's author is voting for him anyway: www.johnkerryisadouchebagbutimvotingforhimanyway.com.
And last, here's a link to a rather good article at The Nation that makes The Moral Case Against War. It's just sad we live in an era where we need people to write articles to make this case rather than everybody just going, "Well, no kidding."
Fri May 14 - Nasty Week for Pictures
I don't typically do timely, headlines-based cartoons, but I couldn't help myself this week, I just had to do
And see, this is why I don't do "timely" stuff, because you're so vulnerable to being overtaken by the pace of events. Like, now Al Qaeda has upped the ante to beheading in an effort to prove they can be even more depraved and immoral than the Bushites. Wow, this is an awesome cycle we've got going.
I imagine Bush supporters or other readers might ask "So where's all your outrage when it's Al Qaeda committing atrocities? Why are you always picking on America?" I guess my response would be that our enemies don't seem to lack for people to decry their villainy; that seems pretty covered. It's our own villainy that needs to be exposed because that's the villainy we can control and are responsible for.
"These people have no respect for life; they hide behind their own women and children!" So when we, knowing they're hiding behind women and children, proceed to blow those women and children away, well, jeez, it's not our fault --they made us!
What these pictures and those to come seem to point out another fantastic side effect of war, that cool morally corrosive effect that burns away our own decency by making us feel like we're justified in committing horror because our enemies are inhuman. We're letting them turn us into the monsters they see us as just as we're turning them into our monsters. Somewhere along the line somebody has to refuse to be a monster.
It's the whole Us-vs.-Them thing. Folks, there is no Them. We're all Us. Those that hate us, they're still part of us. Them, the enemy, they are not the enemy. The war is the enemy, and it's the common enemy of Us and Them. It's killing Us, and it's killing Them, and it's providing the open arena for every dark evil we both can conjure. And for every ante-upping "Well, see, they're even worse" bit of justification, you're just playing into the whole Us vs. Them thing that fuels the thing we should be fighting.
Got another thing for the reviews section, this time a slamming of the star-heavy Troy.
And Before I Forget...
Buy some books!
Tues May 11 -- Done Flummoxed m'self
Looking over the days since the last update I haven't really left myself with too much to put up for this update. I would go off about the Iraqi Prisoner Torture Photos but since that's what this Friday's cartoon is gonna be about I can't really go a'-spoilin' er. So I only got a couple of things for ya this time.
Not too much huge in the reviews department, but I do have a few hundred words on Van Helsing. "Not nearly as crappy as expected" raves Notley.
Links n such
Not a link, really, per se, but a fan's 10-year-old son got all excited about Bob and did some Bob-themed Christmas handouts comme ca:
And here's a few more he did.
Fri May 7 -- Yup...
Now that I got all my back-from-New-York stuff out of my system, I don't really have all that much for y'all this Friday. Let's see.
Part 2? When was Part 1? Well, it was a while ago, fairly near the beginning of the UBOPE. There. Does that answer your question?
Not got no full, formal reviews this week, but here's a link to a Heresy column I did for my new editor Paul at Vue Weekly. The idea is to defend something everybody hates or slam something everybody loves, so I defended Armageddon. Should be a fun column to write, even if I have to share it with the other Vue Weekly movie writers. No, wait... especially if I have to share it with the other Vue Weekly movie writers!
LoveBot Conquers Everything
I've been stupidly low-key about this but LoveBot Conquers All has been running in color form over at GraphicSmash.com and the final instalment has just gone up. I'd like to thank my buddy Nathan Fairbairn for coloring the second half of the series; sweet job, Nathan. And Todd Swain, who colored the first half; also rockin'.
Buy my Book, Dammit!
Do it! Do it!
A fella sent me a link to his very own grammar and apostrophe usage rant; why not spread the html linkin' wealth for a good cause?
More updates? Click here, crazy person!