Monday, 30 May 2011

I never disrobe before a gunfight

It's a bank holiday over here, and I hope it finds you well wherever you may be.
I shall try and make a meal of this first post in a while though not much has actually transpired in my world since last we spoke - did a little (aheh) drinking, added a quite epic bleeding injury to my list of current poor health symptoms, and altogether been quite bored, but I now realise I have to push onward and manage the RSI rather than hope it clears up on its own and stays away, which means getting back to the arty nonsense and getting David, Dirk and Lee's stories finished so I can stop holding them back.
Little else has been going on, though I did have an interview with the Job Center people and in a break from tradition where the interviewee doesn't turn up, the interviewers didn't turn up. This is out of the box thinking, Cookstown Job Center, and I thoroughly approve. Actually opening your high street office, even for interviews you have set up yourselves is just so mainstream and conformist.
Apparently I have been unemployed and seeking employment in "art and design" for over a decade, which was news to me as I only moved into that area about 18 months ago after working on and off for a small design and printing firm after a decade in construction jobs. "Art and Design" being an arbitrary and general tag that only made sense when I realised this was actually an NVQ I took whilst in school. Some may mock the complete inability of Job Center staff to notice ten years of employment - some of which was in another country, and some of which came about after they themselves referred me to the employer in question - but I personally approve of this thinking where what you've actually been doing for ten years has no bearing on what you might be qualified to do next, and instead you're held to an arbitrary decision made in your youth that you can't even remember as it happened when you signed on for a summer before going to college and had since forgotten all about. I like the notion that there are people going into the Job Center without NVQs or A-Levels and are held to their earliest career choices "It says here that you want to work as a fire engine and/or dinosaur wrestler..." Only in Cookstown could you be going into some Job Center interview thinking you've got no prospects in a downturned economy and someone sends you to Gwangi to learn how to put the Shamrock Anklelock on a velociraptor - how great is that? This is why Cookstown is tops and all other small towns can suck it.

As you may be aware by now, I would never go so far as to call myself entertaining, having been described by my internet stalker as "not funny" shortly before he went on to become a 2000ad regular (so he would certainly know), so you shall have to to accept when I say that my actual Job Center interview was not as entertaining as I make it sound that this is a relative evaluation on my part of what I've written above. The actual event was more of a frustrating, vaguely surreal exercise in futility. And with that seamless link, here is the next page of Frank...

This page means an especial amount of nothing as it's little more than a personal joke. I used to work with a guy who was literally not smart enough to work in a McDonalds - though I feel compelled to point out that "there was no harm in'im" as is proper 'round my way when telling amusing stories about the misconceptions of others - and one time as we were talking about old television programmes, he asked why the Russians were the bad guys in so many shows and so I pointed out that the Cold War was not a fictional construct but a real thing in the real world and this trickled down into entertainment by being a component of or basis of almost every movie in the 1980s. Somehow he took this to mean that James Bond was based on a real person and Star Wars was at least partially factual, though to this day I have to believe this was a result of my poorly explaining things as otherwise I would be forced to go to my grave regretting that I didn't take a shotgun to work one day and end things as God intended. I'm not even joking, he once asked of Ozzy Osbourne from Bo Selecta - this fella here:

He once asked in all seriousness if those were "his real arms."
It was around this time I realised I could do without that job and since then those encounters have come to embody that nagging feeling that there's something wrong with you when you can't bring yourself to say "I'm better than this job" because you are. You always are because people do not live to work and their job doesn't define them, but sometimes you just get stuck, you know?

Anyway, that's what this page is about, but worryingly I seem to have kept this post to a general theme rather than rambled on as usual about unrelated guff, so here's an unnecessary video of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century set to Phunkk Mob's "Only Hope"

I have fond memories of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century as it was a product of producer Glen Larson's fondness for macho male fantasy that gave us Battlestar Galactica and the Fall Guy and many others: shows that fetishised the drinking, womanising, gambling adventurer of lore one last time before ensemble casts and AIDS ruined such notions forever (and to this day I will continue to argue that the original Battlestar was a more consistent, foward-thinking and inclusive beast than the scattershot and ultimately disappointing remake), and while star Gil Gerard had a point in that Buck was a bit of an arsehole for not showing remorse or sympathy for the people who were dying around him, it's a fantastic bit of early 1980s cheese best summed up by my first memory of it: I got a phone call from a mate that went "BRYAN TURN TO BBC2 RIGHT NOW!" because they were seriously repeating this shit well into the 1990s, and it was this scene here where Buck is wearing a dinner jacket and doing a dance where you have to keep one hand on a postbox at all times while Erin Grey jumps about in a bad afro.

So fuck you, BSG and your disposable women sex robots and men making anatomically correct sex dolls in the image of their dead teenage daughters - you'll never top that.

Monday, 16 May 2011

lay off Detroit - them people is livin' in Mad Max times

I am actually running out of pages of Frank to put up thanks to my encounter with RSI, but hopefully I can continue to draw more quite soon and continue to baffle all who wonder why I still bother.

This page was sort of prompted by my meeting an old schoolfriend while out shopping and thinking "I thought I knew all of Lisa's sisters, which one is that with h-- oh NOOOO" as she was shopping with her daughter, who was now something like thirty five - okay, more like 12 or something, but tall (1), and not 'child like' and I thought less along the lines of "haha it's because I haven't seen either of them in a while" and more along the lines of "I will be dead soon."
But in fairness, she did have her first child while she was still in school - actually that is technically incorrect as she had her child after she was in school as she got kicked out of school for being pregnant - but she doesn't look old enough to be a mum is what I'm saying, and a recurring trope in my writing - in Frank especially - seems to be teenage mums. I'm pretty sure it's probably healthier to have recurring tropes like 'lesbians' and 'machine guns' when you're a bloke, but here we are.

A thing to take away from this page is not that I am suggesting only boffins and the moral elite read the Guardian and/or watch Star Trek, but rather that those who do tend towards a self-awareness that leads to depression, or at the very least an awareness of how little they can influence the world around them and this in turn leads to depression sooner or later. To me this is not actually a good thing. I have a mate - a Trek fan equal to myself, if not even more enthusiastic - who's a teacher in that there London and it takes huge toll on him because he's a bit of a thinker, and thinking don't lead to nothing good. It's unhealthy.
Back with the comics commentary, the Irish accent is laughably thick here, but still restrained compared to the real thing. "The one with Kirk fightin' the big lizard" is of course the original Star Trek - specifically the episode Arena, which I consider one of the finest hours of television ever made and will knife-fight in a pit of tigers with any man, woman or beast that tries to suggest otherwise. "The one with the black fella and Mr Wolf" is of course the magnificently flawed DS9, which took 1990s Trek's disturbing trend of regression and made it a virtue because it was portrayed as something inherently wrong rather than something admirable, a lesson which sadly didn't last into Star Trek: Voyager or Enterprise as those shows went back to fetishising women and pre-racial 1950s American values and societal structures as the default state of intelligent beings the universe over, while DS9 went the route of fetishising an Eastern Europe of civil wars, death camps and racial tensions and gave us a Mr Worf as less the one-note joke he was in Next Generation and instead an entertainingly sexist homiocidal xenophobe who was a pleasure to watch even when he's on trial for the mass murder of civilians. It also turned the one-off TNG aliens-of-the-week Cardassians from a footnote into the definitive bastards of the Trek universe, so evil that in the final episode when the shape-shifting Founders ordered the genocide of the Cardassian population I not only laughed, I thought they had it coming. DS9 was a flawed, stagey period piece, but it's easily as good as Trek got after the original series.
The Irish Times, for those not in the know, is pretty much the Irish version of the Guardian, by which I mean it is a paper created by overeducated liberals for the express purpose of annoying people who watch Top Gear. I also feel I am not harsh enough in my opinion of Hollyoaks on this page, so to be clear: I hate it beyond reason.

Toodles for the moment. Hopefully I'll be back at the blogging soon.

(1) 'tall' in this context meaning taller than me, which means pretty much everyone except Tom Cruise.

Monday, 9 May 2011

I wouldn't go to this toilet with my big sister's toe

Still RSI'd to buggery, chaps, but I'm checking in for the weekly does of "Will it ever start doing something other than blathering at me in a crudely-illustrated fashion?" webstrip Frank, seeing as I have that already drawn up (mostly).
I thought RSI was a bollocks made-up thing like Yuppie Flu and Cat AIDS (both real), but for once it's not laziness that stops me getting any work done, I am genuinely not able to sit down at the pc and use the tablet or mouse. My fingers are tingling just from using the laptop's trackpad - which I despised long before now and still do. Anyway...

I just sort of rushed through the colour on this and assumed I'd get back to it later (obviously I have not had that opportunity thanks to recent events), which is why the tones are wonky and the shot of Cookstown's Chapel/Church Street (it's one or the other depending what religeon you are - no, really) looks a bit like Los Angeles to my eyes. Which it should, because Cookstown is the Los Angeles of Mid Ulster, and I'm not just saying that because we have a crack problem and drive by shootings, I'm saying that in jest because it is not true.
For some reason I never got around to dropping that cutaway visual at the end, but at the time, a recurring theme in Frank (as was) was the lies and ignorance that hold communities together, and nothing to my mind said Big Fat Lie like an episode of the Jeremy Kyle Show, in which an equivalence is drawn on a daily basis between the terms "scum of humanity" and "working class" by a smug ferret-like being in a suit whose face I should like to punch with fists made of broken glass and rusty nails. Regardless, the joke may not really work but thematically it's justified enough for inclusion.


Tuesday, 3 May 2011

I have made a legitimate and peaceful request for chedder cheese and pineapple on a stick

Yaaaah-ah-ah-ah! Deadlines! Minging finger pains! Batman: the Brave and the Bold!
I don't know which stresses me more...

Prompted by Colin Smith's rabble-rousing, I've been thinking about Batman: The Brave and the Bold a wee bit - while I watch Star Wars and realise it isn't nearly as terrible as I like to tell myself, oddly - but I think B:tBatB is exhibit A in the case for the accusation that popular culture is now irreparably disappearing up it's own arsehole.
It's a popular show among internet nerds and fans of the camp and outrageous, but kids seem to hate it, which at first surprised me, but then I guess it makes a kind of sense given my 11 year-old niece has been bugging me for ages to see Let Me In because she's a big fan of the character Hit Girl from the movie and comic book Kick Ass. Kids want something that's aimed beyond what we assume is 'their level' and the older Batman 'toons fulfilled that role without basing entire episodes around jokes taken from the website Superdickery or context-free visual references to Dark Knight Returns.

At this point, the Brave and the Bold is just an exercise in appealing to the internet and unsurprisingly it hasn't worked out so well as the show has been canceled after a mere three seasons, which even the rather-reviled The Batman managed to beat. I'm not saying it's a bad show by any means - John "Bender" DiMaggio voicing Aquaman on the explicit assumption that he only got the gig because Brian Blessed was otherwise engaged is always going to be entertaining to me - but appealing to a rather narrow band of fandom can never be that great an idea for any creative enterprise.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Harrison Ford is irradiating our testicles with microwave satellite transmissions

Back to work for Bryan, RSI or not. Got some deadlines coming up and the drugs they give you on the NHS really aren't up to the job, so may as well get my shit done. Albeit slowly.

Frank continues, though towards what end who can possibly say? Well, I can, obviously, but I'll make you read it anyway.

Haha - Tweeting. Because that is what the kids do now.
If indeed you still do read this and haven't given up already, today marks the appearance of a dirty stinking southerner because I thought "you know what this strip needs? More badly-realised Irish accents." It's based on an actual accent, but vague enough to just be ex-Dublin-ish-kind-of-sort-of. I have taken a minor artistic liberty by not including the traditional bulletproof stab vests worn by our local coppers as part of the uniform, as I figure that tends to draw the mind towards what I'm deliberately trying not to draw the focus of the strip towards (the fact that we had a great time for a few decades shooting and bombing the shit out of each other), and though I'm coming around to the idea that I should include it anyway, this will probably happen with later pages when I'm up to drawing for more than a few minutes at a time. Bit late to edit this one as it's been in the bag a while and I need to get the daily post up.