Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category.

Here is a poem I made using only phrases from Jeb Bush’s fundraising emails

beat me to the ! by a good 2 years

We’ve come to the end of Jeb!’s candidacy for president.

While he never had my vote, I have some sympathy for him, because he seems like a fundamentally decent human being — especially compared to the gargoyles and bridge trolls he’s been up against.

This New York times article I think puts it interestingly:

He is a candidate so dry that flights of wit can become indistinguishable from a sober default setting…

Those who defend his comedic instincts are compelled to hedge, contrasting Mr. Bush with his brother George, a wisecracking extrovert.

“Jeb appreciates humor,” Jim Towey, a close friend who served in the administration of George W. Bush, said diplomatically.

“It depends on your definition,” said Mac Stipanovich, a friend and former adviser, when asked if Mr. Bush was funny.

“It’s very droll,” Mike Harrell, a longtime golfing partner and Tallahassee lobbyist, said of Mr. Bush’s sense of humor. “He looks at you like he just told you his mother is dead.”

I, too, am drawn to deadpan. Sometimes that impulse makes it extra difficult to seem, or even to be, sincere. Earnestness can seem boring; it’s more fun to comment or riff on something, rather than respond straightforwardly.

So I know the struggle, Jeb!. You’re a dork, but unlike the other dorks running for president, you tried to embrace it, instead of papering it over with meanness or self-righteousness. Sorry it didn’t work out for you.

A few weeks ago, I signed up for all the candidates’ email lists. The thing that stood out immediately about the fundraising emails coming from the Jeb! camp in particular was their unique tactic of attempting to guilt the recipient into feeling bad for not contributing to the campaign.

In honor of this week’s Jebxit!, I composed a poem, using only phrases from Jeb!’s own fundraising emails.

You can read it here: “A Letter To My Friend.”

Check out: The history of insulting ‘Vinegar Valentines’

BURNNNN

Just prior to this past Valentine’s weekend, Marksman Rob D. wrote me with this note, about what could be considered an antecedent of today’s online abuse:

When first I heard of the concept of vinegar valentines (thanks NPR One) you came to mind, but your latest comic (#1197) cemented the necessity of reaching out to you about them.

Dating to 1840ish, they were illustrated missives sent anonymously on Valentine’s Day with the intent of insulting the recipient. The degree of burn ranged from ‘you drink too much’ to ‘kill yourself, no-one loves you’.

Annabella Pollen of UBrighton (UK) seems to be the foremost scholar on the matter.

Rob sent along this link: an interview with Ms Pollen at the site Collectors Weekly. Here’s an excerpt:

You could send them to your neighbors, friends, or enemies. You could send them to your schoolteacher, your boss, or people whose advances you wanted to dismiss. You could send them to people you thought were too ugly or fat, who drank too much, or people acting above their station. There was a card for pretty much every social ailment…

You have to remember that often they were sent anonymously. They were to say “Your behavior is unacceptable.” For example, there are quite a few cards that mock men with babies on their laps as being henpecked—the kind of thing now we would think was a man doing the right thing by taking his share of child care. But these cards were specifically designed to make the man seem emasculated and disempowered by being left holding the baby. Or there’d be images of women holding rolling pins, threatening their husbands.

The people sending such cards were usually not either one of the couple. It wasn’t the wife sending to the husband or the husband sending to the wife. It was somebody outside, looking in at their relationship and saying, “This doesn’t conform with what’s expected”…

The cards are quite a surprise to those who think the past was always so safe and the present is so very daring, and that we’re much more libertarian now than we have ever been in any other period in time. I think we only have to look back at this sort of stuff to see that that’s not the case.

The full interview is well worth a read, with a ton of pictures of vinegar valentines dating back to the 1840s or so. (There’s even a picture of what might be a relative to our friend Gax.)

Thanks for the link, Rob!

Happy Valentine’s Day, I Hate You – Collectors Weekly

Home-Printable Multi-Purpose Cards!

the trombone always gets the ladies

 

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and President’s Day, and pretty soon it’ll be a bunch of other holidays too!

What if you need a card for one or none of these occasions…but don’t have one? I, my friend, am here to help.

Surely by now you know all about my Multi-Purpose Greeting Cards. But now you can download and print out your own, right from the comfort of wherever your printer is! Both US letter paper and A4 sized print files are available.

The downloadable set contains eight cards (including two new ones that have never been offered in paper form).

There’s a thank-you card; a Valentine; a congratulations card; one that works for a bunch of different holidays; one for other occasions such as birthdays; a “save the date”; an invitation; and even one just to say “thinking [weird thoughts] of you.”

Since you can print out as many cards as you want from the PDF, really any price a person can set would be too low. For what is the world’s GDP, when compared to an infinite amount of product?? 

So I’ve arbitrarily chosen a finite dollar amount, lower than the GDP of any nation on Earth and about what you’d pay for two or three cards in a stationery store. You can also set a higher price, if you think I am undercharging for such great value! But that is just because the software allows for it, rather than because I think you should. I leave the choice in your capable hands.

Download the Multi-Purpose Greeting Cards set at Gumroad! 

(Confidential to everyone: Patreon backers, check your timeline today for a special post as well!)

‘The defense attorney’s presentation featured a clipart Sherlock Holmes’

I had jury duty earlier this week! It was a bit of a roller coaster. I was assigned to a trial which was over very quickly, but still had a lot of interesting elements.

You can read the entire sordid account here!

‘Horrid Little Stories’ – Now on Kindle!

A couple years back, I published a small book called Horrid Little Stories: Sixty Dark and Tiny Tales of Misery and Woe.

It’s a 150-page collection of all the art and verses from the annual Wondermark calendars of 2008-2012 (and a few bonus verses besides!).

Stylistically, it’s a bit of an homage to Gorey, where the stories are all told in rhyme and everything always ends in tears.

The book has been available for some time in my own store (where it can be bundled with greeting cards), in my TopatoCo store (where it can be bundled with T-shirts), and on Amazon (where it can be bundled with a 27-lb tub of cat litter).

But that’s always been for a flimsy, paper edition!

Today I’m pleased to announce that this book is available for Kindle, as well:

horrible. just horrible.

Because it’s a heavily illustrated book, this is a bit of an experiment for me with Kindle’s page layout capabilities — I’ve never offered any sort of comic collection on Kindle, because it doesn’t seem like it’d be that easy to read. But this book, which is half illustrations and half text, works pretty well for e-reading!

If you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can even read it for free… Or, if you are just a normal person who likes Kindle books, it’s a mere few dollars. Cheaper than that 27-lb bucket of cat litter, and it stays in your life longer, too!

Hope you check it out!! I want to move more of my book catalog to the various ebook formats as time goes on, so I am interested to hear if you like this, and whether the format works well enough for this material.