Posts Tagged ‘blog: reader participation’.

English Student Halloween Comics, and Other Spooky Specials

Amazing note @Kichiru yesterday:

Click for bigger:

the best

There’s a second one too! Adorable.

I love this. I’m so pleased to have my work enter the pantheon of English-student-written comics (a genre ably represented by Dinosaur Comics and Nedroid, among others).

The comic Kichiru shared with his students was a collaboration with KC Green — I wrote it, he drew it! It’s called “Emmy & the Eggs” and we made it as a Halloween special a few years ago.

If you missed it, it’s in three parts here, here, and here.


BONUS LINK: Speaking of spooky specials, the Tweet Me Harder Halloween episode is still online for your podcast entertainment!

Kris and Mikey just released a Halloween episode of their Chainsawsuit podcast, as well.

Amazing Carved Dodo O’Lantern (Dodo’lantern?)

Reader @Stringerplz shared these great pictures of her carved dodo pumpkin!


finally in the DARK

Modeled after, of course, the dodos with the time!

A New Piranhamoose-O’Lantern

In her tweet above, Stringerplz mentions “Halloween Keith.” Some of you older readers will no doubt remember Halloween Keith from your childhood.

I have written some more about Halloween Keith.

Some say Halloween Keith was a corn farmer who died in a drought year, through laziness or ill-management of his crop; others say he was born from the cornfields themselves, a new form of smut who took legs in an attempt to become a man. Inside his wrappings are either bony limbs hung with rotted flesh, or bulbous, fungal lumps of corn. Perhaps both, working in concert…

Once a year, on the eve of All Saints’ Day, children from the local parish used to go door-to-door collecting food donations to help the less fortunate. Because charity is most virtuous when done anonymously, the children would wear masks, or dress up in costume — sometimes as adults, but other times as monsters and evil things, as a reminder that even the demons may repent and do good works.

This presented the perfect opportunity for Halloween Keith to also disguise himself and collect food from unsuspecting families, enough to feed him for another year…

Malkidian Geometry: The Forgotten Mythos of Halloween Keith

OBLIGATORY REMINDER: Only two days and a bit remain on the Go Away, Sea Lions shirt!

These Readers Made a Piranhamoose Demolition Derby Car

A few months ago, I got the kind of email that you want to get, when you are in the position I am in.

It began like so:


I am putting together a demo derby car for my wife to run here at the end of August. I was wondering if you would be willing to grant me permission to paint Piranhamoose on it.

My response was:

I’m dismayed that you have not already completed said car so I can see it. This sounds like the best idea I have ever heard of.

The writer was Wondermark reader Justin R., Esq. And a heap of pictures arrived soon thereafter! Justin described the Piranhamoosification thusly:

I started with a 1991 Cadillac Brougham. A steel monster of a Cadillac that began life as the top-of-the-line model that year. The height of luxury.


We installed a small block Chevy V8 with headers out the hood, an inboard mounted fuel cell, and a semi-truck battery. Couple of safety features, then it was time for the paint.



I began by taking my favorite two images of the Emperor of the Food Chain. The hood is adapted from the picture on the T-shirt, and the trunk from Captain Pike’s Final Wish.


I first drew a simple version of your original on drafting paper, before expanding the drawings onto poster board. Then, from the poster board, I razored out stencils and used them to spray paint the outlines.



Once I layered the colors I wanted, I finished the detail with paint pens. Then I added the “gwarrhh” just for the fun of it.





The woman in some of the shots is my lovely wife and avid Piranhamoose fan. She is also the driver of this majestic beast.

That was all. Then, in the far-off distance, a sound… Was that a shrieking of metal? A bestial howl to the brackish Yukon moon? The simultaneous roar of a thousand slavering, oil-thirsty mudthusiasts, bearing witness to the ferocity of the beast that put the car back in carnage?

The pictures that followed told the whole grisly tale…



As promised, here are some “after” photos of the car. It performed in the spirit of the Piranhamoose, devouring many cars before ultimately being brought down. My wife placed sixth in a field of 22.


Thanks again. Next time it will be Sharkhawk!

Justin, please pass on congratulations to your wife for a fine performance on the field of battle, and congratulations as well to all of us, who have won a prize of sorts just by getting to see this happen. Well done, all.

Previously: Piranhamoose in brass / Piranhamoose in pumpkin / Piranhamoose in lights / Piranhamoose on your body that GLOWS IN THE DARK

Obligatory Puzzle Update: With just under three weeks remaining in the Kickstarter campaign for my Victorian jigsaw puzzles, I am doing a bit of “Viral Marketing”.

YOU Rewrite the Restoration Hardware Catalog

A few weeks ago I showed you a game you could play with the absurd Restoration Hardware catalog! I also asked you to suggest your own description, in their own absurd style, for the following MYSTERY ITEM (click for bigger):

a pillar of the community

You all had very good suggestions, but…in trying to write parody descriptions of this item, you all accurately described other items from the actual Restoration Hardware catalog.

For my top 10 favorite descriptions, I took the liberty of locating each of the things that you accidentally described. At least I assume it was a series of improbable accidents????

“Fragment of a temple to Apollo looted by Victorian explorers, now reproduced in spillproof cast resin, making it ideal for sacrifices or tea.” — Anne-Marie



“Supported by a fluted plinth fashioned after an original unearthed from a Pompeiian brothel, this resin-cast facsimile of an Etruscan oxcart wheel lies at the perfect height for tea…Yo, beeyotch, you want dis” — milkfish



“Inspired by the nightmare corpse-city of R’lyeh, an artisanally hand-weatherd byakhee blood-perch” — Tim



“Simulacrum of the facade of a 19th century accountant’s office in Ricksmansworth, oppressed by a re-imagined scale model of Lord Palmerston’s tombstone.” — Jorpho
[I love the verb oppressed in this context — Ed.]



“Lovingly imagined wooden reproduction of an Athenian Ionic-era column, reimagined with a sudden cessation of existence at waist height, to give the viewer the impression of having been dramatically murdered midway through seeing it for the first time.” — Cass



“Inspired by the aqueducts of the Cloaca Maxima, this classic table masterfully holds Polynesian stone pineapples or other bullshit.” — Thraeryn



“Repurposed setpiece from failed 1866 production of Julius Ceasar, topped with charming Lazy Susan for giants.” — Drakey



[This must have been a spectacularly failed production of Julius Caesar.]

“Ancient Lemurian sacrificing altar to the Great God Lulu, faithfully reproduced using the high-quality Medieval Florentine stone-welding technique.” — Bird of Prey



“Weathered by red marl and shaped into the fin de siecle style of Classical reproduction plinths, our faux-artichoke stand is a bold reimagining of the rotten stump from our back yard.” — Myles



“Dining table inspired by the columns of Caligula’s nursery, crafted of finely compressed rhinoceros horn shavings.” — WillHickox


STACK 50 TABLE ($2695)

You all did so very well at attempting to describe the item in question — and I recommend you read the whole list for many enlightening moments of a personal nature.



Reproduction of a perfectly proportioned stone column in Ancient Greece, built of solid reclaimed pine timbers from 100-year-old buildings in Great Britain.

Two quick thoughts about this.

1. Commenter ctu interestingly points out that “There are 72 different items [in the catalog] which are described as being made from wood from ‘100-year old buildings in Great Britain’.” To which commenter Charles responds, “Most buildings in Great Britain are pretty old. I’m sure there is no shortage of waste wood.” I love the idea that, like, 100-year-old reclaimed British wood is as common a building material as bricks from the Home Depot.

2. I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall in the meeting where someone connected the dots between an Ionian column and reclaimed British wood. The Venn diagram of those two things is the single word “old” and nothing else.

I guess making a column out of wood is as valid as making it out of cast resin; neither is authentic to the original. But this strikes me a bit like putting SkyMall statues of lions in your front lawn: nobody is fooled into thinking your brown grass is Trafalgar Square.

There’s a theory that everything that happened before you were old enough to remember might as well all have happened at once, in terms of how you perceive it — it’s all just “old.” The Ford Model T might as well have been released in the Precambrian Era; it occupies the same slot in our perceptions.

If that’s so, then thank you, Restoration Hardware, for helping us bring a little of the unmatched class of random miscellaneous past before-times into our humble homes, one FOUCAULT’S ORB SMOKE CRYSTAL TABLE LAMP ($1295) at a time.


For more catalog hilarity, commenter Allen suggests the blog, which imagines the lives of the bizarre people whose items are the ones being photographed for catalogs…

…And commenter Sinick recommends the J. Peterman catalog (the real one that Seinfeld parodied), starting off with this entry in particular, a product description for the “Father of All T-Shirts”

In Bilbao, I observed a crew of moving men uncrating a giant piece of highly advanced sculpture. They were built like great sagging old bulls; in this shirt, they looked formidable…

The sleeves have a way of gathering emphatically at the top of a man’s arms, even if he is the sort of man who rarely lifts more than a fountain pen. Imported.

I will take a hundred of those shirts. Amazing.

Let’s Play a Game With the Restoration Hardware Catalog


The Restoration Hardware Cube of Paper

Did your household recently receive a 12-pound block of Restoration Hardware catalogs? Mine sure did!

At first I thought “What a waste!”, but then I realized that if I went on to buy just one $1200 lamp, it would pay for a lifetime of sending me catalogs.

But, since I won’t buy said lamp: It is indeed a waste!

The top catalog pictured, “Interiors”, features staged scenes full of furniture and accessories, artfully arranged into picturesque tableaux from some imprecise notion of “the past”.

In case you’re not familiar with Restoration Hardware, it’s a home furnishings store that specializes in recreating and adapting period items — you could easily decorate a Restoration Hardware kitchen with brass Versailles drawer-pulls, a hanging lamp styled after something from a 1910s button factory, a breakfast table made of reclaimed Russian barnwood, and a stove hood patterned after the innards of a famous Belgian clock.

Sometimes the items they sell are relatively straightforward, such as a steamer trunk coffee table.

Other times, they’re strange, like a floor lamp patterned after Sputnik.

Their catalogs are full of this same dissonance: some artifacts that are handsome, if peculiar, homages to styles of the past; others that are bizarre mass-produced old-and-distressed clutter existing solely for the sake of looking old and distressed.


The catalog descriptions, however, are what I want to point out specifically. They’re mostly compound phrases, like the above:

Reproduction of a found French woodcarving from the early 19th century, ravaged by time and the elements.

Same with this canoe-shaped curtain (the most logical of all shapes for curtains):


Vintage architect’s model, or “maquette”, of a canoe constructed of solid oak slats.

You could mix and match the second half of those sentences and I wouldn’t even blink. My favorite descriptions in the catalog are the ones that read like the two halves were pulled out of two separate hats. See if you can match these first halves:

1) Inspired by the voluptuous form of a vintage hayrack…
2) Replica of an architectural rosette fragment cast in resin…
3) Reproduction of a pair of Baroque architectural brackets from a Parisian theater…

With these latter halves:

A) …with the weathered appearance of stone.
B) …our cast iron table is topped with timeworn, reclaimed oak.
C) …reimagined as a mirror.

(Answers: 1-B; 2-A; 3-C)

Okay Here’s the Game

The Restoration Hardware company went to the trouble of compiling these catalogs and mailing them to me — no mean feat. So the least I can do is put them to use. I call the game Restoration Hogwash.

It follows the rules of the game Balderdash. First, one player looks through the catalog, and chooses an image, placing a sticky note over the description.


Then, all other players take a slip of paper or an index card and write down a made-up description for that item.

Meanwhile, the person who chose the picture transcribes the real description.

Everyone turns in their slips to the first player, who mixes them up and reads them all aloud.

After everyone has heard all the descriptions, players each vote for the description they think is the real one. The object of the game is to fool the other players into picking your made-up description (by making it sound convincing), instead of the real one.

Players score one point for each person who is fooled into picking their fake description, as well as one point if they pick the correct description themselves.

The chaise pictured above? Here’s the real description:


Reproduction of a 100-year-old Hungarian sleigh, crafted of solid elm with a tea-stained burlap cushion.

That is printed right there in the catalog and I’m still not convinced it’s not made-up.

Now, A Challenge For You

Here’s another picture from the catalog, of a table that is also a pillar for some reason:


Leave a comment on this post and write your own one-sentence catalog description for this piece.

This won’t be a contest to get it right — don’t bother figuring out the correct description. Just some fun to see who can write the best made-up version.

I’ll reprint my favorite comments in a future post! And if you play Restoration Hogwash, let me know how it goes!!