Archive for ‘Comics’
Music, generally speaking, has always been about getting it on, one way or another. At least back in the day, they had to work at it.
I don’t expect it will be long before I turn on the radio and hear a thumping bass-driven pop song whose only lyrics are “Let’s fuck” repeated endlessly.
Some people like to blame the devil for all the sexuality and cursing in music.
I blame Keith Sweat.
Get at me, Sweat.
Get at me.
I have a thousand jokes about dryads, it’s really quite ridiculous. I only do comics about other topics to give you all a brief reprieve from the dryads.
Spring is here in the North East and, as usual, I can’t really help but commemorate the changing of seasons with a goofy comic strip.
I’ve always found Satyrs and Fauns a rather fun concept. Dudes with goat-like features traipsing about the forest, lusting after ladies of all sorts is kind of hilarious. Despite their goat-like features, there’s something quintessentially human about them. Lovers of wine, women, and music, they always seemed to be engaged in living a very physical and pleasurable life. Greek art and mythology is often very sexual, so the Satyrs’ predilections and focus on getting it on don’t really come as any surprise. What is somewhat surprising, however, is the origin of the satyr as a kind of old and ugly monster and its gradual concept-shift toward becoming a figure of youthfulness, freedom, and the natural world. This shift seems to be a microcosm of the same adjustments we see in the rest of Greek myth. Most of the deities and nature spirits began their existence as part of a more animist tradition; personifications of natural events and formations. Deities that were, at one point, far less rich and textured (and far less human) evolved in the minds of the people as a more humanist perspective took root in Greece. Where Zeus was probably once more of an abstract concept, he later became the womanizing, highly powerful and sexual figure we know today. The same happened for the satyrs and nymphs of the woods.
With this shift, what was once probably a frightening creature became a source of humor and a reflection of the pleasure seeking behavior of the people that created it. Satyrs were always ready for another cup of wine and always ready to bed a lovely nymph or lady.
I imagine they were always on the lookout for moments like the one in today’s comic. Winter rolls in and the trees lose their leaves, so what do they do? Check out the now naked dryads! The cold months probably weren’t so bad for them. Though, I can’t say I’d envy the dryads, shivering away in their trees while perverse little goat-men leered at them from the bushes.
Anyway, sorry for the late strip! Better late than never, though, right?
Sasquatch, man, that is just too stylish!
So maybe you’re wondering where I’ve been these last two weeks… Seeing as this is a pretty simple comic that doesn’t require much blog post, I’ll fill you in.
Let me start by saying that this isn’t meant to be some kind of livejournal-esque sob story about my life. I’m just letting you guys know what’s been up. If you don’t really care about that sort of thing, no worries, just skip the post!
As many of you know from some comics I’ve done and blogs I’ve written on the subject, I’ve been dealing with an anxiety disorder for a number of years now. It’s nothing that usually keeps me from getting my work done or focusing on improving myself in my own way, but I tend to get very sick whenever I have important activities to do that require social interaction. It’s been difficult to deal with because unlike a lot of other people that suffer from this sort of thing, there’s not really a mental component to it. I don’t stress about stuff or worry, I just get into situations and get ridiculously nauseous. Anyway, I’ve finally got a doctor and have been going to appointments and trying therapy and whatnot and it was suggested that I should try some medication. I’ve always had problems taking medicine of any kind so I’ve stayed away from it for a very long time but, having dealt with this stuff for about six years now, I decided maybe it was time to try what my doctor was telling me.
I tried some meds for a few days and suffered some of the worst nausea and panic I’ve ever experienced in my life. I woke up after the first night (after waking up constantly through the night) at 12:30 in the afternoon and couldn’t get out of bed until 2:30 and I kept feeling sick for days. I only took the meds for a couple of nights but the effects lasted for about a week. It wasn’t a pleasant experience
Part of why I decided to try the medication was that, for the first time in a very long time, I was feeling down about making comics. I love writing and I love drawing comics but it’s not easy to do. It’s hard to keep putting content out there and sometimes feeling underappreciated. It’s hard to visit sites like Reddit sometimes and see some of the stuff that gets upvoted there. Comics that are just really vapid observations with no twist or joke or even anything insightful get huge upvotes and really clever stuff (not even talking about my own work) falls by the wayside. It was just…depressing to me. But whatever, such is life, right?
After taking the meds and finally recovering from that stuff, it was hard to recover from the lingering general blah-ness I was feeling beforehand. I’m sorry I let it get in the way of doing something I love and something that I like to share with the world.
I realize that there’s no point in getting upset about stuff like that. It’s up to me to push myself and make content other people will find some joy in and it’s up to me to share the things I think deserve some love. I’m feeling a whole lot better this week and I’m planning to get back to writing every day and getting comics done on time. I’d really like to do a full five days of strips (monday through friday) in the next week or two to help make up for what I’ve missed!
Thanks to everyone for your concern and thanks to everyone that reads and shares the comic. You’re all awesome and I will try not to let stupid stuff get to me again!
In light of my observations about sharing good stuff here are some totally awesome comics that I really enjoy:
You may think this method of fossil hunting is cheating, but that’s what I call working smart! Dr. Marcy is set for life!
It’s gotta be real annoying to bury all of those frickin’ things only for them to be dug up later by paleontologists…but then again I guess that’s sort of the point.
I hear the devil buries those things to blind us to the truth: that dinosaurs actually still exist in a secret lost world somewhere off the coast of Africa.
But seriously (or as seriously as I can be about something as ludicrous as this) the idea that the devil goes around planting fossils in the ground is one of those weirdly popular concepts in the more conservative Christian households throughout America (and probably elsewhere). It all starts with the fact that these individuals’ brains (or lack thereof) require the Bible to be absolutely one hundred percent literal. Now, if you actually read the Bible it doesn’t say much about evolution or its authenticity. One might assume that this would end the debate right then and there, but one would be wrong on that count. This unique brand of Christianity believes that the whole 7 days to create the Earth thing is a fact and that when God created the animals he created them all then and there and then moved along to do something else, never to return to the task. When scientists show these people dinosaur bones, a clearly extinct animal, they shake their heads at such preposterous “evidence”. To them, either Dinosaurs either lived with Adam and Eve six thousand years ago when the world was created (and thus, can be no older) or they have to be some kind of trick sent from the devil to make them question the Bible.
Personally, I like that second image. The idea that this poor bastard has to go around and dig his way down into the earth to place these fossils just to try to fool a few hardcore believers is absolutely hilarious. I mean, there are so many questions. Does he enjoy this line of work? Is he disappointed that some people still haven’t fallen for these tricks? How exactly does he take care of this? Does he use some kind of sorcery or is he left to use a shovel? Does God approve of these antics or does he just not care?
While we’re thinking about this, where does he get the bones from in the first place? Does he have to make them? The logistics of this operation are actually pretty staggering now that I’m really thinking about it.
Anyway, I could write a big long blog post about the merits of evolution and paleontology but sane people are already on board with all that and berating people that don’t live in reality with the rest of us seems like a waste of time to me.
On the off chance that I’m wrong, I have to say that I’d feel really bad for Satan. That dude has put in a ton of work for something that is, ultimately, pretty stupid.
At least his work looks really cool in museums.
Members of the noble bunny clan are known throughout the land for being adorable and cuddly. Unfortunately, when war reared its ugly head, bunny clan could not be found. They had somehow managed to fit their entire clan into a single rabbit warren.
They went into the warren with a few hundred clan members and came out with fifty thousand.
People often send me emails asking me to cover certain topics or wondering why I don’t do more comics of X culture’s mythology. Part of the problem with doing comics and blog posts is that I like to be fairly confident in my knowledge on a given subject so that when I write a post, I don’t end up getting fifty comments about how I’m an idiot and messed something up. Creating content for this site is no easy feat, my friends. Given the massive amount of mythology and folklore out there, it is very easy to be wrong about something when you’re trying to study as much of it as you can.
One of the subjects I’m terribly interested in but haven’t found many good books for is Native American mythology and folklore. The major issue being that “Native American” isn’t really a thing. The Americas were and are the home of a great many distinct language and cultural groups with many unique mythological and folkloric traits. While they do share some things in common, they have just as many differences. What I’m getting at is that it’s pretty difficult for me to come up with comics and posts about the people native to the Americas and feel confident.
That said, I’ve been reading a bit about the Ojibwe people of North America and about animist traditions in shamanic cultures across the globe. One of the common practices in animist and shamanistic cultures is the identification of clans and clan totems. Clans (family groups with a perceived common ancestor) each have their own totem, an animal that symbolizes the purpose and represented the mythic past of that group of people. While some people in a clan may actually be blood-related, many are not though members of the same clan are typically reated as family. The clan system was, and still is in some areas, a vital part of interpersonal relationships and a way of understanding social interactions between different regional groups.
The totem animal is a very important part of this kind of social structure not related to the way the “New Age” movement views it. Rather than being a kind of personal spiritual guide that an individual chooses of his or her own accord, the totem is a symbol of the family group and applied to members of a family as they are born. This animal (sometimes a plant, in certain cultures) is usually seen as contributing to the success of a clan in the mythical past and there are many stories about the interactions between clans and their totem animals in the folklore of these cultures. Due to this relationship, a clan’s totem animal is considered as much a brother or sister as any human and, in the case of many cultures sharing this tradition, harming or killing a clan animal is as bad as harming or killing a human member of your clan.
It’s interesting to note how widespread this tradition has been. While I’ve mostly been reading about the Ojibwe version of this concept, it has also been noted in every continent in the world at some point in history.
Despite its wide-spread nature, I’m pretty sure there haven’t been many bunny clans. Hares? Probably. Bunnies? Having your clan represented by a fat rabbit may be funny, but I don’t imagine it’d be very impressive to other clans!
I guess you don’t need to be impressive when you can stupefy your enemies with cuteness, though…
Bunny clan forever!
The future of the Catholic Church is bright, my friends. A woman hired by the Vatican? That is some serious progress…even if it isn’t meaningful in any way.
It’s a bit like this nonsense about how amazing it is that the Cardinals elected a Pope from South America. It’s totally revolutionary! It’s a first in the history of the Catholic Church…unless you count all of the other times it happened.
It seems like people on both sides of aisle were surprised and had a few things to say about the election of the new Pope. Atheists seemed surprised that the guy is a Catholic leader with very specific views on topics the Catholic leadership will not budge on for generations to come, namely gay rights and contraception. Members of the flock seemed impressed that he’s from South America and has actually given more than a moment’s thought and a dollar in the basket for the poor and disenfranchised. While I’m certainly ready to give him kudos for his stance on the poor, it seems like his view should have been the official message coming from the Vatican for years, specifically for about two thousand years. It’s not like Jesus wasn’t clear about that particular issue throughout his entire adult life. I guess it’s easy to confuse caring for the poor and espousing the merits of being poor with a mandate to found your own nation with a massive golden palace dedicated to your own hubris.
Can you tell I’m not fond of the hypocrisy?
The fact is that the new Pope is more or less the same as the old Pope when it comes to the “difficult” questions of human rights and human health. Yeah, it’s great he doesn’t totally hate the poor but nobody with a heart does. It’s not as if there is some massive opposition movement against helping the poor.
Oh, woops, there I go forgetting about Corporate America again.
It’s certainly a little sad that such influential institutions seem to cling to the past with such fervency, but I suppose that’s sort of the point. I mean, where else can people terrified of things they simply don’t understand turn to for validation if places like the Vatican actually change in a meaningful and fundamental way? Besides, if the Vatican supports something as ludicrously simple as safe sexual interaction using contraceptives or promotes the rights of all human beings rather than just heterosexuals living in monogamous relationships and only having sex to procreate, I’m pretty sure the entire universe will implode.
I’ll stop with the sarcasm now, I know it doesn’t read well.
While others may look to the Pope for guidance or leadership, I sort of hope he doesn’t do much of anything. You can’t mess things up too badly if you don’t say anything at all.
Good luck, Pope Francis. May you not fuck things up as some of your predecessors.
I know a lot of people that use this form of “meditation” far too often.
Sorry about the lack of comics last week, I had some projects to finish up and I went to PAX East on the weekend! I promised everyone on Twitter that I’d get a comic up for you eventually and here it is! There will be a regular Tuesday comic as well!
I guess Saint Patrick also helped to bring Christianity to Ireland, but who cares about that? No more snakes! Everyone can wear shorts and sandals all the time! Too bad Ireland isn’t really known for its beach weather…
I bet Australia wishes Patrick had visited them.
Ireland was once a Celtic nation, full of lore and myth about great heroes, nature spirits, faerie folk, and all manner of strange monsters and giants. Figures like Cuchulainn and Finn McCool (to use their simplified anglicized names) were once the gold standard for anyone hoping to become a heroic figure. Times change, and with the coming of Christianity the warlike and more primal culture of the Celts gave way to personalities like Saint Patrick, known for his conversions, baptisms, and driving away some snakes. Many folklorists and historians don’t actually think the snake story is meant to be literal, as snakes haven’t been present in Ireland since before the last Ice Age. Instead, it has been used as a metaphor (in more recent times) for Patrick’s influence in driving out the “evils” of Celtic paganism within the Christian religion.
For those of you unfamiliar with these two badasses, I highly suggest investigating Celtic folklore and mythology. Cuchulainn is the most prominent hero of the Ulster Cycle, a rather lengthy story about the reigns of King Conor Mac Nessa and Queen Medb. Much of the story revolves around the war between these two over a rather impressive bull (hilarious, I know) and about the amazing lengths to which Cuchulainn, the Hound of Cullan, goes in order to protect his nation. While his kinsmen are incapacitated by a curse, Cuchulainn battles Queen Medb’s invading army at fords and river crossings, engaging the enemy soldiers in single combat and defeating everyone for months until the Ulstermen are finally able to fight. Cuchulainn is shown as being exceptionally clever, strong, handsome, and brave and he even did the Hulk thing before there was a Hulk! The stories tell of him suffering from “warp spasms” that would contort his body into horrible shapes and cause him to grow in size and strength. During these spasms, he was even more terrible to fight against and he was unable to distinguish friend from foe. Cuchulainn was a very popular hero that gives us a sense of the qualities the Celts found valuable at the time.
One of the later, more refined heroes of the Celts was Finn Mac Cumhaill, or Finn McCool, and totally cool he certainly was. Finn, as a young man, assists a strange old fellow named Finnegas in catching the Salmon of Knowledge, a creature that represents pure wisdom. Having tried and failed for many years, Finnegas finally lands the fish and orders Finn to cook it but the boy accidentally burns his thumb while doing so. Putting his thumb to his mouth to ease the burn, Finn feels the flood of wisdom and knowledge from it touching the fish. Folktales often feature Finn sucking his thumb when he needs to think or to gain some special insight into a matter. Finn’s adult life is given over to the leadership of the Fianna, a band of the best warriors in the land with their own moral code, not unlike King Arthur and his round table. The Fianna had many adventures and righted many wrongs in their time and it was said that one of Finn’s men lived to be old enough to meet Saint Patrick and tell the tales of their brave deeds to him, but that is undoubtedly just folklore.
Saint Patrick and Christianity finally arrived in Ireland and with them, the Celtic culture slowly died out. There is a story about a man named Tuan Mac Cairill that brings these two disparate spiritual traditions together and shows their strengths and weaknesses. Mac Cairill is one of the first men to ever come to Ireland. His people are slowly killed off by a plague and he alone survives to a very great age. After some time, he begins to change and one day wakes to find himself a deer. This sort of thing happens time and again for two thousand years and Tuan Mac Cairill witnesses each new wave of people coming into Ireland and the old groups being wiped out or replaced. Eventually, he is reborn as a man and he meets Saint Finnian of Moville with whom he converses about the Celtic traditions and history and the new culture Christianity represents. You can see, in this story, the closeness to nature but more dangerous lifestyle of the Celts in contrast to the kind of spiritual and physical safety offered by the more modern Christian culture that was coming to Ireland from Europe. In the stories, Tuan Mac Cairill supposedly talked to Saint Patrick himself and even converted to Christianity in the end.
Saint Patrick has been a folk hero in Ireland for a long time and his holiday is both a spiritual and secular one. Patrick represents Christianity’s influence in Ireland, its guiding hand on Ireland’s history. While great heroes like Finn and Cuchulainn are, without a doubt, some of the coolest and most badass figures in folklore, it’s hard to argue with the historical impact that a figure like Saint Patrick had on the country.
Still, not very impressive compared to Cuchulainn or Finn McCool, if you ask me, but I guess it’s a matter of how awesome you think Christianity is.
Anyway, I’d like to wish everyone that celebrates it an early Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Please be safe!
I don’t know what the hell a Tarmagaxx is, I just know that I want to eat it…right now.
Whatever it is, it sounds delicious.
The labeling on food products here in the United States definitely leaves something to be desired. Most states don’t have clear rules on what a company can and can’t say about their product, especially when it comes to the word “Natural” even though every big corporation wants to use it thanks to its unanimously positive nature. In our modern culture full of high technology and genetically engineered organisms “natural” is always good. The rules for labeling something as natural are so vague in most places that I have to wonder, what the hell is so unnatural about some products that corporations are legally obligated to tell you it is only 97% natural?
Clearly the only answer here is some seriously supernatural shit. We’re talking dark wizards. We’re talking cauldrons. We’re talking about words like “Tarmagaxx” being thrown around.
Ultimately, the issue here is defining what is and isn’t “natural”. The whole system of natural food labeling is a bit of a mental quagmire. How do we really define what is natural and what isn’t? GMOs, chemical pesticides, and man-made fertilizers are just how things are done nowadays and it’s hard to argue with the fact that they’re effective at increasing crop yields, but at what cost? It’s hard to say what the long term issues are for some of these methods and it’s not as if you can blame people for worrying about their health. Are some people probably just being reactionary or taking advantage of a vague and somewhat worrying situation to make bogus legal claims? Almost certainly. Besides, it’s not like mankind hasn’t been making adjustments to the natural order since the dawn of our species. Crop growing in general is a man-made process and domesticated animals aren’t exactly “natural”. Dogs didn’t exactly start out being man’s best friend. But are there serious concerns with the food we consume here in the United States? Absolutely.
Sure, we may not be eating Tarmgaxxes or other paranormal foodstuffs, and even if we were we probably wouldn’t know about it, but either way, it’s good to at least know a little about what you’re eating and cooking with foods that are grown and harvested in traditional ways can’t really hurt.
That said, I’d still like to know if there’s some Tarmagaxx in my cereal…so that I can purchase it immediately and shove it into my gullet.
Now I wish there were a chain of fast food restaurants run by sorcerers…
There’s no way it could be worse for you than McDonald’s.