One advantage of reading Cerebus again…

… is that I get this itch to play Dave Sim and work on non-standard layouts! Here’s the art for Friday’s ROCR episode:
Character art

I have not drawn in the backgrounds, because while drawing it, it struck me that someone else might want to play Gerhard and draw the backgrounds in. And you can! If you are interested, fetch the high-res scan, and go nuts!

I’ll probably do my own version unless someone sends a version back to me really quickly, but it would be interesting to see how different people approach the background. The only thing you need to know is that it’s set inside the Gnomian Parliament, and that Maghreid and Feiht are at a table in the background of panel 1.
In the future, I might want to work with a background artist to ease my workload, but for now, this is just for the challenge and the fun of it, OK?

FTP client for linux?

I do most of my heavy-duty ftp work in the studio, in Windows. Today, I had to upload the comics from home though, and once again I noticed how much more slowly I work with the command line ftp client than I do with WinFTP LE. I’ve worked with command line ftp since 1992, but I’m still more productive if I can use a graphical client.
Problem is, I’ve never found a linux client that is

  1. easy to install (I’m willing to compile from source but don’t want to have to do a lot of troubleshooting if a compile fails);
  2. stable; and
  3. as intuitive to use as WinFTP LE (which I don’t think has been updated since 2001, and whose usability was stripped down compared to the commercial version even then. I don’t think that’s too much to ask

KBear, an ftp client that works on KDE, meets the third requirement, but fails the first two in my experience. Filerunner, suggested to me by a computer geek friend, failed the third by a very large margin. What alternatives do I have?

Eeeeeeeviiiiig piiiint!

After going to two nearly-identical concerts by Kaizers Orchestra on two different tours six months apart, I was a bit concerned that their second album, Evig Pint would also be a repeat of their first. Instead, we get a record that, while still resting heavily on the mid-tempo, 2-beat tunes with punky energy and gipsy gangster-themed lyrics in Norwegian, is a lot more mature. Compared to the first album, it’s darker, but without losing its humorous touches. The tunes are still instantly hummable, even if you don’t know the language, and there is a bit more adventure in the instrumentation (not that the first album was lacking in that). Highly recommended.

An Elf’s Life is a hard life…

When I started this blog 4 weeks ago, I made a point of not wanting to bang on about the sort of things that I usually bang on about. That’s why there’s only one post about Jethro Tull so far, and none about Deep Purple . It’s also why you haven’s seen me telling you to drop by at Elf Life and go through the archives until now. But there’s gotta be a first time, and it’s now.

Y’see, the artist, Carson Fire, has finally started a set sale of his original art, which I’ve been telling him to do for some time. “Good for him,” I hear you say, and “Rah!” and “Arr!” because a lot of my friends have been saying “Arr!” in my presence lately. But the way he’s going about this, and the reason he’s going about it this way, both make me uncomfortable.

Continue reading “An Elf’s Life is a hard life…”

A slightly longer break from ROCR

I felt like crap for much of the day. After handing in work for Hello You yesterday, my body is now collecting a long-term loan with compound interest. I was half asleep while trying to do design/development work for the digital exhibit, and decided to give up on trying to get ROCR done in the evening. I won’t be able to finish it tomorrow because I need to do more museum work first, so that means I’m postponing until Monday.

If the museum work is done by then, I may be able to devote a few days to ROCR exclusively – so I will try to catch up in the first week of April, unless Hello You asks me to do stuff for the summer special, in which case I’ll take a few more days off from ROCR. In other words it could go either way next week.

The one thing I can guarantee is that there will be an update on Monday, and I’ll try to make it a nice one.

The end of Cerebus, as read by a drooling fanboy

Andrew Rilstone’s ongoing coverage of his love/hate relationship with Cerebus has got very little attention from the comics blogosphere, possibly because he is not part of that blogosphere. Too bad for them, because he is easily the most accomplished critic of Dave Sim’s seminal work. The lengthy and detailed commentary on the last issue is just fascinating, to the point where it makes me regret not having snapped up the final issue. (Is that available for download somewhere? I promise to buy it if I see it…)

In his preamble to the critique of issue 300, he also asks this question:

Question: Moore has not been vilified for Promethea to anything like the extent that Sim has been vilified for ‘Chasing YHWH’. Is there a prejudice which says that Tarot cards and worshipping snakes is ‘New Age’ and therefore good; but studying the Torah and fasting is ‘religious’ and therefore bad? Both (in the forms that they take for Sim and Moore) seem pretty barking to be.

This is worth an answer. For a long time I for one have been willing to let Alan Moore off the hook, arguing that his barking mad beardie-weirdie-ness is merely a postmodern retreat into subjective reality. Nowadays, I would leave out the “merely”, note that subjective reality isn’t reality at all (and that such a retreat is more damaging than it seems), and observe that there is probably a direct line between Moore’s theology in “Dialogue: From Hell” and Sim’s later loonie-tunes theologising about a divinity that is neither Light nor Void but instead – whatever it is that Sim thinks is the nature of God. In that light, Sim’s preface to the reprint of “Dialogue: From Hell” in Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman can be seen as a sort of theological father-killing.

But those are just off the cuff remarks. To consider Andy’s question, and that of the balance between an artist’s crackpot ideas and the genius of that artist’s work in any more thorough way, I’d have to catch up with Cerebus and read Alan Moore’s work and pronouncements more extensively. This will take time, but I think I will do it anyway.

[Update: I have now started reading Latter Days. It’s much better than I’d expected – even the bad, nonsensical bits are still pretty readable…. right up to the point where the little grey bastard starts commenting on the Torah. I will probably have to revise some of what I’ve written above in the light of what is said in that section, and the notes in the back of the book, because it’s turning out a bit different from what I’d inferred from the commentary on Sim’s ideas on the Internet.]

[Update no.2: Despite using the Freud-derived term “father-killing” above as a convenient shorthand for “distancing yourself from those who have influenced you in order to better ignore this influence”, which is how I’ve always seen it used in situations where the influenced dissed the influencer, I don’t have a very high opinion of Freud. Not that mentioning this would stop Sim from lumping me in with the Feminist-Marxist-Atheist-Psychologist-Hypochondriac Axis of Not-Sim…]