The Workings of Our Innermost Soul: Now Automated!

performouridentities

This is the first of a regular series of “micro-posts” designed to “strengthen our brand,” entitled “We Finally Figured Out How to ‘Schedule Posts’ in WordPress.” Now, regardless of our initiative, the Playhouse will update weekly with a new diary comic or painfully candid doodle wrenched from the privacy of our sketchbook & put out in plain public view for any potential employer, NSA agent, or estranged family member to consume.

This impromptu magananimity comes in part by way of apology (on behalf of the wonderful FM radio station, KRUI) for the lack of Abandoned Playhouse episodes during December and most of January. Our weekly broadcast has fallen victim to dual antagonisms:

1. the KRUI website went down hard, & doesn’t appear to be getting up any time soon. We’re guessing this is due to a lapsed domain fee — but who knows, maybe it’s something sexier, like Heartland CyberTerrorism. The point is, this has rendered KRUI unstreamable on the internet, which makes it utterly irrelevant to the 21st century. Also,

2. The entire building that the studio is physically housed within (UI’s Memorial Union) is summarily cleared out & locked on every Sunday during this thing called “Winter Break.” Since our show airs at 10pm on Sundays, and we don’t have a strong-enough battering ram, we have no choice but to fill our hours with some other type of non-profitable, antisocial endeavor until mid-January.

Never fear though, you two people reading this who even knew we had a radio show, much less listen to it! Once these privileged collegiate youngsters finally extract themselves from their parents’ tinsel-strewn suburban wombs & cart their SSRI-laced corpi back to the rigors of Higher Education, The Abandoned Playhouse will return to its regularly scheduled program of sacrilege, psychedelics, doom and cacophany. In fact, we’re presently working on finding a way to record the shows digitally, so that you (and you, the other person) may listen at your leisure.

Until then, you’ll just have to subsist on a starvation ration of our essence in the form of doodles such as the above. Starting this Monday. Hang in there, Garfields!

facetime

You know, it can’t always be blogging & bonbons here at the Playhouse. Actually, judging by this website’s anemic update rate, it looks like it can hardly ever be blogging & bonbons. It’s a pity, since we — for reasons only a mind much savvier than ours could understand — have received a nomination for a 2013 Ignatz Award for Outstanding Online Comic. Yes, yes — we’re as surprised as you are (all four of you who will ever read this other than the NSA). But there you have it — proof that the process for Ignatz judge selection is due for some serious reform.

Anyway, blah blah etc, insert the usual “we’ve been busy” crap here — that polite placeholder which you are free to translate any way you like, such as something longer like “lately the present state of both our own affairs & that of the wider society in which we are trapped have become so unrelentingly bleak that we can barely summon the morale to remove ourselves from bed, much less put on a face shiny or happy enough to Sell Comics Online, much less convince some dead-eyed service-industry manager half our age to grant us the privilege of washing their dishes; and so every day becomes an increasingly lost battle with outright economic & psychological disaster, with only the deafening drumbeat of Doom to keep the time on our plodding dance to the grave.”

Let’s be honest: chipping away at another page of comics — much less an entire “graphic novel” — in such a state becomes an all but Promethean torture of gnawing anxiety, in which our Fantastic Inner Dreamworld of Pure Creation keeps getting jolted awake by the blaring Alarm Clock of Reality, & we’re here to tell you, its snooze button is getting hella worn down.

But then, we know these public displays of self-pity & self-panic aren’t entertaining anyone. Why, just two days ago our own publisher was openly mocking us on twitter for our political beliefs. We get the message: shut up, get back to “work,” & let God sort out your taxes.

So every day we fill our backpack with supplies, hump down to a local library or cafe, and toil for hours on our precious, private little papery projects. Are they even worth it? Are they even marketable? Are they even readable? Fucked if we know. We suppose it’s just all part of the Unknowable Adventure of Life among The Unemployable, where just producing a rent check to the landlord each month feels increasingly like some kind of desperate, bizarre magic trick.

Fortunately, in the midst of all this dismal, magic darkness there’s still the occasional pale flicker of hope that alights in our inbox by way of *cue heavenly clarions* commissioned work. We can show you one example of this that just dropped on us straight out of the blue one day — a fellow Hawaiian exile was looking for birthday portraits of himself, & assented to our (extremely modest) terms. Here were the results:

grantcrowellportrait
[click to see it bigger]

It’s been a while since we’ve drawn anything but cats & dogs to order, but we have to admit, the human form does lend itself to comicification. It was fun to toy around with the kind of expressions only higher primates can pull off. If anyone else needs us to mess around with the face of themselves or a loved one, or just some pop-culture reference or political figure, or simply need to relieve your bloated wallet from its groaning burden of excess capital, don’t hesitate to drop us a line at fantods at gmail dot com with your requests. Like any desperate broke deadbeat with Old Man Indigence nipping at their heels, we’re working cheap.

We’ve also been working on a Secret Art Project, which is actually a lot of fun and will soon render us ineligible for employment at any municipal job in the state of Iowa; stay “tuned” for that in the next few days. We’ve also got more illustrations & comics ready for posting, since the ringing disappointment of thousands of new Ignatz-curious Playhouse visitors has by now become palpable. We might even put Sick, or parts of it, back up, if only to lose our Ignatz bid with a touch more grace. The fact that we can’t afford to travel to SPX this year means we’ll have plenty of spare time to mess around with html online while the rest of you comb the plush Marriott carpets for drink tickets.

Thank you for reading what is surely the longest most meandering block of text to ever clutter a cartoon website. It’s fair to say there’s more of that coming as well — seeing as the NSA has made social media an utter liability for us & our scandalous opinions, we’re all but ready to delete our twitter account, making this the only place left for us to interact with [read: complain at] our friends, & visit with the 500 or so MRA rapists who visit the Playhouse every week just to troll our Sexism comic.

PS: if anyone knows of a great, cheap, good-quality place to make giclee prints online, we’re interested in the deets.

dead, the cat ate us

First off we’d like to announce that the amazing Nate Beaty did some magic on our website & fixed the trouble we’ve been having with our shopping cart! Feel free to give it a spin, & also to thank Nate the next time you’re buying one of his comics. Also we’re still out of Weather, but have a few Monsters & plenty of Dahl House to spare, so feel free if you’re in the mood.

And now the apologies: Sorry everyone — every time we promise to update our blog more frequently, the exact opposite seems to happen. We’ve been obsessed with the black magic of shoehorning our “endless canvas” webcomic “Sick” into the Gitmo-like confines of Mere Paper’s finite pages. This format-fuckery has been so mystical & byzantine it has started to resemble actual quantum physics (whatever that is). Over the past few weeks we have taught ourselves the hard yet fascinating lesson that, submerged in any long comic, there exists a vast, intricate webwork of interdependent visual & narrative relationships — & that they are utterly disrupted by even slight changes in pacing, tone & aesthetics. So really, if you’re turning one long toilet-paper-like scroll of panels into a 6-panel, 3-tiered grid on paper pages, you might as well be drawing a whole new comic. And that’s about what we’ve been up to these days — hacking up the body of our comic & re-assembling it all in a format that Gutenberg can understand. Kind of like a reverse human centipede. Unfortunately, all this has happened at the expense of our book’s original publication date, which has just been pushed back to November.

SPX was a fun time with old friends; we met a few new ones on the ride back to Ohio. As the leaves turn yellow & litter the wet Ohio streets this October, it looks like we here at the Playhouse offices will be upgrading our neighborhood from “Utter Nadir of Drug-And-Violence-Saturated Economic Despair Literally Not Technically Part of The First World” to “Gore-Spattered Front-Line Trenches of Urban Gentrification” — for just $70 more in rent! The house is the perfect Artist’s Hovel, and its damp & decrepit halls are sure to fortify us with the inspirational miasma of Squalor necessary for any Real Artist to maintain their Realness. Even better, all our roommates are sweethearts, our neighbors are freegan, & we’ll be closer than ever to the cheap beer, cheap food, art supplies, parks & laundromats we intolerable Art Types seem to consider so damn important to our bullshit little “creative process.” And, most importantly: an actual mailing address at least 35% less likely to be burgled.

So hopefully all that’ll mean more comics — especially considering that with increased rent comes an increased need to clutch in all directions at any wad of US currency within reach. Our crop of watercolors and commissions has laid fallow lately, but check this patch of garden soon for new sprouts of digestibles from your favorite cage-fed cartoonist.

In fact, as a little sample, we’ve included one that’s been stuck in the silo for a while.