Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Isaac & Ida, episode 1: Parasites

Since I never get tired of humiliating myself, I thought today I'd give my lovely readers a glimpse of my attempts at cartooning, from way back in my second year of college. For fifteen weeks, I put together a comic for the University of Chicago campus newspaper, the Maroon, called "Isaac & Ida," under the pen name of "Brian McEnergy." (It's a long story.) Here's the very first strip, from October 1, 2004.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Maybe the comics page isn't a decaying mausoleum after all

On my comics page, three strips up and one strip over from Beetle Bailey (whose punchline today was not only unfunny, it required deciphering, like a Nazi U-boat transmission) is the strip Cul-de-Sac, which is one of the few strips left on the funny pages that occasionally makes me laugh. In fact, it's better than 'occasionally'; I find myself chuckling at the antics of Alice and Petey and the various other denizens of the titular traffic feature more often than not. But today, I got a particularly pleasant surprise.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

In which I insult an entire region of the United States

Fifteen-year-old gay blogger complains about the lack of LGBTQ lit in libraries.

I've got two reactions to this, one selfish, one not. My first reaction was, "I hope my library isn't like this." I don't actually know, because I've never made an effort to seek out and read LGBTQ lit, which I suppose I ought to. I know that my library system has an excellent reputation and is, apparently, known nationwide, but I have no clue if that reputation includes a decent list of LGBTQ stuff.

My second reaction was, "I hope he realizes that not every library is like this." I don't mean to be—regional-ist? latitude-ist?—but this kid lives in Kentucky, and I don't know how popular LGBTQ lit is going to be in that state. It sounds to me that the best possible thing this kid could do for himself is, once he's got a driver's license and some disposable income, to leave.

Friday, June 11, 2010

On memory

One of the many (many) webcomics I read on a regular basis, Sodium Eyes, had a particularly apt way of putting something that I've been aware of for a long time. In this strip, the character Miya states that "our brains have such a staggering capacity for knowledge, but the indexing method is way off"—or, to put it in a way that's more in line with the subject of this blog, our brains are like enormous libraries with terrible librarians. The sight of a particular object—a tricycle, say—might trigger a memory from years or even decades ago of another tricycle, or a tricycle that you saw a child riding, or a movie with a tricycle in it. Sometimes, these sense memories can be pleasant reminders of things gone past: a particular brand of hand soap (Dial, I think?) always takes me back to my paternal grandmother's home.

But sometimes it's unbelievably frustrating to be reminded of something, some random image or object from your past, without knowing what exactly it is you're reminded of. Just recently, for kicks, I rewatched one of the songs from The Princess and the Frog on YouTube, and in it there's a bit where one character holds up an oyster shell with a pearl inside. This reminded me of, I think, a video game where your character has to grab a pearl from an oyster down on the ocean floor—but I don't know which game. So for the past few days, I've been wracking my brains trying to piece together this memory-reference—was it a 2-D sidescroller? was it adventure, or action? did I play it, or did I see someone else play it? was it on a computer or a console?—but to no avail. It's slowly driving me insane.

Okay, insane-er.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ted Reviews Mohiro Kitoh's Bokurano: Ours

Mohiro Kitoh's manga series Bokurano: Ours fits into a few different genres. It's young adult, shonen (literally 'young boy'), mecha (as in 'giant robots'), and one more that seems to be more well-represented in manga than you might expect: the ontological mystery genre. I'll get to what I mean by that in a second; first, let's do a quick plot summary.