Archive for the ‘Year in Review’ Category

Year in Review: 2016

2016/12/31

casey

2016 was worse than 2015. You already knew that. 2017 will be worse.  I have a suspicion that next year will outdo this year in terms of celebrity deaths.  I think that kind of thing will track population growth.  I have a justified belief that next year will be worse than this year in terms of the political sphere.

2017’s going to suck, but I’ll talk about that next year.

I had plenty of things that sucked this year, and I bet you did too.  I had a post written up saying what I went through this year, and tried to make something hopeful-sounding out of it. But then I decided I didn’t want to air all that stuff.  If you already know what things sucked for me, that’s because I wanted you to know.

What I will share is that I didn’t publish as much this year. I hope I do more next year.  Here’s a roundup of everything I did:

___________________________________

Dumpster Vinyl

I posted one digitized disc. One is more than zero!

I made fan art for a public service campaign that was part of a commercial radio package, meaning that it was probably heard only a few times by a few people, many of whom are now dead.

Miss EBS is not dead; she lives on in my heart.

And she can live on your wall, too, for only $23 plus shipping!

I have started digitizing discs again. I try to do it on Sundays, because Sundays are a time when I go a little stir crazy. I’ve also been doing some research on these.

You’ll see.

YOU’LL ALL SEE

Jimmy Jone

I do actually feel bad about not doing more Jimmy Jone. I had honestly planned to have posted four more issues than I did this year. But I got anxious and told myself the stories weren’t good enough, that the art wasn’t good enough. But every time I make comics, that feeling makes me make them better.

I released two issues, a Part One and a Part Two. I am proud of these!

Blogging

I did a couple of series of blog posts on things that have long been questions in the back of my mind. Now they are answered! I thought that the Cosmopolitan series would be an easy way to put up a post every week, but then I actually dug into it and had to do research and real writing.

Matt Groening’s signature was in Simpsons Illustrated more than once per issue, which is really all that was needed.

Cosmopolitan has cleavage on the cover because once apes started standing up, you couldn’t see and access the vaginas as easily.

Perfect Strangers

Perfect Strangers is a show about two grown men who spend all their time fighting with each other because once apes started standing up, you couldn’t see and access the vaginas as easily.

I am almost halfway done reviewing that show, and… damn, I’m not even halfway done reviewing that show. It’s still a very rewarding experience for me. Just like the webcomic, it’s proof to myself that I am capable and funny. Every week I have an existential crisis about how well I can write and whether there is a limited number of jokes, or of academic theories, in me.  I have the crisis, I write the review, I realize it’s good. As Balki might say, blather, wrench, repeat.

But I’ve kept at it. I achieved escape velocity from season 2. I posted every week. I wrote 51 posts. I threatened the families of respected academics to get them to write the other two. I’m very proud of my 6,000-word historiography of the first three years of the show.

I’m going to keep doing it. It keeps me regular.  Haha, that is a joke about pooping. I actually do get constipated.

I have 86 episodes left.

Music

I’m mentioning this because it was on my 2016 preview list. I did continue to listen to years’ worth of music. I finished 1984 (no post yet, give me time) and I’m just about done with 1976.  I… may or may not write about these. I realize I don’t have much to say other than “these are my favorite songs”.  I figure eventually, I’ll try to tackle every year in the 1970s and 1980s.  but next on my list is 1988, and, uh, I wasn’t thinking initially about how there are more albums each year. I will be listening to 1988 all through 2017.

Toys

Another thing on last year’s preview list. I did ramble on incoherently about some toys!

I have more toys; I need to get a good camera and a lightbox. I also need to finish some of these sets.  The toys I’m into are pretty rare, and it takes a long time to get a complete set of them. There’s also this idea that I’m holding onto that tells me I have to do them in a particular order. So, you know, if that’s what you want to see more of, let me know and buy me a lightbox.

Other

I made some promotional art for the Noiseless Chatter Xmas Bash!!!! If you buy a thing (print, duvet, leggings), the profits will go to the Trevor Project.

Year in Preview: 2017

  • More Perfect Strangers Reviewed. I’ll reach the halfway point, no matter whether you go by number of seasons or number of episodes. I am also working on a special livestream event to happen after I’m finished with season 4, likely late March/early April.
  • More Jimmy Jone. As in, real soon. January 17th will be the 10th anniversary of the publication of Jimmy Jone. I have four complete issues to give you. I plan to write a post about the anniversary, and I may even be able to have one special feature kind of thing to accompany the event. After that, I’m working on a four-part story that will get us close to the halfway point of the whole comic.
  • #moviepuke . This is actually something I’ve already done. It’s probably the worst thing I’ve ever made. But I don’t want to talk about it yet, because it’s not finished. Sort of. There might be news with it in 2017. I’ll certainly write about it. We’ll see.
  • More blog posts. I’m going to be upfront and state that these are things I’d like to write about. No promises, though.
    • Dumpster Vinyl. Like I say, I’m digitizing still. I have ~150 discs more to digitize. I also need to buy a record player that can play 78s, because I can record a 78 at 45 speed, but when I try to speed it up in Audacity, it sounds like poop.
    • Problematic “sequels” and problematic conclusions for media that took a long time to be “finished”. Stuff like Fight Club 2 or Shock Treatment. Stuff like Jack Kirby’s Hunger Dogs. You know, stuff you haven’t read or seen.
    • Toys. Buy me a lightbox.
    • Trading cards. I really like trading cards as a format, and even though crowdfunding could herald a new age of trading card sets that reflect an artist’s vision as opposed to a business model, I think the format has had its heyday. And because I like trading cards so much, I want to showcase some of the absolute worst pieces of shit that were ever committed to cardstock.
    • Music?
  • A couple of comic projects? I joined a comics Meetup group, and the guy running it wanted to do a 12-page collaborative comic. I offered to write it and wrote probably 18 pages’ worth of jokes. Also, if you followed me on Twitter or Facebook this past year, you probably saw me doing the 100 Days of Making Comics Challenge. That group is going to try to put out an anthology, so I’ll make a comic for that.  If either of these things comes to fruition, you’ll see it here.
  • Fix the damn coding on http://www.jimmyjone.com once and for all.

Projects I’ll probably never get to, even if having had an organ transplant hadn’t significantly shortened my life expectancy

Last year’s list, plus:

A third Dr. Phibes story in comic form called “Black Vulnavia” where Dr. Phibes hires a black woman to be his assistant and some damn how has another group of people he wants to take revenge on.

Vocabulary study of the Billboard Hot 100 singles.

Sliders fanfic script that ties up all the loose ends from Season 4 and brings back Maximillian Arturo because he’s still alive dammit.

Citation analysis-style study of pop culture references in MAD Magazine and Cracked Mazagine.

___________________________________

2016 sucked, and it sucked way more for people who don’t share my skin color or genitals. 2017 looks like it’s going to be the same, or worse. Let me know what I can do other than continue writing about how Perfect Strangers hates women.

Saturday morning addendum:

I wrote this a week ago, and I’ll admit I do sound pretty down. I’ve been pretty down. I do actually have good things going on for me that are unrelated to the work I do.  I’m making more connections, I’m trying to get things together, I’m doing things that legitimately make me happy. I was on a pretty big high through all of 2015 from getting the kidney transplants, and 2016 saw that wane. I thought I had my all of my shit finally together, and I felt some good mastery over parts of my life.  I’ve hit some walls this year, but that’s no reason to give up on trying to scale them. I imagine that’s the way it works, though, right? You struggle through the first Zelda dungeon until you get a new weapon, and it serves you really well until you get to the next dungeon, and  you struggle again.  The best I can offer for a message of “hope” is that, if you feel like giving up, sit on it for a little bit to see how much of it’s brain chemicals, and don’t give up without a damn good reason.

See you in… 10 days, I think? I’ll give you Jimmy Jone stuff.

Year in Review: 2015

2015/12/31

jimmyscream

I’m waiting on hold to try to curse out Virgin Mobile for not having decent coding on the part of their site that processes payments, so I now have the time I’ve been meaning to set aside to talk about my year.

2015 basically started with me getting a double kidney transplant and, like, holy shit, I could stop right there and say it was a great year. But after I sat on my ass recovering for two months, there were still 10 more in the year, so I’ll talk about other stuff too.

I’m ending the year feeling a little worn-out, like I’ve run myself ragged. I’ve honestly spent the last four days doing almost nothing but watching movies and scratching my butt. I feel just completely run ragged. And while I’ve been thinking about what I would write for this post, I think I can see why. I got so excited when I got out of the hospital back in January about how much more I could do, how I could finally get to some of those projects on the back burners.

The problem is, after 3.5 years of dialysis, I had about 50 back burners! The image that comes to mind is that of my younger brother when he was one year old and eating cookies. He’d grab a cookie, take a bite of it, and then grab another cookie in the other hand and start eating on it. I started trying to take on multiple projects while also trying to get caught up on my webcomic – whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean at this point. I came out of the transplant telling myself not to expect too much from myself in terms of finding a new normal anywhere inside the first six months; but I think now, 10 months out, it’s going to be even longer than that. It’s a hard lesson to learn, and it seems like I’ve been learning the lesson about “how much I can expect to create in my spare time” for the past 6 years or so. I hate tradeoffs, and sometimes wish that I was in an endless version of that experiment where they put you in an underground bunker for months to see what it does to your circadian rhythms (if I remember correctly, the human body shifts to a longer “day” of 26 hours or more).

So I end up beating myself up for not accomplishing as much as I’d like to. I like playing checkers, by the way, and as much as it’s the less-favored cousin of chess, winning does depend on thinking many moves ahead, as well as knowing your opponent’s capacity for doing the same. In this case, my mind is its own opponent, and I can see where things would go if I start beating myself for having worn myself out. I’m not going to get out of this mindset the same way I got in; I have to cut myself some slack for not having done as much as I thought, in some platonic ideal of a life, that I would or could do. I have to remind myself that “how much I can expect to create in my spare time” has changed on an almost yearly basis for the past five years. And even the things I’ve managed to do continuously throughout that time have not remained stable. Consider an issue of Jimmy Jone done before I was on dialysis: Issue 39 with one that I posted earlier this year: Issue 68. More characters. More backgrounds. Characters interacting with the backgrounds.

And hey, that’s a good segue. Let’s talk about what I did accomplish this year. There’s another psychology study I remember reading about where people were asked to rate how morally upstanding they were by listing things they had done that they were proud of, as well as things that they regretted. The variables here were whether they were asked to name just a few (say, 4), or a lot (say, 10) things they had done. Lower number of items = more likely to complete list = more likely to think you were good or bad, depending on which things you were writing. Higher number of items = less likely to complete list = less likely to think you were good or bad, depending, etc. So let’s see if I can be proud of myself!

1091 1107 1125 1147 1172 1193 1213 1238 1262 1281
Jimmy Jone

I kind of shot my wad (read: buffer) at the beginning of the year because I was so excited about getting kidneys.  So that means I had a few months with no new comics.  But I did post 9 issues this calendar year! That’s three more than I’d posted for the past 2 or 3 years, so I’d call that a win!  And if you’ve never read my comics before, the stuff I posted this year is as bad as any other point to start reading (I’m even counting the beginning of the series), so why not read them now?

Issue 66 / Issue 67

Parts 2 and 3 of a three-parter; Jimmy is going through the initiation for the psychology club, while Stuart and Priscilla try to take their relationship to the next level (you’ll get that joke once you read the story; it’s not a good joke, but you’ll get it)

Issue 68 / Issue 69

A 2-parter! This time, all of the students that Ron and Jimmy have tricked out of their rooms sit around and do basically nothing, while Chloe and Jenny babysit a character drawn with crayons at a theme park (I actually do draw that character with crayons; it makes things take longer!)

Issue 70 / Issue 71 / Issue 72

A 3-parter, but I’m kind of stretching the definition of that here.  Chapter whatever of the Prank War bookended by Ron going crazy and Jimmy going sad.  The end jokes of 70 and 72 are some of my favorite end jokes in the whole webcomic so far.

Issue 73 & 74

Another damn 2-parter!  The hobo kids try to get their rooms back, while Jimmy tries to get his groove back.  And that Lego thing is the most work I’ve ever put into a stupid long-term sight gag.

Also, my cowriter and I spent all year writing the script for issues 101/102, and it’s still not finished!  I think he has, like, 8 kids now or something, so that one will be a while coming. (And yes, that means that issues 75 through 100 are already written. Hoo-boy, wait until you see #94!)

Just to prove to you that I am still working on the webcomic, the cover for issue 75’s up there, too.

dumpstervinyl

Dumpster Vinyl

Another thing that’s been sitting in my closet for years is about five boxes full of vinyl that my uncle salvaged from a radio station in Rome, GA. They were already in the dumpster, but my uncle has a keen eye for finding treasures.  And these certainly are!  I’ve only digitized 16 of the discs so far, and there’s easily another 100 I haven’t gotten to (no joke), but you can use this blog category link to see what I’ve done so far, and then hit F5 for weeks to see if I ever post another one! If you’ve ever wanted to hear Bob Denver tell you stay in school, or Tony Bennett to tell you what the temperature is, this series is for you!

Commercials Grandma Taped

I’ve also been digitizing and uploading all the old VHS tapes I’ve been lugging around for the past decade. They’re full of cartoons recorded, for the most part, from Atlanta stations like WATL-36.  What I’ve uploaded to YouTube is just the commercials and bumpers and station IDs, but they’re amazing to just sit and chill out to, if you have the time.  There’s seriously nearly 24 hours of commercials on that playlist, so pace yourself.

HaariboGittersport

German Wacky Packages

Okay, so this was a failure.  I put up a Kickstarter for a set of sticker cards in German, based on the Wacky Packages stickers you may be familiar with. When it seemed pretty clear that it wouldn’t get funded, I ragequit it and sulked for three days; then I was upset at myself for another three days after that.  I should have let it die on its own just so I couldn’t blame my own emotions.  Maybe if I get a nice tax refund I may just print them up anyway and sell them if anyone still wants to buy them.

Music Playlists

I kept going with my journey through the music of the 1970s and 1980s via my paid Spotify account. I gave in and coughed up the $10 a month just so I wouldn’t have to hear another commercial for “Waterburger” with soundbites of customers just straight up telling you a list of the ingredients of a burger. I’m not even kidding; in one of the commercials a customer described a cheeseburger as both “beefy” and “cheesy”.

Anyway, you can read my thoughts about–and hear my playlist for–1971 here

And the same dealio for 1979 here

003

Janie Kidshow’s Cartoon Roundup

Janie Kidshow’s Cartoon Roundup is a second site I started so I could have a place to put comics that aren’t Jimmy Jone.  And wow, yeah, for the first time in years there were comics I made that aren’t Jimmy Jone.  There’s only a couple things there right now, but that Two-Face story is comedy gold and 100% devoid of plot holes.

banner2

ALF to the Future

Somehow, over the course of a week – a week that I was doing jury duty, no less – I managed to put out a whole 5-page story about the time Alf traveled back in time from 2015.  It was written by Philip Reed, whose furry fetish manifests in the strangest way possible: reviewing episodes of ALF.  You can read the best work by a writer/artist team this side of the Eisner Awards here.

featured

Perfect Strangers Reviewed

Lastly, I started a review blog of my own!  Remember Perfect Strangers? If you said “sort of”, you’re not alone! We all kind of remember watching it, meaning that most of us have forgotten how bad it could be.  By watching this show as an adult, I’m taking up mental space that could have been used for, um, wait, I think I knew this one once. Anyway, I do one episode review each week.  I’m currently halfway through the second season, meaning that I’ve still got 133 episodes to go!  I’ve put Two-Face, ALF to the Future, and Perfect Strangers Reviewed together here because I want to say the same thing about them all: these have all been nice writing/drawing exercises for me.  I spend so much time on Jimmy Jone, and it has its own baselines, as well as its own high water marks. Doing things outside of that has pushed me to do better within that.  You probably won’t see too much improvement in the comic for awhile. Like I said, we’ve written the next 26 issues, but hoo-boy, wait’ll you see issues 97-99!  Anyways, my reviews drop on Fridays, which means you’ll get one tomorrow morning.  So quit being so goddam ridiculous and stop by sometime to see what wacky antics Balki and Cousin Larry have gotten up to!

(I’m glad I have kidneys now to filter these toxins I’m putting into my body.)

Having the best friends ever

I want to give a shout out to all of you who stuck with me through the Dialysis Years.  You took my calls and were there for me when I was down (which was really often); you came to visit me when I couldn’t visit you. You helped me stay on the transplant list. And when I got kidneys this past January, you all came through.  You donated money to cover my medical costs; you put out the word to others who donated as well.  You came to Houston to be caregivers at personal cost; you cooked and cleaned, you made sure I made my appointments and knew my own limits. You put up with my idiosyncrasies and watched shitty movies and TV shows with me. You gave of yourselves in a way, and to an extent, that means I am in debt to you in ways I could never pay back, even if you let me try.  But I’ll say this: you’ve all got first dibs on whatever other organs I still have two of. Disclaimer: you’ll have to NEED one of these to call this in. You can’t just, you know, have an eyeball or a testicle ball to put on your mantel.

Year in Preview: 2016

Here’s a glimpse at what kinds of stuff I hope to do in 2016:

Jimmy Jone!  We’re almost to the end of the characters’ sophomore year, so you might get to see some actual plot developments over the next 12 months!  I think there’s even one or two jokes in some of the upcoming issues.

Dumpster Vinyl! I need to get a new record brush and some new cleaning fluid, but I want to get these done before

Toys!  I’ve been collecting more weird-ass toys you’ve probably never heard of. I would have posted about more of them, but I’m waiting until I can complete the sets and maybe get some information from the people who designed them way back when.

Music! I’m already halfway through listening to what Spotify has for 1984. After that? Maybe 1976? Maybe 1988? We’ll see.  And finally…

*sigh*

Perfect Strangers reviews…

Projects I’ll probably never get to, even if having had an organ transplant hadn’t significantly shortened my life expectancy

Puppet Master trilogy film scripts (this exists in me, growing like a tumor; the Perfect Strangers reviews are all that hold this back; you tell me which would be the worse alternate timeline)

Post-apocalyptic film script based on the concept of the “bubble” of my undergraduate alma mater

Reading War & Peace all the way through, instead of quitting about 200 pages in every 5 years

Actually buying dolls for my ventriloquist doll concept where I don’t actually do any ventriloquism

Redubbing the five sets of late-1970s hospital orientation/training slides that I digitized almost 9 years ago

medical1 medical2 medical3 medical4

2014: Year in Review

2014/12/28

Well, another year’s gone by.  I’d like to think this was a relatively eventful year for Jimmy Jone.  I got the new website up back in March, and since then, I’ve posted six whole issues.  Sure, 2 months go by between issues (it took almost all year for Diana to break up with Jimmy!) but at least I’ve got a consistent rhythm going for the creation aspect of things.  If I can keep up the pace, you’ll get another six issues next year!  For those of you keeping track at home, Jimmy is now in the second semester of his sophomore year.  Here’s what you can expect for next 2015:

  • Jimmy gets scared!
  • The return of everybody’s third-tier superhero sidekick, Socrateen!
  • 100% more Campus Hobo!
  • The return of the prank war!
  • A mime!
  • And, if I did things right, at least a couple of jokes!

And of course, if I get a kidney in 2015, I may even put out more than 6 issues.

Another thing I’ve been doing is listening to music while I draw.  I’ve been systematically listening to every album Spotify has for specific years.  I finished up my journey through 1974 earlier this year, and I just completed 1982 this month.  Big whoop, you’re thinking.  But wait!  I put together some playlists of my favorite music from those years!

1974

1982

For 2015, I’m doing 1971, and then 1979, if I get that far.  I’ll let you know when there’s playlists!

I plan to put out the next Jimmy Jone comic (#66) at the end of February. I say “plan to” because I know better than to promise things on the Internet by a specific time.

See you in 2015!