Thursday, November 2, 2017

#earnedhistory

This isn't an art post, but it's something important to me that I wrote in the wee hours last night. It's reprinted here so that it won't be instantly lost in the morass of my FB feed.

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I have a hard time getting invested in teams anymore.

The Astros are different.

My earliest memory of a pro sports event is when I was little kid in the mid-80s, clutching a Starting Lineup figure of Mike Scott after a game at the Astrodome. The little plastic pitcher is long gone, but I still have an even older Astros puppet (a dog… why a dog? why not??) in my dedicated 'stros cabinet. Nolan Ryan, Scott, Glenn Davis (whom I met many years later at the Trop). I think of my mom befriending Billy Hatcher’s wife at the park. Clay and me hassling the third base coach from the stands because his name was “Cubbage” and we thought it was fun to shout “CUB-BIIIIJJJJ!!!” at him for ten minutes at a stretch. Sneaking up to the closed upper deck, dodging security guards, and dancing in front of the Jumbotron during the last days of the ‘dome.

Watching the Astros close out a series for the ages tonight, I could imagine the excitement of the ‘stros fan in me going back, back to the beginning. From today’s cynical old man trying not to set myself up to be heartbroken, to that little kid marveling at the sheer audacity of a building like the Astrodome and its original animated scoreboard.

I remember watching live at one of my high school jobs while the friggin’ Braves put us out in the first round every. single. year. in the late ‘90s. The Killer B’s, from the now-Hall of Famers Big-gi-o and Baggy, whose autographs I treasure, to the half-forgotten ones like Derek Bell. My folks went to Biggio’s induction ceremony. I miss one-time heroes taken too soon… Cammy, Lima-time.

Sitting in every major section of MMP in its first season, from the Diamond boxes to so high in the nosebleeds I felt the burn from the lights. Walking the warning track. My family’s last night together in Houston was spent saying goodbye to my hometown with a ‘stros win at MMP.

The perforated-ulcer-stress of the ’05 postseason (tragically underrated) in my first semester of grad school. Driving down to Kissimmee for Spring Training solo or with a crew, and gaining a true brother and Astros devotee in Dr Dynamite. Watching my boys play in more cities than I can remember, from randomly meeting then-owner Drayton McLane (who called me Superman) on a cold and rainy night in DC, to fist-bumping Hunter Pence and crew. About half of the photos of me in grad school feature an Astros hat, which I didn’t quite realize until digging through old pictures while writing this post. I wore one over my long, ratty hair every day I lived in Japan.

It was a lifesaver.

Watching these boys, #1 overall picks, come through my local low-A QC River Bandits squad. My Puerto Rican “mom” Judy bringing Carlos Correa to heel (who, as I write these words, just proposed to his girlfriend live on tv). Mean-mugging Ed Wade from two feet away in Florida, then keeping the faith in Luhnow’s Moneyball schemes during three 100-loss seasons of misery. The first time I saw Altuve in person was with Jillian at a poorly attended preseason game at Wrigley when both ‘stros and Cubbies were at rock bottom. I thought there was a kid out at second.

He is a tiny god.

My city needed this.

It’s hurt being away from my people. Seeing Harvey displace friends and family and random strangers who will always be MY PEOPLE still makes me feel sick months later. Seeing how we’ve rallied around this team, these Astros, has been beautiful. Schoolmates, from Harvey survivors to international diaspora, are all reveling in this win with me tonight.

Today is a day that I was truly afraid that I would never see. My cynical little heart has grown three sizes.

We are Houston Strong.

This team, this ridiculous squad of talented and hilarious kids who have never known when they weren’t supposed to win (see: damn near doing it back in ’15!), inspires me. This isn’t some joyless, moneypit empire. These are brothers on the field, and I couldn’t love them more. I’ve been blasting Houston rap to keep me fired up (Paul Wall has offered free grillz to the ‘stros for making it to the WS), and even the official Astros Twitter feed honored DJ Screw back in June. You can’t help but smile.

I love my city. It’s a glorious mess, a cosmopolitan gumbo of bullshit and hustle and heart.

This series was legendary, and I’ve grown noticeably more gray since the postseason began. Full respect and love to the Dodgers - this was probably the most evenly matched WS I’ve ever seen, and you acquitted yourselves extraordinarily well. You’re going to be good for a long time.

Race you next year.

Tonight is ours.

#astros #earnedit #hustletown #houstonstrong

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

[ p a l e _ f a c e ]

Happy Hallows.

savor it, like crimson wine from an old goblet. this is literally what i am doing right now.

so it proved fortuitous that i finished "The Bone Garden" on August 1. just a couple weeks later the new semester began, in which my nearly half-faculty-line of overload became further... complicated... by a broken foot.

good times.

haven't had much opportunity to draw, or even particularly get into the season [the power ominously cut out as i typed these words], but ol' Rossi-time hit me up for a late cover commission. here she is.

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mayyybe you can tell that i've been playing Bloodborne, which is spectacular and frustrating and regularly haunts my dreams.

postmortem on "The Bone Garden" in early November. i am proud of my child.

go 'stros!

/.n [while watching House of 1000 Corpses]

Sunday, October 1, 2017

[ t h e _ b o n e _ g a r d e n ]

this one has been a long time coming.

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commentary later. happy Halloween.

/.n [while listening to Misfits, "Halloween"]

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

critical communiques; also, musings

at last, at last! Spooky Basement is out in the wild in dead tree form. and there are t-shirts! there are all of the things. here is the complete cover, complete with implausible endorsement from an Eisner Award-winning creator (in earnest):

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here is what it looks like in person! the glow on the right is not sunlight, it is purest, unfettered joy radiating from these golden pages.

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kid bro has been hitting the circuit to promote his work, to which my art is loosely adhered in the fashion of a modestly committed remora. next one up is Flashback Weekend Horror Con in Chicago in a scant few days. let us infect the town with these subversive stylings.

seriously though, the booth is rad and features a Spooky Basement video game (!):

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oh. but here is the big news.

THE BONE GARDEN is done. yeah. 3 or 4 years late, sure, but it is what it is. i finished it this morning. i cried a little. it will be available to the public on October 1, which is i think a fair compromise between my competing desires to (1) get this thing out there already and, to (2) ensure that people's Halloween pump levels have been primed just a touch.

i've been waiting to write those words since 2013.

there are other things in the works. i'll get around to them.

/.na [while listening to Garbage]

Monday, June 5, 2017

[ f i c t i o n _ i n _ f i v e ]

as mentioned below, Phil is back in the game and some of my stuff is getting new play. check out his Patreon page - it's a full frontal assault of my stylings. presumably, much of our work going forward will be behind a paygate [you should offer him your patronage! but if not...], so i'll continue sharing my contributions here.

embarrassingly deep now in the ancient past, i posted the first plates from a book we were working on together between 2011-12 (yowza): an illustrated compendium of some of Phil's "Fiction in Five" microfiction works. first up was "Anamelech" (Halloween 2011!), followed by "The Watchers"(6 Jan 12) and finally "The Artist" (24 Nov 14).

the book may still happen someday, but for now Phil has been piecing it out as subscriber content. no time like the present, i suppose. here we go:

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"Recycled"

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"Touch Button Life"

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"Expiration"

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"Got A Light?"

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"The End"

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"9/[untitled]"

i need to get back on this. "The Bone Garden" is a lurching machine with grinding gears, creeping toward the finish line. i've said that before. i mostly mean it.

/.na [while listening to White Zombie]

[ c l o w n _ m o t e l ]

partner-in-crime Phil is finally back in the game with a monthly Patreon campaign, which means new opportunities and exposure for my little corner of these electric internets. here is the first new piece from [...looks...] back in March. this was a last-second job right before i had to bounce to co-lead study abroad in Belize. escaping Iowa required me to accomplish about three weeks' worth of work in five days.

that week sucked.

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the story is called "Clown Motel," and hopefully my cover properly expresses its heart as a light-hearted romp. yeah.

/.na [while listening to Paul Wall]

Monday, October 31, 2016

[ s p o o k y _ b a s e m e n t ] - LAUNCH!

so. we should probably get together more than every couple of years.

Happy Halloween.

i've wanted to do a project with kid brother since what for all practical purposes is the beginning of time. we finally pulled it off. after a successful IndieGogo campaign nearly equally as distant in the past, his book Clay Astroman's Spooky Basement: Welcome to Monsteropolis should be live any moment now. i was privileged to do the cover for this absurdity, which i suspect will satirically offend almost every demographic with the precision of an atomic clock and i will be forced to hide my involvement within moments.

it's probably going to be pretty good, if you like PUMP and monsters.

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the real Hallows project has been underway for a while - rebooted "The Bone Garden" for what at its earliest could be a Christmas release. i'm still here.