G A N Z E E R . T O D A Y

journal

If I were to describe my usual go-to line-art style, I would say it probably falls somewhere between the Toth and Toppi schools of mark-making. Lately though I've been working on a couple pages in the latest TSG (Ch.7/#8) set in the early 19th century, which has prompted me to mimic the general illustration/printing style of the era. This has called for a fuck-ton of crasshatching and over-rendering, whereby each stroke has amounted to a stab by hairpin straight to the heart.

I would typically include an image with a post like this, but I've come to the decision to forego images altogether in this here blog (for the most part), primarily because it involves a couple of less-than-seamless steps that I'd like to eliminate. Most pics posted here are taken with my phone, before being transferred to my computer from which I upload to snap.as. From there I snag an embed link which I paste into my post. That's 5 steps just to include a picture, which has resulted in something of a barrier in my resolve to post regularly. It'd be nice to live up to the “.today” in the blog's title, and by foregoing images, all it'll take is rolling my chair over to my computer and typing away. Should be easy enough.

Instagram lends itself better to image-posting (snap+post), so that's likely where my journal-like picture-taking will live (at least for now, as I do loathe that it is owned by Facebook and bombards me with shit ads). I hear Tumblr is making a comeback since lifting their nudie censorship. I was very much a fan of Tumblr back in the day, especially because its app allowed you to microblog with ease from your phone onto a webpage that could be highly personalized. But I wouldn't be able to bring myself to trust them again.

I also will have to put Ganzeer.Reviews on hold, because that's a whole process that I just no longer have the bandwidth for. I might have to resort to folding my reviews into this here blog, sans pictures, and likely taking the form of micro-reviews.

On which note, just watched COCAINE COWBOYS from 1979 by Ulli Lommel and thoroughly enjoyed it. There are bits in there that didn't at all need to be in there, and bits that were not in there that could've been in there, but overall, I dug it. Jack Palance is really good in it and I found Tom Sullivan to be rather captivating. Andy Warhol has what could be initially assumed to be a cameo, but is in fact a role that is so absolutely central to the plot, which I really loved, especially that he plays himself. Such an odd but really special film, brought to my attention thanks to The Video Archives Podcast which is now my new favorite fix.

Friend of mine has been talking me into doing a podcast together (Yes, another project! Less time!), the thought of which amuses me. Lack of a theme, however, has me unsure whether or not this will actually happen. Also, I'm not sure there's much of a vacuum in the current podcast-scape that needs filling, and I'm only ever drawn to vacuum.

There is an abundance of unread books taunting me from my shelves, yet my Thriftbooks cart is filled with 16 books which are also taunting me. I'm convinced I have some kind of terrible illness.

#journal #review

Succumbed to a ghastly sickness immediately upon my return from Dearborn/Detroit where a gathering organized by the Arab American National Museum took place. Saw snippets from a couple plays-in-development, attended readings as well as the Arab American Book Awards, and participated in many a thoughtful workshop. Feeling inspired and grateful to have connected with so many awesome souls, in addition obviously to feeling weak and miserable (see: ghastly sickness).

On the docket is: a handful of comix pages and a few posters.

Eager for the time to dream and meander in thought.

#journal

May there be a special place in hell for people who watch sitcoms really loud in their hotel rooms well until 5:00am

#journal #travel

Kurt Weill's STREET SCENE plays more like a spoof of an opera than an actual opera. By the time they get to their ice cream number, the resolve to hold in my laughter is all but obliterated and it isn't long before we make our exit and instead go rendezvous with friends.

Balmy night, all glass in sight fogged up. Music, drink, and nibbles abound. New characters continuously introduced without rhyme or reason. All in all a rather Clowesian evening.

That was Friday night. Sketch above dashed out at Agora's patio Saturday afternoon over an $11 Duval, followed by some reading. These days it's the newly released (speaking of Clowes) THE COMPLETE EIGHTBALL 1-18 paperback which I preordered maybe a year ago and it arrived precisely on its official release date of Nov. 1st. I'd only ever read 3-4 issues of the original EIGHTBALL releases due to the difficulty of getting ahold of them and boy am I enjoying finally getting the chance to read them [in order] in their entirety in this new format. What a singularly demented vision it presents, and what a high standard for comix-making it encapsulates.

Already on issue #7, which over the course of five days I realize isn't much for many but it is for me. Quite a lot on the docket these days. Trying to wrap up inks on the latest THE SOLAR GRID in addition to another comix thing, poster thing, and a writing thing.

The New York Times tells me of Aaron Carter's passing who I haven't even heard of since “Crazy Little Party Girl” was released in 1997. Celebrities passing isn't something that typically phases me, but because the first and last I'd seen of this person was his innocent 9-year old version, in my mind it's that 9-year old boy who was found dead in a way. That child didn't have to be brought into the world just to be raised and exploited by alcoholics or be subject to a jaded version of fame at such a young age. Been doing a quick skim of what this clearly disturbed person has been through over the past 25 years, and you can't help but see the singing/dancing ghost image of his 9-year old self in your mind's eye and think how terribly tragic it all is. How it was allowed to happen at all, all while society watched on, as we do most things.

#journal

Finally remerged back to life right before Labor Day weekend, otherwise known as another American excuse to grill meat and watch sports. Neither of which I did, but rather O got to tend to some lingering house issues (some of which involved power tools, so yeah, still very American).

Have also been working on multiple comix projects, one of which is pictured above; an Arabic edition of a short autobio thing called SELECTIVE MYOPIA which I did for The Nib many moons ago. Because it'll be running in B&W, I had to mess with various attempts at tones to replace the colors, which is what you're seeing in the print-tryouts above. Although the color palette in the original is very limited, it is utilized as an integral part of the storytelling. To get the same effect with halftones meant needing to be able to easily differentiate between the different tones while also making sure the tones aren't awfully distracting and are 100% print-friendly.

Been working on another comix gig in addition of course to THE SOLAR GRID (will it ever end?). And actually, there was yet another short comix thing I worked on a little while back. It's called MOUTHFAIL, currently being serialized on my substack.

Actually now that I think of it, this year really has been the year of comix for me. Usually my time is taken up by projects of a very different nature, and I have to literally carve out little nooks of time to do comix, but this year... it's been mostly comix so far. Not entirely, but mostly.

#journal #work #comix

I clearly spoke too soon. Tested positive for Covid last week and again this week. Throughout I haven't experienced anything super acute, no high pitch fevers or anything like that. Instead it's been a kind of lowkey misery throughout: phlegmy cough, shortness of breath, crappy appetite, foggy head, fatigue and weakness, and a generally sour attitude. Every once in a while I'll think I'm getting better, but quickly realize I'm not. In that sense, it's not a case of feeling something at the onset and then letting it gradually dissipate as you would other sicknesses. It's like the sea, waves crashing onto shore, some bigger than others, but it's the sea's forever state of being.

Triple-vaxxed though, so I hope that counts for something.

#journal

After over two years of dodging it, our blessed household has finally succumbed to the plague. Wife and kid are down which left me with the responsibilities of holding the forte for a couple days. But as soon as wife began to recover, I was struck by fatigue and a most ghastly cough, all while continuing to test negative for the particular plague bug. Which is curious, but I am very much thankful for.

Luckily also, child's spirits are up and he maintains a generally playful demeanor. With the house turned into a quarantine facility though, workflow is taking a huge hit this week.

#journal

I too have little tolerance for excessive branding, so when I discovered that Moleskine puts out blank memo books with the exact same trim size as Field Notes', I opted to give them a try and I'm sure glad I did.

Blank brandless cover aside, these Moleskines are thread-bound compared to Field Notes' cheap saddle-stitching (staples). The interior paper is quite superior with the ink from my fountain pens never bleeding through as much, plus it is a serene cream tone which is much easier on the eyes. Half the pages are perforated which I imagine will come in handy if ever I need to slyly leave someone my number (haha, no but y'know, sometimes you want to write something down for someone). Cover stock is heavier than Field Notes' so it doesn't curl up and get that worn look as quickly, and it comes with a back cover pocket thingy which I find is always very useful.

And honestly, if it didn't have all these advantages, just the absence of obnoxious branding alone would've been enough to win me over.

Moleskine Cahier Journal (3.5” x 5.5”) Plain/Blank 64 Pages

#journal

In Mexico City you will experience a full year worth of seasons in a single day. Mornings start off cold under a thick blanket of gray, which rips open just before noon, allowing the hot hot sun to peer through. You will sweat and squint your eyes, even behind mirrored-sunglasses, and this will last for a good few hours until the clouds return and decide to come down on you with thick fists of hail. The sky in Mexico City will seem so awfully close to your head, which will make absolute sense once you discover that the city is even higher than Denver, America’s touted “Mile-High City”. Why isn’t this fact so popularly known, you will wonder. Until you realize that Mexicans care little for too much branding.

The above is from a short reflective thing I wrote about my time in Mexico City. It can be read in its entirety: here.

#journal #travel

Off to Oslo in a couple days which leaves me with the impossible task of attempting to ink 7 pages of comix in less than 48 hours. Get the entire batch of 14 pages scanned and ready for [digital] lettering on my flight (and maybe a little in my eventual hotel room) so I can send this project out and be done with it before prepping my keynote presentation, which luckily isn't until day 4 of the conference (June 30).

I've been riding the 1000mph wave for a good few months now and it looks like it is bound to continue for the remainder of the summer. It'd be nice to sit under a tree and watch the birds sometime.

#journal #work #comix