Archive for the ‘Blog Posts’ Category

Happy New Year!

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

Welcome to 2009, everyone! And welcome to my new website!

This BEING a new website, I’m not sure that many people will be around to read this message … but I’m going to try to spread the news quickly. In any case, it doesn’t matter to me WHEN you read this little note, you still have my wish that the coming year is a good one for you, filled with challenges met and dreams fulfilled.

This site represents the promise of BOTH those things for me. A dream fulfilled because I’ve been thinking about starting a web comic for a number of years now … but a lack of technical savvy and the sheer force of inertia kept me from making it happen. Now, though, I’ve gotten the ball rolling … and there-in lies the challenge. Producing enough material for a five updates a week is no mean feat, particularly given how busy my schedule already is. But it’s really the only way to do it, if I’m going to be faithful to my vision.

On the plus side, I’ve got a lot of experience in both online and physical publishing. I’ve got some small bit of relative “fame” in some quarters of the geek-o-sphere, so that should help a little with getting some attention for the site. 

On the negative side, this is VERY different from what I’ve done in the past … so it’s unclear how many people who like my past work will even be INTERESTED in this. Additionally, this site is going to be very different from other web comics … so it’s unclear how much of the web comics community will find what I’m doing interesting, or where I can go to find an audience that will.

Challenges.

Still, I am more pleased than I can clearly communicate that Story Time With Stan! is a reality. And, come what may, I’ll always be able to say that I gave it a shot!

Thank YOU for giving the site a shot. I hope you like what you see, and that you’ll stick around as, along with the new year of 2009, the site and the stories roll out.

Facebook Group

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

Thanks to Kerry Forrestal (if you had a web site, my friend, I’d give you a link), there is now a Facebook group for Fans of Story Time With Stan!. If you have a Facebook account, stop on by and join us!

Free Andi Watson!

Friday, January 9th, 2009

Andi Watson is one of a handful of awesomely talented but often overlooked cartoonists doing weird, beautiful, brilliant work along the edges of the comics community. He’s been more successful than most, having his work published by Slave Labor, Oni, Dark Horse, Image, and now (apparently) Tor.

Maybe I feel a kinship with Andi because his work, like mine, is incredibly stylized … you can clearly recognize a piece by him and there aren’t any other people working in even similar styles. In that, I take him as an inspiration. He ALSO is doing a lot of “all ages” work (stories that have at least the trappings of children’s literature and are appropriate for young audiences) that is ALSO quite well suited for an adults (many of the jokes and details are aimed at a knowledgeable audience). His work on Glister in particular influenced my decision to press forward with some of the stories that will appear on Story Time With Stan! in the coming months.

Anyway, a new 15-page Andi Watson story has been put up on Tor.com … check it out. I think you’ll like it.

Happy 200th, Mr. Poe

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Today marks what would have been Edgar Allan Poe‘s 200th birthday. I cannot write a tribute more knowledgeable than the one Ken Hite posted on his blog, so I won’t even try. Instead, I’ll just mark the moment and indulge in a little reminiscence on my own history with Poe.

I loved Poe from the first time we had to read The Cask of Amantillado in Jr. High School. I read all of his horror short stories and much of his poetry over the next few years, but somehow missed out on the fact that he basically INVENTED the “detective story” until I took a class on that genre at college. If asked about my favorite writers, Poe was always there in the top 3 (something that was pretty roundly scoffed at by most undergraduates in the English department, who considered him too “popcorn” to really be a FAVORITE to anyone who was SERIOUS about literature … which does A LOT to explain why I’ve NEVER been particularly serious about literature).

Then came my final year at school.

I ended up taking the five-year-plan because in my sophomore year I jumped directly into senior-level thesis classes (I took 5 or 6 of those) and skipped over my sophomore requirements. So I had to stay an extra year to take basic classes in topics on which I’d already done A-level work in upper-level and even post-graduate level courses. Yay, bureaucracy!

One of the classes I needed to take was “Introduction to Pre-Twentieth Century American Literature” and, naturally enough, the syllabus featured almost two full-weeks on Poe. The problem was, the professor seemed unable to teach the Poe section of the course at introductory level. He loved Poe. He’d made Poe a centerpiece of his own academic writing. And so he did not ALLOW the students come to the work and approach it as new readers would … he insisted that the class apply detailed knowledge of the author’s personal history, comparisons of the piece to historical and literary work of the time, and theories proffered by his favorites critics. In other words, he insisted that a class (mostly) full of sophomores treat some of the most APPROACHABLE and ENJOYABLE 19th-century American literature (because, lord knows, the writing style of the time makes it difficult for a casual modern audience to immediately enjoy much of the literature from that period) and turned it into a confused muddle of hyper-modern (at the time) criticism.

NO ONE enjoyed the Poe section of the course. In fact, most of the class came away feeling like they didn’t UNDERSTAND Poe … when they started with very real and very VALID reactions (mostly positive) to his stories.

Now, all this is CERTAINLY the professor’s fault … not Mr. Poe’s. And yet, for years afterward, I couldn’t read Poe without having flashbacks to that awful course. Thankfully, I’ve gotten past it in recent years and can once again ENJOY The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, Eldorado, and the rest of E.A.’s work on the level I always have … as RIPPING yarns spun by a master storyteller.

So happy 200th, Edgar, wherever you are and whatever is rapping at your chamber door!

Hourly Comic Day Is Coming

Monday, January 26th, 2009

Hourly Comic Day is a tradition/cartooning challenge I’ve taken part in for the past two years. It happens every February 1st, and I’m very much looking forward to participating again this coming Sunday (which should be interesting as that day ALSO happens to be Super Bowl Sunday).

Each year, I do my little bit to promote the event … but this year I’m inadvertently doing even MORE. You see, last night I was contacted by an editor from CannedGeek.com (an Australian geek culture site) asking if they could use one of my drawings from last year’s Hourly Comic Day in a short article they were doing about the subject. I happily agreed, and the article is already posted on their site.

The BEST thing about Hourly Comic Day, I think, is that you DON’T have to be a professional to participate. Flip through some of the past years’ examples and you’ll see that MOST of participants are just ordinary doodlers. It’s an event for ALL people who love to sketch, scribble, and draw … and some of the BEST entries are by people whose best known work is probably hanging on a cubicle wall or a refrigerator somewhere. Hourly Comic Day is just a FUN personal challenge that you can share with the world.

Look for hourly doodles (that is, DRAWN hourly … not necessarily POSTED that quickly) from me on Sunday … and in the meanwhile you can check out my 2008 and 2007 offerings … or anyone else’s on the forum.

Endings … And Beginnings

Friday, January 30th, 2009

So, the first story has come to a successful conclusion. Dr. Symm has indeed saved the New Year and all is right with the world. So it’s time to move on to a new story. But before we do, I want to tell you about a change that’s taking place as we start the new tale.

There’s no real easy way to say this, so I just have to come out and tell you that I’m pulling back the update schedule for Story Time With Stan! … just temporarily. The site will no longer update 5 times a week. Instead, we’re moving to a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday schedule. The reason for this is simple: I’ve been more successful in my freelance work than I’d expected. So good, indeed, that my time is fully booked until late spring. That’s not just my 9-5 time … but ALL of my available time for writing and drawing.

That’s a GOOD thing in that it means I’ll have a more stable source of income for at least the first 2/3 of the year, but it also means that I don’t have the time necessary to keep ahead of the ball on these stories. If I didn’t move the update schedule back to 3 days a week, I’d certainly run out of material entirely by the middle of April. Switching to this schedule will let me make sure that the site continues to update on time with new material into the second half of the year … by which time I should be able to get back to a more normal rate of production.

It’s easier to do this relatively early in the site’s life. As happy as I am for all of you who are here reading this now, the fact of the matter is that your numbers are still fairly small at this point and I haven’t put a lot of effort into building a bigger audience. (I was waiting until the Dr. Symm story finished its run.)

My plan is STILL to return the site to 5 updates a week, and hopefully I’ll be able to get there by early summer. But I won’t make that adjustment until I’m CERTAIN that I will be able to keep it up permanently.

That’s it, really. As bad news goes, it’s really not that horrible. But I still feel like I’m letting you down a little. I promise to try to make it up somehow. In the meanwhile, I hope you enjoy our second tale.

Hourly Comic Day

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

Today is Hourly Comic Day and … well … I’ve been drawing a comic every hour. You can check them out here. And while you’re there, you should check out some of the other folks’ work, too. And next year, I think all of YOU reading this should participate, too!

Happy President’s Day!

Monday, February 16th, 2009

I actually PURPOSELY chose to make George Washington and the Mt. Vernon Four the story for February BECAUSE I knew that Presidents Day was this month. No really, I think about these things.

The one thing I DIDN’T think about was making enough time to get the store up and running because I still have some print copies of the story remaining from the short run I did to celebrate my dad’s 75th birthday. And what BETTER way would there have been for you to celebrate this day off from work than to buy a book from me?

Oh well. Maybe I’ll get my act together and put the store up in time to do a promotion on Washington’s actual birthday.

In any case, the store is coming soon … and it will open with at least 4 books for sale. (How’s THAT for starting big?) Tell your friends!

Or … y’know … once the store is open … THEN tell them. Right now it’s not really newsworthy.

Happy Birthday, Edward Gorey

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Today is Edward Gorey‘s 83rd birthday … or would be, if he were still living, breathing, and writing new and macabre masterpieces like The Gashlycrumb Tinies.

Gorey has been a HUGE influence on me in many ways, though subject matter and art style are not necessarily among them. He built a terrific life and career out of following his muse, occasionally self-publishing, and not worrying about how different his work was from anything else in the world. Plus, the man was damn funny. I’m still hoping that Mooncusser Films manages to finish their long-in-development documentary about Gorey … the clips I’ve seen have been WONDERFUL.

What I’m aiming to do here at with Story Time With Stan! is VERY much influenced by Gorey, though I don’t think I’ve produced anything yet that really lives up to his example … I’m certainly working on it. And one upcoming project in particular is absolutely a tip of the hat to the master.

If you’ve got a copy of The Gashlycrumb Tinies, The Doubtful Guest, The Curious Sofa, or any of his other little books filled with big ideas … take it off the shelf and give it a read in honor of Mr. G.

Cautious Fuzz

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

I can hardly believe it’s June already! Has Story Time With Stan! REALLY been going for more than 5 months already? It seems inconceivable!

Already there have been some changes and concessions to the demands of life. Originally, I wanted the site to update 5 days a week … and I still do WANT that. But it seems unlikely that I’ll be able to produce new material quickly enough to make that possible in the foreseeable future.

And speaking of NEW material, I guess a word or two needs to be said about the current story, Cautious Fuzz. It is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this year, so it really DOESN’T count as “new.” But the fact of the matter is that very few people have ever seen the tale. And, as the saying goes, if you haven’t seen it before then it’s “new” to you!

When I wrote and drew Cautious Fuzz back in 1989, I had the idea that it would make a good premise for a TV show or at least an ongoing series of comics. I even went so far as to layout most of a follow-up story to the one you’re reading now. But then I got this job in Japan teaching English and … well … plans changed.

I’d still like to revisit Droxine and the other members of the band. They continue to show up on my doodle sheets (and then make appearances at Doodle-A-Day.com). I’ve tweaked their looks a bit, but otherwise they’re still the same … still rocking out … and still wildly denying that they are ANYTHING like “Josie & the Pussycats.”