Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Not-So-Small World

Back on January 1st, I posted THIS, about a few great cartoonists who had been threatening to join the Salty 'Ham Cartooneestas for a long time, but who hadn't gotten around to it. Well, one of them just did! Y'all probably all know his work from Birmingham Weekly, but now you can call him your fellow SHC, too. Welcome, Tom Briscoe!

Heads Up!

Here's a call for submissions from the Alabama Psychological Association, with a May 3rd deadline. The top 20 designs will receive a stipend of $700.

The idea is, you decorate one of these heads, and it gets sent on tour around Alabama with information on its pedestal, about various mental health topics. Read this B'ham News article, or find more info HERE.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Recent Willmore

Hey folks, our fellow SHC Andrew Willmore has a couple of nice new designs on his blog. So check 'em out and leave him some comments.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

local library picks

The library has comics. Here's what I've been reading:

Asterios Polyp (David Mazzuchelli) - How can you not be curious to read this book, what with the glowing reviews, the "8 to 10 years in the making" legend, and Mazzuchelli's reputation for being right at the razor's edge of treating comics as a "serious art form"?

I mean, don't you want to see if he succeeds or flops on his face?

It almost makes me feel bad that I'm not a complete and unabashed fan. I admire it a great deal, it's impressive, I'm glad to have read it---but I wouldn't go so far as some of the reviewers who can find no fault with it. One reviewer noted that while it's largely about a cold, analytical protagonist, told in an often schematic, hyper-intellectualized way, that Mazzuchelli nevertheless undercuts all this with more intuitive, organic sections. And he pokes fun at his rigid, uptight protagonist. This is all true, but the overwhelming impression, despite the book's lovely design and many virtuoso performances, is still to me this kind of schematic quality that's very distancing.

But that's a minor fault given the book's high ambitions that it mostly seems to bring off.
Available at the downtown central library.

Stitches (David Small) - Small apparently had a uniquely bizarre and even horrifying childhood, and he confronts this with blunt honesty and a great deal of style and wit. His loose drawings nevertheless seem dead-on in their suggestion of the characters that populated Small's world.
Available at the Avondale branch.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Virtual Opening - Comic Jams '09 Gallery

Hello to all Salty 'Hams . . .


I've just opened two more Online Galleries -- Comic Jam '08 - The Secret Sorcerer; and Comic Jams '09. You guys have read all this stuff already, but it's nifty to have it all collected in the SHC online galleries section. The Comic Jams '09 Gallery has links to 13 comic jams, drawn entirely by our fellow SHC's. The full credits are included, along with links to the artists' online homes. Go check it out, and let me know what you think!

(We've done a couple more comic jams in 2010, but they'll have to wait 'til there's a Comic Jams '10 Gallery).


3-page short comic trying to make fun of "OnStar", if you've heard of that..

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Paint the Town Red

I reported last month about the Red Cross' fundraiser, Paint the Town Red. Our fellow SHC Kirk Creel submitted these two pieces, and apparently they'll be projecting at least one of them onto the buildings of downtown Birmingham tonight (April 17th, 2010). Sounds like a groovy event!

Flower Storm

'70's Black Light Poster

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Turtle Clock

I was asked to create a face for a child's clock, and here it is. Whaddya think?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cartoon by: Rosko - defunct?

As you all know, our fellow SHC Chris Rosko has had his strip printed in the Birmingham Weekly for some time now. It's called Cartoon by: Rosko (year 1, year 2, year 3). Sadly, it seems that this era has come to an end. I recently read this blog post about it on Rosko's myspace:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Current mood:Not nearly as complainy as this sounds

So, as I told my one(1) fan (who may wish to remain anonymous) and another stranger/friend, who was foolhardy enough to ask how I was (James JAJAC go friend him and watch his hilarious movie), I am recently demoted from semi-professional comic stripper to unpaid unpublished amateur doodler.

This is as a result of my long time friend and editor of the Birmingham Weekly resigning her post of ten years to go on the dole. Hers was a thankless job and I don't blame her one bit, but my inspirado has taken a serious blow and I am left only with my meager MySpace page as home for my comic.

As of this writing, Year Three has only 2 strips thus far. I will continue on periodically doing them, so please, no setting yourselves aflame in the town square in abject despair.

However, like any good artist, I am always happy to accept money or care packages as validation for my "art." So, if you, or a clone of you, or someone near you, or someone you don't even know, is in need of a screwhead cartoonist with enough of a college education to drop out of college, a sliding scale of morals and taste, shockingly low computer and typing skills for his generation, a well-groomed mustache, and the ability to write long rambling sentences, I am the man for the job. Also, I am good at creating titles for things, and would be a master Onomatopoeianist if such a designation existed.

Currently I am the night crew manager for a grocery store with the worst karma imaginable, where I work hard for pennies and the spite of my co-workers, neither of which is contributing much towards my effort of getting the hell out of my parents house, where i've been languishing for what is nearing an unbelievable 2 years now.

I would make a great "kept man" (LADIES ONLY, please), or human house cat and am willing to relocate. No paper training necessary! I make a great White Russian, and only burn myself once per cooking of frozen pizzas, and microwaving foods is very rarely problematic.

Anywrought, thats enough for one blog I think. Thanks for whatever You are out there doing. We couldn't do it without You.

. . . Phew! Rosko's post paints a vivid picture of what life can be like for a cartoonist in Alabama, where there are no big illustration or animation industries.

Hang in there, Rosko! If you keep drawing your strip, we'll keep reading it!

Maybe you could mount a campaign to be reinstated at the paper. Do you think, if they got a slew of emails, that they'd put you back in? Perhaps with the help of the Salty 'Ham's mailing list and facebook list, you could orchestrate such a slew.

Instead of posting your comics on myspace, I might suggest putting Cartoon: by Rosko up online using As all the SHC's probably know by now, I've recently posted a big batch of semi-secret comic sketches (if any of you haven't read them, let me know and I'll send you the link). I've found smackjeeves to be quite handy: It's free. You don't have to be real savvy to figure out how to work it. It has a bunch of different templates to choose from. You automatically have First, Back, Next, and Latest buttons on your comics. And there's a community of web comics creators on smackjeeves, who might stumble upon your strip through the site. So that might bring in a few extra readers. I haven't tried other places, except for, so I can't really compare. But it seems pretty good, to me. In case you're interested.

Salty 'Ham Slam 7 - On Reflection

Our seventh official meeting was strikingly different from those that have come before. We met at the J again, but this time it was a Thursday evening, instead of a Sunday afternoon. I should have polled folks, to see whether that was a good time for everybody, because apparently it wasn't! The only members who made it were Tim Rocks, Ed Abernathy, and me, Chris Garrison.

However, the low turnout resulted in deeper conversations, leading to a few revelations. We discussed deadbeat clients, clients who ask for endless revisions, ink cartridge hassles, systematic societal problems, etc. And it came out that Ed is a former prop comic! He traveled the circuit for years, back in the day, sharing the stage with comedians you've heard of. And he even opened for Carrot Top! Crazy. Ed said that maybe he could get some of his contraptions working and bring them to a future slam, so that's one more reason you should attend.

With two seasoned caricaturists present, we should have spent time drawing each other. I could've honed my skills (or lack thereof) at caricature. But it didn't occur to me to organize that, because I wanted to try out a new feature of the Salty 'Ham Slam: The Gauntlet.

Nobody brought anything to run through the Gauntlet, but I was ready for that. I suggested we critique the baked potato mascot from Al's Deli & Grill. I love Al's, but I don't love their mascot. He's way too similar to Mr. Potato Head. And since he's seen every day, by so many people on Birmingham's Southside, he sort of represents our cartoonists' community . . . poorly.

So we put him on the chopping block. We dissected him and put him back together. Click this image to see the original mascot, the sketches I made as we explored the potato's issues, and the final outcome.

I wouldn't present this to Al's; they're probably married to their current potato. But I think we all learned a thing or two, through this little exercise, so . . . You REALLY should have been there!

All tolled, everybody enjoyed the slam, and much chortling was exchanged. So join us, won't you, for the NEXT Salty 'Ham Slam! (as yet unscheduled) (official members and invited guests only, please)

And you can look back at previous slams, here:

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Salty 'Ham Slam - Reminder

Hey, SHC members, don't forget -- Our 7th Salty 'Ham Slam is coming up soon. If you didn't receive your email alerting you to the secret time and place, just tell me. And click HERE for more details.

I'm hoping we'll have a good group this time around, but that can only happen if YOU arrive with bells on. Comment below (or email me) to let us all know if you're coming. Perhaps your enthusiasm will be contagious, encouraging others to show up as well.

Read about the fun we had at SLAM 1, SLAM 2, SLAM 3, SLAM 4, SLAM 5, and SLAM 6 -- then imagine that, only better!