Friday, December 14, 2012

Krazy Kat and Ignatz

Cartoon Worlds and Gender Ambiguity
(cartoons have)...always carried the potential for divisions of human/animal, naked/clothed, child/adult, and male/female, playing both and neither as the situation warrants. The characters’ fluidity allows not only for transgressive readings of gender roles, as Sam Abel (1995) argues, but implicit or explicit articulations of same-sex identity, behavior, and desire."

Sometimes when you use quotes like this ("have always carried"), people say that you are misinterpreting older material by filtering it through a modern day context. So, to give an early example of a “male” duo and to show how long the tradition of cartoon ambiguity has existed for I wanted to take a quick look at a newspaper comic strip that started in 1913: Krazy Kat.

The comic was set against gorgeous ever changing desert scenery, as surreal and ambiguous as the title character of the strip. The story followed the adventures of Krazy who is madly in love with Ignatz, a mouse who detests the attention and throws bricks at the cat’s head. Krazy thinks the bricks are a sign of Ignatz devotion. The dog Officer of their town (in love with Krazy), constantly tries to arrest Ignatz for his crimes.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Diamanda Hagan

I love smart critiques of media: I'm a fan of  sporks, and internet reviewers, MST3K - the whole shebang. So, I thought I'd do a post on one of my favorite reviewers, God-Empress of Haganistan herself -Diamanda Hagan.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

ParaNorman and Proving Me Wrong

Anyone remember on June 24th when I first started my Cartoon Closet series? I wrote:

Characters in children’s cartoons don’t just default straight, they can’t be LGBTQ. Their options are straight, or asexual/non-sexual.

And up to this point, it has been true, there has never been an out gay or lesbian character in a western children's cartoon. There have been intended gay/lesbian characters but they are always shrouded in innuendo or hints (or some guise of humor) that can easily be dismissed.

And a few weeks later I followed with this post:

Despite this, within western children’s media, homosexuality is an unspeakable word. Gay coded characters may be flamboyant or drop punch line hints. Consistent coding of their sexuality might lack the subtlety of an animated red arrow with flashing lights spelling G-A-Y. Yet if pushed for confirmation, studios still shy away from saying the obvious -even as their target audience becomes increasingly discerning.

Guess who just proved me wrong?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Kubert Pencilling Course: Review

I realize it's been ages since I finished the Kubert Penciling course, and I have yet to actually sit down and write out how I felt about the class. Considering that my first blog on the topic is one of the ones I get the most hits on, it's about time I gave a final review for anyone who might care. So, here we go.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Health Insurance Survey Hates Whole Milk

It's that time of the year again - time to sign up for health insurance (I feel like I should preface this by saying I love my job and am grateful for my benefits-) but every time I fill out my survey I am frustrated by the dietary questions.

For some reason whole milk, butter and “full-fat” ie normal cheese is lumped in with fried foods, ice cream, transfat, and chips… WHY WOULD THEY DO THAT?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Unintended Double Reading

Unintended Double Reading – and why it is culturally significant:

Superman #130 (1987)
In which Clark and Lois dress up
 as Batman and Robin, and make out.
Batman and Robin may not have been intended as a gay couple, but the outing of their characters in the Seduction of the Innocent had a lasting cultural affect. It increased censorship in comic books through the creation of the comic code, educated parents on the possibility of intended gay coding in children’s media, and it affected the way society viewed the two characters identities.

I think this is one of the most interesting parts of unintended double reading - how society creatively critiques the media it consumes. The Ambiguously Gay Duo is perhaps the most obvious example of a riff on Batman and Robin’s ambiguous relationship – but it has also been examined on shows like the live action Tick and Venture Bros. The controversy has become such a well known part of the characters history that DC has on occasion (subtly) poked fun at this reading of their characters.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Siren Calling 14 and 15

Double Coded and Gay Coded Characters

Double Coding:

Double coding is used to create a subtext or second reading of a text that speaks to a multiple audiences or sensabilites. This is very common in the use of adult humor or subtext intended for the older audience of a childrens show. It is also used to target multiple demographics of a show, while not ostracizing the main market.

Because of the sensitivity of what is considered appropriate on children’s shows double coding can also be used to establish aspects of a character that if stated explicitly would not make it past the censors. "Questionable" aspects of a character will be consistently, and carefully coded over the course of seasons.

In Hey Arnold! Helga's mother Miriam was coded as an alcoholic. She suffers from depression, she is disoriented and irresponsable (will forget to pack her child's lunch). She is found "asleep" i.e. passed out in different places in the home. She is often seen with a smoothie in hand (or making one), clutching at her beverage as she slurs her words, and saying "I need a smoothie," when things get rough.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cartoon Closet Part 2

Part 2: They Totally Exist (but not officially)

First published in 1953, Seduction of the Innocent by Fredric Wertham discusses the negative influence (in the form of violence and sexual perversion) of comic books on children. Chapter Seven, I want to be a Sex Maniac, deals with the sexualizing of children, child prostitution, and homosexuality. While the section of the chapter focusing on homosexuality is only a handful of pages long, it is famous for the outing of Batman and Robin. Wertham was not the first to suggest the Dynamic Duo could be seen as a gay couple, but he was the first to so publicly proclaim it:

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cartoon Closet Part 1

Part 1: Being Straight Doesn't Count as Sexual

Until 2012 (when ParaNorman featured the first out character in a western animated children's cartoon) children's cartoon characters didn't just default straight, they couldn't be LGBTQ. Their options were straight, or asexual/non-sexual.
Because homosexuality was compared to the act of sex, instead of “relationships” or “love” it was considered inappropriate for children in a way straight relationships were not. This was very apparent in the  Sugartime episode of Postcards From Buster.
Controversy arose when Buster visited two family in Vermont that had lesbian parents. The focus of the show was not on the parents, but on the children and on the making of maple syrup. The words lesbian and homosexual were never used, and the only time the episode focused on the parents being in a same-sex relationship was when Buster looked at family photos with one of the families daughters. He asked her “So Gillian’s your mom too?” “She’s my stepmom,” said the daughter, to which Buster replied “Boy, that’s a lot of moms.”

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows

In the ballroom scene where Watson and Sherlock dance through a crowded room, you can see the other party guests deep in conversation with eachother, or dancing also. There is only one background person who actually notices them. His reaction: single eyebrow raise.

Best extra ever.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What's in Your Hot Dog ; )

...also, the mooscles mom has the same set of ikea knives I do.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fennec Fox and Art Update

I just discovered that some one had left a testamonial at GCU about one of my cards. Woot! Sales have been pretty consistent but not great, about one or two cards a month, so I've been trying to add new designs to widen the types of cards available in my shop.
I also got my first sale at Etsy. Which seems crazy, since I just opened the store a week ago, and I've only had like 30 store views...but I guess all it takes is having the right person see your stuff. I'm quite excited, and made a new dream journal to fill the empty place of the one that sold.

This one has a little fennec fox on the girls shoulder, for no other reason than that they are too adorable for words. Apparently it is legal to keep them as pets here.They are super friendly but really smart and high energy. I may have been watching a silly amount of youtube videos about them right before I painted the new journal.

...and I thought my kitty was a handful.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Even More Etsy Journals

More Etsy. Now to give it a few weeks and gauge whats getting hits and if any sales come : )

Friday, June 1, 2012

Upcycled DVD Journals

Upcycled journals made from DVD backers that I bought when Blockbuster went out of business here. They turned out really fun. But Etsy has a large selection of upcycled journals so it will be interesting to see how these fare. On the Kiki's journal I tried lining it with scrapbook paper, and it turned out really nice, I wish I had thought to to do that on all of them, I guess I'll have to on the next batch.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


I stayed up way too late last night, but on the plus side, I finally got my Etsy store up and running. There is only one thing listed, but more to come : )

They list everything for 4 months, so I figure that will give me a good gauge on whether or not anyone wants to buy the random stuff I make ; )

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Foxx and Student Debt

"I went through school, I worked my way through, it took me seven years, I never borrowed a dime of money. He borrowed a little bit because we both were totally on our own when we went to college, totally. [...] I have very little tolerance for people who tell me that they graduate with $200,000 of debt or even $80,000 of debt because there’s no reason for that. We live in an opportunity society and people are forgetting that. I remind folks all the time that the Declaration of Independence says “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
-Virginia Foxx

For me numbers speak pretty loud, so I decided to do a quick breadown. I'm looking at a student who has to pay for school themselves. These numbers were taken from the PSU (Portland State University) website for IN STATE students:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Disney Loves Starbucks (plus new sirens)

"Disney said each Starbucks location will have a unique theme to blend in with its theme-park surroundings. The California Adventure location, for instance, will be located in an eatery called the "Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Café," meant to evoke Los Angeles in the 1920s. The store will be built with Spanish/Mexican architecture and the Starbucks "baristas" brewing coffee will wear period costumes." (Link)

It's true! The Magical Kingdom used to be one of the few places Starbucks did not live, but no longer. I'm curious if their going to make special themed drinks like the Mickey Mouse Marble Mocha Machiatto. Or the Mmmmm for short. They could totally draw Mickey face with chocolate on the foam.

Are they going to be open super early hours so that Belle can get her pre shift latte? What other exciting costumes are they going to wear? Will they still have their green aprons? Are they going to draw Mickey Hats on all the the sleeves? Is Ariel secretly best friends with the Starbucks Siren? Are they going to have crossover merchandise? Well?

I guess I'll just have to make the coffee pilgrimage to Disneyland one of these days, and have all my questions answered. Also, this was my inspiration for Siren 12 and 13 (yes it's supposed to be Pleakley and those are poorly drawn mosquitoes to the left... don't judge).

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sumi Ink and Fish Dreams

One of my best friends moved on short notice. Sad for me (in that selfish kind of way) but very exciting for her. She is road tripping to her new home, so I made her a travel journal to write down all her adventures in. Painted with Sumi Ink, and then colored with colored pencils. I lined the inside with a map.  

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Friday, May 4, 2012

Siren Calling 10

By Some Coincidence

Another Threadless design contest, this one for a Niel Gaiman comic book style one:

That day, the saucers landed. Hundreds of them, golden,
Silent, coming down from the sky like great snowflakes,
And the people of Earth stood and stared as they descended,
Waiting, dry-mouthed to find what waited inside for us
And none of us knowing if we would be here tomorrow
But you didn't notice it because
That day, the day the saucers came, by some coincidence,
Was the day that the graves gave up their dead
And the zombies pushed up through soft earth
or erupted, shambling and dull-eyed, unstoppable,
Came towards us, the living, and we screamed and ran,
But you did not notice this because

Monday, April 30, 2012

Threadless Update

"H is for Hipster" was declined again, but just saw another design with a similar idea and the same, obviously my idea wasn't very original on that one.

But, "It's Elementary" is in the running, voting doesn't start for a few more days, but I'm really excited about this design *fingers crossed* : )

Saturday, April 28, 2012

It's Elementary (it's a pun, get it ; )

My second entry in the sesame street threadless design challenge. I think it's pretty obvious who my favorite characters were when I was little. In this design Bert and Ernie are dressed up as Sherlock and Watson, and working on solving the great case of the rubber ducky.

Friday, April 27, 2012

H is for Hipster: Second Try

Here's my second take on the design for Threadless.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Phoenix's Eggs: Nom Nom

Phoenix’s Egg Farm 

I was reading online about the differences between Free Range and Cage Free Eggs… and I discovered some unfortunate information about the lack of regulations. This in turn led me to a great search of local farms in the areas. I’m definitely a portlandia Portlander because I saw all those pictures of happy chickens on a pasture and I wanted to support that farm.
The eggs were all different colors and huge. You can see in the picture, it's not that my hand is abnormally small it's just that the egg is ginormous.

I had one egg left in my fridge, a Trader Joe's Free Range Egg. So, I set two of the Phoenix Eggs in the carton to compare. I thought it was funny that the Trader Joe egg was labeled LARGE, but looks so tiny in comparison. Also, the coloring and texture of the eggs were completely different. I'm not sure how to put it, it was like the Trader Joe eggs look mass produced and identical to each other, despite also being "free range."

This egg tasted crazy @_@ I love sunnyside up eggs, but normally I use salt and pepper, with this one I didn't need to. It had a much stronger flavor then I'm used to, and the yolk was really buttery and rich.
....downside. I have never spent so much on a carton of eggs. $7. For serious. To give context, I live on a tight budget. I try and spend twenty dollars a week on groceries, and then cook a big batch of a few simple meals to last the whole week. Since these eggs were almost half my budget (yikes) I decided to make quiche this week. But I bet it is going to be the best quiche ever : )

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Siren Calling 9

H is for Hipster

Bert:     Ernie. know you're talking to a banana?
Ernie:     No, Bert. Actually I’m being ironic.
A T-shirt design for a threadless contest. Basically a hipster parody of one of my favorite Bert and Ernie sketches from my childhood ; )

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Siren Calling 1

Hoping to make this a series, we'll see ; )

Thursday, February 16, 2012