The Home of the Creative Mind

Welcome to PooBahSpiel, the online voice and home of the creative mind of Mark Monlux, Illustrator Extraordinaire. Prepare yourself for an endless regaling of art directly from the hand of this stellar artist. And brace yourself against his mighty wind of pontification. Updates are kinda weekly and show daily sketches, current projects, and other really nifty stuff.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Return of Stickman #1578

When I was sent this news article I immediately scribbled the first half of the dialog. But it's the last panel that really sells the gag.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Comic Critic Reviews "These Final Hours"

These Final Hours is an Australian film addition to the End-of-the-World genre that’s been popular the last few years. There is extreme violence and nudity, a significant amount more of naked, gyrating flesh than was seen in Ozsploitation films like Turkey Shoot. But the impression of exploitation is driven away by the depth of emotions felt by the film’s characters. These Final Hours is not a comedic treatment of the apocalypse like Seeking A Friend for the End of the World. What little humor found here is dark and elbowed out of the way: It is the story of a typical, self-centered guy who mucked about his entire life and now, with only a few hours left, is forced to realize that he has to rapidly struggle with his neglected choices about what is important in life. Viewing These Final Hours is a visceral, gut-wrenching experience filled with meaning. You are left seriously wondering just how you’d fare under the same circumstances.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Return of Stickman #1576

I drew this a couple of weeks ago. I've been very lazy about posting my stickman strips. Well, I have a few ready in the hopper so maybe you won't have to wait so long for the next one.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Comic Critic Reviews "GOG"

It’s important to remember that GOG was released in 1954, three years before Sputnik would orbit the planet. At the time, it was seen as yet another novelty movie to feature 3D special effects. As a science fiction film it tried to capture and show ideas that were foreign. And while the terminology used in the film didn’t make its way into common use, the concepts shown did come to fruition: Solar Power Stations, Solar Powered Space Stations, A Space Race, even Wi-Fi. The problem with GOG is that a ton of the “High-Tech” in the movie was shown in such an extremely hokie manner that GOG came across as silly. The ample amounts of boring stock footage didn’t help. If done better, maybe the message of the upcoming space race would have touched the audience. As it was, it was not this movie, but Sputnik flying over the heads of Americans that caused an immediate shift in our society to fast-track math and science education in public schools. Now with computers in our pockets and little kids launching satellites into space as classroom projects, GOG is nothing more than a slightly boring film, laughable for its cigarette-smoking mindset and absurdities. Just why would a top-secret underground installation have not just one, but two flamethrowers?

Do you want a sneak peak?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Comic Critic Reviews "Turkey Shoot"

In the ‘70s and ‘80s a number of organizations both inside and outside the Australian government began providing grants to encourage Australian filmmaking. To establish this system, they needed movies that showed that they could make a profit. Exploitation films showed a return in other countries. So Aussie production outfits went for the low-hanging fruit. Turkey Shoot is an excellent example. Part dystopian future, part prison camp, it used every form of “exploitation” it could think of to entice an audience with low expectations of excellence to buy a ticket. Nudity, torture, sadism, excessive violence, they were all thrown in with only the weakest of dialog and story structure to hold it together. Turkey Shoot did not do well in Australia. Nor did it fare well in the USA, where it was titled Escape 2000. However, it was a different story in England. The writers of the movie thought it would be cute to name the evil commander of the prison camp Thatcher in homage to the then prime minister of England, Margaret Thatcher. When it came time to release this dredge of a movie in England, it was renamed Blood Camp Thatcher with the hope that the name would draw audiences. It did, significantly enough that the losses in Australia and America were overcome, and the movie was successful in making a profit. Don’t be surprised if you see familiar faces in Turkey Shoot. Every actor and celebrity in Australia from the small screen to the big screen wanted to participate in founding the Australian film industry. What I find sad is how everything that was seen as over-the-top in exploitation back in the ‘70s and ‘80s has almost become standard fare in the mainstream movies of today. Oh, by the way, Turkey Shootpasses the Bechdel Test. In 2014, another Australian film named Turkey Shoot was released. There are some similarities: prisoners, dystopian future, deadly chase, etc. But it follows the influence of The Running Man more than 1982’s Turkey Shoot.

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Comic Critic Reviews "This Gun for Hire"

I was so distracted when I started to sketch this strip. I had to remind myself that I was reviewing a movie, not its history.  This Gun for Hire is a classic Noir film. So I made Noir the theme of my strip. But there is so much more in This Gun for Hire than just being Noir that I want to talk about the elements that made this movie a hit. The director, Frank Tuttle, was known for his work on comedy and Noir, so there are light bits of humor that come across as honest. Our heroine, played by Veronica Lake, looks marvelous throughout because Edith Head was in charge of her wardrobe.  While Robert Preston, an actor who would be popular in a large number of films, was cast as the leading man, it would be Alan Ladd who would steal this movie in a role that made his career. The screen chemistry between Ladd and Lake would be captured in later films. Then there’s Laird Cregar. This film is filled with lots of strong character actors. I love character actors. And I love it when their talent is recognized and they are taken out of character roles. Cregar was just such an actor. His talent was undeniable, and his onscreen presence brought a film to life. He was on his way up. If you’re wondering why he isn’t a household name, it’s because he died tragically at the young age of 31 in 1944. This is why I was getting distracted. Everyone involved with this production did good work and This Gun for Hire’s success was because of that good work. Oh, I nearly forgot to mention that the movie poster for This Gun for Hire’s movie poster is a stellar design that has been emulated many times. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Comic Critic Reviews "Stranger than Paradise"

The date I went to see Stranger than Paradise was one of the, if not the worst, dating experiences of my life. The bleak, dark humor of the movie didn’t help the situation. If anything, the movie only amplified the confused and disjointed emotions I felt that evening. Going to a movie with happy friends and family can create a memorable experience that fills your heart with joy every time you think of that film. Unfortunately, a regrettable outing to the theater can also produce a strong negative association with a film. My take on Stranger than Paradise is heavily swayed by the sheer anguish I felt that evening. Never had I hoped so hard for a movie to carry me away somewhere else. Unfortunately for me, Stranger than Paradise’s theme was all about being stuck right where you were—forever. Oh, god. It felt like forever. The only way I could review this movie was by drawing just a small sliver of the pain of that miserable, horrible evening.

It was only after I was putting the final touches on this strip that I realized I already reviewed this movie back in 2005! Apparently the rating the movie received suffered with age. Also, I got the release date wrong last time.