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.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Comic Critic's Movie Review of Close Encounters of the Third Kind

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Close Encounters came out in 1977 the same year Voyager I and Voyager II were launched into space. Everybody was excited about the possibilities of space and what discoveries would be made out there.  Folks were looking up at the sky and dreaming about man’s venture into the cosmos. Close Encounters tapped into our deep desires to explore space. Steven Spielberg guides audiences into a search rather than presenting an invasion underway. First it’s a search for answers to why we are seeing what we are seeing. Then it becomes an urge, a desire to express or explain what is being seen. And before you know it, audiences are filled with a grand sense of homecoming, of returning. That joy of return and exploration is what powers Close Encounters. A lot has been said about the movie’s special effects. An obvious child of the ’70s with its lack of home computers and portable technology, they’re wonderful, practical special effects that still hold up today. But you don’t really notice the tech; what you do notice is its vibrating core message of exploration and hope which continues to make Close Encounters a great movie.

 [J1]Space is used twice in the same sentence. Changed to avoid that.

 [J2]Deleted to clarify the meaning.

 [J3]Changed because “the public” seems to remove both you and the readers from the rest of us.

 [J4]“Hungry” changed to “deep” to strengthen the sentence structure and meaning. Another way to say this is “…tapped into our deep hunger to explore space.” I think that this is a stronger sentence.

 [J5]“Rather than feeling that an invasion was underway, Steven…” seems to mean that Spielberg may have felt that an invasion was underway.

 [J6]Changed to “audiences” to reflect that audiences everywhere felt this rather than only one audience. You may want to substitute “movie-goers” for “audiences.”

 [J7]Moved to strengthen your meaning (I hope).

Friday, April 4, 2014

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Return of Stickman #1533

The Return of Stickman is back from it's unofficial vacation. My schedule became so busy that I completely removed Stickman production from the roster. I now have time to breath and get back on schedule. I've got some interesting links to share in the days ahead as well.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Return of Stickman #1532

I was cleaning off my desk and under a pile of paper I found the dialog for this strip penciled into place. I have no idea why I didn't finish and use it at the time. The strip is based on a news article that bobbed to the surface last year. Like so many of the stories that inspire me, it has since sunk out of sight. However, I'm tempted to do a follow up. In fact, the idea for it has formed like a crystal in my head. It will have to wait a little while. I've a number of strips lined up already.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Return of Stickman #1531

Every night I have vivid dreams. I would love to post all of them in the strip. But, that might bore people completely to death. So I try to limit showing a dream strip to maybe once a year or so. I thought about making the gag line of the strip a detail from the dream: "The cold keeps them from growing."

You might have noticed that I'm sometimes forgetful about updating this blog. If you want to see the strips you've missed, links to them can be found on my main website at

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Comic Critic Reviews Animal House

Animal House is the frat-house movie. Its success launched a wave of imitations and variations. But when it comes to portraying the juvenile behavior of young men lurching their way through college as they encounter freedom outside the nest, no other film does as good a job. What makes Animal House great is an underlying theme that the heroes of the film were losers and misfits before they got to college; once there, they were still losers and misfits to such an extent they were expelled. During all of this they do one thing: party. One of my favorite moments of Animal House is at the end of the movie when viewers read what happens to our heroes in the years to come. Each of them found a life filled with revelry, and you know that they did it just like they had in college. That was the main theme of Animal House, to live life as a party its moral. Of the frat movies that followed, the weaker ones latched onto gross-out scenes or crass antics. The better ones managed to touch a theme similar to Animal House. The wonderful fount of revelry portrayed in Animal House gives the movie its legs and sets it above the rest. It’s just as funny, crass, and entertaining now as the day it was released.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Comic Critic Reviews Ben Hur

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Every time I mentioned doing a review of Ben Hur, somebody would say, “I thought you already did.” The perception that I’d already  reviewed it got me to wondering about just what my fans might have expected to see. I felt daunted when I finally decided to tackle the strip.

I truly loved this movie as a kid. I saw Ben Hur as the story of two good childhood friends torn apart by the roles ancient society imposed upon them, set to an epic scale with all the trappings and hardships of that age. The message of forgiveness took a backseat until the end of the picture. As an adult, I understand that many would read it as a homoerotic tale of unrequited love. But I can still see the story as I did when I was a kid—a  man adventure story where the hero is thrown down by circumstance and then climbs back up through one riveting scene after another. For this strip, I wanted to lace that innocence with a touch of sexual innuendo. And the final panel pays homage to the skimpy appearance Jesus made in Ben Hur. Regardless of the carnage and the screams, I still think it’s a great family film.