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.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Comic Critic Reviews The Expendables

Make no mistake: The Expendables is a guys’ movie. Your ears are going to hear far more tendons snapping, bones crunching, knives slicing, bodies impacting, guns firing, blood splatting, and explosions exploding (accompanied with anticipatory music) than they will dialog. What dialog there is I found generally snarky and lighthearted when it’s not busy filling itself with clichés. Don’t get me wrong; clichés are good when it comes to guy movies. Guns. Explosions. Grunting. Men want you to just keep heaping that stuff on the plate like bacon on their breakfasts. It might not be good for you, but it tastes good. This is not a date movie. It is not a chick flick. The Bechdet Test doesn’t even appear on this movie’s radar. In fact, there are only four women in it. The first is crying. The second has to be asked her name. The third, when she’s not crying, draws pictures of women crying. And the fourth is listed in the credits as “Old Woman Bartender.” I spent last weekend at Crypticon. You can see a few of the photos I took, along with photos other people took, at Flickr's Crypticon Group. This coming Saturday, June 2nd, I will be at the Olympia Comic Festival. I hope to see a lot of South Sounders there.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Comic Critic Reviews The Da Vinci Code

When I went to draw this review, I desperately wanted to tell the story of how I grew up Catholic and spent many hours with our very clever priest, Father Dugan, doing research for a Boy Scout religious medal. In fact, we continued our conversations about history, theology, ethics, and morals long after I received that medal. I wanted to turn on its ear the nasty mental picture most people currently have of a knowledgeable priest spending hours mentoring a boy. The trouble was I just couldn’t do it in nine panels. And the strip’s storyline barely commented on the movie. As much as I enjoy including my personal history in these reviews, they should at least hold some shred of being a review. I compromised by hashing over various forms of the public’s perception surrounding the movie. The result was a strip more on topic, containing nothing of the story I so desperately wanted to tell about the wonderful time I spent with Father Dugan. See? Your mind went all-nasty again.

And, yes, I now know that car from the movie, to which I refer to in panel nine, was not in fact an electric car but a smart car. But I stupidly thought it was an electric car at the time so that’s how I drew it.

This last weekend I attended the Spokane Comicon. You can see pictures I took at the event here. This coming weekend you can find me at Crypticon from May 25th through the 27th. And the following weekend you can find me at the Olympia Comic Festival on Saturday, June 2nd.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Comic Critic Reviews Star Wars

I kid you not, the first time I heard the words “Star Wars” was when a classmate was looking over my shoulder while I was drawing. He was incredulous that I was drawing a fantasy sci-fi scene without the movie as an inspiration. I was immediately intrigued—and without any forethought tried to see it that night. I had no idea what a huge phenomenon it already was. That first attempt to see Star Wars was thwarted: a sold-out theater. I was stuck listening to odd, muffled noises that wormed their way through the exit doors. When I finally got to see the movie later that year, it was after my entire family, including our live-in foreign exchange student Yuki Okada, had spent the whole afternoon baking under the summer sun. Since everybody has seen Star Wars by now (or should have), I thought I’d tell my lesser-known personal story. Star Wars was so popular that theaters got away with charging extra to see it. Our tickets cost an outrageous $2.75, more than 50¢ higher than the regular price. I saw the success of Star Wars’ ticket prices as a precursor to even higher ones. When I went off to college, ticket prices were firmly entrenched at $3. It says something for the industry that even with the onslaught of video rentals, video games, and online streaming, ticket prices have still crept up. But in all honesty, they barely keep up with inflation. The equivalent of a 1977 dollar today is $3.88.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Return of Stickman #1397

This is one of those things that you just know was the fault of a committee. Here is the new story that inspired the strip. And if your wondering why I changed it from Heroin to Cocaine it's because I thought it would be funnier if Dolphins, kind of hyper to begin with, were shown high on cocaine. Otherwise my strip would have read something like, "You can tell from the track marks it was Heroin."

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Return of Stickman #1396

This is the last of my "Heavy Metal Fatherhood" series. For the story that inspired this exercise in dead horse flogging click here.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Comic Critic Reviews The Hunger Games

The goal for many stories is to create empathy for the characters. Once you become emotionally invested with them, any conflict in which they’re involved takes on a large perspective. If that conflict is life or death, then that perspective is enormous. One way to create audiences’ empathy is to place them in a familiar setting without realizing they’re in a familiar setting. This is what I like about Hunger Games so much: all the ingredients of high school—the seemingly life-or-death struggle of peer pressure, the resentment of authority, the importance of fashion, the pain of romance, the sorrow of betrayal, the joy of friendship, the back-stabbing, all within an uncaring system apparently established to grind down the youth in its care to nothing. Hunger Games presents these ingredients in their most literal form. Had the story’s fundamental principal not been upheld every step of the way, this film could have easily gone south in a heartbeat. I haven’t read the series of books that inspired this movie, but I can understand why they’ve been so popular. Because I believe this is the start of a successful franchise and don’t want any spoilers, I might wait.

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Return of Stickman #1395

I meant to post this strip yesterday. Sorry about forgetting. I was a bit busy finishing off some deadlines to make room for an upcoming project. There is one more strip in this sequence coming. I'd wanted it to cap out the week. Maybe I'll post it over the weekend. Mu wa ha ha ha. Don't count on it though.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Return of Stickman #1394

Yes, this is a continuation of a couple of strips I did last week. I meant to post them all last week, but I got wonderfully busy with immediate-turn-around paying projects.