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.

Monday, December 31, 2012

The Comic Critic Reviews Food of the Gods

It is a scientific fact that human brains take a long time to develop. The frontal lobes that are in charge of reason and cognitive thinking don’t become fully formed until we reach our twenties. This explains why teenagers make lousy choices and show poor judgment. It also explains why, for years, I thought Food of the Gods was a great film. Perhaps part of it had to do with my favorite horror B-movie from earlier in my childhood being The Killer Shrews. I guess there was something about giant rodents that just spoke to me. Watching Food of the Gods as an adult, I’m more than a little horrified, not only at my youthful bad judgment, but also at the treatment of rats during this film. I must warn the would-be viewer that you’re most likely going to see footage of rat snuffage on an epic scale. As a kid, I was very into grisly carnage. As an adult, I only like grisly carnage if it involves latex and dyed Karo syrup.

Tonight I will be part of Tacoma's First Night celebration. The CLAW will be at Brooks Dental Studio, 732 Broadway, Suite 101 during the course of the evening. We will be drawing people as Snakes in honor of 2013 being the year of the snake. There were folks lined up last year. I'm hoping to make up for last year when I couldn't attend due to the flu.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Comic Critic Reviews The Exorcist

I’ve taken some artistic license with my personal history in this strip. Here is what is true: I wasn’t allowed to see The Exorcist. My mother used Tammy Cox as an excuse, and that is represented in the strip, verbatim. What I can’t remember is which movie we ended up going to see instead. I also can’t remember if it was my father or my brother Randy to whom my mother gave the instructions. I do remember going to see The Sting with the entire family. And since The Sting came out within weeks of The Exorcist, it makes for good story continuity. What is also true is I didn’t see The Exorcist in its entirety until shortly before my 50th birthday. Like most of the public, I’d seen snippets of the most famous and parodied scenes. And like most of the public, I let that be enough to carry me through the years. However, after having seen all the sequels, it seemed only proper that I put some time aside to experience The Exorcist in its entirety, and I’m really glad I did. It has a pace that you don’t become aware of until you’re halfway through, at which point you realize that it’s relentless—and won’t let up until it’s over. Everything about the movie is well-honed. By the end, every scene feels like it will cut you in some horrible, unending way. Maybe I wouldn’t have slept for a week if I’d seen The Exorcist in 1973, but it would have been worth it.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Regional Small Business Forum

Last Friday I attended a Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber meeting. I took some sketchnotes of the speakers of the Regional Small Business Forum. While some of the news was bleak, a fair amount of it was instructive and reassured me that businesses in the region are working to make things easier for everybody. I ran into Wade Stewart and was pleased to introduce him to Cris Lafferty. It seems that everywhere I go in Tacoma I run into Wade. Stewart runs Stewart and Sons Computer Services. This was the first time I met Cris Lafferty, but I felt that we've known each other for ages. Perhaps it's his extensive history in graphic design. It was extremely comfortable talking old-shop with him. Cris runs a company called Creative Resources.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Return of Stickman #1454

This is a follow-up on "The Walking Dead" related strip I did yesterday. I'm looking forward to this weekend. I have a couple of drawing project I need to finalize. Putting things to bed always feels good. I'm looking forward to putting myself to bed tonight.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Return of Stickman #1453

It won't take much of a google search to find numerous news articles on the story that inspired this strip.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Comic Critic Reviews The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music was a tremendous blockbuster. For a short time, The Sound of Music displaced Gone with the Wind as the number one blockbuster of all time.* What made The Sound of Music not only the most widely seen musical ever, but also reach the pinnacle of success? It could be argued that the music is infectiously catchy, or that the movie could be seen as the perfect family film. But neither of those reasons is enough to explain its success. I know the true secret of The Sound of Music: it’s nice. It’s not merely nice, it’s nice squared. It’s nice on a supremely sublime level. There’s no crass potty humor trying to instigate a laugh. The move plays the characters straight. They’re honest, joyful and pink. Their flaws are only that they feel deeply and are trying to find their way to express that feeling. Even the Nazis are dealt with in a nice way. The Sound of Music is a success because it shows us how we want the world to be—courteous, polite, nice, and filled with music from the joy of it all.

*Domestic Gross - adjusted for inflation.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Comic Critic Reviews The Godfather

Everybody is always going on about how The Godfather is a fantastic gangster movie. And, yes, I do agree; The Godfather is a cinematic masterpiece. But I wanted my review to remind the readers that other terrific gangster movies exist. In fact, an argument could be made that the decades’ accumulation of movies featuring rackets, syndicates, and mob bosses educated the public enough about organized crime. When presented with a story line of an ethnic group assimilating its heritage into a new identity revolving around American capitalism, it could be easily understood in the setting of a gangster movie. Part of the reason The Godfather was so successful is that the book was well researched and finely written. The director, arguing with the studio every step of the way, created a rich view of the Corleone world with stellar performances, thoughtful sets, incredible sound, and a haunting musical score. The Godfather is one of those rare exceptions where the movie transcends the reading experience. Indeed, the movie has such strength that four decades later, The Godfather retains the same viewing power as it did upon its release, and consistently remains prominently placed as one of the One Hundred Best Movies of All Time. But would it hurt you to watch a James Cagney or Edgar G. Robinson movie, too?