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, December 19, 2013

The Return of Stickman #1524

Have fun tracking down the news story that inspired this strip. In the news article I read everybody was named except for the son. That little omission set me to pondering. What if the son was a minor? What if he was being bullied into going along? The real story of this strip is not the man’s crazy obsession that the reason his wife would divorce him is because she’s possessed, but the silent passenger in the car. I hope you picked up on it.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Return of Stickman #1522

I've been slacking off this month. My goal was to concentrate less on getting a cartoon out every day and more on working on my books. What ended up happening was working less on daily cartoons and doing more work for clients. I suppose that's good for the bottom line. I definitely plan on slacking off next week. But I'm going to do my best to feel the rest of this week with strips.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Twitter Tip #7

Twitter Tip #7

There are two ways I use Favoriting. One is as a bookmark, so I can go back and find a Tweet I found very useful. The other is to use it as a signal device. The person who sent out the tweet may still have their default settings set to receive a notification when a Favorite is awarded. If I like a tweet, but I don’t want to retweet it—maybe it doesn’t fit my themes—I’ll make it a Favorite so the person who sends it knows that I appreciated their tweet. Here’s the cool thing: when you unFavorite a tweet, the sender of the tweet doesn’t get a notification, so they won’t think ill of you.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Twitter Tip #6

Twitter Tip #6

Follow those you retweet.
Retweeting can be seen as a referral to your followers to follow the creator of the tweet. That referral will have meaning when your followers see that you are also following the creator. Retweets have both the Twitter address of the creator and the person who retweet – which makes it simple to check them out before Following them.

Silent partnerships grow this way. I post cartoons via my tweets. When I get a notification that there is a fellow cartoonist out there retweeting my work, I make a point of investigating their profile and past tweets. I often end up retweeting their cartoons —as long as they follow my themes. You will create a number of Twitter partnerships this way. If there is space, add a comment in the message before the retweet. And never retweet yourself.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Twitter Tip #5

Twitter Tip #5

Twitter has a whole section in its settings dedicated to controlling email notifications, over twenty check boxes. I have nearly all of these settings turned on. The reason is that I enjoy the notifications. Each one informs me in some small way what I’m doing right. I can even glean ideas from them on improving my Twittering skills. If you’re new to Twitter I’d suggest you turn on all the notifications until you get into the groove of things. The only one I don’t have turned on is to receive Top Tweets and Stories.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Twitter Tip #4

Twitter Tip #4
Remember in Tip #2 where I said you should review followers for the content of their Tweets? When folks following you tweet something new or interesting that touches on one of your themes, it’s a ready resource for retweeting.

Retweet only items that fit within the selected themes of your tweets—you want your tweets, whether they be original or retweets, to reflect your brand.

When you retweet somebody, the creator of the Tweet gets a notice. If the Tweet has been retweeted several times, its creator and the person who retweeted it to you will get a notice. By retweeting, in essence you are recommending that your followers follow its creator. Everybody loves a good referral. You will find that those you retweet will seek you out to follow you.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Twitter Tip #3

Twitter Tip #3
Select themes for your tweets.
I post on a variety of topics, but there is a method to the madness. I’m a cartoonist, graphic designer, professional freelancer, foodie, humorist, and civic-minded individual – so I make sure that all of my tweets follow those topics. There is a slew of other things I’m interested in, or dislike – but I don’t twitter about those. Twitter is a marketing tool and I’m very conscience of the brand it’s creating for me. I stick to my core themes. One of my core themes is humorist, and that allows me to toss in the odd quirky thing from time to time and not disrupt my brand.

Twitter Tips #1 & #2

Twitter Tip #1
Twitter is a microblog portal just like Facebook, only you have a limited character space. Why use twitter? You can set up Facebook, LinkedIn, your Blog, and other internet portals to accept and post you Twitter missives. That means that you can update multiple portals - each with their own audience - with one message.

Have a message longer than 144 characters? Then do a post on your blog, use that URL in your twitter message, and send it out that way. The link will show up in your other portals. This cross linking and traffic to your blog improves your standing in search engines.

Look for another tip tomorrow from your social media butterfly.

Twitter Tip #2
Follow those who follow you.
You can follow anybody, but people – or businesses – choose to follow you. The correct etiquette when somebody follows you is to return the favor and follow them back. There are some very solid reasons for this. Twitter will limit the number of people you follow unless you have a high ratio of people following you back.

Before you follow somebody back you should check them out be clicking on their name. Quickly look for five things:
1.     The content of their tweets.
2.     How often they tweet.
3.     The number of people they follow.
4.     The number of people following them.
5.     The number of tweets they make

If you find the content of their twitted offensive, don’t follow them. In fact you can block them. People will look at the people following you to get a feel for you because whom you have following you says a lot. The reasons for the other four will become obvious as I reveal more tips.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Comic Critic reviews Bugsy Malone

Bugsy Malone is a charming movie that thoroughly entertains. While not huge at the box office, it has legs. Bugsy Malone continues to pop up in various movie lists from the Top 100 Musicals to the Top 100 Mobster movies. The music, one of the movie’s strengths, is also one of its greatest weaknesses. They should have let the kids do the singing rather than dubbing in adult singers. In a gorgeously unique period film that’s cast with only children, pedal cars, and a huge amount of custard, its adult dubbing felt odd. The music itself is very strong, being covered over the years by great performers and continues to pop up in odd places—like the game Grand Theft Auto. This isn’t too surprising. Bugsy Malone was nominated for a few Oscars and the one it walked away with was for Best Original Score. Various movies and television shows have paid homage to Bugsy Malone through references to scenes and characters. It’s an endearing film that captures a cult audience every generation.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Comic Critic Reviews Maniac from 1934

You might be thinking that I’ve reviewed Maniac already. Well, I did review a Grindhouse classic from 1980 by the same name, but this Maniac is a black-and-white exploitation film from 1934. Being independently produced, this Maniac was not chained to the Hays Code standards to which the studios were enslaved. It also lacked the studios’ wealth of talent. Some of the actors didn’t receive screen credit.  Others were gathered from the vaudeville circuit and apparently realized a chance for an oversized performance on film. Maniac is extremely weird. You can see it as either humorously bad on an epic scale, or as a brilliant work surreally delivered. It seems at times to diagnose itself as schizophrenic. Following the premise of Maniac is like trying to follow a bean in a carnival shell trick. I finally settled on the definition, “It’s so bizarrely awful, it’s entertaining.” And you have to wonder if an independent sex exploitation film from the ‘30s can pass the Bechdel Test, what’s keeping modern Hollywood from reaching the same high bar?

The Bechdel Test

1   1.     Has to have at least two women.
2   2.     Who talk to each other.
3   3.     About something other than a man.

I promised you photos from the pumpkin carving contest last week. Here they are:



And below is my pumpkin.
And how it looks at night.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Return of Stickman #1514

This was a real thing. Besides spider venom there was also scorpion venom, and other poisons.

In other news, this will be the first weekend that I'll be spending the entire weekend at home. Then I only have one show in November and one show in December. I've lost count of the number of shows I've done, but I'm confident it's over a dozen. I have enough information now from the last three years that I can make a chart and establish which shows are the ones that I need to give priority. But, before I do that, I need to finish working on my next book and get it shipped to the printer.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Comic Critic Reviews Matango aka: The Attack of the Mushroom People

I can’t help but wonder if Matango inspired Gilligan’s Island. You have a small crew of people with different roles in society cruising the high sea for jollies when a storm comes up and shipwrecks them. In Matango, the island on which they are shipwrecked has barely anything edible on it. Most of the movie is spent revealing the various crew members’ truly cruel and selfish natures as they struggle to survive starvation. It’s a dark and uneasy story compared to the kindhearted Gilligan’s Island, where everybody cheerily works together on their island rich in its bounty: bananas and coconut radios. It’s Matango‘s dark, brooding atmosphere that makes it so creepy. And also creepy is that the mushrooms’ poisonous nature is known, but never truly accepted (except towards the end of the movie). The mushrooms are more than an obvious physical metaphor on human society. Or maybe it’s the evil of peer pressure. Or it might be a bit of both.

Tonight I will be participating in a Pumpkin Carving Contest hosted by the CLAW. I'll be sure to post photos of the various pumpkins later.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Return of Stickman #1512

I'm doing one last strip on this theme because I forgot to send new scripts to my copy editor and this strip only took one sentence I knew I could get right.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Comic Critic Reviews Ginger Snaps

Horror movies have been exploiting hormonal teenagers from the very beginning. The number of sex-themed horror movie tropes is immense—and legendary. What gave Ginger Snaps its box office kick and subsequent legs is how it openly embraced the parallels of the onset of puberty with lycanthropy. You don’t want to talk to your parents, who are at best “lame.” You’re a social outcast morbidly focused on death because you’d rather be dead than be living in high school. So, you’re stuck fumbling for information from such questionable sources as old-wives’ tales, the Internet, and some student nurse. And desperately trying to keep it all together before people notice – the rising body count. This isn’t an “I was a teenage werewolf” movie; it’s an “I was an angst-riddled teenage werewolf” movie. And that twist saves it from being another fly-by-night werewolf film.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Return of Stickman #1509 & #1510

My delay in posting these strips I attribute to getting a cold at QZ con and bed rest before heading out to the Bellingham Comicon Last weekend. The conventions season is not over either. Next weekend it's Geek Girl in Seattle. You can find me the the Artist Alley room.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Return of Stickman #1509 & Logo for Tacoma Games

I hope you're enjoying getting acquainted with Stickman's family.

Here's my fall schedule of events:
Rose City - Portland
Report: I had a great time playing shuffle the artist as the convention staff found my correct place in the order of things. Great dinners out with the gang. The drive to and from was a lot of fun too.
QZ Con - Tacoma
Report: Tacoma worst weather in years! The torrents of rain made for road closures and highway traffic nightmares. The attendance was very low as a result.
October 5-6 24 Hour Comic Challenge - Tacoma
October 12 Bellingham Comic Con - Bellingham
October 19 Geek Girl Con - Seattle
November 2 Jet City Comic Con - Tacoma

One of my projects in September was creating a logo for a new gaming store opening up in Tacoma called Tacoma Games. I came up with three really great ideas that both the client and I loved. We were all happy choosing this one as the winner.

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Comic Critic Reviews Safety Not Guaranteed

This movie’s premise of a man looking for a partner to join him in time travel is only a facade. That’s not to say the real story is hidden; it’s not. The real story very quickly takes center stage. Both the fa├žade and the real story are all about doubt. I’m not a big fan of exposition. I’d rather have the movie tell the story through implication of scene structure, buried hints in the dialog, and the flow of events. Safety Not Guaranteed takes great care to make sure that doubt about ourselves, our actions, other people, and their actions are explored so gently that we aren’t aware of our constant waffling until the movie’s climax. And even then, when we have a resolution, we can’t help but waffle some more, and query what’s going to happen, did happen, or will happen. And since that was the goal of Safety Not Guaranteed, I count it as a successful film.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Return of Stickman #1508

I decided to stop grabbing stories from the news as inspiration and visit back the cast of characters I've built up over the year. I thought I would start with stickman's family and reintroduce his evil brother Eddie and Uncle Eddie. Next week it's going to be all the folks at the office. That is if I get any strips drawn. I just landed a huge project with an incredibly nasty turn around schedule. I might not have time to breath.

This weekend I will be at the Rose City Comic Con in Portland, Oregon. There was a snaffu and they had me listed as cancelled. Which is why I'm not on the website or program. The staff is working to fix the problem and I will have a table - somewhere. I'm just glad I could give them a heads up and not have to deal with this at the door.

The next five weekends are going to be brutal events:
Rose City - Portland
QZ Con - Tacoma
24 Hour Comic Challenge - Tacoma
Geek Girl Con - Seattle
Bellingham Comic Con - Bellingha

Wish me luck. I will do my best to keep the comics flowing.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Return of Stickman #1505 & 1506

I thought it might be nice is we would see Uncle Eddie again. And that thought was the inspiration for the them of this week's strips.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Comic Critic's Review of The Jungle Book

There are a lot of Disney movies I could put into this compilation of blockbusters. In fact, I would be remiss if I didn’t include at least one. Because Disney’s were family-oriented films, most Americans would report that their first theatrical movie experience was from his studios. I was lucky. My first movie was The Jungle Book. Filled with memorable songs and highly charismatic animal characters, it had a very strong influence on this soon-to-be artist. Bill Peet had a strong influence on how these characters looked, but he had a falling out with Walt Disney during its production and, after 27 years with Disney, left the studio to write and draw children’s books. I was fortunate to have read his books when I was little. Peet’s drawings have continued to have a strong influence on me. Decades later I visited the Chicago Art Institute with my friend and fellow illustrator John Schmelzer and had the chance to see an exhibit of Peet’s work. Both of us were amazed at the man’s talent. The exhibit said that Peet kept all the fan mail he received from his readers. That warmed my heart, as I wondered if one of those letters was mine.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Return of Stickman #1502

I was just thinking the other day that too many people waste too much time on Facebook. Me included.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Return of Stickman #1500

To be honest, I did a crappy job keeping track of how many of these strips I drew or my fans drew. But I'm willing to say that there have been at least this many strips, if not more, entertaining the reader.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Return of Stickman #1498

A few weeks ago I was with Mark Brill and Travis Bundy at the Tacoma Public Library doing a presentation on how to do comics. While the others were talking I was drawing up the cartoon to show to the audience. I wanted to comment on how sometimes that artist of a strip was often perceived as the main character of a strip, and how an artist would often get flack from their readers if the main character would say or do something different than the artist would in real life. But then I remembered we our focus was on comic books and not comic strips. I also drew another strip based on this one which I did show to the class. You will get to see that one on Monday

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Comic Critic Reviews Alfred Hitchock's "Rear Window"

I truly want to go on a rant to say how great a storyteller Alfred Hitchcock was. I want to pontificate at length the scope of his genius in layering his works with the superb efforts of his talent pool of collaborators. They were all masters in their fields. Take Edith Head, the costume designer. Once Hitchcock started working with her, he never let her go. Why? Take Grace Kelly’s entrance. You fall in love with her the moment she walks into the room, and you can’t help but love her for the rest of the movie. Grace Kelly’s excellent acting skills, aided by Edith Head’s design of her superbly elegant clothes, embodied her character. I want to rant on and on, but I’ll just say that everything about Rear Window is a joy: the set design, the script, the lighting, the cinematography, everything. As with every true artist, there is more to Hitchcock’s work than can be seen with a casual passing eye. His ability to lure you with a double-take is just the beginning of the adventure. No sooner have you glanced back than suddenly you find yourself caught up in a net of thoughts, conceptions, and twisted perception. In Rear Window, the roles within its established microcosm seem obvious. As the movie progresses, we are forced to reassess those roles and then explore ways test our assumptions, just like our hero. Alfred Hitchcock takes a rather plain murder mystery and creates a captivating adventure of the senses, as well as a friendly tweak to the mind.

As a side note, many suspect that the character Edna Mode in The Incredibles pays homage to Edith Head. I certainly hope it is. Her screen legacy of eight Oscar wins (out of thirty-five nominations throughout her fifty-year Hollywood career) for best costume design shouldn’t have ended with her last film, 1982’s Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, released a year after her death. After all, she was only 84.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Return of Stickman #1497

Good luck finding the news story that inspired this strip. There are so many about this problem that I'm surprised that there isn't a name for it. If there is a name for it, please let me know.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Return of Stickman #1496

I provided more than enough clues for you to find the news story that inspired this strip. What I like is the mugshot of the robber when they took him in. He looks like he was run over by a truck.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Return of Stickman #1495

Good luck finding the news story that inspired this strip. There are so many about this problem that I'm surprised that there isn't a name for it. If there is a name for it, please let me know.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Comic Critic Reviews Back to the Future

Back to the Future was a tremendous summer hit. It was helped in no small part by various homages and its iconic imagery. The character of Dr. Emmett Brown’s visual similarity to C.A. Rotwag in Metropolis is just one excellent example. Back to the Future’s popularity has remained high for the last twenty years because its strong material provides a depth of material from which entertainers can pull jokes, parodies, and cultural references. The movie itself continues to have a cultural influence. When people see a DeLorean going down the street, they don’t remember the cocaine bust scandal that devastated the company—they think time travel. The fun Back to the Future has with time travel parody is part of its joy. And if you want to have some extra fun, compare the actors and actresses in their old-age make-up to how they really look now, twenty years later, and you might reassess your hasty judgment call on the special effects.

When I was writing this review, I was trying to figure out a way to mention how a DeLorean auto club always manages to stay at the same hotel as lots of out-of-towners coming to the Spokane Comicon. I wanted to talk about how bad Hollywood is at intentionally trying to depict the future, and how so often the secondary props and dialog. But none of it encapsulateding it as well as making yet another parody of Back to the Future.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Return of Stickman #1494

This true event reeks of such high irony that I think everybody wrote this same scene in their head when they heard the news.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Return of Stickman #1493

This event took place in Washington State. But, and emphasize this enough, it is not a comment about the relationship my hairdresser has with her daughter. There are lots of mothers who have daughters in symphonies. This is not a story about the one that cuts my hair. Honest.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Comic Critic Reviews House of Wax

I’m a huge Vincent Price fan. How huge? His was the first movie actor’s name I memorized. I loved watching him perform. Watching him meant watching a lot of horror movies, and every young boy enjoys horror movies. Vincent Price carried himself with a regal, sophisticated air. He was immensely charming, polite, the quintessential gentleman. His bearing was so elegant that his victims apologized for being such a bother when he slid the knife in. Price’s ability to encapsulate menace with such movement and expression enthralled audiences. While he’d played a number of worthy roles before, it was in The House of Wax that he eased himself so easily onto the throne to became the king of horror. It seemed he’d been there all along, the quiet monarch always in command. The House of Wax was a tremendous box office draw. The rage for 3D films had just begun. That, along with Vincent Price’s performance, gave House of Wax a long run, establishing it as one of the 50s classic horror films. There’s a Blu-ray 3D version available now, but I only hope that I’ll eventually have the opportunity to see Vincent Price in a re-release on the big screen, The House of Wax in all of its 3D glory.

The technology was so new, they had to show this trailer at the theaters:

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Return of Stickman #1492

I left enough clues in the cartoon that you should be able to find the news story that inspired this comic.

Oh, I nearly forgot. Tomorrow I will be sharing the Jet City Comic Show both at the Proctor Art Festival in Tacoma. The event will be from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and I look forward to seeing my fellow Tacoma natives there.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Comic Critic Reviews R.I.P.D.

If Men in Black and the HBO series Dead Like Me had a love child, it would look like this. That was my first thought when I saw the preview for R.I.P.D. Later, I was eagerly sitting in a movie theater, wearing my 3D glasses, watching my suspicions confirmed. I found R.I.P.D. to be rambunctious, but lacking the zaniness that made MIB so popular. A little more back-story on the Rest In Peace Department might have been nice. Even more back-story on Nick, the recently deceased cop, would have been nice. Instead, the emphasis was on telling the story as quickly as possible, with the only lingering scenes being the CGI action sequences. Most of the character development was centered on Roy, the Old West character played by Jeff Bridges. While I enjoyed watching Roy’s scene-stealing antics, I only wish that there had been more scenes for him to steal. Now I’m looking forward to seeing the DVD version. Hopefully, the additional material will show deleted scenes and the director’s thoughts on the need for them.