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Archive for November, 2009

Here‘s the second section of Page 7; I just looked at the dates (I sign each panel as I finish ’em) and realized I haven’t done one in almost 10 days. I’m on it.

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Prince, Jack White with Marshmellows

I have a friend who despises Madonna, hates her with every fiber of her being. She believes that any artistic success Madge has had is due, for the most part, to attaching herself to a successful hot producer and sucking the producer’s young artistic blood, then moving on, like a horrifying Cruella DeVille-like mosquito (to mix the hell out of a metaphor). Patrick Leonard, William Orbit, Nellee Hooper, etc, in my friend’s view, most of Madonna’s success has been linked in varying degrees of success to whomever is “hot” at the moment. And to her credit (and artistic damnation), she’s been pretty great at this sonic cannibalization.

I would contend that Madonna choosing producers that make her “come alive again” artistically is quite a self-reflective and brave talent, akin to male bands picking Rick Rubin to work with. Willfully choosing someone that challenges you is no small feat, choosing to spend time with someone who will knock you off your comfortable pedestal and keep you gloriously uncomfortable.

Which is why artists pick Rick Rubin (and maybe why Madonna should herself one day): he’s a brilliant, back-to-basics producer who somehow has figured out the formula, which seems to be:

  1. Have creatively bankrupt band and/or singer rent a house to record in.
  2. Have said band and/or singer bring already written songs and play together in a room.
  3. Mix said band and/or singer in a way that is a throwback to their original, basic sound.

Which got me thinking. Who are some artists that should be working with certain producers to really shock them into a transcendent album? I humbly submit:

(more…)

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Just finished reading The Truth by Terry Pratchett, another of his Discworld series. I feel completely embarrassed to discover that he’s been one of the most popular novelists in the UK (probably only barring J.K. Rowling, really) for decades.

It’s a bit how I felt when I didn’t really get the Stones until my twenties. Oh, sure, I liked the Stones, but I didn’t really get them. Then one day I was listening to Miss You on one of those wretched cross-country road-trips where you can only get bullshit classic rock, and it hit me like a ton of, well, stones: “Oh, you —-ing idiot, there’s a reason this band is considered one of (if not) the greatest ever. Because they are. I mean, that bassline alone…!”

Sometimes wisdom takes its sweet-ass time while you’re embarrassing yourself.

The point is, Terry Pratchett can write like very few people can. The fantasy version of Douglas Adams (although Pratchett is actually a few years older than Adams would have been- they were contemporaries) but with more a humanist beauty to his writing- even his evil-doers have a sympathy and forgiving humorous tick to them. And even though many of his endings tie their knots just so, it never feels contrived, forced or trite. It feels as it should be.

That’s quite the slight of hand. And he’s so very English. Which is why he was knighted, I suppose.

In the past couple of years, I’ve read The Truth, Guards! Guards!, Going Postal, Soul Music, and Making Money. Only 33 more to go!

Terry also was diagnosed with Alzheimers in  2007. Anyone wishing to make a donation in his name can do so at Match it for Pratchett.org.

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big-lebowski-2

Got some new panels and pages posted; I go back and forth on their quality, but the Dude abides. Plus, I had a huge India ink accident that I don’t want to talk about. Seriously. Dude. I don’t want to talk about it.

Pages 6 and 7 here and here.

Saw Men Who Stare at Goats the other weekend, and really loved it. Clooney is just getting better with age. Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave it an F. But I give Owen Gleiberman an F, ’cause he gave I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell a B+. I ain’t linkin’ to shit ’bout that movie.

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I consider this to be one of Water’s minor masterpieces; it echoes Dylan at his best, really. Both choruses echo ’round my head quite regularly whenever I see a weepy, bloated pundit selling a kinder, gentler fascism and brand of Christianity that has nothing to do with empathy, love or truth:

When they overrun the defenses
A minor invasion put down to expenses
Will you go down to the airport lounge
Will you accept your second class status
A nation of waitresses and waiters
Will you mix their martinis
Will you stand still for it
Or will you take to the hills

Will you mix their martinis? That’s a f***er of a question that’ll keep you up at night.

The production and arrangement is criminally 80’s, including the guitar solo, but I can overlook that because of the amazing writing. It’s really one of my favorite songs of Mr. Waters’.

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Illustration experiment, Reclining Girl Wit’ Beasties:

Reclining Girl Wit Beasties - 2009 Dan McNeill

From a sketchbook drawing, Illustrator, Photoshop. There’s some Paul Gauguin/Gustav Klimt influence somewhere in that brain-mire. Unfortunately, there may be some Patrick Nagel, as well.

Original sketch after the jump: (more…)

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Gorgeous stuff:

(Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan)

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