Feb 24 2015

Pony Art: Dreamer, It’s Late

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MLPFIM: Dreamer, It's Late by the-gneech on DeviantArt

Commission for @mlp_Dreamer of the #TwitterPonies, a fun little scene between himself and @mlp_AppleJack. As fond as she is of Dreamer, she doesn’t look real happy to be answering the door at this time of night.

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Feb 22 2015

The Artwork in Suburban Jungle Gets a Major Upgrade

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Admittedly, the rain effects are not as nice.

Aww yeah. Quality!

-The Gneech

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Feb 17 2015

Kingsman: You Are a Bad Movie and You Should Feel Bad

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“Jeeves is a secret agent, starring Colin Firth.” I should love that, right? I mean, I have one or two other buttons you could push, but this should be a slam-dunk “instant favorite” for me.

Nope.

I loathe this terrible, awful, no-good movie. Besides not actually being very good at what I would have considered its selling points, it is also deceptively marketed and prurient in its intent and tone. All of the “charm” is not charming. All of the “humor” is not funny. And instead of being escapist superspy fare, it’s just idiotic, hateful, sophomoric violence-porn with no aesthetic or story value.

In short, it sucks.

NOTE: There will be spoilers ahead, if it is indeed possible to “spoil” a movie that is already rotten. But you’ve been warned, in any case.

So we start things with a clear “George Lazenby couldn’t make it” James Bond stand-in being sheared in half by Gimmick Henchman, with one half flopping to the left and one half flopping to the right, Wile E. Coyote style. It’s dumb, but they’re trying to establish an OTT aesthetic, I get it. Amazing how there’s not even a drop of blood in this room full of rubber body parts, but yeah, okay, I get it. CGI dismemberment is fine as long as it’s not bloody, sayeth the ratings board. That enough would have knocked the movie off my faves list, but it isn’t the real problem.

So then we move into the main meat of the story, where Forgettable Protagonist Boy gets inducted into the Kingsmen, hitting all the same beats MiB did better, while Colin Firth investigates the mystery of Samuel Jackson as Lisping Steve Jobs Wants to Destroy the World. It’s serviceable if a bit dull, but leads to where the real problem is.

Samuel Jackson as Lisping Steve Jobs has stolen the macguffin from Secret Agent Super Dragon: he has a hate plague app implanted in cellphones all over the world, which makes people go berserk and kill everyone within plot device radius. He decides to run a test of this at the !Westboro Baptist Church; Colin Firth attends to investigate, gets hit by the mind control ray, and then spends the next ten minutes slaughtering everyone in the church, because he’s a badass superspy in a bulletproof suit and they’re all just degenerate hicks.

And then I walked out.

I’m told it gets worse from there. I don’t even want to imagine. But let’s dissect this moment of cinematic poo-throwing, shall we?

First and foremost, it’s clear that the movie thinks that filling the church full of annoying bigots makes it totally okay to spend ten minutes showing them all slaughtered one by one, in close up from almost Colin-Firth-cam view. It’s all super-quick cuts and choreography, and again without a drop of blood. You’re not supposed to be thinking about the horrors being inflicted on these people, you’re supposed to be impressed by what a badass Colin Firth is. (Luckily for us, we were reminded by a PSA at the beginning of the film that if a kid puts on harris tweeds and shoots up a school after seeing this, it’s totally not the movie’s fault.)

Well guess what, movie? It’s not okay. Do you maybe not understand what makes bigotry bad? The reason these hate group people are awful is because they would think it was funny to have a single person walk into a room full of [group they don’t like] and wipe them all out in gruesome ways. Ha, ha, darn those wacky bigots! …Wait.

Presumably the movie will then follow up with Colin Firth being all horrified at what he’s done and whinge about not having any choice, etc., etc. (I don’t know, because as I say, I walked out); and while that may theoretically be an out for the character, the filmmakers had a choice. You were the ones who chose to revel in this crap; you were the ones who said, “Hey, who wouldn’t want to vicariously slaughter a church full of crackers?”

I was shaking with rage when I walked out of the theater. Not just at what the movie had done, but that none of the previews or reviews had objected to this, or even fucking mentioned it. I went in expecting classic superspy escapist fare; instead I got loathsome violence porn. If I’d wanted to watch a goddamn Tarantino movie I would have had my head examined watched a goddamn Tarantino movie. One of my standing policies is to never willingly watch movies in which “murdering people and laughing about it is totally okay, as long as they’re the wrong sort of people” is a core value.

To hell with you, movie, and to hell with your poisonous mindset. You are absolute garbage, and you’ve brought shame to everyone involved in the production.

-The Gneech

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Feb 03 2015

In Which I Risk the Attention of a Big Bear

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I must admit that I’ve never really paid a lot of attention to the Ursa Major Awards, for two reasons. First, I tend to be more of a producer than a consumer, and as such awards just don’t show up on my radar that much. Second, in my capacity as a producer, I rarely had anything that I thought really merited recognition on a “literary award” kind of scale, except possibly No Predation Allowed, and I completely missed the window on that one due to dealing with personal crises at the time.

However, that has changed. This year, No Predation Allowed: Ten Years of The Suburban Jungle is eligible for nomination due to its new edition from FurPlanet. In short, I’ve got a second shot at it, and as this is currently my magnum opus, I have to admit that it would be really nice to see it get at least a nomination nod.

So this is a call to my fans! Please nominate and vote for at least one of my books. I actually have five that are eligible: all three volumes of No Predation Allowed and issues one and two of Rough Housing. I won’t be so greedy as to ask you to use all five nomination slots on my work… but I will be just greedy enough to point out the lovely symmetry of it.

Seriously tho. :) I’ve been told that Suburban Jungle was an important work in the furry world, and I’d certainly like to think it made its mark. If you could help make this happen, I’d be grateful. Thanks!

-The Gneech

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Dec 05 2014

Productivitude

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I have a confession to make:

It takes me forever to do anything.

Writing, drawing, even simple stuff like taking a shower and get dressed, I move slowly (when I move at all) and am frequently annoyed to discover that instead of being 8:30 a.m. like I thought, it’s actually midnight two days later.

This is frustrating. But worse, from an entrepreneurial standpoint, it’s unproductive and is severely hampering my ability to make a living at it.

Compare/contrast someone like, say, Graveyard Greg. Whether or not his creations are to your taste, there’s no denying that he is a content-generating machine. He cranks out stories, scripts for comics, you name it, at a phenomenal pace. And when he’s finished with something, he just moves on to the next thing. This means, among other things, that he can take on more projects and/or new projects quickly and easily, always expanding his product base, in a way that I can’t.

It’s like I once said of Neil Gaiman: I create work of the same quality, but he sneezes out a short story over lunch, while I take two months to produce the same volume of work.

At this stage, some may be thinking, “Don’t beat yourself up about it Gneech, you just create what you can and your loyal readers will be there!” or something similar. And while that’s true, and I’m extremely grateful for it, it doesn’t make my tortoise-like pace any less of a problem. Because, you see, I have to earn a living.

Forget for a moment that my vocation is writing and comics. Pretend instead that I’m a clockmaker. Say I live in Zurich, where clockmakers outnumber non-clockmakers, and while I’m a perfectly good clockmaker, there are plenty of others out there who are also as good. More importantly, the others work fast enough to make two or three clocks for every one I can force myself to produce. It’s pretty easy to see that those other clockmakers are going to have a much easier time putting food on the table than I will. It’s not a matter of quality or dedication or what-have-you… it’s pure mathematics.

This is my biggest problem, as a creator. It takes me so long to create my “core content” that I’m already permanently behind schedule. I can’t add new reward levels to my Patreon campaign in order to attract more supporters. I can’t push for a ton of commissions. I can’t sit around coming up with (and then producing) new merchandise. I am maxxed out as it is, and rapidly being left behind.

I don’t know what to do about it. The first obvious answer is to change my “core content” to something I can produce faster, but if it was that easy I’d just go back to a day job and be done with it. I create Suburban Jungle because on some level I’m compelled to do so. The second answer is “Work faster!” but again, if it was that easy I’d have done it already. I have managed to increase my speed a bit over the course of Issue Two, but only a bit, and I don’t think I can go much faster than this without completely sacrificing any semblance of quality.

So… still looking for a solution. In the meantime, I need to stop blogging and get to work. I’m behind schedule. Like always.

-The Gneech

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Dec 01 2014

A Post Full of Suburban Jungle STUFF

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I’ve been trying to come up with an interesting and insightful post about my creative process and how to make the business end of it all work and so on, and so far all I’ve managed to do is write “Duh… me like chocolate!” over and over again. So I’m going to punt on that idea and just put up a random collection of SJ-related flotsam and jetsam that I don’t have anywhere else to put.

Charity's Surfing Lesson (Preview)First of all, Issue Two is now available for pre-order from FurPlanet, including a full-page color rendering of Charity‚Äôs Surfing Lesson, available only in print or to Patreon supporters. My intention is to start including a bonus art piece in every issue (and posted to the Patreon page) as a “thank you” specifically to those readers who help me put food on the table.

Issue Two should be available to pick up at Midwest Furfest this weekend at the FurPlanet table. I’ll also be at MWFF, grabbing a spot in the Artist Alley whenever I can. Come and find me! Commission me to draw stuff! I’ll be your friend! ^.^’

Second, after November’s Ask the Cast page revealed that Charity was named after her great-grandmother, who was a member of the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots, I received an e-mail from a reader named Kim who told me that her own mother was also a member of the WASPs, and thanked me for helping spread the word about them. She also sent me a couple of photos of her mom, with permission to post them. Click through for the full versions.

WASP Member on a P-38

WASP member on a stopover

Kim told me that the second picture was a stopover on a delivery flight: the men had never seen a female pilot before and were so impressed they asked for a picture. Kim’s mom is alive and well and going strong at 98, which is pretty awesome.

SAAA-LUTE! :)

Finally, the cover of Issue Three was supposed to go up on the SJ site today, not sure why it didn’t. So it’ll go up tomorrow! Issue Three will begin running in January.

-The Gneech

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