Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Beanworld orphans find homes thanks to CBLDF!

My first day back @ The Job.
Full update pending--hopefully tonight.
There was a lot of Beanworld buzz in the air at Comic-con this year--and thanks to all of you generous folks who gave my little orphan Beanworld drawings a proper home and double thanks for the support your adoption of the Beanworld drawings gave to the Fund's efforts.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Adopt orphan Beanworld drawings for the CBLDF!

That's right...there are Beanworld drawings are in search of a good home. The pic below showcases some of the drawings I've already finished and are now on sale at Comic Book Legal Defense Fund booth.
CBLDF is a terrific organization and I'm glad to donate the ideas, time, and labor contained in these little drawings that are then converted into funds for the Fund when Beanworld fans purchase them and give the little orphans a good home!
It's 2 am and I just returned from the CBLDF's party at the Westgate. It was a lot of fun and I had a chance to chat with a bunch of old friends. I figured I better post this tonight because I might be too lazy to do it in the morning.
Larry Marder drawing in the CBLDF booth (1831)@ SD07.
Saturday AND Sunday.
Both days from 1-2 pm.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Beanworld at SD07

Well...at SD07 Beanworld remains in my head and on little scraps of paper that are transforming and coalescing into something far more interesting and coherent as the earth revolves around the sun.
Yesterday, I gave Charles about 15 or so of the new style drawings to sell for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
That said, I will be be drawing even more of them in the CBLDF booth (1831) on either Saturday or Sunday--at times to be determined in the chaos of the Con today. If you are actually at the Con, and interested in chatting with me and not be surrounded by the commerce of Toys, but in fact, chat with ol' Leguminous Lar--this will be the time and place to do so. Keep your eyes peeled on this spot for more specific information!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Rashomon Effect and Image Comics: The Road to Independence

Rashomon is a brilliant 1950 Kurosawa film that I haven’t seen in many a moon. But as I was reading Image Comics: The Road to Independence, I couldn't stop thinking about it.

That’s not quite right, what I was actually thinking about is the phenomenon that has entered “psychological discourse” that has been tagged with the clever title “The Rashomon Effect."

The Rashomon effect is about the sometimes irreconcilable nature of truth. The literature describes "the effect of the subjectivity of perception on memory by which observers of an event are able to produce very different but equally plausible description of that event.”
And if that string of high-falutin’ words isn’t a bulls-eye description of Image Comics: The Road to Independence—I don’t know what is!

I have always been a big fan of oral histories- one of my all-time favorites is Jack’s Book (1978) which features interviews with so many of the people who careened in and out of Kerouac’s complicated life while they were still alive.

Sure a lot of the stories and recollections conflicted- that is the fuzzy nature of memory over time. We tend to forget what we want to forget and hone and polish the memories we want to keep or treasure.

George Khoury’s terrific oral history Image Comics: The Road to Independence is a collection of interlinked but often mutually conflicting reminiscences about how Image Comics was born, emerged, and maintained it existence over its long (and often stormy) fifteen-year history.

Some of you may recall, that before I worked for The Toy Company, I worked for The Comic Company.
Yep. THAT comic book company.
I was there.
I’m in the book.

And believe you me, there are lots of things in there that aren’t exactly like I remember them happening. There are also a bunch of things described kinda like the way I remember them happening, and more than a few nowhere near the way I remember them happening.
But everyone comes across so sincere, so rational.
Are some people telling the truth and others lying?
No. I think not.
Instead I believe it is the Rashomon Effect.
Or to switch gears to another of my favorite films, at the end of “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” the old newspaperman says, “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

The book is a collation of very different but equally plausible descriptions of the same events as remembered by the diverse people who participated in those events.
As I said, I was there for a good chunk of the stuff people reminisce about.
(In a lot of cases I was the only non-partner eye-witness to things that occurred between the six partners. Things that aren’t even in the book.)
This book evokes more questions that it provides answers to, but I think for a first draft of an accounting of that era of the history of comics it's a noble effort.
It's hard to say which stories will transmogrify into the truth and which versions will wither and fade. "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

Regardless, I'm proud of my involvement in the book
You can at least believe that.

PS: Oh yeah, If you are interested in this topic at all on Friday at SD07 in Room 6A at 10:30 – all seven of the Image Founders will be doing a panel together to discuss the book – moderated by George Khoury.
I wouldn’t miss this for all the tea in China, buddy.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Scorpion

I have absolutely no idea what to make of it....but this is what happened to me this morning.
I woke up and while still quite bleary eyed, reached over opened up my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. While laying in bed, propped up on pillows, I balanced the book on my chest and opened it up to where I left off last night. Started reading the prose in the upper left hand corner of the left page when I noticed some reddish words wriggling on the right hand page. "Huh? Why are there reddish words...wriggling?" sluggishly processed my coffee deprived brain. Then I slowly shifted my focus to the wriggles and the words transformed into a SCORPION skittering across the page. I slammed the book shut, ran it into the bathroom, opened the book up and gave the critter a spritz of bug spray and then took the picture below. If I were a believer in omens (Well, come to think of it sometimes I am!) I'd say this means something--but haven't a clue as to what!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"The Hapless Seed"

I have a very weird but regimented reading habits based on geography.

WARNING: Some of this will be more information that you will want to know.
I only read books on airplanes--but for those of you know how much time I spend weekly on airliners know that I manage to read a lot of books.
I read comic book fanzines, toy business magazines, and Vanity Fair in the bathroom. (Told'ja it might be more than you want to know!)
I read The Nation in restaurants during the work week if I happen to be lunching alone.
And I read newspapers and newsmagazines at the breakfast table.

This morning , at breakfast, while catching up on some reading I found an intriguing article in the June issue of "The Atlantic" called The Hapless Seed. (A title like that will always catch the Beanworld guy's attention.) I can't say that I'm informed enough to know that all of the author's assumptions are right on the money--but I do know first hand what an uphill slog it is for small publishers of ANY stripe to compete in the marketplace.

I laughed out loud at the line ..."the digital age is heaven for consumers, hell for creators." Because I, like everyone else, spend far more of my life consuming than creating--therefore, I think this is overall a pretty good thing.

And, as I've often ruminated in lengthy discussions with Charles Brownstein about Beanworld's future is that I do harbor a desire to not have my small body of work be "forgotten" or "lost."

The ideas in this article seem to offer the fuzzy shape of hope for us wee folks. That our work (not our personal fame) has a shot at being discovered by some new kid out there...some where...some time.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

"The Art of Bone" and my latest "Lizard Brain " episode.

The other day I wrote about something I tend to call my "Lizard Brain Impulses." The hard-wired, gut level reaction I get when I first lay eyes on something--and a weird savage impulse surges up inside me saying "Must have! Must have NOW!"
Well, that just happened to me a few moments ago on Jeff Smith's Boneville site where I read about the new "Art of Bone" book. The preview that Dark Horse put together is oh-so cool too. My Lizard Brain is going to need LOTS of cash at Comicon this year. Lots and lots.

And a good thought it is.

At some point in late 2005 or early 2006, I started experimenting with Beanworld drawings in hand decorated frames. They started accumulating rather quickly and so I donated a stack of them to my buddy, Charles Brownstein of the CBLDF, that he could sell to raise money for the fund. Obviously, I'm no Jim Lee or Neil Gaiman--but apparently as Charles took them around the country folks that remembered Beanworld were willing to plunk downsome of their hard earned cash and purchase one of the colorful little Beanworld thingamajigs. I assured Charles that I'd be replenishing his stack and will be stopping by the CBLDF booth to do my part for the Fund. I got his from Charles this morning.

"Thanks also for bringing the Beanworld drawings my way. Like I said,
there's a small but enthusiastic following. As a test, maybe you could
post one, or even just that pic of you holding up the Beanworld drawing with the cheshire cat grin from Heidi's blog and indicate that people can buy new Beanworld drawings from us at CCI. Just a thought."

Monday, July 16, 2007

Monday notes

Cory is abroad on A&K business, so I spent the weekend struggling with Photoshop tutorials (a curse of having "people" to do things FOR me for the last 15 years), watching Harry Potter DVDs, and working on the Beans. I'm getting somewhere on Photoshop (I think).

Anyway this in from Bob Heer @ Gunk'l'dunk:
“A while ago I went to Scott McCloud's local signing for MAKING COMICS,
and he mentioned you to the guy two places ahead of me, so I mentioned that the
reason I brought ZOT #31 for him to sign was that it was my first issue, bought
after seeing the book recommending in BEANWORLD and Scott's intro to the first
book, and how much I loved the little Beanworld reference he had in that
issue. I also asked him if he knew if you were still cartooning, and if he
could talk you into publishing again, and he mentioned your interest in Duchamp
and how Duchamp surprised everyone by suddenly having a major work done in
secret long after everyone thought he was out of the art game.”

Scott McCloud is a very wise fellow indeed. The McCloud Family is going to roll into Phoenix this Friday and I unfortunately will not be in town that day. So I will have to see them at Comicon or SD07 as the trendy bloggers seem to be calling it nowadays.
Now, it is true, I am working. I never actually STOPPED working…I just got very, very, verrrrry slow. Glacially slow. But never stopped.
Well, that was then and this is now.
As far as Scott’s mention of Duchamp, well, all I have to say is…this!
One of these days I'll get around to talking about "What Marcel Duchamp means to the Beanworld." But not today.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Yellow Submarine and my Lizard Brain

I found this article on Digg today about a Yellow Submarine iPod and it reminded me of something that happened to me a few years ago.
As some of you may know, I work for a Toy Company. Anyway, as much as I enjoy working in the toy business--I'm not a rabid toy collector. The few toys I really like that I've slowly accumulated over time have been advertising character toys and tchotchkes. I really like thinking about advertising characters! (In fact, nowadays my favorite toys are the Kellogg's series from Dark Horse. More on THAT on another day.)
On occasion though, we produce a toy that the lizard part of my brain starts clawing it, drooling, screaming "Larry must have! Larry must have NOW!" The first time that happened to me was right before I was about to make the jump to the Toy Company. I went to a sales meeting and saw the "two-up" painted prototype of the Blue Meanie. I went nuts. "Larry must have! Larry must have NOW!" I'm not all that excited about a branded iPod though.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My Tilly Hat

Me with Cory in Peru at Machu Pichu on our twentieth anniversary. You can tell we are off adventuring because we are both wearing our trusty Tilly hats. Some of my best Beanworld ideas have peculated in my brain while my head was being shielded from the elements by my Tilly hat. (There is a sequence in my upcoming work that germinated entirely while visiting Petra in Jordan--but that is another story for another day.)
We once met a very elderly couple in Africa (the gentleman looked and sounded just like the Travelocity Roaming Gnome) and they had very ancient Tilly hats. They treated us like we were members of some sort of Masonic-type secret society of Tilly hat world wide adventurers.
And they advised us to that our hats would never let us down.
I never think about our Tilly hats until Cory and I are about to embark on some sort of exotic Abercrombie & Kent adventure. (Cory is a Sales Director for A&K). Then we rummage through our closets and find our Tilly hats well hidden under all sorts of things that have accumulated since our last trip.
Honestly, I haven't a clue as to when or where we purchased our Tilly hats. But we have worn them all over the world and it never ceases to amaze me how the hat never EVER shows any sort of wear. It can be covered in mud, dust, gunk and or vomit and all you gotta do is pop it in the wash and it comes out looking good as new. Like a bizarre sort of cartoon. A Tilly hat is guaranteed for life--the hat's life not yours. It even has a humorous guarantee sewn inside the hat. If you are ever shopping for a first rate outdoorsy-type adventure hat--this is the genuine article. Highly recommended!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


I started this blog without any plan whatsoever. I told my wife, Cory, that I'm just going to put it online, not really tell anyone, and just sit back and see who shows up and when. So I think it is quite fitting that the very first person I heard from was Bob Heer. Bob wrote to tell me about the rebooted version of Gunk'l'dunk. Way back when in the 80s Bob was one of Beanworld's kindest and most supportive fans. Thanks, Bob!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Heebie Jeebie Bozzies

Heebie Jeebies

I have been fascinated with the song Heebie Jeebies since 1968, when i first read of it in Milton "Mezz" Mezzrow's wacky autobiography "Really the Blues." In it, he described, in fascinating detail, how electrifying it was to the Chicagoland jazz community when they first experienced Louis Armstrong's scat singing on this seminal recording. "Louis' scatting almost drove the English language out of the Windy City for good." wrote Mezz. And he wasn't kidding.

Other folks have written, far better than I ever could, about the whys and wherefores of Armstrong's scatting on this record (http://themeandvariations.blogspot.com/2004/09/heebie-jeebies.html). I had the myth memorized by heart before I even HEARD the tune the first time around 1970. It was worth the wait--Pops' recording of the tune immediately made my pulse pound from the first time I heard it!

It was only about a year ago, that I discovered the Boswell Sisters. Their weird style immediately fell in sync with my own peculiar sensibilities. Whenever I'm drawing Beanworld nowadays--chances are The Bozzies are providing the soundtrack. This bit of film hardly does them the justice that comes out in their recordings--but it gives a taste.

Now, if that sounds like "cartoon music to you. There is a reason why. They provided songs for several classic Fleischer cartoons. (Most of which I probably saw on TV as a youngster!)

Friday, July 6, 2007

Half and the Beanweb


So what is this rather unwieldy URL?

Well...it is the closest thing that I've ever had to a website. It was assembled wayyyyyy back in the 20th century by a very dedicated Beanworld fan named Mark L. Irons.
He calls himself "Half."

I've never met Half, but my wife Cory, has corresponded extensively with him and (I think) talked to him on the phone from time to time.Half (and his collaborators) have performed an an incredible collection and collation of the bits and pieces of my Beanworld comics work.

It is a resource that I refer to constantly as I work on new Beanworld work.

"New Beanworld work?"

Yes.It's getting closer.

The fact that I have quietly started this blog--is all an signal that Beanworld is ready to emerge from its long, long slumber.

Here I am zooming out of the VOID!

Once upon a time...
the World-in-a-Seed
came out of the inkwell
and fell to earth.

Took root.

Reached for the sky.
Then came autumnal silence.

It is time to end my quietness.
My exile.

It is time to speak.