Like clockwork

Like clockworkNov 18, 2015

Some things are better left alone. And by “alone” I mean “ignored by the general public.”

Reno Comic Con— Now with more FREE HODABEAST!Nov 13, 2015

Reno — the birthplace of Cool Jerk and Doc Splatter — is hosting its second-annual comic convention next week, and Cool Jerk will once again be there!

Reno Comic Con — part of a series of conventions put on by Wizard World — will commandeer the Reno-Sparks Convention Center this Friday through Sunday, Nov. 20-22. I’ve been given the status of “Special Guest” so that means free limo and I get to cut to the front of any buffet line in town.

I’ll have copies of all my Cool Jerk books, including the Jerkopædia— The Official Visual Style Guide to Cool Jerk which debuted this summer. Further, I’ll have all sorts of Cool Jerk effluvia you’d expect to see at a comic-con, such as Canvas Panels, t-shirts, sketchbooks, posters, buttons and stickers. Doc Splatter Ominous Omnibus? Hell yeah I have those, too! All items are going to be discounted so THIS IS DEFINITELY THE TIME TO SHOP! Nevada sales tax? I got your back— it’s all part of the price!

I mentioned FREE HODABEAST (Cool Jerk Vol. 1), so here’s the deal: I’ll have 10 copies to give away each day… FREE with any purchase and if you LIKE! Cool Jerk on Facebook!

Join the club!

Buy a book? Free Hodabeast. T-shirt? Free Hodabeast. A $1 glow-in-the-dark Cool Jerk button YOU CHEAPSKATE? Free Hodabeast. That’s a $12 value, friend… a perk of being a fellow Northern Nevadan.

Click it to Truckee Meadows-size it!

Need directions? Here’s a locator I whipped up while eating an Awful-Awful.

So bring your Christmas shopping list and some folding money (I also take credit cards) and come by the Cool Jerk outpost C-35 in Artists Alley, on the right side of Hall 2 back by the celebrity veal pens. Remember: Only 10 free Hodabeasts per day, so plan accordingly!

Friday, Nov. 20: 3pm-8pm
Saturday, Nov. 21: 10am-7pm
Sunday, Nov. 22: 11am-5pm

Cool Jerk— Not a great yearNov 11, 2015

You’ve probably noticed that Cool Jerk hasn’t been anywhere near weekly this past year and may be wondering if I’ve thrown in the towel or lost interest in Armpit, Puppy and the gang. Well, it’s been a tough year for cartooning and I’ll share what’s been going on.

We miss you, mom

My mother-in-law, Betty Alilain, died from cancer the day before Thanksgiving last year (actually it was on Thanksgiving when you factor in the time difference between here and the Philippines). The cancer came on suddenly and was particularly aggressive. Betty took ill in October and sought medical attention, but Darlene only received news of the official diagnosis the day I arrived in Reno for Reno Comic-Con (Nov. 20). There was nothing we could do and we couldn’t even make travel arrangements before Betty passed away.

As you can imagine, this devastated Darlene. I’m not sure a day goes by where she doesn’t cry. It’s been difficult for me, too. Betty was a lovely woman and full of life and charmed everyone who met her (she flew out from the Philippines to attend Darlene’s and my wedding, and was the surprise hit among the guests). She should’ve had another 20 or more years in her, but it didn’t come to pass. Losing her hasn’t impacted me but a shade of Darlene, but it’s there.

If you’ve ever gone though this level of loss — or your spouse has — you know it’s tough to laugh sometimes. And sometimes I feel guilty for laughing. It’s probably a sign of depression.

With Cool Jerk, I found I work best when there’s a baseline tranquility in my life, and the more laughs, the better. I guess that makes sense— I don’t know how people can be funny when they’re feeling miserable. It’s been difficult to get into — and stay in — a “funny zone” for an extended period of time. And that affects Cool Jerk directly since it takes a while to write, then design, then pencil, then ink, then scan, then make final corrections/enhancements and then finally upload the strip with some commentary. If I’m not “feeling it,” it’s a struggle.

I get easily distracted. I can’t concentrate. I make goals and sometimes can’t meet them. I get frustrated easily. I procrastinate. I overthink my jokes. I suffer with self-doubt, especially my cartooning chops. “Am I funny?” I ask myself. “Is it OK to be funny?”

So the short answer is no, I haven’t quit Cool Jerk… but I am taking some time for myself. It’ll be back at full strength sometime, I hope sooner rather than later. But until then, Darlene and I are just taking it week-by-week. Thanks for understanding.

SDCCI ’15 photo recapAug 3, 2015

Sorry about the delay, folks— Comic-Con kicked my ass again this year and I ended up heading to the hospital a couple weeks ago to get treatment for a simultaneous kidney stone and bronchitis (“What is this, the 19th century?” asked a friend). So it’s been a slow and energy-draining recovery, and the weather hasn’t been cooperating much either. Putting that aside, SDCC 2015 was a splendid affair, where I debuted the gorgeous, professionally printed Jerkopædia— The Official Visual Style Guide to Cool Jerk. Plus I had new shirts (“Keep Cool and Jerk On”), a reprinting of the ever-popular “Jerkea” shirt and a gaggle of new Canvas Panels. Thanks to everyone who came by the table, especially those who walked away with some Cool Jerk product!

And now, onto the sights:

First Space Ghost I’ve seen in 35 years’ worth of comic-cons!

Here’s the dude from Pixar’s “Up.

In an event riddled with Mystique cosplayers, this one was easily the best. She was waiting in line in front of me to meet Berke Breathed.

One of my idols, artist (and master of India ink) Bill Sienkiewicz.

Since I couldn’t leave the table but for rare, brief periods, many pics had to be taken of passersby. Here’s old-school (i.e. not the film version) Gamora.

And where you see Gamora, can Thanos be far behind?

Keeping with the cosmic theme, here’s Carol Danvers a.k.a. Captain Marvel.

Darlene asked, “Who the hell is that?” Why, it’s Ambush Bug OF COURSE.

Here’s the deal: if you cosplay as Wasp, Scarlet Witch, Carol Danvers or Invisible Woman, I’ll probably take your photo.

When I would manage to sneak away from the table, I usually ran afoul of some ne’er-do-wells (like this couple as Immortan Joe and Nux from “Mad Max: Fury Road”).

Or maybe Bobby Moynihan (“Saturday Night Live”).

Or even Hercules (nice touch with the mace, Herc).

Another member of the Guardians of the Galaxy— Mantis!

Back at the table, sometimes I would take a break and hide behind my Cool Jerk Canvas Panel display.

And speaking of hiding…!

Soon to be seen in the next X-Men film, here’s Psylocke.

And for you ladies, here’s probably the best shirtless Wolverine I’ve seen.

Beekeepers? Where are we, Utah? No… those are Advanced Idea Mechanics scientists. Judging by Flickr uploads, I’m pretty sure there were several other factions wandering different parts of the hall.

Saturday night is Darlene’s and my usual “let’s walk around the Gaslamp” ritual, and we usually see all sorts of odd promotions, publicity stunts and industry celebs. Here’s something for the upcoming “Hitman 47″ movie.

And I confess: as of this writing, I have no idea what this is promoting. EXCEPT NIGHTMARES.

There’s Jamie Hyneman from “MythBusters.”

And saving best for last, here are Skurge (the Executioner) and Amora (the Enchantress). Individually they absolutely nailed it, but together were perfect as “best couples cosplay.”

Cool Jerk and San Diego Comic-Con 2015Jul 7, 2015

Has it really been 13 years?

Apparently so! This week marks Cool Jerk’s 13th straight year in Small Press (K10) at San Diego Comic-Con International. Geez. It really seems like it’s been a mere 11 and a half years.

I’ll have a new Cool Jerk collection next year, folks… but that doesn’t mean I don’t have something awesome for you this year! You all know what kind of a stickler I am for graphics style, yes? Well, I’ve harnessed all that pedantic anal retention and put it to good use: I present Jerkopædia— The Official Visual Style Guide to Cool Jerk.

This is a MUST-HAVE for anyone who reads and appreciates Cool Jerk (or comic strips in general), character design and animation model sheets. And it’s much more than just fun drawings… it’s fun drawings WITH ANNOTATIONS! Find out who walks around commando! Discover the secret of Armpit’s feet! When was Arms-Over-Head Guy’s first appearance? This guide has it all AND MUCH MORE. It’s 24 pages, professionally printed with a heavy stock color cover, six bucks.

It’s been a while since I’ve introduced a new Cool Jerk T-shirt… so here’s the 2015 fashion statement. What better way to have people give your chest a double-take than with the Keep COOL and JERK On tee? Comes in black or red cotton, white ink, $20.

Folks just love these, so I’ll also have several new Canvas Panels debuting at the show! A mere $15 a pop for hand-sized artwork, suitable for any room in the house!

Remember last year’s sketchbook? I’ll have a VERY LIMITED SUPPLY of these on hand in case you missed out in 2014. They’re $3 a pop (standard cover), or $10 for a blank cover upon which I will customize with an original sketch/drawing of your choice!

I also have all the other items you could ever possibly want:

• T-shirts in a variety of styles, fits (M or F) and sizes! I’ll be doing a BOGO free sale on Body Shots and the 20th Anniversary shirts, so now’s the time for your back-to-school shopping!
• Sharpie original art breakdowns for $3-$5? CRAZY!
• Stickers, buttons and the like!
• As ever, sketches (except for the 2014 sketchbook) are free!

Click it to go all Ant-Man in that joint!

Here’s a map I made while you were eating your morning Pop-Tart. To recap, we’re in the same spot we’ve always been, Small Press K10, right by the communal baths/vomitorium/emergency cosplay repair stations.

Find us on Twitter — @cooljerk and @darleneeats. We’ll be live-Tweeting throughout!

See you there!

Cool Jerk Invades Wyoming, Utah and NevadaJun 15, 2015

So I bet you’re wondering: What about the second half of my Denver Comic Con road trip? Well, let me tell ya about it.

The Loft crew and my forehead (Cheyenne, Wyo.)

Once Denver Comic Con wrapped up (Memorial Day evening), I loaded the car and headed due north up I-25… which is the exact opposite route to return to San Diego. WAS I CONFUSED? ROAD-WEARY? ADDLED? Nope, I had designs on going to Cheyenne that evening, specifically The Loft— Wyoming’s best comic book shop. I arrived right at dusk, met with The Loft crew (incl. David J., Eric W. and Chris C.) and sold them a sizable stack of Cool Jerk books. The Loft gets my highest recommendation; the shop is clean and kid-friendly, the staff is helpful and super-engaged, and the owners (who were also en route from Denver Comic Con at the time) were exceptionally gracious in stocking their shelves with my books. I’d like to have a book signing there sometime in the future. Maybe next year?

Night Flight Comics' Mimi Cruz and my forehead (Salt Lake City, Utah)

Speaking of having a book signing, I had a pre-planned engagement at Night Flight Comics in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, so I continued west on I-80 and spent the night in Laramie. The next morning I continued on to Salt Lake City and had dinner with Mimi Cruz, the co-owner/manager of Night Flight Comics’ two locations in SLC. After a good night’s rest, I had my signing the next morning. I tried something different: I offered a free copy of Cool Jerk Vol. 1: Hodabeast to the first 25 people who either Liked! my Cool Jerk Facebook page or signed onto my subscriber list. I got to meet a bunch of Night Flight’s regulars and introduce them to Cool Jerk (some folks went ahead and bought other copies and some canvas panels, too). I’m hoping these Cool Jerk newbies will be full-fledged Cool Jerk addicts by time I have a follow-up book signing. Thanks so much to Mimi and her crew for the hospitality, professionalism and adding a new stack of Cool Jerk books to Night Flight’s shelves.

Jim Burns and my forehead

I couldn’t stay more than 4 1/2 hours at Night Flight because I was driving back to San Diego that day… which is about 11 hours southwest on I-15. I barreled along for more than 700 miles and will say the trip was pleasant and largely uneventful, aside from a quick meet-up with James Burns (if the name sounds familiar to you Cool Jerk readers, he’s the one who scripted Dangerman’s dialogue in his first appearances). I’ve known Burns for 35 years (!) and a couple years ago he and his family moved to Las Vegas. I couldn’t stay for more than 15-20 minutes because it was getting late, but I needed to hand-deliver a copy of Cool Jerk Vol. 4: Thinkulus to my bro. That’s customer service, I tell you what!

(ADDENDUM: Here’s a map for you road-trip enthusiasts. I removed the alternate route through Phoenix and Albuquerque.)

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