Saturday, October 31, 2009

Reports of my death were only about 40% accurate. 45 tops.

And to prove that I'm still skulking around, here are a batch of sketches for you to look at.

Big, phat, sick, doo doo mad props to Andy Jewett for barely protesting when I stole his idea to do spooky monster-ish themed drawings throughout the month of October. I didn't average one a day (and I don't think he quite did either), but it's nice Facebook fodder nonetheless.

(And for nostalgia psychos, these were all done in my Very Special 'I Am Josh' Sketchbook, which I won when we all still had our innocence. See how it all comes around?)

Anyhow, hope your Halloween was super-sugary.

Terror is a mummy's delight! Yeah, I said it!

Bat Boy reports the news... AS HE SEES IT!

Jekyll's pleased t'meetcha. And Hyde's gonna GEETCHA!!

There's a reason no one takes a "quick dip" in the Black Lagoon... (deadly).

Blood anyone? The blood of DRACULA THAT IS?

But whoooooose hand is it? Boo!

The ghost of General Robert E. Lee says: "The South Will Rise Again! Y'all!"

Here comes the Bride... all dressed in SINISTER.

Merv is just a regular workin' stiff WITH A PUMPKIN FOR A HEAD.

Which old witch? THE WICKED WITCH.

Can you feel the fury? The fury of FRANKENSTEIN??

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sequential art runs in the family

Tuesday was my birthday and Carey unveiled her boffo socko gift to me: a 4-panel comic of her creation, done in mixed media. As everybody who's anybody knows, 4-panel gift comics are my specialty, so to receive one like this is... well, instead of gushing I'll just let it speak for itself.

Thanks, Care. I like it an awful lot.


Monday, April 06, 2009

The Trouble with Research

It's no secret to anyone who's vaguely interested that I'm putting together a book that focuses on the 15th century Spanish Inquisition, the life of Tomas de Torquemada in particular.

I have no illusions whatsoever that this thing'll be 100% accurate and historically factual, but not for lack of effort. The trouble with research is, who do you believe?

The controversy in a nutshell: the Spanish Inquisition is possibly the most embarrassing blemish (to put it politely) in Christianity's history, particularly for Catholicism. The secular position has been, traditionally, that this was a near-Holocaust-level action that persisted for centuries, perpetuated by the greed and wrath of the Catholic church. The Catholic position has been, traditionally, that the statistics have been exaggerated and inflated and the whole thing simply wasn't as bad as it's made out to be.

And I'm quickly getting to the point where I'm losing interest in the controversy, I just want to friggin' know what really happened.

It's gets hairier when I ask members of the Catholic church for their viewpoint on it. Predictably, it's not an area in which most Catholics (or non-Catholics for that matter) have massive amounts of expertise. But when pressed, the shields tend to go up and it's hard to get solid information from someone who feels they're entering an apologetics-style battle of truth and zeal.

My goal has always remained the same: Christianity/Catholocism needs to cop to what happened, but not to what didn't. It's a pickle, too: any refutation of a sobering statistic concerning torture or execution is seen as an insensitive refusal of reality.

In the meantime, I'll just keep reading.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Method --> Madness

I love the Coen Brothers and if my DVD collection were lost or destroyed, I'd replace each Coen movie without hesitation. I know this for sure because I did it this weekend with Blood Simple. I'd somehow lost the thing and picking up a new copy was a good excuse to watch it again. It ages well.

For some reason, though, I became hyper-aware of little visual cues and situations that have wandered their way into other Coen films and many of them began with Blood Simple. Examples:
  • The private investigator that shadows his mark in a VW Beetle (also in The Big Lebowski)
  • The killer looking behind a shower curtain for his next victim (also in Fargo and No Country For Old Men)
  • Dragging a dead body backwards to his car in the face of oncoming traffic (also in Fargo)
  • Opening narration against stills of a western desert landscape (also in Raising Arizona and No Country)
  • A fresh glass of milk as evidence that the killer had just left (also in No Country)
It goes on, all through the Coen oeuvre, and it tells me that it's okay to repeat yourself creatively if you know what you're doing.

Roughly a year and change ago, a very big client (who I won't name, but you've heard of them) commissioned me and my associates for a themed multimedia piece. They wanted to demonstrate the notion that there are old, expensive, antiquated ways to perform certain business processes, but their product does it faster, cheaper and better.

We ran through a number of possible scenarios, each one stranger more interesting than the last, but my favorite was the concept I called "Flat Earth". In a nutshell, I wanted to show that hanging onto traditional methods of doing things with blind faith is as foolish and useless as hanging onto the belief that the Earth is flat. So, the themed idea: we'd structure the visuals around the idea of a 15th century nautical map, decorated with sea dragons and mythological beasts and, one by one, debunk the "myths" of this particular business process.

I roughed out a concept and it looked like this:

It was kind of a weird idea for such a conservative client and they predictably declined in favor of something far more watered down and corporate and, frankly, far less memorable. Their prerogative, no problem, you get used to that.

But it's kind of a bummer when you actually get enthused about an idea and you can't use it. Best thing to do: file it away for later. Someone somewhere will come along and it'll be perfect for them. Just wait.

And it wasn't long before it hit me that, hell, maybe I'll just use it for my own website.

I mean why not? Mermaids, sea monsters, wooden caravels, barnacles, decorative seals and ribbons... it's all the sort of thing I love to draw anyhow. And my brain was already swimming, pardon the pun, with 15th century nautical imagery from all the research into Spanish history I'd been doing for my big graphic novel project.

Trouble was, it's not "edgy".

Everybody and their cousin is "edgy" these days. If it's not Web 2.0 looking (yawn), it's sharp and minimalist with glassy reflections and smooth gradients organized into tight columns with thumbnailed content puzzle-pieced into place. Or failing that, it's beveled and drop-shadowed all to hell. Hey, I love white space as much as the next guy, but everything has taken on that Canned Blog look anymore and I can't tell one super-hip site from the next.

And, really, that's what cinched it for me. "Flat Earth" wasn't edgy! It was anti-edgy! It was so friggin' un-modern, it would stick out like a sore thumb. Everyone wants to stand out and everyone's trying to do it using the same techniques. Well, f*** that. What would a website designed in 1450 look like? I don't know, but that's what I'd like to look at.

So my mantra became "do the opposite." Everybody uses sans-serif fonts these days. Screw 'em, mine'll use all serifs. Everyone uses minimalist white or black or gray. Forget that, I want my site to look ragged and old and stained. Websites are written in punchy, easy-to-digest sound bites that get the idea across in nanoseconds. Well, up yours, I want my descriptions and subheads to be convoluted and overblown, using pretentious, flowery speech that's a chore to read.

And another thing, it's not kosher to do a website like this completely in Flash. A site comprised of literally hundreds of pages and independent components, all in one interface? It's not what Flash was made for. Search engines hate it and updating it is insanely unproductive. Yeah, but this is my site and I make the rules and if I want to make something that makes no sense from a development standpoint, that's up to me, isn't it?

So I started mapping it out in early January and I uploaded the initial version of it in late December. Yeah, you read that right. A personal website that was a year in development.

But who cares. I'm actually happy with my site for the first time ever because it's the first time I've ever had a website that truly represents who I am and what I do. Like my Obnoxious Boners comics blog, it's a perfectly accurate snapshot of my personality. If you want to know what it's like to work with me... if you want an idea of the sort of work I can do for you and how I approach creative problems, check out

Look, I'm not saying my site is an example of Ultimate Design or anything like that. I know it's loaded with flaws and missteps and it's probably got about 10 weaknesses for every strength, but that's a pretty good description of me too.

And it's true: you're your own worst client. You know, those clients that drive you berserk because they want their brochure to be All Things To All People. And you try to explain to them that it can't be, that they'll eventually have to pick a theme and stick to it or they'll wind up with non-remarkable mud. But when the shoe's on the other foot, you don't want the same rules to apply to you.

Anyhow, I know this has been long-winded and I apologize. But to sum up: don't be afraid to recycle an idea. It's allowed, particularly if it was your idea to begin with.

Oh, and I hope you like the new design. It'll be up for awhile.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A New Coat Of Paint

Yeah, maybe I've sown my wild oats for awhile, but you're still my #1, baby baby, and I think of you every day. So don't do that, don't make that face, dry those eyes. I'm here, I'm back.

It was a commitment I'd made to myself about a year and a half ago: no more blogging until the website was revamped and I sincerely didn't expect it to take this long. "I'll have more time next week" turned into "I'll have more time next month" and on and on until it's mostly just embarrassing.

Not that I've been absent altogether. For example, I'd love to bump into you on Facebook and if you're so motivated, come read my Tweets. And I'm still on myspace, but come on. That place is deader than fried chicken and don't let 'em tell you otherwise.

What else? I don't know, I'm still alive. I'm still an art director, still married to that one lady, you know, the hair-dresser/reality TV star. Still two cats and a mortgage in Long Beach.

I feel I'm at a sort of crossroads, though. Without getting into too much detail, it hasn't been an easy road, these last couple of years, but I don't want this entry to be about my Stations Of The Cross, so let's skip it. Suffice it to say, I'm sort of revisiting who I am and what I'm about.

If you're wondering what I'm doing at any given moment, there's a hellz good chance I'm working on my life's opus, my Spanish Inquisition project. I know, I've been jibber-jabbering for years, but it's on. And it's important to me. I don't know if the world will care about it, but f*** it. I do. And it won't be out of my system until it's written, drawn, printed and done.

In fact, I've even considered turning this blog into a progress blog, kind of like Craig Thompson is doing with Habibi. A few weeks ago, Carey bought me Watching the Watchmen, Dave Gibbons' in-depth breakdown of how the definitive graphic novel of the 20th century was conceived, broken down, laid out and drawn. "Inspiring" doesn't begin to say it. I've a renewed vigor.

I guess I should say something about the new site design, though that's its own story. In fact, maybe it'll be my next post. Suffice it to say for now: I came up with the idea for it on New Years' weekend, 2008 and uploaded it nearly a year later. It's easily the biggest single web project I've ever worked on. More on that later. For now... hope you like it.

Oh! And check it out! The fans spoke! And the fans waited! And eventually the fans left! But still! I have answered the call, now that I'm back to rebuilding an audience from scratch... THIS BLOG IS ENABLED WITH COMMENTS. So please say hello and tell me how badly you've missed me.

Much more to say, but I'll cut it off here. In the meantime, take a spin around my portfolio or my comics if you're so inclined.

And listen. It's good to see you.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Coming Soon. 3.0.

No, I'm serious this time.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Introducing... Elizabeth?

Jeremy_Bear: Hello?

IM Friend: hey!

Jeremy_Bear: It's been way too long, ___.

IM Friend: waaay too long

IM Friend: the sushi was spectacular as usually

Jeremy_Bear: "As usually"?

IM Friend: i have to say it that way now after being in chiner - they always say it like that

Jeremy_Bear: Those Chiners!

IM Friend: i know!

IM Friend: awkward thing happened the other day

Jeremy_Bear: Uh oh. Go on.

IM Friend: well, i was hiking...this was a date - yes - i know - shocking - first one in over a year - hahaha

IM Friend: anyway, i found myself blabbering away at this kid about nothing

IM Friend: well, really it was all little somethings - but really nothing of real substance

IM Friend: i talked about how i came to not have cable, about my family's latest drama, about people in california

Jeremy_Bear: This "kid."

IM Friend: yeah, i think that's what i will call him - even though he's 6 years older than me

Jeremy_Bear: He's an idiot man-child. I get the picture.

IM Friend: idiot man-child?

Jeremy_Bear: An adult, but an emotional and intellectual child. Steinbeck-style.

IM Friend: he's not an idiot - he's nice. the awkward part was me - i was blabbering away talking waaaaay too much

Jeremy_Bear: Oh.

Jeremy_Bear: Well, it's understandable. The blabbering, I mean. Your first date in over a year.

IM Friend: i don't have a proper outlet for my stories

Jeremy_Bear: Mm.

IM Friend: so i found out nothing about this kid and he found out a lot about the things in my life - or at least what i think is funny.

Jeremy_Bear: That's polite of him.

Jeremy_Bear: So, what, you're worried he's going to take a hike now that you went motormouth on him?

IM Friend: no - i think he likes me - what's not to like?

IM Friend: i just didn't want to talk so much - i need to listen more

Jeremy_Bear: Come on, now.

IM Friend: i do have a lot to say

IM Friend: so jeremy - your blog - which is usually the awesomest read ever - is currently terrible

Jeremy_Bear: Currently, yes. We've already discussed this briefly in person. I'm the shame of the internets.

IM Friend: hahaha, so true. on more levels than one.

Jeremy_Bear: I feel a fool, ____. A damned... fool! I'm flatlining. My readership has dropped to near-nil. Where I used to enjoy record-breaking numbers... I'm now a joke! A crying clown!

Jeremy_Bear: Well, but hold on. Let me see if I understand this. You're loaded with things to say, but you end up exploding on intelligent man-children, which can be intimidating.

IM Friend: nice summary

Jeremy_Bear: That's a real problem.

Jeremy_Bear: Meanwhile, my blog sucks.

IM Friend: hahaha, it wouldn't if you'd put something up there - i mean really - this conversation would be better than nothing!

Jeremy_Bear: You know, it really would. As I see it, we're two people with problems, dear ____.

Jeremy_Bear: Listen, I love blogging. I really, really do but my schedule is 100% suck.

Jeremy_Bear: And when I do get a little time on my hands, I end up contributing to my comics blog (, kids!)

Jeremy_Bear: You know where I'm going?

IM Friend: i think i see a glimmer of the twinkle in your eye...

IM Friend: i could never blog...i'm too chicken

Jeremy_Bear: Oh, ____! Up yours! As if there were anyone on earth more born to blog than you!

IM Friend: i'd be afraid that someone would see and think it was silly

IM Friend: well, of course it would be silly, but in a good way

Jeremy_Bear: You're a blog waiting to happen.

IM Friend: ha! how so?

Jeremy_Bear: Listen, do you want to know my very first memory of you? You probably don't remember, do you?

Jeremy_Bear: The Harry Potter thing?

IM Friend: ?

Jeremy_Bear: Yeah, I thought so.

IM Friend: what?

Jeremy_Bear: Here it is...

Jeremy_Bear: I met you for the first time at ___ and ___'s house.

Jeremy_Bear: We were talking about short films and you exploded on the room with your "perfect idea for a hilarious short film."

Jeremy_Bear: Essentially, the plot, as you described it, centered around a group of people dressed as witches sitting in a living room. Someone dressed as Harry Potter shows up at the door. The witches turn and look at him. Roll credits.

Jeremy_Bear: I was flabbergasted! How could someone who thinks of films like this exist in the world?!

Jeremy_Bear: That night changed my life.

IM Friend: haaaaaaaaaaaaaa - i totally remember that - yes - i still FULLY agree that would be great!!

IM Friend: but you have it all wrong

Jeremy_Bear: I do?

IM Friend: the short would go like this:

IM Friend: a group of people dressed as the witches of harry potter are all watching harry potter.

IM Friend: all of the sudden the roommate walks in and without saying a word just look at him and then look back to the tv

IM Friend: hahaha, end scene

Jeremy_Bear: Yes, that was it. Sorry, that's far more sensible.

IM Friend: hahahaha! it's true- i have a lot of random things to say - but that is pretty funny that you still remember that from our first meeting.

Jeremy_Bear: How could anyone forget that? Okay, ____. That's it. This is foolish. Here's what I propose: for a month, you drive my blog.

Jeremy_Bear: You could be a guest host.

IM Friend: really? it would have to be anonymous...

IM Friend: i wouldn't want anyone to know that it was me. what if the kid read it?

Jeremy_Bear: Anonymity?

Jeremy_Bear: Surely people would figure it out.

IM Friend: how would people know it's me on your blog and not you?

Jeremy_Bear: Hah.

IM Friend: well, they'll know it's not you for sure

IM Friend: but won't they think it's an imposter?

Jeremy_Bear: I'd introduce you. Ladies and gentlemen, direct from the beaches of sunny Southern California, it's... well, wait. What am I supposed to call you?

IM Friend: elizabeth:-)

Jeremy_Bear: Okay, "Elizabeth".

IM Friend: nice - i like that intro

Jeremy_Bear: You could write about... gawd... you could write about anything!

IM Friend: the possibilities are endless!

IM Friend: this sounds pretty exciting

Jeremy_Bear: Yeah. Cooking tips, man troubles, the secrets to life, the universe and everything... it's why people come to

IM Friend: secrets to life - maybe i'll start there...

Jeremy_Bear: My site is stale. I need someone to bring the sexy back. Woo 'em! Titillate 'em!

IM Friend: you keep saying that word. i do not think it means what you think it means.

Jeremy_Bear: I think it means "old, dry and tasteless."

Jeremy_Bear: Wait, are we talking about "stale"?

IM Friend: (titillate)

Jeremy_Bear: Oh, right. It's true, I have no idea what it means. I saw it on TV once and thought I'd try it out. No good, huh?

IM Friend: no - i just really wanted to quote princess bride - the word works, especially in this context

Jeremy_Bear: So here's what I'll do. I'll set you up with editing permissions on my blog. From now until, I don't know, Thanksgiving, she's all yours.

IM Friend: all right jeremy - i think you have yourself a writer for a month. this is going to be fun!

IM Friend: so many people are going to read it and worlds will change

Jeremy_Bear: Who knows, maybe people will write in to assist you with your man woes.

IM Friend: haha - that would be great!

Jeremy_Bear: Here's your first piece of advice: lower your standards.

Jeremy_Bear: Carey did it and it worked out just fine.

IM Friend: k, i'm off to bed. i have so much to say - i wouldn't be surprised if i didn't have something ready by tomorrow!

Jeremy_Bear: If you're good, people will keep coming back. If you suck, people will be thrilled when I return. Either way, it's win-win!

IM Friend: :-)

Jeremy_Bear: It's all you, sister. I can't wait to see what you come up with.

IM Friend: this is big - but not too big. i like it!

Jeremy_Bear: Don't suck.

IM Friend: ha! I'm going to be great

Jeremy_Bear: An audience of tens is counting on you!

IM Friend: what's not to like?

Jeremy_Bear: I'll alert the internets.

IM Friend: i'll be ready

Jeremy_Bear: See you on my blog, then. Later.

IM Friend: night

Monday, July 09, 2007

"So, I suppose you and blogging are pretty much done, then?"

No, it's not like that at all.

I realize that there's nothing less appropriate than a Christmas-time posting still hanging around in July and I won't try making excuses for that. Some fantastic, funny and astonishing things have gone down in the last 6 months and I haven't written about a single one of them. Last year, it was crippling anxiety and depression that kept me from blogging, this year it's the fact that I ain't had no damn time.

Believe it or not, I wrote 95% of an enormous post in February and I've been noodling with it every since. I'm sure I'll get around to finishing it soon, but for the time being, I need to stop feeling guilty when people ask me why I don't blog anymore and if I've given it up for good. It's been a low priority, but, good news for me, I've been filling the time with some really great things instead.

In the meantime, I'm still carrying on with my one-page gift comics for those dear to my heart, so go on over and chew on a few Obnoxious Boners if you haven't visited in awhile.

I will do my best to be back in the swing shortly.

Luv U Miss U!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Good news, bad news

I'll start with the good news:

Completely unexpected, but Nat Gertler (gentle genius and founder of 24 Hour Comics Day) has finally worked through the submission pile of 24 Hour Comics and looks as if my story, Cubicles, has made the cut for this year's anthology.

Press release details here.

Surprising, really, as this is a much slimmer edition than previous years, including only 10 stories, versus the boffo-socko-mega-tomes of days past. The hope is that a less expensive book will sell better (and, seriously, $11.99 retail for a 256 pg. comics anthology is a friggin' ridiculously good deal).

Published in March, so be sure to get a copy. I've picked up all the anthologies thusfar and they're always a fascinating read: sometimes entertaining, sometimes loopy, sometimes touching, sometimes goof-ball. But always interesting, considering they were done in a day.

If you're the type of person that goes to comic shops, ask them to pre-order you one. It's called 24 Hour Comics Day Highlights 2006.

And the bad news:

Unfortunately, work-wise, this season has been absolutely unrelenting and my energy has been extremely low, particularly when it comes to working on side-projects. There simply hasn't been time.

Wish I were kidding, but I'm afraid the Bears will be taking this Christmas off with the original animated Christmas cards.

I know and I'm sorry. I love making them, so no one's more disappointed than me. The sad fact is it usually takes up the majority of my free moments in December to produce them, though, so I rely on a slow month to get them done. The only way I could do it would be to turn down paying work and that's just not an option for me this time. I've already been told by several folks that they're anxious to see what we come up with this time and I wish I could have done it (this year was going to be an idea of Carey's and it would have been hilarious. Maybe next year).

For the bored and nostalgic, though, here are links to the cards of previous years. Relive the magic all over again:

Christmas '03Christmas '04Christmas '05

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Monday, December 11, 2006


CAREY: Here's what I think. Don't judge it.

JER: Go ahead.

CAREY: You have these poachers killing off endangered elephants in Africa for their ivory. I say turn it around on them! Make them the hunted! Show 'em how it feels!

JER: Wow.

CAREY: It's... these poachers. We need to get them off the streets.

JER: Henh?

CAREY: Not the streets, but you know. The jungle. Get 'em out.

JER: So, what, you put a bounty on their heads? Let people hunt 'em down?

CAREY: Well, no. The government, see, this is how it works: You capture these hunters. You chase them around with guns, make them run for their lives. Finally, you get them in a net or a cell and you say, "oh, I'm sorry, do you feel scared? Well, we're gonna pull your teeth out and sell them!"

JER: Yikes!

CAREY: "And maybe your leg too. Or your arm." Then you knock 'em out. Give them an injection and they're out.

JER: Horrific.

CAREY: Here's the part where it comes together: they wake up and their arms are all bandaged up. But they're bandaged up in such a way that they think they have no arm. Well, it takes a few seconds, but then they realize that they do still have the arm there, but they've learned a lesson: this is how the animals feel.

JER: Mmm. So, you don't kill them or de-limb them.

CAREY: No, you show them mercy.

JER: Sounds humane.

CAREY: And that's it.

JER: And what's the desired outcome, then? They've seen the error of their ways and they turn their backs on poaching?

CAREY: Yep. They tell their poacher friends, too: "oh, man, you should've seen what they did to me. It showed me the light. I'm never doing that again, too risky."

JER: So, you've effectively produced evangelists for animal rights!

CAREY: Mm-hm. Get 'em on our side, that's how you win.

JER: Sounds pretty solid. Hey, did I tell you I've been having my own ideas about how to help the environment?

CAREY: Oh yeah? Like what?

JER: I think we should pass legislation: all cop cars are hybrids.

CAREY: High five. Let's make it happen.



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