Welcome to the weblog of the writers and artists of Ferret Press (a publisher of fine comix) and PANEL (a Columbus, Ohio comic creators collaborative.) Here you will find our musings on comics, art, the creative process, politics, the web, and life.

Please visit Ferret Press

Read Dara's free webcomic @ Komikwerks.com

LIFELIKE Graphic Novel Order the full-color, hardcover graphic novel from Amazon.com!

Read Dara and Tom's comic @ Brainbotjr.com and in Melt magazine.

Read Tony Goins' webcomic Downs.
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Saturday, September 29, 2007
 
  Posted by Tom on 9/29/2007 12:23:00 PM :

       Go Farel Go!


Farel Darymple's got a new graphic novel coming out from 1st Second called The Wrenchies. A 250 page 'postapocalyptic fantasy that takes place 3,500 years in the future, featuring a group of street children called “The Bolts.”'

Omega the Unknown begins next month. A preview is up over at CBR.

If I was in Portland, Oregon this weekend: I'd be at the Stumptown Comics Festival.


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  Posted by Dara on 9/29/2007 10:16:00 AM :

       Everything old is new again

Wow, apparently it's 80s comics nostalgia week in the news:

Newsarama reports on the return of perhaps the most famous of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles rip-off comics that flooded the market after TMNT's success: Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters. Seriously? Someone actually thinks there's a demand for this "franchise"? (And I use the term very loosely.) What's next, such 80s indy blockbusters as Trollords?

Meanwhile, Comic Book Resources profiles 80s and 90s fan-favorite artist Larry Stroman's return to comics. I was a big fan of Stroman's art, especially during his Alien Legion run. But the pages they preview in the article are a bit...well, underwhelming. On a side note, I found this comment by Stroman to be interesting: when asked why there were only 4 issues produced of his creator-owned series at Image - Tribe - he responds:
"I told the story I wanted to tell at that time."
I think the real story there is that his series came out just as the Image hype bubble was bursting, and speculators were abandoning the hundreds of series being pushed by the company. In fact, I remember being at a Motor City Con in the mid-to-late 90s where Stroman was a special guest, and overhearing him bitching quite loudly about the poor sales on Tribe. He ended up leaving halfway through the show in a huff.

That aside, I look forward to seeing more of his work in the comics field.


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Friday, September 28, 2007
 
  Posted by Matt Kish on 9/28/2007 12:17:00 PM :

       Unpleasant Synchronicity

It’s important to me that I keep my personal opinions and politics very private, so I generally don’t share this kind of thing. However, last night two things happened to me in such a way that I felt it was important to get this out there.

First, Rudy and I went down to the University to hear noted writer and antiracist activist Tim Wise speak. He gave a fascinating lecture and I cannot recommend his essays and books highly enough. Quite a bit of the talk focused on the ways in which Americans have become blind to issues of race and prejudice in this country, and he cited a number of powerful examples that supported his case admirably. However, one of the examples he used actually happened right before my very eyes as soon as I came home and turned the television on.

While I was watching TV late last night, I saw a clip of President Bush, the same president who has gone on record promising to be “the education president,” speaking to a group of New York school kids. Discussing a new national report which shows improved test scores, Bush said “Childrens do learn when standards are high and results are measured.” Yes, you read that correctly. “Childrens do learn.”

Now I’m not here to make political hay from that gaffe. Bush has mangled the language quite often and he is certainly not the first president or politician to do so. But there’s something to be learned from this.

In personal conversations or on conservative radio talk shows hosted by Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity, I’ve heard quite a few American voters remark that they actually appreciate and admire President Bush precisely because he slips up like that. His questionable grasp of the language and patently artificial “common man” persona seem to endear him to a number of Americans who despise the faintest whiff of intellectual prowess. These same people will say things like “He’s a straight shooter and he speaks his mind,” or “He shoots from the hip and gives it to you honest, without a bunch of intellectualizing,” or “I like Bush better than [insert Democrat here] because he’s honest and down to earth but all those other politicians sound too slick, like they practiced their answers weeks before their speech.” I’ve actually heard some variation of each of those sentences countless times. We could argue the foolishness of that kind of thinking for days and never really change any minds, but that’s not what I’m getting at.

Most people turn a blind eye to President Bush’s language mishaps. Sure, they’re fodder for late night talk show hosts and the funniest bits sell a lot of page-a-day calendars, but on the whole his atrocious use of the language that he was raised speaking merits very little attention. And anyone who tries to use a phrase like “Childrens do learn” to illustrate that maybe President Bush isn’t the sharpest tack in the box and probably not the best person to be the leader of the most dangerous country in the world is generally shouted down as a crackpot bleeding heart liberal wacko.

But think about it this way.

What would we as a country, and conservatives in particular, be thinking and saying about phrases like “Childrens do learn” and “We shouldn’t fear a world that is more interacted” [George W. Bush, June 27, 2006] and “If the Iranians were to have a nuclear weapon they could proliferate” [George W. Bush, March 21, 2006] if those same words were coming out of the mouth a black female president? Or, heaven forbid, an Asian male president who was born in the United States but spoke with a heavy accent because of his bilingual upbringing? I feel quite certain that the responses would be a far cry from the dismissive mentality we offer Bush, and really any white male president from either party, for his linguistic mangling. A black president using that kind of language as consistently as Bush does would instantly be weighted down with accusations of being undereducated, inarticulate, unfit to govern, possibly the old favorites “lazy and shiftless” and quite possibly a “good example of the shortcomings of his kind.” An Asian or Latino or Arabic president speaking with an accent and using that kind of language would be derided as a foreigner, someone hopelessly out of touch with the values and culture of the United States, possibly unpatriotic and definitely someone unfit to govern this country. Yet from the mouth of a white man it is at best endearing and at worst comedic.

So think about that for a little while, and then tell me that we still don’t have enormous problems with how we view race, ethnicity, gender and privilege in this country. And I don’t want to hear that crap about how we’ve made progress and things are better here than anywhere else and it’s better than it ever was, because we’ve still got way too far to go before we can start patting each other on the back.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007
 
  Posted by Dara on 9/27/2007 10:37:00 PM :

       New storyline starts in Lifelike

Quick update for you guys and gals: "The Routine" is the new storyline starting this week on my webcomic, Lifelike. Art is by Steve Black.

You can read Lifelike here.

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  Posted by Tony on 9/27/2007 11:12:00 AM :

       space battles (help!)

I don't know as much about science as I wish I did, so hopefully someone can help me out with this.

1. What you "see" is actually the light reflected off an object hitting your eye. On Earth, you see things pretty much instantaneously. But in space, the distance is a factor. It can take billions of years for the light from a star to reach the Earth.

2. Since nothing's faster than light, the quickest way to detect something in space will still be to "see" it, either with the eye or some kind of camera. I don't know how a "scanning beam" would be able to see farther/faster than light.

3. But, at stellar distances, you'll be seeing an image of what the object was doing minutes, hours or days ago.

4. This would be significant for space combat. You'd see the enemy ship, but you wouldn't know what it had been up to since the image first set out toward you.

5. This would mirror the pre-radar days of ocean battle. Before radar, it could take days to detect, track and close with an enemy ship.

6. One possible tactic would be this: Suddenly turn the ship and charge toward your enemy at light (or near-light) speeds. By the time he "saw" you turn, you'd already be almost upon him.

7. Another tactic would be this: Let off a flash of light between you and the enemy ship to mask whatever you were doing.

This is the sort of thing that I lay awake thinking about. If anyone can tell me if this makes sense, I'd appreciate it.


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Tuesday, September 25, 2007
 
  Posted by Tom on 9/25/2007 09:58:00 PM :

      

Hey gang, I made onto Juxtapoz online this week in their weekly Reader Art section. Looks like I didn't waste a Sunday afternoon for nothing. Happy belated birthday to meeeeeee.


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Monday, September 24, 2007
 
  Posted by Sean McGurr on 9/24/2007 03:13:00 PM :

       Trashing Liefeld

I'm reading Douglas Wolk's Reading Comics. So far it is a good read bringing a critical eye to comics and graphic novels.

I'm only a couple of chapters in, but it is clear that while Wolk enjoys some "mainstream" comics, his real interest is what he calls "art" comics. I'm sure, and he'll admit, that there will be some gnashing of teeth over his labels and his approaches, but no one can argue with this statement made during the discussion of being an auteur:
Rob Liefeld, for instance, is a stylist above all else, and his drawing is instantly identifiable by its bursts of tiny marks, its hyper-exaggerated anatomy, it reptilian detail...He's also a god-awful hack with no tonal range at all, and his flailing attempts at storytelling are inevitably derailed by his inability to think beyond the next dramatic full-page shot. 'Distinguishable personality' his work has plenty of, but that doesn't give it value (34).

Not sure if the 370 remaining pages will have anything that good in it.


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  Posted by Dara on 9/24/2007 07:40:00 AM :

       Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

I think this week’s page will be a bit easier. If you have the comic this is from, please refrain from guessing.



(click image to SNIFFerize)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006, 1/9/2006, 1/16/2006, 1/23/2006, 1/30/2006, 2/06/2006, 2/13/2006, 2/20/2006, 2/27/2006, 3/6/2006, 3/13/2006, 3/20/2006, 3/27/2006, 4/3/2006, 4/4/2006, 4/5/2006, 4/6/2006, 4/7/2006, 4/8/2006, 4/9/2006, 4/10/2006, 4/17/2006, 4/23/2006, 5/1/2006, 5/8/2006, 5/15/2006, 5/22/2006, 5/29/2006, 6/5/2006, 6/12/2006, 6/19/2006, 6/26/2006, 7/3/2006, 7/10/2006, 7/17/2006, 7/24/2006, 7/31/2006, 8/7/2006, 8/13/2006, 8/21/2006, 8/28/2006, 9/4/2006, 9/11/2006, 9/18/2006, 9/25/2006, 10/2/2006, 10/9/2006, 10/16/2006, 10/23/2006, 10/30/2006, 11/6/2006, 11/13/2006, 11/20/2006, 11/27/2006, 12/4/2006, 12/11/2006, 12/18/2006, 12/25/2006, 1/1/2007, 1/8/2007, 1/15/2007, 1/22/2007, 1/29/2007, 2/5/2007, 2/12/2007, 2/19/2007, 2/26/2007, 3/5/2007, 3/12/2007, 3/19/2007, 3/26/2007, 4/2/2007, 4/5/2007, 4/9/2007, 4/16/2007, 4/23/2007, 4/30/2007, 5/7/2007, 5/14/2007, 5/21/2007, 5/28/2007, 6/4/2007, 6/11/2007, 6/18/2007, 6/25/2007, 7/2/2007, 7/9/2007, 7/16/2007, 7/23/2007, 7/30/2007, 8/6/2007, 8/13/2007, 8/20/2007, 8/27/2007, 9/3/2007, 9/10/2007, 9/17/2007)

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Sunday, September 23, 2007
 
  Posted by Dara on 9/23/2007 10:41:00 PM :

       Lifelike: The dishes are (almost) done

I just lettered the last page of story for the Lifelike graphic novel, burned the files on a DVD, and plan on dropping it in the mail to IDW tomorrow morning.

Wheh.

I'm not quite done, though. There's still the matter of the "bonus" material in the back of the book. I'm hoping the art director will let me know soon what he'd like for those, so I can wrap this puppy up for good.

Almost there...

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  Posted by Sean McGurr on 9/23/2007 01:44:00 PM :

       PANEL Vol. 1 on ComicSpace

As Tom noted below, PANEL is on ComicSpace. But maybe your thinking to yourself "Why would I want to check out PANEL there? I get my fill of the gang from this here blog." Here's your answer: The first issue of the PANEL anthology, long sold out, will be presented in its entirety over the next few weeks. Here's the line-up:

  • Front and back covers by Steve Black and Tom Williams up now
  • Monday, Sept. 24: TOC and pages 1-7 featuring Steve Black
  • Wednesday, Sept. 26: pages 7-12 featuring Tim Fischer
  • Friday, Sept. 28: pages 13-17 featuring Dansen T. Stahl
  • Monday, Oct. 1: pages 18-23 featuring Andy Bennett, Tony Goins, and Steve Black
  • Wednesday, Oct. 3: pages 24-27 featuring Tony Goins
  • Friday, Oct. 5: pages 28-35 featuring Dara Naraghi and Tim McClurg
  • Monday, Oct. 8: pages 35-40 featuring Tom Williams

While this won't make up for holding the vellum-covered book in your hands, it will allow you to see where it all began for the PANEL anthology.


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Saturday, September 22, 2007
 
  Posted by Tom on 9/22/2007 05:57:00 PM :

      

Panel is now representin' on myspace & comicspace. Friend us up.. or not.


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  Posted by Dara on 9/22/2007 11:28:00 AM :

       Flight of the Conchords: top 6 favorite songs

We're thinking about dropping HBO, since it's basically a complete waste of money. I don't care for any of their current shows, and have no interest in watching "You, Me, and Dupree" 18 times a day. In fact, the only show that both Wendy and I watched religiously was Flight of the Conchords.

Sure, the episodes were very uneven, and the humor is definitely not for everyone, but I still crack up every time I see these clips. So for your enjoyment, here are my...

Top 6 favorite Flight of the Conchords songs:

6. Inner City Pressure

5. Foux Da Fa Fa

4. She's So Hot - Boom

3. It's Business Time

2. If You're Into It:



1. Mutha Uckers:



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Friday, September 21, 2007
 
  Posted by Tom on 9/21/2007 12:30:00 PM :

      



Pope working on the cover to Dara's story for IDW. On the left is the final product. Paul's birthday is this 25th. Happy Birthday to Paul. His flickr set also sports some studio shots including Frank Miller's. In progress stuff on some Marvel things: Silver Surfer, etc.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007
 
  Posted by Dara on 9/20/2007 10:00:00 PM :

       Western Art in Iran

I read a fascinating story in the LA Times about this huge collection of 20th century western art being kept in the basement/archives of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in Iran. Apparently pre-Islamic Revolution, during the Shah's regime, the government funded a massive procurement of works by the masters of 20th century painting. Unfortunately, between the current regime's anti-western stance, and the decidedly non-Islamic subject matter of some of the works, they aren't on display to the public.

Here's a link to the article, though it's behind one of those annoying subscription walls.
"You can't find any collection of this comprehension outside the Western world," said Samiazar, who now teaches at a Tehran art institute. "In Tokyo, you may find important works by Impressionist artists. But in terms of a comprehensive collection covering all the major movements, no. Nowhere. Not in the East European countries, not in Scandinavia, not in South America or Asia. Not anywhere. It's one of the most important cultural assets of this country."



Curiously enough, the museum's website not only lists all the works in the collection, but has links to pictures of each piece.

"Monet's "Environ de Giverny," Max Ernst's "Histoire Naturelle." Four of Andy Warhol's Mick Jaggers and a Mao Tse-tung. Georges Braque's "Guitar, Fruits et Pichet," and an Edvard Munch self-portrait. One of Edgar Degas' Dancers. Gauguin, Matisse, Renoir, Chagall, Klee, Whistler, Rodin, Duchamp, Dali. Photographs by Man Ray. Important Abstract Expressionists such as Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko."


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Wednesday, September 19, 2007
 
  Posted by Sean McGurr on 9/19/2007 08:53:00 PM :

       PANEL: Architecture review

Over at Optical Sloth, Whitey has reviewed the second issue of PANEL.
This is still a pretty solid group of stories, even if it only got better from here. Worth a look if you've been following this series and/or these people and want to see what their stuff looked like when they were only relative babies at this business...

He has now reviewed all but issues #1 and #6.

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  Posted by Tom on 9/19/2007 08:18:00 PM :

      


I was thrilled to see Hussar show up on LA Ink the other night. One of my favorite painters from the California scene and featured often in Juxtapoz for his dark imagery. Above is one of the tamer paintings on his site. The site is pretty but seems half finished and viewing the gallery is kinda funky. Worth a look.


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  Posted by Dara on 9/19/2007 07:42:00 AM :

       Yay, I win!

I'm a huge fan of Steven Grant's weekly column, Permanent Damage. His insights into the comic book biz are sharp and spot on, and I enjoy reading his reviews, political commentary, and whatever else he feels like discussing each week.

And one of the fun things he does each week is the "Comics Cover Challenge", wherein he posts seven seemingly random comic book covers with a secret common theme (a word, a design element, an artist, etc.) that you have to guess at. Well, after many attempts, I finally got one. From this week's column:
"Congratulations to Dara Naraghi, who correctly identified last week's Comics Cover Challenge theme as "The Seven Deadly Sins." (To those who brought it up, the inclusion of a Captain Marvel cover was pretty much coincidental, and the character's connection to the seven deadly sins didn't occur to me until someone brought it up.) Often a bridesmaid in these challenges, first time "bride" Dara would like you to take a look at the website for his graphic novel LIFELIKE, coming soon from IDW Publishing. Well? What's stopping you?"

Yeah, what's stopping you? Behold the mighty marketing machine for Lifelike!

Seriously, your help in spreading the word is greatly appreciated. Please post the above link to your blog, website, mailing list, or just forward it to your friends and coworkers who might be interested in this type of book.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007
 
  Posted by Tom on 9/18/2007 10:41:00 PM :

       Fanta's hardcore


Alright now, punk, tell me again how mainstream comics are better than anything Gary Panter can poo out his butt. I dare you. Yeah, this picture's from a Fantagraphics office outing. See what these crazy bastards are up to.


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  Posted by Dara on 9/18/2007 07:49:00 AM :

       5-page preview: "Anda's Game"

IDW has posted a 5-page preview of Cory Doctorow’s Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now #1, coming out in October. Written by yours truly, with art and colors by Esteve Polls, under a Sam Kieth cover.

Have a look:

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Monday, September 17, 2007
 
  Posted by Tony on 9/17/2007 03:56:00 PM :

       you schwartz is as big as mine


Apparently G4 is coming out with an animated version of Spaceballs. Seems a little late -- the movie came out in 1987, and parodied a flick from 1977 -- but it was a heck of a good flick all the same.


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  Posted by Dara on 9/17/2007 07:37:00 AM :

       Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

Ok, this one might be a bit more obscure...



(click image to afrosize)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006, 1/9/2006, 1/16/2006, 1/23/2006, 1/30/2006, 2/06/2006, 2/13/2006, 2/20/2006, 2/27/2006, 3/6/2006, 3/13/2006, 3/20/2006, 3/27/2006, 4/3/2006, 4/4/2006, 4/5/2006, 4/6/2006, 4/7/2006, 4/8/2006, 4/9/2006, 4/10/2006, 4/17/2006, 4/23/2006, 5/1/2006, 5/8/2006, 5/15/2006, 5/22/2006, 5/29/2006, 6/5/2006, 6/12/2006, 6/19/2006, 6/26/2006, 7/3/2006, 7/10/2006, 7/17/2006, 7/24/2006, 7/31/2006, 8/7/2006, 8/13/2006, 8/21/2006, 8/28/2006, 9/4/2006, 9/11/2006, 9/18/2006, 9/25/2006, 10/2/2006, 10/9/2006, 10/16/2006, 10/23/2006, 10/30/2006, 11/6/2006, 11/13/2006, 11/20/2006, 11/27/2006, 12/4/2006, 12/11/2006, 12/18/2006, 12/25/2006, 1/1/2007, 1/8/2007, 1/15/2007, 1/22/2007, 1/29/2007, 2/5/2007, 2/12/2007, 2/19/2007, 2/26/2007, 3/5/2007, 3/12/2007, 3/19/2007, 3/26/2007, 4/2/2007, 4/5/2007, 4/9/2007, 4/16/2007, 4/23/2007, 4/30/2007, 5/7/2007, 5/14/2007, 5/21/2007, 5/28/2007, 6/4/2007, 6/11/2007, 6/18/2007, 6/25/2007, 7/2/2007, 7/9/2007, 7/16/2007, 7/23/2007, 7/30/2007, 8/6/2007, 8/13/2007, 8/20/2007, 8/27/2007, 9/3/2007, 9/10/2007)

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Saturday, September 15, 2007
 
  Posted by Sean McGurr on 9/15/2007 08:49:00 PM :

       A Rock Legend Speaks

In a rare instance of cross-promotion, PANEL and Bob Dylan have gotten together to pimp each other's new projects.

Check it out.


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Friday, September 14, 2007
 
  Posted by Tony on 9/14/2007 10:38:00 AM :

       the perfect TV show


Over at Dave's Long Box, Dave has promulgated an equation to really rank 1980s TV shows. It determines if the shows from your childhood are really as awesome as you remember, or if your vision is clouded by nostalgia. He calls it Nostalgiametrics: The Science of Today for Yesterday's Crap, and it's pretty sweet.

Using the equation, I have determined that The Highwayman, which got a 10-episode run in 1987-1988, is the perfect 1980s TV show. If you don't remember it, it starred Sam J. Jones (Flash Gordon) as a federal agent in the not-too-distant-future who drove a semi truck that turned into a helicopter. His sidekick: Jacko, the Australian guy from the Energizer commercials. Oy!

Dave's rubrick tops out at 40 points, but Highwayman commands a whopping 44. Here's the tale of the tape:

The Main Guy(s)
Doesn't suck: +5 points (Incredible Hulk, Wild Wild West)
Hot cop: +3 points (Miami Vice)
Can fly helicopter/plane/spaceship: +2 points (Matt Houston, Airwolf)
Occasionally shirtless: +1 point (Wild Wild West, Starsky & Hutch)

Sidekick
Punching bag/goon: +2 points (The Fall Guy, Walker Texas Ranger)
Comic relief: +2 points (Riptide, Fantasy Island)

Theme Song
Spoken word intro: +3 points (A-Team, Charlie's Angels)
Title of show mentioned in song: +2 points (BJ and the Bear, Love Boat)

The Cast
Hero + posse show: +3 points (Walker Texas Ranger, T.J. Hooker)
One attractive/one ugly buddy: -1 point (CHIPs)
Hot chick: +3 points (Dukes of Hazard, Buck Rogers)
Science guy/mechanic: +2 points (Street Hawk, Bionic Woman)
Pilot: +2 points (Magnum P.I., 240 Robert)

Transportation
Super boss vehicle: +5 points (Airwolf, Street Hawk)
Loaded with custom features: +2 points (Wild Wild West, Star Trek)
Vehicle has a name: +2 points (Battlestar Galactica, Hardcastle & McCormick)
Vehicle is frickin' huge: +2 points (Love Boat, Supertrain)
Vehicle blows shit up: +3 points (Airwolf, Buck Rogers)
More than one vehicle: +1 point for each extra vehicle (Miami Vice, Riptide)

Bonus features
Two fights + one chase per episode: +3 points (T.J. Hooker, Hunter)

It could go even higher, except I don’t recall all the particulars. If there was a frustrated lieutenant, +2. If radioactive aliens who come back from the dead count as “fighting vampires,” then +2 more.

I cannot believe this isn't out on DVD, and Moonstone has not picked up the rights.


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  Posted by Dara on 9/14/2007 07:25:00 AM :

       Shirt.Woot - enter your T-shirt design

Ok, this week's "derby" design competition over at Shirt.Woot has a cool theme:
"Derby #8: Blank Is The New Pirate

We're tired of pirates. OK, we've had a laugh (or larrrrf) over Talk Like A Pirate Day (this Wednesday, Sept. 19), but how much more can we take before we walk our own plank? We need a new historical archetype to ironically adopt: Vikings, gauchos, centurions, samurai, Foreign Legionnaires, monks, Cossacks, something...your task this week, then, is to design a t-shirt for an archetype to replace the pirate.

Like we said, Derby #8 opens for submissions Friday at noon. See you then - and thanks for Derbying!"


Head on over there and enter your design.


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Wednesday, September 12, 2007
 
  Posted by Tom on 9/12/2007 10:08:00 PM :

      

I came across a really heartbreaking interview with Anders Nilsen today. Almost made me tear up at work. He talks about the death of his fiancee, who was the subject of The End #1, and Don't Go Where I Can't Follow.


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  Posted by Tom on 9/12/2007 09:04:00 PM :

       I Keee You! anthology in the shops today!

Today confirmed it, the I Keee You! anthology has cycled thru Diamond and is in shops today. Hopefully your store ordered it. I saw one remaining copy left by the Ogre front register. There might be more in the back. I Keee You! is a collection of overheard conversations either heard or drawn by an impressive collection of indie folk. Brian Ralph drew the cover. I've got a page of wrong in it.


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  Posted by Dara on 9/12/2007 06:55:00 AM :

       Office prank: post-it note makeover

Recently, there's been a rash of pranks being played on folks at my work. Each time someone goes on vacation, our admin (with help from other coworkers) has decorated people's cubes in interesting ways. So when I took a couple of days off a few weeks ago, it became my turn. I returned to this:



My entire office was covered with post-it noes. And I mean entire office. Walls, floor, behind the door, around the trash can, under my desk...



One of the side effects of this paper makeover is that my office is now extra bright from the overhead lights reflecting off the thousands of white post-it notes:



So if anyone needs any second-hand, slightly used post-its, let me know...


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Tuesday, September 11, 2007
 
  Posted by Tony on 9/11/2007 04:28:00 PM :

       sunday morning comin' down

So, I did swing by that show the other day organized by Sunday Comix (http://www.comicspace.com/sunday_comix/). I love the fact that there's enough talent in this area to support not one, but two comic book collectives.

They did a really good job with presentation. They had original artwork and prints hanging up around the walls, and a bunch of comics in a spinner rack. I got a good smattering of indie comics and a print by a John Miller.

I don't know a lot about the group, but it includes Max Ink, Ray Tomczak, Molly Durst, and lots of other people. They meet once a month (on a Sunday, natch), compare art, and do jam pages.

They collected a bunch of jam pages into a minicomic, which they were thoughtfully giving away for free. Good stuff (although there were a surprising number of jokes about Max, suicide, or some combination.)



Respect, Sunday Comix. Respect.


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  Posted by Craig on 9/11/2007 01:35:00 PM :

       Way Back Machine




Astonishing Tales featuring Deathlok


Here’s yet another example of Marvel aiming for a more sophisticated, adult audience fifteen years before Alan Moore accepted his Swamp Thing assignment: a comics-code approved series about a cybernetically animated cadaver fighting cannibals in the future dystopia of 1988. The issue pictured above was yet another of the first comics I ever laid eyes on, though I’m not sure how this one made it into the Bogart household. The concept for the series was way over my head at the time—my then-thirteen year old brother had an eye for some of the more bizarre comics on the spinner rack and he must have slipped this harmless funnybook past the parents.

Deathlok enjoyed a brief revival a few years back as yet another boring 90’s badass; typically, the original concept was more interesting. The character was entirely Rich Buckler’s baby, though he had some scripting assistance from Doug Moench. The premise is part Mad Max, part The Omega Man: A soldier killed in a war wakes up five years later to discover he’s been converted to a cybernetic killing machine, used to do the bidding of his former superiors. He escapes into the ruined world his former masters have created, sharing his consciousness with a nagging computer that acts as a schizophrenic second voice in his head. Deathlok’s brave new world is a slum populated by cannibals, as well as an underground resistance that embraces him as a messiah figure; with the back-from-the-dead Christ symbology built into his origin story, it’s an understandable assumption to make.

The series employs some Pulp Fiction-style time jumps in the narrative, so you needed to be a more sophisticated reader to follow the story. This was also probably the darkest, most violent series I encountered in the first two decades of my life. I’d suggest Rich Buckler even outdoes the Frank Miller Daredevil comics that came along a decade later for simple brutality. Here are a few scans from a number of issues ranging from #25-31:




Damn, I love that last one.
Unfortunately, Buckler isn’t a writer, and the series would have benefitted a great deal if he had turned more than just scripting chores over to an experienced scribe. He also could have spent more time developing the visuals of Deathlok’s ruined world, as well as photo-referencing props like helicopters and tanks. Still, the great premise of the character is enough to make him one of my favorite of Marvel’s B-listers.

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  Posted by Dara on 9/11/2007 07:27:00 AM :

       9/11, six years later

Six years ago, 2,974 people died in the worst act of terrorism this country has seen. But 2,191 days later, the mastermind behind the attacks is still free, still taunting. Why? Because a handful of rich, middle-aged men from privileged backgrounds who basically stole the Presidency of the United States decided instead to have a little "adventure" in Iraq. So these hypocritical bastards - most of whom had used their money and family connections to get out of going to war themselves - flat out lied to Congress and the American people and invaded a country just so they could huddle up and wag their dicks to the world to show how macho they are.

Meanwhile, Bin laden is still free, the Taliban is re-forming in Afghanistan, that country's opium fields are in overdrive, 3,700 US troops have died in Iraq since "mission accomplished", and the number of Iraqi civilian deaths is in the hundreds of thousands.

I wish I was a religious person who believed in heaven and hell, because I could at least find solace in the fact that these arrogant, incompetent, hypocritical, opportunistic sons of bitches will one day die and take a much-deserved trip down to club hell for all eternity. But alas, I'm one of those non-believer secularists whose "agenda" is apparently ruining the family values of this country. So instead I'll have to wait for the history books to show these loathsome f***ers for who they really were, and vilify them so that hopefully future generations won't fall so easily for the next snakeoil salesman who comes around selling war.

Six years. Six years a sick man with a gimp kidney and possibly secondary osteoporosis and diabetes has eluded all US efforts to capture him by hiding in caves. Meanwhile, we've created a quagmire that will take decades and trillions of dollars to...what, fix? No, there's probably no fixing Iraq at this point. But hey, it keeps the American public distracted and keeps them from asking the tough questions, so hey, I'm sure it's been worth every penny and life lost to the administration.

After all, it's neither their money nor the lives of their sons and daughters.


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Monday, September 10, 2007
 
  Posted by Tom on 9/10/2007 09:30:00 PM :

      


New pics from Jeff Soto's show up at Jonathan Levine's in NYC. I don't even want to know how much each of these sold for. I really don't know because all the paintings have sold thru. Beautiful, beautiful stuff. Juxtapoz has pics from opening night.


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  Posted by Dara on 9/10/2007 07:29:00 AM :

       Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

Last week's page proved to be easy, so let's see how this week goes. As always, if you have the comic this page is from, please refrain from playing...



(click image to cry like a little girl)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006, 1/9/2006, 1/16/2006, 1/23/2006, 1/30/2006, 2/06/2006, 2/13/2006, 2/20/2006, 2/27/2006, 3/6/2006, 3/13/2006, 3/20/2006, 3/27/2006, 4/3/2006, 4/4/2006, 4/5/2006, 4/6/2006, 4/7/2006, 4/8/2006, 4/9/2006, 4/10/2006, 4/17/2006, 4/23/2006, 5/1/2006, 5/8/2006, 5/15/2006, 5/22/2006, 5/29/2006, 6/5/2006, 6/12/2006, 6/19/2006, 6/26/2006, 7/3/2006, 7/10/2006, 7/17/2006, 7/24/2006, 7/31/2006, 8/7/2006, 8/13/2006, 8/21/2006, 8/28/2006, 9/4/2006, 9/11/2006, 9/18/2006, 9/25/2006, 10/2/2006, 10/9/2006, 10/16/2006, 10/23/2006, 10/30/2006, 11/6/2006, 11/13/2006, 11/20/2006, 11/27/2006, 12/4/2006, 12/11/2006, 12/18/2006, 12/25/2006, 1/1/2007, 1/8/2007, 1/15/2007, 1/22/2007, 1/29/2007, 2/5/2007, 2/12/2007, 2/19/2007, 2/26/2007, 3/5/2007, 3/12/2007, 3/19/2007, 3/26/2007, 4/2/2007, 4/5/2007, 4/9/2007, 4/16/2007, 4/23/2007, 4/30/2007, 5/7/2007, 5/14/2007, 5/21/2007, 5/28/2007, 6/4/2007, 6/11/2007, 6/18/2007, 6/25/2007, 7/2/2007, 7/9/2007, 7/16/2007, 7/23/2007, 7/30/2007, 8/6/2007, 8/13/2007, 8/20/2007, 8/27/2007, 9/3/2007)

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Sunday, September 09, 2007
 
  Posted by Dara on 9/09/2007 05:11:00 PM :

       Craphound art: McCaffrey and Pope

I wanted to share some artwork from "Craphound", my second Cory Doctorow adaptation for IDW. Interior art is by British artist Paul McCaffrey, who is handling pencils, inks, and colors:



The cover is by the rock star of comics, Paul Pope:



I think the issue is coming out in December, but I'm not positive on that.

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Saturday, September 08, 2007
 
  Posted by Dara on 9/08/2007 09:38:00 AM :

       My next graphic novel: Arigato! Baby Ninja

Wendy found this the other day while unpacking a few more of her boxes. It's a hand-made comic I did for Hanna to entertain her on a rainy day a few years ago.

As you can see, it features my classically-influenced artwork (enhanced by stickers) and authentic hand lettering. Alas, only the cover and the first page were ever produced before running afoul of financial shenanigans with an unscrupulous publisher.

But maybe some day the world will thrill to the entire saga of Arigato! Baby Ninja.



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  Posted by Tom on 9/08/2007 08:52:00 AM :

      


I'm always on the lookout for new shows. There's one currently happening this weekend in New York City called Howl. I wish I had known about it sooner. Any excuse to go to New York is a good one. The show lasts for 3 days and sounds like they get alot of foot traffic. Table prices for the small press area are pretty reasonable: $175 for a full or $60 for a half table. If it's going on next year, it'll be worth checking out.


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Thursday, September 06, 2007
 
  Posted by Tom on 9/06/2007 08:13:00 PM :

       Ryan Kelly is a machine

Jesus Christ man!! From the sound of it, Ryan Kelly is busting out a graphic novel in a month. Or at least the bulk of it. He has 70 pages left to go on his upcoming OGN with Brian Wood for this month. It sounds like DC wants this in the can by the end of the month. That comes to be 2.5 pages a day. Penciled, inked, and toned. Way early as the book isn't slated to come out till April next year. Last month was 48 pages of Local and a stint on American Virgin.

It puzzles me why they want the art done so early and why they insist he work almost at print size. They sent him bristol already bluelined, two up on an 11x17 sheet. You can see the scale he's working at on his blog. I'm rooting for you Ryan.


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  Posted by Dara on 9/06/2007 12:36:00 PM :

       Comic Book Idol 3 is now taking entries

Go here for all the details. They've got a nice "prize package' for the winner: Airfare, accommodation, and passes for the New York City Comicon 2008, assignments from Oni and IDW, etc.

I followed the contest in its first year, and winner Patrick Scherberger has been working steadily in the biz, mostly on Marvel's "Adventure" titles for kids. I believe Tom got his No Dead Time assignment from Oni when someone spotted his art in the "play along at home" thread. I have no idea who won CBI 2, or whether they're still working in the industry or not.

Alas, it looks like most of the Panel gang might be ineligable:
"employees or any individuals who have claimed professional status as a comic book artist and/or have been paid to produce artwork for any of our sponsors and affiliates including but not limited to Comic Book Resources, New York City Comicon, IDW Publishing, Oni Press, Image Comics, and Marvel Comics, as well major publishers and studios like DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Tokyopop, Devil’s Due, Udon, etc."


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Wednesday, September 05, 2007
 
  Posted by Craig on 9/05/2007 04:24:00 PM :

       The Ineffables: Gormuu Feasts

The latest Ineffables story is up at comic space; I had a week to throw together a story for Bob Corby's Oh, Comics tpb, themed "Food." The results are the this six-page story; many thanks to Dara for lettering.

Gormuu Feasts

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  Posted by Craig on 9/05/2007 03:37:00 PM :

       Way Back Machine

Accommodating the missus’ recent job change kept me away from a computer for a while, so I might revisit the August “Dark Times” theme a little later. For now, I’m getting back to the really good old stuff…

During a recent trip to a comic store it dawned on me that I’m actually getting some pretty fierce competition when it comes to digging out these old gems from the 70’s and early 80’s to share; strangely enough, it happens to be Marvel Comics itself that seems to be on the same kick. A list of new comics reads like my lineup for future WBM entries; Heroes for Hire? Iron Fist? Ms. Marvel? The friggin’ Legion of Monsters has even been referenced lately! Besides spotlighting a certain lack of creativity (besides creator-driven works like Sandman or Preacher, is John Constantine the most recent enduring original character to have been introduced—in the late eighties?), it also points to a reason I find most new comics unapproachable: they seem to be written by snarky fanboys, for snarky fanboys. Why else would I see an homage to an obscure early issue of What If? on the shelves?

Several books I have lined up to use for posts have been put on hold because they might seem to simply be reflecting a new comic on the stands, but the final straw came when I saw a new miniseries a few weeks ago that presents a bastardized take on a particular favorite of mine that I’ve been waiting to use here for some time.

Marvel Team-Up #79

This is one excellent comic book, but really, who was sitting around and said out loud, “remember that Spider-Man/Red Sonja crossover? Let’s do that one again, but over four issues!” I know Red is enjoying a revival in the wake of Dark Horse’s Conan series, but she’s got a dirty little secret I’m not sure many people know about:

Robert E. Howard only wrote one story featuring a character of this name: “The Shadow of the Vulture,” which was set during the siege of Vienna by the Turks during the sixteenth century, a couple thousand years after Conan’s time. The main character was a German knight who frequently needed rescued by, in Roy Thomas’ words, “a crimson-tressed Russian hellcat named Sonya of Rogatine, also called Red Sonya.” Thomas dug the character, transplanted her to the Hyborian age and changed the spelling of her name and, well, her entire premise, and the character took off. So basically these new comics chronicling the exploits of the character are using the Roy Thomas/Marvel character which has little to do with Howard’s creation except, sort of, in name. The Howard estate, I’m sure, is happy to collect the licensing fees nevertheless.


Moving on to this excellent old comic which has inspired the piece of crap you can buy off the shelf today: it was produced in 1978 by the dream team of Claremont, Byrne, & Austin, at the same time these guys were making the X-Men comics that propelled that series through the decades of mediocrity that would follow. It’s like a “lost” classic X-Men book, only without any mutants. The story begins when a night watchman at a museum runs afoul of a mystic amulet that possesses him, transforming him into the Hyborean-age sorcerer Kulan Gath. A big mystical ruckus erupts at the museum, cutting short an Xmas party at the Daily Bugle attended by Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson. Pete’s girlfriend gets peeved when he appears to ditch her outside the museum, so she sneaks in herself in Lois Lane fashion. Once inside, she sees Spider-Man getting clobbered by a horde of demons—then is strangely drawn to another artifact on display, an ancient sword. Taking it out of its case, she finds herself possessed as well, transformed into an old enemy of Kulan Gath’s who jumps into the fray.

Things don’t go well at first, as the wizard puts the two heroes into a trap: suspending them bound over a mystic pool from which rises a giant, steaming pillar of doom. Wait a second-- wasn’t this featured in the Shogun Warriors post a long time ago, as well? Judging by the SW ad in this very comic, the books came out at about the same time; perhaps there was an editorial mandate regarding bondage and steaming phallic symbols on a particular month.

In any event, things go bad for Kulan Gath because while his trap might be fine for holding Cimmerian barbarians, spider-powered captives are another matter entirely. The pair escapes and the fight gets carried outside, where the wizard and Sonja herself gets a view of our brave new world and are quite horrified. Spider-Man takes advantage of their shock to beat the villain senseless, removing the amulet in the process so the guard reverts back to normal. Crisis averted, Mary Jane does the same.


If anyone's picking up the current miniseries featuring these characters, they're probably the type to prefer the Pierce Brosnan Thomas Crown Affair to the Steve McQueen version. There's no help for those people.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007
 
  Posted by Dara on 9/04/2007 09:41:00 PM :

       Secrets of Conan

About 10 years ago, I bought a bunch of old, beat-up Marvel and DC books at a garage sale for a few bucks. Most of them currently adorn the walls of my office at work, adding a bit of color and excitement to an otherwise drab place.

But I kept Conan the Barbarian #8 (Aug. 1971, which makes it slightly older than me) at home so I could flip through the pretty, pretty Barry Windsor-Smith artwork every once in a while. And on a recent flip through, I was reminded of the "secret message" panel that I never noticed on my own, but had read about somewhere on the web. It's panel 2 on page 14:



And here's an enlargement of the "message" amidst the gold coins in the upper left corner:



"I must be mad to sit here drawing all these coins"

Sorry for the poor quality of the scans, but the issue itself is in pretty bad shape; discolored, brittle, and falling apart. But it's still pretty damn cool to look at.


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  Posted by Dara on 9/04/2007 01:22:00 PM :

       Herb Trimpe at Mid-Ohio-Con

This one's for you, Craig!

Click here for the full list of guests for this year's Mid-Ohio-Con.

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Monday, September 03, 2007
 
  Posted by Dara on 9/03/2007 10:24:00 AM :

       Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

Difficult page last week, probably and easy one this week. And happy Labor Day to our US readers!



(click image to Rocketsize)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006, 1/9/2006, 1/16/2006, 1/23/2006, 1/30/2006, 2/06/2006, 2/13/2006, 2/20/2006, 2/27/2006, 3/6/2006, 3/13/2006, 3/20/2006, 3/27/2006, 4/3/2006, 4/4/2006, 4/5/2006, 4/6/2006, 4/7/2006, 4/8/2006, 4/9/2006, 4/10/2006, 4/17/2006, 4/23/2006, 5/1/2006, 5/8/2006, 5/15/2006, 5/22/2006, 5/29/2006, 6/5/2006, 6/12/2006, 6/19/2006, 6/26/2006, 7/3/2006, 7/10/2006, 7/17/2006, 7/24/2006, 7/31/2006, 8/7/2006, 8/13/2006, 8/21/2006, 8/28/2006, 9/4/2006, 9/11/2006, 9/18/2006, 9/25/2006, 10/2/2006, 10/9/2006, 10/16/2006, 10/23/2006, 10/30/2006, 11/6/2006, 11/13/2006, 11/20/2006, 11/27/2006, 12/4/2006, 12/11/2006, 12/18/2006, 12/25/2006, 1/1/2007, 1/8/2007, 1/15/2007, 1/22/2007, 1/29/2007, 2/5/2007, 2/12/2007, 2/19/2007, 2/26/2007, 3/5/2007, 3/12/2007, 3/19/2007, 3/26/2007, 4/2/2007, 4/5/2007, 4/9/2007, 4/16/2007, 4/23/2007, 4/30/2007, 5/7/2007, 5/14/2007, 5/21/2007, 5/28/2007, 6/4/2007, 6/11/2007, 6/18/2007, 6/25/2007, 7/2/2007, 7/9/2007, 7/16/2007, 7/23/2007, 7/30/2007, 8/6/2007, 8/13/2007, 8/20/2007, 8/27/2007)

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Sunday, September 02, 2007
 
  Posted by Dara on 9/02/2007 10:20:00 PM :

       Fun with out-of-context comic strip panels



Then maybe you shouldn't have sparked up that big spliff, Linus.


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  Posted by Dara on 9/02/2007 12:12:00 PM :

       Song lyrics of the day

"Light Up Ya Lighter"
It never makes no sense
It never makes no sense

Fire, fire, fire, light up ya lighter, fire fire fire

Armageddon is a deadly day
Armageddon is a deadly way
They commin' for you everyday
While Senators on a holiday

The Army recruiters in the parking lot
Hustling kids they're jugglin' pot
Listen young man, listen to my plan
Gonna make you money, gonna make you a man

Bom Bom

Here’s what you get
An M-16 and a Kevlar vest
You might come home with one less leg
But this thing will surely keep a bullet out your chest

So Come on come on, sign up, come on
This one’s nothing like Vietnam
Except for the bullets, except for the bombs
Except for the youth that’s gone

CHORUS
So we keep it on, til ya comin' home, higher and higher
Fire, fire, fire, light up ya lighter, fire fire fire
So we keep it on
Till ya commin' home
Higher and higher
Fire, fire, fire, light up ya lighter, fire fire fire

Tell me President, tell if you will,
How many people does a smart bomb kill?
How many of 'em do you think we got?
The General says we never miss a shot
And we never ever ever ever keep a body count
We killin' so efficiently we can’t keep count

In the Afghan hills the rebels still fightin'
Opium fields, keep on providin'
The best heroin that money can buyin'
And nobody knows where Osama bin hidin'
The press conferences keep on lyin'

Like we don’t know

CHORUS

Some say engine engine number nine
Machine guns on a New York transit line

The war for oil is a war for the beast
the war on terror is a war on peace
Tellin you they gonna protect you
Tellin you that they support the troops

Don’t let them fool you with their milk and honey
No, they only want your money

One step forward and two steps back
One step forward and two steps back
Why do veterans get no respect?
PTSD and a broken back
Take a look at where your money's gone
Take a look at what they spend it on
No excuses, No illusions

Light up ya lighter, bring 'em home

CHORUS"
-- Michael Franti & Spearhead, from the album Yell Fire!

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