Rude Dude

In the department of “who knew?” I just happened to stumble across the documentary Rude Dude: The Steve Rude Story. It is free for viewing via Amazon Prime. I have never heard of this before but now I have it downloaded for offline viewing. I have a plane trip next week with 3 different legs and 3 rounds of waiting in airports. Somewhere in there, this is getting watched. I will report back.

Stripped Documentary on Sale until September 19 2014

Stripped Documentary

I was a Kickstarter backer of the documentary Stripped about the history and future of the comic strip and the business behind it. I backed it because as a listener of the then active Webcomics Weekly podcast and reader of the Sheldon webcomic, I wanted to support Dave Kellett. Having seen the movie, I will state that it is fantastic. I think Kellett and Fred Schroeder did a good job being fair to all sides of the issues even though they have a serious horse in the race coming from the webcomics world.

For a short time, the mega-package is on sale. This gets you all the movie stuff I got from my Kickstarter package as well as access to 26 hours of raw interview footage for $40. I will state unequivocally that if you are interested in the comic strip world, this is a steal. The sale only lasts a short time, so you need to act soon if you want it. Don’t be like I usually am, when I dawdle and then forget to pull the trigger. This is the real deal.

Also, this is Kickstarter is the reference I give to people that get huffy about delays in their projects. It took a full three years past the originally projected delivery date. I waited patiently and what I got was fantastic. Chill people, sometimes making actual projects in the real world takes extra time. If you can’t stand the risk of that, don’t commit your Kickstarter money.

Gary Cole on Speakeasy

I’m a fan of Paul F. Tompkins and have been anxiously awaiting more episodes of the Pod F. Tompkast for a year and a half. I’ve just started watching his series Speakeasy on YouTube. This episode has Gary Cole and is pretty phenomenal. I like that the conceit of the series is that the two of them are sitting at a bar enjoying cocktails while they talk. Instead of Dinner For Five, it’s Drinks for Two.

And while I am talking PFT, just let me say there is no better choice than him for the Doctor Strange movie. Ever since Jared Axelrod photoshopped the picture, I’ve been in. Joaquin Phoenix? No, Tompkins all the way! Take that to the bank!

Paul F. Tompkins is Dr Strange!

The Movie Has Rolled Footage

Today I went and did the first shoot of the documentary. My subject was Chavdar, himself a photographer who just graduated from Horry-Georgetown Technical College. By and large the setup and shoot went well. I have yet to review the footage so there is the possibility of a nasty surprise lurking. I screwed up one technical thing so simple and basic that I’m not going to say what it is. However, it was in the audio which is what I would have thought would be my strong suit here.

We’ll see where things go from here, but I’m happy. Just even getting out and shooting is a different level of reality from talking about it for years, even if every bit of this footage is unusable (which dear “Bob” I hope is not the case.) A few lines of questioning just don’t work, and I probably didn’t really arrange things properly to get at what I wanted to explore in the most efficient way. Still, it’s a learning process and now I’m learning. We have begun!

The Movie Is Happening

Tomorrow is a big day for me. The indie documentary idea I’ve been talking about for years is going to have it’s first shoot. I’m excited, slightly nervous but mostly ready to get some actual footage captured. I’m not an experienced filmmaker so I’ve been cramming like a college kid the night before a final exam, much of that from Anthony Artis’ The Shut Up and Shoot Documentary Guide: A Down & Dirty DV Production. This afternoon I set up my equipment and tested it out, and I was surprised what a good, professional image I was able to capture with my prosumer camcorder and some cheap lights from World Market and Lowes.

I can’t remember when I first spoke aloud to another person that I wanted to do this film. It might have been as long ago as 4 years. Last year at Balticon I talked with Earl Newton about it quite a bit and got some seriously good advice from him. I had a conversation with the Ukrainian girl that was the lifeguard at the hotel pool about it too. I have a shoot lined up for next week and beyond that, I don’t know. My plan is to take the footage from tomorrows shoot, edit out a 2-3 minute piece and put it up on the movie’s website. This is partly for myself as a test that the workflow will produce something watchable out the other end, but also to give prospective interviewees something to look at so that they can understand what it is I’m talking about when I give them my crazy pitch for this film. Beyond that, it’s a loose ball that I need to grab.

This is way outside my comfort zone but that’s a very large part of what I like about it. I have an inflated enough ego and sense of self-confidence that I don’t doubt I can pull it off despite my inexperience. After all, pre-2008 Andre and I had no experience in running a conference and yet CREATE South is continuing to provide value to our town every year. Something will happen from this. My goal is to produce a feature length documentary film, one that is of a quality that could be shown theatrically. Whether it ever is will be a business decision for a later day, but artistically I want to make something in that ballpark. If I can’t pull that off, I want to get an hour long cut that would potentially be shown on the South Carolina PBS network ETV or other PBS systems. If that doesn’t happen, I’ll make the highest quality short film I can get out of it. I’m a pragmatist so I’m OK with having tiers of success and doing whatever I can on the highest tier I can pull off.

I’d say wish me luck, that that isn’t much of a factor. Wish me preparation and determination. Those I can use.

Lloyd Kaufman on the Treatment

Lloyd Kaufman's Autograph

The other day I listened to the podcast version of Elvis Mitchell’s show The Treatment . It featured a great interview with a guy I met last year, Lloyd Kaufman. During this interview I thought he made an enormous amount of sense about the movie business and how it works and should work. At last year’s Dragon*Con he ad libbed a great ID for Good Clean Fun, and signed my copy of his DVD set on filmmaking Make Your Own Damn Movie. He was a lot of fun to be around and just in the few minutes I spent in his presence I enjoyed the hell out of it.

A few months ago on Good Clean Fun they showed Tromeo and Juliet. It was ridiculous and so bad it was enjoyable. The thing I truly admired about it was the sense of fun. Even when the effects were cheezy and the story insane, I got the feeling of everyone having fun. I find that inspirational. I have the DVD set I bought from his stand at Dragon*Con last year and I also bought the book All I Need to Know about Filmmaking I Learned from the Toxic Avenger. I might also get the book of Make Your Own Damn Movie!: Secrets of a Renegade Director and possibly also Direct Your Own Damn Movie! as a companion piece. For only ever seeing one of his films and that fairly, recentlyll Lloyd Kaufman may end up with a fair bit of my money, none of it for his narrative fiction films. He’s an inspiriation to me for film-making and I’m trying to channel some of his spirit to get off my ass and get to work on my side project. I’m burning summer here! Lloyd says to you me and everyone, get to work!

Three Word Review of the Watchmen Movie

I just saw the Watchmen tonight. I’ll be taking it in and writing about it more later. Whatever my expectations were of the best case scenario for pulling off this adaptation, it was waaay better than even that. Suffice it to say, here is my initial review of it:

Oh.

My.

God.

Kick Off Your Carnival with 3canal

I listened to the most recent episode of Caribbean Free Radio last weekend. There are precious few new episodes so I cherish every one I get. In this, she was talking with her friends in 3canal and they discussed their current album and the interesting promotion they are engaged in. For the time being, their newest album Joy + Fire is available as a free and legal download at Trinidad Tunes. From what they said on CFR, this downloadable album is being sponsored by Flow Trinidad in an interesting fashion. The band is getting paid from these downloads as if Trinidad Tunes had sold the same records, it’s just that Flow is footing the bill. Apparently, how long this album remains freely downloadable depends on Flow. They are sponsoring up to a dollar value, and when that is reached the promotion is over. That means, if you are at all interested, get on it sooner rather than later.

I’ve listened to the album and I believe it is my favorite of all the 3canal music I’ve heard. I’ll admit that in rap hybrid styles, I think in general there is too much rap and not enough of the other things. I love 60’s and 70’s classic style reggae but never much liked modern dancehall, for example. On Joy + Fire, I think the rapso mix of rap and calypso is just right for my taste. Try a track or two, and if you like them you can get the whole album. I dig it quite a bit, and I thank 3canal and Flow Trinidad for this experiment. From my perspective as a random white guy in America who has never been near Trinidad, I appreciate this greatly. If you want to get a little of that Carnival spirit, go check out Trinidad Tunes.

Travels and Bummers and Will Eisner

I’m in Atlanta at the moment, doing travel for the day job. I would have liked to have met up with friends and done stuff but the evening plans were such that I wasn’t sure if I was free. I ended up opting to just go for ease this time through. Sorry ATL friends, I do still love you.

Part of our obligations took us to Atlantic Station, which was a giant hole in the ground when I left Atlanta in 2003. While there, I saw banners for the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. You might wonder why a goy like me would care. Well,  I found out from Creative Loafing one of the films being exhibited is a documentary I wanted to see, Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist. I’d like to see that to balance out the relative suckiness of the Spirit movie. Of course, when does the film festival start? Not the last two nights when I could have gone, but tonight when we’ll be back home. Ain’t that the way it always goes?

In the upside, I did break off from the pack Monday night and drove to Oxford Comics with my want list in hand. One fo those was the new Spirit series issue 10 which for some reason no comic shop I’ve visited in the last year had, but Oxford did so my Will Eisnerish content for the trip was met. Still, I’d love to see that documentary and even more would like to see it in a theater with an audience. Maybe next year.

The Spirit Movie from an Alternate Reality

I am dreading the film version of The Spirit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to go see it in the theater. Whatever problems it has, they won’t get better on the smaller screen. It’s just that I fear it will be miserable experience. Everything about it that I’ve seen so far makes it look heavy on the Frank Miller and light on the Will Eisner – exactly the opposite of what I’d be looking for in this film.

Here’s an interesting story of an attempt to make an animated Spirit film in the early 80’s. I wish I lived in the alternate reality where this attempt succeeded, a good film was made from his character while Eisner was alive and Brad Bird’s talent became clearly evident a decade earlier. It’s nice to think about, isn’t it?

Bonus link: Here’s my mid 90’s interview with Will Eisner from my Reality Break podcast. Boy, I miss that guy. He was a wonderful writer and artist and a cool dude.

Ballast

The other day listening to The Treatment with Elvis Mitchell, I heard his interview with the director of the independent movie Ballast. Between the interview and seeing the trailer, I am sold. This seems exactly like the kind of movie I like. One of the downsides of living in Myrtle Beach is that even last week when the town was having a film festival, it’s highly unlikely that a film like Ballast will be shown here.

Listening to the interview with director Lance Hammer, he talked about how they chose to distribute the movie themselves. He said the deals that indie movies are getting nowadays are so bad that it is effectively free on the front end. His statement was “We decided that if we were going to be working for free, we can do that ourselves and then not have to pay out a percentage of the back end.” OK, fair enough.

However if they are distributing this thing themselves and control all aspects of that, what reason is there to not make a day and date DVD release available? I’m enthused enough about the thing that I might be willing to drop the cash on the DVD right now if I could. Hammer is doing publicity for the film and I heard it and it worked on me. However right now if I’m not in Omaha or Portland this week I can’t see the movie. There just aren’t that many screenings of it. However if they had the DVD ready to go concurrently, they could be selling it at the screenings for those people who really loved it, they could be getting people adding this to their Netflix queues from the Treatment interview, etc. It seems a risky play to bank on people in this busy world to remember to look for this movie in 6 or 12 or 18 months when it is available outside of the screening areas.

It seems like they are doing about 85% of what needs to be done and missing the last 15% that might actually get it into people’s hands and get their money. I am at this moment enthused about this movie and it is top of mind. I can guarantee that in a few months that won’t be the case. Strike while the iron is hot, kids. There is no reason not to get your DVD and maybe even iTunes/Apple TV/whatever other online movie services versions ready to coincide with your national release. Particularly when you are only ever screening in a handful of cities at a time, put yourself in a position to capitalize on whatever buzz comes your way. Otherwise you are just squandering it.

PS – for a movie set and filmed in the Mississippi delta region, why is the closest screening to where it was shot in Shreveport? How about showing a little love for the people of Mississippi and have a screening near there?

Persepolis

We watched Marjane Satrapi’s film version of Persepolis last night. Wow, what a fantastic film, one of the best adaptions I’ve ever seen. I’d actually put it above Sin City because it was not only a faithful adaption but the style of adaptation carried a lot of the story. My favorite bit was the flashback into the founding of modern Iran, told as if all the Shah’s father and the other characters were paper dolls. That choice carried so much meaning and said “these guys were all puppets” without actually saying it. I recommend this film as highly as I can, as do I recommend the original graphic novels.

As a reminder, here’s the short video interview Marjane was kind enough to do with me a few years back when she was in town.

The Writer’s Strike and New Media

In my first job out of college as a chemist, I worked in a factory. I was in QC and worked alongside lab technicians that were unionized. A lot of progressives have a love of unions that I don’t share because I saw a lot of pure human sorriness excused by the union rules. I watched guys set up a test that took an hour to run and 50 minutes into it would abandon it because it was their break time. They’d refuse to wait 10 minutes to break, and just let the test get ruined and need to be restarted later. I felt the union engendered a very much “what do I care?” attitude between the workers and their work.

Nearly 20 years on, I actually have flipped a lot of that feeling. I understand that unionizing takes the flexibility out of what you do, reduces the ability of the highest performers to more of a pack norm with the rigidity. I also have realized that no one does that lightly, and those workers willing to give up yet more of their money in union dues and sacrifice some of their advancement are doing it for a reason. Only when you are really getting screwed hard are you willing to organize and make those sacrifices. Whether it is for safety or working conditions or benefits or pay, unless you are seriously shafted as a group it makes no sense to introduce another player between you and your money. Entertainment industry writers are a group like that. They are the most poorly treated participants on the creative side of the house. They’ve had to unionize to protect themselves and now they think they need to strike to protect themselves.

I’ve seen lots of commentary on this strike from the informed participants like Ken Levine (1, 2, 3) or John Rogers (1, 2), but also from the uninformed and kind of dumb.

My friend CC Chapman weighed in and mused about what the strike means for new media. He has two points, one good and one heart-rendingly bad. If the strike is protracted and this means a drastic slowdown of new shows produced by Hollywood, that would be a wise time for the independent new media producer, podcaster or vlogger or whatever to try to make a splash. Fair game and when the entertainment vacuum arises, trying to suggest to the public at large that your show could fill that is cool. What is not cool is his second suggestion – that Hollywood look to new media as a source of non-unionized scab writers to work on their shows. Bad idea, really really fucking tragically horrible insane idea.

First, it is bad on the moral and ethical level. When these writers are striking to get their compensation in line with the rest of the Hollywood creative personnel, it is not your business to get into that and undercut their position. They live here, you are a tourist. What if you are at lunch and ask your boss for a raise, and the waiter overhears and says “Hell, I’ll do that job for 40% less than what you pay him/her!” If you slapped that waiter with a breadstick, he had it coming. That’s what you are doing, if you get into this you deserve to be slapped with whatever is handy.

Secondly, it is bad on a business level. If there is one thing I have found podcasters to be freakishly wiling to do, it is to work for free for the profits of others. Over and over and over again, I see this. Some company will arise, want work for free with some vague promise of possibly paying later if money flows, and new media people will flock to it, eager to work for nothing on the outside chance of getting paid or getting dubious promotion value from it. Have some goddamn self-respect, people. What the WGA is striking for is exactly that situation. 20 years ago, there was little money from home video and all the cash was in TV syndication so they were given a horrible deal on video sales with the promise of “We’ll take care of you if this ever makes money.” Oddly enough, when the money came in then no one was in a hurry to take less in order to give the writers more. Funny how that works.

On multiple occasions, I have received emails from someone “writing a book on podcasting.” They want me to submit a chapter. I always respond and ask if this is a paying gig, and they always come back with “Well, you’ll get a copy and the promotional value.” Nice. It’s cheaper for me to buy your book at Amazon than spend hours writing a chapter to get a free one. It’s not that I need the money per se, but I hate when people want to use my time, pay me nothing and profit from it. I’ve donated time in charity situations, but I’m not going to go work the counter at Starbuck’s for free. Way too many new media people don’t seem to view it like that, sign on to these work-for-nothing deals, devalue their own labor and that of their compatriots and basically screw the whole deal up. Either everyone is eating at the table, or no one is. It’s that simple.

So I think if new media people want to choose now to make a full court press on their promotions, it would be a wise time. If you are going to take your naive asses to Hollywood and write for pennies on the dollar and get an ever worse deal than the one the guild members are striking over, spare us all and don’t do it. You can’t negotiate a good deal in the podcast world where all the business people are relatively speaking gentle lambs. If you try in Hollywood, the sharks will eat you alive. So you will screw the existing writers for a chance to get screwed even worse yourself. Don’t do it.

Proactive update: Before I even published this, I see CC got a comment explaining the mechanics of why studios wouldn’t do this regardless. I’m publishing my post anyway because I always like to exhort the crowd not to give it away for free. If you want to be a successful whore, you can’t get there by being a slut first. That’s not a viable career progression.

The Spirit Movie

I’ll admit it. I’m very nervous about Frank Miller directing a film of The Spirit. I really hope that he manages to pull it off and keep true to the spirit of the source material. I fear it, though. It can’t possibly be worse than the 1980’s TV movie adaptation with Sam Jones. I saw that broadcast at the time and never since but my recollection is that it was a stinker. Even when I was a teenager in the process of getting newly enthralled by discovering the Kitchen Sink Spirit reprints I didn’t like it. Hope springs eternal, but I’m just not sure Miller’s sensibilities match up with Eisner’s. We Shall See.

Done the Impossible

I finished watching Serenity and watched the Done the Impossible documentary at lunch this week. It’s interesting and pretty well done, but I sure would have liked to have heard more from the actors and crew than the fans. It feels like it’s about 3/4 fan, 1/4 pro focussed and I’d rather see that about even. I didn’t peruse the special features, but maybe there are extended interview sections with Ron Glass (who I particularly wanted to hear from) and the other first parties. I know they subtitle it a “Fan’s tale” but it didn’t have to be. I like fans, I am a fan and I grew up in SF fandom but I still would have rather heard more from the cast.

The other big thing that was confirmed for me that I had alluded to in other recent Serenity posts is that I really and truly am not a Joss Whedon fan. I like this show, but even listening to him talk I found irksome. Remember when I said I found Buffy too cutesy and precious? Just the way he answered questions was really cutesy and precious, the way he’d answer the opposite first and then say “No wait, it was the other thing.” Yes sir, you are a hyper-ironic laugh machine. I think this show and movie were brilliant work but I still find the Whedon stamp a barrier to entry rather than a seal of approval.

I especially liked Alan Tudyk in the documentary saying that while they were filming these shows in their mind, when they talked about fighting the Alliance they were really talking about taking on the Fox Network. Funny stuff.

As I think about what I like about the show, I have to say the Civil War aspects are more and more appealing. There is something compelling in watching these beaten characters refuse to bend the knee and bow the head. Dialog like this reeally rings with me:

Harken: Seems odd you’d name your ship after a battle you were on the wrong side of.
Mal: May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.

In my final analysis, what I find compelling about the show is that it is about the defeated. There is so much modern American emphasis on competition and winning, and I loved that this show is about those who have lost it all, got back up and lost again. They regularly have their asses handed to them and yet they continue to keep at it, to be true to their beliefs and keep their own faith. Even the theme song emphasizes that with the repeated lyric “You can’t take the sky from me.” Forget the winners, I find the losers interesting.

Firefly and Serenity

Spring of last year when the Serenity DVD was released, I picked it up as well as the Firefly box set. Around the same time I placed a preorder for the Done the Impossible documentary. My original plan was to watch all the episodes of the TV show, then rewatch the movie (which I saw in the theater), then to watch the documentary. After all that, I’d go back and watch TV episodes with the commentary, then the film commentary and call the project good. That was the plan, which I guess is still alive. However, the timetable is suspect.

Almost 18 months later, I have finished the TV series. In fact, most of that was in the last few weeks. I don’t know why I had such a slow ramp up. I enjoyed the film, I loved the pilot TV episode and then I just sort of tapered off. I never had anything but positive feelings about the show but for some reason had no urgency in the watching process. For no real reason, I started watching the show over my lunch hour and really kicked it in.

When I hit the “Jaynestown” episode is when I got really enthusiastic. What started out as hilarious slapstick at the beginning of the episode had me weeping actual tears by the end. That’s some good TV. I’d say that the series improved continually as it ran. I think the latter half was even stronger than the front half. I’m looking forward to rewatching the film, reading the comic book series and then watching the documentary. As much as I’m enjoying this, I know that I remain less than a total fan because I still can’t listen to any of the podcasts. I tried the Signal and Firefly Talk but I found them too cutesy for my tastes. That pretty much defines the level of my involvement. I dig the show but can’t buy into the full immersion.

Here’s my one big problem with the ‘Verse milieu: If the future is so Sino-centric that all the characters know Mandarin and use it frequently, how come there are so few Chinese characters? Are you telling me that China did a lot of the expansion into space but then the people all disappeared?

BBS Documentary

Over a year ago, I purchased BSS The Documentary. Actually, when I found out about it I joined up in the Adventurer club, which prebought the next documentary about text adventures and included a copy of BBS. I think because the DVDs are double layer, they don’t play right on my oldish DVD player. I tried to watch them and they’d pause in the same place every time. That was just enough of an issue to make me table them indefinitely.

Last week, I changed that and started watching them at work during my lunch hour. Wow, this is a good documentary! It helps that I too came up from the BBS tradition so I have a lot of a nostalgia trip invested when I watch. Even if I didn’t, I think it would still be a fun watch. I’m through 5 of the 8 episodes now, having just finished the “Artscene” episode. Because I was never in that scene, this was the least engaging to me. The episode so far that was most engaging to me was the “Make it Pay” one. What was amazing was the historical perspective it can bring to our present day concerns with making money in new media. The feelings that these BBS pioneers had about the commercial BBSes carpetbagging into their world and trying to make money from their community is the same way I feel today. I believe that because of the permissive CC license, I will do an episode of my podcast that plays back the soundtrack of that episode and do my own commentary on it. Also especially good was the “FidoNet” one, relating the sordid history of the first really broad userbase in computer networking systems. I loved it.

I’d urge everyone with any interest in this world to check out the documentary. You can buy it straight from Jason and help support one of our own doing the good work of documenting permanently aspects of our subculture. Step up, kids! I can’t wait until Get Lamp is ready.

Shorter Criticism of An Inconvenient Truth

If your goal was to change minds about global warming and save the world, you’d have served that purpose better by not wrapping your message in an infomercial about Al Gore Brand Heroism(tm). By mixing messages, you gave the people who most need to be convinced an out for dismissing the whole exercise. By finishing with the “You rabble change how you live while I jet around the globe saving you” flourish, all you did was piss me off. So – goal important enough to make movie, not important enough to keep it from being a vanity driven ego pumper.

Bad Al Gore. Bad Davis Guggenheim.

An Inconvenient Film

Coastal Carolina had a screening of An Inconvenient Truth tonight and we went to it. I’ve heard lots of people wax rhapsodic about it, so I had expectations set at a certain level. Frankly, unlike most people on my side of the political fence I just plain did not think much of the film. There were maybe 20 – 30 minutes of absolutely killer material, a fair amount of specious reasoning, and waaaaaaaay too much schmaltzy bullshit. Don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely zero doubts that global warming is real, anthropogenically caused, and that we are on the slippery slope to correct our ways before we cause irreversible harm. I want to be carbon neutral from a personal standpoint and am moving forward on that. I felt that this movie was a clumsy attempt to sell me something I’d already bought.

What did I think was the killer material? The factual parts. I liked the data from the core samples, the photos of glacial areas over time, the CO2 measurements. The parts I hated? Shots of Al Gore. Al looking at computers, Al backstage about to go on stage, Al looking out windows very concerned. Weepy personal stories. Trying to connect things that really aren’t cogent to the argument, like that tobacco companies and oil companies both spread FUD.

There were also giant missing swaths from the film. There were moments such as when Gore showed all the places on the globe that he had given that speech. So, here’s a question – what was the carbon footprint of all that travel around the word to give people speeches about how our lifestyle is contributing to global warming? I’m guessing quite high. Also, why did he hammer on the various technological and mechanical causes, but didn’t even really mention that the effect of the livestock industry equals or exceeds that of industry plus automobiles?

I have to say that I found the entirety of the film less motivational than Will Shetterly’s recent posts on the subject. In particular, the recent one about why he went vegan and is no longer flying when avoidable went a long way towards convincing me. When you have a topic as important as this, loading up your argument with manipulative tactics just weakens the whole thing. If the facts are on your side, present them as coherently and simply as possible then let it ride. Doing anything else makes it seem like you are trying to pave over weaknesses on your part.

So, my final analysis is that the film says the wrong things for the right reasons and should have been much better if they want to convince people of things that require action.

Mike Fisher and Goofaman Productions

I’ve been lucky to have just randomly met a lot of interesting people while living my life. This post is about a guy I met in a comics shop in Augusta GA when I was a teenager. His name is Mike Fisher and he’s the mastermind behind Goofaman Productions. For those of you who read The Comics Buyer’s Guide in the 1980s he is also the cartoonist behind 3D Pete. I keep up with him in fits and starts, sometimes going a few years between conversations.

Last summer when I still watched Attack of the Show, Chris Gore was doing his “DVDuesday” segment about things he picked up at the San Diego Comics Con. As he was wrapping up, he recommended a DVD of short cartoons from Goofaman Productions. I perked up and said, “Damn, isn’t that Fisher?” I went and checked the website and sure enough it is. I bought one of everything he sells. I have some of the issues of 3D Pete’s Big Orbit Comics from the mini-comic days so I figured what the hell, might as well try to round out the collection. I also have a bunch of XMas cards with Pete on them from years when Mike drew them.

Last night we watched all the cartoons on the DVD except for “A City of Flimjees”. We’ve seen that one before as Mike was nice enough to send it to us on VHS tape a few years back. I liked them all, but definitely the most recent one was the best. In general, year on year each one gets better which is what you want to see. I like the ones with the blue collar space prospectors and explorers. I’ve always had a soft spot for science fiction about people doing their futuristic day jobs. If you are a fan of Channel Frederator type cartoons, you will like these. In fact I’ve encouraged Mike to submit for inclusion in their show. We’ll see how that goes.

Mike has also done some artwork for me through the years, from the t-shirt design back when I did the comedy show for WREK almost 20 years ago to the logo for the Reality Break radio show. He’s done something for me for the upcoming “Super Secret Project X”, about which I’ll post more when your clearance level allows for it, citizen. I’m not shilling for Mike merely because he’s my friend, but because I dig his work. I’m a fan, paying customer and I highly recommend his cartoon collection DVD.