Gruss vom Krampus (2017)

2017 Krampuskarten 2017 (main)
One for the road…alas.

All of a sudden I’ve been drawing krampuskarten for four years. It still feels like a new tradition (my drawing them, that is). I’m clearly in the time-flying-by faze of life.

Anyway, here’s last year’s model. Maia and Robby got to star in the inaugural 2015 card, Beth and Lisa took 2016, so that left Todd and me. And here we are. Pretty obvious “plot,” really, given that this whole nonsense started over the annual pouring of Southern Tier’s Krampus Helles Lager.

Unfortunately, we’re near the end of that component of Krampusnacht. We noticed a sharp decline in the availability of liquid Krampus last year, to the point where Todd called Southern Tier and learned that they will no longer be brewing it. (In my mind’s eye I see a frantic, tearful Todd making this call, but I doubt that’s how it went down and I’m certain he wouldn’t appreciate that.). I managed to get my hands on a couple of bottles of Krampus (deeply discounted in Total Wine’s annual post-Krampusnacht sale)(no, not really), so we’ll be able to toast Krampus this year (and maybe in 2019).

As for this drawing, I once again employed what is perhaps my favorite computer-aided cartooning trick: blowing up an area where fine detail is needed, then shrinking it back into the original drawing. Unfortunately, as is so often the case, it’s too hard to see the fine detail once the drawing has been shrunk.

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2018-10-01 – Inktober! (poisonous)

So this past weekend Maia (I mean “Rory”) suggested that I join her in Inktober, a month-long drawing-a-day challenge—which sounded a lot more fun than Septemperance, my quest to avoid beer for a month.

Inktober provides daily one-word prompts for the drawings, and today’s word was “poisonous.” Here are my and Rory’s 10/1 Inktober entries.

10-01 - poisonous - RS

10-01 - poisonous - JS
Mr. Yuk’s rough day

2017-08-08 – “you’ve got the cutest little baby face(time)”

(2017-08-08) Facetime (B&W)
A look forward (c. 2034) at a look back.

Finally, an actual comic strip!

No bonus points for this idea—the inspiration for it has been literally in my face for…how long has Maia had her phone, now?

Still loving on my new Tombow magic marker set, so much so that I did something I haven’t done in a long time: gave a comic strip the Sunday treatment (that means “using color,” for those of you not hip to the newspaper scene). I don’t think I’m very good at coloring my drawings, by which I mean to say I think I’m lousy at selecting colors. I need to stick to much more subtle colors. These Tombows may get most of their workouts in the “collect ’em all” efforts.

As to the drawings, I like these. I don’t think I got the three later-year Maias down all that well, but I’m quite pleased with newborn and blankie Maia. Aged-up Jon and Lisa were fun to draw.

“Such a little crumbcake” is a line from one of the Skippyjon Jones books. It’s become one of many family catchphrases.

Oh, “‘poster” in “‘poster blankie” rhymes with “zoster,” as it’s a back formation of “imposter.” ‘Poster blankie was the backup blankie Lisa and I ordered (after much searching on eBay) once we realized blankie’s importance. Needless to say, Maia was NOT fooled when ‘poster blankie was swapped in on laundry days. (Thank you, Caughos, for that original blankie—truly a baby gift that kept on giving).

SRV is The School in Rose Valley, and the Sword Dance is the elaborate dance the Middle Circle (grades 3 and 4) performs at the annual May Fair.

Willow May’s Tex makes his second appearance in the comics page (such as it is).

No, Lisa and I don’t really have prints of all these pictures (and, yes, a couple of of these drawings are based on actual pictures—digital pictures).

The first panel was supposed to have a banner at the top saying “2034” (which is why my talk balloon is a little lower), but there wasn’t enough room at the top of the drawing to cut and paste the banner in. Hopefully, it’s clear enough from the various cues that this is occurring in the future.

Condensation from a pint of delicious refreshing Ship Bottom The Shack IPA dripped onto my drawing pad, smearing some of the lines between panels 4 and 5. Editing software helped minimize that mishap.

 

2017-01-20 – “Jonny come lately”

2017-01-20-jonny-come-lately
Better late than never!

Phew! Made my deadline! And by “deadline” I mean “before I see most of these guys tonight at happy hour.”

Here we have my second foray into filling the gaps left in the original Cubicle Count run. So, welcome, Keith (officially), Pat, Jennifer, and Carrie—where would happy hours (to say nothing of the BIOSIS day to day) have been without you? And welcome to Todd, Andy, and Jeanne: you may not have worked at BIOSIS, but if happy hour time counts, I spent as much time with you as I did my coworkers!

Oh, and sorry about your transition to the comics page: I’m still having the all-too-familiar hard time getting characters to look like the people they’re based on. Sigh.

Drawing this made me really want to hop down to Cherry Street Tavern, the backdrop here and the scene of so, so many laughs and bouts of memory loss. Good times! Probably!

2016-12-02 – “Hi Ho, Cherry (Street) O” (preview)

hi-ho-cherry-street-o-rough-panel-2
Funnily enough, this is about as clear as my ACTUAL memories from Cherry Street!

So last night I had the extreme good fortune to reconnect with a couple of the old crew from BIOSIS. Appropriately enough, we reconnected over beers (though of better quality and lesser volume than in the old days), and naturally enough there were retellings a’plenty of the BIOSIS glory days. Hanging out with these guys never stops being great.

Of course, I took the opportunity to plug this little blog (I mean, really, if there’s ANYONE who’s going to find any value in these old Cubicle Counts, it’s these guys). But—quite rightly—Keith called me out on something I had myself noted in the commentary on another blog entry (“Interro-BANG!”): a lot of the most important people and events from the BIOSIS days slipped by uncaptured in the Cubicle Count records. It’s a gap that I intend to address (again, see “Interro-BANG!”); I have quite a few ideas for new strips already lined up. Indeed, I already have one almost completely sketched out.

As a show of good faith—and to ensure that two essential BIOSIS institutions (Keith and Cherry Street Tavern) get added to the Cubicle Count canon—I’m going to throw this preview out there.

Cheers, gentlemen! And stay tuned…

 

Gruss vom Krampus! (2015)

krampus-kard-2015-cropped
“Here’s to me!”

Spurred largely by Todd Whann’s tradition of breaking out bottles of Southern Tier’s eponymous helles lager right about this time of year, there’s been interest in and amusement over the idea of Krampus (very loosely: the Christmas devil) among some of my friends. For the most part, the interest has manifested in nothing more than seasonal downing of liquid Krampus.

It mystifies me that Krampus hasn’t caught on in the US. Austria and Bavaria celebrate Krampusnacht (as near as I can tell, this is basically Christmas Mardi Gras) and Krampuslauf (described as an alcohol-fueled run of celebrants dressed as Krampus); all we in this country can come up with is Krampus: The Christmas Devil, a regrettable, plot-less, budget-less, badly acted “film” that didn’t even feature Krampus (note this is NOT the 2015 movie that got a theater release). (Though, to be fair, the writers of Venture Brothers—one of the funniest shows on TV, by the way—did drop Krampus in their Christmas special a couple of years ago). 

Last year I took matters into my own hands and made a small effort toward establishing the proud tradition of Krampuskarten, the exchanging of (wait for it) Krampus-themed cards. How did Hallmark miss this? 

Because my Krampus-mania was set into motion by Todd, and because most of my own “observances” of Krampusnacht have been at his and Beth’s house, it seemed only right that Krampuskarten should feature a Whann. So here, riffing on the tradition of Krampus hauling off wicked children, is Krampuskarten 2015.

Robby and Maia aren’t wicked, per se, and it’s rather easy to imagine that they would handle such treatment in the way depicted here.