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mostly about comments

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This is the comments section for the (food) comic website Mostly About Food.

Here you can read my notes on the comics (as well as other subjects) and write your own comments.

Comment me with your rhythm stick

Comics Posted on Wed, April 06, 2011 22:26:52

(Posted originally on June 11th, 2006)

I’m really in doubt with this one. It starts out okay, but maybe the leather-bondage sequence in the end is a bit too… tasteless? unoriginal? I guess this is one of those situations, when a writer first feels that he has written something really smart and funny, but then breaks the rules and does not delete it. At first I thought the ”whip me” metaphor was funny, but now I feel it’s cheap and juvenile. Ah, well… you can’t get it right every time. At least the begging worked: a whole bunch of people has given a signal that they’ve read it. Although I think the heavy commenting on that one is mostly caused by my World Domination Campaign and that comic being the freshest one after the initial phase of the campaign. More about that below.

World Domination Campaign

Making of Posted on Wed, April 06, 2011 22:18:40

(Posted originally on June 11th, 2006)

E-mailing a link to your site to all your friends and relatives and demanding them to forward the link to everyone they know doesn’t really bring all that many readers. Not even though they all would comply. I knew from the start that if I wanted to have such a number of regular visitors that would compel me to keep on drawing, I’d have to do something a bit more dramatic. Having some experience from sending comic-based job applications and other personalized comics to some people (we’ll return to this one day), I felt that sending a comic link-me-plea to my favourite food bloggers (whom I knew are popular) might help raise awareness of my site.

The plan worked beyond all expectations. Two of the blogs, Amateur Gourmet and Accidental Hedonist, published the comics they received on their websites and a third, An Obsession With Food wrote about it. Fourth one asked me if the comic I sent could be published on the blog, but it hasn’t turned up yet, but I’m quite sure it will. Only the fifth food blog, which didn’t really receive a comic as much as a single picture cartoon, hasn’t yet reacted in any way. In order not to press anyone to do something they for some reason don’t wish to do, I’m not going to say, which these blogs are. Also, I am not publishing the comics (at least now), because they were sort of personal pleas to each the specific bloggers, which means that they are free to keep them to themselves, if they please. Honestly, I mean it.

Anyways, then, after a couple of days I started to find links and articles about MAF on websites, which didn’t get any comics, like Slashfood. Great big thanks for that!

As is customary, I read the very positive comments about MAF on the above-mentioned blogs (many times, to be honest) and wrote a thank-you note in them. And I AM enormously grateful for the Link Love from such well-known bloggers, who quite clearly have all kinds of other business, than linking other peoples sites, too. I wrote on Amateur Gourmet that I owe Adam a dinner, if he ever comes to Copenhagen, but the same offer goes to Kate and Derrick as well! So, once more, thank you seven thousand times, it was very kind and helpful of you to link me and it might just make all the difference for the future of Mostly About Food.

Naturally, getting link love from some very popular sites caused an enormous rush of readers to my site, which felt nothing short of ecstatic. After surfing and lurking on the Internet for some 11 years, building up my own website and then, all of a sudden, have an inspirational number of readers is quite overwhelming. The pressure to produce more, better, faster comics is pretty big, so I am trying to create as much time as possible for MAF-related activities. This will apparently turn to demand quite a lot of commitment from my part. Well, if it keeps me away from my PS2, it will make my wife happy :o) Also, I’ve read the readers’ comments and you are dead right about the necessity of RSS-feed. It will be available as soon as the monkey, who’s in charge of the tech department (pays close resemblance to me, myself and I) gets his head out of his butt and finds out how to do it. Or gets an intelligent person to fix it. Several improvements are on their way. Just be patient.


Making of Posted on Wed, April 06, 2011 22:14:25

(Posted originally on June 7th, 2006)

Now I’ve finally added some links. Not that many links to other food blogs, one might notice. But then again, I don’t read them all, so there’s just a list of the ones I do read on a regular basis. Maybe someday I manage to penetrate into the food blogging society, which might increase my interest in checking out more food blogs. Maybe. But these are my current favourites.

Then there are the comic links. It was surprisingly hard to find decent links for many of them, like Iznogoud or Moebius sci-fi comics. Thank Pete for Wikipedia for having at least some information on most of these. Of course, many of them have had their golden days a long time ago, so they aren’t featured too much, apart from some retro-lover sites. This is especially true for Tex Willer and Commando, which were popular in the 70’s and 80’s but I don’t think there are many 10-year olds getting all excited about them today…. am I right? But I still find it a bit odd that some very well known comics have such a weak (official) web presence, like Frank Miller’s “Batman” and Alan Moore’s and Eddie Campbell’s “From Hell”. Of course, my inability to Google effectively could be a factor in not finding much useful information on popular comics. Feel free to e-mail me better links, should you come across such.

One of the web comic sites has struck me as really phenomenal, namely E-Sheep by Patrick Farley. It is really showing the potential of what web comics can be and could become. And it’s so well done that I want to toss all my pens, papers and the laptop to the trash bin and then start to concentrate on the business-school-graduate jobs, as I am supposed to.

Why do I always feel stupid, useless and talentless every time I see something impressive? Should it not be inspiring? Would it not be more creative to just try to improve your skills whenever examining the work of someone, who is so much better than you? Maybe it’s the realization that there is so much quality stuff out there, most of which will never emerge from their obscurity and reach a wider audience. Majority of people will live on happily with soul-free strips of Garfield in their newspapers, never once acquainting themselves with, for instance, Electric Sheep. Maybe it gives me that bad feeling, that if this stuff is more or less “underground”, how am I, with my meager skills in art, writing, technology and structuring, ever going to find readers and/or a publisher?

But then again, a completely mediocre product like the aforementioned Garfield can make it really big. So why wouldn’t Mostly About Food? Not that it really needs to (in terms of money and fame), but some kind of popularity would be welcome. In any case, I strongly urge you to check at least the web comic links. I’ll be adding more of them as time goes by.

Logo text

Making of Posted on Wed, April 06, 2011 22:08:54

(Posted originally on June 7th, 2006)

You may or may not have noticed a change in the title: the unpeeled potato-shaped O and the orange half O’s have stepped down to give way to the maki roll (think of it as some candy, if you don’t like sushi) and the cherries. I’m going to keep on doing this kind of thing in the future. But I’ll probably keep the sunny side up O.

Just FYI, there was also a slideshow, “Sandwich of the Month”, if only briefly. It didn’t really fit. I am not completely satisfied with the emptiness of the front page, but I haven’t really figured out yet, what to fill it with. Right now I don’t want to direct the readers anywhere else than to the comics themselves, or the extra stuff in the top frame. I’m trying to construct a new kind of slideshow, just to make the front page a bit more appealing.

Varnish, Wine, Metallica, Salami, Cherries, Cheese

Comics Posted on Wed, April 06, 2011 22:06:18

(Posted originally on June 3rd, 2006)

This one is quite self-explanatory, if you can follow it, that is. I was home alone, got bored, started drinking, got the inspiration to draw drunken comics. The logic of an intoxicated person is a bit odd, indeed. Like the thing about varnish and smearing it on the kitchen counter: I didn’t draw any pictures about it, but a picture of me standing in front of the fridge instead. I have no clue, why it went like that.

My aim was to draw as fast as possible in order to keep up with my mood. It didn’t go as well as hoped, but it was fun anyway. The last page proved problematic: you shouldn’t really draw anything that covers the whole page for a web comic. Now my sorry caricature of James Hetfield can’t be seen in its entirety. I guess it’s called learning by doing.

Oh, one thing. The little devils. They’ve been kind of my trademark for the last ten years or so. I wanted to paint a decorative board high up on my apartment walls with these joyful but nasty little demons. I never did that but they’ve appeared in my comics since then (most of those comics are still in my drawer, others can be found from the archives of the student organization at the Åbo Akademi business school). Normally they stand in the background, giving sarcastic comments or are just shown having a good time whenever someone else is miserable.

Some Kind of Monster

Making of Posted on Wed, April 06, 2011 22:01:19

(Posted originally on May 27th, 2006)

I just saw the film “Metallica: some kind of monster” on DVD and that was… uplifting? Seeing multi-millionaire mega-heavy-metal gods struggling with their work was sort of consoling and inspiring. They’ve sold zillions of records over the course of 20 years, are adored around the globe, can play a three-hour set comprised entirely of metal masterpieces and still they have all these issues, catfights, lack of self-esteem and all that. If the giants have hard time pulling their stuff together, then it’s no wonder I’m having difficulties in making progress. It has to be admitted, they apparently had a whole lot of personal shit to deal with, which I don’t because I had a happy childhood and I don’t do drugs. I’m a difficult person only because I like to consider myself some kind of genius, whose (undone) work is tragically unappreciated.

Another thing, I thought after the film: with music you’re in the moment, you don’t think about three songs further down the line, you just play and everything is revealed to you and your audience as it is done. Not so with comics. That’s probably why this feels so frustrating so often. Clearly frustration is a central theme in these writings of mine, but that’s just so ever-present in the comic-drawing process. You get your idea and want to do something about it, but it’s nowhere near completion and making it comprehensible to anyone else isn’t really fun, like playing guitar is. Drawing comics isn’t at all as immediate as, for instance, playing music. I get all kinds of other ideas while I’m drawing and start to panic, because I’m sure I’ll forget the idea while I’m drawing. Ideas are such elusive sons of bitches. Once I saw this billboard at the airport: there was a beach and somebody had written in the sand “I am your idea. Someday I will be gone”. The high tide was already threatening the letters. Now, it was an advertisement for some stupid consulting company, but it scared the living bejesus out of me. Actually, I think it was more of a reminder that I still haven’t worked on my stuff and if I don’t start with it soon, somebody else will do the exact same thing, or I’ll just get tired with the whole thing and wind up dealing with yet another unfinished project. It’s just… it’s just so unfair that you spend a whole week producing a two-page comic, which can be read in three minutes.

On updating

Making of Posted on Wed, April 06, 2011 22:00:07

(Posted originally on May 27th, 2006)

The slow pace keeps on bothering me. Especially when I re-read The Amateur Gourmet’s 1000th post about how to start a food blog. He says – and I believe it – that the key to creating a succesful food blog is to update often, preferably daily, if possible. Given the amount of time it takes me to draw a single page, it just can’t be done.

But maybe I should cut myself some slack. As you may know, there are plenty of web comic sites, which are updated daily, but those are predominantly black-and-white strip comics with 1-4 panels each. That makes 6-24 panels a week (on Sunday you don’t work). Then an average comic of mine with some 10-24 panels pretty much represents a week’s worth of comics (especially if they are in colour). So, a one-two page story a week wouldn’t be nothing to be ashamed of. If it only were so… No, I’m not starting that discussion again, you’ve heard it all before.

One possibility to increase the updating frequency could be a build-up. To publish the stories three-four panels a day. Not the most elegant way to do it, since I don’t do my comics in handy, semi-independent strips, but it could force some readers to check the page every day for further development in the story. In the near future I might structure some stories to be easily “buildable” and see if it works.

Bruxelles: Pommes Frites et Bandes Dessinees

Personal Posted on Wed, April 06, 2011 21:55:33

(Posted originally on May 15th, 2006)

Just back from visiting friends in Brussels. It was a very pleasant trip. Of course, we had some waffles and French fries with mayonnaise and, yes, Vincent Vega is right: they drown them in that shit. Though I like it. We also went to a fun Japanese restaurant in Leuven, but that I might need to turn into a comic.

But now I want to talk about the experience I had at the comic museum in Brussels. As many of you might know, much of the comics we regard as French are actually Belgian (just like the fries), most notably Tintin. And Lucky Luke. And many others, of which I’m still not quite sure. So there was a lot for a comic enthusiast to see. One of the first things that hit me was the same feeling that I got watching the Led Zeppelin DVD. Namely, envy and defeat. I will never reach that level in my work. Not in fifty years, i.e. in this life. Many of the artists are/were just that good. But it doesn’t bother me that much, I just keep on drawing and writing in my own style and try to develop it.

But the funniest thing was the revelation I had while looking at the various French and other European comics. I knew most of them from before, but had not seen pages from all of them on display in the same place and that lead me to figure out the formula for a classic, French-European comic album: A) the story takes place between 1900 and 1970, preferably in the 50’s B) the artwork is either very detailed or very stylish or both C) there are some supernatural or mystical features or dream sequences D) there are always some sexual themes present and they are obvious, but it’s seldom really porn as such E) most women are elegant, their breasts are perfectly shaped and sooner or later, you will see them. I left the exhibition inspired and horny. I stared at a blowjob scene (where they really don’t show anything explicit – for all you know, she might be taking a bite from a sandwich) from Biloxi Blues for at least five minutes. I really like it, when I see some naughty stuff, but it’s not as mechanical and in-your-face as in an average porn film. That’s probably why I also like the rock lyrics of sixties and seventies: “I don’t care what the neighbours say, I wanna love you each and every day”.

Talking about staring at comics, I remember lying on my parents’ sofa, gazing at the cover of Will Eisner’s Spirit album no. 1 (a Finnish edition) with Spirit and the gorgeous Sand Saref on a desert island. I had never seen a real woman as desirable as Sand. Was I not married, I might have replaced the “had” with “have” in the previous sentence…

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