Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In Memoriam (Comics Edition)

Current Reading: The Digging Leviathan, by James P. Blaylock

Inspirational Quote: "You can lead a yak to water, but you can't teach an old dog how to make a silk purse out of a pig in a poke." -- Opus (Berkeley Breathed)

Obviously a lot of things have been happening in the world, and equally obviously, a lot of things have been on my mind. Some of them universal (Obama), some of them personal (my son punched another kid in class yesterday). Strangely enough, though, the thing most on my mind at this moment is a penguin.

Goodbye, Opus. You made me laugh at intelligent stuff, and made me wish I knew people like this penguin who looked more like a puffin.


slcard said...

Thanks for that link. It took me a couple of days to find the time to visit it, but I'm glad I did. I just tried to revisit it, as I've been questioning the puffin image, but it would be faster to find an army surplus store, buy night-surveillance equipment and sail out to the Bird Islands to view puffins live. Instead I gave up, which is a good thing I suppose as the birds wouldn't be on the islands this time of year.

What I really wanted to mention is Cormac McCarthy's The Road (I don't know how to get italics here). I couldn't work this morning so I finished reading this book instead, and my evil cricket conscience is driving me to tell you how I couldn't help but think you could write such a book. Have you read it? I don't know what it is exactly: the setting; the terse, beautiful prose; the father/son relationship; what little I know of your voice from this blog. However, something as I read kept making me think you should do as well, and I think you should remember how good you are before you sell your soul as a hack. I know, I know, it was a silly Nathan Brandsford question, but nonetheless, you are very good and I would hate for you to forget that.

Ulysses said...


The puffin reference actually came from one of the strips in the 80's. I've never seen a puffin first hand, but that's only fair. They've never seen me either.

I've never read McCarthy. I'll have to look into it.

To paraphrase Clinton, "It depends on what your definition of 'hack' is." Nathan's question boils down the spectrum of career choices to two absolutes: artist (critical acclaim, but no money) and hack (money, but critical disdain). Given that choice, I'll take hack, remembering that it puts me in company with Dickens and Johnson.

It doesn't mean I don't try. It certainly doesn't mean I don't stretch and challenge myself. It just means I prefer cash to kudos.

Honestly? I'd like a huge heap of both. But first I have to publish something more than just blog entries.

Thanks for the kind words.

slcard said...

Okay, a hack like Dickens is good. I like that trash. Good to know you weren't faltering, but do look into The Road. If you find you are offended by my comparison feel free to call me a fool.

As for puffins: how looking at those colourful seabirds was going to help me interpret Opus I'm not sure (I would blame being simple on getting a cold, but I'm afraid I have those tendencies). What I needed, of course, was a picture of said character, which a trip to the attic would have provided. You have now saved me the effort. Thank you.