Monday, 19 June 2017

YDKJ! Update: Ctherpes ridden Assathoth


Been plugging away at issue #1 of You Don't Know Jack: Two-Fisted Comic Store Manager for the last couple of months and am a couple small drawings away from being done.

I just finished up the most difficult image required so far for either book and figured that was a good reason to report in.

We needed a drawing of Cthulu for a gag. This was problematic for me. I have always disliked images of Lovecraftian horrors. Lovecraft is one of the rare prose writers I do like, exactly because his work relies so heavily on the formal nature of prose. He is so good at conveying impossible horrors that shatter perception so it strikes me as a betrayal of the work to inscribe an image of said impossible horrors. "A big nasty octopus thing? Ooooo, soooo scary."

Anyway, we needed a Cthulu, so I drew a big, nasty, octopus thing...

...and tried to toe a fine line between being able to still see the thing and having everything be a bit too cluttered and low in contrast to fully perceive. Besides, I know Sean Robinson will do magic with the pre-press and preserve an insane level of resolution in all of that clutter.

Even with all of the purposeful cluttering I felt the image still looked far too standard. I wanted more confusion. The phrase "fearsome geometries" popped into my head (is that a Lovecraft phrase?) so I set out to add a kaleidoscope effect to the whole thing.

Using Photoshop I messed about with some photos and created the following pattern.

That was placed over top of the drawing on a separate layer, the white areas used to select the drawing below, and the resulting selection flipped horizontally along a vertical axis. That got me where I wanted to be.

Somewhere under all of that chaos there are the strict symmetries of the kaleidoscope, but hell if I can see them, which satisfied my need to try to capture the true horror at the center of the Lovecraftian mythos as I see it, the re-consumption of order by chaos.

A very sick part of me has the urge to re-draw the whole thing as it looks with the digital shenanigans applied to it, but there are better things to do.


Paul Slade said...

How do you flip something horizontally along a vertical axis? Or is that description a tribute to Lovecraft's mindfuck prose?

Carson Grubaugh said...


Imagine the equator, a horizontal line, and then flipping the map across it, Canada and Russia would become southern countries, Africa and Australia would be up north, a change in vertical placement.

Same thing in the other direction. If you want to mirror an image side to side the rotation happens across a vertical meridian.

Anonymous said...

Totally unrelated but, rereading Sim's "Collected Letters Volume 2", on pages 204 and 205, 3 August, 04, quoting Norman Mailer, from "Why Are We at War", Dave reprinted Mailer in response to R. E, "Pg. 37--'Saddam, after all, had a keen nose for the vagaries of history. He understood that the longer one could delay powerful statesmen, the more they might weary of the soul-deadening boredom of dealing with a consummate liar who was artfully free of all the bonds of obligation and cooperation. It is no small gift to be an absolute liar. If you never tell the truth, [then] you are virtually as safe as an honest man who never utters an untruth. When informed that you just swore to the opposite today of what you avowed yesterday, you remark, "I never said that," or should the words be on record, you declare that you are grossly misinterpreted. Rich confusion is sown, teeming with permutations."

Dave's reponse to R. E. was, "Well, yes." Dave cited some examples from the 2004 election cycle, but I would ask Dave (and you), does that remind you of anyone else?

Signing off,

I Am a Lifelong Republican.

Dave Sim said...

Rare WIFI check-in! I needed to download the PORK KNIGHT cover again. And try to check out RAGMOP at the VAULT COMICS site. #fail on the latter.

GREAT WORK, Carson! We really need to charge a cover price by the pen line. We'd be rich!

Good example of the ratio of art:writing in comics. How long did it take Jack to type her one-liner? How long did it take me to write a strip around it? How long did it take you to draw it? Artists take it in the neck every time.

Dear Lifelong Republican: I think President Trump BELIEVES everything that he says. I think that's what got him the presidency. I think what everyone overlooks is that he lost once through the whole election cycle. In my experience -- as a political junkie of 50 years standing -- that's unheard of. HOW did he do that? Sheer impenetrable BELIEF in self, I think.

And that, I think, stems from his experience on THE APPRENTICE franchise. Reality TV is all staged. It's performance art. He spent more than a decade (no, really, THINK about that) watching himself on TV and doing different takes of anything that he didn't see as being HIM. What got the ratings, what didn't. This is what DJT looks like when he says this. This is what DJT looks like when he says that. And he learned concision. You've got 21.6 seconds to communicate this before you say "You're fired!" HOW do you say that in 21.6 seconds? (that's why he took to Twitter: "this is the only way to DO this job. This is like TV but more finely-tuned")

The Democrats are going to have to find someone who has that same skill set for 2020. What Democrat has the decade-plus experience of creating themselves on a Reality TV franchise? And is interested in the job? Pretty short list, I would guess.

See you the next time I have to check something online.

Sean R said...

DUDE. This is an insane drawing. Totally insane. Thanks for sharing! Can't wait to dive into it up close and personal :)

Tony Dunlop said...

Mr. Sim: "What Democrat has the decade-plus experience of creating themselves on a Reality TV franchise? And is interested in the job? Pretty short list, I would guess."

Don't know about interest in the job, but one Democrat who could give Trump a run for his money in 2020 is...Jerry Springer. No, that's not a joke.

I'm convinced President Trump is going to be very hard to beat, assuming he runs for re-election. If the Democrats run another cookie-cutter neoliberal, they're looking at a 35 - 40 state drubbing. The battleground, as we saw last year, is the Northern white working class (Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, mostly). Springer has the following going for him:
1. He's held elected office before (OK, mayor of Cincinnati, but at least he's won elections).
2. He's known and loved by precisely the right demographic; very few Democrats could put this group in play.
3. The coastal-urban elites will despise him, but like the "respectable" GOP with Trump, they'll vote for him if they hate or fear the alternative enough.
4. Probably most important, he could out-circus Trump. It's all about spectacle these days. Obama understood this; (Mrs.) Clinton, not so much...

Lest you think this is off-topic, U.S. politics these days is nothing if not Lovecraftian.

Tony again said...

Oops, never mind...Springer's not a natural-born American.

Michael said...

That didn't stop Ted Cruz or John McCain from running.

Tony one more time said...

Yes, but they had US citizen parents - probably would have stood up in court.