pajama shark week 4

And of course, during Shark Week we can learn many interesting facts about sharks.  For, example, one of the worst things that can happen to a 12 foot long shark is a 20 foot long shark.  Translate that into the peaceful world of the Pajama Shark and it’s bad news for those shark-shaped sugar cookies.

Drawing Thresher’s shark-shaped cookie cutter was a fun challenge.  I think I captured the softened effect and rounded lines of a baked cookie compared to the shape of the cutter, but the relative sizes are probably way off.

I may bake some cookies this afternoon, but I’m too lazy to roll them out so I will probably just drop them.  The household sharks will almost certainly eat them anyway.

Posted in art and culture, comics and cartooning, writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

pajama shark week 3

Among the fun things about Shark Week are all the special merchandising tie-ins at your favorite stores.  If you like shark stuff, this is the time to shop for it.  Thresher is, of course, a keen reader, and like any keen reader he loves used bookstores.  Trust the opossum (should we call her O’Possum?) to find the one joke book in the bunch.

Everyone who has seen even a few of my comics knows I love to draw shelves and piles of books.  What better symbol for both the search for knowledge and the pleasures of the hunt?  I had a lot of fun coming up with the titles of the shark-related books.  Some of them are based on the titles of real Shark Week shows.  (Shark Pie is not one of them.  It is a humorous children’s book.)

“Pelagic” is one of my favorite words.  It describes animals that live in the deepest parts of the ocean, furthest from land.



Posted in art and culture, comics and cartooning, writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

pajama shark week 2

No Shark Week is complete without several shows about the prehistoric megalodon. That got me wondering about the relationship between modern cartoon friendly sharks and their own epic history.  I decided they  think of the mighty sharks of the past the same way we think about dinosaurs.  And that means if you are friendly shark and a kid at heart, you might very well have a stuffed toy megalodon.

Thresher’s Megalodon is definitely based on my own much loved IKEA shark.


Posted in art and culture, comics and cartooning, writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

pajama shark week 1

Summer means Shark Week on basic cable TV, and I think cartoon Friendly Sharks probably enjoy it a lot.  And even more so now that the tone has turned from “sharks are terrifying monsters” to “sharks are ancient creatures who are amazing and fascinating and important to the ecology of the oceans”.

Thresher the Pajama Shark definitely thinks so, and I agree with him.  I drew a one panel Thresher comic every day during Shark Week, and here’s the first one.  I think this is the core cast for a potential Pajama Shark series:  The PS himself, his pal the Opossum, and his toy Megalodon.  We’ll meet the latter officially later in the Week.

And yes, the snack in the big snack bowl is goldfish crackers.

Posted in art and culture, comics and cartooning, writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

save the doodles, ice cream edition

And … we’re back. Cartoon Shark Week is coming soon (art is done, edits are not), but we can always rely on our doodles to entertain us every day and keep our creative vision keen and sharp.  Let’s save the doodles!  These are the smaller cousins of the placemat doodles, the ice cream shop napkin doodles.  These coarse, absorbent drawing surfaces reward bold choices in drawing tools, in this case a store brand black gel pen from Staples in a 0.7 medium nib.  The ink in this pen is pretty much permanent when dry, but that doesn’t take into account the ice cream coming a little early.  So those smears are both sweet and genuine.

Posted in art and culture, comics and cartooning | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

shark week: that megalodon post

Shark Week is upon us, and I thought we would celebrate with some new Thresher the Pajama Shark cartoons.  But I have not drawn them yet, so let’s start with a classic post. 

Back in August of 2o13,  I was one of the many people who fell hard for the mockumentary  called Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives.  Yes, I am an idiot, and I wrote what I thought was a pretty funny little essay about it.  And here it is.   I feel obligated to point out that I spelled the word “Megalodon” incorrectly throughout the entire original post.  This has been corrected.

Megalodon: the Monster Shark Lives.  Might as well get the embarrassing admission out of the way first: I fell for it.  Like a bag of rocks.  It was late, and I was tired, but still …  This “documentary” ran last week as part of Shark Week on the Discovery Channel.  That alone should make a rational person suspicious,  Shark Week being the lowest common denominator of TV documentary festivals.  I don’t normally pay a lot of attention to it, not being terribly interested in sharks. (At the time I wrote this.  I am more interested now.)  But I am interested in “living fossils”, Lazarus taxa, survivals, and cryptids of all kinds.  So, yes, I would watch a show about surviving Megalodons.

To my credit, I missed the very beginning of the program, including any disclaimers that may have been offered when it first ran.  (The rerun I watched earlier today had several, all very carefully weasel worded to avoid saying “This is a big fake. You idiot.” in all capital letters in a bold face font while meaning exactly that.)  But there is still no excuse for my original reaction.

Reasons I, as a rational person, should have known that Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives was a work of fiction the first time I saw it:

  • The attack on a charter fishing boat off the coast of South Africa that begins the story is identified as taking place on April 5th, 2013.  There is no way a two hour documentary could be built around “real time hand held video” of the attack in time to be a featured attraction on Shark Week the first week of August of the same year.  Lead time, anyone?
  • And about that video footage–how ethical is it to show violent images of the bloody demise of actual people, as opposed to fictional characters, on prime time television? Might that be considered exploitative, or a gross violation of personal privacy?  Basic cable channels may not be a bastion of all that is great and good about the human experience, but even they have programming standards and practices.
  • The “lead scientist” is way too good looking. And a little too glib.
  • Also, the half a whale washed up on the Hawaiian beach is vividly bogus.
  • This.Megalodonuboat That’s a megalodon photographed off the coast of the Cape during World War II by the crew of a German U-Boat, with another U-Boat conveniently in frame to show scale.  It’s probably the same megalodon that ate those people last April.  Sure it is.

My only justification is that I really wanted it all to be true because it’s a good story: mysterious, bloody and deliciously creepy. The last minute of Megalodon is truly great television.  Not true, but great television.

Posted in art and culture, writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

an actual memory of the moon landing, sort of

Yeah, I am old enough to Remember The Moon Landing.  I still get asked this occasionally although that’s thinned out a bit recently, as the anniversary approaches.  We all remember the Moon landing this week, even if we don’t.

An actual memory of the Moon landing, sort of:

We were staying in a tourist cabin camp on a lake near the Lake Huron coast of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.  No TV in the cabin was part of the attraction to my parents, who probably feared their 1960s kids were already getting too much screen time.  But for that special occasion the owners dragged the Big TV out of their living room and set it out on the back porch so everyone could sit around and watch.

(I’m pretty sure that massive 1960s console set that inhabits my comics to this day is a memory of that TV.)

I remember a Midwestern night, cool breezes off the lake, cicadas and mosquitoes.  How late was it?  Probably not so late, but anything past bedtime was exciting.  The adults brought out chairs, and drank drinks with clinking ice cubes.  I think I sat on a boat cushion.  I think I drank a grape soda out of a bottle.  The other kids got up to run around, but I was transfixed.

Was it a color TV?  Maybe it was, but in my memory it was black and white.  I remember Walter Cronkite with his eyebrows and his deep voice, explaining things with diagrams and models.  Then, finally, after a lot of talk more explanations, the actual first step. Even then I remember thinking it the picture was pretty bad, but it was TV. From the Moon. Was that really TV from the Moon? I looked up and wasn’t able to see the Moon which I remember as sort of disappointing, but it was up there, and someone was there, walking around.

What’s funny is that even at the time it all was happening,  I was already thinking about this week.  I had a keen sense of history as a little kid, and liked to add dates together and try to imagine what I would be doing ten or twenty or thirty years from the present. I knew the 100th anniversary of the Moon landing would probably happen without me, but the 50th would find me (with luck that was luckier than any luck I could ever have imagined at the time) still around, even older than my parents were that day, living an amazing life in the incredible world of The Future.

And here we are.  The house I live in today (and have lived in for almost 30 years) was already standing in 1969.  I do not live on a space station. I don’t even have a flying car. And the problems of that day, the problems that the Future was supposed to fix, are still hanging over us. The only Future we really got is here in my hand, there in your pocket or in your bag or on your desk: the Internet and the devices we connect to it.  I don’t think anyone was predicting that one.

So how will I spend the actual 50th anniversary of the Moon landing?  I’ll probably watch a minute-by-minute documentary on the event, built out of digitally remastered period footage by our friends at the BBC.  It will be piped down from a satellite to a flat screen TV that, while lacking the porch filling gravitas of surrounding furniture, has a monitor as big and crisp as a small movie screen.  The air conditioning will burble and drip away, but outside, the Midwesten cicadas will be buzzing.

Only the details have changed.

Posted in art and culture, comics and cartooning, writing | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

picture-poem chipmunk day with hulk

Took the Hulk with me (in my head, at least) when I went out with the camera on a sunny summer day, and ended up photographing (mostly) chipmunks.  Hulk made some poems that weren’t quite haiku.  First, his introduction:

  • Summer day.
  • Hulk see mostly chipmunk.
  • Book say “chipmunk small kind squirrel”.

  • Chipmunk run away from other chipmunk.
  • Go up tree,
  • All green leaves.
  • Cheeks full something,
  • Maybe seeds.
  •  Old sidewalk cracked
  • Deep enough for sunshine chipmunk sit in.
  • Hulk just saying.

  • Camera get too close,
  • Chipmunk run away.
  • (That chipmunk thing.)
  • Photographer warning:
  • Hulk not chipmunk.


Posted in art and culture, comics and cartooning, photography, writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

meet “the extras”

The bell rings, and it’s time for comics fun.

The Extras is a new weekly webcomic by Jeff Lilly, Katie Hodges, and yours truly, Pam Bliss!  This is a good time to announce it, I think, since it is well started, with several pages already up under this beautiful color cover by Katie.  A new page drops every Friday at 3 pm Eastern Time here.

And that makes sense, since it’s After School, and The Extras is a school story: a classic boarding school story with an urban fantasy twist. Or lots of twists.  There’s comedy, there’s drama, there’s a whole City to explore.

Jeff is the main writer for The Extras, and Katie provides the gorgeous manga style artwork.  I do a little bit of everything–I’m the co creator of the setting, and the everyday co-writer, and I’ll be writing some of the stories with Jeff in the co-writer’s seat. I’ll be doing some art for the series as well.

So consider yourself invited to hang out.  School is school no matter where you are, and friends are always friends.


Posted in art and culture, comics and cartooning, writing | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

the possum test

A small possum sticks it nose out from under the ferns and wild grapes, sniffs the air and discovers that the internet connection is back at last.  It comes through the air somehow and lands on that dinner plate (mmm, dinner) that hangs on the fence.  Something made it stop, and now it has started up again

Perhaps it’s time to sneak into the house, climb up the desk chair and venture onto the desk to take a stroll across the keyboard.  Hello, blog.  Possum here.

Posted in art and culture, comics and cartooning, writing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment