The Good News Is I'm Not A Serial Killer...

So, my... "Friend," Christine (AKA @KCBlueGal on Twitter and Fark and just about everywhere else) decided to use this amazingly precise and totally legitimate science called Graphology to analyze my handwriting and determine the liklihood that I will snap and kill people in a real estate office at some corporate office park somewhere.

The problem? Apparently, graphology requires cursive. I only write in print. And all of the samples she could find online (via my Notes to Self and scanned journal / letters / whatever) feature my sloppy-yet-readable-to-me-so-fuck-everyone-else print style of handwriting. So, to humor her, I wrote the following:

(can't see the image above? Click here)

The joke: this is simply print writing, smooshed up and connected by random lines until it eventually devolves into random squiggles that actually say nothing. But I seriously did find out that I have completely forgotten how to write in cursive, which I found way more interesting than the rest of the conversation.

Her analysis:
"It says that you're isolating yourself from your environment, socially, psychologically, or both... Fearing contact and closeness. It could also mean you've constructed gradiose fantasies for yourself that set you apart from others, or you are harboring suspicion and hostilities that KEEP you separate [from others]."

 ...All that from a fake attempt to write cursive. So I tried again, with an actual attempt to write in cursive. This was that:

(can't see the image above? Click here)

And her analysis:
"The good news is that you're not a serial killer. But this says the same thing as the first."

Well fuck. I guess I hate you all. Now excuse me as I go sit alone somewhere and remember that time I jumped my rainbow tiger-striped unicorn over a helicopter on a dare made by President Clinton. When I get back, maybe we can do Tarot cards, or some Phrenology.

Also, for real, I hate my friends.


The Difference Between Knowing And Accepting

Knowing something and accepting something are two distinctly different things. I know this, because I've accepted this (see what I did there?). But clever turns of phrase aside, I just recently contemplated and then experienced the difference for myself.

It's one of those moments you go through when you experience something really hard or really great. You get a rejection letter in the mail from a publication that you worked very hard to submit an article to, or you find out you've been accepted to a prestigious university (which itself is really a waste of time, but hey, some people think that's a really great thing, so it's a fine example for these purposes). You know you are holding the letter in your hand, but it's not quite in your gut yet. You know it, but you haven't accepted it.

The difference, at least to me, is literally this: You can look at a clock and know it's 6:00AM. You know the sun is coming up, but you're in your room, head down, working on something. You take it on faith. You understand the fact.

But then you go outside, and there's the sun rising over the horizon, peeking out from behind a few clouds in vibrant yellows and reds and oranges. And stand there a moment and truly experience the fact that the sun is, in fact, coming up. Because there it is, clear as day. You don't just know it, you are experiencing it and are in the moment with it. It's not just data. It's real.

Knowing and accepting are two different things, and they rarely if ever happen at the same time. And we like to pretend we've accepted stuff we merely know, just to say we're past it. Don't do that. Hold on to your moments. Know them. Explore them. Don't shut them out, dig deep and let them get into you and affect you. That is the road to acceptance.

The sooner you accept -- not know -- this, the better your life will be.


Monday Roundup(?): Art of Akira @ Thinkgeek (With Marian Call), Fark Crap, Book Crap and Crap

Maybe Mondays are a good time to do roundups. I don't know why this would be the case, except that today is Monday and I feel like doing a roundup. The only danger to making this a regular thing is that there may not be enough crap each week to justify a roundup. But this week there is. So that's why this is happening now. And shit.

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First and foremost: This Friday (6.24.11), Art of Akira is doing a joint exhibit/show with Marian Call at ThinkGeek HQ in Fairfax, VA! Tickets have been sold out since pretty much the day the show was announced, but that doesn't mean you are completely out of luck -- we will be livestreaming the entire event on Thinkgeek.com -- so you can check that out if you can't be there in person.

You know what else you can do? Is order a print from the event! Not quite yet though -- soon! I'll post it when it's time (probably by Wednesday). The amazing John Tyler Christopher has lent his exceptional talent to do a one of a kind, this-show-only print featuring Marian in Kaneda's garb in front of the famous powerbike from Akira, with Timmy the Thinkgeek Monkey as Tetsuo! And because I love you guys, I'll give you a preview of it here -- this is the rough sketch of the final work. Shhhh, don't tell anyone I showed you:

In other news, John Tyler Christopher is my favorite working artist today. I love him. And if you're lucky, you can win this original pencil artwork -- more on that soon!

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So, also, something I completely neglected to announce because I was gone and shit was the Fark redesign finally going live about 2 weeks ago. The reason I announce it now is that we're sifting through final bugs and whatnot, and if you've discovered something wacky, I need to hear it from you. So let me know.

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Speaking of joining studios (did I mention joining studios? Oh well, horrible segue... I'm a fucking blogger and this is free, don't expect too much) did I tell you I joined Studio Revolver? Well I did. I'm still in my probationary period, but provided there isn't a huge uprising against me and I'm tossed on my ear, I'm now part of one of the premiere comic studios in Atlanta... And my workspace consists entirely of borrowed furniture:

My duties will be largely software based (website stuff, iPhone / iPad / Android apps, etc) for comic stuff, but I'm also learning quite a lot about the process of making comics. And, not to be premature or anything, but I'm finally -- FINALLY -- working on a comic. Like, actually working on it. It's wild.

*   *   *

And finally (FINALLY), the new book is almost ready to be announced. So, this is the This Is Not The New Book Announcement announcement. And in the This Is Not The New Book Announcement announcement, I announce that you cannot yet preorder the new book in dead tree form, but when you can (and you will be able to very very soon, like next week soon), you should -- because I'm limiting print runs to preorders ONLY for paper copies. There might be some spillover depending on how many I need to order to get the quantity break in price, but my plan is to keep the print run as low as possible -- meaning if you want a paper copy of my book, your ONLY CHANCE to get one will be the preorder.

But not to fear -- the new book and all subsequent books will be available on every single electronic reader imaginable for the low low price of WHATEVER THE HELL YOU WANT TO PAY. That's right -- pay one buck or twenty and you get the book in non-DRM PDF format. Simple as pie.

The logistics are still being worked out, but my plan is to make it so if you buy it in the Kindle or iBooks store, you will likely have a fixed price of $4.99 -- but if you buy it from those places, all you have to do is send me your receipt and I'll send you the DRM-less PDF as well.

Furthermore, like every book I write, it'll be free on Google Books.

Why do this? Because I want to. Welcome to Joe.

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That's it. More absurdity and/or insightful blathering tomorrow.


Pears + Joe = BFF FOREVER

I love pears.

I eat two pears a day, if not three. Those who know me know that if you see me, there's probably a pear sitting somewhere nearby. Unless, of course, I've eaten it -- in which case, it's inside me. Which is even closer than somewhere near me. Me and pears, we are inseperable. I've been friends with pears for... Oh, gosh. Longer than I can even remember. Pears were there when I got married, when I graduated high school, on my first day of high school... Pears and me, we've done it all, and we've done it TOGETHER.

And man, we've got some seriously wild stories... Oh yes we do. This one time, pears and I got SO drunk, right? And we were at this bar, and I was TOTALLY smashed up, you know? And I was hitting on this incredibly HOT chick, and we were all like "Yeah, so I liked Empire Strikes Back better than all the rest." "Oh, ME TOO!" "OMG WE ARE SO, like, RELATING HERE!" And pears tapped me on the shoulder and was like "Dude, that chick? That's TOTALLY a DUDE." And I was like "Uh, NO WAY, pears. This is a chick, man!" and pears was like "HEY! DUDE! That chick has sausage in her knickers!" and I was like "Dude... Don't talk about MY LADY FRIEND that way!" and I punched pears and pears bruised. But then the chick was like "Excuse me, I have to go pee" and walked right into the Men's room, and I was like "OMG Pears, man, I'm so sorry I doubted you, how could I doubt you when you've been there with me all these years?" and pears was like "I don't know, man, you didn't trust me, I don't know if I can forgive that." But then we made up and all was ok, and I ate pears.

Pears + Joe:

2 Friends
2 Gether
4 Evar.


Hitting the *Reset* Button

Sometimes, you just have to stop what you are doing, pause for a moment, and then hit the reset button.

These times rarely make themselves known. You have to figure it out as you go along in life. And here's the big secret; the exact moment when you need to do this: After you've fallen down really hard, gotten back up, dusted yourself off, and started going the exact same direction the exact same way again.

Not before you fall down. You need to fall down in life. You need skinned knees and elbows. You need scars. They're what make you unique and identifiable in a crowd. Sure they hurt, but you rarely know your'e alive when you're feeling good. There is no greater sense of clarity or awareness of the exact moment it is right now than when you are in pain. Pain makes you present. And while I don't think pain is something everyone (or anyone) needs to live with all the time, moments of it from time to time are like the stitching that holds fabric together. It pins you down to NOW and makes you aware you're alive as you trek forward in life.

And then you fall down, and it hurts, and you get back up. And the second you start trying to rollerskate down the gravel driveway again is when you need to stop, pause, analyze exactly what it is you're doing and how it got you where you are, and hit the reset button.

The other big secret? There actually IS a reset button. Your friends and family and people who judge you will try to make you believe there isn't... But you get to judge whether or not you choose to believe everything you've known about yourself up until now. And every time you stop something dangerous, reset and start doing something else instead, you're exercising that choice.

You're resetting. And it's a good thing.


On Safe Places

There's actually no such thing. There's no safe places.

There's only places you go to hide. And there's value in that. But never make the mistake of thinking that you have a truly safe place in this world, where you're protected from all evil and nefarious crap.

You must be strong. You must be stronger than that which affects you. You must persevere. When you go to write, you can go to a place where you feel safe... But don't think that that protects you from the effects of what you write, the memories it dredges, the feelings and the thoughts, and most of all the reactions of others. When you go to draw, it's the same thing. And especially in life -- there's no place truly safe.

You cannot turtle up. You cannot hide from life forever. You can trust no one and no place to be your safe place. You can go places you feel safe. You can be around people you feel safe around. But eventually, you WILL have to face things on your own. And when you do, you need to be strong.

I am not being cynical, I am being honest with you. And you need to know -- the world is tough. As my friend Casey says, "Life is hard, wear a helmet." Because you WILL take lumps. You will fall down. You will get hurt. You will collapse. And when you do, if you are lucky, there will be people there that will pick you up and dust you off.

But its your legs you stand up on. Get them sturdy and strong. You'll need them if you intend to get anywhere.


It's Only Entertainment

Don't worry about me. I'm fine. I'm okay.
It's not anyone's fault, I set it up this way.
Happy? Pissed off? Sad? In dismay?
It's all part of the show. My soul's on display.

Because it's only entertainment! Laugh, it's okay!
Don't like what I write? Just wait another day.
There's a better than average chance you'll get what you need
I'm going to confess it all! Just read on, you'll see!

I'm here for your amusement, ripping pieces off of me
Throwing them down, pointing, screaming "HEY! LOOK AND SEE!"
Picking scabs in public, making myself bleed
Day after day, week after week

And it's all written down, posted, downloadable
Bound into a book, written and edited to be readable
Pain, misery, suffering; the deepest secrets in my soul
Post a comment, hate it, love it, whatever -- just let me know i'm likable

And all of this for $14.95! Isn't that wonderful!
And the beauty of it is, if you don't like it, your money's refundable.
It's only entertainment -- what does it matter if it hurts
As long as they get their daily fill, read over morning coffee in spurts

Barely considered, consumed in bursts
Easily dismissed or bookmarked or ignored or worse;
Read and misunderstood; rebuttals with many a curse
Without even attempting to even bother to understand it first.

Because it's only entertainment. I wouldn't write it otherwise
Most everyone sees right through this bullshit disguise
Externalizing validation, seeking love from you guys
Day after day, because I'm empty inside.

But don't worry about me, I'm still your guy
I'll make you laugh and smile and hate and cry
I'll keep digging deep, finding secrets to share
Opening myself to you and laying my soul bare

And maybe, I'll write something about which you'll care
And maybe, just maybe, we'll find common ground there.
I'm going to keep giving -- Who cares if it's fair?
I'm the one who chose what to write, and when to write it and where.

Don't worry, I'm fine. Je ne regrette rien, c'est bon.
It's only entertainment, and the show must go on.


A Difficult Place

I'm in a difficult place right now. I can't write anything. I want to, I just can't. Everytime I attempt to write things, my mind goes to places it neither wants nor needs to go. So of course, I try very hard to make it go other places, so I can write about things that aren't things I shouldn't (and don't want to) write about.

This, naturally, makes my brain go "WAIT! NO! You can't not think about this stuff, because obviously by trying not to think about it, you very clearly WANT to think about it, right?" And I go all like "NO, I really, really don't" and it's all like "BULLSHIT, you're totally going to think about it right the fuck now!"

And then I do, and then I can't write. And then it all starts all over again.

So, I'm going to post some videos of the Mooninites from Aqua Teen Hunger Force and smoke while I shoot the bird. I hope you all feel this because I'm doing it as hard as I can.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Revenge of the Mooninites
Tags: Aqua Teen Hunger Force Revenge of the Mooninites


Recap: HeroesCon and the past few weeks

We just got back from HeroesCon in Charlotte, NC with the Art of Akira Exhibit -- it was extremely well received, and a few hundred people came through and saw the amazing production art from this amazing film. Here's some photos from the event:

Art of Akira under the gigantic HeroesCon 2011 banner
(can't see the photo? Click here)

The exhibit as it was set up, photographed by the world's worst photographer. Photo Credit: Joe Peacock
(can't see the photo? Click here

This guy checks out some art
(can't see the photo? Click here)

By far my favorite cosplayers of the con, 3 dudes as the Powerpuff Girls. They made Stephanie Gladden's (Powerpuff Girls artist) day
(can't see the photo? Click here)

The amazing Chris Burns as the Red Skull
(can't see the photo? Click here)

Inside guestbook cover image by Die Wunderkind Chip Wallace
(can't see the photo? Click here)

Fantastic guestbook signature by the illustrious Buzz 
(can't see the photo? Click here)

My favorite sketch / signature by Dakota, a 10 year old boy whose favorite film in the world is Akira. He made the trip to Heroes with his family just to see my exhibit. There will be a full blog post about him soon. For now, enjoy this astoundingly well done version of Kaneda's bike
(can't see the photo? Click here)

So, beyond just the great time at the exhibit, it was a much-needed weekend filled with friends and comradery. Jeremy flew down to help with the exhibit, along with Mike, Shawn, Andrea, Katie and our friends Jeff and Melissa Oyler in Charlotte, SC, we basically had a weekend blowout the likes of which have never been seen. The exhibit went up and came down faster than any other time in history. So I've found the solution for our labor and set-up times: Invite nine people to every exhibit showing.

It was great to be around all my friends, both personally and in the comics industry. Everyone from Studio Revolver, Studio Gaijin and Jolly Roger were there, and it was a blast getting to just hang out and be a comic book nerd with all my artists friends. And Teenage Satan was extremely hyped and well-received -- Marsha Cooke and Stephanie Buscema were a pleasure hang around, as they always are. And Steph was the hit of HeroesCon, with a two-page spread in the program and tons of accolades for her brilliant art and style, which are VERY well deserved. She's the best. THE BEST, PEOPLE.

It was a very welcomed weekend getaway. As some of you have noted, there were some distressing messages a while back on Twitter and Facebook, and then a sudden lack of Joe for a few days. With all the stresses of everything I've been working on and stuff going on in life, a break was not only warranted, but utterly necessary. And I feel better now. Things are back headed the right direction, and having such a successful Art of Akira showing at Heroes was a big leap forward. Thanks for all the email, messages and outreach, it meant a lot. But I'm good now, and more focused than ever on doing good work.