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#488: Toy Story

July 9, 2010

Notes from the Manager

Related Strips: #140: The One About Shrek the Third; #268: Old School, Part One

Tomorrow is officially the 5th anniversary of Multiplex, so there will be a few guest strips in celebration of that little milestone!

I know some of you don't like guest strips, but don't worry — I'll still be putting up my regular updates. There will just be a few extra ones by other cartoonists, like T.J. Tague, whose guest strip from Wednesday is now up in the Guest Strips section.

Here's a short Book 1 update for everybody: the proofing stage for Book 1 is winding down (the couple of passes were relatively mistake-free, finally), and I've finally arrived at a universally well-liked cover design, so I just need to put the finishing touches on the illustration and I'll be good to send it to the printer by the end of next week. Then it'll be time for… printer proofs! Joy.

About this strip, it's not really important to mention, but if you wanted to go out and buy an action figure of Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon… you pretty much can't. There are "Night Fury" action figures with a healthy tail, but none actually of Toothless, with the missing fin and Hiccup's saddle & rig. And the moveable wings on the 7" deluxe Night Fury figure seems to have a habit of falling out, if the Amazon reviews are any indication.

I have a hunch that the whole "Night Fury" thing is because they added the whole bit about Toothless's tail late in the game, and the toy manufacturer was forced to just change the name on the packaging or redo the mold. (I don't have any reason to believe this, other than a couple of early stills of the movie featuring Toothless with an unmistakably whole tail.)  As a reader in the toy business pointed out to me, it takes 6–8 months to get a toy from the concept to the shelves, so some significant, late story changes could have left the manufacturer without the time to redo the figure. 

While that sort of change would be excusable, what's not excusable is not having an Astrid action figure. While I'm reluctant to take guesses as to why (because she's a girl), when two of your three main characters don't even have figures, something's not right.

Hopefully by the time the sequel comes out, someone will put out a more complete action figure line for How to Train Your Dragon, because I totally want some. I just want to actually have Toothless, not a stand-in.

And yes, I feel a bit like David Willis right now.

Also, Mr. Mister was awesome:


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“Autobiography” (excerpt)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

So I finished my Master of Fine Arts degree—technically as of March 31, although I’m still working on a couple of assistantships. But I got my diploma in the mail today.

This is one of the weirder things I did in grad school. It was a project I did for a Graphic Design Studio class, and the only stipulation was that you had to make a collection of… something. I chose to do a “collection” of twelve books that shaped who I am as a person. Not necessarily books that I still hold dear, but that really connected with me when I read them.

So, I call it an autobiography, although obviously it’s not. I decided to make a story scroll using clippings from these books, cut and pasted to build a NEW story (a creation story). I made scroll handles for it from wooden dowels (painted bronze) and bronze drawer handles on all four ends.

It was roughly 6¾ feet long if you completely unrolled the scroll, so I’ll only show the first bit here. You can click through to the Patreon page I posted it on a couple of years ago if you want to read the whole thing. I made it public so anyone can see it.

The books are (in no particular order): The Book of Job, translated by Stephen Mitchell; The Illustrated Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking; Cages by Dave McKean; Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood; Epileptic by David B; Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman; Hamlet’s Mill by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechen; Justice League: A New Beginning by Keith Giffen, J. M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire; Metaphors We Live By by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson; The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan W. Watts; and The Complete Winnie-the-Pooh & The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne. (The Pooh books are technically two separate volumes, so it’s really thirteen, but I now own a single-volume collection of them. I also read Justice League in the issues first, not TPB, so whatever.)

Enjoy! Or just kind of squint your eyes and wonder why this is something that graduate students spend their time doing. But hopefully you’ll enjoy it.

autobiography-part-1

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