Archive for July, 2010


July 31, 2010

I’ve decided to post next week’s episode of BELLIGERENT PIANO early, mainly out of excitement. I mentioned the fluidity in narrative exploration and character development that this weekly strip allows: Well, here’s a perfect example of that: Within a quick sequence of recollection, we get a broadly brushed idea of the cowboy’s past. I hadn’t really expected the narrative to move in this direction, but am very glad it did. Again, this is why working on BELLIGERENT PIANO as a weekly strip allows for character development in a unique and exciting way – it allows for these digressive pockets of opportunity, making the writing process very improvisational and spontaneous. BELLIGERENT PIANO, from its inception, was always meant to be an epic graphic novel exploring the characters of THE GREAT AMERICAN MYTHOLOGICAL DRAMA in a surreal, fictitious world – a fantastical world of myth – American myth. The weekly strip format, with its calculated pacing, is truly proving to be a perfect format for meeting that ultimate goal.

I also really like that, during this intense moment, where the cowboy has the Loser down on his knees cleaning the tip of his boots with his tongue, pistol pointed at the Loser’s sweaty forehead, the cowboys daydreaming – not even really in the moment at all.



July 29, 2010


Above is the radio drama adaptation of the graphic story “SPIKE” (see earlier posts in the FOLKTALES category for pages of the original story) – one of the new graphic stories meant for publication in my book, FOLKTALES. I intend FOLKTALES to be packaged with an accompanying CD, which will include audio elaborations on a selected group of ┬ástories from that volume (see earlier audio post in the FOLKTALES category, under the title PASSENGER). All of these audio experiments were produced in collaboration with Frank Oros. Rare indeed it is to find a collaborator who is so like-minded; I was extremely fortunate the day I met Frank. Also a special thanks to Andrea (“gee, honey…you look all done in”) Taylor, who supplied her wonderful voice and acting skills to both the ‘wife’ in the AMERICAN STANDARD AIR commercial, and the voice of the unnamed young hobo. Frank supplied the voice for the insane, older tramp, the announcer, and the AMERICAN STANDARD AIR jingle. I’m the NIGHTCRAWLER and the ‘husband’ in the commercial skit.

Be forewarned: There’s graphic violence, racist language, and other disturbing content in this radio drama.


July 28, 2010


July 21, 2010

I’m finding out that one of the great benefits to working on a weekly strip is that it allows for a huge amount of character development. This new character, this cowboy – who is as of yet unnamed – is turning into a really interesting guy for me to excavate. He’s practically writing himself, as they say. I originally came up with this character back in the late 90’s, and his first appearances in my script sketches only faintly resemble this current incarnation, who is, on one level, my homage to Clint Eastwood – specifically his iconic Man with No Name character from the Sergio Leone films – in my opinion the greatest western anti-hero, with all of his understated dialogue and moral ambiguity, to ever appear on the big screen (If you hear Clint’s quietly menacing voice while you’re reading the dialogue for my character, that’s all right with me. I hear him, too). This touches on the experience I’m having with producing a weekly strip, in general. After having spent most of my time learning how to tighten a short graphic story into something where every word matters, producing a strip allows for so much freedom and exploration (and arguably digression); it feels a bit like being a jazz soloist (trumpet, preferably) riffing on a pre-established musical theme. End result: Extraordinary fun; endless room for exploration; enjoying the ride without being hung-up about “what happens next”. I feel a little like Alice falling into the rabbit hole. Now I know why Gould was so insane! Not to say that there isn’t a pre-established arch to the Belligerent Piano story – there is, and always has been. But it has always been intentionally epic, and more about character interaction, so the weekly strip format really allows for character expansion – you can really investigate every crevice and improvise (or “riff”) on segments of the pre-established script. Very fluid and organic experience! Very surreal. It reminds me of the surreal fluidity of a Dylan song like “Tangled Up in Blue” or “Black Diamond Bay”. In terms of following a story line, the experience of creating Belligerent Piano is like knowing your destination (or at least having a general idea about where you want to end up, as well as specific landmarks you want to visit along the way), but taking your time getting there: Exploring all the backroads and little towns you stumble upon in a free-wheelin’, ramblin’ manner…knowing your route, but allowing for the unexpected.


July 14, 2010


July 7, 2010

ENTER: A new character….