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Archive for August, 2010

After the blistering heatwave of 2010, I’m very grateful that fall is right around the corner. However, before the hot weather comes to a close, why not post one or two more about summer treats.

A few weeks, decided to finally try out Benfaremo, otherwise known as ‘Lemon Ice King of Corona.’ I’ve passed it numerous times while riding the bus. Figured it was worth a shot, so why not try the place. Of course, of all the days to visit this place, it starts to rain.

Benfaremo, Lemon Ice King Of Queens. NYC, August 2010.

List of flavors from Benfaremo's.

Our order. Mine was the apple flavor.

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Not that I can afford a doctor, but whatever. Ordered an apple flavored ice, which contained real fruit chunks. The taste was okay, but after a few seconds, my order began to taste like apple flavored soda. Bleh. Truth be told, my personal preference still goes to Ralph’s.

Upon arriving home, I started doing this quick sketch in honor of Italian ices:

Italian Ice Girl (August 2010) by Michele Witchipoo

If I get around to it, the next and final posting about summer treats will be about Jann’s.

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This has been a happy, productive time for me. The book I did six illustrations for, Tales of Woe finally saw the light of day! Written by John Reed, it’s published by MTV Press and distributed by Powerhouse Books. Apparently this book has already gotten great reviews. You can buy the book here, here, or here.

Another two of my illustrations have also been published in Worlds Beyond. That one is more of a quasi-pulp anthology, published by Comicbook Artist Guild, otherwise known as CAG. The genre is Sci-fi/Horror.

I’m back doing the webcomic with writer John Reed titled Shitty Mickey. The fourth episode is up now.

Finally, I have a table in the Artist Alley section of the New York Comic Con 2010 (NYCC 2010). Yay! Other comic con appearances I had within this year have all turned out to be successful. My table at the Mocca Art Fest 2010 was the best ever.

I’m working on other projects, although that’s been coming along slow…slow…slow…not finished as I would have hoped, but it’ll get there.

My Facebook group has more members: facebook comic con/michele witchipoo.

Surprisingly, I’ve kept up regularly this blog promoting myself, in regards with my art/comics/illustrations, comic cons, appearances, interviews, etc. Occasionally, I’ve rambled with what’s been on my mind, observations, and whatnot. Yeah, all that good stuff. After all, on the internet, everyone and anyone has an opinion about everything. Then again, as the saying goes; opinions are like (fill in the blank), everyone’s got one.

What do I know? My political beliefs are half Democratic and half Libertarian. Never a Republican though. Republicans can go kiss my big fat white ass.

Finally, I’m back in school after so, so, so many years. Yeah, its kinda odd, but I’m going back to college really for myself. Let’s face it, the art world, no matter what field, can be pretty snobby. They still wanna see a degree somewhere. Not that I ever cared about what people think, but still. In a rare moment of candidness, I’ll admit the regret of not doing well in school. During elementary and some parts of junior high, I was a decent pupil. Somewhere along the way, rebellion kicked in. Aggravated by the general ignorance of my peers, not ‘fitting in,’ and later on, not wanting to ‘fit in.’ I developed into a perpetual truant. Ironically, when I would cut out of school, it was spent going to museums, reading sub-cultural literature, exploring new places, films, and all that nonsense. Therefore in a way, I believe I would consider myself self-taught in some subjects. Well, somewhat self-taught, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

My interest in learning was reignited when I discovered, let’s say ‘alternative spirituality.’ Been reading tarot cards for years. One day decided to dive head first into esoteric practices. I went on a few different paths like Wicca, Thelema, Chaos Magick, Gnosticism, Theosophy, Eastern Philosophy, Hinduism, Buddhism, Yoruba, what-have-you. My conclusion: it’s all the same crap people. Anyway, I realized that as much as I self-taught myself some things, there was also a case of ‘stunted growth.’ I went from thinking I knew it all to realizing I barely knew jack shit. As I quote Robert Anton Wilson…“If you think you know what the hell is going on, you’re probably full of shit.”

So…long story short, I’m back in college for myself. Starting from the beginning too, ’cause I sucked as a student from way back when. However, those are the consequences. Then again, the past is the past. I didn’t have the drive back then as I do now, so things have a way of working themselves out. Although I feel tinges of feeling as if I’m back in high school, and slight bouts of misanthropy, I’m enjoying myself. One of my plans is to separate my school work from my so-called online/comicbook/illustrator/artist persona. Feel its better this way. Having said that, this will be the last time I will mention school within any my online social networking sites.

The only thing that’s missing now is maybe a band. Would like to form a post-Industrial/Electronica/Power-Electronics/Noise/Neo-folk band. Well maybe.

Here’s an illo I did last summer, with a school theme. Enjoy:

Monster In The School Library

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‘There are other worlds, similar to ours but different in many respects. They may be alien worlds in galaxies far away, worlds in which humanity has met its dreadful end, worlds that already exist within our future. The possibilities stretch only as far as the imagination. But, no matter where, when or how these worlds exist, they are all one thing…WORLDS BEYOND.’

Worlds Beyond: A CAG Prose Anthology Book Cover. Art by James Rodriguez.

I’ve done two illustrations for this quasi-prose anthology book ‘Worlds Beyond’ published by CAG (Comicbook Artist Guild). The two stories: Sci-Fi short ‘Cult Movie’ written by Scott Sheaffer and the zombie piece, ‘Bad Reception’ by Lindsay Kraemer.

It’s on sale now. You can order by clicking on the below link:
http://comicartguild.ecrater.com/p/7322598/worlds-beyond-a-cag-prose-anthology

Oh yeah, and an error was made on my bio. It slipped past the editor’s eye. Somehow instead of ‘native’ I’m a ‘naive’ New Yorker. Hey, at least my artwork looks good. Hopefully this will be corrected soon.

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The title of this blog post says it all. The book ‘Tales of Woe’ will be released tomorrow. That’s the book written by John Reed, and featuring illustrations by a variety of wonderful artists. Published by MTV Press, distributed by Powerhouse Books. I have six illustrations in the book. If you wish to order this book on pre-sale, you have a few hours left to do so. Starting tomorrow, the book will be sold at the regular cover price.

http://talesofwoe.com/Tales_Of_Woe/Tales_of_Woe.html

Tales Of Woe

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Tales Of Woe


For those who don’t know, the book Tales of Woe is going to be released next week on August 17th. Written by John Reed, it features illustrations by a variety of talented artists. I have six illustrations in this book. You can get your copy on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

In the meantime, if you have an iPhone or an updated iPod, you can get your very own Tales Of Woe application. On iTunes you can download completely for free. You can also share this app on Twitter and Facebook. So c’mon, let your friends know how miserable you really are. ‘Cause if you didn’t have this app, you’re gonna bore your friends with your woes anyway. If you rather share your misery the old fashioned way, soon you won’t have any more friends. So at least this app entertains without vampyric alienation. That way, they’ll just think you’re being clever.

Here’s the link to download:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tales-woe-companion-app-to/id385939329?mt=8#

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If walking into a time warp is your idea of a good time, maybe you might want to check out this place out.

Eddie’s Sweet Shop, located in Forest Hills, Queens. Looked pretty retro alright. Had that old soda fountain shop kinda appeal.

Inside Eddie's Sweet Shop, Friday August 6th, 2010

I want candy

Since it was a hot summer evening, the place was packed. Taking a counter seat, I noticed all the different types of sundaes being made. The orders was served in these retro metal dishes, complete with all sorts of rich, thick toppings. Tons of whipped cream, syrups, malts, sprinkles, nuts, cherries, you name it. Pure ice cream porn.

This was not my order.

The aftermath

Safe to say this place is not for the vegan, nor the lactose intolerant. Eddie does have low-fat ice cream. I know this because that was my order. It paled in comparison to all the decadent treats parading up and down the counter.

Didn’t stay too long at this place. So I snapped a few more pics with my cell:

The seating at Eddie's Sweet Shop

The Counter

Googled Eddie’s Sweet Shop online to see if they have a website. So far the only listings I’ve seen is a fan page on Facebook and a few city guide type reviews. The reviews either raved about Eddie’s, or expressed disappointment. It was one of these reviews that I found out about another old fashioned ice cream place, Jahn’s. Apparently that used to be an East Coast institution. There’s one single, solitary Jahn’s location left, and its in Jackson Heights, Queens. That’ll be my next stop. In the meantime, here’s two more outside Eddie shots.

Outside of Eddie's Sweet Shop

Entrance To Eddie's

I’ll end this blog post with this sketch/illo:

Blond On Blond Ice Cream, Aug. 2010. Artwork by Michele Witchipoo

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Continuing with my cartoon theme on this blog. I mean, who needs more commentary about the dwindling economy, the gulf oil spill, etc., when I can just go on about cartoons?

Anywho…now that you’ve heard my sarcasm drip more than melting ice cream on a hot summer day, onto today’s posting.

Cartoon dads. Was reading a comment someone had posted on Facebook, in regards to my last blog post. The comment was about Harry Boyle, the dad from ‘Wait Until Your Father Gets Home.’ I quote: “I remember that series…no, the dad was not dumb either, he was more average joe..and tom bosley did his voice….”

This got me thinking…no, Harry Boyle was not dumb at all. He was a working class kinda guy, at odds with the changes of the 1970s generation. Come to think of it, neither was the other cartoon dads, like Fred Flintstone, George Jetson, etc. If anything, the concept of having a really, really stupid dad is a recent phenomenon. Perhaps it began with ‘The Simpsons.’ The Simpson brought back animation sitcoms to prime time television, but quite possibly introduced us to the unintelligent dad. When the focus turned away from smartass Bart to hopeless Homer, a new concept began. The fact that Homer Simpson despite his low I.Q., was able to hold down a job at a nuclear power plant…it’s not all that unlikely. Meanwhile, Marge went above and beyond her blue beehive keeping her yellow clan together. Then came along ‘Family Guy’ and the ultimate idiot of them all, Peter Griffin.

Let’s go down the list of a few animated fathers. We’ll start with Fred Flintstone.

The Flintstones, featuring Fred.

Fred Flintstone was an average guy, working an average job down at the Quarry. Fred didn’t start out as a father until Pebbles’ arrival. Fred wasn’t the sharpest stone in the cave. His get rich schemes never panned out, and was a bit of a hot head. However, his loving devotion to his more intelligent wife Wilma, his family (except for the mother in law) and his friends more than outweighed the Brontosaurus burgers.

Ack-acka-dak, dack-dacka-ack

Then again…if anything, Fred might’ve downplayed his intelligence. Why? More than likely, Fred Flintstone was a Freemason. When you’re sworn into a lodge, there’s secrets to keep. Fred was an initiate of Bedrock’s Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes (Lodge No. 26). Ack-acka-dak, dack-dacka-ack.

Meet George Jetson

Go retro-futuristic with The Jetsons

Hanna Barbera soon blasted off into the future with another animated prime time sitcom. The Jetsons. The head of that family was computer engineer George Jetson. This time the family was slightly more white collar than its stone-age counterparts, but just as loving. George Jetson had lapses in judgment, leading to many of the show’s predicaments. However, George was no slouch in the brain department. If anything, George was merely overburdened and overworked. This was despite the fact that George only worked 9 hours per week at Spacely Space Sprockets. His overbearing boss, Mr. Spacey added to George’s bouts of mild anxiety. Over 45 years later, perhaps many working Americans can relate to George’s dilemma. Nowadays Americans have the internet, DVRs, cellphones, remote controls, GPS devices, and many more mod cons. Even with less work hours and modern conveniences, many Americans are more stressed out than ever before. That is, if you even have a job. You can almost hear George Jetson faintly in the distance: “I told you so!”

Wait Until Harry Boyle Gets Home…

Hey Harry; if you think the ecomony was bad in 1972, you should try 2010...

In 1972, Hanna Barbera tried its hand again with another animated prime time cartoon. Titled ‘Wait Until Your Father Gets Home.’ The times were a-changing, and this show reflected this. In the Hanna Barbera universe, its not as well known as The Flintstones or The Jetsons. Even the art style was different, compared to the other two cartoons. Harry Boyle was the head of this household. Nah, he wasn’t dumb either. If anything, he was just bewildered by the social changes taking place.

Steal This Blog Post!

Present day, August 2010:

Welcome to the second wave of animated shows to hit prime time. It started again in 1989, beginning with ‘The Simpsons.’

The Simpsons. Here's where animated dads start to get dumber than dumber.

Still going strong after twenty years, ‘The Simpsons’ is the longest running sitcom in American television history. When the series first started, the main focus was Bart Simpson. Along the way, the focus turned onto dim-witted Homer Simpson.

Here’s when animated dads start to become moronic. Fred Flintstone, George Jetson, etc.,…they might’ve been bungling, but never stupid. With the arrival of Homer Simpson, animated TV dads ceased to think. Why is this? One possible reason is the shift in the all-American family image. Back when The Flintstones first aired, the concept of the ‘nuclear family’ was considered idea. This was back in the 1960s. By the time 1989 rolled around, divorce statistics were up. More families were being raised by single moms. The nuclear family image was slowly giving way to (somewhat) honest realizations that many families are actually dysfunctional. Therefore, today’s animated TV dads have become beyond simpleminded.

King Of The Hill Family

The only exception might be Hank Hill from ‘King of The Hill.’ As with Fred and George, Hank might be a bit naive. Yet Hank loves his family to no end. Having a heart as big as Texas, Hank always tries to do the right thing.

Which leads us to the dumber than dumber….the dumbest dad of them all: Peter Griffin.

Family Guy. The rudest, crudest animated prime time show on today. Actually, South Park is pretty rude too. Which leads us to the burning inquiry…which show is worst: South Park or Family Guy. It’s kinda hard to tell, so its more a matter of personal preference. Personally, I like Family Guy. Who doesn’t love an alcoholic dog and some old man pedophile. Bet you if Herbert the pervert moved into your ‘hood, you’ll be calling the cops in a milli-second. Since Family Guy is beyond bad taste, Herbert fits.

Family Guy. Meet Peter Griffin, quite possibly the worst father around.

Peter Griffin. Possibly the worst father in animation history, ever. He has shit for brains, and maybe a bigger drinking problem than Brian the dog. What does Lois see in Peter? Then again, every once in a while, Lois had a bit a cruel streak (read: bitch). Supposedly Peter is an Irish-American catholic who likes to drink. How about it for those annoying stereotypes.

But you know, its all in good fun. After all, The Flintstones was originally a slight parody of The Honeymooners, Wait Until Your Father Gets Home was a slight parody of All In The Family, and Family Guy is an abrupt parody of everyone and everything.

Being a father in real life isn’t easy. Many good dads work hard at being exactly that: being a good father to their children. Yet pop culture is a small refection on society at that particular time. So the question is really this: is it that we’re tired of that perfect family image, or, have we just been more honest about how dysfunctional families truly are? Perhaps cartoon dads were always laughable, they only get more extreme as time goes by. By watching these shows, we’re only laughing at ourselves.

Just a thought…

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