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When I was in 6th grade, I wandered into Walden Books and saw a Wolverine and Havoc graphic novel. The art was bold and elegant. Jon J. Muth had made a forgettable graphic novel memorable. His work on Sandman and with Dave McKean have deeply influenced me. But to paint like him, I need more time in a studio and a mentor to help me. His work is elegant yet complicated. It’s full of nuance. His use of color is bold and mature and his understanding of watercolors is amazing. Knowing my limits I approached this piece like this, I would pencil it like he would and avoid using lines to outline the image. I also knew that I couldn’t match his use of color. So I made it monochromatic. This week, Tomie dePaola, Dr. Seuss and Joe Kubert have all influenced me, but has never inspired me. Nick Bruel I came to as an adult and enjoy his words and his works. But Jon J. Muth is a hero to me. His Zen books contain wisdom that can only be found in children’s books, because adults are too busy to listen. Maybe as adults a meme can make us see that now is the moment we live for. Share if you agree.
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Tomorrow would have been Joe Kubert’s 88th birthday. He was an artist and an educator, and a round-about anti-war activist. Kubert was born in Poland in 1926 and his family immigrated to America when he was two months old. He, like many Jewish children who had artistic talent and was a Jewish immigrant or a son of an immigrant, went into comics, but unlike many of his contemporaries, he started when he was 11 and a half years old. He was too young to have been drafted in World War II but was drafted in The Korean War. He personally never saw combat, but many of his friends and people he went to Basic with sure did, and he saw how war changed them. He is best known for making Sargent Rock for DC Comics, and like all great war comics, books and movies, it was really anti-war. Because conflicts stink, and all who go to war are casualties one way or anther. Share if you agree.

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Originally published December 29, 2011

As my oldest daughter would say, “Whoa.”

I once again urge anyone, service members or family, dealing with depression, please reach out for help. 

I see a lot of people with Support the troops bumper stickers. But I want to ask, what have they done to support the troops?

Even when the troops get home, these men and women need to be supported. When my friend Will returned from Iraq, I did my part of supporting him by being his friend. He was stationed near me, still serving but hundreds of miles from his friends, his family and his wife, living alone in a hotel room. He ate out every night. I would bring him home for a home cooked meal. That is how we as Americans need to support our troops. Not buy bumper stickers and ignore them. It’s the small things we can do.

I am not saying “Build them a house,” but just be their friend. 18 soldiers kill themselves a day, and maybe we can reduce that number by just letting them know that you are still there for them. Will told me some awful stuff he witnessed in Iraq, (I hardcore geeked out with my friend Joe over his pictures of Saddam’s Palace.) but when they want to talk about their experience. Listen. Do not judge. Because what ever successes or failures they had over there, remember, you love your friend or family member for a reason. That is what they need most of all.

Even Bill O’Reilly, who sends his books to be burned in Afganistan, does his part to support the troops. And honestly, that is the best way to burn his books, so we can keep the troops warm.

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Tomorrow is the anniversary of Occupy Wall St.Three years ago we stood up to the people who really run this country and told them we are coming for them. Yes, it was unorganized and leaderless, but there have been some great voices who have emerged from this movement. We are now seeing the fruits of their work. From Jesse LaGreca’s writings, to Strike Debt we are seeing a new generation rising up and I feel hopeful for my children because of their work. Since this anniversary landed in the middle of a week of children’s book illustrators, I had to use Dr. Seuss and his book Yertle the Turtle which was a political allegory. It is the children’s book of the Occupy movement. Share if you agree.
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Originally published December 28, 2011

First of all, I am sorry I posted this late. I am currently in rural Tennessee with no car. I hit a nail- fortunately I was not made to “squeal like a pig.”

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Nick Bruel is not a man-cat who goes around talking about racism in America, he is, in fact, a human who writes and draws a book series called “Bad Kitty.” He, however, does have an outdated blog where he writes about different things, including racism, which is how I got this quote. Both my kids are big fans of Bruel and were pleased I drew Kitty with enough elbows. Kidding aside, we do, as a society, avoid talking about racism because we don’t want to make people uncomfortable. But learning to create a dialogue that balances being open on uncomfortable issues without attacking each other is vital for fostering common ground and understanding among people. Share if you agree.
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What can I say about Tomie dePaola other than HAPPY BIRTHDAY! My oldest daughter is 10 and she still loves his work. I have always appreciated his work because it is like a cartoonishly done illuminated manuscript. I was able to take both my children to The Eric Carle Museum to see dePaola’s work in person. Happy 80th Birthday, Tomie! I hope you still have many years ahead of you in working, because that has truly kept you young. Share if you agree.
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So Scott Brown is working hard at becoming the first man to lose two elections against a woman, and Chris Sununu is helping him! Chris is the son of former George H.W. Bush’s Chief of staff, Governor of New Hampshire, and a surrogate for Mitt Romney in 2012. So Chris gets in front of a group of people and actually says this:

I love the guy who shouted out “Yes!” when Chris Sununu said “a phony from Massachusetts.” Go back and listen. It’s my favorite part.

Scott Brown just stood there and took it, too. He didn’t even blink. Wow.

Sorry if you wanted more comments on this, but that’s all I got, I am writing this before tonight where I am part of a Plein Air competition and then I’m taking my kid to a free screening of Ghostbusters. I will let you know what happens in the contest, but until then, I have a burning question:

Do you like Word Salad and want to help support me? I write several scripts out and pick which one I think is the best to post, but sometimes there are some perfectly good comics I write that never see the light of day. I was thinking of building a subscription service and I will share rejected Word Salads like this one:

Steve Douchey is a scum bag. He practically said this as a joke. Hitting women isn’t funny and that is why I didn’t run this. Louis Gohmert was also in contention this week. Please let me know if this is something you are willing, or even not willing to subscribe to. Your answers are important to me.

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