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Tiny Life is a radical departure from conventional comics.  There are no super-heroes, there is no manga.  There are no post-apocalyptic vampire-cyborgs who terrorize the zombie populace while simultaneously falling in love with the one shy yet very attractive girl who’s just coming into her own.  It is the completely original story of Jed, a stick-figure in a world of flesh, who must eventually learn – like we all do – the truth about himself, about relationships, about God, and about reality.  Tiny Life is about the world behind things.

Taking place almost a decade before the events of the last book, “left” contains the reasons why Jed doesn’t trust his dad or the seemingly-saintly status he attained in “l(a”.  As far as he knows, his dad abandons him for no apparent reason.  As far as he knows, all of his friends just happen to be leaving as well.  As far as he knows, the red dot that chases him has no purpose.  And as far as he knows, the failed political speechwriter who understands his life’s purpose is not out to kill him.

But then again, he’s only eleven; he has time.

Pg. 99 Inks

The lower-left panel doesn’t really look like Jared.

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left+l(a

I’ve been thinking of combining “left” and “l(a” under one cover and calling it either “left” or “l(a“.  I think people would respond to it more.

The plots of “left” and “l(a” are essentially the same (I’ve said it before). Jed gets abandoned and he deals with it in drastically different ways in different point of his life.  It’s supposed to be a bit repetitive because of one of the main themes of the book: if you screw it up, do it again until it’s correct; the screwing up is where life happens.  Some people, though, don’t see it as that.  I’ve heard from more than one reviewer that the books are essentially the same and that I should try to do something different.  It’s difficult to convince someone that I am doing something different because it’s repetitive.

But, come to think of it, if Picasso would’ve started with cubism, he never would’ve gotten paid; he had to become a master before people took his childish drawing seriously.

So I thought the best way to do that would be to put “left” and “l(a” under one cover to contrast the two story’s differences, which would, in turn, highlight their similarities.  It would also easily show that I did this on purpose.

But then I’d have to do something with all these boxes of “l(a“.

Issue 4 Done!

cover4Issue 4 covers the last half of chapter 6, all of chapter 7, all of chapter 8, and a few pages of chapter 9!

Don’t get too excited though, chapters 7 and 8 are the shortest in the novel.

You can order it from me now or just wait a few days and order it directly from the printer.

Or, if you’re resourceful, you can just search the site for the pages it contains and figure out what’s going on from there.

Heaven Isn’t Practical

I have a lot of friends from various flavors of Catholicism – many of whom are staunch believers in … whatever their church wants them to believe in.  Almost all of them have tried to convert me in one form or another.  It might be through small conversations (one publishes inspirational books and essentially said that if I believed in God enough, that Tiny Life would be a huge success), it might be through direct conversation (I once had a summer-long email debate about why we believe what we do), but it seems like all of them tried, at one point, to get me on their side.  They all wanted me to believe what they do.

Now, in the age of Facebook (I would say “social media”, but my friends are too old to use Twitter or Vine or Snapchat), I’m getting a lot of scripture explanations or “Keep Christ in CHRISTmas!” or variations on that Footprints in the Sand poster.  On each post I want to respond, but I’m afraid I’ll offend them (it’s different in personal conversation vs. online public displays).  So I figured I’d write this.  It covers pretty much everything I believe about religion:

From my understanding of Catholicism (which is mildly in-depth), there are essentially three ways to get into heaven:

  1. If you’re born (and/or baptized and/or confirmed), you get to go
  2. Only God can choose you to go
  3. If you do good works you get to go

There are a few other ways (if you die as an infant or if you’re martyred, etc.), but those are pretty much it.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume Heaven is an actual place.  We can skip the traditional arguments of what exactly is “eternal happiness” and what happened to all the people who died before Jesus and what’s the difference between Hell, Heaven, and Purgatory… That’s detail stuff; I’m looking at the Big Picture: how does my current life affect my afterlife?  Answer: I don’t know.  Better answer: it doesn’t really matter.

The three ways to get into Heaven start with being born.  Check.

The next is being chosen by God before you were born.  Can’t do much about that.

The last is to do good works.  Not eating meat on Fridays and giving up masturbation and having a gay wedding at my house don’t have anything to do with me doing good things.  I don’t need to read the Bible and quote scripture on Facebook in order to know what’s right and wrong.  We are all born with a sense of fairness (it’s been proven that infants only a few weeks old know what “fair” is).  In my opinion, looking to God for every decision clouds that ability; it slows down and even hinders good works.

Now I could get into the charity of the church and what I think about “having Jesus in your heart” or about sanctimoniousness or about the hypocritical nature of worshiping a person whose only lesson was about love and you essentially hating everyone.  But I won’t.  That’s detail stuff.  I’m looking at the Big Picture.

So here’s my belief – and this goes for all you atheists out there too – it doesn’t matter.  How I think about God or the afterlife or the lack thereof does not matter.  I will still pay my taxes, I will still give to charity, I will still raise my kids with some loving discipline, and I will still die – like everyone else – not knowing exactly what happens to me.  And since I am going to die, I don’t want to spend my time thinking about pleasing a God I don’t know exists or raging against people who do.

Pg. 84 Finishes

Don’t worry about the shape of Ernie’s head in the last two panels; they’ll be covered up by word balloons.

pg84

Fringe Season 4

I was really excited about this season going in.  The last season, although disappointing in parts, ended on a pretty high note.  The entire season was about how to use Peter to fix two worlds because he is the only one of the two worlds.  Once they got there (with a few rough patches of Fauxlivia having a baby, William Bell inhabiting Olivia’s body via a soul magnet, and an entire episode set 20 years from now), it got pretty interesting toward the end; that is, Season 3 started off uninteresting (where it also seemed like the writers didn’t much care about the audience or our intelligence) and ended with me wanting more.  Season 4 is the exact opposite.

At the end of Season 3, Peter fixes the two worlds via a bridge that Walter made.  The instant that’s done, he disappears from the earth.  The next shot is a field full of Observers watching the event as if it’s the most important in history.  One comments that Peter “never existed”.  Fringe has commented on paradoxes before, so I was intrigued with where they were taking this.  How could Peter fixing things invalidate his existence?  How does fixing a whole in the universe caused by his father 25 years earlier in an attempt to save him make Peter simply vanish?

At the beginning of Season 4, as expected, no one remembers Peter.  Walter is a little different (slightly different hair, for some reason), Olivia is a little different (a little more tan, for some reason).  They talk about how they both feel some sort of emptiness that they can’t describe and suddenly this Peter-like apparition appears.  Does this mean the machine turned Peter to a different wavelength?  Does this mean he exists but cannot be seen?  Is he invisible?

Eventually the apparition becomes a reality and everyone is dumbstruck when Peter seems to know so much about their lives and the Fringe cases.  It’s explained that, for some reason, our Peter died 25 years ago instead of being saved by an Observer. Has Peter stumbled into a third universe?  Is he in a different timeline?  Do Observers not exist here?  Has using the machine negated their existence, and in turn, negated his own?

As the season progresses more and more of these questions pop into my head, but only one really matters: How does Peter get back to where he’s from?  A little over half-way through I find my answer: he doesn’t.  Olivia magically remembers her old life so now she and Peter can get it on.  And I guess that’s supposed to be good enough for the audience.

Here’s the thing, writers: your choice to reset things INVALIDATED THE ENTIRE FUCKING SERIES!  The last three years were spent getting to know everyone and learning about their pasts and watching Peter get over the resentment of his father and watching Walter become normal after the horrific stay at the mental institution and watching Olivia open up to everyone while simultaneously getting over the death of her partner and participating in this weird new “Fringe Team”… it’s all gone.  GONE!  We have to start from scratch.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand why it was done. Fringe started off with a lot of cool ideas while trying their best to mimic The X-Files (for proof, watch the “bonus episode” in Season 2 – direct ripoff); that is, a lot of set-up without any real resolution.  We had the elusive William Bell – is he a good guy or not?  Oop!  He died.  We had Robert David Jones – why is he doing such awful things?  Oop!  He died.  We had a lot of mutation episodes – why are there so many new invasive species?  Oop!  They stopped.  Olivia was doused with Cortexiphan – what kind of “untapped potential” are we talking about?  She can teleport… and other stuff.

Now, with a reset, we can be decisive.  William Bell is a bad guy – a deranged version of Walter.  Robert David Jones is a lackey, but he works for Bell.  The many mutations is because of Bell’s master plan.  Olivia gets apparently every superpower ever with Cortexiphan.  We even get to know that Nina Sharp is a good guy now because she raised Olivia from an early age.

But I don’t want any of that.  I just that feeling I got in Season 2 where I said, “This is really starting to come together” or the feeling I got in Season 3 where I said, “Where can they possibly go with this?”  Instead what I got was a feeling where I said, “This is the solution?!  Peter doesn’t get back to anything because there’s nothing to go back to.”

I am not looking forward to Season 5.

Pg. 83 Finishes

Even though I had to take panels from three pother pages to make up this one page, I think it turned out pretty well.

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