Let’s blow this popsicle stand

June 21, 2011

I’m moving, everybody!

I’m moving EVERYWHERE.

The mixstation will now be at MIXSTATION.TUMBLR.COM

My WEBSITE got a makeover and is now located at WWW.STREETOVERJEN.COM

I’ll be leaving this wordpress intact, at least until I figure out a better archiving solution, so no worries about losing that permalink when you really need to show someone that ridiculous thing you saw about Pokemon.

Now hurry up and GET ON OVER TO THE MIXSTATION 2.0


This week in “I do these things so you don’t have to”: I Rewatched Sailor Moon

June 7, 2011

Ah, Sailor Moon, early obsession of my life, favorite textbook on drawing weird-looking girls, guarantor of my goody goody nerd status in 7th grade. Unfortunately, I never got to the later seasons way back when and have now, in my immense wisdom, taken up the quest to damn well get to the parts with the genderswapping Sailor Stars.

Now, some people I’ve talked to while embarking on this brain-draining journey have expressed interest in rewatching the show for nostalgia, or because they missed the fad the first time around.

Do yourself a favor and don’t.

For all its bizarre and wonderful queer and genderqueer moments, the show buys in heavily to stereotypical “girliness”, a lot of screentime goes to girls thinking about their looks and crushing on boys, men constantly act as deus-ex-machinas to save girls out of conflicts, and romantic relationships are two-dimensional magical fairy things that just happen when you wish really hard. It leaves me tearing at my hair in much the same way Akira and other hyper-masculine boys’ anime does…just on the opposite spectrum of gendered media.

Say what I will about the show in total, I did find the character of Sailor Moon herself way more compelling this time around. She’s a crap-at-being-a-heroine heroine (my favorite kind), and unlike just about every other boy-obsessed coming-of-age girl character I can think of, never needs someone to tell her to “just be yourself”. In fact, she struggles with every supporting character’s constant insistence that she become something else. It’s a great foundation for a strong female character, and it annoys me endlessly that more isn’t done with it.

Well, there are four whole seasons of opportunities left, maybe I judge too fast.

If you still want to reminisce on this cultural juggernaut, why not read the comic? It’s being re-released this September, is totally gorgeous in that twinkly girls’ manga way, and benefits immensely from brevity in exactly the same way that the tv show does not.

– – –

In the meantime, in order to somehow rationalize the 46 episodes I just watched:

HIGHLIGHTS OF SAILOR MOON SEASON 1 ACCORDING TO JEN:

(I would warn you for spoilers, except that this show came out almost TWO DECADES ago, and I already told you not to watch it)

WORST MOMENT:

QUICK, SAILOR MOON, USE YOUR MOON PEPPER SPRAY!

Having successfully defeated her monster for the episode, Sailor Moon turns her attention to enjoying the rest of a fabulous gala for which she has magically disguised herself as a princess, in the course of which she gets plastered on cocktails she mistakenly thinks are “juice”. In the single creepiest sequence of animation I think I have ever witnessed in my life, Tuxedo Mask literally SIDLES UP BEHIND HER, then absconds to a romantic balcony with her, visibly HOLDING HER UP, drapes her mostly-asleep form against a column and kisses her.

It’s played off as very romantic, the episode had been hinting at Moon and Tux’s previous incarnations’ (princess and prince of the Moon and Earth, respectively) tragic love affair, and in the balcony blackout kiss scene they both reference feeling that something very similar happened “in a distant past”. Yes. So I will infer that not only is Tux a creepy opportunist, but he is a habitual creepy opportunist fulfilling his reincarnated destiny to be a creepy opportunist

So, girls, be sure to get wasted at parties, it will encourage your magical fated sparkly prince to make the first move.

BEST MOMENT:

General Zoisite from the Dark Kingdom (badguy sub-boss #4) was given female pronouns and a voice actress for the US airing of Sailor Moon, presumably because US audiences could not handle a respectful portrayal of a gay character and relationship.

Zoisite is unabashedly effeminate compared to his counterparts, most apparently through his signature of teleporting in and out of locations in a swirling cloud of what appear to be heart-shaped flower petals.

In an unprecedented move for any anime I’ve ever watched, no one mentions it. There is no point at which the anime feels the need to point out, make jokes about, or otherwise make a judgement on Zoisite’s femininity. He’s just another character in the story. And his flamboyance certainly does not prevent him from being the most badass of the 4 Generals, more ruthless and immensely more effective.

When evil bosslady Queen Beryl finally kills him off (her distinctive method of human resource-management), his death is handled with…okay not exactly dignity, but the sparkly girls’ anime equivalent to dignity. He asks his lover/master/partner/???, Kunzite, to let him “die beautifully”, so Kunzite magics in a sparkly girls’ anime backdrop, and they get a last love scene, just to make sure that the audience is aware that yeah, they were totally into each other.

Zoisite’s death is then the only apparent motivation the show bothers to give to Kunzite’s evil efforts from that point on, winning Zoisite the official title of Most Developed Male Character in Show.

Unfortunately, you won’t find gay Zoisite in the comics, in which the Generals turn out to be Tux’s generals from past-life Earth, brainwashed into EVIL, and act as counterparts and eventual vague love interests for the sailor soldiers. Because in Shakespearean comedic fashion, everyone must end up coupled off (or because Moon-Earth diplomacy is mostly practiced through makeouts)

BONUS:

Some animators had a lot of fun designing monsters with the most ridiculous nineties fashions they could imagine. In this still, a sexy science-nerd-themed monster brings back the monocle.


sparkling princess pie magic pants

May 25, 2011

An apt criticism was posed to me after my Action Girl costuming in Pokemon post back in March. My friends called me out for completely disregarding the possibility of an Action Girl who wants to present high-femme. Which in turn brought up the question: can an Action Girl be high-femme?
(Or more specifically, can an Action Girl be high-femme AND assumed to have agency over her own costuming and gender presentation – or are all high-femme Action Girls victims of creator-enforced gender expectations and fanservice?)

I was planning to respond to this…at least a month ago. But then I got completely lost down a rabbit hole of magical girls and all the girly anime I grew up with, watched the entirety of Revolutionary Girl Utena, lost all sight of the original question, dug up my own latent issues from high school times around the whole affair, drank too much, cried, went on a mega-detox, cried some more, then went to my alumni reunion and discovered in the course of a prom dress rugby game that my sweetheart neckline dress actually stayed up, contradicting everything I was going to say about classic superheroine costuming in the first place.

Which is to say I think I may have too much of an artistic temperament to be a real blogger.

But I do what I want.

So, more on this subject…eventually.


I saw this movie that Marvel made about pecs

May 13, 2011

I went to see this Thor thing all the nerds are talking about.

In conclusion, while Marvel may not be able to make a compelling romance plotline to save their life (I’m not convinced they’re actually trying either. At least not beyond feeding our collective expectation to see the superhero “get the girl” in the end.), as long as they keep feeding my eyeballs the highest-quality beefcakes, dreamboats and stone foxes clad in shimmering CGI, I will keep forking over my nerd dollars.

I have no idea what to expect from Avengers next summer, but I suspect I am going to require a very cold shower after watching it.

(Interestingly enough, the Marvel movie initiative has not yet led me to read a single Marvel comic. I guess I did watch an episode and a half of that Iron Man cartoon, but that was mostly because I liked how it looked like it was made in Illustrator, plus it came on right after The Last Airbender. Now if a fraction of the effort put into male fanservice was applied to pandering to the female fanbase…)


not an example of good interactive art

May 7, 2011

Gosh. Hello. The internet? I’ve forgotten what this is.

I made myself a toy. It’s a pick your own adventure of constrained emotions and cute lady intrigue! And probably a good sign that I have reached saturation point and need to stop reading yuri manga right now.

If this doesn’t show my terrible decline into creative stagnation, I don’t know what does.
It’s all self-gratifying girly doodles from here on out, sorry folks.

But look! You can print them out and make your very own barely-interactive boring toy! It will approximate my frustration at falling back into the bizarrely chaste and/or innuendoed (don’t misinterpret the metaphor or you’ll miss all the sex!) drama-escapism embrace of a genre I stopped reading in my mid-teens, for a reason.


bolds and patterns

April 18, 2011


Unpacking MoCCA

April 17, 2011


useful things i drew while tabling

MoCCA was quite the experience! Very instructive, very humbling. I have so many things I want to work on, going forward!

There were so many amazing books to see that I ended up getting overwhelmed and only picking up a few new things. I finally got the chance to read through them today and I am so pleased! My faves:

Drive into the Sun by Matt Sundstrom: An account of a cross-country roadtrip consisting entirely of b&w landscapes. Beautiful brushwork, this goes into the Learn How to Draw Scenery files.

Spring Lake Massacre by The Carleton Graphic: Composed of nine interrelated shorts, all written by the same author but each illustrated by a different artist. Each short explores a different facet of a middle school murder. Truly gorgeous work, eerie and poignant. The kind of temporally disjointed storytelling I love best, and an unsettlingly real portrait of the kind of deadly serious friendships and conflicts I remember having in middle school. Gloriously, you can also read this online – do so immediately!

Medusa by Jessica Abston and Alex Kim: An accordion-fold book that maintains a continuous frame throughout the story, working both as a regular-fold book and a single unit. (love love love) A poem put to images – makes me want to illustrate full songs.

Paliwog by Anuj Shrestha: Shorts and illustrations about nothing and everything and everyday life bullshit. Such effing lovely art.

Shitty Titties by Bort: ridiculous/funny/gross mini-minicomic collage of ink and paint and pictures.

Holy shit on a stick, there are so many amazing comics out there! I struck gold and hardly even moved from hiding underneath my table! I can’t imagine if I had actually gone and spent all my ducats on everything that caught my eye – I would probably be sobbing and breaking all my brushes in despair at the thought of ever living up to anyone in this fantastically talented field.


filler time! – birthday noodle + ace whale

April 8, 2011

Continuing my pre-MoCCA/tax time/I got engrossed in Sandman and can’t stop filler of recent commissions and gifts:

I drew a Noodle (from the Gorillaz albums) for Danny on his birthday, which he has hopefully gotten in the mail already, otherwise haha surpriiise!

Also, pal and bandmate Dolfstar, who goes under the category of Really (Like, Really) Smart People I Know, commissioned this drawing of “a whale devouring something” to use as a background for a paper on the biblical Jonah, of whale-devoured fame.

I am so jazzed for MoCCAFest! I may embarrass myself with public giddiness.


filler time! – i am a muppet

April 6, 2011

I hardly did a thing ALL weekend. I’m resting up hard for MoCCAFest this weekend. Also, I started rereading Sandman, and I just can’t stop that until I’m done.

I’ve done a handful of weird commissions and presents for friends in the past week or two though, so I am going to use those as filler!

Let’s start with the weirdest! Which is probably this self-portrait of myself and my pal Bob as muppets. As commissioned by the Honourable Doctor Reverend Beazles KSC, who as brought it to my attention that I am, in fact, a muppet. Or have the grace of one. Or something.

Anyway, it’s all true.

The colors got a little weird since I decided using markers on tracing paper was a good idea, and ended up pretty much watercoloring with alcohol-based ink.

If anyone knows how to make these puppets happen in reality, just let me know.

As a reminder, tonight is Wednesday which means I will be playing with the Jay Ackley band at The Vital Movement (for which I have added a very useful button on the sidebar). We will be playing at least one song about robots, and I will have copies of my comic with me for sale, as always.


process

March 31, 2011

I like to sketch my characters over and over and over until I understand exactly how their faces are constructed, how they move, what clothes look right on them. The more I can figure those things out, the more I can make characters look like the same people every time.

I get a lot of story development done while I draw, too. Getting to know how each character reacts visually helps me understand how they act within the story.