Posted by Rolando Garcia on Jun 29, 2011 in Fiction
, Short story
“You have such nice muscles,” the leggy brunette whispered in Frank’s ear as she caressed his actually-not-very-defined-at-all biceps. Frank, unaccustomed to this kind of attention from a woman, smiled like an excited toddler.
“I bet you could mow a lot of lawns with those muscles,” the brunette continued.
“Are you picturing me mowing your lawn, all sweaty with a manly musk coming off me?” Frank asked. Apparently he believed people really spoke like they did in pornography.
“I am,” the brunette replied. Even Frank was shocked at that. But pleased.
Jon, on the other hand, was still freaking out at the realization that they were the only men in the club. “Keep it together,” he mumbled to himself. “I wish I didn’t leave my grass in the car.”
As if on cue, a gorgeous hipster chick, complete with thick black plastic frame glasses, approached him. Jon stared, confused (genuinely confused, that is, not the general state of confusion he was usually in). The hipster chick pulled a beautifully rolled joint from her purse.
“Wanna smoke?” she asked him.
Jon smiled, at ease for a moment. Maybe things aren’t so bad, he thought. Then he blurted out: “no, do the math Jon, do the math!” and bolted away from the hipster chick.
“Those muscles would also be great for taking out the trash,” the brunette was saying to Frank as Jon jumped in between them.
“We gotta get outta here. Something is really wrong!”
“The only thing wrong is you’re blowing up my spot!” yelled Frank. Immediately realizing he didn’t want to come off as angry or anything, he put on an even dumber smile than before and essentially begged the brunette not to leave while he spoke to Jon for a minute.
“Why are you trying to fuck this up for me, Jon?”
“Look around, we’re the only men in the club! And it’s not a lesbian bar!”
Frank shrugged. “So? That’s good! Go with it. I saw a hipster chick that you’d like around here somewhere.”
“Do the math, Frank!”
“Math? You’re so stoned.”
“Look…” Jon reached over the bar and grabbed some napkins then flagged down the waitress for a pen. “Don’t look her in the eyes, man!” he warned Frank, before taking the pen and doodling. When he was done, he held the napkin up. “See?”
First there was a stick figure with the name “Frank” scribbled over it. Next to it was a plus sign, followed by another stick figure with long hair and a skirt. Finally there was an equal sign with a line through it followed by the stick figures horizontally stacked on top of each other.
“Frank plus girl DOES NOT equal sex. But that girl,” he pointed at the brunette, “seems like she’d have sex with you. The math doesn’t add up!”
“Fuck you,” Frank said and turned back to the brunette.
“Let’s find someplace private,” she suggested. Frank agreed (obviously) and followed her… into the men’s room.
Moments later, Frank came running out, pale and terrified, only to find himself blocked by a pack of women. He yelled for Jon but it was too late: Jon had given in to the hipster chick and they were outside smoking that joint.
Every day this (work)week I will be writing & posting the next entry in this story. To make it challenging, I will incorporate each day’s prompt from storypraxis. Today’s prompt was lawnmower.
Posted by Rolando Garcia on Jun 29, 2011 in Announcement
I made a promise on Monday about a week full of updates, building a story in slightly improv fashion. I haven’t forgotten! But last night was dedicated to prepping the next page of my comic, Revenger. You should check it out, by the way. If you like it, you can buy the digital edition that includes the whole story plus bonus content for just one buck, aka $0.99 USD! We’re not expecting to rake in the cash; we’d be happy to make enough to cover the very minimal overhead and take our wives to eat at McDonald’s (from the dollar menu, of course). Thanks for the support!
Come back tonight for the two posts I own you.
Also, as promised in the headline, THE POPE! Below is a picture of the Pope sending a tweet from an iPad. Yes, you heard that right: the Pope sent a tweet from an iPad. Holy shit! This makes me happy. Not because I’m pro-Pope or pro-Catholic (I’m not, nor am I necessarily anti-them either). And for all I know this could be a scheme by the Vatican to brainwash billions via the Internet. But when such an old, still powerful, change-adverse institution is willing to do something so modern, I am reminded that progress is inevitable. The Catholic institution can no longer live in the past and survive into the future. Hell, it was insane that they thought they could live in the past for so long. Call me an optimist but seeing them cave to technology makes me a little more hopeful for the future of mankind.
Plus, this is a hilarious photograph. Click on it to read the full story.
"No, your holiness! Twitter is no place for self-taken cell phone photographs of your holy junk!"
Posted by Rolando Garcia on Jun 27, 2011 in Fiction
, Short story
Frank waited outside the car as inside, Jon puffed on joint. The smoke filled the car until Frank couldn’t see Jon through the windows. After a minute or two, the door opened and Jon stepped out of a thick cloud of reefer. He had a big, goofy grin on his face. Frank just hurried him up as they left the public parking garage and walked towards the club.
This was a typical Saturday night for Frank and Jon. Frank, a square shaped young guy in his twenties, got dressed in khakis and a collared shirt (untucked, sleeves rolled up). He’d drive over to Jon’s apartment. Jon would take half an hour to put on some black shoes and pull whatever clean shirt he had over his doughy frame. Frank would drive them to the club. Jon would get stoned in the parking lot. They’d go into the club where Frank would get drunk, rejected by women, then proceed to whine about not meeting anyone. Jon would sneak out occasionally to smoke some more weed then sit by the bar and take shots while Frank complained.
But this wasn’t destined to be a typical Saturday night for these two man-boys with no social skills.
Jon sensed something was wrong the moment they walked in to the club. “Dude, I think that girl is smiling at me,” he told Frank. “And that one, too! And that one!” He pointed around the room, at one cute girl after the next. “What’s going on, man?!”
“They’re not looking at you,” Frank assured him. “They’re looking at me. It’s the haircut and the new style of shirt I just bought. It cuts in around the waist and gives me that ‘V’ shape.”
“I feel like everyone’s look at me…” murmured Jon, still unconvinced that the attention was directed at Frank’s supposedly outstanding fashion sense.
That’s when thing took a truly unlikely turn: a beautiful brunette, tall, with long legs barely covered by a bouncy skirt, came over to Frank and offered to buy him a drink. Despite Jon’s pleas not to be left alone, Frank took the brunette up on her offer and the two of them made their way to the bar. They didn’t go far but with the music getting louder and the bass thumping deeper, they may as well have been a million miles away from Jon.
Paranoid and alone, Jon found a corner of the club, stood with his back against it and buried his head in his chest. He took a few deep breaths before reminding himself “dude, really? One joint can’t make you that paranoid.” A little more relaxed, he raised his head and got a good look at the place. That’s when he realized — duh — what it was that seemed so strange: he and Frank were the only men in the club.
Every day this (work)week I will be writing & posting the next entry in this story. To make it challenging, I will incorporate each day’s prompt from storypraxis. Today’s prompt was clouds.
Posted by Rolando Garcia on Jun 25, 2011 in Comic
“The Other Day” (Click to enlarge)
@JessKirby77 posted a comic strip on her website with blank word balloons and caption boxes. I took a stab at filling them in.
Posted by Rolando Garcia on Jun 23, 2011 in Uncategorized
The simplest story structure is a beginning that establishes a status quo, a middle that introduces a conflict and an end that resolves the conflict. Today’s post is kind of like going to the batting cages. I’m just practicing form. I will write really, really brief stories that aren’t about content and style so much as structure. I used yesterday’s storypraxis prompt: refection.
The cats expect to be fed around 7PM. We did not leave the party until 11PM. When we got home at midnight and they were whining. I fed them. They ate quickly and since then have been lazy and quiet.
I was enjoying a much needed cold beverage. Some asshole bumped into me and split it. He didn’t offer to buy me another one. I argued with him. It got physical. He ended up in the hospital. I ended up in a jail cell.
Bobby and Jack hate each other. After a particularly brutal fight on a helicopter they are stuck in a dessert. Together they find water to survive. Finally, they make it back to civilization. Bobby punches Jack in the face and takes him to jail.
Yes, I’m eating cold, leftover rice with packets of soy sauce. I was really in the mood for sushi. But it’s 3am and all sushi places are closed.
Planet earth has an overabundance of fecal matter. There are almost more humans than we can feed with current agriculture methods and the population is only getting bigger. Some scientists have figured out how to turn stool into food.
By the way, that last one: totally true.
Posted by Rolando Garcia on Jun 20, 2011 in Non-fiction
Gordon: You’re just one man?
Batman: Now we’re two.
That’s one of my favorite exchanges from Batman Begins. The idea of Batman is a myth. The idea of Batman the avenger who works alone is a flat-out lie. Batman has always depended on his friends and allies, be it Commissioner Gordon, Robin, Alfred or a whole crew of others.
Another fictional character often described as a loner is James Bond. Go back and check out any Bond movie, though. By the third act he’s amassed a team of allies without whom he’d never make it out of the death trap and save the world.
In fact, go ahead, see if you can find any hero, in any myth, from any culture who despite all outward appearances truly works alone and succeeds. I’ll wait while you look.
Back? I’m guessing you didn’t find any. Because to truly succeed you can’t go at it alone. The ideas of community and cooperation are embedded in all human stories of true success. You know who always goes at it alone? The villain. And though they may have their moments of success they always end up losing.
Remember It’s A Wonderful Life? I hope so because everyone should see that movie at least once. When it was released, audiences complained that Mr. Potter was not overtly punished for his evil deeds. In fact, he got to keep the money he stole from George Bailey. But at the end of the movie, he’s still a miserable, lonely old man. Even with all his money, no one wishes they were him. That is Mr. Potter failing… miserably.
I’m thinking about all this because a “Six Months Later” story about the 30 Characters Challenge went up today. I took the challenge not only to be more creative but to actually create and share as part of a community. Until then most of my work had been tucked away on my hard drive, shared maybe with my wife and one or two other friends.
The 30 Characters Challenge paid off. Through it I met Michael Powell who I partnered with to write Revenger, my first comic. I met Joe Cook who asked me to write a backup story for his next collection. The artist on that project is someone else I met through 30 Characters, Micah Weltsch. There’s also Jande Rowe, Jess Kirby, Jules Rivera, Eric White and Tyler James (the mastermind behind the whole challenge) to name a few of the awesome people I met.
Maybe I won’t succeed at the end. But that’s the other funny thing about community. It makes the journey fun in and of itself. Thanks!
Posted by Rolando Garcia on Jun 15, 2011 in Comic
This is a guest strip I did for the always excellent webcomic, Mojo. The creator, Oskar, had just become a father and needed time off from the strip to spend with his newborn. My guest strip originally ran on March 14.
Posted by Rolando Garcia on Jun 12, 2011 in Non-fiction
I’m just going to brain dump my thoughts on the new DC Comics by category. I find this entire relaunch interesting from both a fan and professional perspective. Let me tell you right now, though: I’m totally psyched for this thing.
Action Comics #1
There are a lot of titles I’m excited for based on the creative teams. Grant Morrison and Rags Morales on ACTION COMICS with that crazy cover on #1? I don’t care what universe it takes place in, nor what issue number it is.
I pretty much love everything Paul Cornell writes, so at the very least I’ll be picking up DEMON KNIGHTS. Scott Snyder and Yanick Paquette on SWAMP THING? Paquette’s art is perfect for that series. I think Snyder has the right skills to write it. I’ll read that in a heartbeat.
Yes! This makes me so happy. I’m going to get all my comics digitally. Physical space was becoming a hassle. I also like that after a month titles drop in price by $1. That’s a nice incentive to try a series. Hopefully they’ll introduce a subscription model with a discount (eg, 12 issue subscription for $30, 24 for $55).
I also think it’s a smart idea for getting a new audience. Comics were popular because they used to be sold everywhere. Now they’re only sold in an ever shrinking number of specialty stores. Apps and websites are the new spinner racks; the kids who’d love comics spend more time on the internet than hunting down comic book stores. Be there for them to find you.
Good idea. By renumbering to one and doing digital day-and-date release they’re emphasizing these are stories to consume in a new medium, not rare collectibles. They’re telling the audience to download this issue not because you can sell it for $100 later but because it’s the beginning of a story they should be reading.
The numbering system has always been a marketing tool. It helps the readers keep stories in order but also reminds them which pieces they’re missing. The latter doesn’t matter when your comic is at issue 8XX because a new read will never try and fill in the gaps. But if a new reader picks up an issue of the relaunched series in the spring, like ACTION COMICS #5, going back and buying old issues online seems reasonable and easy.
Swamp Thing #1
I’d take it further. I would change the entire system to be more like TV seasons. Every year you’d begin a new volume with twelve issues (eg, Volume 1 Number 1 through 12, Volume 2 Number 1 through 12). Every September I’d release the previous year’s volume as a trade/discounted download, and the monthly would begin a new volume, first issue.
I’m not averse to changing continuity every now and then if it’s going to be in a good direction. We don’t know the extent of the effect on continuity this relaunch is having. There are some solid hints but nothing solid enough for me to say “I don’t like this direction.” It’s safe to assume they won’t do anything drastic like change Superman’s origins so that the Kents didn’t raise him or bring Batman’s parents back to life.
It does seem like the Justice Society may not exist as we’ve known them since Crisis on Infinite Earths. The solicit for ACTION says Superman is the world’s first super hero. That would be a pretty major change in the continuity of the last 25 years. I imagine they wouldn’t just get rid of the JSA completely, so if they are gone from the main continuity my guess would be they still exist on an Earth-2. I’d be ok with that. Power Girl and friends can have their adventures over there.
I am disappointed that BATMAN, INCORPORATED is being changed as a result of this. I was looking forward to seeing it play out over the next year and a half with different Batmen across the books. I’m especially sad to have our time with Dick Grayson as Batman cut short. But Scott Snyder is writing BATMAN and Kyle Higgins is writing NIGHTWING, so I’ll live.
I am curious to see how this all comes from Flashpoint. Will there be an in-story explanation? Could it be that Barry Allen helps set things straight but not exactly the way they were? He only made an approximate version of the world he knew? That would be an interesting story.
Teen Titans #1
A wash. By which I mean that some of the new costumes are way better than the others, some worse. Yes, it’s disappointing seeing the cover of TEEN TITANS #1 and finding one of my favorite costumes, Kid Flash, altered in ways I did not like. On the other hand, the same cover has Tim Drake in his new Red Robin costume. I was not expecting anything like that, especially coming from the Batman-family, but I love it. I can point to a dozen examples like that.
Call me an optimist. I think it’s a solid business plan and I look forward to reading quite a few of these books.
Posted by Rolando Garcia on Jun 9, 2011 in Fiction
, Writing Process
In my last post I spoke about building a fictional world. A key element to a futuristic world is its technology. I spent some time the other night jotting down notes about what the technology of 3,999AD could be like. I think I came up with some interesting stuff to share:
Original art done for this post by the inimitable Jande Rowe. Click the picture to check out her site, e-orbits.com
In the year 3999 machines are radically different than the way we know them now. Everything is biological.
What do I mean? I mean sometime in the late 2000′s and early 3000′s we began using genetic manipulation to create our machines out of organic materials. And it doesn’t just stop with machines. Human beings have “naturally” built in changes. At first the genetic manipulation was for the super-rich but like any other technology, it became cheap over time. Soon everyone was getting upgrades. And because these changes were made to their DNA, after a few generations they became part of the species’ standard genetic makeup. No one needs to have their DNA tampered with for telepathic communication, for instance.
Oh yeah, telepathy! Or, more like your brain constantly being plugged into a cellular network. The technology that pioneered this changed the human brain forever. By separating brain functions it allows a person to share their “communications” section with someone else while not granting them access to everything else. Much like today we can give someone our phone number and that doesn’t open the front door to our house for them.
The real world is kind of like the Matrix. Only organic.
Physically, people run the gamut from fat to skinny, tall to short. The body shape is less of an issue for some — those people are genetically optimized for lives that require more brains than brawn. Other people have been optimized for a physical path — they play sports and such.
Not much genetic tinkering is done before birth anymore. Natural pregnancy and birth are encouraged. All bloodlines have had some genetic alternations but they’ve perpetuated the old fashion way. Once people reached their teenage years they can legally decide for themselves if they want further DNA tinkering.
People in this fictional world of 3999 are not much different emotionally and socially than people today, really.
Some ground rules to keep stories interesting:
1. Death has not been conquered. There are always new fatal diseases, even if the ones we know today are no longer a threat.
2. Life expectancy is in the low-to-mid-100′s — although genetic manipulation allows people to maintain their bodies and minds in better shape, longer.
3. Brains cannot be “uploaded” nor “backed up” nor kept alive indefinitely in a jar. That technology is still out of our reach.
Do they use genetic manipulation to create “super” powers? Maybe extra toughness and aforementioned extended youth but nothing too crazy… Well, as long as you don’t consider telepathy “too crazy.”
And that’s as far as I got. What do you think?
Posted by Rolando Garcia on Jun 6, 2011 in Fiction
, Writing Process
Sometimes I get ideas for a fictional world. Then I have to find a story for it. That happened during my honeymoon (hi, wife!).
Turkey is an awesome country and pretty progressive but it’s no world leader. At one point in history, though, it was on the cutting edge of world culture. Hundreds of years later those achievements grew old and forgotten until being resurrected by historians. And the tourist industry.
Well, imagine Earth in the year 3,999. All the great cities, across all the continents are in ruins. But this isn’t a post-apocalyptic world with a few humans trying to survive. There was no great disaster. In fact, humanity’s prosperity is to blame. Humans colonized our Solar System. The major cities on the outer planets became home to all the richest and most influential people. The planet Earth simply fell out of fashion. The population that stayed behind survived by providing cheap labor to the outer planets. Around 3890 the major cities on planet Earth were declared landmarks by the government. A whole new service industry built up around them.
The Moon became a tropical paradise getaway (its beaches are not thought of as artificial because they’ve been there over a millennium now). Many tourists stay at the resorts and take day trips to the major sites on space buses. More adventuresome tourists can stay on the planet, in small cities around the major ruins. Those local hotels and restaurants offer a more traditional experience — including four wheel bus trips to and from the major sites.
And that’s as far as I got.
My initial instinct is to tell an Indiana Jones-type story. The historian/archeologist/professor-type must unlock the secrets of a mystery that to the characters in the movie is 2,000 years. I don’t know. Maybe that would be too meta. Although it makes me want to write a short story in which some over zealous dude in the future tries to interpret “Y2K.” He concludes that it’s lost proof from past scientists declaring the world would end in the year 4,000.
I’ll keep thinking about this. If you have any thoughts, share away.
Next time: Find out how to interpret this ancient piece of advertising.