The Dark Knight Rises

Most of this movie was about what I expected. It was clear that each film in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy cover an important period of Wayne's crime fighting "career", and that this would, by necessity, had to be his last. What I also expected, and came away validated on, was that the sorts of people who really liked the second movie in the trilogy, wouldn't like this one nearly as much because it lacked the same tension and pacing from the beginning, as well as the nihilistic Joker character who holds a philosophy that justifies many of their darkest fantasies in such a macabre way. To them, the film would have fallen "flat" because they aren't really there to analyze the entire tale, as much as they are there to enjoy mindfucks and good fights. It does leave me wondering what this third film would have been like if Ledger had still been alive.

Spoilers ahead, naturally.
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My Wheat-Free Experiment

A couple of weeks ago I decided to conduct an experiment that involved excluding wheat (as well as a host of other grains) from my diet. There were a few contributing factors that lead me to try this. I had a roommate who had a sensitivity to gluten. When she excluded it from her diet, she lost a considerable amount of weight. I started hearing about various diets that downplayed the importance of carbohydrates, such as the Paleo diet movement and the like. Paleo is founded on the idea that the human body evolved for hundreds of thousands of years on a hunter-gatherer diet, as opposed to a grain-heavy agricultural diet, which was only made possible to mankind very recently in our species' history. Because of this, a diet that mirrors a hunter-gatherer diet (meat, fruit, greens) is healthier for our biology, than carb-heavy agricultural diets dominated by domesticated grains.

This experiment was very easy for me to conduct because my eating life was already a very simple affair. I've never been overweight. When I was in my late 20s and I noticed the waist of my pants getting tighter, I made the conscious decision to mind my diet instead of resigning to purchasing new pants. Despite having a sedentary job, I force myself to do floor exercises throughout my workday in order to keep some muscle tone and just feel good about myself. My diet was already pretty light on carbs most of the time. I would eat very simply. Things I could season and throw on an electric grill, and a simple side, allowed me to eat quickly and get back to work without the hassle of leaving the house for fast food. My wheat exposure at the time amounted to snacky things around the house, like crackers and such. I noticed that every three or four days of this, I would feel the urge to consume a lot of food. I needed to eat until I felt that fully satisfied (read: FULL) feeling. This would be satiated by a meal at McDonalds, some kind of chinese delivery, or a large thin crust pizza. Now, I said I wasn't overweight, but since my late 20s, I've had an ever-present layer of softness around the middle. Nothing severe, and nothing coming close to the impressive spare tires or potbellies of most of my friends. But just enough to make me less than model-thin at the waist. This was more evident when the elastic of my underwear would dig in, creating little muffin-top love handles.
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Original Life Uncensored

I'm keeping the main comic feed for Original Life PG-13 by adding mosaic censoring to the open nudity. It's hard to cover a clothing optional community without doing that. I thought of trying to cleverly hide everything with sprigs of foliage and wisps of hair, but felt I should just go natural with it. I want people to be able to read the stories as they please, anywhere they like, without worry, which is why I'm keeping the main comic site censored.

You can find the uncensored comics on my Tumblr account ( ). I'll try to post them up the mornings they update on the main site, when I wake up. They're not really sexual or crazy or anything, really, but I thought I'd give the option to people who like to save the files.

The Kind of Fan Mail I Love

This isn't the first time I've received an email along these lines, but this one was specific and thorough enough to share, and it sheds light into why I don't get upset when people talk about me on the internet. Reality stands for itself.

Shared with permission:

Hi, my name is (name withheld). I was reading Bad Webcomics Wiki, which is
generally entertaining in pointing out blatant flaws in comics, when I
happened upon the review of your comic, Original Life. I read the
entire reviews, as well as your entire comic, and I must say that I DO
NOT understand what they are complaining about!

Their criticism amounts to "asdf they don't have the same views as
me!!!! no fair!!!!" and insults about art style from your very early
comics, which I must say has improved greatly since the first comic.
In the later half of the article, the criticism devolves completely
into personal attacks and accusations of pedophilia (wat?).

I usually enjoy Bad Webcomics Wiki, but I must say that the article on
your comic was entirely uncalled for. I am just writing to let you
know that not everyone will mindlessly hate any comic posted on that
site, and that your comic has gained a new reader, regardless of

P.S. In case this surprises you, I am not a very political person, and
I do not consider myself a furry. I just enjoy the comic, even though
the wiki article implies your only fans are pedophile animal rapists
with a penchant for Ayn Rand. Some people will get worked up about

<3 (name withheld)

After saying thank you and stating essentially what I said at the top of this journal post, they added in a following email:

My realization about the review of your comic on Bad Webcomics Wiki
has actually caused me to look back at the other reviews there more
objectively. I am beginning to see that many (but not all!) of the
comics on that wiki were being unfairly criticized in a similar manner
to yours, which really sucks, turning away many prospective readers
without even giving them a chance to read for themselves. So, thanks
for having a comic that stood up so well against it's critics as to
help me realize this! :D

I do understand the entertainment value of sites that make fun of other things. They can be a great bit of frivolous humor to fill a bit of time and make us laugh at the efforts of others. Unfortunately, by their nature, they do become depositories for grudges, speculation, and the accenting of faults. This is done sometimes to simply fuel the pleasure of sharing a mutual dislike for someone. Most of all, it's important to realize these things and never let such things factor into your desire to create and have fun.

If what someone's saying is untrue, your repudiation is your material. Such things say more about the people leveling the accusations and bitching over the internet, than they do about you. Simply put.

Understanding the Conservative Mind

I'm often treated to the spectacle of someone on the left revealing their thoughts on the nature of conservatives and why they do what they do. Very often, they show just how much they've been influenced by sensational fiction by ascribing various villainous cliches to the motives of their ideological opponents. I guess I have a unique perspective. Having once been what one might call "on the left", and then having been a conservative, and now finding myself disagreeing with everything on the traditional left-right spectrum, I can at least come away with an understanding as to why my ideological opponents think what they think. Few seem to possess this insight.

I think the left-right spectrum is misleading. I prefer a freedom-statism spectrum, myself, as both aspects of the modern left and right embody statism and collectivism at their core philosophies, only to varying degrees and on different issues. Even when I agree with a traditional left or right stance on an issue, I find those who identify on the left-right spectrum agree with me for the wrong reasons. They all have terrible premises and sloppy thought processes, and when they're right about something, they're almost always right by accident. I know what liberal and conservative mean as modern American political terms, but I prefer to avoid the term "liberal". A hundred years ago, I'd be described as a classical liberal, the term sharing the root word with "liberty" and meaning a proponent of independence and freedom. Today, the political "liberal" is a statist at his core, regardless of whatever personal behavioral freedoms he lobbies for. Since they've turned to statism to push their agenda, they're no longer worthy of the term "liberal", and so I won't use it.

This is a very generalized description of the conservative thought process based on my personal experiences and discussions, both as a conservative in the past, and as an outsider in discussions of various contention. It's not applicable to all, of course. But I believe it most likely represents the thought processes of the majority of conservatives. They may disagree and recoil at being analyzed, but I can't help that. Any offense is unintentional, and one can rest assured that at least my own insight is more flattering than the juvenile "insight" into conservative cast by your average leftist.

The whole process toward putting this journal together got started when I noticed the reactions to the vote in North Carolina on this absurd amendment to the state constitution to prevent same-sex marriages. It's such a great issue to shed light on why they believe what they do. So that's what I'm going to use.
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Unintentional Similarity

Accusations like sexual harassment and child abuse are hard to shake in the realm of public opinion, even if you're completely innocent. It's even worse for people who get involved in politics, which is polarizing by its very nature. Politicians and editorialists are assumed guilty of all accusations by people who are ideologically inclined to oppose them. It's the nature of humans who don't think: people you don't like are automatically guilty of horrible things. All this is magnified by the Internet, where the seriousness of any accusation is overshadowed by the tremendous glee taken by others in the presumption of its truth, magnified in an echo-chamber of people who also dislike the person being accused of something.

A hard thing for a creator to shake is being accused of ripping off someone else's creation. It's even more terrible when there are similarities, but they are completely unintentional and coincidental. And then one finds himself having to explain this, knowing full well those who are inclined to dislike him are much happier presuming the worst (or most probably, will never read this at all).
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ME3 - Indoctrination Theory

I couldn't post my thoughts on ME3's ending, or the fan-image I did for it, without being bombarded with comments from everyone who thought they were the first to tell me about the Indoctrination Theory Ending, and a link to the video that explains it. I'll admit, it's a very compelling video that pieces together some convincing evidence. It's even had me partially sold at some point. Only partially, because I never take these kinds of things for granted unless they come from the creative source of the original work. In other words, I won't believe it until Bioware adopts it as canon.

But, there's reason to doubt they will, as this was never their intention with the ending. Yes, the video pieces together compelling evidence. Yes, it's a very strong desire on our parts to explain away how unfulfilling and disjointed this ending felt compared to the rest of the Mass Effect experience up to that point.
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Mass Effect 3

I completed my first run-through of Mass Effect 3, using a paragon character created for ME1, designed to look as close as possible to Bruce Willis. I have a renegade character, as well, designed to look like Grace Jones. Unfortunately, because of Bioware's limited customization options, she looks like a bald black woman with caucasian features. But still cool. Nonetheless, when you import your savegames from ME2 to ME3, the new way they show characters will probably radically alter your Shepard's appearance. My Bruce Willis didn't look very much like Bruce Willis anymore, but he was still close enough to continue with and not spend an hour fucking with further customizing the appearance. Anyway...

It's not enough to say I finished Mass Effect 3. Someone who has a character imported through the prior games has the powerful experience of having completed an epic trilogy with a customized story line altered by your decisions from prior games. It's the first time I've played a series of games like this, and it certainly enhances the experience, the anticipation, and to a small degree, a level of customization based on personal preferences. I'm probably going to talk about some spoilers ahead, so you know...
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Rule 34s

My latest little pony-themed comics have brought up some more questions about whether I'll ever do Rule 34s on these things. Well, no. I haven't fully analyzed the reason why I have an aversion to Rule 34 things in general. The more I know about a particular cartoon, either from the past or from a present following, the more of an "eh" reaction I have to fan-made adult images I run across. What I feel when I see it isn't dissimilar to seeing a celebrity's face photoshopped onto a nude body. No matter how well done it may be, there's a level of "I just know too well how fake this is" involved. This may seem surprising, since the jests that I draw are sometimes of an "after 9pm" subject. But these are just purely playing on embellishments of character, rather than a desire to elaborate on a cartoon character's personal sexual motions (or their genitals). I suppose as close as I've come was the human version of Zecora, which, while a nude, wasn't very explicit or sexual. It didn't show much beyond her bare rear end and a painted over breast. The intent was to be savage, not prurient.

I know it's one of the downsides of being known for drawing adult comics: whatever you launch into on the side, people expect it to eventually go in that direction. With my own creations, there are characters I create with the full intention of having them be sexually themed. Even characters in my free, non-adult webcomics will sometimes find themselves depicted in the adult comics. There's a whole different feeling involved when you have full control over a character and everything you write and draw, sexual or not, is canon to them. I like working with my own stuff so much, I can't imagine trying to fit my adult expressions onto mainstream creations.

I'm also fully aware that people who partake of comics and pictures do so from different levels of discernment, and many (not all) of those who look to me for adult work aren't interested in any deeper aspect of characterization, and just simply have a fascination with sex. I'm not knocking this. We all approach reading and partaking with different standpoints, preconceptions, and mental exercise. It's one of the reasons I draw comics instead of just pinups. The comics can create an elaborate context and give characters some life, which in turns makes the one-shot pinups all the more interesting. Whenever someone expresses an interest in having me draw Rule 34 ponies, I can't imagine they're really interested in an author's funny or serious take on little shreds of character here and there, so much as they are interested in just seeing the characters' naked bodies interacting. I have free reign to make my adult comics a combination of sultry, explicit, and meaningful as I want (or not). People may not take away from it everything I put into it, but so be it. That's perfectly fine. So many others will just say "it's porn, what else is there to it?" and that's cool. I don't mind. People can be on that level and I have no problem with it. But I think those who are really interested in the Rule 34 are specifically on that level. I'm not knocking it, I just don't enjoy dragging other people's creations into it, and there's also another part of me that thinks it could be construed as disrespectful.

I'm not saying I'm the Victor Hugo of furry porn. I'm not trying to insult anyone who may like something or not. But, despite some of the things I've put in the descriptions of my pony-themed images, I keep getting the same queries and insinuations about taking things "a step further". One person on FA even went as far as to confidently bet that I wouldn't be able to go a month without drawing pony porn. I was called "prideful" for looking forward to winning that bet. I suppose since I have a whole array of characters and worlds I can use of my own creation, it's staved off any desire to dabble in someone else's for explicit material. Not only is there a discomfort with doing Rule 34 material, there really is no temptation at all.

I may write about and draw characters who relish "delicious sins", but I don't believe in them myself. Some people live their whole lives believing it's perfectly fine to have your surging desires and temptations live in conflict with your mind, and can't conceive of this not existing in someone else. I don't hold back drawing what I want, and I never draw anything I don't.

2012 Project List

2011 is almost up and I'm going to go over the projects I know I'll want to work on, or begin working on, in the coming year. I figured I better cover them here before I forget! And also give people a glimpsy glimpse into what I have on my table at the moment. Not to say things won't be added as they blossom forth and catch my imagination unexpectedly.

Bad Love - Still in progress. I've been unable to abridge the stories I planned to include in this project, so I'm going to just end up releasing each one as separate projects, the first of which being about Sissy and Troy, within the context of her therapy. The project will be finished and released in early to mid January.

Friends with Benefits - Commission comic project that I've nestled into my production schedule. I tried doing it at the same time I do my current project, but it was just taking up too much time. If I work too late in the day, my drawing often suffers and becomes inconsistent, so I've put it into my ordinary working hours and will be doing it right after the completion of "Bad Love".

Selfless Love - This was the other story that was going to be a part of "Bad Love". It's about Pablo explaining his obsession with Mary Ann to his sister, Lupe, a much underdeveloped character. In fact, she did appear once very briefly, but I've disavowed that appearance as her, and am in the process of remaking her into a much more interesting person. This isn't really about Lupe at all, and she doesn't even get naked in this story. The majority of the visuals will involve Mary Ann with the painted horse I've been drawing lately, who I've yet to give a name. Of all the one-off bits I have planned for next year, I'm looking forward to this one the most.

After this part, the order in which I do the following projects is not set in the stone.

Samantha Struts (working title) - Samantha underwent a little metamorphosis in my mind and I have a comic I wish to do with her, and the details of it have changed accordingly. Going from a mindless sex maniac to a discriminating sadistic sex maniac has called for some plot tweaks which I think will make her a more interesting adult character.

Parole (working title) - There's not much I want to reveal about this one right now, other than to say it will make heads explode and I can't wait to feel the wave of wailing and gnashing of teeth wash over me like a tsunami of awesome. And y'all thought she was dead.

Goat's Goatly Goatery (working title) - A little more detail about Erzile's assistant and familiar, Goat, played out in a story that's still germinating in my mind. He actually has a pretty interesting origins story I want to touch on, as well. Erzile and Goat's presence in the Lumpkinville universe is the only place where I give the explicitly supernatural permission to reside in my stories.

Genwyn Must Die - A group of women conspire to murder a red panda who keeps dressing up like a girl and enticing their husbands to cheat on them. In the end, they all learn a valuable lesson about satisfying the sexual needs of the men in their life. With their anuses. Haha, just kidding. I'll never draw this.

Cottonwine - I want to spend a good bit of time running up to the first Cottonwine project. Part of my goal for 2012 is to get a lot of the other stuff out of the way so I can turn out a lot of Cottonwine material in a row, afterwards, stretching on into 2013 and beyond. As it is, now, I have a lot of stuff written and will be cementing it later. It will cover more about what happened between the humans and the wolves at the end of Red Riding Hood, while introducing the larger universe, and yes, even a theme. It's shaping up to be quite the project and, of course, the sexually charged bits will be turned into elaborate catalog projects. After a few other things, I plan to dedicate the majority of my sketching time to doing background drawings and prelims running up to the release of the first story. I'm really looking forward to this one.