Can You Get an STD From Making Love to the Camera?

It’s been a hectic past couple of weeks for me since this site launched. I’ve been wrapping on some book design stuff, did a cover illustration for The Santa Fe Reporter, a one page comic forJulia Wertz’s anthology, I Saw You, about Missed Connections Craigslist stories, did an interview for Rolling Stone Italy, and dealt with some of my own book publishing things that are going on. Whew! I’m pooped.

So I’ve got a Mr. Wiggles book coming out in Russia soon and they’ve been hounding me for an author photo. I’ve never really had a nice official author photo. In the past, when people have needed one, I’ve always given them whatever’s lying around. It’s usually some photo of me at a party or something and there’s people with cropped off faces next to me and I’ve got a giant case of red-eye and look slightly inebriated. Either that or it’s the kind of photo that looks like it was taken at 1am the night before in my apartment in a rush because…well…because it was. And it’s always embarrassing because a lot of times those photos are right next to sexy professional shots of hot model type folk in the contributor pages of magazines which makes mine look even worse by comparison. Plus, most of my photos were taken by ex-girlfriends and I feel a little weird about using them now so there’s that whole thing as well. Because I’ve got a lot of stuff coming up this year that’s going to require me to have an author photo, I really wanted to get a decent one.

The last time I think I’ve ever had a professional photo taken was maybe in High School for the Senior year book. I still had hair. There was a sweater vest involved. I had my fist curled under my chin. There was a fake background of trees. Good stuff. This time I wanted to go for something a little more…um…less lame. Luckily, one of my friends, Cat Cutillo, is an awesome professional photographer and agreed to help me out.

Cat had me bring a few changes of clothes over to my friend (and her boyfriend) Ross’s place in the neighborhood and we made a go of it. We went to Ross’s rooftop and did some shots up there. Next we did a shot with this bear statue in the park close to my apartment. I’ve been eyeing that statue since I moved in and always wanted to do some photos with it. People were looking at us as we shot like “Who the hell is this person?” and “I wonder if he has money?” I do my laundry right across the street so I’m pretty sure the next time I go to do a wash, I’m going to get mugged. (Oh those will be some sad folk to discover that the only cash I have to my name is $7 in Canadian nickels.) Anyway, after that, we did a shot by some graffiti in my hood and then back to Ross’s to do some more regular-type shots.

All in all, it was a pretty fun day. I’m extremely uncomfortable in front of the camera and just feel like and idiot when I’m posing, but Cat did a great job of making me feel relaxed and took some really great photos. All in all, I think she snapped something like 300 photos. More photos in that one afternoon than I think I’ve ever had in my life! There’s a ton of good ones, but these are the tops from each of the shoots:

Mr. Wiggles Website Soft Launch

No, this is not a prank! Welcome to the soft launch of the first official Rehabiliating Mr. Wiggles webpage. Mr. Wiggles is turning 400 today (his 400th comic, can you believe it!?) and I wanted to celebrate it by getting this site up and running. There’s still a bunch of things left I’d like to do on it and a bunch of things that need fixing—hence the soft launch—but far be it from me to delay his present. You know how testy he can get.

So first let’s talk about what’s new: The comics archive now has directional arrows for ease of use in navigating. Also, it actually lists what number comic you’re on when you’re reading it! I can’t believe it took me three incarnations of websites to get that through my head! But, finally it’s sticking. I’m sure you’ll all notice that there’s a nice call for advertising. Just one of the necessities of life, unfortunately. If you’re interested, there are some nice starter rates for the site launch. There’s a spot for Media. Yes, believe it or not, I’m actually going to animate some comic strips this year. Plans have been underway for a while but I’ve just been too busy with other things. I would expect the first one to roll out in several months. And then, of course, is the blog—a few articles to be posted here on the main page and the rest to be archived in theblog section. Let’s talk about that for a moment.

So I will be attempting to blog on this site. Now, this won’t be the type of blog where I complain about my parents or why some person I know is an asshole or anything like that. At least I hope it doesn’t devolve into that. I’m hoping to use this space to talk about things that I think are humorous or funny that just can’t be contained or expressed in a comic. Some of them may be more personal, but I will always try to post remembering that this is something people should want to read. Not just for my own gratification. Although that’s all subjective so who knows? But I think this will be a cool new feature. I’m not sure how often the blog will be updated yet, but I’m hoping to do it a few times a week so check back often after next week (this coming week is going to be too busy for me to attend to too much of it). There are some things I need to work on in the blog (or need help with rather), but I’ll get to those in a little bit.

Currently the store is stocked with my books and the couple of items from cafepress. Not to worry, I will be getting real silk-screened t-shirts made sometime this year so you can look forward to other designs of higher quality to come. Also, I may be taking over all the ordering on the store myself, bypassing Amazon, or at least in part. Look for that to happen as well. What does that mean for me? More money I get to keep from each sale. What does that mean for you? More personalization. Signed books. Fun inserts. Knowing directly where your money is going (right up my nose!).

There will also be some extras coming later over the next several months including wallpapers, icons, banners, and anything else I can think of. Let me know what else you might be interested in and I’ll see if I can make it happen.

So I think that covers all the new stuff? So let’s just address some of the things that need a little fixing on this site. I haven’t tested this site on a PC so I’m hoping that it works OK. You’ll let me know I’m sure if it doesn’t? I have tested on IE5 for Mac, but that sucks anyway. Safari and Firefox are cool with it. Let me know if you see any errors like dead links, file-not-founds, type problems, or general fucked-up’edness. I know that some of the tables shift a little between pages. I don’t know if most people notice, but as a designer I do and it irks me, so I’m going to go back into the code and fix all of that at some point in the hopefully not-so-distant future. Right now, the blog and comics are all done using simple html. I wouldLOVE to have this site php based and have the blog be official with comments and track-backs and all that other stuff and look like a real blog, but I don’t know how to do that and it would take me forever to learn. I can barely handle html. So if there are any great coding/designer type folk out there who have an interest in helping me to make the user end and personal updating of this site much better, get in contact with me and let’s see if we can recode this sucker the way it really should be. You will, of course, be paid (although giving me a good deal is much appreciated). Hmm…maybe even trading some original comics perhaps?

Ok, well I think I’ve said all I really can about the site. Now, I’d love to hear from YOU what YOU think.Let me know!

-Neil