Sunday, March 4, 2012

Pheaturing Scott Quick

Hello, everybody, welcome to the Phile of March, how are you? Happy Women's History Month.  Well, I have to start with this, ever since I was like eight years old I wanted to see the Harlem Globetrotters play, and tomorrow we are going to see them. I wonder if they're playing the Magic. LOL. I always thought they were an NBA team when I was a kid. These guys are legendary. They hung out with Scooby-Doo, eneded up on Gilligan's island and went on the Love Boat. Can any other basketball team say that?  It was revealed that Lady Gaga has a role in the movie Men in Black 3. She's a creepy alien who can only breathe through her tentacles. I don't know what she is playing in the movie.  The Romney campaign says they can't figure out why the people of Michigan aren't embracing their native son. Hmmm, let's see. Could it be this editorial he wrote four years ago: "Let Detroit go bankrupt"? That shows Romney had the vision to put his foot in his mouth years before his competitors. It's nothing compared to the piece Romney wrote last week for The Arizona Republic: "Accept your new Mexican overlords." Kid Rock gave Mitt Romney an endorsement. He also endorsed porn, Jack Daniels, and hepatitis C.  Rick Santorum has been surging in the polls lately. Apparently voters are responding to his message of no birth control and public schools.  There is an event being held in New York over this weekend by a group that's working to get yoga as an Olympic sport. NBC is pulling out all the stops to get us to not watch the Olympics, aren't they?  According to multiple news sources, Snooki from "Jersey Shore" is pregnant. Which is unusual. They don't usually mate in captivity. CNN asked Snooki's publicist to confirm or deny the rumors. They got no comment. Remember when CNN talked about elections and hurricanes? I read on Wikipedia that the average adult Snooki will give birth to a litter of between three and eight snooklets. Snooki has yet to confirm the rumor. I guess we'll know she's pregnant when the vodka breaks.  There is a new survey out about the happiest professions. I think the whole premise is flawed. You're supposed to find true happiness outside of work. From friends, family, and YouTube videos of old people falling down. According to the survey, one of the unhappiest professions is people in the media. I know, because we're insecure pieces of crap who whine into our lattes when something doesn't go our way. The city that has the happiest workers is Miami. Because Miami has both things people need to be happy. Thongs and rollerblading.  Well, kids, Justin Bieber turned 18 years old, which means he's now officially too old to listen to his own music. Now that he's 18, I don't have to feel weird about having his posters all over my bedroom anymore. That's a joke people!!!  Okay, last Sunday The Artist won best picture at the Oacars, and the profile of that movie is rising everyday. That is why I am so excited to get my hands on this just-leaked quotable outtake. 

LOL. Man, I know how to milk stuff here on the Phile, don't I? Don't worry, people, there's gonna be another one tomorrow. I betcha can't wait to see it.  Well, as I said, there's a rumor that Snooki is pregnant. CNN won't confirm it, but the Phile will. I even have an exclusive photo of Snooki's ultra-sound. Beat that Perez Hilton. Here it is, kids. Take a look.

On the way home from work yesterday I couldn't believe what I saw. There was a TARDIS in Clermont. Here, take a look.

The track record so far, it ain't good. After a bizarre, live-action How The Grinch Stole Christmas and a Mike Myers-desecrated Cat in the Hat that felt like the official End of Cinema, there seemed like no hope. The habit of ruining Dr. Seuss books by bringing them to the big screen had been established. When the recent animated feature version of Horton Hears a Who turned out to be simply not-so-bad, that was a little relief but not enough to engender trust in a Loraxproject. After all, Seuss's other children's books concluded on a note of hope or with old-fashioned happy endings. They should have been easy to translate. But The Lorax was an unhappy cautionary tale, one where greedy people wind up destroying the environment for profit in spite of the Lorax's dire warnings, the animals have to find a new place to live, a grieving Lorax abandons the world to its fate and darkness rules. How do you make a family film from that?  Well, first you call up the people behind Despicable Me, out-of-towners who've proven that even though they're not 100% in tune with Hollywood's all-happiness-all-the-time mandate, they're funny, smart, have a light touch with heavy stuff and, when necessary, can sell it with catchy songs. Then you let them do their thing.  This expanded, 3D version of The Lorax opens, after a brief intro from the stump-sized creature himself (voiced by Danny DeVito), with a gigantic musical number that announces the story's intentions as something aggressively different than Seuss laid out in his book and also as something true to its spirit. The environment is post-destroyed here, and an all-plastic world has sprung up in its place. This time around, though, the profit comes from the sale of clean air in an endless cycle of ruin and commerce. There's even a big song about corporate greed to make sure you don't mistake the job-creators for good guys.  When a young boy named Ted (Zac Efron) learns that he can restore the planet with the last remaining tree seed, the opposition is loudly fact-challenged (resorting to calling photosynthesis a lie) and, when that doesn't work, plain old menacing.
Which all means that conservative pundit Lou Dobbs is correct, this movie is trying to hook kids on environmentalism. And more power to it. It's frankly refreshing to see an animated family film take a clear side on an issue that affects every living creature on the planet instead of conceding that both sides have equivalent points to make. Call it An Inconvenient Truth for children, intelligently and entertainingly executed, firmly committed to science, reality and the common good. And best of all, nobody's making you take your children to see it if you happen to disagree with its stance. I give it a ten, and will buy it when it comes out. 

Alright, so the other day, the Senate voted on a bill that would allow any employer to deny a woman coverage for birth control and other medical services they find "morally objectionable."
Mitt Romney made news for opposing this bill. But then came another flip-flop... this one in record time, with Romney stating "of course" he supports one of the most controversial, extreme pieces of legislation we've seen in generations. Crazy man. Anyway, I thought I would invite back to the Phile someone who could shed some light on this and get her perspective. So, please welcome back to the Phile, Deputy Campaign Manager for Obama for America... Ms. Stephanie Cutter.

Me: Hello, ma'am, welcome back to the Phile. So, I have to ask, you, what would you ask the women readers of the Phile about this whole bill deal?

Stephanie: If you're a woman, who do you think should have control over your choice to use contraception: You or your employer? 

Me: And what does Romney say?

Stephanie: Mitt Romney apparently thinks your employer should be able to deny you coverage for birth control.

Me: So, this bill... who exacty put it on the Senate and why?

Stephanie: Senators Roy Blunt and Marco Rubio put the bill on the floor of the Senate to allow all employers... not just religious organizations, to deny insurance coverage for birth control and any other medical service they find "morally objectionable."

Me: And for a brief moment, it looked like Mitt Romney was showing some spine and opposing the proposal. What happened?

Stephanie: Literally within minutes, his campaign walked it back, clarifying that he supports the bill that would let any woman's boss decide whether or not her preventive care is covered.

Me: So, what happenes if this bill passes?

Stephanie: If the bill passes, you can thank Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum's support for helping to pave the way for this anti-contraception agenda.

Me: You're not just talking to women, right? Other wise you wouldn' be talking to me, but to a woman on a woman's blog.

Stephanie: Jason, this is an issue for everyone: We're not about to sit back and let the other side tear down access to better care. Stand for a woman's right to make her own health decisions.

Me: So, where did this bill come from? What are Blunt and Rubio thinking?

Stephanie: Crafted in response to President Obama's announcement that birth control will be available to women, without any co-pay or deductible, the Blunt-Rubio bill would let employers deny coverage for any medical services they object to. This is not about churches and houses of worship... they're already exempt under the Obama administration's guidelines. This is about any employer. A restaurant, a retail store, or a corporation... having the power to decide what's best for you and choose not to cover the care you need.

Me: It doesn't stop at birth control, right?

Stephanie: Right. Your employer could also deny coverage for a number of preventive services: mammograms, cancer screenings, and possibly even flu shots.

Me: So, please tell us what would happen if this Republican bill becomes law.  

Stephanie: The nearly 80 million women who receive coverage through their employers could lose access to these preventive services, which many just gained under the Affordable Care Act. And the decisions being made about their care would more likely be left to men: Businesses are 80 percent more likely to be owned by them.

Me: Hmmmm. That's the agenda that Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are endorsing. And it doesn't end with just this amendment, right?

Stephanie: Romney said he would have supported a "personhood" amendment for Massachusetts, which could have banned many common forms of birth control, including the pill, and fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization. And he's supported legislation to force women seeking abortions to first view ultrasounds. Rick Santorum's actually called contraception "harmful to women" and "harmful to society." Now the Senate is voting on whether employers should be able to object to certain kinds of medical care, willy nilly. Tell these Republicans that this is a dangerous overreach.

Me: Thanks, Ms. Cutter once again for taking time out asking my questions. Is there one other thing you wanan say?

Stephanie: Tell them we all should be able to make our own health decisions. Thank you, Jason.

Stephanie Cutter, ladies and gentlemen. Well, let's talk about comics. I thought I'd invite my friend Jim Mello back to the Phile for another review of a trade. So, here is a pheature I call...

"The Authority" is a book I've been hearing about since before I started reading comics. With a disparaging lack of comic shops in my hometown, I turned to the only other source of comics knowledge: Comic documentaries. That's where I first found "The Authority". Now, I'm finally getting around to reading it, and... It's hard to describe. "The Authority" is like any other superhero book you've ever read, except not. Where "Invincible" takes on the genre tongue in cheek; "The Authority" takes it on with a sense of ultra-violence that would have Malcom McDowell's character from A Clockwork Orange purring in malevolent delight. It's beginning's are straight Warren Ellis with high concept sci-fi enemies. A late 20th century Fu Manchu using super powered suicide bombers to carve his mark into the world, and Warren Ellis' very own version of God. When Mark Millar takes over the reigns, you understand where his "Ultimates" stories got their roots, i.e... a super-powered team in a very corrupt, realistic (politically) world. Both men have their distinct writing styles, but they just happen to overlay in their Venn Diagram where "Ultra-violence" pops up. What this book lacks in surprises, it makes up for in cleverness, and twenty-first century super hero fun. Bryan Hitch is very Bryan Hitch like, with visuals not as impressive as his later work, but still very much high with scope. Frank Quietly is very very hit and miss for me. Along the same lines as Frank Miller; he can draw the most impressive piece of artwork and storytelling you've seen in ages, but then follow it up with something ghastly. He's long been heralded as a great artist in the industry, and I could agree at times, but here it's fairly "meh"-inducing.  This is very much worth the read, kids. Give it shot. It won't teach you about the human condition much, but it sure as hell wants to teach you about the super-powered condition.  

Thanks, Jim. Great job as always. Well, I haven't done this in awhile. The 17th book to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Book Club is...

You can order yourself a copy at What did Walt Disney really think about religion and prayer? Why did the FBI keep a file of memorandum about the original Mickey Mouse Club? Was Uncle Remus really banned from attending the movie premiere of Song of the South? Were there dozens of feral cats living in Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland? All of these true tales and more are waiting to be discovered between these covers. Jim Korkis is an internationally respected Disney Historian whose hundreds of articles and presentations about all things Disney have been enjoyed by people world wide for decades. Utilizing over thirty years of his personal interviews with Disney animators, Imagineers and associates as well as obscure and long forgotten documents and many years of research, Jim weaves timeless tales and fascinating secrets about the "lost" world of Disney. Jim Korkis will be a guest on the Phile next week.

How the hell did I spell tomorrow? Anyway...

Okay, kids. Today's guest is the writer and artist behind the fantastic on-line comic strip "Camden Bottoms" and the 13th artist to be pheatured on the Phile. He'll be next appearing at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live! in Kansas City, Missouri from May 18th to the 20th. Please welcome to the Phile, the brilliant... Scott Quick.

Me: Hello, Scott, and welcome to the Phile. How are you, sir?

Scott: I’m doing great, thanks… I’m happy to be here.

Me: Where are you from, I am guessing Missouri, am I right?

Scott: Yep, other than a short stint in Chicago and a long stint in New Jersey, Missouri was where I was raised and probably where I’ll be buried.

Me: So, as an artist, what do you think of the Phile logo? Do you know who made it? LOL.

Scott: It’s a thing of beauty. I think I like the black and white version the best. My wife says her brother did it, is that true?

Me: Yep, your wife is right. Small world, right? If you were gonna design the logo, what would you do?

Scott: I’ve never had much luck designing logos; but I’d spell phile with an 'F'. LOL.

Me: If I could go back in time I would as well. So, I love your artwork, Scott. It looks very British, which is good as I am. Do you think it looks British?

Scott: Thanks! I assume you mean because it’s literate, of a high quality and something most Americans just don’t get? Seriously, it’s funny you say that... while I was developing the strip, I was reading Titan Publishing’s reprints of “Modesty Blaise” a British adventure strip from early ‘60s. Oh, and Britain’s own Barry Windsor-Smith is one of my favorite comic book artists.

Me: I am guesisng you read comics growing up, and maybe like me, you still do. What books did you read, and still read, Scott?

Scott: I was a Marvel Comics reader growing up, reading Spider-Man, The Avengers, and the Sword n Sorcery titles like Conan and Kull and the like. I loved DC’s Tarzan and Weird World titles too. I’ve hooked my son on comics, so that’s helped me reconnect with the current titles. I don’t really follow titles any more, I suppose I just try out different artists and writers for the brief time that they’re on a particular title. I’ll pick up John Romita Jr’s stuff, the Kubert boys books, etc. I recently enjoyed Olivier Coipel’s stint on Thor. I guess I follow different artists around, truth be told. The most fun I have is reading Marvel’s Essential reprint books with my son, we’ve burned through the classic Spidey and Fantastic Four stories.

Me: Who are your influences and your favorite artists?

Scott: Well, in college I was hip deep in art history, which gave me a good foundation on “legitimate high-brow” art. Comics-wise, Joe Kubert, Jack Kirby, John Romita Sr, Gil Kane and of course, Barry Windsor-Smith were and are my big heroes. Illustrators I love include Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth, Frank Frazetta, y’know, the greats.

Me: Okay, let's talk about "Camden Bottoms", the name of your strip. Is Camden Bottoms a real place?

Scott: Camden is a real town in western Missouri, just east of Kansas City. The “Bottoms” refers to the flood plain between the town and the Missouri River. It was the town my dad grew up in, so I spent a lot of time visiting my grandparents there as a boy. It’s pretty much a meth-lab now.

Me: When and how did you come up with the concept, Scott? Tell the readers what the strip is about.

Scott: I’ve been chewing on these characters for around 11 years. I started by drawing a caricature of my then-infant son which became a big hit with my wife. I then drew a few characters to keep him company, and I finally started developing stories around them. At the same time, I realized that, over the years, I’d been mythologizing Camden in my mind with all the colorful stories my dad told me about his childhood there, so it was an easy step to place my characters in Camden. The strip is about 4 mammals who pursue their absurd little lives in pre-WWII Camden. They do a pretty good job of making each other miserable. In a good way, of course! Oh, and the art work’s stunning.

Me: Yes, it is. It's an on-line strip, but did you ever think about trying to put it in a newspaper

Scott: I could only see that working for a weekly publication. Something with a reasonable deadline. Honestly having an online strip allows me to pump a lot more quality into the strip. I have the luxury of expanding on storylines and because I’m allowed a larger format, I can have a lot more fun with the artwork. That’s just not possible with newspaper strips that we’ve seen shrink in size over the years to allow for more advertising.

Me: Have you been drawing all your life? I did, but am not as talented as you, Scott. You actually went to the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon & Graphic art, right?

Scott: I started drawing at around 12, when I saw the how to draw Tarzan pages that Joe Kubert did in DC’s Tarzan comics. I then spent my teenage years doing bad imitations of Frazetta. I got a degree in Studio Art from Central Missouri State University after which I pursued oil painting for most of my twentys. I suppose I never lost my love of drawing comics, so I attended the Kubert School when I was in my thirties and I was considered a real fossil by the other students!

Me: What was that experience like and did you ever meet Joe?

Scott: I really liked it and I’d recommend it to anyone. It’s one of the few places where you can look over the shoulder of a pro like Tex Blaisdell (R.I.P.) or Joe Kubert and watch them ink a page. I met Joe only once, I was using the paper cutter in the hall and I noticed Joe walking towards me on his way to the front office. My heart was in my throat! As he passed, I looked up at him (he’s a big guy) and he says: “Watch your fingers!” and went into his office. I’ve tried to pass that knowledge on to younger artists.

Me: How long did you go to that school and did you graduate? 

Scott: I dropped out sometime in my 2nd year, (it’s a 3 year program) to start working-thanks to the school.

Me: You actually were an animator, am I right? Did you think of animating "Camden Bottom"?

Scott: Yes, I worked on video games for a few years-shudder. I’ve considered animation to enhance the website. Right now I’m concentrating on the twice weekly strips, but down the road I’m open to it.

Me: On your own blogspot you describe yourself as "Mid-Missouri's James Joyce". Who is James Joyce?

Scott: James Joyce is arguably Ireland’s greatest literary genius, he wrote “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” and “Ulysses” among others. I nicknamed myself “Mid-Missouri’s James Joyce” after I saw a laughable picture of myself wearing a 3 piece suit when I was a teenager. It seemed a lot funnier then...

Me: Your latest story-line is called '"Whither Thou Ridley" and is your third story line so to speak? Where did these story lines come from? 

Scott: Yes, classics of modern literature. This sounds like a cliché, but when you have fleshed-out characters, you can drop them in any situation and watch what happens. So I’ll start the ball rolling on a story and then figure out the most ridiculous conclusion to it.

Me: How many stories do you have planned?

Scott: Good question! I tentatively figure I’ve got about ten years of stories in me, after that we’ll see. I’ll be pretty long in the tooth by then!

Me: Scott, I love these characters and wanna see merchandise with them on. T-shirts, posters, pins, action figures... Let's talk about the characters. Wanna list them and talk a little about them?

Scott: Thank you! There’s Ray Douglas, a reasonably short-tempered cat who draws a miserable little comic strip called “Spiders Unleashed”. His best friend is Ridley Gridwell, a genius in so many ways and clueless in so many others. Claude Antebellum Bonnebottom (of the Mississippi Bonnebottoms) is a genteel Southern gentleman-farmer, who gives me a chance to exploit out-dated “Southern-dandy humor”. Cholly is a Hopi inspired little homunculus who plays the part of a trickster.

Me: Is "Camden Bottoms" your only strip you have done, or is there others?

Scott: No, "Camden Bottoms" is all I’ve got on the horizon. I’m concerned with making "Camden Bottoms" a quality strip, so I can’t spread myself too thin.

Me: How long does it take you to draw one strip? 

Scott: Probably 2-4 hours between penciling, lettering and inking, depending on the amount of detail in that particular strip. I usually make things difficult for myself by throwing in detailed backgrounds, dramatic lighting, that kind of nonsense!

Me: What tools do you use, Scott?

Scott: Good old-fashioned pen and ink on Bristol board. With the exception of “The Kansas City Incident”, I letter the strips by hand as well!

Me: You are talented, and I look forward to Sunday's and Wednesday's to see new ones. Do you ever think you'll put them in a book?

Scott: I appreciate that. I’ll be publishing collections as soon as I get a decent amount of stories. Of course, it’s only a matter of time before a big publishing house comes along, sweeps me off my feet and takes care of that for me!

Me: Scott, thanks for being here on the Phile, and please come back again soon. Why don't you mention the website where Phile readers can follow "Camden Bottoms"?

Scott: I really enjoyed being here! Readers can visit me at

Me: All the best, and take care.

Well, there you go. That abouts wraps up another entry of the Phile. Thanks to Jim Mello for the trade review. Please check out his Facebook page Comics Will Make You Stronger. Thanks to Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter and of course to Scott Quick. The Phile will be back tomorrow with musician Pete Donnelly and then on Wednesday it's Jason Ziebart from the band Honeyloaf. Then next Sunday it's singer Angela Easterling and on Monday Phile Alumni Maureen Davis from The Flutterbies. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

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