Tentacle Tuesday: What Lurks Within the Grab Bag?

Since the previous instalments of Tentacle Tuesday had specific, unified themes, the time has come for another anything-goes grab bag of goodies. That being said, I am in the mood for bright colours, as the lawns and plants around these parts have acquired that drab, dusty shade of brownish green that’s characteristic of August and its dry spells…

This epic Cthulhu-vs-Godzilla scene was drawn by Chaz Folgar for a 2010 online illustration competition – the exact wording of the challenge was “Cthulhu and Godzilla with the fate of Japan in the balance“. I’m definitely betting on Cthulhu (see Tentacle Tuesday: Ho ho ho, Mr. Lovecraft if you need a refresher!), ancient and powerful and eternal being that he is. Godzilla, in the meantime? Just a prehistoric, overgrown lizard (with apologies to all Kaiju film buffs).

In a somewhat different vein, here is a postcard/cartoon/illustration by British artist Ann Edwards (visit her website!) She has a bouncy, colourful style that’s really fun… especially if there are tentacles involved.

In a similar format, and perhaps even more colourful, is this cartoon that I found in an article about My Octopus Teacher, a movie about the filmmaker Craig Foster and the octopus he makes friends with. Amazingly (and not in a good way), the article did not specifically credit this image to anybody in particular. Did Foster document his octopus shenanigans with cartoons? Is this the work of some completely unrelated artist that was included because it was on topic?

Peter Bagge’s Other Stuff (Fantagraphics, May 2013) is a collection of Bagge’s shorter stories from the 90s and 2000s. I’m not really a Bagge fan (his sense of humour is too based on making audiences cringe), but I enjoyed reading this one, though my inclination to revisit it is very low.

The flustered emerald-hued tentacled fellow, front and centre, is Shamrock Squid, whose first published appearance was featured in an earlier instalment, Tentacle Tuesday: Pleasantly Goofy.

~ ds

Tentacle Tuesday: Welcome to Bermuda Square!

Greetings, tentacle aficionados! First of all, I’d like welcome this new octopus into our household, courtesy of a gift from my mom:

Isn’t he cute?

I felt like going with something more modern this week, though given that the last TT was set in the 60s, that still leaves a healthy 40-50 years to choose from.

Ali Fitzgerald’s Bermuda Square waved its first ‘hi there!’ on May 16th, 2016 in the The Cut, one of New York Magazine‘s website-only divisions describing itself as ‘a site for women who want to view the latest fashion trends; read provocative takes on issues that matter, from politics to relationships; follow celebrity style icons; and preview new products.‘ I don’t believe Bermuda Square fits that neatly into any of these categories, though Iris the octopus is unarguably stylish, and politics and relationships are definitely involved. Does she and her siren friends ever try out some new face cream, or weighs the pros and cons of that foundation one sees ads for absolutely everywhere? Who knows – Bermuda Square strips only live behind The Cut’s pretty rigid paywall (not that I object to writers and illustrators actually being paid, but I would much rather buy a collection of strips than a subscription to an online-only lifestyle magazine – call me old-fashioned).

Fitzgerald describes the world her comics are set in as “a feminist enclave where everyone can co-exist” and a “delicate ecosystem”. It’s a fully fleshed world, with intricate plot lines tracking relationships between characters and some class warfare, since underwater denizens aren’t at all immune from pettiness or envy. « It’s segmented like New York: There is Astora, a Manhattanite underwater mer-city where Margox imagines building a life, and Orchid Island, which resembles a not entirely gentrified Brooklyn or Queens. Solanas Village is a ‘70s-style, separatist female commune on a rocky shore, while the social, watery Tidelands are like a club where everyone mingles. If a sailor stays too long in Bermuda Square, he goes to (and dies in) the Ghost Vortex… » 

The following excerpts have been lovingly coloured by co-admin RG.

First-ever strip, with a lovely abundance of tentacles!

Iris the sex-positive octopus gives tips for using Tinder.

Ali Fitzgerald, who currently lives in Germany, has also worked for The New Yorker, and in 2018 Fantagraphics published her memoir, Drawn to Berlin: Comic Workshops in Refugee Shelters and Other Stories From a New Europe.

You can also have a look at her Hungover Bear strip, created for McSweeney’s.

~ ds

Tentacle Tuesday Masters: Patrick Dean

« Did I say daughter? I meant octopus. »

If you’re looking for gory tentacles, fountains of flesh and mounds of blood (err… unless it’s the other way around?), screaming hordes being devoured by a famished cephalopod with a mean streak… go look at our other Tentacle Tuesdays posts, for today’s entry is not for you.

HoweverPatrickDean-OctopusPoetry, those of you who like a friendly octopus and can appreciate understated wit and off-beat humour, stick around as we travel into a land created by Patrick Dean (not British Ambassador to the States). A word of warning – people randomly bursting into song and cohabiting with monsters is quite normal here.

Monsieur Dean likes monsters – nay, loves them – but he likes to contemplate them in their quieter moments: wooing a potential mate, politely asking for a BLT sandwich, watching a Julia Roberts movie or even reciting poetry.

 

PatrickDean-Octopus

All images in this post have been scanned from Big Deal Comics & Stories numbers 1 through 4 (published from 2000 to 2004), and lovingly coloured by my co-admin-cum-partner. I reread them recently in my ceaseless quest for tentacles, and while I remembered really enjoying them a few years back, I had forgotten how good they were. A lot of comics of a random, episodic nature are very much hit or miss, but these little gems are all gold, if you pardon my mixed metaphor. For instance, here’s PD’s summary of #3:

« More assorted one page strips. 28 pages of witches, cities, investigators, sailors, big shows, haunted houses, bees, record collections, band directors, roommates, octopuses, ham, radio towers, rainy days, treasure maps, J.D. Salinger, pork chops, and four leaf clovers. »

What kind of stone-hearted, dull-witted person would say “nope, not interested” to that? Luckily, not all Big Deal Comics are sold out – three issues are still available for purchase.

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The best part of Cathy’s letter is… well, you guessed.

Those musical interludes I coyly alluded to earlier? Here.

BigDeal-PatrickDean-JellyfishA

BigDeal2-PatrickDean-NoMonstersA

BigDeal3-PatrickDean-RappinA

BigDeal3-PatrickDean-ReportA

The best saved for last? I think so!

BigDeal3-PartrickDean-FarmerA

Don’t forget to visit Patrick Dean’s website, visit his FB page, or admire more of his art here.

~ ds

The Giant Licking Machine

Carol Lay (born 1952) is an illustrator and cartoonist who has done a variety of work – some comic books published, collections of Story Minute (probably the strip she’s best known for), as well as illustrations for The New Yorker and such.
WhoThereLogotype

Her drawing style is easily recognizable (and not necessarily up at everyone’s street – some people can’t get past her highly stylized way of drawing mouths, for instance), but what makes her work most appealing to me is Lay’s sense of humour. I’m not even sure that “humour” is the right word for it – her stories have set-ups that are imaginative but often completely surreal, if not far-fetched; yet her characterizations of people ring absolutely true.

She excels at one-pagers, but longer stories are great, too. Here’s an example of the former, a typical Story Minute:

CarolLayLickingMachine
 

There are four collections of Lay’s weekly strips out there: three paperbacks, published by Kitchen Sink (Joy Ride, Strip Joint and Now, Endsville), are quite out of print, so keep an eye out for used copies in second-hand bookstores. The latest one, Illiterature, was published in 2012 by Boom!Town in hardcover (and I believe there was supposed to be a volume 2… still waiting for that one.)

The Kitchen Sink collections have beautiful painted covers, another reason for seeking them out. They also contain some longer (say, around 20 or 30 pages) stories, for instance one of my favourites, Joy Ride (that gave its name to the whole collection), set in a world where minds can be transferred between bodies, being fat is outlawed, and “drivers” are people whose job involves forcing fat people to get into shape by temporarily taking over their personality.

JoyRideCarolLay1

And this is the back:

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You can read Lay’s webcomic (some of it includes coloured Story Minute strips – originally, they were black-and-white – and most of it is longer, new stories) at  http://www.gocomics.com/lay-lines

 

~ ds