Chronicling the creative process for Pop Zeus, the forthcoming Guided By Voices/Bob Pollard tribute comic- including sketches, concepts, finished art and whatever else is in my brain at the moment.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Love Really Is Stronger Than Witchcraft! (Robert Pollard San Francisco Show Review)

(photo courtesy of Rainbow Billy)

All I can say is, holy fucking shit- what a night! I have some other big news to report, but the concert comes first as promised. My ears are still ringing and I'm all worn out and weary on a cold drizzly Sunday. But memories of the music and fun from the show have me feeling totally renewed and pumped up. And several things conspired to make it an even more amazing and special show than usual, which is saying a lot.

I had read on Disarm The Settlers (join up at the link over there --->) that Manager-extraordinaire Rich T was in need of a projection screen for the West Coast tour dates. But, it wasn't until Friday that I had read the post and it took longer than expected to get permission to borrow the company screen. By the time I emailed Rich, he was already in LA doing the show.

Not hearing from Rich, I figured I would show up to the Independent early and see if I could get him the screen. But by the time I got there, Rich and Bob were back at the hotel already. So instead of watching me shiver out in the cold, the very cool manager of the Independent allowed me to wait inside as the band was finishing their soundcheck! I just leaned on the wall and tried to blend in. Bob wasn't there, but it was great to hear the band rip through Conqueror of the Moon with Jason on vocals. Then they put the finishing touches on Mute Superstar from Mag Earwhig, which was new to the setlist. They were struggling to match the album timing of the song, but later in the performance they nailed it. So, the soundcheck ended and I got kicked out by security! They asked me to wait elsewhere since Rich wouldn't be back for at least 20 minutes.

So as I was waiting at the coffee shop across the street, Jon Wurster came in for some pre-show sustenance. I didn't want to bug the dude while he was eating, so I left him in peace as I warmed up with some hot chocolate.

Twenty minutes later, I was back in front of the club and the van pulled up. And much to my surprise, Bob, Chris Slusarenko and Pete Jamison all hopped out! As far as I knew, Bob's relationship with former manager Jamison was rocky at best. (CORRECTION: Wasn't Pete Jamison, probably Hunior that I saw- my bad!) I chatted with Rich and as it turned out, they didn't need the screen after all. But it was no problem and I was glad to provide backup if they needed it.

Before long I was in the club and I picked up one of the new white tee-shirts and a super-rare gig poster before the show began. The shirt has a image of a girl on the front saying "Love Really Is Stronger Than Witchcraft!" with "Robert Pollard, 60 Assholes and a Piss Bucket Tour 2006" on the back- good shit (soon to be available at Rockathon). The gig poster is great too- printed on heavy dark gray stock, it's an image of calico cat with lightning coming out of it's paws (see below). The guy said there were only 30 for sale and it was a mere 10 bucks. The opening act The High Strung were a pretty damn good pop rock outfit from Detroit, so it was not too bad waiting for Bob and the band.

Hugging the stage in front of Jason and Dave, my ears were blasted by kick-ass bass and guitar all night. My shirt was literally blowing in the bass wind. And the Ascended Masters were tight I tell you, tight! Jon's drumming brings some major propulsion, and the first time ever addition of live keyboards from Tommy worked amazingly well. And Bob was in fine form, strong of voice and with more energy and kick than I'd seen in a long time (was Bob kidding when he said he was contemplating quitting drinking?). I suspect he is as excited about his new music as the hardcore fans are.

The main set was typical of the rest of the tour, with most of From A Compound Eye featured alongside four Normal Happiness songs. I almost got kicked in the face when Jason jumped forward, boot out for Denied when the band joins in, but I was too rocked to care! My favorite songs live were the same ones I love on the record- Conqueror of the Moon (goosebumps), Hammer In Your Eyes, I'm a Widow (raw power), Love Is Stronger Than Witchcraft and Dancing Girls (unreal live, better than the album version for sure). Plus they jammed for a long time on The Numbered Head, for all us SF hippies (ironically getting a big applause). We were also treated to Maggie Turns to Flies (just amazing- consider my mind blown!), Make Use (also one of my all time favorites, balls-out awesome), 7th Level Shutdown (a more rockin' interpretation of the album version), Get Under It, Choking Tara, Little Lines (oh yeah!) and Look At Your Life, plus the aforementioned Mute Superstar. And the Normal Happiness songs all sounded very melodic and poppy, which means I will be loving Normal Happiness long time.

Unfortunately, the crowd at the Independent was pretty sleepy so I was glad to be with the hardcore faithful up front. I had a fucking great time, throwing up fists and dancing and if the SF hipsters weren't into the new stuff, fuck them! Of course, the crowd suddenly came alive for the all GBV encore. But I had fun pogo-ing along with the moshing masses for the "hits". The band ripped through Girls of Wild Strawberries, The Brides Have Hit Glass (new to the setlist?), Game Of Pricks (always great), Sad If I Lost It, Gold Star For Robot Boy, My Kind of Soldier and Don't Stop Now before finishing up at around 1 in the morning.

After the show, I got another chance to chat with Rich before hitting the bricks for my home in the woods. Thank you as always to Bob, the Ascended Masters, Rich T, and the GBV family for an amazing night. My first Bob show since New Year's Eve 2004 in Chicago and it felt like Night of The Living Dead, in a sense. After the final show I didn't know whether I would ever see Bob perform again, much less with a brilliant new band and renewed energy. Never Gonna Have To Die indeed. Long Live Bob!

My Big Day

So, I happened to check my work email late Thursday night. I had received a message just after I left work from someone I didn't recognize. My first thought was that it was spam. But upon closer inspection, I realized that it was totally legit- I was being contacted for an interview with a major music magazine! My little mind was blown and I immediately wrote the guy back- the interview had to be soon because the magazine was going to press shortly. That night I was so excited, I had trouble getting to sleep!

Early the next day I phoned Randy, the writer. He graciously agreed to the interview during my lunch hour. The chat itself went pretty well- I have a tendency to babble when I'm nervous so I'm sure the recorded version is not pretty. But most of what I imparted was coherent, I think. And I let a lot of secrets about Pop Zeus slip, knowing the mag wouldn't be out for a while. It felt more like a forty minute conversation than an interview and Randy was really laid back and cool, quite the Bob fan himself.

As requested, I sent along some past and present artwork samples later that evening and that was that. Randy also mentioned the possibility of parlaying this article into another magazine he freelances for, so I may get two articles out of the deal!

I am so absolutely excited and grateful for this opportunity. If this comes to fruition, mucho traffic to this blog will surely follow. A magazine article about little ole me? Who would have thunk it. Many praises as always to Bob and his music for making this project possible. And big huge thanks to Dave at for letting Randy know where to find me (I've since added contact info to my profile, he he)! More details will follow as things get firmed up- stay tuned.

Got My Carborro, NC Show Poster

Ordered up one of these beauties a while back and got it in the mail on Friday. It is one spooky and sweet image of Bob! Thanks to Ron Liberti for the note and the great poster, soon to be adorning my cave wall.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

I Will Answer Comments, No Really!

I just figured out the whole comments moderation thing and have replies to your comments in the posts below. Sorry they are so late! Please don't be shy- keep sending your questions, well wishes, and harsh burns and I will get back to you, I promise. More big news a comin' tomorrow!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Uncle Bob Is Coming To Town!

(photo courtesy of and Joe Stopa)

BOYAKASHA! T-minus 2 days and counting until Robert Pollard and the Ascended Masters come to our fair city! I am getting really excited and can't wait to hear the new band, hear the new songs, and hear the new band play the old songs. Also, I will get a chance to confab with the venerable Richard T of Rockathon fame (check the link over there --->). So it should be an awesome night! See you at the Independent and I will file a show report right here on Sunday.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Stylistic Influences For Pop Zeus

In the final 2 days of my long weekend, I took some time to draft the single page GBV MVP sections of Pop Zeus (as designated in the Adding It Up post below). And I realized that I need to do more internet research to get the music gear and individual band member stats and numbers accurate (there's a hint in there somewhere as to the MVP format- for now, you will have to be patient!). These sections should be fun- the format will appeal to the fans and the players themselves, hopefully.

Speaking of research, I have given a lot of thought and been doing extensive research to the artistic/thematic styles for the individual stories in the comic. I want to fit each type of story with a different suitable style. The idea is to make the ultimate rock comic by combining the best of GBV with the best (or at least my favorite) in the world of comics. And here are some examples of artists or genres that I was drawn to for Pop Zeus. I won't yet reveal which idea goes with which part of the comic. But this will give you a good sense of what I'm gravitating toward stylistically, and what I am a fan of in general (perhaps I overreaching with this concept of so many styles, we shall see!).

Paul Pope- HUGE fan of the Paul Pope, collected THB from day one, he is my comic book hero.

Peanuts by Charles Schultz- there's a particular story I want to do in the simple looking but very difficult comic strip style, and Sparky is the master.

Star Wars- big part of my childhood, big part of my future, maybe. Original recipe only, please.

Love and Rockets- by Los Bros Hernandez, great guys and a classic comic. Was able to chat with Gilberto at a con and he was funny and cool. Reminds me that I should include Archie Comics on this list as a big influence, as they influenced Los Bros. Particularly inspired by their portrayal of the 80's LA punk rock scene.

Japanese Samurai Films- will be a minor part of Pop Zeus, but the genre looms large in my subconscious.

Silver Age Comics (60's/70's American comics)- again not a huge part of Pop Zeus, but we shall see...

Manga (Japanese Comics)- a giant influence since the mid-eighties, when the worlds of manga and anime first became known to me. The essence of comics- Tezuka, Takahashi, Monkey Punch, Toriyama, Ikegami, Kojima.

French Comic Books- particularly the work of Herge, Tardi, Moebius, Mathieu and Baru make me weep openly...

Bob's collages- no question, Bob's artwork is amazing and has been the visual gateway to his equally brilliant music.

Bob's Favorite Road Music

Courtesy of The Big Takeover, a most excellent rock magazine, is Bob Pollard's list of 62 cassettes he traveled with while on tour with GBV. It is an excellent cross-section of 60's and 70's rock (a lot of which I am unfamiliar with, I am ashamed to admit).

Monday, February 20, 2006

My Musical Pedigree

Earliest Musical Influences: Bubblegum Music of the 70's- mainly cartoon bands like The Banana Splits, The Archies, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, and Sesame Street bands like Little Jerry and the Monotones. Also prefabricated TV bands like The Monkees, The Bugaloos, Lancelot Link, The Short Circus, The Brady Bunch Kids, The Partridge Family, etc. These memories were rekindled by the excellent book, Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth.

Earliest Influential Records: Many movie soundtrack which were bought by my parents in lieu of being able to see the movies again (pre-VHS days)- soundtracks like Popeye, The Muppet Movie, Star Wars, one of the Alvin and the Chipmunks records, one of the Brady Bunch Kids records- I remember listening to these albums for hours and hours.

First Record Bought With My Own Money: Michael Jackson's Thriller- the year was 1982 and along with a kazillion other people, I slapped my money down for Thriller. Still a great record- I totally recommend the remastered CD reissue. (In spite of his sad recent troubles, Michael back in the day was awesome- admit it!)

First Band I Was Religiously Into: Public Enemy- went through a huge hip hop phase in my rebellious and socially anxious late-80's high school years. And Public Enemy were my gods. Imagine a 16 year old white kid rapping to all of PE's lyrics in art class, every word memorized.

First Rock Band I Was Religiously Into: R.E.M. round about 1990, and my worship of the band has not yet abated even though Into The Sun kind of sucked. From Public Enemy to R.E.M.- how the hell did that happen?

First Concert: Believe it or not, it was Metallica- 1988, And Justice For All Tour. For mysterious reasons, my older brother dragged me and my younger brother to the Meadowlands to see a heavy metal band we knew nothing about. Great experience and cool bragging rights. Clad in requisite black tee shirt, I recall making my sweaty-handed way through the parking lot full of intimidating tailgating metal-heads, a Bataan Death March of social group awkwardness. After that trial though, it was a headbanging awesome time (everything post AJFA sucks, BTW).

Beatles or Stones?: Beatles, no question. Don't own a single Stones record and probably never will. The Beatles on the other hand, are a big part of my life. The depth of their genius is truly awe inspiring. Over the last few years, the early Beatlemania days have dominated my Beatles fandom (those Bubblegum leanings again).

Last Record Bought: Went to Amoeba the other day and picked up the CD single for De La Soul's "Ring Ring Ring", Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over The Sea, and a used copy of Not In My Airforce cause mine is still back in New Jersey.

Currently In My CD Player: I think its a Bollywood film music mix that I downloaded off of the internet. Great stuff by the way, especially the 60's Bollywood soundtracks- a catchy combo of 60's pop/rock and traditional Indian music.

Currently Playing On My Itunes: I think I was last playing the live version of Boxing About from the recent Southern leg of the Bob tour. No Itunes here at home, only at work :(

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Don't Piss Off Abraham

Just chillin here in my room on a late Sunday night, listening to Celebrity Fit Club 3 as I type this. My sad addiction to Sunday night VH1 "celeb-reality" sees the harsh light of day here for the first time, you lucky devils. Anyway, I'm in the middle of an extremely enjoyable and well-deserved four day weekend. Tomorrow is "Presidents Day" and a holiday at the studio, and I took Tuesday off as well. (What's the deal with Presidents Day anyway? When I was a kid, Lincoln and Washington's actual birthdays were celebrated separately and no other presidents were involved. Granted, we didn't all get a day off. But at least we were honoring two great presidents. Now everyone is thrown in the mix? Tomorrow we honor Taft, James K. Polk, and George W. in the same breath as Lincoln? If I was Lincoln or Washington, I would be really pissed off!)

Already been taking my time catching up on my rest, my classes, and Pop Zeus! Spent several hours tonight working out the details of the first and favorite illustrated song segment, listed below in the Adding It Up post. And here is a hint for you- it has a science fiction theme. 'Nuff said.

Have a second journal going for both writing and sketches- it is where I will really hammer out the story elements so I have one solid place to refer to once I start to draw. I call it my "Grail Diary". Shouldn't take more than a few weeks to get it all fleshed out and ready to rock. In the meantime, I will be continuing to finish the collage and fake ads at work. Will keep you posted!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Props to the Largehearted Boy

Thanks to my buddy Dave from for the plug yesterday! Your blog and GBV radio continue to rock on a daily basis!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Adding It Up: A Pop Zeus Page Count

So I spent part of the weekend breaking down all the story ideas I have so far. I'm trying to figure out how many pages Pop Zeus should be. For a reason I no longer remember, comic books normally have a page count in multiples of 8. Most issues of Logjam were 24 pages, the standard single issue page count for a comic (although the big boys like Marvel have ads and other crap to fill up the space, whereas my comics are chock full of art, no filler). But, it's looking like Pop Zeus will be at least 32 pages, depending on which stories get dropped or added. Here is the rough estimate page breakdown as I see it so far...

(censored for your spoiler protection)

GBV MVP profiles- 6 pages
Secret Origin of GBV- 3 pages
My GBV Experience (in 3 parts)
-Enlightenment- 3 pages?
-The Search for the Holy Grail- 3 to 4 pages?
-The end of GBV- 3 pages?
Illustrated Song- 3 to 5 pages
Bob Story- 3 pages?
Fun Page- 1 page
Cross Section- 1 page
Illustrated Song Part Deux- 1 to 3 pages
Possible 3rd Illustrated Song- 1 to 3 pages
Fake Comic Ads- 3 to 6 pages?
Out of the Mind of ????- 1 page

Total estimate: 40ish pages

This is good news for you all (and ultimately what will be best for the comic), but bad news for me and my right hand! The quickest I've ever drawn a 24 page comic was a month and a half, and it nearly killed me (working full time simultaneously). At one point, I was hoping to have some collaborators on Pop Zeus, but that seems to have dried up. Leave me a comment if you are interested, I will investigate. Either way, it should be a lot of fun hard work and to have all the ideas mapped out like this is exciting!

Keep looking up! Hoy Hoy Hoy!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Extremely Geeky Star Wars Valentines

courtesy of

Monday, February 13, 2006


Here it is: my inner Sanctum Sanctorum (photo circa 2004). The place where the magic happens, where I will be spending the next few months... alone.

Isolation is something I have given a lot of thought to lately. For some artists, like musicians in bands, dancers or collaborative artists in other fields, the creative process is something shared with other artists. And ultimately, many artists either perform their art or share it in some fashion with an audience, pride and acclaim soon follow.

But, bear witness, dear reader, to the plight of the comic book artist! Not only does my work necessitate many hours spent home alone, but then it is sent out into the world to be read by faceless strangers who rarely communicate their thoughts. It is a singularly solitary artistic experience. And it's not that I'm complaining!

As a highly imaginative kid, I spent a lot of time alone playing with toys, reading, drawing or coloring. And as I developed into a painfully shy adolescent, I isolated myself even more- long hours reading comic books or sketching while blasting extremely loud music, much to my family's chagrin. It was only after my journey through art school that I began to come out of my shell.

But as an adult (more or less), I still value and really need that "alone time". The time I spend drawing is my primary way of fully entering the much discussed "zone". I totally lose track of time and get into a really relaxed, deep thought state of mind. That time recharges and connects me to a core part of myself. And as a naturally introverted person, too much socializing depletes me of energy anyway.

The trick is balance- how to take the time that I need without becoming a pasty face moleman who cannot communicate with words (it's happened). As an introvert, it is very tempting to get wrapped up in a project and neglect my friends and family, health and mental well-being. And in the midst of a big project, I've been known to vanish for weeks on end.

So, off I go again into the cave. Let me know if I disappear. And I'll see you on the other side, good people of the sunshine and fresh air!

P.S.- this post has nothing to do with Valentine's Day being tomorrow... sort of

My People

Cover your hearts and bow your heads as we read along to the words of the Moo...

NJ Anthem

This is the weekend that we show the rest of the world what we are made of.

It's time to show the New Jersey haters out there, how we party.

They don't know what it's like to be part of the energy of Temptations on
a Saturday and Sunday night

They don't know what it's like to be on the Surf Club beach on Saturday
and Sunday with the world's best looking people.

They don't know what it's like to hear Denny Tsettos rip "Shiny Disco
for an hour to the point where the crowd erupts in energy.

They don't know what it's like to party like we do.

We don't care about a big, beautiful, shore house.

We don't need an exotic club, full of wanna be rich boys and snotty women.

We don't want a city lounge, or a fancy dinner.

We don't want to dress up, we want to dress less. We want to show off the fact that New Jersey men and women are in the best shape.

It's time to put all of the petty bullshit behind us.

Turn off the damn t.v. Get off your ass, and get to the Jersey Shore.
It's weekends like this that last forever.

There are no excuses. Party like a rockstar.

~Anthony "The Moo" Moussa

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Secret Origin of Pop Zeus

The idea of Pop Zeus came upon me quite suddenly here at work. It was mid-1994 and I had been slaving away on the first season of the show for close to a year and I was in a state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. I was also in the process of losing someone very important to me, a process stretched out over 4 or so very busy but painful months. And then I found out that my favorite band in the world, Guided By Voices was breaking up. And at the time, the future of Bob's music was a big blank. There was much despair amongst the hardcore fans on Disarm The Settlers, the GBV message boards. And it was hitting me especially hard, the feeling that I had no future and all the things that were important to me were going away.

Now that I think about it, I remember having a weird premonition about the demise of GBV (I'm quite intuitive like my mom). Maybe it was because of my already gloomy mindset, but for a while before I heard the announcement I was expecting bad news from Bob's direction. I remember emailing Rich T (Rockathon guru) about it soon after hearing the news.

Anyway, I was soon thereafter able to get my hands on an advance copy of Half Smiles of the Decomposed, the final GBV album. And I recall sitting in front of my crappy candy colored Imac here at work listening to the out of order tracks as they were downloaded. And it felt like every song tapped directly into how I was feeling that very moment. The sense of yearning and loss that permeated tracks like Girls of Wild Strawberries, Window of My World, Everybody Thinks I'm a Raincloud, Tour Guide At The Winston Churchill Memorial, and (S)mothering And Coaching was devastating. I sat there and was literally choking back the tears- the album totally rocked and was totally beautiful. They were going out on such a high note. And that's when it hit me.

I needed to stop messing around with Logjam and the GBV cameo appearances and truly pay tribute to this band, music and man that had meant so much to me for 10 years, my entire adult life. I thought about the Peter Buck comic book that Jack Logan had created back in the day in tribute to his superheroes, and I knew that I had to do the same and really knock it out of the park for GBV. Pop Zeus was born...

" Been closed and locked up for far too long, far too long, far too long..."

Monday, February 06, 2006

So, What Happened to Logjam?

Logjam was the comic book I created, wrote, drew and self-published for 6 years. I really had no idea where the comic was going when I started issue #0 back in 1996. That issue ended up being a stand alone that eventually tied into the main storyline that began with issue #1. The plot, which I had decided to make up as I went along, sort of a tapping into the subconscious thing, had a tendency to meander and was more than a little unfocused at times. But I am still proud of the work and especially proud of the accolades and response I got to the first issue.

Asking Bob Pollard if Guided By Voices could be a part of the comic seemed a logical extension of Logjam's main plotline about a grade school teacher in a small town. And it was so awesome that Bob was so welcoming and inclusive. Soon, Todd Robinson at Luna Music in Indianapolis added Logjam to their roster of GBV stuff and sales started to take off. I took my show on the road, attending alternative comic conventions on both coasts which was really fun and a great learning experience. And I am so grateful to Bob, Todd and everyone in the GBV family who helped me along the way.

Since then I decided to abandon the project, something which I never do. But when the idea hit me to do a real Guided By Voices comic and a million other cool ideas started to flow out of me for other comic book projects, I knew Logjam's time was up. Plus I had an oil painting to finish for my brother, a belated wedding gift. I finished the painting before the holidays and Pop Zeus was put on the front burner.

So Logjam was put to bed so that Pop Zeus could come to life! I have shut down but all the art and stuff from the site is still here in my little computer and will be a part of my future regular website. Below is a photo of the painting I did for my brother, Dave and his wife. Take it easy!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Sorta Love The Computer

Artistically, most of what I do is technology free. I write in a notebook with a pen, draw with a pencil onto paper, ink with a brush and waterproof black india ink. I suppose I am pretty old fashioned in my attachment to these tools. But there is something about the physical artistic process of pencil to paper that just feels right to me. Simlilarly, the work produced using these tools has an organic, spontaneous quality that is still difficult to replicate in a computer (ironically, I work on a 3D animated TV show created primarily in Maya).

But in the last 5 years, I have slowly learned to use my computer to tackle some of the tasks which would be either too difficult or impossible to do otherwise. After my cousin Patrick and I collaborated in assembling my old (now defunct) website, I updated it and maintained it myself ever since, learning how to use Photoshop fairly well. I have also been using Photoshop to layout and color the non-art pages and cover elements of Logjam, my former self-published comic book.

So it dawned on me a couple of months ago that I could use my computer at work, plus the free use of the professional grade scanners and printers there to get a jump on the sections of the comic that I would have to do in the computer anyway (shhh, don't rat me out)! Not only is my computer at work far more powerful that the 5 year old laptop I am currently pounding away on, but sneaking to do a personnel project at work is a big "fuck you" for all the sacrifices I have made for my job (detect any bitterness there?). I am actually grinning as I type this... it honestly feels great to get paid at work to do my own thing here and there, he he.

Anyway, there are two parts of Pop Zeus I have been cranking away on at work...

1. a Pollard inspired mega-collage using all the GBV album images that have resonated with me over the years- intended for the overlapping inside front and back covers of the comic


2. fake ads to be placed in between the stories in Pop Zeus- inspired by the ads I remember from comic books when I was a kid, but with a GBV rock twist. You know... Charles Atlas, selling seeds packets for prizes, Sea-Monkeys, etc.

Below is a preview of the collage. It's not quite finished, still some shifting and extra elements to add. And this version is much much smaller and lo res compared to the finished product.

I have realized that Photoshop was made for collage and its been really fun putting it together. A huge thank you to Jeff at the Guided By Voices Database for sharing the majority of art used in the collage! And of course, thank you Bob for all these amazing and inspiring images! Enjoy and I will post more art and stuff as I am able. BTW, I am feeling a little better today, but probably won't be going to work tomorrow, boo-hoo ;)

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Boy In The Bubble

It's Saturday night and I'm here in my "shitty little apartment" nursing what feels like the beginning of a bad cold. I had an incredibly stressful day at work yesterday (long story that I probably shouldn't tell here). And even though I slept a lot last night, I woke up with a dull headache and decided to take it easy. But I didn't think I was getting sick. So now I'm really annoyed that my weekend is shot. Working so hard that you get sick on the weekend and then recovering just in time to go back to work again is an ironic punishment of the highest order.

The good news is that laying around trying to stay warm is affording me the time to work through my DVD pile. And on Friday night I finally found a copy of Bubble, the new film by Steven Soderbergh. Found at Tower Records in Fisherman's Wharf, the DVD was one of only two left in the shop (I had been struggling to find it since it came out on Tuesday- two other big retailers in the city that I checked were sold out). And my interest was piqued because Robert Pollard did all the music in the film, his first full film soundtrack. Coincidentally enough, this morning I got a Saturday FedEx from my older brother back in New Jersey (he has free reign over his company's FedExs, the lucky bastard!) with an interesting New York Times article about Bob's music in the film.

I've had the cd of the soundtrack for Bubble since September of 2005 (available at Luna Music, in the links over there-->) and it had some pretty good stuff, but wasn't in heavy rotation. The acoustic version of Boxing About was probably my favorite track (the full version of Boxing About is already being played on the Bob solo tour and will be a part of Normal Happiness, a new album). But after seeing the rest of the film this evening, I will definitely be giving it some more time. The sparing use of acoustic guitar tracks of several old and new Bob songs in the film added just the right punch at just the right times. And overall, Bubble is an eerie, daring and extraordinary film and I am so glad I bought it. And it's cool that Bob is involved with this kind of project.

Bubble has a verite, almost documentary feel to it, greatly enhanced by its amazing cast of local non-actors (I am totally in love with Misty Dawn Wilkins, btw). Filmed entirely on location in West Virginia and Ohio, the film starts as a slice of life of working class America. The plot soon evolves into a pretty complex psychodrama who's secrets I will not reveal here. I have been a fan of Soderbergh's going back to Out of Sight and The Limey, one of my all time favorites. And I really cannot recommend Bubble highly enough, especially if you like creepy or dark films and don't mind a more deliberate film pace.

And Bubble totally fits in with the Bob ouvre- taking place in Ohio, centering around ordinary people who work in a doll factory, created quickly with a DYI aesthetic. It's a GBV record come to life- reminding me of the whole Same Place the Fly Got Smashed album, Local Mix-up/Murder Charge, Everyday, The Hard Way, A Proud and Booming Industry among others. It's no wonder Soderbergh thought of Bob for this project. Great stuff... and I better get back to bed, getting groggy. N, small y, big fucking Q!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Who The Hell Are You, Anyway?

Name: Phil Szostak

Age: 33 years old

Sex: Yes, please!

Height: Standard Caucasian 6'

Weight: 200 lbs. of rippling steel

Hair Color: Brunette

Measurements: 26-23-35

Place Of Birth: New Jersey

Turn Ons: Good sense of humor, animals, music, and long slow walks on the beach

Turn Offs: Egotists, pretentiousness, smokers, rudeness and getting up early

Accomplishments: Self-published 6 issues of Logjam: a philosophical adventure comic book with cameo appearances of Guided By Voices, worked nearly 3 years in production of a nationally televised animated TV show, among many many other projects

Ambitions: To make the best rock and roll comic book ever

A Beginning...

Hey now! You find yourself in the future home of Pop Zeus, my little ole Guided By Voices/Robert Pollard tribute comic book. This will be the first and only place to get sneak peeks of Pop Zeus sketches, musings, story ideas, finished artwork, bullshit, and other junk that is on my mind- any and all things GBV. And I am totally open to criticisms and suggestions, so fire away (he said cringing).

But the real reason for the existence of this blog is to keep me motivated on the comic. I'm not a procrastinator, and motivation is usually not a problem for me. Never had writer's/artist's block, never stop creating. But, this will be the most ambitious project I have ever attempted. And I have been extremely busy and burned out from my day job in the hectic world of TV animation. I really want the comic to reflect the deep respect and love I have for Bob and his music, so I am going totally balls out on this one. So, any and all encouragement or pressure if I start slacking off is also welcome.

Thanks, enjoy and in the immortal words of Geo:

Keep looking up! Hoy Hoy Hoy!