August 2007

08.29.07

Once again sorry for the delay. Bioshock (along with surfing and DDR) has been eating up all my spare time. On the topic of Bioshock, if any of y'all own a Xbox360, would you kindly go out and buy this game. Trust me it will be worth your time and effort.

On to part 2 of the retrospective, the introduction of Mona and the college years...

As ya'll know the first issue of C'est La Vie ran 32 pages, mostly of stylized dialogue (read: banal and maudlin valley-girl kind speech) which usually described past happenstance[11]. Often times there would be whole panels devoid of any speech or thought text in which the reader would be left to infer what had been prevously occured[12].

One set piece that was oft used in the comic were Poetry Club meetings in which Mona would introduce a poem to be read by Donna. It was here that Mona was first introduced to the C'est La Vie canon[13][14]. (I do not think Mounsiur Smokey was introduced as a character until C'est La Vie's iteration as a newspaper comic strip in UCLA's Daily Bruin). Mona became an extremely popular addition to C'est La Vie, and it was not long before whole panels were dedicated to her philosophical monolouges/musings which bookended the narrative of the comic[15].

After "That's Amore", other issues of C'est La Vie were drawn up, but none that I possess in their entirety. There was to be an issue centered around illicit drug use, but this is the only page that I have of it[16].

After high school Jen attended UCLA and began drawing comics for the Daily Bruin. I have little to say about C'est La Vie during it's "College Years" as I was living in Boston failing out of University, or working odd job/collecting welfare back in LA, save an episode in 2003 which Jen did a C'est La Vie strip (long since lost to internet antiquity) about how Sorority women were no more attractive than the typical UCLA female, detailing how wearing a pair of tight sweat pants with the word "Juicy" tattooed across your ass did not render one more desirable in light of the typically unpleasant substances rendered from the associated orifice.

That strip lead to an angry letter to the editor by a trio of Sorority girls, lambasting Jen for her lack of journalistic ethics (in a cartoon editorial in nature no less!) and for giving them body image issues (you can read the letter here). Having forgotten Jen's birthday that year, Jen guilted me into writing a response, for which I spent 10 minutes writing the most vile insults I could think of, (there are many polite ways to ascribe to someone the qualities of a porcine sow), and much more time double distilling it through the lens of a thesaurus to make it fit to print, sadly even then they had to edit my letter. (You can read my response here)

www.clv-comic.com went live in August of 2003, with the first comic going online September 7, 2004. I came on board late December, 2006, it's is a funny story... involving a stint in jury duty...

I will leave you with a few character designs [17][18][19]

David
08.27.07

Today I got an e-mail for a "Jennifer BAMcock"- that's the first time I've heard that rendition of my name.

I've been feeling out of sorts lately. Today I'm in a particularly depressed mood. I'm tired and weary.

I don't think it's necessarily related to the credit card theft since I'm pretty sure I'll get my money back and because the jerk that stole it decided to throw my wallet in a cab, where it was found later and returned to NYU. This means I don't have to get a NY state ID, which I'm happy for because I like my CA driver's license. Unfortunately, NYU shreds all student ID cards that they find, so I still have to spend an extra 15 bucks to get a new one of those.

Dear jerk,

The detective I 'm working with is checking the security cameras at the Starbucks where you stole my wallet and the Macy's where you decided to go on a shopping spree with my plastic. Since you charged an even 200 on my debit card, we're pretty certain you got a gift card. Maybe I'll call Macy's and tell them to cancel the gift card you got with my account so that when you try to use it you'll look like a total idiot.

Dear Macy's employee,

Next time someone charges like 600 bucks on a credit card, why don't you take the time to check their driver's license? Maybe you're in cahoots with this credit card thief- in which case I hope you get caught.

Tsk tsk...

Jen
08.25.07

Today some jerk stole my wallet and made outrageous charges at Macy's with my credit and debit card. I filed a police report right away and cancelled everything.

Dear Jerk,

I hope the police catch you and fine you accordingly. While I know that my credit card charges won't go through, I'm not sure if I'll get my checking account money back. Thanks for stealing my rent money and the money I was going to use to pay next month's bills.

(mood: frustrated)

Jen
08.24.07

I did an another interview with the Gigcast again (some of you may remember the one I did with them almost two years ago). This time I'm talking about the web comics exhibit I'm doing at The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art.

Bill Roundy, head curator, is interviewed as well.

Jen
08.23.07

Seeing my old high school comics make me want to bury myself in a hole. Right now the originals are in a drawer somewhere hiding. "That's Amore" was decent enough, but I have other pages from other mini stories that are just not as inspired. Thankfully they haven't seen the light of day since 2000.

While my break up during my senior year of high school was a catalyst for "That's Amore" I should also add that the story really was not a reflection of me or the break up. Go fig. I only say that because one of questions I often get is "Is your comic based on your life?" The answer is "not really." While some dialogue you read might be something I've modified from real conversations, and some events are either based on my own experiences or other people's experiences- I take great liberties with what actually happened. Some stories are just completely made up.

Anyway, I've been keeping busy, which is a good distraction every time I feel a wave of sadness threatening to crash over me. Though my shrink says I should learn to accept these feelings and not block them out, right now I need to get stuff done anyway.

I often think that certain friends of mine don't understand this mental and emotional affliction that is depression or melancholia. Sometimes I just get sad for no reason- then I think of reasons why I should be sad... then I think about how selfish it is for me to be sad because I'm actually blessed in many ways... and that leads to guilt and more sadness. Other times I get sad for good reasons- this is when the melancholia gets more severe. When I am experiencing a heightened sense of sadness people often think I'm overreacting, when in actuality, to me, it just feels like one bad thing piled on another, and another, etc. It gets overwhelming for me and for the people who have limited patience and empathy for such behavior.

It's really unfortunate. Hopefully I can get everyone I know to read Noonday Demon Because even though they may say depression is an illness, I suspect that they actually think it's a state of mind that can be easily changed through "positive thinking."

What they don't understand is that when one is too depressed to get out of bed in the morning or feed themselves, it's very hard to think about sunshine and rainbows and convince yourself that "tomorrow will be better."

David here....

I'm thinking I should seek editorial approval before I post Part 2. I wouldn't worry too much about your old work Jen. I once spoke with Brian K. Vaughn, my favorite comicbook writer, about breaking into the comicbook industry, he told me, among other things, that "everyone has 50,000 poorly written words in them, and after that every word they write will be gold". He told me that he hit his 50,001th word writing the first issue of Y the Last Man (one of my favorite comicbooks at the moment, read the first issue here). The key point, was just too keep writing and practicing. I've been following you work long enough to tell you that you hit your 50,001th word a couple years back.

In regards to Noonday Demon I took the liberty of setting up an Amazon link to the book, above. Amazon has a new feature which enables their patrons to read parts of books that are for sale on thier site. I took the time to read a good chunk of the first chapter that was posted and I found it interesting. I'll probably pick up this book when I get through my long summer reading queue. If any one is interested in checking out Noonday Demon, just pursue the link above and follow the links on the page.

----David

Jen
08.22.07

Hey y'all, sorry for the delay in posting this retrospective of C'est La Vie. I just finished up a Summer Intensive at UCLA and needed to take some R&R, as well as spend quality time with my surfboard.

As you know C'est La Vie has its roots in comic work that Jen was doing her senior year in high school and had a much different style and narrative structure than the C'est La Vie of today. Back then it looked much more like a single panel editorial cartoon, drawn in a Disney inspired style, than a typical newspaper comic strip. Plot was moved along by a lone female narrator, speaking to herself, another character, or in a Brechtian fashion to an unseen exterior audience, gently chipping away at the 4th wall.

When the series was first created, Donna was the main character, and the first issue, titled L'Amour [1] focused on Donna's transformation from "someone deep enough to know she was shallow", [2] to someone "who's so shallow that she thinks she is deep because she owns a g-d damn Ganhdi biography" [3], in order to win Brad's affections. Donna succeeds [4] and a whirlwind romance [5] ensues. Brad then proceeds to "Hit it [6], and Quit it [7]". The rest of the comic goes on to catalogue Donna's borderline reaction to having been dumped so brutally by Brad [8][9][10](the unseen but oft talked about male character, In fact throughout its entire run no male characters were presented on panel). The comic was popular amongst Jen's circle of friends and awaiting new pages became a fixture of Ms Curren's AP Art History Class, of which I was a sometimes member.

As for what inspired C'est La Vie, I suspect it some of it is rooted in Jen's experience with "that a-hole ex-boyfriend" that is mentioned in a previous post, but that is for her to say. Indicative of this is an epilogue to the first issue which I do not possess, in which Mona introduces a poem by an angry Donna titled "Your Arrogance Will Make Your Death Come Sooner". What made that panel was the fact that Donna was dressed and styled not unlike Mona, in a black sleeveless turtleneck sweater and had an absolutely precious look on her face.

In the next segment of of this Retrospective I will chronicle Mona's introduction to the C'est La Vie universe. Stay tuned, stay vigililent and as always my friends, watch your back.

David
08.20.07

More comics up, yay! Things are finally plopping in their rightful place.

Oh and... HELL AS FROZEN OVER!!

Yes, that's right. C'est la Vie has merchandise up after YEARS of having an empty shop. Right now I have a set of postcards and a set of notecards for sale. If you want to see anything in particular (other than a book- I'm still looking for a decent publisher) go up in the store, drop me an e-mail at jen_babcock(at)hotmail.com

Some of you may say, "Jennifer, you're a lousy sell out." To you, I say "Shut up, hippie!"

Seriously, I have to pay my bills somehow- and honestly, I wouldn't be selling out unless I've lost my artistic integrity (and in my opinion, I haven't). My policy: I wouldn't be selling anything in my store that I myself wouldn't buy.

Jen
08.17.07

David here... I've put up banners for purchasing textbooks from Amazon.com up on the site. I know many readers of C'est La Vie are college students trying to save a dollar here and there. I suppose they cover this during orientation, but just in case any of y'all did not know, it is almost always cheaper to buy your textbooks from online retailers such as Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and Powells.com than it is to buy from the textbook store on campus (economies of scale and all that).

If you're about to start up at university in the next couple weeks, I ask that you save some money and help support C'est La Vie by ordering your textbooks from the amazon links provided above. Thank you.

Stay tuned for my next money saving college tip, In which I will tell you how to shave thousands off out of state tuition at public universities. HINT It involves going to the DMV (A latin anagram for Dante's Purgatorio) and registering for state citizenship after a residence period of one year or more.

--- David

David
08.15.07

Truth be told, I'm a very shy person. At the same time, I have some serious balls when it comes to being proactive about taking chances and meeting people.

I don't know why. It all started in 2000 when I needed to find a date for the prom. For some reason hardly anyone in my class went stag and I wasn't about to go alone with I had been completely shafted by ex boyfriend. Basically, I actively looked for a decent looking guy with whom I would have fun at the prom. It resulted in me asking this guy Philip to the prom even though I had only known him 2 weeks. Result? I had a great time, made a friend, and made my ex boyfriend feel like an a-hole for telling everyone how I was going to end up going alone.

Flash to now.

Some chiquitas I know ask me how in the world to meet men. I don't really understand why it seems so hard, seeing as how we all live in this great wonderful New York City, where everyone is squished together like sardines. Anyway, while there are a bunch of jerks that greatly outnumber the good ones, the key is to be patient and not to shy down when you meet someone interesting.

When I met Edouard I was being hit on by two unsavory men at this karaoke bar. I thought Edouard was interesting because he shared my love for Greek mythology, comics, and Egyptology. He was also a good conversationalist and I got the feeling that he wasn't sleazy (no overpowering cologne, a sharp blazer with khakis, clean shaven, didn't try to buy me a drink, and has a posh British accent). Anyway, Edouard is probably way more attractive than the men I have ever gone out with- which is intimidating- but I thought I'd give it a shot since it doesn't hurt and if he never called me I wouldn't really care because he's just some dude I met at a karaoke bar (who, granted, sang a really great rendition of "The Bad Touch" and "With or Without You" two nights prior). So I wrote on a napkin- "Edward- <b/c I didn't know he spelled it the French way and he anglicizes his name when he pronounces it> I think you're interesting. Give me a call. Jen (the Egyptologist)." Two days later I got a call and things are still all good.

This doesn't always work- but practice makes perfect. If the dude is flaky about calling you back, just kick him to the curb and find someone else.

So that's my answer to my female friends who keep wondering about how to meet people in this town. Just be bold.

Anyway, I've been in a decent mood now that I've been getting more of my junk taken care of. The last few days I've woken up anxious and angry, but once I get myself busy those feelings subside for the time being. When I feel some sadness creep in, I push it down with work. You may say this is unhealthy- I say it's better than lying in all morning/afternoon, staring at the ceiling, wishing that a plane would crash through your roof a la Donnie Darko. At least this way, I can get my bizness taken care of.

Jen
08.13.07

I went on a short trip to North Fork, New York this weekend, which was very pleasant. There are a lot of vineyards, xmas tree farms, corn and lavendar fields, beaches, and most noteably... BUNNIES!

The other cool thing about North Fork is that it doesn't suffer from light pollution, so at night I saw the most stars I'd ever seen in my life (remember, I'm a city girl). I even saw the Milky Way and some shooting stars.

Anyway, when I got back to the city, Edouard and I went out to karaoke. I don't remember if I've mentioned this, but karaoke is how Edouard and I met. We are complete karaoke junkies. While my voice is not bad (I used to be in a madrigal group and a couple of choirs), I'm not the best soloist. Edouard, however, just kicks butt at singing. Even though I think the show is completely retarded, I think he should try out for American Idol (it turns out you don't need to be a US citizen to be on it). Anyway, a couple of weeks ago he sang "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" by The Darkness and completely nailed it. I think everyone in the bar was amazed at his falsetto skills. I mean really- one would've thought that someone had kicked him in his special place to hit those notes.

Last night I sang "Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats.

(You know, that dance isn't as safe as they say it is.)

Jen
08.10.07

David here... While Jen is busy getting her ducks bunnies in a row I'm going to get some website business out of the way.

First off we are going to start an advertising campaign for C'est La Vie as soon as the comic settles back into a routine (Good luck and happy writing on that thesis Jen!). As with any good advertising campaign, it all begins with word of mouth. This is the part where I ask you, the reader, to go out there and tell someone you know about www.clv-comic.com, we have wonderful banners that you can use on our links page . There, I said it. Help us get the word out. I'd very much appreciate it, and I think Jen would too...

Secondly clv-comic.com is coming up on its 4th anniversary in September, and as such I plan on putting up some old work as a mini-retrospective. C'est La Vie has its roots in comic work that Jen was doing in her senior year of High School. I will be posting set-pieces from those comics in upcoming weeks. Be on the lookout for it.

--David

PS - Sorry about the lame icon/nametag, I'm still waiting for get Jen to find the time to make me one. Try to guess which C'est La Vie comic it is from and maybe I'll tell y'all the story behind it.

David
08.09.07

Yay, my cartoons as of now are flooding onto the web like the waters that flooded New York's underground transit system!

On Tuesday night it rained like crazy, causing all of the subways to flood. The whole city was chaotic- busses were jammed, people were crowding the streets. I heard one dude walked all the way from Wall St. to the Upper East Side. The red line (which is the train that goes up the West Side of Manhattan- where I currently live) was completely shut down from 262nd St. to South Ferry (basically the entire length of the island and then some). I made it downtown to do work eventually.

Things are still stressful, but I'm pushing through.

If you haven't already, check out C'est la Vie's sponsor!

The creator went to my alma mater, studies art history, and loves bunnies!

Jen
08.06.07

Why My Life is Effed Up to the Max

So I'm really frustrated right now. I'm pretty much at the point where I'm going to tear out my hair and scream into pillows. I've been trying to get all the comics that I had to catch up on (due to me falling ill/tablet breaking/moving to "the middle of nowhere Manhattan") in order, and uploading them in bulk whenever I had the chance or whenever my internet decided not to be a butthole.

Anyway, aside from all that I have a wonderful bunch of junk to take care of:

1) Make sure my MA theses went through the Academic Office.

2) Preparing to sit in for candicacy for the PhD.

3) Making sure I don't lose my health insurance.

4) Making sure that my exhibit at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art doesn't fall flat on its face.

5) Not getting into a crying fit when I realize that I forgot my graphing tablet pen.

6) Making sure that I have all the files and images from NYU's Abydos expedition is uploaded onto their Luna database.

That said, I think I might take the liberty of taking a few of the days that would normally be... "normal" comics to doing one panel artistic spreads, which will hopefully still be amusing.

I'm not feeling 100% today. I think I got food poisoning from some sushi yesterday (I threw up copious amounts last night about 4 hours after consumption).

Jen