Posts Tagged 'comics'

The Sexy Mathematics origin story.

Our hero slogs home from a hard day on the software assembly line...In 2006, my band recorded a CD. We spent the better part of a year and the price of a decent used car, and at the end of the tortuous process I took the six boxes of completed CDs and piled them up into a little pyramid in the middle of my living room floor. “Now what?” I said.

Three and a half of those boxes are still in my possession, tucked into a corner of my hall closet. The truth is, we never really thought about what we would do with the CDs once we’d finished making them. I guess we figured we’d sell them to somebody. But since the recording of our CD coincided with the effective end of our public performing career, it became increasingly difficult to find customers. If it weren’t for the popularity of a few animated cartoons I posted on YouTube, we wouldn’t have sold a single disc to anyone outside our immediate families and friends.

I work with a guy named Chris whose band, Sexy Mathematics, just finished recording their first EP. Unlike me, Chris isn’t willing to hang onto his boxes of CDs forever. He has a plan for unloading them. The first step of his plan was to come to me. “Hey, you’re in the marketing biz,” he said. “Would you write some promotional copy for our press kit?”

“Pshh, that sounds boring,” I said. “Why don’t I make you a promotional comic instead?”

So that’s what I did. Oddly, this is far more work than I ever undertook to promote my own band. It’s easier, somehow, to motivate myself to do things like this for other people than it is to do them for myself.

Perhaps someday I’ll create a promotional comic for the band known as Sea Water Bliss. But probably not. I hate repeating myself.

The Origin of Sexy Mathematics

The Origin of Sexy Mathematics

My new thing.

Windows 7 Launch PartyI haven’t been blogging much since summer began. Every time I finish a book or see a movie I’ll try and come up with something to say about it, but usually I decide after a few paragraphs that whatever point I’m trying to make is too trite or muddled to bother putting into words. This is a self-defeating atttitude for a blogger to have, obviously. Isn’t the primary symptom of the modern neurosis the conviction that every stray thought you have is worthy of broadcast, preferably at top volume? Am I cured of modernity?

Not likely, because here I am tapping away, having decided to once again break my rule against pimping for the company that employs me. Please direct your gaze to my other blog, which I maintain in my capacity as marketing weenie for a local internet startup, and where yesterday I posted a brief comic-style ad poking fun at Microsoft’s new “Windows 7 Launch Party” video campaign. Esoteric, I know. The ad turned out pretty well, although it was a rush job – I conceived and assembled it over a single Sunday, one eye cocked on the scurrying zeitgeist. When I posted the ad Monday morning the zeitgeist gave it a brief glance, then squeezed under a loose floorboard and was gone.

Lately at my job I’ve drifted away from animation. It pains me, but I can’t blame my employers for concluding that the investment of time in any single cartoon far outweighs the likely return. But it turns out that a lot of the skills I’ve been honing in the animation realm are easily transferable to the medium of comics. Now that I’ve overcome the psychological obstacle of not knowing how to draw – that is, I’ve learned to live with the guilt of accepting payment for doing something that by rights I shouldn’t be doing at all – I might experiment a bit more with non-moving cartoons. They offer fewer technical obstacles – I don’t have to worry about sound synchronisation or frame rates or video compression – which means I can devote more of my attention to the actual drawing, Or, in my case, the tracing.


Michael A. Charles is a writer, animator, and musician currently living in the Vancouver area. He used to be the singer and guitarist for the band known as Sea Water Bliss.

You can find a selection of his cartoons, music videos, and ads on the Gallery page.

Michael isn't on LinkedIn or Facebook or Twitter and won't be on whatever comes along next. If you need to reach him here's his contact info.

Garson Hampfield, Crossword Inker