I’ve been fighting off sickness all week, had a congested nose that came out of nowhere on Sunday night only to wake up the next morning barely able to move without getting woozy, so I took the day off work. It’s been up and down since then - I thought I was over it til Thursday hit, when I woke up feeling dizzy and hot and CONVINCED that I had a fever, even though my temperature turned out to be stable. I popped some Advil and I’m feeling better now, but still a little stuffy, and I don’t like it! There’s this feeling that something is dragging you down, like you’ve got a 10-pound weight lodged in your nose and you can’t get it out and you can’t breathe normally without hacking and snorting. I get the feeling that the seasonal change had something to do with this but I have no idea really, I’m just prone to gettin sick like this I guess
Whenever this happens I end up spending alot of time in bed, so I crave old comforts, and Marjory Razorblade is one that came back to me in a time of need and I am grateful for it. The first half of this record especially, from “Marlene” to “House On The Hill” or so, has been especially good to me. Sweet gnarly-voiced tunes from Kevin Coyne, whose other albums I need to give a shot (lots of them are on Spotify, which is neat cuz theyre hard to find otherwise). This was a man with real soul, fine plainspoken lyrics, a full-throated voice that could turn to a Howlin Wolf growl on the turn of a dime, good songs, good man. The second half of Majory is pretty great too, but its a little more twisted and unusual, so I mean there’s something for everybody here
"Talking To No One," the key line that’s stuck with me: "Talking to no one is strange / talking to someone is stranger." There is nothing more fucked up in the whole world than finding someone you share a higher-power connection with who you can talk to for hours and never run out of things to say. Even more fucked up when that connection lasts for the rest of your lives!! That’s the weirdest thing in the whole world. I love this song I really do
Protesters from across St Louis turned up and turned out for the first St Louis County Council Meeting since Mike Brown’s Death. (Part I)
The St Louis County Council wasn’t as bad as Ferguson’s Council, but still very few answers and virtually no accountability from the folks who unleashed unholy hell on the residents of Ferguson, following Brown’s murder. #staywoke #farfromover
KEEP POSTING I NEED TO KNOW! DONT STOP POSTING ABOUT THIS. IT IS NOT OVER!
So I was disheartened to find out that the Daily Campus, UConn’s student-run campus newspaper, decided to discontinue its comics page. As a longtime fan of and contributor to the comics page for my 4 years at UConn, this hurt. The following is a letter I sent to the Daily Campus staff, and I wanted to post it publicly because this is something that means alot to me and I want my love for the DC comics page to be publicly known. I am only realizing now how much it meant to me.
Dear Daily Campus staff,
Hi there! My name is Sean Rose, and I’m an alum of the University of Connecticut, class of 2009, and a former cartoonist featured in the Daily Campus comics page. I was recently informed of the unfortunate news that the Daily Campus comics page has been removed from the paper this year. This is tough for me to hear. The comics page of the Daily Campus was easily my favorite part of the paper, one that I called my home for many years, and it’s sad to see it go this way. I’m not angry or upset, really - I’m sure it was a tough decision, and I’m sure there are plenty of good reasons as to why the decision was made: financial constraints, a lack of interest, lack of quality, etc etc. I’m not writing this as a plea to bring the comics page back, because I don’t think that’s a realistic goal? And at the end of day, I haven’t been an undergrad at UConn for almost 6 years now (man I am getting old).
At the same time, the Daily Campus comics page was an important part of my development as an artist, and as a person. I’d like to give you a snapshot of that. I’m not sure if this will mean much to you, but I want you to have it anyway.
When I came to Storrs 2005, I did not care much about comics. I read them a little as a kid, but by age 18 I couldn’t care less. But then I started reading the Daily Campus - a free newspaper that was easy for me to pick up in any dining hall, so why not read it? - and I was immediately drawn to the comics page. I’d find myself skipping right to it before reading anything else. I loved that these comics were made entirely by students - most other college comics pages I’d seen had mostly nationally synidcated cartoons, with a few student comics here and there to fill space. But this page was unique. This was ENTIRELY homegrown, made by students attending the university and nowhere else. Amazing! I loved it immediately.
Were all of the comics great? Ahah heh, no. No they were not. In fact, more than a few of them were crudely drawn, a little hard to read, sometimes obviously copy-pasted or traced. Alot of them came from people who didn’t really have conventional art backgrounds. Alot of them didn’t major in art or take classes. But that’s what I loved about it - these comics were coming from people who would never really be able to express themselves in a public forum otherwise, gaining immediate campus-wide exposure, feeding off that, making more and more comics, knowing that a whole campus of students just like them were going to read it. With the Daily Campus comics page, it felt like I was getting a look into the heart of the UConn student experience, as rough and weird and wonderful as it could be. I was seeing a bunch of kids, just like myself, trying to figure themselves out in a medium with so many possibilities, even if they hadn’t gotten the hang of it yet. They were learning, growing, and I was watching them grow. It was inspiring, to say the least.
And - this is the big one, for me - after a couple years of reading the DC comics page, I got to thinking, “oh hey, maybe I can do this?” Someone who had never drawn comics before, someone who never thought they even LIKED comics, got to thinking that maybe a comic was something they could make. All because the Daily Campus comics page was there.
After some encouragement from my friend Steve (who happened to become the editor of the paper around this time), I started a comic called Kelsey Grammer in 2008. I don’t know if you folks can find any old KGs in the Campus archives, but maybe take a look sometime. They’re rough and not great. I had barely ever drawn before! I couldn’t draw a circle without my hands shaking, my inking was splotchy and hard to read, my lettering was incomprehensible and my word bubbles were way too big. I was not a very good artist, and I knew it. I could feel it.
But still, I was in the Daily Campus comics page. This dumb little comic had exposure all over campus, with thousands of students reading it 5 days out of the week. This is the kind of exposure that comics artists don’t get unless they’re syndicated in a national newspaper, which is a nigh-impossible hurdle to clear. If the Daily Campus comics page weren’t there, I would never have had this unique experience, along with so many of my peers. It was exciting. Encouraging. It pumped me up and motivated me to get better, to practice, to write better, to give thousands of students out there something fun to read while eating Crunch Berries at South Dining Hall between classes. There is no other motivator like being in an actual newspaper. There’s nothing like it.
So I worked and I worked. I kept making comics for the Daily Campus, 3 to 5 a week. And I got better and better, and more and more excited as the years wore on. I don’t know if you folks remember Based on a True Sean Rose or Rockin’ Rick? Those were mine! They’ve been re-ran over the past couple of years, which is neat. I can’t say any of these comics were AMAZING, but man, I loved making them and I think you can see that. I don’t think you can deny the love there. Not only that, but I was proud to share space with some other wonderful student-made comics: Phil, Panda, Poor Richard, Lucid TV, and Frank’s Comic, just to name a few. By the time I graduated in 2009, I felt like the Daily Campus comics page was the most unique part of one of the most unique college newspapers in the country. And I was proud to be part of it.
That love of comics has stayed with me, expanded and grown since I graduated. Comics are a huge part of my life now, both making them and reading them. I sincerely feel while the love was always there, it would not have grown the way it did without the Daily Campus comics page. Without it, I may have never gotten past that inky blotchy phase. I would have given up. I am so grateful it was there.
I know the DC comics page has had problems. The biggest one I remember from my time - and, y’know, one that has unfortunately stuck around like a bad stink in a hot room since I left - is rampant ugly misogyny, which came to a head back in 2010 when a couple of really awful comics ran. While obviously the responsibility here rests with the comics editor and staff, the real big problem is deep in the heart of UConn campus culture, where misogyny is left unchecked and sexual assault - as we know, a serious and real problem at UConn especially - is trivialized. This is a sickness, a terminal one, that needs to be attacked and taken down wherever it might spread. Editorial control and education is the answer here, not the removal of the entire comics page. That is not going to solve the problem.
The other problem is lack of interest. This is a tough one for me to understand or explain. Every time I’ve visited campus since I graduated (note: it’s been ALOT), I’ve noticed the comics page getting smaller and smaller year after year. Here’s what I think happened: a year or two after I left, many passionate and prominent comics artists graduated around the same time, leaving only a few left the following year. Seeing a comics page with only 3 or 4 comics, new students probably assumed “Eh, why bother making a comic? Nobody ELSE is making them.” A self-perpetuating cycle that only got worse year after year. So the obvious action here, seeing this dwindling interest, was to cut the page entirely. And I get that, I do. It seems like the logical next step.
I wish I could give you a quick solution to a problem like this, but honestly, I don’t have one. Part of me wants to say “man, get some flyers out there! Get to it!” but I have no idea if that would work! I don’t know what could be done to get artists interested in the comics page again. I’m at a loss.
Here is what I can say though. Cutting the page entirely, full stop, without even bothering to try to get more artists involved, is a mistake. Because now new UConn students - students who, like me, may have a love of art and comics sleeping inside them, just waiting to wake up - will open the Daily Campus and see no comics. And you know what? They won’t make comics. It just won’t happen. An entire potential subculture of young, eager artists will have no exposure, no reason to create, and no way to see each other grow and be inspired by one another. Daily Campus comics, at their best, were a unique form of communication between student to student. And if that’s lost, that is a huge loss. I’m not sure if you realize how big that is, but man. It’s big.
I love the Daily Campus. I’m proud to have been part of an entirely student-run newspaper, and I’m proud that it’s still going strong and that it’s such a great resource for young writers and journalists at UConn. That’s an amazing opportunity. But by removing the comics page, you’re removing that incredible opportunity for artists as well, one that they may never have again for their entire lives. And if it stays that way, the comics page will be long forgotten and may never come back again, and future generations of comics artists may never grow. That makes me so, so sad, I can’t even tell you.
I know there’s not much I can do, and I can’t give any easy answers. But I hope you do reconsider, and think about what I’ve said, and I hope it’s been of some interest to you. I truly believe that the comics page can be great again, with a little bit of love and effort. I have no doubt that there are great new comics artists on campus right now, just waiting for that chance. I think they deserve one.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for the opportunity you gave me back in the day. I won’t forget it.
Your humble autobiographical comics doodler-
Playin through Grandia II and it’s a pleasant reminder of why I love JRPGs so much, no matter how doofy they might get. Damn they are fun! I found this comic from a bunch of Final Fantasy VII comics I made a few years ago. I had just moved to Chicago and didn’t have a job yet, so I spent alot (read: too much) of my time replaying FFVII and making little journal comics along the way. It was fun and I do miss it, but it was also kind of an odd and aimless time and I’m happy I have actual things to do instead of just playing video games ALL DAY which is not really healthy I don’t think
This comic in particular is my favorite cuz it was borne from some real pain. I had heard that, if you played your cards right, you could do FFVII’s infamous Gold Saucer with Barrett instead of the usual Aeris/Tifa/Yuffie date, and I was DETERMINED to make this happen. I looked up a GameFAQs guide specifically about gaming the dating minigame, and I exploited a glitch where if you keep talking to Barrett over and over again in this one little nondescript scene his “affection” points would go up and up and up til it maxed out. This took a LONG time for me to do but I DID it because CLOUD AND BARRETT DATE WHO DOESN’T WANT THIS TO HAPPEN
And then I got it, and I was SO excited, and then right when it got to what I assumed would be the best and funniest part - the cutesy dumb couples’ play scene - the guy at the door KICKED US OUT. Because he is apparently a violent homophobe. Square’s way of weaseling out of WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN THE CUTEST SECRET SCENE IN THE WHOLE DAMN GAME
SQUARE, WHAT WAS THE DAMN POINT IF I CAN’T SEE CLOUD SAVING BARRETT FROM A DRAGON THEN SMOOCHING HIM AT THE END. HELLO HEY
oh well, it was still fun to do, and I learned that the doorman at the Gold Saucer theater is a terrible hateful man which is something I would NOT have learned had I never unlocked this scene. Interesting character wrinkle
Will Darren Wilson ever be arrested?
U2 have aligned with their old friends Apple to insert Songs of Innocence into all of our libraries without consent. This indisputably queasy approach to the “surprise release” gambit might be the most interesting element about the band’s latest album.
…and then, we have the other end of the spectrum. I have no idea why Pitchfork would even bother to review the new U2, because I can’t think of a single Pitchfork reader who would actually give a shit about the new U2 album outside of making fun of it, knowing that Pitchfork would never give a U2 album higher than like a 6 maybe, a band viewed by Pitchfork readers as bland and pathetic and warmed over. So what’s the point? This goes for Coldplay and Bruce Springsteen too. Is there a reason Pitchfork reviewed the new U2 and Coldplay and not the new Paramore from last year, a legit great and modern pop album that their readers might actually care about from a band that’s actually young? Is there anything a Pitchfork reader - any reader, really - is going to gain from a preaching-to-the-choir review like this? Is there anything to gain from smug insularity? Why am I supposed to take any of this seriously if reviews like this one are still being written?
What does bug me about this - I understand, U2 forcing their new album into iTunes is a little creepy and invasive, but jeez it’s not that creepy. You can just delete it. The worst thing that can happen here is the inconvenience of deleting an album that you don’t care for, of accidentally hearing a U2 song on your shuffle. You can delete it and move on. It’s still a free fucking album. It’s entirely free for a month! I can’t emphasize this enough. The fact that Pitchfork would get at U2 for giving an album away for free - while at the same time not criticizing Beyonce for having people pay seventeen dollars for her new album, in an age where people can hear shit on Spotify for next to nothing, going as far as to call it “bold” - is just embarrassing and silly. I get it, the Beyonce album itself was great and bold and fascinating and yeah I like it more than the new U2 by a good long amount, and I paid that money upfront for it because it was an awesome moment and I wanted to be apart of it, yeah. We were all part of that moment and it was special as fuck!
But if you’re not going to crit Beyonce for partnering with Apple and charging you $16.99 a pop knowing full well that you’re gonna pay it, and then you are going to crit U2 for giving the fucking album away for free, in the same year, then that’s a mistake. You can’t do that, I’m sorry. Beyonce is 100% just as corporate as U2, and that’s fine. Most of the music you love is 100% corporate. Future Islands are corporate. If Future Islands snuck their album onto your iPhone for fucking free everyone would love it. But U2 did it, and U2 suck!!!!!!!!!!
If you don’t like the new U2 album, that’s fine (I like a few songs here and there but I’m not like totally thrilled with it myself), but man, you’ve got to have some standards here. Take a second and step back and think about this. Your bold attempt to criticize U2’s corporatism doesn’t mean jack shit if you can’t do it with an artist you like. That’s some callow weak ass shy garbage and you know it