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Oh Yes, the Book!
I’m trying to contain myself about my book, but I’m not having much luck. Head First, it’s called, in case I haven’t made that clear. The big news this week: the art part is done! 98 pages of full color cartoon storytelling — proofed, tweaked, finished, complete, done! Plus, the cover is designed, inked, colored, and done as well.

So where is the book? Well, while I’m waiting on bids from printers, I’m working on some of the “rewards” that supporters will get for backing Head First on Kickstarter. That’s the way it works, if you don’t know. People who want to back the production of the book pledge money for the project, and in return they receive rewards. The book itself will be the main reward — a large hardback with a single 98-page story in full, edge-to-edge color on high quality paper.

That’s my main motive for this whole venture — to finally hold that work of art in my hands. Something big and real and good that I put together all by myself. Okay, not completely by myself. I can’t do it without the help of people who also want a copy of the book. There will be other goodies available to backers as well, including sets of 20 color cards featuring characters from the book. [Check this week’s Subconscious Comics page for a couple of samples…that’s 12/30/2021 in the Subcon Archives.] Also up for grabs: my original black and white art from the book, all 98 pages’ worth. And so on.

Once I’ve got all this together (including a short video of me pitching the project…that should be fun), the whole thing will launch on Kickstarter sometime this spring. I hope you’ll give it a look when the time comes. It will be the biggest single cartoon project of my life (so far), and I can’t wait to get it out into the universe.

Getting very close now. I’ll let you know in plenty of time to join the fun.
Joy to the World
And if not joy, maybe a few brief moments without existential dread?
Who is
The hero
From the
Right wing?

Who in
That moment
Did the
Right thing?

Who saved
Us when
The noose was

Who showed
The grit
The heart
The sense?

Who will
Be known
From this
Point hence

As our
White knight?
Oh yes
Mike Pence!
Tennis, No One?
About three years ago, I started getting the Tennis Channel as part of my cable TV package. I had always yearned to have such access, but I had been too stingy to spring for the ten dollars a month they were asking.

But those days are gone now. Somehow, my prayers must have been heard by Comcast. I now enjoy 24/7 professional tennis on my big screen — at no extra charge. I would have thought that I’d eventually get bored with it, but that has not happened. For some reason, this particular sport has been endlessly fascinating in a way that no other, including baseball, has ever been. Even matches between second tier players — or even third tier, if the competition is fierce enough — are still drawing me in.

Nor am I differentiating on account of gender. I find that the offerings of the Women’s Tennis Association are no less interesting than those of the all-male Association of Tennis Professionals. If anything, the women’s game is more interesting. Men’s tennis (owing chiefly to advances in racket technology) is often reduced to one big serve, one big forehand, point over.

Moreover, tennis seems to be broadly enlightened as professional sports go. With a little pushing, of course. Billie Jean King and her cohort started the Virginia Slims tour back in 1973, and that effort has led to equal pay for women in the Grand Slams and some of the other big events, at least. Still not all the way there, but no other sport has done so well with pay equity.

Tennis has comported itself pretty well with racial equality, as well. Like soccer, it is a truly international sport, so you might expect that to be the case. The organizations around the sport, however — including the Tennis Channel itself — have made a credible effort to reach into minority communities to find talent at every level.

The players themselves, moreover, seem uniformly thoughtful, well-spoken, and bright. There are some boneheads, of course, but the two associations (which are largely controlled by the players themselves) have surprisingly good records for righteousness. As evidence of this claim, I point to the story of the Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai.

Peng, who was once ranked by the WTA as the No. 1 women’s doubles tennis player in the world, recently posted online that she had been sexually assaulted by Chinese ex-vice premier Zhang Gaoli. The post quickly disappeared, and so did Peng. Everyone expressed “concern,” including the International Olympic Committee (the Winter Olympics will be held in China in a few months), but no one did anything.

Except, that is, for the WTA. They have now cancelled all of their upcoming tournaments in China. This action will cost the association hundreds of millions of dollars. That is a sacrifice with some hair on it. In doing so, they have made everyone who’s done less, especially the IOC, look like chumps. Also on the chump list, it should be mentioned, is the ATP. The men have so far declined to step up in solidarity with their sisters. Individual male players have come forward, but they just don’t pack the punch, financial and otherwise, that the entire official organization would. C’mon, guys.

I will probably continue to watch the Tennis Channel, even though there might be a big gap in their programming where WTA events in China used to be. Or maybe I’ll just skip over those gaps and not watch TV at all. Not much hair on that sacrifice, I’ll admit, but at least I’d be chumping out the ATP.
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Yes, voting matters. Polls do not.
~ H, Santa Cruz