Steven Ho is an amazing human being who has done two things that I once thought inconceivable. One, he has made Britney look like a complete bad ass as she fights herself in the music video for her latest song (if we can call it that), “Hold It Against Me.” Two, he has convinced me to watch a new Britney Spears video in its entirety on purpose. Fortunately, for you, Steven posted a video of just the fight segments so you won’t have to sit through what sounds like a song made up of every bad pickup line anyone has ever used on Britney.

In an interview with MTV, Steven revealed that Britney did most of her own stunt work:

Britney was really excited throughout the whole process. It was a grueling shoot of dance and stunts, but her passion for the video and professionalism never wavered. There were some pretty tough insert shots where we needed Britney to actually get hit in the face by “herself.” We did several consecutive takes of this, and she had a lot of fun with it and was a great sport.

Britney was very enthusiastic about learning how to fight; she’s an athlete. I got that Jonas’ concept was partially about the duality of self — we all deal with that, so who wouldn’t have fun fighting their alter egos?

Alright, even though I think the song is total dreck, I gotta give the lady credit. She put in the work and it shows. But I think we all know who the real hero is, here. Steven Ho, congratulations on a fine piece of action choreography. There should be an extended version where the rest of the video is just shucked and replaced with more ass kicking.

Source: MTV

I had a tremendous time at Katsuchan 17. It feels great to be back on the con circuit to meet new fans and fellow creators. There were aspects of the convention that seemed broken to me but I won’t dwell on those issues because the staff was abundantly aware of their shortfalls. Also, there was probably a lot of behind-the-scenes drama that played out that doesn’t need to be aired out in public. Overall, I had a great time and it seemed like the attendees that I talked to were having fun. And in the end, that’s what these things are for.

The Back of the Alley

My table was all the way in the back of the Artists Alley right before the webcomic guest section. I was in the weird position of being a Guest of the con and a Staff Artist but not a Webcomic Guest. Someday, I will join their ranks and stare at a back wall as well!

I could be mistaken, but the ass back of the alley is not terribly good positioning. So it amused me greatly to hear other artists complain about their positioning in the feedback meeting. Those bastards were all closer to the entrance. Fortunately, the power of Puppy Cow compelled people to stop by and check out my stuff.

I wish I had a camera with me to record all the reactions Puppy Cow got. Even if I didn’t sell a blessed one, those reactions were freaking priceless, everything from abject horror to squees of adoration. Loved it!

This was the first convention where I had products on my table. And not just the typical art prints and postcards. I had stickers, pendants, shirts, mini comics, and Puppy Cow. I sold more Puppy Cows than anything else which I kind of expected. But I didn’t expect to sell any mini comics which turned out to be the second best seller on my table. Stickers as well sold much better than I expected. I think having a variety of items at a variety of price points really helped. I probably would have sold more buttons than anything else if I had a chance to make some up for the con, but because of the fanart policy mess, I decided to just bring all original work with me.

Next time I will probably also offer to do sketches. I think $10 for a quick sketch might be reasonable. Full on commissions will probably be price terribly unreasonably. But I also might bring along a handful of original inks and such. We’ll see. So far the only other con I have lined up is SPX.

Going to School With Uncle Frank

One of the highlights of my weekend was going up against Frank Cho at Super Art Fight. Last year, Jo Chen cleaned my clock so I was used to public humiliation in front of my art heros.

I’ve been following Frank’s career since college when he drew University2 for the Diamonback newspaper at the University of Maryland, College Park. Getting a chance to meet him let alone draw along side him was an event that I never knew I could even dream about. The actual fight went by like a blur and while I felt like I was just walking around like an idiot making stupid marks on the canvas, a few people came up to me after the show to congratulate me. I’m so glad I didn’t totally suck.

I’m happy that the piece sold well at the charity auction. I got a chance to talk to Frank afterwards and he seemed to enjoy the fight. He’s a really nice guy and I got to talk about art stuff and how his books and covers are going. He introduced me to his girlfriend as a sick bastard which, strangely enough, I take as a huge compliment for reasons which will be explained in the next segment.

After Hours With Drunk Cartoonists

I enjoy drawing cute things. I enjoy drawing cute yet disturbing things. And there are times when I enjoy drawing completely fucked up things. So when challenged to a “Let’s-see-who-can-draw-the-most-horrifically-depraved-thing-ever”-off by a fellow cartoonist, I take it as a matter of pride to rise to challenge.

And so, Friday and Saturday night, if you were in the courtyard by the fountain at the Gaylord hotel and happened upon a group of drunk cartoonists, you may have witnessed horrific things being drawn by yours truly, Ross, Bill, and Danielle as Dani, Dern, and James (I’m sorry, I don’t have a link for you!) looked on in amused horror.

Now of all the people I ever thought I would ever have the opportunity to meet, the one person I would have thought would be immune to the horrific images I am able to conjure on paper was Danielle Corsetto. From reading her comic and her twitter feed, it is clear that not a whole lot shocks her. However, operation horrify-a-drunk-cartoonist was a big success. I’m not sure if these terrible things will make their way onto the interwebs, but the fucked up thing is that they were kind of tame compared to some of the other shit that I’ve drawn.

There’s gotta be a market for this kind of thing.

These late-night, early-morning drinking/drawing sessions are the best part of going to conventions. Meeting fellow cartoonists, talking about cartooning, conventions, working shows, process, and generally just shooting the shit, this is what I’ve been missing for the past few years. It’s good to get back into the swing of things.

I’ve always thought that behind his primitively gruff exterior, Killer Croc hid an inquisitive intellect. When he’s not on screen or on panel, I imagine he spends his time contemplating the great questions of the universe. And playing chess with insane women.

Harley, too, has an intellectual streak. So pairing the two of them together for a friendly chess game just seemed natural to me.

Harley’s costume is one of those iconic designs that I don’t think needs much tinkering. The Arkham Asylum game version of her costume is terribly garish. So I wanted to stick as close to her original as possible. I added an addition cut to further emphasize her duality.

It is my belief that Danny Trejo should be in all the movies. ALL the movies. So when I heard that the third Bat film would feature Bane NOT portrayed by Danny Terjo, I felt this injustice could not be tolerated!

I know Danny is voicing the animated version on Young Justice which is pretty awesome. But I feel he really needs to be the live action version. It is a crime against humanity that he is not!

As much as I despise reality television programming, I can find nothing at all wrong with RuPaul’s Drag Race. It’s one part America’s Next Top Model (which is seriously a crime against humanity), one part Project Runway (which I actually can stand), mixed together with a whole lot of attitude. It’s fucking fierce!

On the fifth episode of this third season, the lady boys were challenged to put on their television newscast complete with a gossip segment, a weather segment, and an interview with some lady from “The Hills” (another crime against humanity). The Queens were split into teams and chose roles. For her interview segment, Manila Luzon decided to break out the “Ching Chong” speak. It caught everyone off guard and made a lot of the queens uncomfortable, including Ru who I imagine isn’t offended by a whole lot. Manila is Asian so she got the “Well, it’s okay if she does it but it’s not okay if a non-Asian does it” pass. The judges thought is was so wrong it was right and Manila went on to win the night. If you’ve got the time and it isn’t region restricted, here’s the episode:

The Case Against Ching Chong

I admit, I laughed at the segment. It was horribly uncomfortable, but I laughed. Manila just went all out and over-the-top which is kind of what you expect from drag anyway. But I was disappointed in her. It’s not a choice that I would have made and I hope it’s a choice that Asian entertainers avoid.

It’s not that I don’t think that we can’t laugh at ourselves. Asians make fun of Asians all the time and it’s usually from our perspective as Asians. What bothers me so much when Asians do the Rush Lamebaugh “Ching Chong” bit is that it comes from an outside perspective. It’s an insult to Asians created by non-Asians. As Asians, we shouldn’t be using other people’s insults to define ourselves. We should be using our own insults!

The Margaret Cho Question

Margaret Cho does a version of the “Ching Chong” in her act. Whenever she does a bit about her mother, she squints her eyes and talks in a high pitched, broken English. But to me, this is not the insulting “Ching Chong” that Manila used. Margaret’s impression of her mother is an authentic representation of the way her mother speaks. No one else came up to Margaret and said, “Hey, your mom is all like Ching Ching Chong Chingy Chong.” Her impression comes from her perspective. It’s endearing and charming and absolutely hysterical.

Manila’s “Ching Chong” interview did not come from an authentic place. She’s Filipino. Her “Ching Chong” was clearly aping Chinese or Japanese. If she was doing a Filipino version, it would have sounded much different. It would have been hysterical to hear her version of a relative who speaks English with a heavy Filipino accent. Or hell, just break into some proper Tagalog and confuse the hell out of your guest. That would be some funny shit.

Instead, Manila fell into the “Ching Chong” trap. It’s funny and horrifying but mostly funny to all the non-Asian judges who rewarded her for being so “bold.” But it wasn’t bold. It was rather safe. It was using an old stereotype foisted upon Asians by the same type of people who still refer to us as “Orientals.” For it to have been bold, Manila would have had to have brought something real to her impersonation.

I Ain’t Mad Atcha, Manila

I thought it was a poor choice, but I won’t crucify Manila for it. In some ways, drag is a parody to begin with. Why bother conforming to political correctness on a show that celebrates doing your own damn thing? I just wish she had done something truly unique.

My wish for all Asian entertainers in the new damn millennium is to really come up with something unique and not lean on stereotypes perpetrated by non-Asians. Chris Rocks “Niggas vs. Black People” is a legendary bit that perfectly articulates the inner struggles of the Black community. We need an Asian bit that rises to that level. Come on, Asians, we can do better than the “Ching Chong.”