Sunday, May 29, 2011

The mystery of high fructose corn syrup

I am quite glad to have returned to the practice of ecological agriculture. Here at Rock Bottom Ranch, we strive for sustainability. We raise free-range chickens, pigs, goats, and variegated vegetables and fruits. In our products, you are unlikely to find preservatives, GMOS... or high-fructose corn syrup.

In my college days (early 2000s), The Homestead introduced me to the wonders of growing one's own food. Simultaneously, I became curious about the strange contents of industrial food. I pondered, what the $*(@$*$ is high fructose corn syrup? I saw that it was the first ingredient in so many products at the grocery store, but what WAS it? Obviously a sweet substance, sugar-like, from the sound of it.

Between then and now, Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dillema and Aaron Woolf's King Corn have enlightened the world on the American corn industry, and the nature of the mysterious sweetener.

In 2003, as part of my comics directed study at Denison University, I crafted a short science fiction comic, with corn syrup as the centerpiece. I will share it here. It is the earliest of my comics yet to be unveiled. (In the future, I will unveil much older ones, as I have been drawing comics since I was quite young.) When I revisit this older work, I see that I have since improved on many aspects of cartooning... but I also detect some techniques that I had forgotten about. I make no apologies. Well, I make ONE apology--that some of the lettering stretches the limits of legibility. Enjoy.

For more science fiction, I advise checking out “Tethered”, a film by David Lovett, a wise and imaginative Homestead alum.

And, an update on my previous post. My Rock Bottom Ranch comrade Betsey shared with me this BBC Nature article, which describes how scientists in Japan have observed giant water bugs eating turtles and snakes. Fearsome!

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