Tuesday, April 4, 2017

From out of the basement, the Bogosaurus awakens!

I made this papier-mâché sculpture when I was 16; ’twas a project for a high school art class. Now I have reunited with the beast, after it had long been dormant in my parents’ basement. At the time I laid down the flour-soaked strips of newspaper, I referred to the sculpted alien as simply “my creature.” Evidently, I am long overdue to give this creature a name and a story. I am working on that now. Tentatively calling it a Bogosaurus; and it’s first issue is forthcoming!

When the whole Studlar family moved out of our old home in West Virginia, I thought that could not keep the sculpture. It’s combination of length and height made it wholly impractical to transport by way of our rental vans, which were already overloaded with stuff. In the final move-out, I had played an insane and exhausting game of “Tetris” in the vehicles. I filled suitcases with books, nested containers in containers like Russian dolls, stuffed all empty spaces with soft things like clothes, put items like staplers and surge protectors under the seats, and arranged and rotated every piece of the puzzle in an effort to use every millimeter of available space. It was around midnight and the snow was falling outside. Weary from the protracted effort and with sore forearms from all the stuffing, I took my final photos of the creature under the basement’s fluorescent lights, thinking it would then join the trash pile, with the moldy clothes hamper and the cans of solidified paint. It seemed an undignified ending to such a memorable creation. But my dad proclaimed that we could keep the creature. I declared that impossible. He suggested putting it atop the load; I objected because that would prevent the driver from seeing out the back. He suggested the car-top carrier; and I noted that it was already full of stuff. Then I had a flash of insight. Or maybe a solution this obvious is not worthy of being called insight. I got out my pocket-knife and cut the creature’s tail off. The long tail we put on top of the load in the back of the van. The body we placed in the front-seat, where there was just enough room, amidst the driver’s overnight back and snack food and CDs. Upon arrival to our new home in Asheville, North Carolina, I taped the beast back together. It now stands proud atop the mantle. I am working on inventing its science-fictional biology.

Bogosaurus sculpture  ©Ross Wood Studlar. Photo ©Susan Moyle Studlar.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

See you in SPACE

I will be exhibiting and selling my comics work at SPACE (Small Press & Alternative Comics Expo) in Columbus, Ohio, March 25-26! Debuting at this show, GUERILLA FOOTBALL: A QUEST BY A CYBORG HORSE TO MAKE HIMSELF WHOLE—a 44-page one-shot science fiction comic book, wherein a transhuman cybernetic horse and orang-utan team up to steal a priceless historic football in hopes of selling it to raise funds to buy themselves human bodies. Their quest is fraught with peril; opponents include the cybernetic football player of the future! I will also be selling just about every other comic book I’ve made or contributed to in the past 14 years, including FROG STORIES, AWESOME ‘POSSUM 2 & 3, etc.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Bigfoot relaxes

Somewhere in the Pacific Northwest....

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Inauguration of the Resistance

I was in Washington DC on the historic dates of January 20 and 21, 2017. I attended various events, including the Women’s March and the Festival of Resistance.

At 12 noon on January 20, a cold rain began to fall.

In the afternoon, at McPherson Park, Michael Moore led the crowd in a chant of “Welcome to the shit show!” while the BOOM of flash bang grenades erupted from nearby streets. Haze from teargas filled the air. Confrontations were happening, between cops armed with weapons and protestors armed with the dream of a brighter future. The protestors engaged in civil disobedience to call out and resist the agenda of President Donald Trump. Their bravery earned them injuries from both cops and Trump supporters, who don’t share their commitment to non-violence. It also earned them time in kennels and jail cells, and bogus charges of felony riot, to be fought in court. Moore cheered on the resistance, and called for more.

At The Women's March, I found myself in an ocean of humanity. A crowd so dense that one was sure to lose their group unless they all held hands, and so expansive that only an aerial photo could hope to depict it. My pictures only show small fractions of the crowd, and yet it's still a sea of pink hats. Powerful women from Gloria Steinem to Mother Earth were present; and men who believe in equal rights were well-represented too. After I drove from West Virginia, rode a bus from Pittsburgh, slept on a church floor in DC, and walked and ran across DC (and once managed to ride a sardine-packed subway--public transit was limited and difficult to use in the chaotic weekend of protest), I thought that I had a good story about the challenges I underwent to attend this march. Then I met people who had come from New Mexico. A far longer journey! Three times as many people attended the Women's March as the Inauguration. Sister marches, similarly packed and overflowing, happened all over the United States and all over world. Marches happened in all seven continents (yes, Antarctica included.)



Welcome to the resistance. January 20 may have marked the beginning of the end of American democracy, and perhaps the end of civilization, whether by means of war or environmental degradation. However, one thing is clear: millions of Americans have committed to defending our values and our planet, and won’t go down quietly. In the courts and in the streets, the fight is on.

The funniest sign I saw all weekend was at the Women’s March. It said: “Trump approval rating: 32%. Paul Bart, Mall Cop: 33% - Rottentomatoes.com.”

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Dark Day Approaches

The animals sensed that a storm was coming, and many would not survive.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Girl Power of Mothra

My beautiful friend Raven will soon give birth to a baby girl named Indigo. In celebration of this genesis, I wanted to give Indy an icon, to tell her that there is no limit to what she can be. Naturally, my first thought was Wonder Woman. However, the Amazon princess is controversial as a feminist symbol. I found another character: Mothra! When I re-watched Mothra vs. Godzilla (AKA Godzilla vs. The Thing, directed by Ishiro Honda, 1964) with my friend Lesley, she gave a perspective on the mighty insect which I had not realized in my youth. Mothra symbolizes girl power, in a variety of forms—from the sonorous and elegant magic of her miniature twin princess allies, to the overt strength, courage, and perseverance of the great moth herself. Mothra also has characteristics of a mother goddess diety, with her transformations—from egg to caterpillar to moth (who sometimes produces a new egg and continues the cycle.) While most of the Kaiju are lone wolves, Mothra keeps up a social network by way of her telepathic connection to the Shobijin (the miniature twin princesses from Infant Island.)  In Mothra vs. Godzilla, the Shobijin summon Mothra to rescue humanity from a rampaging Godzilla. To protect both the world and her own mysterious egg, Mothra has Godzilla on the ropes for most of the fight, generating hurricane winds from her wingbeats and raining poison powder from her wings and body. The tables turn when the Godzilla catches Mothra with his nuclear breath. Though the mother insect goes down in flames, her egg hatches just in time, and the twin caterpillars are born warriors, who evade Godzilla's deadliest weapons and encase the nuclear dinosaur in a silken prison. In subsequent film appearances, Mothra remains a brave and formidable combatant who goes mandible-to-fang with the toughest monsters in the Toho universe, such as King Ghidorah and Godzilla... and sometimes emerges triumphant! Described as "a monster of principle and peace" in the Official Godzilla Compendium[1], Mothra is the most consistently heroic of the Kaiju. In the varied films, she defends Infant Island, Japan, and the Earth. (In contrast, Godzilla's role fluctuates between villain and hero, hence he and Mothra are sometimes allies instead of opponents.) Mothra may be the second most popular Kaiju after Godzilla, with the second highest number of film appearances, and a long history of drawing crowds to films in which she appears. Lesley is not alone in her admiration of the great moth. A poll in the 1990s found Mothra to be the most popular Kaiju among women[2]. This prompted Toho to make another movie featuring confrontation between Mothra and the Big G, Godzilla vs. Mothra (AKA Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth, directed by Takao Okawara, 1992.) Okawara described Mothra as "a very feminine monster"[2] and portrayed her as a defender of Earth's environment from an extractive corporation. Mothra has longheld connections to Mother Earth and the ancient past, celebrated in the song that the Shobijin (who are renamed the Cosmos in the 1992 film), sing to summon their goddess defender. Luckily for me, Mothra is not human at all. Thus I can draw her without having to worry about body type!

1. Lees, J. D. and Marc Cesani (1998). The Official Godzilla Compendium. pp. 137. ISBN 0-679-88822-5 
2. Kalat, David (2010). A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co. pp. 184–90. ISBN 978-0-7864-47-49-7

Mothra is trademarked to Toho Studios.