A Christmas Tale with Mr. Jack Happy

December 25th, 2008: 0413

Things were cold, then. Cold for Jack, and cold for the earth, the wind was bitter like an old man with no family and no friends. It turned his face a shade of festive blue, his lips cracking a wide smile.

Jack knew there was no room in this world for yet another poem about snow. It covered the surroundings and turned all things virgin white, pristine and so on, so forth. How many ways can one say that Winter is a time of death, hibernation, and purificiation, he pondered?
O Lord, thou art a four-faced phantom!
This face: white and flaky like canned biscuits!
Still, he felt compelled to mull over the icy landscape, the unshovelled sidewalls frozen with millions of shoe- and boot-prints. Dirty mountains of grimy snow were plowed onto the curb and left to melt on the sides of the streets. It was certainly a magnificent and beautiful Time of the Year!
O Mother, thoust nature is four-sided!
This side: chill like the store-bought Christmas ham!
Drops of ice-water fell on his head and sent shivers down his spine, as he stood outside the train station. Icicles had formed on all of the doorways and tops of windows, arcing their tendrils downward above him, menacing him. The puffy snow-filled clouds hovered overhead like bombers ready to strike. Jack needed ear-muffs.
O Father, yourst face has four hands!
This hand: turns the slowliest of all!
Short days and long nights drove Jack insane. The sun came too short, didn’t deliver on its promise of rejuvenation, and hid away from the cold dark. Doctors would just say he suffered from seasonal depression, but Jack knew better. Jack knew God hated the Cold, too—why else freeze the Earth, but to spare it the suffering?

Jack huddled for warmth, waiting for the train, and felt alone in a shared isolation, shared between him and the City. The City: she had fallen flat on her face, slipped on a patch of black ice, and didn’t want to get up only to inch forward, barely lifting her feet, in fear of falling, again. Things were cold, cold for Jack, and cold for her, too.
O Christ, mas o menos buenavista!
What ho? Ho, ho, ho, frozen peas!
(They’re even better when you’re dead!)

Well Merry Christmas Boys and Girls!

Well gosh, children, it's so nice to get a chance to see you all on this most special day! Oh, but I should introduce myself. You can call me...oh, I know, how about Mommy Despair? That's so cute! I'm quite proud of myself! You see, little Johnny has come back home for the holidays, bless him, and while he's busy checking his stocking, he seems to have left his laptop logged into his little website! What a silly child. I'm sure I raised him better.

Now, let's see here...oh, my, judging by this site, I think Santa must have made a mix up with all those gifts. I mean, making fun of religion, and all the profanity and allusions to deviant sexuality! Goodness me, it's a good thing I found this! I'm sure Johnny would have written some other horrible little story, and just gone and soured everyone's holiday spirit! Good thing Mommy Despair is here to keep the season bright.

Why, that reminds me. Did he ever tell you all why they call him Johnny Despair? I bet you thought he just picked it out himself, because it sounded all "punk." Oh goodness me no. He didn't pick the name at all, you see. It was... gosh, how many years ago was it? Hm. Oh, Johnny, would you get in here and help your mother out with something?

Oh, my, maybe I shouldn't have called him in. He looks livid! Oh, but he's soo cute when he's all pouty and stompy. Isn't my handsome little man just the cutest! "Ma, stop it," he says. Well maybe you should have kept your computer more secure, mister, and we wouldn't be in this boat. You know I worry about your computer, and the identity thieves and all. But anyway, do you remember how long ago it was you first got your little nickname?

Ohhh, he doesn't look mad anymore, internet peoples! "Ma, don't go there, please," he says to me. But it's such a sweet little story, and even appropriate for Christmas! Well, fine, if you won't help I'll tell it on my own. Oh no you don't, mister, hands off! On Christmas Day, you can't even give your mother, who worked and sacrificed and slaved to bring you up, put you through college, and get you the damn laptop you're trying to snatch away, you can't even give her the simple gift of being involved in her son's life? Hmmmm?

That's what I though, mister.

Anyway, it was a number of years ago, a bit before Christmas break. Little Johnny was still in grade school, and he was so excited for Christmas, as all children are. But Johnny was not exactly a popular child, I hate to admit. He would get teased and picked on. He had, well, there's not a nice way to say it, is there....he had emotional issues, you see. Took everything oh so seriously. And not just the way a child does; he'd be murderously angry over a lunchtime insult, or be shamed into silence for days over a little mistake. There's nothing wrong with being an...emotional child, of course, but it made him such an easy target for the other boys and girls. I always told him: if you stop reacting, they'll stop doing it, but did he listen to his mother? Noooooo....

Well like I said, it was a little before Christmas, and Johnny was excited. He carried his list to Santa all around with him, to remind him to be good, he told me, although I knew it was really so he could add more things as it came to him. Well, one of the other children saw him working on his list and snatched it away. The boy said something like, "Aww, little baby is working on his list for Santa. Aww, little baby don't even know that Santa ain't real!" (I'm just guessing, here, based on what Johnny told me later, of course.) And then he laughed and tore up the letter. I think he might have made it into spitballs, or made Johnny eat it, or something. I don't really recall that part. Something else mean happened, I think.

Well little Johnny was so upset, he just started bawling. I mean he would not stop! He just kept crying and crying and crying and class couldn't go on like that so they sent him to the principal's office and called me to get him. And when I got there, well, I told you he's so cute when he's pouty! I couldn't take the poor boy seriously. He was so upset, but all I could do was pinch his little cheeks and say, "Aww, what's wong wif Mommy's widdle Mistah Sadness? What's makin' her little Johnny a little Johnny Despair?"

Oh, and let me tell you, that dried those tears right up! He was so embarrassed! "Nothing!" he said, and put on his bravest little face. And that was so cute too! So I imagine I don't really need to tell you, that from then on, every time he made a little pouty face, I'd tease him, say, "Excuse me, widdle Mr. Despair, have you seen my Johnny? I swear he was just here," or something like that. Ohh, but he hated it! And, of course, eventually other mothers heard about it, and then their children did, and pretty soon everyone in the neighborhood knew all about my little Johnny Despair.

Well, I hear the neighbors at the door. We always do a little Christmas exchange, you see. They were like a second family to my little Johnny, I had to be away so often. Now, Johnny, you better not delete this. I'll be checking your little site, even if it makes me uncomfortable, and making sure this is still here. I'm your mother, goddamnit, and I won't be ignored. You know how a lot of moms say "I brought you into this world, and I can take you out of it?" Remember, Johnny: you may have grown up big and strong, but I have cop friends. And guns. And a whole lot of quiet woodland where you could hide almost anything.

Don't mess with me, Johnny. I am your fucking mother.

Merry Christmas all you strange little people who read my son's nasty little website!

Call your mothers.

I'm serious.


What I've been doing recently

Things I've been working on.



Still Basically Sick

Okay kids, you all saw the title, but don't go freaking out now. Yeah, I'm ill, and yeah, I gotta nasty cough that maybe makes a little of the green stuff fly out when I'm tryin' to talk. It ain't no thang; your boy Johnny Despair, Esq. here ain't been contagious for weeks, and if he wasn't so under the gun trying to get his got-damned degree, he'd probably be fit as a fuckin' fiddle. But alas and alack, my speedy recovery was not meant to be. Boo hoo, for shame. Woe and fie on those foul machinations of fate what rob us all etc. etc.

Anyway, in case ya'll couldn't tell by now (and in which case, you have definitely not been paying attention. I am fairly sure I mentioned at some point you would have to try harder. Of course, I also said something about regular content, so maybe I ought to just shut my self-aggrandizing sickhole), this here is one of them filler-posts. A little somthin-somthin to let ya'll know I am (basically) alive and there will be things here as soon as I can make that be.

In the meanwhile, here's a neat little link, just so's you can't say I never gave you nothin': I been clued into this show called Ginga Nagareboshi Gin. Yes, it is an animu. The title translates roughly to "Gin the HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS DOG WHO FUCKING FIGHTS BEARS." It is old, and the translation sucks, but that honestly is helping to sell it for me. Another fun fact: no one seems to own the rights to distribute in the US, so if you felt the need to illegally obtain it, perhaps through some sort of known harbor for pirates, you wouldn't even technically be committing a crime. You know, if that sort of thing bothers you. Dunno why it would, but as a hypothetical.

Anyway, I got papers to write and mucus to forcibly expel, so I'ma cut this short. Until next time, kiddies, make sure to pour a mug of hot cider on the curb for your lost homeboy,

A certain Mr. Johnny Despair, Esq.


Why Do They Call Me Mr. Happy? "Read Between the Lines" (Filler Comic)

What's sad is that I could've probably finished "No Means Whatever" Scene 4 in the time it took me to draw these. And, yes, they're cut off. I… am not concerned. Sorry.


Man, Swine Flu Is For Posers

Stand back, boys and girls, don't get too close, and hurry up and put on the supplied face masks and sanitary gloves. It's your boy Johnny Despair, Esq. here, and he's sick, baby, sick. But not with that flash-in-the-pan swine-flu business. Hell no. That ain't no respectable kind of sickness. Nuh-uh. Your boy's got some old-school fukken' disease right here. Got some pneumonia all up in his lungs, wreckin' the place, all coughin' up gobs of boogers 'n blood and sounding like a big old pile of dyin' grandpas. Pneumonia is a real friggin' sickness. That shit killed presidents, man, at least one of 'em. I think. I may currently be hallucinating under fever. Whatever. Pneumonia is bad shit, no doubt. So, you know, not been a productive week, unless you count massive sweats and disorientation as being productive.

So, as a little gift to you (but mostly myself), I'ma link ya'll to some righteous entertainment while I'm out of commission. Now, for reasons that have nothing at all to do with a contest that he's runnin', now seems like a hell of a time to spread my deep love of Wondermark. Wondermark is a great comic. It is consistently really, really funny. David Malki! is a guy who knows how to write comics. He has put essays up on his site about this very subject, and they are also very friggin' funny. Malki! is really a guy who ought to be a much bigger force in webcomics, in my estimation: he's clever; he's handsome (raaawr); he's nice; he's productive (despite only updating the comic proper twice a week, he does regular sketches, and various essays and blogs posts means there is content basically every day); his aesthetic sense is poised to pounce upon the exposed jugular vein of the steampunk/anachro-fashion movement like a beautiful, misunderstood vampire eager to drink it dry and not even give a shit and not even be beautiful but a disfigured old monster with horrible claws and barely human anatomy because that is how my vampires role and jesus FUCK can I stop seeing Twilight ads in my fucking convalescence pretty pretty fucking please I know bitching about Twilight is now about as cool as bitching about Fox News but honestly I am sick and I do not need this shit all up in my eyes; he's all about these "beards" that the kids seem excited about these days; and he produces one of the most listenable podcasts I've ever heard, Tweet Me Harder along with Kris Straub, who is, last time I checked, a friggin' institution or something. True story about Tweet Me Harder: I once listened to it so harder, that I was unintentionally talking like a weird Kris Straub/David Malki! slash-fic lovebaby for days. It took three hours of listening to the Sex Pistols to cure it.

Oh, another item for the list: David Malki! designs some of the net's best shirts. Don't believe me? Consider the evidence. If I was a cartoon character and could only wear one shirt forever, it would be hard not to pick "Steam Powered Heart."

Okay, going back to forcibly losing fluids from various holes. Drink your orange juice and don't lick strange objects, kids, and you may just avoid the terrible fate of the sad, the pitiable, the ever-on-the-verge-of-covering-himself-in-sick,

Johnny Despair, Esq.


A Not Very Special Presentation by Mr. Jack Happy (Do Not Be Alarmed)

[ Why late, Scene 4? ]
1. Jack went away over the weekend on a lovely vacation.
2. Adult Swim dares to premiere both new episodes of Venture Brothers and Metalocalpyse online on Mondays.
3. See Jack work. Work, Jack, work. Hard. Harder. HARDER! O-o-oh, baby, that's the spot…
(Double Entendre'd)


Live from Not For You Studios, The Happy Comic Comedy Act with Mr. Jack Happy: "No Means Whatever"

[Act One: Scene Three]
 First: [Act One: Scene One] Previous: [Act One: Intermission] Next: […]

June 18th, 2008:

Jack knew he would never know who he was. Identity was clay—an unfired lump of mud on his work-table. It was a grade school ashtray, a middle school miniature penis, a high school Futurist knock-off, a college equestrian figurine waving a saber… A young adult’s hobby locked in the closet, shoved behind the shoes, taped in a box, mislabeled, forgotten.

There’s productivity to be had! Work to be done! Money to be made! What need is there of an identity in our capitalist society driven by consumerism, in our popular culture driven by fads? Hark, you can be What You Do! It’s simple, it’s easy, it’s profitable

…It’s predictably boring. So Jack cleaned out the skeletons from his closet and found his old identity. It was markedly different than what he remembered, though: he remembered noble delusions of intellectual pursuit and Renaissance knowledgeability. He remembered words like “knowledgeability.”

What was Jack to do? His identity was dusty and unrecognizable, some maligned form of a lost truth in darkened memories. Jack was once an Artist, but now what did he have—nothing more than a lot of words he learned in school for describing what he didn’t have. He wold be a Writer.

But, ‘tis the Modern Age, young pioneer! So, being a Writer quickly becomes being a Blogger, and Jack did have himself a Blog for awhile. Until it, too, bored him, and lost its purpose, and gave him no sense of identity; so, instead, he fell in love with a beautiful maiden.

Jack did not live Happily Ever After. Quite the opposite, in fact, for awhile… It was lucky for Jack that he had good friends.

And it was there that Jack knew he had found his purpose. He saw Art in friendship, and he saw an entire generation with that empty reflection in their eyes, that lost identity. Who are any of us, anyway?

Therefore, Jack knew he would never know who he truly was, but he knew he could draw, and write, and talk, and laugh, and cry, and live, and die.

But never love again.


Stuff I Found Lying Around My Place

Well hey there, boys and ghouls... wait, shit, Halloween was last week.

Anyway, it's your boy Johnny Despair, Esq. back again. Now, before I get started, I wanted to just throw out an announcement or two.

First: For those of you who've been paying attention, waiting with (master)bated breath (haw!), "Hail To The King" will be concluded shortly. My uncannily talented and eerily incomprehensible co-worker, Mr. Jack Happy, has been really frikken' outdoing himself on the art, and wants to makes sure it looks just right. Seriously, don't even ask about it, if he's working on something. Dude is crazy territorial. Next thing you know, he'll be peein' on shit just to "ward off interlopers" or whatever.

I kid, I kid.

Everything at his place is already covered in piss.

Second: fuck, did I have another announcement? Well, I guess it's that I got stuff coming up, so my updates may be even less regular than they have been. But whatever, ya'll already figured out I don't exactly got the trains running on time or whatever.

So, let me tell you a little about ME. Because, lawd knows, I don't talk about me nearly enough. See, I'm a guy with stuff going on. Not a job or anything, no, but I take classes sometimes. Also, I kinda got some looming debts and whatever, and it can kind of be a thing, when you get real dedicated to dodging some creditors. On a related note, I'ma be kicked outta this place I'm livin' in pretty soon. It's kind of a long, boring story, but I'll tell you this much: when you live above a lawyer, you don't respond to noise complaints by lowering yourself onto his balcony with a grappling hook and taking a monster shit. Allegedly.

So, I been doin' some packing lately, and bein' as I'm about the most interesting sumbitch who ever lived, I been unearthin' some crazy junk just lying around. So I though I might let ya'll get a glimpse into the world of the latest and undoubtedly the greatest Internet Somebody who ever lived.

Alright, let's see... got handfulls of paper with various scribblin's and whatnots on 'em. Lotta these 'r terrible, which makes 'em mine, but some of these ain't half bad. Like:

My old roommie Red did that 'un. It's a character called Reginald Ponswalloh, from a series of stories that I'm still brewin'. I can't remember for the life of me why the hell he's in a dress, or what's up with the bird. I'ma...I'ma chalk that up to a metaphor, or somethin'

Here's some weird ass old note, seems to be something about starting an, I don't know, gossip or news site, I guess? There's a couple of article ideas written here:

"Many people know the story of Angel and Bones star David Boreanaz's rise to fame: while walking some dogs one day, he was 'discovered' and the rest was history! But did you know that he's never owned a dog in his life, and is legally forbidden to touch one? Or that he's secretly one of the 'wee folk', a magical race of diminutive tricksters adept at illusion? Who'd have thought walking imaginary dogs could make you rich?

So Colplay's new album is pretty popular. Fun Fact: The preceding sentence was the only note I left before trying to blow my brains out! My ex always did say I have a thick skull! Ah-ha-ha!

The internet "bluzz" about The Dark Knight has been huge, and to whet fans' insatiable "blopetite," they're released Gotham Knight, which many are describing as 'The Batmanimatirx.' Which would make Batman Begins 'The Batman Bematrix,' and the pending Dark Knight 'Utter Goddamn Bullshit!' "

I have no clue what that was all about. Let's see here... there's a fairly lengthy set of notes for the concept to a game which, according to the scribbled-in margins, "Would sell more than a fuck-machine made out of anti-aging medicine and those horrible fucking Dan Brown novels." It seems to be based on the two largest-growing exploitable internet trends of the time: Steampunk aesthetics and... sigh... "dickgirl" pornography. Here's a good example page:

A few things to note: (don't worry, nothing explicit on that page other than some naughty words) a) I began this section with the header "Filthy Disgusting Masterpiece"; b) I apparantly cracked myself up a lot, judging by all the underlined "Ha!"s; c) holy shit I totally need to copyright the name "Cockraiser," that shit is genius. If you're curious about the "story," it seems to revolve around an incubus trapped in a succubus' body, and wanting to break into the "boy's club" of the upper ranks of demonhood, who sets about fucking with the Earth to erode notions of gender roles/identity. She gives steam technology to women pioneers, and uses some psuedo-science hormones or someshit to make all the men docile and feminine. She then goes about seducing/boning the most influential dudes remaining in the world to make them bow down to the supremacy of womankind. Meanwhile, the Church sends out a... "Dominatronix" (dominatrix matron... ugh) to whip these men back into shape and restore the power of the patriarchy.

This is probably the single most insane idea I have ever had.

Except for maybe whatever prompted this:

This notebook, dated 2007, filled with names culled from a local paper's obituaries. This may have something to do with why I didn't last at that newspaper gig.

No, seriously. That's all there is.

I don't even know. I apologize to everyone who died in 2007 if I did some sort of bizarro-ritual or something and then blacked out and forgot about it. Uh... my bad?

Speaking of bad, as in content and organizational strategies, remember those doodles I mentioned earlier, and about how there were some good ones that clearly weren't mine? Well, here's some "control" images.

Let me give this abomination some context: Back when I started these, dream-maker and internet SUPAHSTAH KC Green had started up on what was to be known as the "Bad Comics Challenge," an epic quest to see if he could, in fact, make bad comics. And not just a few, either. No, he had to, by his own hand, forge 200 bad comics. It was incredible. And, seeing an excuse for my sinfully lame illustrations, I thought I'd try it, too.

I made it nowhere near 200. That shit is hard, you guys, especially if you ain't in the habit of comic-making. I made a few batches, though, and I guess I'm in a mood to make you look at 'em. Whatever; after that steampunk/femdom thing earlier, there's no possible way I could make anyone think even less of me.

So, you may have noticed, if you weren't either put to sleep by the "jokes" or permanently blinded by the "art," that I was working with "themes" in the various batches of ten. The first set's them is "Movie reference and then S&M joke," and the second set here's theme is "People's reactions to the first set."

Why did I show you this? Because it was easier than coming up with new content? No, not really. I had to scan shit and try to come to grips with how fucking horrifying my life is. No, I showed you all this to make a point. If I ever threaten ya'll that I might show you my "older work," you fuckers settle the hell down and behave. Because I will do it. This crap barely scratches the iceberg. This isn't even the Cliff's Notes on the horrors lying scattered across my apartment. I could unleash an endless stream of pain on your asses, should the mood take me. So whenever you see something that ain't two motherfuckers in a shaky-ass panel standing dead still, looking straight ahead, delivering pathetically structured jokes, you better be goddamned thankful, is all I'm sayin'. I work hard so that you don't see this kind of shit, ok?

Unless of course this turns out to be the most popular thing I've ever done.


~ A missive from the gaping maw of the abyss, and your old pal,
Johnny Despair, Esq.


A Very Special Presentation of Mr. Jack Happy's Happy Comic Comedy Act from Not For You Studios: "No Means Whatever"

[Act One: Intermission]

December 31st, 2008:

The city was dark and all lit up; he stood in an alley and frowned prolifically. Jack is a good boy, he knew. An empty pack of cigarettes fell from his right hand, and in his other he held the last, unlit butt—his arms limply dangled at his sides. The alley smelled like the whole city: desperate, lonely, filthy.

Darkness hid his face, shadowed all but his downturnt lips and stubbly chin. Jack is a happy boy, he believed. His surroundings were mostly the refuse of the city: an overfilled dumpster, ripped trashbags, discarded condoms and their wrappers, handy symbolic props for a Film Noir establishing shot and an inner monologue. The noise of movement came from his rear; he turned quickly to see.

He had fluctuated. Jack is a naughty devil.

Jack is a good boy,
He does his chores;
Jack is a happy boy,
He smiles more and more.

Jack is a happy boy,
He sings all day long;
Jack is a good boy,
He cannot be wrong.

Jack will never crack,
He brings us all the cure;
Jack will bring us back,
He rows the boat to shore.

Jack sang ‘O Lord, Hallelujah,’
And angels did appear unto him;
They brang Jack the Word,
Jack is  a good boy—
A happy boy.

When the Day doth come,
Jack will raise us all up to Him.

Marscast Project

As many of you know, I'm fairly passionate about Mars and it's colonization. For a while now I've been considering making a video log about Mars. I'll call it Marscast if there's nothing else called that... excuse me as I Google that...

OK Marscast as it looks like it isn't taken. Excellent. Anyway, I need to feel passionate about something... so I'll start researching and making videos about Mars and such, and why it has to be colonized. Eventually, I might even make a podcast or something if I find people similarly passionate about Mars.

Now, I've just got to work on diction and what I'm going to say. If anything happens, it'll be posted here.


Unfunny Post

Alright, kiddies, it's your boy Johnny Despair, Esq. here, and I ain't got time for foolin' around today. There's some serious business to attend to.

Now, I know we ain't been on the block long. I know that our readership is slightly below any given Final Fantasy II/ Big Bad Beetleborgs crossover slash fic. I am well aware, okay? So I know that what I'm about to do might not mean much. But I really got to do it. Seriously, Warren Ellis is in on it, and I'm pretty sure he can make websites crash with his hate.

So, I read this thing on Grinding.Be (which is an awesome site) about how some chucklefuck out there saw this artisit's work and thought, "Man, I could steal those designs and make a mint!" So he fucking did. Now, this is a crying fucking shame, of course, but you're sitting there thinking, "So goddamn what?"

Well, here's where shit gets fucked for real. The original artist artist asked the guy to stop it, and provided the proof of his copyright claim. So the manufacturer told him to go get fucked, and sued him to try and overturn the copyright.

Now, I don't know if any of ya'll out there have been sued. It sucks, big time, and it's crazy expensive, to boot. This guy has already forked over $50,000 freaking bucks off his own out-of-pocket money to this bullshit lawsuit. The stealing prick who's brining the lawsuit forward knows he's got no leg to stand on if it reaches court, so he's trying to make the artist run out of money so the default ruling goes to the dude who filed it. In this case, the guy who's stealing someone else's shit.

So, seriously, ya'll should do what you can to help this dude out. Guy is getting a raw fucking deal. Besides, if he drops out, it'll be another bullshit victory for The Man. That's right, The fucking Man. Maybe you thought he was gone. But shut the hell up, idiot. The Man is still around. And he hates the poor, independent creative type. Even if you can't contribute cash, if you can do anything to help this man out, raise awareness, hell, write your congressman and complain about the erosion of the fucking Constitution that everyone is going on about, (Article I, Section 8, says copyright laws were created to “To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”), it couldn't hurt. Tell The Man that he can't just bully people around as he likes and take whatever shinies capture his eye. Tell that motherfucker that we have rights too.

Go forth, my children, and seek out not the pure land, but rather, the site for its construction. And build.

So sayeth the prophet of this hill,

Johnny Despair, Esq.


Mr. Jack Happy Presents A Not For You Studios Presentation of the Happy Comic Comedy Act: “No Means Whatever”

[Act One: Scene Two]

“Hotel Fuck,” a cheap little poem by Mr. J. Happy

And the haze lifts, her bare hip
Shifts, watch it go: so far, far;
Away with him. Send for snacks,
Open the mini-bar—tiny happy gifts,
Hey! Watch out! Attack!

Sex is a weapon, a loaded gun,
All too much, too much fun;
Games in secret—don’t let on,
That you know, you know?

When the dawn breaks, her wet
Hair shakes, all over you, it’s all—
All set! Are you awake? Can you
Get up. Let’s fall—fall apart;
Three blind judges, one Eye between.

Sex is a weapon, a sharpened blade,
So little escape, so little to gain;
Let’s just hope—mark the grave,
Make the grade, here lies our Son:
Alone, he left us. So much pain.

What’s that? A meaning? Oh,
No, it’s just the maid, please turn—
Turn it down, honey. Quick! To the
Shower, we can cram in another…
Love is made, watch out! It burns.

Sex is an extension of our selves,
How do you rate?
Bill paid: one-oh-one-six-eight.


Fairy Tale Endings: Hail to the King, part 1

All right then, boys and girls, it looks like it's that time again. Your boy Johnny Despair, Esq.'s back with another story for you. Ya'll remember last week, when Mr. Happy and I rounded you lot up and crammed a big ol' mess a fairytale what-have-ya-s down yer throats, and I mentioned we had one extra-strength fantasy queued up fer ya. Well, put down yer Gameboys and yer smartphones and settle in. Cuz it's here, baby, and it is not taking your crap. I'd do what it says. It's crazy.

Hail To The King
—written by: Johnny Despair, Esq., with illustrations by Mr. Jack Happy

hey say that, the day our Queen died, it was the saddest of days our land had seen for a generation; however, I myself was, I'm ashamed to say, quite pleased. I was a carpenter, and royal caskets were quick and profitable work, if you could get it. Besides, what did I care? Carpenters rarely rubbed elbows with royalty. We were supposed to love the monarchy, for taking care of us, but I was never the type to look up to a man who was simply standing on my back. Still, I knew my place, and I could endear myself to my “betters” when need be. So I built a fine casket, and I delivered it on time. They asked if I would not also bear the casket to the grave. My curiosity got the better of me, and I consented.

My role in the ceremony was much smaller than I had expected; I suppose that was why it was deemed suitable for a “mere commoner.” Several of the King's servants assisted me, and then they hurried me back the servants' quarters. The others gossiped among themselves while I reflected on my brief glimpse into the funeral. Our King sat at the front of the gathering, near his two sons and the Bishop. They all looked solemn, but the King...it was curious. It was the first time I had ever actually seen him, so his ways were unfamiliar to me, but his did not seem to be the face of a grieving man. He seemed, I suppose, at peace somehow. Where most bowed their heads in respect, he sat up boldly and fixed his attention on the casket. Though as we sat the casket by the grave, I thought that the King's eyes had actually been resting on me. I wondered why it was that the king seemed so...

The servants persuaded me to linger in their quarters. The King might have need for me, should there be some issue with the casket, or even better, perhaps in his grief, he would feel compelled to reward me for the work I'd done setting his poor wife to rest. I remembered his face, the hard-set lines standing out remarkably next to fresh faces of his sons. It was not age alone that left such marks. I doubted very much that I should want anything to do with our King, but I was also sure that if I left now, after being asked to wait, I would be all the worse for it when the King did summon me next.

Hours passed and the funeral went on. I wondered if perhaps it would be made into a whole week of mourning. The sun was nearly setting when the funeral ended and the feast began. As the servants had said, the King did summon for me. I was brought before him as he sat in his customary position of honor before the gathered revelers. Once more I felt that hardened old face fall watching me. It seemed as though there was something distasteful on his tongue. Finally he spoke.

“Though this is a day of somber remembrance, it is also a day, much like any other. Worthy men and dutiful service are valued especially on these difficult days. Sir carpenter, approach me.” I did as I was told. “Kneel.” I obeyed my lord. I felt his sword upon my shoulders. “Now rise, a knight in your King's personal service.” Applause filled the massive chamber. I was confused. Only noblemen could be knights, and not before years of service. Then I realized that I would also be expected, as a knight, to maintain my own tools of warfare. This was meant to be quick and profitable. But of course the King had to show gratitude. The favors of the nobility.

I was allowed to sit at the feast, and afterwards, lead to some chambers that I might stay for the evening. Fine chambers they were, with a large, comfortable bed, and expertly-wrought silver candlesticks, and a beautifully carved wardrobe. I wondered why they needed a casket from a man such as me when they could get the man behind such lovely work. I let out a sigh, wondering what damned luck the morrow would bring. I'd never even made such a large bed before, let alone rested in one, but now I suppose I would have to accustom myself to silk sheets and purple robes. Despite the many luxuries, it was a fitful sleep.

In the morning, I found that I was summoned before his highness once more. “I hope you rested well, sir knight. For you shall be escorting me on a hunting expedition. I need...time, alone with my grief. After breakfast, we shall leave.”

“Would you highness not prefer to be escorted by his veteran retainers on his trip?”

“It is not your place to question my orders nor motives.” His expression hadn't changed, but he grew slightly flush. “And no, I would not prefer more veteran retainers. For the record, I am not that old that I need my most valuable knights just to take in a leisurely hunt! My sons need the aid of trusted men-at-arms far more than I do. Now away with you. Make ready to leave.”

He did not speak to me again until we had stopped for our mid-day meal. I spread out a thick blanket and set to unpacking one of our baskets of provisions. The King unceremoniously began snatching up whatever food caught his fancy as soon as I'd set it down. “Hungry,” he growled around a mouth full of chicken. I was unsurprised to find that he was apparently unaccustomed to not immediately getting whatever he desired. How like a child this father of the kingdom could be. I could not contain my amusement, and let out a brief laugh as I finished setting out the meal. “Whaff funny?” he demanded. I shook my head, saying nothing. “What's funny?” he asked again, struggling to enunciate clearly around his checks bulging with food.

“Nothing,” I assured him. He looked me in the eye. I silently cursed myself for my indiscretion. Just make it through all this, I thought, and then he'll forget about you and let you get back to your life. Anger him every time you speak, and who knows how long...

“Laugh,” he told me.

“I beg your pardon sir?”

“Laugh. Again. Like you did a moment ago.” His face was turned towards the picnic. I wasn't sure what it was he wanted, but I managed a laugh. He turned back towards me, devouring a slice of pie that was smeared into his graying beard. I laughed harder.

“What a dashing figure you cut, Lord!” I was sure that it would anger him, but I simply could not hold back.

He stiffened. “Of course! It this natural poise of one selected by God to rule! The inborn grace of royalty!” He was being completely serious! He had no idea...I laughed even harder, now. Finally, it dawned on him that my joy was at his expense. His harsh face further darkened. “You over estimate your boyish charm, sir.”

In a moment his sword was drawn and held to my throat. “You also underestimate the capacities of your King!” He slashed at my chest, slicing with such speed and ferocity I could hardly register if I was being taught a lesson or simply murdered on the spot. I was frozen, not even daring to breathe lest that slight motion somehow tear open a dozen expertly-placed wounds and ruin me. After a few terrifying moments, he let his sword return to his side. The King stepped towards me and tore away the tattered strips of fabric that just moments ago had been a fine shirt. He stared at my chest, then began examining it with his hands. I still could not move.

After a few moments, he stepped back and once more looked me in the eyes. “It appears that I have not wounded you.” He moved his face closer to mine. “This time. In the future, you would do well to remember your place. Now pack up this mess.” I had not yet had a chance to eat. I did as I was told.

The sun was just beginning to set as we came upon a small house. It was nothing much, no stately manor, but it seemed handsome and sturdy enough. A surprisingly practical choice for a hunting lodge, actually.

“Who built you this lodging, Highness?” I asked, curious as to the modest abode's origins.

“I could not say. It is irrelevant.”

“Do you commission many homes in this fashion, Lord?” I continued, unsatisfied.

“Commission? Do I look so common as to commission homes of this caliber?” he answered, in one of his colder tones. “Now cease your ignorant questions and stable the horses while I go make myself at home.” I did not understand what exactly was going on, but I took the horses to the stable. I found there was already one horse in the small barn. Was there a servant already here? I returned to the house and passed a middle-aged couple carrying burlap sacks. I asked the King who they were.

“Oh, the people who built this place.”

“Where are they going?”

“I never thought to ask,” he said, clearly bored. “When shall dinner be prepared?”

Had he not already convinced me that he was capable of slaying a man for the slightest offense, I would have found his current conduct completely unbelievable. “I...as soon as I change my shirt,” I said, suddenly feeling quite exposed.

“Oh? So you think your own comfort comes before that of your King?” I couldn't stand to look at him.

“No, your lordship. I shall see to the victuals.”

He stretched himself out in what appeared to be the nicest chair of the household. “Good.” It was the first time I had seen him smile.

Dinner was tense. After our picnic, I was afraid to say or do anything that might set him off. We ate in silence until the King , tearing into a turkey leg, finally deigned to speak. “Do you know,” he mumbled, “why we have come here?”

“To hunt, lord?” I answered with what I hoped was simply “timidity” and not “fear.”

“Yes, but do you know what we seek?” I wondered if I was supposed to know. I decided it would be better not to answer. “No, I suppose you wouldn't, would you?” He took a deep swallow of wine. “They say that the beastman of the woods stalks through these parts.” Of course, everyone had heard rumors of the beastman, but people never spoke of him as something to be hunted. He was like an animal, ferocious and wild, but with the cunning and posture of a man. Who would want to match themselves against such fearsome prey?

“And my liege hopes to slay him?” I ventured.

“Hmm. Perhaps. Perhaps not. I am curious to see if the rumors are true. You know that they also say that he is foreign royalty, afflicted with a ghastly curse. I wonder...” His gaze seemed distant; I did not care to guess what he might be contemplating.

I finished my meal with haste, lest his mood suddenly change and once more dash my chance for sustenance. My desperation was not lost on the King. “Or perhaps,” he said, dabbing at his mouth with a napkin, “I have already found my beastman, and foolishly invited him to dinner.” I could not tell if he was amused or disgusted. “Yes, it looks like a man, but it is clear from the bared, primitive chest, from the wild, unintelligent eyes, and the complete lack of grace or restraint that this cannot be considered a man. No, it is but a beast, a low creature fit only to serve,” he said, rising. “Its crude imitation of a man is quite insulting to me, in fact. Beast!” he boomed. “Cease this ignoble facade!”

I was dumbstruck. What did he want? He took a step forward, hand on his sword. “Drop your pretensions of civility, beast! Strip yourself of those stolen, ruined garments!” I sat frozen. He couldn't be serious. “Do as I command, beast! The only use for a disobedient beast is meat!” I knew that he was not one for idle threats. I stood, and somehow my numb, trembling hands managed to work my clothing off. I could tell that my humiliation was only beginning.

Okay, kiddies, we're gonna call it here for this evening. This thing's still goin' strong, no doubt, but I know you kids can't sit still that long without needing a snack or going potty or twittering or someshit, so you know what? Tune next week for the exciting conclusion!

Till then, kiddies, stay away from strange monarchs, and the even stranger

Johnny Despair, Esq.


Peanut Butter Jelly TIme

Hi there...sorry I haven't been around...Been busy with well...nothing, lately. Cept getting achievements and phat lewts on my troll.

Got a new tablet pen and graphics software today. Still trying to figure it out since I accidentally skipped the tutorial. Got some of it down. It's like a more intuitive photoshop really, cept I don't know if I can make like, comic boxes and stuff in it yet.

Also, felt like drawing an anime chick, just to reaffirm that I have other nerdy interests besides WoW.


Not For You Studios Presents Mr. Jack Happy Presenting The Happy Comic Comedy Act: “No Means Whatever”

[Act One: Scene One]
Jack's Recipes for Happiness: The “Dr. Feel-Not-So-Good”
  • 2 shots Skye Vodka
  • 2 shots Kilbeggan's Irish Whiskey
  • 1 shot Bacardi Gold rum
  • 5 drops of orange bitters
  • 3-3 cups of Diet Dr. Pepper
“An Ode to Hicks”
—a poem by Mr. Jack Happy, with illustration from a sketch diary (circa summer o' 2003)

O Hicks, thou art the foulest of
all so-called subcultures; for thou
art defined by thine ignorance and
absence of substance, for shame.

Thy patron saint Foxworthy may
claim “A glorious lack of sophistication”—
Alas! 'Tis no redeeming stupidity,
will thoust argue from atop thy dung-hill?

Hark! Who doth approach?
—“Wha'tchu sayin', faggot?”
The stench of Budweiser and American cheeses!
Most foul beast, what sayeth thou?

—“Ah dun' like yer tone, boy,
Ah'll break you in hahf, c'mon”—FLEE!—
“Ya'll come back 'ere, y'hear?”
[Editor's Note: I must confess, the comic was pretty much the money-shot, everything else was just filler. A three minute doodle? An old sketch from a six- or seven-year-old sketchbook? A poem out my ass? Seriously, self?]


Fairytale Endings: No Princess

Alright, boys and grrls, gather 'round. It's your boy Johnny Despair, Esq., back from his big ol' business trip, and don't you worry, he remembered to bring gifts. He ain't forgotten 'bout his little ragamuffins.

Now, settle down, cuz this treat is special, see. You gotta hear a little this and that to appreciate it, alright? Now, me and Mr. Happy've been workin' our little hands to the bone! This all started with a simple little story, and then good ol' Mr. Happy said, "Why don't I make some pictures?" And I said, that's fine. And he said, "Gosh, why don't you make more stories, so I can make more pictures for all the boys and girls out there?" And I said, "Why sure, they've been good lately, why not?"

And all of the sudden, we had five stories on our hands, two written by Mr. happy himself! Now, it wouldn't be fair to make him write AND draw everything, so I lent a hand and started drawing too.

"But Mr. Johnny—"

That's Mr. Johnny Despair, Esq., kid.

"But Mr. Johnny Despair, Esq., you don't draw!"

Awww, ain't that cute, thinkin' he knows things. No, boys and girls, I don't draw much. But I can make a little magic happen from time to time, should the moon be in just the right position.

Oh, there's just one more thing: I mentioned we had five stories, right? Well, one story ate all of his veggies and did all his chores the first time he was asked, so you know what, kiddies? He grew up real big and strong and fine-lookin', too. And he was so mush bigger than the other kids, it made them feel all wimpy just standin' next to him. So we're going to let him out to play next week.

Now, settle down, children. Who here likes fairy tales?

Sour Apple
—written by Johnny Despair, Esq, with illustrations by: Mr. Jack Happy

oddamn, fucking peons,” she said.

I turned to her. I was seated next to her at the bar, but she wasn't talking to me. She seemed to be cursing her empty glass. She didn't even look up as she called for another drink, some signature mixture that she called “Love Gone Sour.” I ordered one too, having never heard of the concoction, and willing to try anything once. The drink smelled of apples and ethanol, and fought all the way down. She laughed as I grimaced and coughed.
She was a beautiful, absurd image, sitting there. In this dingy little “tavern,” with that intricate shawl hiding her face, making her look like a truly refined, modest woman. But she'd drank any hint of modesty away by now. She was beginning to sway like a cartoon snake before a charmer. Her auburn eyes darted about the room and her head followed lazily after like a person who was walking an over-eager dog.
“What 'cha looking for?” I asked.
She turned to me. She looked me in the eye and held my gaze. Neither of us looked away. Then she nodded to herself, satisfied, and turned back to her drink. She had a poor profile; it made her nose look sharp and predatory.
“What's anyone looking for?” she finally answered.
“True love?” I ventured. She laughed again.
“That's…that's what I figured, you know?” Her head tilted back; the dim lights made her olive complexion glow, and I couldn't take my eyes off of her. “Shows what I know, though.”
“How so?” She snaped her head back forward.
“I tried to help her. I knew this girl. Pretty thing. A little thick, but very pretty. Not too lucky with love. She came to me one night, crying her eyes out. 'Why can't I just find the man for me?' So I said: well, I can help you find him. Make it so he comes to you, you know? I mean…I was doing her a favor, for chrissakes. She asked me to!” For just a moment, there was something sad in her eyes. She shrugged it off.
“So what…what exactly happened?” I was holding my chin in one hand, my drink in the other, trying to convey my interest and hide my drunkenness at the same time.

“They—those peons—they called me a witch. Called me hateful, said I was jealous. Like it was some spiteful thing, you know?” Her head swung from her drink back to me. “Tell me, if you got to sleep, peacefully, and dream pleasant little dreams, with no worries or uncertainties or cares, in complete bliss, totally unharmed, until the day you met your true love: would you call that cruel? Evil? Wicked?” She took a swig of her drink. “I'd call it a damn blessing.”
“Well…what about if you never met your true love?”
She looked into my eyes again. “Then you'd just sleep. Dream. Forever. About your true love. Never knowing the disappointment that life held. Never knowing loneliness, rejection, misery.” She let out a fierce little cackle. “If I had really hated her, I wouldn't have done anything!”

And then, to her drink again: “Why can't anyone see that?”
I waved down the bartender, ordered us another round. I raised my drink to her. “To romantics.”
She raised her drink to mine. “To happily ever afters.”

What Fools

written by: Johnny Despair Esq., with illustrations by Mr. Jack Happy

'd been visiting the center for the past few weeks. A community service thing. It was creepy and it smelled awful but it beat picking trash on the highway. And the people really were nice, for the most part. Just sad and lonely and strange, leftovers from a forgotten age. I wondered if I wasn't doing more harm than good, invading their territory, flaunting my youth, my ability to just get up and leave if I wanted to. I was, of course, just making excuses for not wanting to do it. Still…

They really were nice folks, though. Always interested in what I was doing with myself. “Do you have a girlfriend?” they asked me, and “What do you do for a living?” Did I have any pets, did my family live nearby. I didn't tell them about the court-order, but everything else was fair game. One lady never asked me questions, never said anything at all, that I could tell. Miss Merryweather, they called her, and I never heard her correct them. I would read them the paper or lead a talent show or bring in my cat to visit, and they'd all gather round, eager for the stimulation, but Miss Merryweather would have nothing to do with it. She just drifted around the room, pausing to touch someone's shoulder, or to stare out a window.

The staff told me it was psycho-somatic. Nothing really wrong with her, they said. Dropped off by her daughter. Pretty young thing. “Right, Miss Merryweather? Isn't your daughter pretty?” Miss Merryweather nodded carefully. “I bet you can't wait to see her again, huh, Miss Merryweather?” She never visited.

I made it a point from then on to spend at least a little time with Miss Merryweather whenever I came by. The other folks didn't seem to understand. “She's fine, she just wants attention,” they said. “Don't you go and try to be a doctor.” She made me think of my own mother, slowly eaten away by madness. I felt less guilty when I sat with Miss Merryweather. I talked to her about whatever came to mind, and when that ran out, I told her stories. Ones my mother used to tell me. Sometimes I caught her smiling at something, when I sat with her. This was uncommon.

Once, I ran out of stories, so I brought in one of those huge tomes of fables that rests on every child's bookshelf. It seemed to me like she was trying to read it over my shoulder, so I left it for her. “Tell me which one's your favorite; I'll read it for you next time.” I smiled at her as her gaze held some empty middle space.

My next visit, I did my normal thing, a few hours entertaining the gang with a trivia contest. Afterwards I found Miss Merryweather, asked her how she liked the book. I didn't expect her to suddenly speak, to whisper out a sad, rasping “Thank you,” but I was thinking she might acknowledge me. But no such luck. I asked her if I could read her some more stories; nothing. I tried to find the book, inquired with her caregivers, but no one had seen it. They searched her room to no avail. They shrugged. Crazy old people, who knows?

I kept visiting with Miss Merryweather whenever I went by the center. Sometimes I even snuck her little gifts, candy and tea and the like. I had no clue if she could actually make herself any tea, but it seemed right, somehow. Once, I was sure I could smell the pumpkin-spice blend on her. But I never seemed to make any progress with her. She was as sad and distant as ever.

Eventually, I served my time, but by then, I'd made the center such a hobby, I kept going anyway. It made me glad I never told them about the court-order; they'd have thought I'd done something awful, to keep coming for that long. One day, Miss Merryweather was nowhere to be seen. This didn't seem that unusual, as she wandered so much; still, I hadn't skipped out on her yet. I asked around about her. “She's gone,” they told me. “Oh, not like that. Well, sort of? She's…just gone.” She had disappeared a few nights ago. The police were looking for her. They tried to contact her family, but her daughter had changed her number at some point, and no one knew how to reach her.

I stood dumbfounded. How could they just lose her? Why didn't anyone care? Before I could say anything, the staffer's eyes lit up. “Oh! Right!” She hustled off, returning moments later with a box. “We found this the other night while looking for some clue to where she went. It was just sitting there, under her bed. I swear we'd already…”

The box was stuffed with half-empty tea tins and candy bags. I smiled. It occurred the me that I never gave her enough stuff to fill this whole box, though. Not unless…

I rooted through the wrappers. There it was: the book I'd given her. I thanked the orderly and went home. For some reason, I felt like I couldn't open it right away. I made a cup of coffee and moved out onto the balcony. Thumbing through the book, I wondered what I expected to find. Some terrible secret? Documented abuse? Evidence of dementia? An illustration caught my eye. It was a scene of some unfortunate young girl meeting her fairy godmother. The godmother's wings had been crossed out with a black crayon.

I read through the accompanying story, hoping for some further mark. I found it on the last page, beneath the “They all lived happily ever after” bit. She'd scrawled an imitation of the fairy godmother's face, and next to that, added, “What about her?”

Okay, children, that's enough for right now. Ya'll get up and stretch your legs, grab a snack, do tinkles. Mr. Happy'll be in in five minutes to give you kids your next story.

Hope you like our second half, kiddies. Till then, I'm just the lovable, huggable,

Johnny Despair, Esq.