Melon Mel — Origin Story

May 17, 2012

One of the ideas I’ve been most excited about in the last few months is making a comic series entitled “Melon Mel.” The premise isn’t too locked down at the moment, only that it features one of the best friends I’ve ever had, named Mel, who takes the form of a sentient and verbally communicative canary melon. I want to illustrate some of the conversations Mel ‘n I have had as taking place between this melon and Breadhead, a fairly representative facsimile of myself.

Gasp, I almost forgot!

May 8, 2012

One more thing related to the Mini Comic-Con better suited for this here personal space: photos of random things I saw on the way to and fro the Eagle Rock center for the arts:

GPlay’s wonderful stuff

May 8, 2012

My friend Alex Gomez and I have been relatively hard at work on our new project/group GPlay these last few weeks. In addition to all sorts of digital stuff, we made some hard copies of our comic “This Bytes” and trading/battle cards for our next big thing, a comic book series/imaginationscapeworld called Flow State. If anyone’s in the mood for a copy of this stuff toss me an email @ grahamclarkstecklein @ gmail . com and I’ll be more than happy to provide. The comic covers and the cards are on high-quality cardstock because our publisher (a.k.a. Carlos at CopyCat) is kind to a fault.

I’m really excited about Flow State — it’s a scifi hip-hop deal, where rap battles take place in digital settings and characters break through to Super-Sayian-like levels of power and proficiency when shit gets real. We made this series of trading cards to help us develop our characters and other elements of the Flow State world. We’re still working on a script at the moment; once this baby’s ready to go I’ll make sure everyone on earth has a copy in their hands.

We handed out copies of all this shtuff at the Eagle Rock Mini Comic-Con last Cinco De Mayo, an event that was a real blast. I go way way way in depth about how that was on the GPlay Tumblr, and the cool kind of merch I picked up there. I’m trying to keep a mindful distinction between this personal blog and the team effort of GPlay, so I left commentary on the local artists I met over there. But I had some thoughts I thought would be best suited for this platform.

I’ve been trying to figure out why I like people who make comics, by and large. I concluded that making something by hand, especially carrying it from conception to completion by yourself or with the help of a few friends, might help people stay relatively grounded and approachable.

Obviously I’m speaking in generalizations. But I venture to guess that without an oversized de-humanizing system (I’m thinking of the mainstream comics machine in, say, the 1990s) mixing things up, the people making this stuff maintain an unavoidably direct relationship with their work.

That is to say, I noticed that if you make a comic that sucks, you get stuck carrying around copies of a sucky comic for quite some time. I think that’s part of why the stuff I saw on Saturday, pretty much across the board, did not suck. Even the free stickers and business cards. Having footed 50% of the bill to print our comics and cards myself, I can vouch for the following: if you cover all the costs of making something yourself, and it just plain blows, then that whole gnarly investment just sits there uglying up the place. So I guess that’s one upshot of the DIY nature of contemporary comics. Whether it’s digital or in print, there’s very little to distract you from the quality of your work when you’re a one-man-band.

TTFN. See you all in the Flow State.

Vote for Spartacus (R.) in 2012!

April 10, 2012

One toon 4 your mind one toon:

A political cartoon about the politicians vying for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

Will these rascals ever see eye to eye?!

My girlfriend Vani asked me while I was working on this — “who is that even for?”

The subject matter is relatively out of date now that Romney has the nomination basically locked down. The reference is clunky and weirdly dated (a trademark stylistic element of my work). And the argument I’m putting forth (given the way these Republican candidates are bickering and in-fighting, Obama’s fixing to slaughter whoever ends up on the ticket come November) is nothing new.

The simple answer is that I want to keep my photoshop game tight, and drawing cartoons helps me exercise my creative ability in a way I normally don’t. But the more important answer is that I do it in part for my grandfather.

One of the first cartoons I ever drew was at his request. It was in the middle of the Clinton impeachment hearings, and he wanted to see a toon where Kenneth Star was leading the whole country (represented by a covered wagon, which of course makes no sense) off a cliff. The caption was “When You Wish Upon A Star…” and he talked me through every detail he wanted to see included, over the phone, long distance, which I recall being a big deal back then. I believe I was in middle school.

Why he wanted a youngling to illustrate this vision, I can’t quite explain. I think he saw it as an opportunity to bond with otherwise distant progeny over something that we both knew was important. That’s probably it: a few months ago, before his most recent round of heart kerfluffles, I found myself on the phone with him talking Occupy Wall Street. That’s one thing I like about things, e.g. comics and music and writing and STUFF. Things I can share with other people. 

On the track “Bangles,” Big Baby Ghandi says, “Who I really write for: my moms and my brother.” I have spent some time making political cartoons because they’re something I can understand with my grandfather.

Poppop was one of the few people that told me my heinously tasteless John Edwards gag was funny. This week he mailed me the entire front section of his local paper because he thinks their new cartoonist is lame and wanted me to know what he was talking about. Just to be clear: he took his newspaper, stuffed it in an envelope, and three days later it’s in my mailbox. He was right about their cartoons too — they’re running a toon about Eliot Spitzer in 2012. That’s nominally acceptable stuff.

I bet he likes this one a lot more.

“Oh! What delight a brilliant mistake might bring upon me.”

February 14, 2012

Below is an illustrated version of a timeless parable penned by Jacob Long, which tells of his experience working at a regional pizza chain, which for the sake of ethical business practices will remain anonymous. Again, if you have any narratives that should be turned into juxtaposed imagery please contact me [at] grahamclarkstecklein [at]

Prop 8 cartoon

February 7, 2012

A political cartoon about Proposition 8 going down.Today, Proposition 8 got killed by a circuit court in California. As you can see from the above cartoon, this was very exciting news to a throng of poorly-colored-sloppily-drawn people, I mean proponents of GLBT rights. I made this to share on my Twitter account, @hello_thankyou

This Bytes

January 19, 2012

I made a graphic adaptation of a short sci-fi story written by my friend Alex called…

The cover image for the webcomic book "This Bytes"

Click the image above to read the whole thing!

I’m not going to post it in its entirety on this blog because it’s a little risqué. Suffice to say you shouldn’t check it out at work unless you have a really gross job. So, Tumblr seems like an appropriate venue. If anyone is offended by the notable appearance of vintage (from Sept ’72, if you note the timestamp on the Polaroid) pubic hair please accept my condolences. At least now you’ve been warned.

Oh yeah, what’s it about? As Junot Díaz might say, what’s more science fiction than human sexuality?

I’m really hoping to get in touch with more people that would have me illustrate or otherwise collaborate on a piece, so if you like this and think we might work well together please send me a story you want to see drawn. Do it, don’t make me beg. Actually taking this flash fiction piece to completion taught me a lot, and I’m about %100.0 excited to draw more comics like this in the future.

Here’s the comic’s URL too, just in cases:

Cartoon cartoons!

December 27, 2011

Drawing weekly cartoons was part of my editorial internship with SRQ Media Group. Now that it’s over, they’re getting posted up here!

These were released digitally as part of SRQ Magazine’s “Fresh Squeezed” content on Saturdays. The series was called “Biasphere” (my editor Lisl chose the name from a few options I came up with, I was rooting for “Party Lines”). Most of them are tied to things about SRQ Magazine events and life in Sarasota and Bradenton, so they might not make sense out of that context. For instance, Tube Dudes, Snooty the manatee, Ego Leonard and the Unconditional Surrender statue made repeated appearances. The cartoon about the “Fast Life” mural debacle generated the most positive response of any.

A few of these might end up in my cartooning portfolio, but for now here’s the whole lot. Enjoy please. TTFN.

More Disgusting Wildlife

October 21, 2011

Just one more gross-out animal photo while I’ve got this momentum going:

A possum playing possum (9/18/11)

Did you know that possums will actually pretend to be dead if they’re threatened? That’s not an urban legend, they’ll really do that. Especially if our big pink-nosed pitbull named Esmeralda picks them up and drags them into our house, then they’ll play so dead you’ll be right about to scoop it up to dump it in the trash before you notice that it just got up and walked away. But I got some photos before that happened.

The little paws are what gets me.

Okay just one more gross one for fall’s sake.

A mouldy mouldy pumpkin (9/7/11)

Happy melting pumpkin season everybody!

Tiny Life of the Gulf — super bug photos edition

August 24, 2011
an albino cockroach photographed up close


So, since I’ve gotten this awesome Nikon D1500, I’ve been strangely compelled to get up close and personal with tiny creepy life forms and digitally record them. Like these sea fleas, in a category of documentation I’ve been referring to as “Tiny Life of the Gulf.”

In that vein, here are some more images I recorded whilst buggin out. Above is an albino cockroach. Below is a wolf spider, with gigantic egg sac (sold separately) attached to its underbelly.

Like I said, “eww.” Also, I’m sorry to say I know nothing of scientific value about these creatures other than: 1) they’re scary, and 2) we found them in our backyard whilst cleaning the rubbish condemned by the city of Sarasota’s zoning codes.

I hope you enjoy!

A humonguous wolf spider

Yes, this is a giagantic wolf spider with a humonguous egg sac.

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