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Raging Pencils by Mike "Lefty" Stanfill

What if there really were a liberal media.

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Raging Pencils is a discordant conceit of:

Mike Stanfill, Private Hand
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Today's mystery web comic is:

start rant

Special Delivery

predator droneA couple of weeks ago I wrote about a delightfully dark anime I'd recently discovered entitled "Death Note". The basic premise was thus:

The death gods write the names of people marked for death in little notebooks, the titular "Death Note", after which the people soon die. (Yes, that's how it works.) But what happens if a hyper-intelligent Japanese school-boy with an overactive righteousness gland just happens to find one of these notebooks? As you might guess, hilarity ensues, mixed with the thorny question of "Is it okay to kill evil people just because they're evil?" not to mention "Is it okay to kill less-than-evil people just to raise the level of civility in our society?" or the even thornier question "Can we also kill the innocent just to save our ass?". The answer to all three questions in the production, in case you haven't guessed, is yes.

But what difference does it make? After all, it's just a silly fantasy?

Unfortunately, it isn't. The American military-industrial-complex have created their own little Death Note. They call it the Predator.

At first it was a pretty good idea... send pilotless robot planes equipped with Hellfire missiles and long-range optics into enemy territory and use them to destroy those we've delegated as terrorists. You know, those guys who the American people have been repeatedly been told destroyed the World Trade Center.

All well and good, if you're that gullible, but it seems that we're now using them to target drug lords in Afghanistan, people who have broken no laws other than having the wrong skin color. We're also attacking and killing those unfriendly to the Pakistani government in an effort to, I dunno, get better deals on rattan day-beds or something.

Still think it's okay to do this? Okay, what if the Russkies suddenly get all high-minded about this technique while realizing they could be next on the list and build their own Predators to seek out and kill the people who pilot our Predators?

Open can, insert worms.

To make matters worse, some of these Predator programs are run by the CIA, and we have no idea who they're killing as their actions are unscripted and off the books. They could literally be targeting anybody, and only the privileged few would ever know.

This isn't like nuclear weaponry, which is fiendishly difficult to manufacture and pretty easy to sniff out by orbiting satellites. Any government can make a Predator on the cheap and use the American argument of "Well, they started it" to pick and choose their targets. It's time to back away from this abyss while there's still time.



Don Ivan Punchatz, King of Illustration

The man almost single-handedly responsible for my career as a starving artist died yesterday.

Since 1970 Don Punchatz has run a modest enterprise called The SketchPad Studio. From this cluttered space deep in the southern end of Arlington, Texas, he grew to be nationally recognized as one of the best in the commercial illustration business and his artwork has graced the covers of almost any magazine you name to choose. One of his paintings even hangs in the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery. He was also the go-to guy for sci-fi illustration and was, in fact, the man responsible for the artwork on the box of Id software's "Doom". Yes, that Doom.

He was in such demand that he started hiring art graduates eager to apply their skills to the Punchatz method. Don was a great teacher and an even better inspiration as almost everyone who spent any time at the Pad left to begin successful careers of their own.

I first heard of Don Punchatz in the summer of 1977 when I returned home late one night after my shift on the turret lathe at the machine shop. The radio was on as I entered the apartment and the midnight DJ on my local left-wing public radio station was interviewing some weirdo, who turned out to be Mr. Punchatz. Don was there putting out a call for new art for a Heavy Metal-ish magazine he intended to publish. By some quirk of fate I was working on just that very thing and hustled down to his studio the next day with my modest portfolio in tow. (The magazine was never published.)

He liked my artwork well enough to hire me basically as a gopher and doer of menial art tasks, though he tossed some lesser assignments my way, too. Most importantly, even though I wasn't contributing creatively I was able to see how the commercial art process worked from close up. To put it simply, it wasn't what I thought. It was better. A lifetime of personal exploration in the craft couldn't have taught me any better than the five months I was in Don's employ.

After a few months Don encouraged me explore formal art training at East Texas State University, the place to be in North Texas for commercial illustration study. And so I did. Who was I to argue?

I didn't see him again until about three years ago at a friend's art exhibit. I was stunned that he remembered me and even more astonished when he exhibited a bit of pride in my career. I misted up as we briefly hugged and clapped each other on the back. I never saw him again.

Don was an amazing human and there is much sorrow in the arts community with the passing of this fine man. But in his wake he left an amazing artistic legacy, two wonderful children and a legion of talented people touched by his creativity who will continue to carry on his mission not only in their art but in their hearts.

Thank you, Don.

One last thing: As he was a self-employed artist with a long history ailments, stomach cancer being one of them, Mr. Punchatz did not have medical insurance. To help his widow pay his medical bills, donations can be made to Sandra Punchatz, c/o Lewis Glaser, TCU School of Art, TCU, Box 298000, Fort Worth TX 76129


Know Your Scumbags will return on Monday.

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Raging Pencils salutes the Mystery Reader of
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Whoever you are, thanks for reading my unfocused little 'toon.

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Today's Google Chow.

Sculptor working on "Pedobear descending a staircase".

TV blathers loudly: "In our headlines, another eighty-five people were gunned down across America today, the CEO's of all seven major insurance companies still not disemboweled, only sixty-two more shopping days until Saturnalia, Roger Ailes extends contract with Satan, Obama is a fascist and who gives a rat’s ass about the fucking Yankees?"