Tuesday, December 31, 2013

So Long, 2013...

It is more than fair to say - probably most notable in how little anything has happened here, that 2013 has not been the most stellar of years for your friendly station Conductor, Grand Central, or even Neverland Transit Authority.

This year was plagued with a lot of missteps, bad choices, and unexpected "plot complications" that ended up creating a drama out of what should have been an action comedy. But then, for so many, this year became something of a huge challenge. And so, I'm not going to gripe about the year that could have been; the year that wasn't. Instead, let's look back over a very big, eventful year, and the turn forward, toward tomorrow, and the promise of all that can be, and is yet to come.

So long, 2013; it was a hell of a ride...

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Standing on a delimma...

This is what happens when your anthropology teacher gives a lame "class participation" assignment - write a how-to on standing up - to his online students, and doesn't know he has a sarcastic cartoonist in the mix.

But you have to admit it, when beer's involved we've all needed a pointer, or two, on how to use our legs...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

...shaper than knives...



I admit I've been on both ends of this. I'm trying so hard not to be on the giving end because I know how very painful it can be to be on the receiving end. But the truth is that we carry the weight of our days, our jobs, and our personal lives with us, everywhere. And, even though we may try not to, it can be easy to unload that on someone who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time; strangers, coworkers, or even friends. And often that strike can carry the extra momentum of the journey it took through you to whoever it might end up in. It can poison transactions, work place dynamics, or even long time friendships.

For me, with everything else that's been going upside down these past few months, this was the last thing I wanted to have to deal with. So, I'm off to find me a heart sized band aid and a couple stiff shots while I try to put everything into perspective.

Thanks for checking in at the old station; even if there's been nothing to show for it, these past few months. I'm still working with the crew to get the place back together, rails repaired and leveled, and the engines rewheeled and back running. Not sure how much longer that'll be - the place is pretty badly trashed, but it'll be a big party day when we get the trains running around here, again.

Thanks for your ridership, it means a lot to us at Neverland Transit Authority.
Charlie Irons
Conductor

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Resting on Perspective...


When I'm not slowly, methodically unwinding my genius plan to take over the world through comics, I have to earn a living, just like everyone else. For me, that means being the Facilities Manager for a location of a world travel corporation. And, while that does mean, from time to time, I'm coordinating big money projects, braving meetings, and fighting politics and budgets, it also means that, from time to time, I have to roll up my sleeves and and get my hands dirty.

And sometimes, just sometimes, my exploits seem just a little more interesting to the casual passer by than they actually are.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Crucial Thought Processes...



What comes first; the accessory, or the ensemble? The gimmick, or the franchise? Whether you're talking about clothes, super heroes, social convention, or food trends one things has become clear in our modern world; sometimes form and function are very, very interchangeable.

And while I can certainly pick on Miss J for being a girl about her shoes, she does have me dead to rights; with all these tweed jackets, it's only fitting I should go chasing a Doctorate. I mean, seems a waste of all these perfectly good suede elbow patches. Right?

And no, I am so not kidding about Miss J and her shoes; the ones depicted here are, in fact, quite real. 
Behold...
"It's... it's so beautiful...!"


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

We're still here...

From the Conductor:

Well, hello there. I guess you can tell, since it's been nearly two months, now, that things have come to a near grinding halt at Grand Central, again. Such are the hazards and pitfalls of a small time graphic novelist trying to also survive and make a living in the world.

However, as this doodle should suggest, life continues on in the background, and we at Neverland Transit Authority are working on things around here, just the same. Keep checking back here, or Twitter and Facebook for news of upcoming releases. We hope to have something big to report, soon.

And, as always, thank you for your patronage and ridership.
Conductor Charlie Irons

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Mister Michaels, I presume...?




From the mind of Miss J...
 
The Unexpected Joys of the Sam Elliott Complex:

I have to say, when I started keeping company with the Dairy Ninja, there were benefits that I knew would come standard issue in a May-December relationship, such as ours:


·         A level of maturity (remote control cars notwithstanding) that is greater than that of my male
     contemporaries ·         Consistent opening of doors (both car and restaurant) ·         Steady employment (his, not mine) ·         Never having to wash my car or take out the trash again


I never anticipated the multiple opportunities for humor, such as the cartoon depiction of actual events above. I forget, sometimes (ok, most of the time…) that while he was actually ALIVE during the 80’s, he wasn’t actually paying any attention, at all, to the popular music of the era. Only if it was country, or SO mainstream that it hit you over the head at every turn, would it even appear as a blip on his radar. Even then, he won’t usually be able to connect a musician’s name to the correct song.

John Hughes films are another black hole in his font of pop-culture knowledge. The other day we were watching an old episode of Psych, wherein the main characters attend their high school reunion (and solve a murder, but hey, some people are just overachievers.) They were dropping movie references left and right. Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles… I was rolling (especially the one where Shawn was sitting in the autoshop car, having a meaningful conversation with his dad, and then asked if he could borrow his underwear for ten minutes…) The perplexed look on the Dairy Ninja’s face made it even funnier…

It’s important to be with someone who makes you laugh every day. Whether you are laughing with them, or at them, is of little consequence. So long as there is laughing… because it’s all about the funny.

From the Conductor...
I've said it before, and I'll say it again; I could probably fill an entire series just following these two around with a notepad and sketch book.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Out of Right Field...

Conversations can ebb and flow in all manner of ways. But, rest assured, if Moxie's anywhere near by, she'll take it so far off the map that not even AAA can tow you out if you get stuck. And the more I try to be prepared - keep on my toes, as it were - the better her twisted little mind gets.

She's the perfect foil for those moments when I feel most secure in my manly Charlie-ness; proving how much a sheltered prude I still can be.

Besides being a terrorizing force of nature, Moxie is also quite the accomplished artist; painting in alternative themes. She's sold many pieces and even has a piece hanging up in Grand Central Station.
art by Moixe Dentice
art by Moxie Dentice



















Today's adventure happened during a fund raiser for a friend of ours that was recently seriously hurt on the job. Her art was on sale with 100% of the proceeds going to help.Proving that her heart is as big as her mouth. But, to be fair, she's a bit of a big sweetie. In fact she's a lot like this...


There, let's see what she does with that...

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Down, with Friends...


It's been mentioned by more than a few folks, now, that there's not been much out of here in quite some time. And, in fact, that's been very true; no Galactic Gun since January, and no Stuff in almost a month.

Somewhere between school, battles with the day job, getting the old heart trampled again, and dealing with all the final details of settling the estate of my late grandparents, I've kind of gotten... well... down. My life's lost a little of its direction, and a few of the things I thought I knew - as well as some of the things I thought I felt - have kind of fallen under some serious scrutiny. As such, the usual creative flow has slowed to just about a trickle.

I'm working really hard to pull things together. So hopefully, if you'll stick around, there'll be content, again, soon. And thanks for sticking with Neverland Transit Authority, and its quirky little conductor...

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Three Under Par


I wonder if you're all beginning to think that this is a dating comic...

Out and about, a few evenings past, for a rousing night of karaoke in San Francisco at a bar called Butter, when I met the nicest young lady. I figure, I'm solo at a bar, she's solo at a bar, she seems nice enough, what the heck, right?

I was not prepared for the torrent of ... exuberance ... that she'd unleash. I barely got a word in! But I've played this game long enough to know that, eventually, the signs will pop up. Especially that last one. And that was my cue to step away...

There are hazards in this bar scene game, and you have to know how to play them where they lay. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Blocked


I've received more than a few comments in the last couple weeks from folks noting the absence of new comics here, at Neverland Transit Authority; either Stuff, or Galactic Gun. 
And there's been a good reason...

Things have been rather crapped out at Grand Central for a little while, now.

The new quarter at school has started, the family is working to liquidate the estate of my now late grandparents, the day job is taking its toll, and things in my personal life 
have been less than stellar, as of late. 

These things have added up to create a bit of a block. And, wow; is it a big block. 

Hey, c'mon; I'm only human, too. Well... mostly. I get to have my share of shitty times, as well, right?
Eh, screw you; the funnies return next week, then.  


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sh*t my friends say: Olfactory edition


After much study, researchers have concluded that, of all our senses, the sense of smell is the strongest sense we have; tied to just about every moment in our memory and able to trigger a myriad of responses.

And while these same researchers will tell you the most erotic smell a man can experience is that of fresh cinnamon buns, no one could predict the effect of a pretty stink on a goth boy would have to Steph; derailing her mid stride.

Guess it's time for me to invest in a cologne...

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mothering...

Well, it's an uncomfortable fact that we're all here because our parents got it on, once.
Yeah, I just really creeped myself out with that statement...

When did she stop being just my mom, again?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

In Crisis


Just a couple days ago it became apparent to me that something had become very different in my life. Just a couple days ago I could tell there was a certain urgency, suddenly, in my life. Just a couple days ago everything I was doing seemed to matter, just a little more.

Just a couple days ago I turned 39.

So, yeah, here begins my mid-life crisis.  It's not completely unique, though. I have to admit I'm trying to look and act as young as possible; despite changes to my body. And, boy, let me tell you; am I ever getting all introspective about all the things I have, and haven't, done.

But where it gets different from other buddies I've known and lost to their mid-life crises is how it seems to be manifesting itself. Seems like, while most guys are busy trying to recapture some magic of their youth, and assert themselves as still a viable, dominate male, I'm putting my energies into making myself into, as I see it, a complete man; educated, experienced, and with a body of accomplishments I can look back on and be proud of.

In short, while they're off trying to relive their glory days, I'm working to make mine now.

School has moved from an Associates degree to a full blown Bachelors. Over at The Conductor's Office I've been posting up lyrics for the band I'm putting together. I've begun a couple new hobbies, like photography, that also tie in with Graphic Design. I'm broadening my art horizons. I've changed my look, some, and have put a huge effort into getting healthy. And I'm exploring, and challenging, every notion I've held, at this point, about life, and how to live it.

It's sort of my own "re-branding", to borrow a Graphic Design term; same product, but with a new look, and an expanding range of goods. Not that I'd pass up the idea of a hot, young, girlfriend, mind you. I mean, I may be "enlightened" all the sudden... but, hey, I'm still a guy.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

$#^#@! My Friends Say...


We were over at Alemany Manor with Sharon when Chris dropped this gem.
Maybe his trained Photographer's eyes see something I miss...?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Getting on...

 

 As months go, this past February has probably got to be one of the worst on current record...

Not the worst, mind you; that's reserved for a particular August back in 1991.

But, still, it was a particularly tough month; as illustrated by the nearly complete lack of anything going on here, I suppose. Though it did open well enough; school was going good, I returned to working, and was going to make an "okay" wage, and someone special in my life was becoming someone very special in my life.

And then the job turned out to be an absolute nightmare, which impacted school and my health, and very special was too special for someone special in my life. Add to that we finally began closing out the estate of my late grandparents; which had a bigger impact on me that I ever thought would.

It's fair to say I found myself in more than just a little funk; I was outright depressed. Things were rough for a while, walking around all battered and raw. But then I got to remembering the words of an American poet...

image courtesy of gagthat.com
I'm still in a walking funk - dark clouds still linger, just a little, but I'm pushing ahead, getting out, and getting things done. Like Robert says, life goes on, and so will I. I've got a new hobby, I'm being social, and I'm sticking to it with school and other projects.

Slowly, things will get back to normal, and we'll be seeing more comics, here, at Grand Central. Hopefully, with any luck, and a little hard work, a few special announcements, too.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Context


 On the heels of awkward and painful moments comes the social pitfalls of being in your own life's comic, I guess. But, yes; Jodie and I had a nice night out.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Down for Drinks


Okay, so this is probably a little early for my usual Valentine's Day comic, but, unlike Galactic Gun, my life doesn't exactly run off a well timed script. And a lot can happen in the span of seven little days. For me, that went from what I thought was the promise of a budding new relationship to the we're-still-friends thing.

I guess I was so enamored, so full of wonderful feelings, that I couldn't... or just didn't... pick up on certain things. Maybe I got mixed signals, or just got my signals mixed up. It could have also been that, despite my best efforts to rein myself in, I still just came on like gang busters.

All I know is that two weeks ago she wanted to go slow so we didn't screw it up. Last week the "L" word fell from my mouth, and appeared to be very well received. Today she wants to keep in touch, but says we're done seeing each other.

Yeah, I got nuthin'.

Well, not true. I got as close as I have been to really in love in quite some time. I got to share some time with one of most incredible women in my life. And I got to tell that woman how I felt; even if that ended up sealing our fate, as it were. So, yeah, this is really gonna hurt for a while, but will still be a nice, fond something to cherish when the healing is all done.

And, of course, true to my word, I am still keeping the truce with Cupid, as I promised back at the top of the year...
Peace and Grace be with you; may your heart know those things that will lift your spirit and guide your hands. And may it never forget them, ever.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Game of Boards

So, it seems board games have changed a lot, since the last time I was a t a game night; much longer than I care to admit to, thankyouverymuch.

That night I was greeted to Mansions of Madness; the sort of bastard love child of Dungeons and Dragons and Clue. My esteemed host, the venerable Roger Niner had set out, in front of me, a sectioned map like board of a large, spooky, house. And I guided three "investigators"  through it as he, playing as the keeper of the house, played against me to his own ends.

You'd think I, a seasoned RPGer, would have this in my pocket, right? 
Nope.

Despite being able to work the puzzles, and do a little bit of combat, I was pretty much mansion food before I even got to the second clue. However, because I goofed so bad, I can play that scenario, again, like it was brand new!

So, I guess I'm going to miss my pop-o-matic bubble, and hour glass timer, but now I'm in training to be the best Shaggoth slayer in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Bring on the next game night!

 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Not So Hard Times...


Ah, the mind can be its own worst enemy.

After a couple of really good dinner dates, the girl I have been very, very sweet on and I finally found ourselves on our way to a very passionate place.

Only, it seemed, just one of us got there. While she was waiting for me, I got a little lost in my head with too many expectations and a handful of self conscious doubts. Of course, these things are abound, when you set yourself up for them.

Eventually, though, I finally got there...


Peace and Grace to you; may you find the courage to just be yourself, and that be just good enough for others, regardless of whatever the relationship.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Social Realizing...


Even back in the 1990's, we worried about people who wouldn't - or, as we were discovering, couldn't - unplug from the new technological innovation; the net. After all, we all had lives to live, places to go, and actual people to talk to. Who wanted to sit around all day on a bbc typing away at a chat screen?

 I mean, it wasn't like this net thing was going to be too useful for much more than maybe some quick shopping, getting some fast news, or swapping some naughty pictures. Right?

Of course who can predict the tides of social change? From bbc's sprang up blogs, My Space, Facebook, Twitter, and a host of all kinds of outrageous time eaters; not too mention sites dedicated to link sharing and hungry cats that spoke in bad grammar.

And I have to say it's surprising to look back over nearly forty years, now, and see how we, as a society, socialize with each other so completely differently from how we could have predicted; or feared. Social networking, once the domain of executive and business elites, now is the common place of every man, woman, and child. We can bomb our thoughts out to the world, along with photos, news articles, and even recipes. And we can do it in real time; reaching all way round the globe, practically.

Today, in western societies, it's almost a necessity to have a Facebook or Twitter account, if you want to keep up with friends, or stay relevant with current events; which I found out the hard way when I tried to unplug from it all, last year.

Even in business - like Graphic Design, for example, having a networking presence is vital to keeping up and staying on top. There's even sites like Linkedin; social networking for your resume!

In looking back on it, though, I actually think that some of this real time, all the time, socializing has actually been a step in a positive direction; though I didn't always. In fact, you can follow your Conductor either on Facebook, or Twitter, right now.

Peace and Grace be with you; this is truly the age when we can really reach out and touch someone. So get out there and start socializing!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hello, 2013...

So here's something a little different...

After such an epicly challenging year like 2012, it only felt right that I start a second comic tradition; welcoming the new year with plans, hopes, and dreams. And, let me tell you, I sure have a lot of them.

With school trudging right along, I'm using my new found fondness, and unknown ability to actually be a good student, to also push myself to become a better, more well rounded man. This includes leaving the world of design, at times, to try my hand at actual art, like I was young. However, this doesn't not mean I'm going to stay a round man. No, I shed a lot of extra weight in 2012, and I plan to keep it off in 2013, while sculpting myself back into a fit, healthy, and active guy.

This is also the year I get off my duff and get me a second language. It took some thinking, but I'm going to be tackling German. I know that seems a little bit weird, but - believe it, or not - I run into it most in the world of design; among other places.

If you've stopped by The Conductor's Office, at all, then you know that NTA Comics is looking to start up its own band, called National Railway Sound Project. There's one song penned, another nearly complete, and more on the drawing board. So, I'm going to be learning me some music theory, and my old guitar. I may not become a rock star, ever, but at least I can say I gave it my best.

And, finally, 2013 is the year I let go my traditional struggle with old Cupid. Love is a willful act of growing two lives together; it's joined at the heart, not the hip. I guess you could say I'm getting good at relationships from all my failures. I may not find "her" this year, but I'm going to be more willing to try; more willing to share, and more ready to accept.

Peace and Grace to you in this new year; may you make yourself a plan, and it see you through!