Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Floweringnose Day 2024


My dear friend Mary Jane said she had some old e-mails that we had exchanged that she wanted to give me.  She brought them today, just in time for me to post here.  They are from 1998, when Seth was working as an English teacher in the Oki Islands, Japan.  In the summer they had an English camp, which was called CHESS (which stands for Camp for Highschool English Students of Shimane (Prefecture)).  Seth designed activities that he knew would be fun, engaging, and help the students both learn English, and use the English they had learned.  

This is a view of what Seth was doing before he became a professional comic book illustrator, as well as a view of what the internet was like in its early days.  His website was on a platform called Geocities, that hosted many different websites.  

His students didn't know how to use internet tools very well, so the first page is full of definitions, the second page introduces the students to different things they can find on the web to help study English.  The third page is the opening to his own delightful website (alas, now no more, though the words--but not images--can be brought up on the Wayback Machine).  
Spend some time looking about in this room.  He has left here little bits of many parts of his life.  The two busts toward the right are of himself and best buddy Langdon.  There seems to be a dead guy over behind some stuff by the bookshelf; he would be the mystery game he designed for his students.  Books.  A lllama.  A cat.  Board games.  What else?

The fourth page is a little intro to his first real comic book, published by DC.  HAPPYDALE: Devils in the Desert.  

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Myst 3: Exile, Revisited

Recently I came across an article in a Catholic publication that talked about the increased sense of wonder and attention to detail that the author developed from playing the video games in the Myst series.  
In traversing the lands in Myst, searching for clues to unlock the mysteries, "nothing is meaningless," says the author.  "All points to a pattern beyond itself."   I now know that life is like that: complex and full of meaning, and it rewards efforts to find what is below the surface.

I played Myst 3: Exile when it first came out, before Seth died.  In playing I would lose track of time navigating its scenery and machinery; and more often than I like to think, two hours would go by before I came up for air. I was new to video games.  (Even now, except for a very few small forays, Seth's games are the only ones I have played.)  But it was so beautiful, so haunting, that images from it still appear in dreams and in my vision at other odd times.  I was very disappointed--though also slightly relieved--when I had to get a new operating system, and it would not support Myst.  The beauty and draw of it, and the duties that called to me were irreconcilably at odds.

When I found the article referenced above, it gave me a rationale for looking to see if  it could still be had, and played on Windows 10.  The answers were Yes, and Yes.  And it could be had for under $10.  So I bought it, from GOG Galaxy.  

Now, as an old lady, and a non-gamer, I am sure I don't know anything that my readers don't know, but since I found it, I thought other people who might have wanted to reconnect with this intricate and compelling game would be happy to know that even the likes of me can find and install it.   

One more thing.  The first age, J'nanin, was designed by Seth.  (He also designed the last age, Narayan.)  When I was playing Exile the first time, I expressed my frustration to Seth that though I could walk all over the island, I couldn't figure out how to open anything.  He said, "It might help to make a map of the island."  That was all the clue he would give me, but it was enough.

Monday, January 30, 2023

FloweringNose Day 2023

I found these photos the other day, of Seth (with hair, which means that he was in college).  He always threw himself wholly into what he did.  He loved street acrobatics.  And he loved inline skating.  I have a photo of him jumping over cars--a bunch of cars--in his inline skates.  I think he told me he cleared 10 cars parked side to side.  Is that true Langdon?  I'd have to get corroboration for that. 

In the bottom two photos, clearly taken on the same day, he is wearing his glasses while he jumps and flips.  Evidently he didn't expect to crash.  

Aw Seth, it's been 17 years now, and I still miss you.


Monday, January 31, 2022

FloweringNose Day 2022

Yesterday was the anniversary of Seth's death. 

His ideas for comic stories were so--mmm--odd, that I suspect they were close to unsaleable.  But so charming that you want them to get made into books.  

Case in point: 
Doris and Fruit.  Doris is a woman who lives in the house pictured below.  Fruitman (the drawing below that) is her next door neighbor.  I found among Seth's writings a script for the comic book, intended as a 30-page book, in a square format, with four panels per page, much more static than most of the work he did.  But that interested him.  

It's a simple, traditional love story.  Girl and guy start out as adversaries, and then something snaps, and they fall in love.  But: Doris is a regular girl, but living in a house made of  living animals, and Fruit is a guy made of fruits and vegetables.  It looks like Seth tried to sell the story to DC.  I found the letter with the script, but it was not clear who the recipient was. 

If anyone would like to see the script, let me know and I will send it to you.  It's not very long.  There is nobody I know who has the same artistic finesse, plus weird sense of humor, plus sweetness that Seth had, so I suspect the comic book could never be made now.  

But that has to be OK.  We can imagine it.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Seth's Birthday 2021

 The other day I was going through a box of stuff looking for a particular letter about Seth, and came across this charming doodle.  

My own doodling is more self-conscious than this, and has pretensions to beauty.  He had no such pretensions.  He loved beauty, but he could draw just to amuse himself.     
Probably he had pretensions, but from this distance I can't think of them.  He was willing to be wrong.  He was willing to look foolish.  He was willing to laugh at himself.  

One of my favorite incidents with Seth happened one day when I was visiting him and Hisako in Japan.  I am very awkward in Japan.  I am always knocking down something, and making people wait, and generally doing stupid things.  So one morning, having already done more than my share of bumbling for the day, I was in a bad mood, and said something grumpy to Seth.  Then I felt bad and apologized, "I'm sorry; I guess I am a little testy today."  Seth answered, "Yeah.  I'm a little testy too.  I guess we are just a pair of testes." 

Which made it all right again.  

Happy birthday Seth!

Friday, January 29, 2021

Floweringnose Day 2021

We have all this artwork that Seth has done.  He was so good at what he did that it is possible to just indulge in baths of Seth art soup and fill yourself with it, slurping up all kinds of  pictures:

elegant drawings for Myst 3 Exile--  
comical, clever art with his signature perspective genius, coupled with great visual storytelling in the two part Doom Patrol series,
his own designs for weird spacecraft,

a museum full of art lovers,

the weirdest of all his weird drawings: a scene both horrific and comical, where Our Hero has no chance whatever to escape (even the sun has it in for him) but he remains serene as he contemplates it all,

an absolutely fabulous fight scene, involving four people, where the action is completely clear, in which there are no right angles

a calm scene of fishing from a rock in Japanese waters,

or many others.  

In his pictures there are many different life perspectives, different styles, different moods, different 

speeds, different attitudes.  He was able to immerse himself in any of them, and enjoy them.  It was all Life, and that was what it was all about: Life.  

His artwork is so compelling that now we may be tempted to say that it is enough.  And of course, it has to be.  The man is gone.  But I'd like to offer a link to a conversation he had with interviewer Mike Jozic in 2004.  It gives a little flavor of what it was like to be with him:

Mike Jozic interview from 2004



Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Seth's 48th birthday July 22, 2020

Perspective.  Seth was SO good at perspective.  He studied it of course, made a point of learning how it works, and how to use it.  But then he owned it, and he could play with it, as in the top page from WillWorld.  

Perspective gives me fits.  Seth recommended a book by David Chelsea, PERSPECTIVE FOR COMIC BOOK ARTISTS  which I am reading and trying to use, but I don't understand what he is talking about a lot of the time.  So it feels a little bit as though I am trying to read it in a foreign language.  

But especially today, thinking of Seth, I am persevering.