Thursday, October 16, 2008


When I was a kid I would have thought this guy (above) had one of the best jobs in the world: professional mask-maker...every kid's dream! I wonder why there's no such a thing as a kids' store where comic books, toys, masks, fake guns and swords, science stuff, chemistry sets, exotic sodas, fake mounted dinosaur heads, magic tricks, fireworks, etc. are sold all year round.

TV weather stations should emphasize bad weather and ominous natural events around Halloween time. The unspoken, subliminal message should be that a menacing witch's spell is settling on the Earth.

There's lots of kinds of masks. Why don't we see fake African witch doctors and Balinese demons (above) on Halloween night?

I love home-made masks, even when they're made with paper plates like these (above) are.

Ghoulish descriptions of hell are great but is there a Biblical passage that justifies them? Maybe all that came from the imagination of people like Dante. If even fallen angels are so intellectual how come they find pleasure in biting people's faces? Maybe Dante unintentionally did us a disservice. I imagine that after reading him, the medieval torturers perceived their mission as kind and caring. After all, if Hell was as bad as this (above) then racking or burning someone to save his soul would be positively merciful.

A colorful Nolde painting (above).

The evil is so intense here (above) that the air is saturated with howling demons and the people walk funny, as if they were half dead marionettes.

This Hindu mask (above) is terrific!

At first glance this collage (above) seems kind of amateurish and badly executed, but the more you look at it, the more convincing and creepy it gets. Nothing in the picture looks the way it should. You imagine that the witch moves in a jerky, pixilated, unnatural fashion. The very air around her warps as she moves through it, as if a field of something antagonistic to nature surrounds her. If this were on film I picture it done in the style of the film-within-a-film in the American horror film, "The Ring."

Talking about unnatural, I like the graphic way that people were depicted in the old, silent horror films (above). It's easier to be scary when you're not tied down to a naturalistic look.

Here's (above) one of the Japanese masks a commenter recently linked to.

Painting with light! I love it!

Nice poster!

Here (above) the ghost of a long-dead hunter is caught, prowling the forest. Some primitive cultures attach a lot of significance to unexplainable motions perceived for an instant out of the side of one's eye. Often they're regarded as forest spirits which can't be viewed straight on.

Thanks to Pierre and Karswell for most of the pictures!


Anonymous said...

I love the earthiness of these images. Its something most of my postmodern facebook iphone generation sorely lacks.

You once wrote a critique of the sterility of todays graphic novels, Id really like to see you expand on that

Anonymous said...

That Zombie picture is funny but I despise the lolspeak 4chan culture that made it

Deniseletter said...

Hi Eddie,The First I see is the Japanese mask with a long nose has a resemblance to one of your more frequent comedic facial expressions:-)

I continue to read this interesting post...

Anonymous said...

Resort/tourist trap towns are the easiest place to find a kids' store where comic books, toys, masks, magic tricks, fireworks, etc. are sold all year round. The Magic Shop in the Disney Parks, most major tourist towns have a gift shop with well stocked novelty section.

They exist, you just have to be on vacation, or seek them out. Otherwise, Mail order.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Denice: Heeeeeeyy!!!!!!!

Anon: What's wrong with zombie pictures? Most of them are bad, but most of almost any kind of entertainment is bad.

Anon: Graphic novels are much too serious for my taste. Most of the artists are copying live-actiontechniques and aren't thinking about what things can be done in comics that no other medium can do right.

Anon: Tourist shops!? I never thought of that!

Anonymous said...

There is nothing wrong with Zombie pictures and that one was pretty funny, its just that that particular picture is a "demotivator" and comes from the whole lolspeak "epic win" type culture which I think youd have disdain for if you read about it.

Just look up 4chan and lolspeak

Anonymous said...

Do you like the Watchmen? One of the things Alan Moore isnt supporting the new film is because he said he did things in the comic that cant be faithfully recreated in live action.

It seems that when something really good comes out its legacy is lessened by a spawn of inferior imitations.

John K's work leading to the vogue of superficial "wonky" imitaitons of his style.

The Watchmen leading to dreary humorless noir being the default means of expression for comic books.

Tezukas stuff leading to Anime

Disney leading to pseudodisney and disdain for cartooniness amongst acolytes of "The Illusion of Life"

The Far Side leading to the 2 dozen panel comics that ape superficial stylist quirks but none of the depth or humor etc.

glamaFez said...


That painting of masks is by Emil Nolde, not Ensor.

It's here in Kansas City, in the Nelson-Atkins Museum. I have gazed at it many times ever since I was a little kid.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Anon: Thanks! I can't comment because I need time to absorb it. I had no idea that sites like that even existed!

Glam: Nolde!? Arrrgh! I should have known! Thanks, I'll go back and fix it!

Aaron said...

Cool post. I miss the Eddie movies.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Anon: The watchman? I've never gotten around to reading that. I'll give it a try.

Anonymous said...

"Watchmen" certainly has its fans. And the Nelson Gallery (what it was called when I was a kid, visiting there) was and is one of the best art museums in the USA.

pappy d said...

I love the idea of your shop. It should be a warren of crammed aisles where a kid could get lost. Somewhere with lax fire regulations. There should be a few especially intriguing items that, when the kid asks how much, you get agitated, "How did you get that? That's not for sale!" & carry it carefully to the back of the store, muttering.

I suspect that forest spirits were the first prototypes of gods. The etymology of the word, "panic" comes from the experience of Panic attacks. You'd be walking in the forest when you get a strange sense of a presence as though Pan was stalking you just beyond the trees, just waiting for you to freak out & make a break for it.

That's a really interesting point about Hell. I don't remember any specific description from the Bible. Maybe it's more fundamental than scripture. It's humanity's thirst for justice.

Anonymous said...

Yeah 4chan is a fascinating site from a sociological perspective and can have fascinating discussions.

I just dislike the undercurrent of Nihilism Racism Misogyny and insular Groupthink that runs through it. On /b/ at least. It really is ground zero for the internet. You commented once that the people who seem to best embody Nietzsches teachings are computer programmers and this is proof

Anonymous said...

I had to get myself permabanned from the site cause it got addictive

Anonymous said...

If youve never read the Watchmen (which is pretty surprising) Ill think youll be very pleasantly surprised, blown away even.

And this comes from someone who cant stand most graphic novels

Mattieshoe said...


a more mature example of that "Chanspeak" culture would be

It's funny at times, but It's also very, very demented.

Possibly the most NSFW site on the web, but it has some creative (If deliberately obscene or racist) stuff on it.

An example would be something like this, this, or this being made in response to someone posting this snapshot. (All are SFW)

This type of crazy stuff only happens on the Random board.

the others range from perfectly sensible and safe for work (a board for artistic discussion, an entire board dedicated to acting and talking like gentlemen from the 1800s) to the most horrifying things you will ever see.

If you proceed, proceed with caution. (I'm not a regular there at all, I've just been lurking about recently. I find it pretty interesting. It's definitely only for those mature enough to deal with what can be seen there)

Anonymous said...

eddie fitzgerald said: Ghoulish descriptions of hell are great but is there a Biblical passage that justifies them?

Yes, there are several. Here's just a few verses from Mark, for one example. In these verses, Jesus is speaking:

Mark 9:42 And whosoever shall offend one of [these] little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.

Mark 9:43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

Mark 9:44 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

Mark 9:45 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Mark 9:46 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:

Mark 9:47 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Mattieshoe said...

(remove the / at the end of the URL for the 1st and last examples)

Anonymous said...

annointed blogs like this are an exception but Ive always been put off by the inheirent lameness of most messageboards and blogs.

Ive always been terrified of turning into one of those "messageboard people"

Anonymous said...

Theres a lot of sites I like that have a really gross subculture lurking underneath the surface.

Just click "discussion" on a wikipedia page or read the comments on a political youtube video.

For the most part I think the internet makes a great library but the social aspect is ruined by people using it as an outlet for their frustrations with their lives.

This used to not bug me that much since messageboards used to be a place for narcissistic lunatics to scream at each other. If Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver were alive today hed be addicted to the internet.

Now with Web 2.0 that culture has been brought to the surface and everyones opinion matters and the readers voice is just as important as the writers! Even CNN of all places is turning to Twitter to see what the thicksicles thing of the latest developments. Or posting a rant from the seemingly same bald weirdo in their basesment.

The best example is the vlogger responses on popular youtube videos, I dont mind the flash in the pan "star wars kid" "miss carolina" vids but the Video responses where weirdos drone on for 10 minutes about their opinions on the video and then theres a video response to the video response, fills me with a Nietzschean contempt for humanity

My favorite H.L. Mencken quote is "I never lecture, not because I am shy or a bad speaker but because I detest the sort of people who attend lectures and don't wish to meet them"

I feel the same way about comment threads. I cant picture anyone I admire getting into an argument in one of things with the possible exception of Peter Cook who would probably create some really bizarre working class characters.

If you and John were talking about Clampett and some guy came up to you and said "you like clampett, hes an overrated hack! Youre all morons, kill yourself please, gtfo off this planet (which is a typical response on 4chan, although they end all their epithets with "fag". If someone posts a racist picture of Obama for example and you object youre a "butthurt moralfag") Youd look at the guy like he was unbalanced and probably give him a look of "bemused pity" rather than arguing with him. Or if Youre John K possibly fight the guy.

The fact that violence is impossible over the internet is another reason why the discourse has such vitriol. When Two men had a disagreement they wouldnt get into a flamewar theyd settle it with a duel or whiskey fueled fisticuffs and pat each other on the back afterwards.

While Im not an advocate of violence not being able to punch someone in the face who calls you a worthless asshole impotizes us and leads to the empty rage you find in most comment threads.

Its weird how completely uncritical the Media and Academia have been towards the massive changes the internet has had on society and discourse. Its all seen as some ineveitable development we all must embrace lest we be deemed irrelevant and out of touch.

Can you imagine anyone 50 years from now romanticizing these times?

Anonymous said...

Lee Siegel is probably the only serious critic of the internet today, and while I have my misgivings about the guy he is mercilessly mocked by the "blogosphere" and in comment threads.

He reminds me of the quote in David Foster Wallace's (RIP) essay about irony about how the greatest risk someone can take in todays "Irony as default means of expression" culture is to write sincerely about deepfelt convictions.

I can't think of any great writer who has embraced the internet, or many great writers coming out of it

Anonymous said...

I guess what I hate most about the internet is the lack of compassion.

It is incredibly depressing to think that most people spend the bulk of their time in a place where it is impossible to have an experience

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Anon, Mattie: I'm still reeling from the sites you talked about. I honestly don't know what to think about them.

Anonymous said...

Even I get into irrationaly angry arguments with people who hate cartoons I like sometimes even though I usually like most people I meet in real life who strongly disagree with me as long as they aren't jerks.

In real life only 5% of people are assholes, we all know people who when others bring them up say "Ted? That guys an asshole." "I know!!! this one time"

But they give us something to talk about at least and we move on with their lives.

On the internet anyone who disagrees with us is an asshole.

When someone in reality expresses an opinion different than ours we see the complete human being behind the opinion and dont begrudge them for it.

"Gokusupersaijin14567:Charles Dickens is an overrated hack" can burn in hell for eternity for all I care.

Anonymous said... I despise the people that make this site but its an amazing resource on this culture and helped explain those sites to me.

One massive explanation for the unfiltered hate and nihilism on those sites is that most of the posters are unnatractive anime obsessed men from 15-23 who now have an outlet for their frustrations and have found a community of likeminded people

Anonymous said...

in his review of Untraceable Roger Ebert wrote

One detail the movie gets just right. As the current victim dies and the hit count climbs, we see a scrolling chat room onscreen. The comments are cretinous, stupid, ugly, divorced from all civilized standards. How people with the mentality of the authors of such messages are intelligent enough to get online in the first place is a puzzle. But they do. All you have to do is visit the wrong chat room or bulletin board and see them at their dirty work

Im pretty sure he must have stumbled across 4chan.

He once wrote an article on how video games aren't art and I can only imagine the despicable emails he got from these people which probably made light of his recent bout with cancer. For Members of that site Old Nintendo games and Filmation cartoons are their common cultural heritage.

The way they talk in very specific "memespeak" language to me smacks of groupthink and doubletalk

Mattieshoe said...

>>Anon, Mattie: I'm still reeling from the sites you talked about. I honestly don't know what to think about them.

I've known about them for over a year, and I'm sill reeling.

Someone could write a novel about the cultural phenomenon that these sites (especially those like 99chan) have brought on.

Part of it is "Nerd culture" (Anime, video games) but that hardly explains how these sites have created cultures and Sub cultures and even Languages of their own.

The strange and ironic part is, these obscure in jokes and dialects are actually spreading out of there places of origin, Mostly through 4chan, which once was a small, obscure community of people with common interests like 99chan, and is now a staple of internet culture, along with myspace or youtube.

It's all very complicated and strange stuff.

Anonymous said...

One good thing about these sites is its a great way to identify cretins who aren't worth your time.

Anyone who uses the phrase "Epic Fail" isn't worth rebutting

Anonymous said...

Another thing I find really weird about 4chan is if you leave /b/ or "random" and go to the art critique section the commentors seem to have developed an extremely pedantic and specific rating system for judging artwork 2b 3f etc.

And their perception of what makes a good drawing seems to have been developed on mars.

One reason I am for ever indebted to you and John K and the Animation archive is the mountain of REAL drawing lessons and articles on drawing and cartoons.

When Id type in "learn to draw" Id either get one of those pages that makes you do a contour map sketch and draw a chair using only negative space, and lesson 3 leads to a billing page where I can by $250 for the next 500 lessons.

Or guides on how to draw stoic anime heroes in photoshop using vectors.

I think Anime has had an awful effect on potential artists.
Just go to to see what I mean. (Another ground zero website) The despicible website has a meanspirited yet accurate section on deviantart

Anonymous said...

Also, if youre a woman, god forbid you reveal that fact on any of these sites

Anonymous said...

Have you ever read the "Smithsonian collection of newspaper comics"?

I just got a copy at a used bookstoew for 40 bucks and its amazing! Full page color reprints of Milt Gross Lil Abner and Crazy Kat

Anonymous said...

I understand your reaction Eddie, If you were to take the founding fathers into the future and show them 4chan theyd probably drink themselves into a catatonic stupor afterwards

Anonymous said...

Did you hear that Korea is Banning anonymity on the internet and everyone there will only allowed to post under an assigned username?

Social Hierarchy and mores in Korea are ten times as rigid as Japans and the dark side of that had turned their internet into an angry cesspool. A few Korean Movie Stars who had been mercilessly harassed and mocked online (One for coming out of the closet) ended up killing themselves and this is what led to the new revelations.

I wonder how many people would go chalk white if they were to find out everything they ever posted on the internet would now have their real name attached to it.

I really hope that web 3.0 is some sort of evolution beyond usernames/text because the internet in its current form is having a depressing effect on society

Anonymous said...

The arguments I hear for the positive effects of the web sound a lot like the arguments for the positive impact of organized religion.

You should thank your lucky stars that your blog and youtube videos just has a small dedicated following of intelligent artists. If one of your youtube videos ever becomes a hit I think you'll be sickened by some of the comments

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Eddie, here are some more verses that answer your question, "Ghoulish descriptions of hell are great but is there a Biblical passage that justifies them?"...

(Jesus is the one speaking here as well.)

Matthew 13:39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.

Matthew 13:40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.

Matthew 13:41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

Matthew 13:42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Anonymous said...

Ren And Stimpy/buffy the vampire slayer fanfiction.

The internet is insane

Anonymous said...

It would be fascinating to see a real persons take on 4chan. I can only imagine what someone like David Foster Wallace would have made of it

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Anon: Thanks for the quotes. I knew the fire and suffering Hell was described in the Bible, I just did't know if tormenting demons were.

If these demons are real, are they fallen angels or a newer species whose origins aren't mentioned?

Anon: I spent a couple of hours on 4chan looking at weird sex videos like naked girls puking on each other, then I took in some pictures of weird things like elephant fetuses. After that I read some letters where readers called each other stupid fags, then I read some of the relationship advice which was full of gross stuff but also had some material that was genuinely touching. There was a lot of file sharing links.

Maybe today I'll try some of the other categories. I'm utterly speechless. I don't know what to say about all this. As you said, you can probably visit these sites for a long time and still not know what to think about them. I'm suffering from sensory overload.

Anon: Thanks for the links, which I'll try to get to next time I'm sitting at the computer.

Anonymous said...

Its almost like looking into a completely different dimension isnt it Eddie

Anonymous said...

Did you post anything Eddie? If you put up some quick sketches or created a character that could field questions youd get a fascinating thread going.

As the inspiration for Pinky youd be something of a god to them

Anonymous said...

It is true that 4chan can be very touching, I think that the snark and misogyny belies a deep aching loneliness in a lot of the posters and it comes out in relationship threads where theyre not obligated to talk in groupspeak

Anonymous said...

This is an amazing article.

His contempt for the "elites" in our society reminds me of the same Contempt Monty Python and Peter Cook had for establishment. They went to Cambridge and knew full well what pompous buffoons their classmates who went on to distinguished careers in politics were.

Ever hear a rich fratboy jackass brag about what a sweet life he has ahead of him as an executive and how poor people deserve what they get? Those are the men running our top financial institutions and running for president.

Anonymous said...

probably a 4chan poster who did that

Anonymous said...

Id actually reccomend you check out the high resolution photography (No porn allowed) section on 4chan

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Anon: Thanks for the sketch idea! I'll think about it! Thanks also for the photography reference.

I spent the whole morning today reading weird stuff on those sites. As you said, it really is like looking into another world.

I'll try the links you posted, I just need to clear my head first.

Jorge Garrido said...


Jorge Garrido said...

BTW, Eddie, if you're navigating that site, I suggest you get a tour guide.

Anonymous said...

I dont think Virgil is available Jorge

onlyjustwords said...

Cool post!!! :D Check out the mask I made my daughter for halloween!