Flogging A Dead Horse: Guess Who's Back!

Wed, May 16th, 2012 at 1:58pm PDT

Comic Books
Paul Jenkins, Staff Writer

Hello Chums,

Well, it has been a while. I know what you are thinking and you would be correct to think it: the last time I triumphantly "returned" with brand-new Floggings, things petered out pretty quickly. Using a fairly inaccurate analogy, imagine this esteemed website as a walled city, and me as a small army that showed up at the gates. Well, rather than ransack the place and generally pillage and violate your maidens, it seems my army just got bored and sort of drifted away without even bothering to knock on the front door. In short, I was Tom Hanks in "Castaway" -- I set out with a lot of shiny packages that, ultimately, I did not deliver.

But that was a different time and I was young and foolish. I am not at all young anymore but as you already know, I am very foolish. I will say in a sincere and legally binding way that Supreme Overlord Comrade Jonah Weiland welcomed me back with open arms to the Collective Brotherhood of Righteousness (CBR). The shots fired in my direction from the roof of CBR's building were -- as I now understand it -- a complete accident that came about as a result of a case of mistaken identity. My lawyers have instructed me to mention that Comrade Weiland cannot be held liable for my injuries, and that settlements we agreed upon for my hospital bills are in no way an admission of guilt on the part of CBR or their hired security guards.

Since you last heard from me the world has changed and yet so much remains the same. Crazy people in the news are crazier than ever, Jennifer Aniston still has not found true love and serial philanderer John Mayer is still making that sweet music that chicks dig. Die-hard Flogging fans will be sad to learn that our cat, Mister Quimby, went to meet his Maker (armed, presumably, with an AK-47, the little fluffy bastard). Two weeks later, I lost my beloved Flo-Jo, so there was a rough month in there.

Mister Quimby gets ready to visit Heaven, where he no doubt vomited on God's shoes.

Little Dude says goodbye to my beloved Flo-Jo. She looked suitably annoyed when I took her to the vet. I miss the ornery old girl.

Colin the Corgi shows his appreciation for his newfound personal space: this is his new Jumpolene bed, complete with Pillow Pet. As you can see, he misses the other animals terribly.

In better news, Nigh Perfect, Little Dude and I are proud to welcome a new member to Team Jenkins: Mini Dude. He is a little teddy bear of a baby, and we are at the point where we're fending off babysitting offers. Little Dude is doing his part by scaring off as many local teenaged girls as he possibly can. Plus, he learned to ride his bike this week, so as he is quick to point out, sixty hundred points to him! Nigh Perfect, you will be pleased to learn, goes from strength to strength: she is nuttier than ever before and will no doubt continue to provide me with a wealth of material for these New and Improved Floggings.

Team Jenkins prepares for the grand unveiling of Mini Dude, coming soon to a Flogging near you. We have just told Little Dude he is getting a little brother. Actually, we told him he was getting a pet alien and we're sticking to that story because it seemed to work.

Even in the few short months since I was last here, we have all become more connected. MySpace is dead, much to the chagrin of Captain America, no doubt. Facebook owns your computer and is about to buy Google and the tiny island nation of Great Britain. And Twitter is… well…

I suppose I can cover all of that in a little spot I like to call

Antisocial Networking

There are some problem areas in the world of Twitter, and I tend to think these are the top (bottom) five:

(1) Noob Alert!

I will admit it, gentle chums: all of this remote socializing has left me greatly confused. When it comes to Twitter I am the equivalent of a Level 1 on Modern Warfare who has racked up two kills and forty-eight deaths. I feel like a Luddite (look it up) because I am pretty sure I am going to break the Internet by accidentally tweeting the exact wrong combination of letters and numbers. Bang. Systems down, party over.

I first decided to complicate the crap out of my life a couple of months ago, after my business partners pointed out to me that I was lagging so far behind on the whole connectivity issue, I had been lapped by Betty White.

This woman is faster than I am. If you have ever seen photos of my right knee, you will understand why.

The idea -- as I understand it -- was for me to explain to the world in phrases of 140 characters or less what I was having for dinner that evening, or how I felt about the current political upheaval in Botswana. Suffice it to say, I was not interested and I probably share that feeling with the numerous people who were about to get a photo of my fish and chips. But putting aside my bias, I felt it would only be fair if I gave it a shot. So far, I feel, that shot has missed the heart entirely and I have accidentally shot Twitter in the nuts.

I have been going for a couple of months, and so my massive span of influence extends to roughly 800 Followers, most of whom thought they were signing up for Paul Jenkins the Fine Artist or Paul Jenkins the Mixed Martial Artist. No such luck, I am afraid -- they are stuck with Paul Jenkins the Bullshit Artist. (@mypauljenkins, in case you are intrigued to a suicidal extent).

I am a Noob. I am the problem. So far I have spent more time trying to keep up with my feed than actually writing and helping to feed my family. I have accidentally posted the same heartfelt message to my wife seven times in a row, I have allowed my autocorrect to insult a friend (which I deleted in time, I hope), and I have pressed the link to every piece of SPAM I have been sent. All that remains is for me to accidentally provide a link to a porn site to all of my followers. Stay tuned.

(2) Think before you Post

I suppose this is the cautionary tale of the 21st Century but it should be mentioned nonetheless. We all know that it's better to wait for a night before pressing send on an angry email. Lord knows I have about eighteen emails in draft form that I will probably never send. Made me feel better to write them. But I would have had the KGB, the CIA and probably the Somalian Special Forces on my doorstep if I had sent them (again, sorry about that, President Ahmed).

People are measured enough when it comes to Facebook posts. We all giggle when someone posts an idiotic rant about their boss to Facebook and then gets fired the next day. But Twitter -- with its immediacy and tendency to scroll away pretty quickly -- is another kettle of fish entirely. Twitter is dangerous, shark-infested waters.

When I first signed up I immediately noticed that many people out there seem to have switched off their moderation meter and were already careening full speed along the Information Superhighway inside a cyber-vehicle with no brakes. The posts go something like this:

Angry Ranter: "U R all stupid if U don't like Tim Tebow! Fukk U all!"Confused recipient: "Am I stupid if I don't know who Tim Tebow is?"Angry Ranter: Fukk U!

I am pretty sure Fukk U is in the Florida panhandle, though their football team has never sent any of their QBs to the NFL. Otherwise, I am mystified. Why are people this angry on the Internet? Am I missing something? Should I be this angry also? And should I now forego years of training and simply type my rants in text speech so that I can fit my manifesto of hatred into 140 characters or less? I must know.

I am so tempted to just rant back, gentle readers. I want to tell someone "your a moron," thus proving his or her point and not mine. But I just cannot bring myself to alienate the few chums I have remaining.

Which brings me to…

(3) Spelling, Grammar and Moderation Optional

They say that as you age, you will eventually start saying things that your parents and then grandparents used to say. Twitter is starting to make a believer of me. I feel like tweeting angrily about the kids of today, which is going to get me into a lot of trouble but at least proves that I am beginning to get into the swing of things.

It takes a Noob such as I quite a while to get the hang of abbreviated communication. 4 1 thing, U hav 2 rite like this. Now, that is the kind of thing I would expect from a computer code such as ASCII or Basic, but from the President of the United States or the Dalai Lama? I would hope not. Just imagine if the President were to Tweet:

I h8 Russia. Time 2 wipe them from the map. U kno IM rite.

Apart from getting the populist vote and an angry rebuke from Comrade Putin (presumably in abbreviated Cyrillic), we'd be no wiser than before we'd read it, just marginally older. But I have noticed that more and more of my pals are now communicating with me in code, even via email. To wit:

"Paul… Brian Bendis here: U sukk. I killed S3ntry! LOL.""Paul… Dan Didio: UR Fired! LMAO!""Paul… it's Mum. UR adopted! ROFL."

I tell you, chums, if I could make any sense of it I would probably rest a little easier. But I feel as though the soundtrack to my life has become a Rammstein album ever since I pulled the trigger on my Twitter account. In fact, the only one that has made any sense to me recently was this Tweet from a rather attractive young lady I could not remember previously meeting:

"U need V-1-A-G-R-A: www.gullibleidiot.com"

I went there, but alas, there was no V-1-A-G-R-A on sale. Which brings me conveniently to

(4) Shoot the SPAMbots

If you have ever wondered why these people exist… if you have ever wondered who is the gullible idiot keeping their kids in college… if you have ever wondered who buys Little Debbie snack cakes because of the attractive and stylish packaging… well, wonder no longer. The aforementioned gullible idiot would be me.

Since I am new to Twitter, I had assumed that every "follower" was a personal friend, or perhaps a delusional fan. After all, who doesn't want to know what the creator behind "Wolverine: Origin" is having for lunch, right? But as it turns out, there are quite a few people floating around the Internet who are trying to separate us from the contents of our wallets. Yes, I know… but I feel it needed to be said.

So far, the score is Spambots: 154 -- Jenkins: 0. Today I posted a link to some interesting 1920's-era photography about child labor, only to be hit up by no less than three "photography" Bots. Upon reviewing their pictorial selection I can only say that photojournalism seems to have regressed slightly and that Japanese PornBots in particular are sick bastards. Among my 800 or so followers I count numerous people from Eastern Europe who are trying to get into my bank account (get in line, Sergei), six purveyors of Erectile Dysfunction medicine and roughly 780 PornBots.

So you know -- I will be around, but don't expect to hear much out of me in the next decade.

(5) A Lot of Sound And Fury…

Look, I will admit it: I am not sure what I am supposed to do to keep you (and by you I mean my army of PornBot followers) entertained. I've had a look at a few fellow comic and game creators and I feel I have narrowed down my approach to the following:

SHAMELESS PLUGGER: The idea being that I use the power of the Internet to inform you of my latest work. But that is all. No interesting links. No controversial opinions. Just promotion and marketing. It's the oldest profession, after all.

SHARING THE CONTENTS OF MY STOMACH: Because let‘s face it, you have never eaten a McDonald's hamburger and would like to see a picture of mine that I just took on my iPhone.

ANGRY PUGILIST: By far the most entertaining of the Internet Creators, this person likes to pick fights with others across the airwaves. It makes for compelling reading, and it gets people talking. Which, I rather think, is the point. If I had the balls, this would be me.

STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS GUY: My favorite Tweeter. Send messages from Bizarro World and just posts whatever pops into his head. Always entertaining, even if it takes a while for the posts to sink in. Makes a lot of sense to me at 4-5 AM, which is when he posts most frequently. @mattfraction, I am looking in your direction…

MODERATE AND SENSIBLE: Posts interesting topics. Never chooses sides in a blow-up. Always answers fans. Has 800 followers, so no surprise there.

Team Jenkins News

As mentioned above, Team Jenkins has welcomed a wee one into the ranks. I am afraid my gag reflex remains the same, and it always seems to me that when Mini Dude is at his stinkiest and I am coughing up great loads of revolting bile, he is also at his most content.

We are so proud of Little Dude, who just turned six. He has been aiming to get into "America's Funniest Home Videos" lately, and though we do not stand a chance, we are certainly taking a lot of video of his pratfalls as he crashes his bike. In other news, he passed up a chance to see "The Lorax" today in favor of "The Three Stooges!" The best part was that he cackled his head off throughout the entire movie, and thereby entertained everyone else in the theater. His laughter was infectious, and I think everyone was grateful that he came. Sometimes, as a Dad, there is just nothing better than watching your kid entertain everyone in a room.

This month's Gratuitous Plug

That cheeky Mexican heartthrob, Humberto Ramos, and I have a new and wonderful offering for you, my lucky chums. Very soon, I will be talking about Kickstarter and what it means to the New World of Publishing. It's going to be very sensible. And groovy.

For the moment, though, we urge you to go by our Kickstarter page and check out the very wonderful "Fairy Quest." I promise you, it is the book Humberto was born to draw!

The cover to Fairy Quest, as rendered by the same guy who does some piddling little Spider-Man comic for Marvel…

TAGS:  flogging a dead horse, paul jenkins, humberto ramos, fairy quest

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