« This has nothing to do with the essay, but next year I want someone to videotape Josh Lesnick and Howard Tayler dancing in the aisles at ComiCon. Because that would be the most awesome thing ever. | Main | One suspects Girl's parents spend their lives watching television and drinking themselves to sleep. If they were attentive, after all, they wouldn't have bought that robot in the first place. »

Eric: To make it official...

You might have guessed it's been a Hell of a summer. That's because it's been a Hell of a summer.

As a result, I've had to do something I feel pretty badly about. As Joey Manley has announced, Shaenon Garrity is taking over as the editor of Modern Tales Free.

Which, honestly, is an excellent thing. Shaenon Garrity is perhaps the best student of the art and history of sequential art that I've met. She's passionate about the comics, and she understands what makes a good one good. I've said more often than I could easily count that Narbonic is my favorite comic strip, and that's with good reason.

What is sometimes forgotten, in the midst of all this, is that Garrity is also a professional editor, working for one of the largest publishers of Manga in America. She's not 'second best' at this gig. She's better qualified not only than I am, but essentially than anyone else I could think of for the job. And she has a long standing history as the webcartoonist of the single most popular webcomic on Modern Tales -- almost amusingly, just a couple of weeks after she moved that comic to Webcomics Nation and took it from behind a subscription wall.

Which is another reason I'm glad to see this change. Modern Tales and Shaenon Garrity are a plain old good combination.

As for me? The same various issues that have kept my part of this place nearly silent, both my own comics essentially silent, and my other writing from going... well, anywhere for weeks have also made it prohibitively difficult to do the kind of job that Modern Tales deserves. Garrity will do better by it. Garrity will do well by it.

And as a fan of good comic strips, I couldn't be more excited to see it.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at August 2, 2006 12:32 AM


Comment from: kirabug [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 2, 2006 1:04 AM

It takes a good man to step aside from something he agreed to di and hand it over to someone better suited. You're a good man.

Comment from: AlexanderD [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 2, 2006 1:08 AM

Eric, I was looking forward to working with you, and am sad to see you go so soon. But it does sound like you need to pare down a bit, and I wish you the best in improving your current state of affairs, whatever it is.

At the same time, I couldn't agree more that it's good to see Shaenon back on the ModernTales site in an official way. Not that I ever believed she would be gone forever, but it's still good to be able to see her name on the site again.

Comment from: Mi_Stabbi [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 2, 2006 1:27 AM

Damnit man, now I'm worried about you. Well, concerned/anxious, but yeah, worried. I still have to buy your "Eric Burns on Webcomics" hardcover one day, and then have it signed by you.

Comment from: Abby L. [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 2, 2006 1:47 AM

Sorry for my incessant comments, but I felt I should say so here too: Good on you for making such a tough decision. I'm sorry to hear you're having trouble, and hope this leads you to better health and happiness.

And for everyone's sake, I promise not to shmooze too much at Narbonicon. (whistles)

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 2, 2006 8:35 AM

I'd offer to have you over my place to chill, but I kind of don't have air conditioning, and I'd hate to have a guest simmer in this place. I can deal with it (I went to high school in south Florida; you haven't suffered until you've seen 3 straight months of 90/90 days). But I'd rather not experiment to see if the people I know can.

On the bright side, you now have one less thing to be stressed about.

Comment from: Petie [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 2, 2006 9:48 AM

I know I'd feel badly about the situation, too. However, too much to do is too much to do, especially if your work starts to suffer from it. If this means a bit less stress, I'm pleased for you. Take care.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 2, 2006 11:00 AM

We'll be here when you get back.

Comment from: RKMilholland [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 2, 2006 12:37 PM

Lotsa luck to Garrity. If Manley ever goes batshit crazy again like he did a few months back, she's gonna need it.

Comment from: Shaenon [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 2, 2006 2:33 PM

Thanks, Eric. I hope I'm up to the challenge.

Randy, I like Joey BEST when he's batshit crazy.

Comment from: joeymanley [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 2, 2006 3:25 PM

I prefer myself when I am apeshit crazy.

Eric: lots of love, hope to work together somehow, some way, in the future. Good luck with everything -- whatever it is!

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 2, 2006 6:04 PM

I know I'm going to regret this, but what's the quantifiable difference between the excrement of bats and apes, particularly in the realm of insanity? Is it a chunky vs. runny thing? Toxicity? Surprise (I imagine bats are like birds) vs. aiming? This is obviously something that needs to be quantified.

Comment from: Doublemint [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 2, 2006 10:22 PM

Apeshit crazy is angry and violent. Think of a silverback throwing a hissy-fit... and poop. Ex: "When Jack hears that Jill went up the hill with Bob, Jack is going to go apeshit."

Batshit crazy is sheer lunacy. Hunging upside down, living in the dark, and eating a diet of bugs seems perfectly reasonable to someone who is batshit crazy. Ex: "Gerald wears tinfoil boxers because it keeps those weener dogs from reading his mind. He's gone batshit crazy."

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 3, 2006 11:20 AM

I don't know though.

While those two are good reasons for the difference between "going ape" and "bats in the belfry", but I still don't see how the process of pooping goes into being crazy. If the saying was "shit throwing crazy", well, then it might make sense (and be a powerful, if disturbing, image). And it still only covers apes - about the only things I can think of about bats and their poop habits is that theirs is supposedly incredibly toxic, and now that I think of it, how do they keep from taking a dump on themselves while hanging upside down?

The ape/bat thing makes sense. I'm just trying to figure out how you get the shit in there.

Comment from: miyaa [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 3, 2006 6:12 PM

Try three straight months of 95+ weather with humidity so high, it was like living in a steam room for three straight months. (Bangkok, rainy season, natch.) I actually love that kind of weather. It's why I'm a weather nut.

Anyway, at the topic at hand, editing stuff is always far more difficult than just writing the content yourself. I've had the experience of being the copy editor of a small, rather insignificant scientific journal, and that was no picnic either.

Personally, I wish stuff like that would work well on resumes, but if that were so, I'd be at a job now and not starting Ph.D. in Meteorology. *sigh* Oh, well. That's life.

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 3, 2006 6:39 PM

Miyaa - when I said 90/90 days, I meant 90 degrees+ Fahrenheit with 90%+ humidity. That basically describes June-August in south Florida. Did I mention I lived next to the Everglades? Because nothing makes a hot summer more fun than a swamp.

I like to think of my high school years as the misery of adolescence combined with sink-or-swim training at being a camel.

Comment from: Howard Tayler [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 4, 2006 1:26 AM

The difference between "Apeshit" and "Batshit" is simple. Apeshit will kill you if you don't run away. Batshit will kill you if you don't wear a breath mask, or fail to get treated later.

When the apes start throwing shit around, they're angry. Stay away from them, or you're going to get a pounding.

Dried batshit (politely called "bat guano"), which can be easily disturbed and inhaled by spelunkers, or by anybody hanging out under the bats, can cause histoplasmosis, a fungal infection of the lungs. It can be fatal if you don't get treatment.

"Apeshit crazy" would therefore appear to be a more immediate problem, as survival depends on a snap decision. While I don't like the thought of inhaling batshit and getting fungus in the lungus, it sounds safer than running from angry primates.


Comment from: larksilver [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 4, 2006 10:48 AM

Reading through the most recent comments, I find myself struck by several things:

1) That must be the most profanity I've ever seen
Howard use in one post, even in his LJ. How remarkable.

2) I knew that bat guano was toxic, but not why. I am now even more certain that claustrophobic bat-filled caves are not for me.

3) If the primate looks like Elizabeth, I think I'd still prefer the cave. She's quite formidable.

4) "Batshit" and "Apeshit" are just fun to say, and to type. batshitbatshitbatshit.

Comment from: miyaa [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 4, 2006 3:20 PM


32: As long as you didn't have to deal with banjos playing in the swamp.

Comment from: Elizabeth McCoy [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 4, 2006 10:57 PM

Histoplasmosis can also -- more rarely -- cause lesions in the retina. Those lesions later have weak, leaky blood vessels grow just under the retina, bulging it up and leaking blood all over the inside of the eye. If not treated, it can cause blindness (save around the very edges).

Treatment is now via "cold laser." One gets an IV of a VERY FRIGGING COLD chemical that turns one into a vampire. Er, rather, it reacts to light, chemically combusting. If you go out in the sun, whole-body internal third degree burns are what they talked about. So they do that, shine a light on the nasty little leaky vessels, give a steroid shot IN THE EYE, and send you home... Or, heck, let's be honest here. Sent me home with sunglasses, white gloves, and the rest of me in my all-enveloping hooded big coat.

Then I stayed indoors for about a week, because I had to wait for the chemical to break down. (They also gave me a little plastic bracelet to wear, because you can't be under *bright* lights, like dentist ones or hospital ones, without risking the chemical reaction.)

It took two treatments, and something -- treatment or histo -- has affected the cornea such that I'm developing a cataract there. But they say those are much easier to treat than histo, and it's little, so hey.

As a further note... I never went into any major bat-cave. I just lived in Austin, and saw the bats come out from under the bridge... about once in my life. Apparently grubbing around in the dirt as a kid had enough of the damned fungus. (Which causes, to start, a fever -- just like any other random fever a kid gets. It's only a small percent, according to the research we did, who get any other symptoms, and then it's more likely to be lungs. My lungs were fine when they x-rayed me.)

Comment from: Darth Paradox [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at August 9, 2006 5:13 PM

Personally, 32, I think the "shit" is in there to provide a comfortable cadence to the phrase. "Bat crazy" or "ape crazy" have a slightly uncomfortable shift between the first and second words. But "batshit crazy" just rolls right off the tongue.

And "shit", like "fuck", is just a fun word. Both of them gently slide off the tongue (or more accurately, through the lips and teeth) until brought to a sudden, jarring stop at the end. And this is important - you can draw out the "shhhh" or "ffff" longer depending on how frustrated you are, preparing, and providing a nice bit of intra-verbal tension, for the final stop. It's a satisfying feeling in those situations where you need to use the words.

Try it sometime!

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Remember me?