Thursday, April 24, 2014

"Progress Report" New Blog...

I've done what I threatened to do, and that is start another Blog devoted strictly to showing my more offbeat  artwork.  It's live now with its first posting at  I encourage you all to join up there publicly so I'll have an idea how much time & energy to devote to it.

In fact there's so much unseen artwork I intend to display there that I had to start way back at the beginning of 2013.

In the meantime, here's two seriously new projects due out soon...

 "Madame Tarantula Futurewest" collects all Madame Tarantula Comics to date plus some new material.

"Deep Space" is not only a gallery of recent ink drawings, but also offers technical instruction and custom perspective grids for artists.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Over and Out...

I was talking to someone about self-promotion the other day, and they said "Why don't you get a Blog?"  You guys know I have a Blog, but it's rarely for self-promotion.  The whole idea of self-promotion can get slippery fast.  And I have to wrestle with it almost all the time.

In a sense everyone's self-promoting in a way, but some are more guilty than others in how they do it.  Or maybe more importantly, the WHY they're doing it.  It's only a matter of degree between some huge celebrity on a magazine cover and a kid with three chords and a guitar and no audience-- it obviously feeds the Ego.  And that can easily become a dangerous habit, a loop, so sometimes all the rest of Reality sorta fades away.

You can now start your own publishing business without paying creators anything.

"Devil's Due Digital" is a company run by one Mark Thompson, who continued selling downloads of my comics after our contract expired in 2013.  He has worked hard to rip people off, like myself, and to earn an "F" rating with the Better Business Bureau for it.  Stay away from him, kids.

So I recently had to contact Amazon, Comixology, Barnes & Noble and a bunch of other venues and ask they remove all the stuff Thompson was selling.  And not paying me for, incidentally.  It took almost all afternoon one day, that I could've been using instead to madly promote myself.

I really don't want to fight with people, not anymore anyway, but this Devil's Due Digital thing was like someone literally robbing you.  And you can't sue Thompson, coz he's hiding all the time.  No one knows where he is, even Intelius can't find a decent address for him.

 A newly-reformatted music album by the Von Hoffman Orchestra.

On another note, many of you know of my "Monster University" properties, which began in 2002 or so.  There have been three full music albums, a half-hour cartoon, plus some comics, prints, and other merch. The songs are some of the best work I've ever done, I think.  It's sold steadily for years, especially around Halloween.  Remember?  Remember?

Well, nowadays you can Google "Monster University" and none of that stuff appears.  I mean NONE OF IT.  All you get is Pixar's "Monsters University".  And the boat slowly sinks under the waves.

Nowadays a green circle can be a character.

Now, I'm not saying they ripped off my idea, but think about my side of it.  What if it were you? 

Never mind that there's also a Japanese "Squid Girl" cartoon on in America now, after I went and created one waayy back in 2001.  Mine is called "Squid Girl" too.  Another amazing coincidence.

 The two Squid Girls meet.

I guess what I'm getting at is that I'm pretty tired of the whole "entertainment" thing.  And it's not just that I'm not richer or more famous.  I want to create things and have freedom to do so, but I can't wear all the hats.  I don't know why I thought I ever could.

So rather than talk to you all, I could just can it and start another Blog just for "promotion".

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Beauty Standard...

I've made quite a few notes recently about topics I want to write about here, but I confess I'm falling behind.  I know folks are reading these entries, but of course it's a job to write them and I don't really get much back except tons of glory.

One such topic is my new theory concerning Standards of Beauty.  We all think we know what "beauty" is, personally, but also our culture tries to tell us what's beautiful, too.  Trying to nail it down actually can be confusing.  But I'm not so confused anymore.

Did you know that in parts of China, enormous ears on women are considered the apex of beauty? I can't even get a handle on that.  Pardon the joke.

Or it could be foot-binding, tribal scarring, breast implants, neck-rings, lip-plates, tattoos or you name it.  Then there are the Actions of Beauty, which in our culture can mean doing your best imitation of an object. Or if you're here in Wisconsin, using the word "like"  multiple times in every sentence.  That is like, so, like, attractive.

 A random Money-Honey picked from the hat of today's Fashion.

So everything is beautiful, and it really is, even all the karmic blemishes and societal pock-marks of collective Humanity, but I also think we need to be really, really careful and observant about who's trying to decide these things for us.  After all, there's big, big money in Beauty.

Your Beauty could launch a thousand ships, for example.  You could have a pyramid built in your honor.  You might get paid six figures or more to be a model or actress that fits the weird genetic roulette beauty ideal thingie we have now.  Men could actually be beautiful. It could all get confusing fast, and scary too, but never fear, you have Hoffy here to bail you out.

Another prisoner of an aesthetic.

Basically, part 1 of the Theory is this:  Beauty is everywhere and omnipresent, in a flower, a sunset, a cracked pavement block, a Downs Syndrome child's smiling face, and even the hideous scarring that occurs at your friendly local plastic surgeon's office as you seek answers to the aesthetic issues that drive your mysterious life.  Beauty is blue baby barf, or your lips locking onto a damp cigarette butt you picked up off the street.

Part 2 says that in the hierarchy of power, the force of money drives domination.   So, your homespun, quirky and likely unfashionable concepts of Beauty mean nothing without adequate funding.  As a spectator to all this, you are continually devalued, even as an object, your basic humanity unrecognized and therefore nonexistent.

And with any value that equates to money, the system must be rigged, and it is, towards scarcity.  We already apply the idea of scarcity to precious metals, like gold, and to diamonds and other rarities.  In fact, whole nations economies' are backed up & based on these "rarities".  But you can't eat or breathe gold, and diamonds ain't bringing grandma back either.

Worried? Keep your valuables inside another valuable.

So in the current Beauty market, there must be SCARCITY.  "Average"-looking people on streetcorners simply can't qualify.  They have no backers.  Forget that little kids' feelings get totally tromped on during this whole process, that little girls are flooding and verily overflowing shrinks' offices today, infected with serious body-perception issues they've picked up--somewhere.  Push that from your mind.

This is why the most popular (re: highly paid) actresses today look like some sort of bony giraffe/human genetic hybrid.  It's a little freakish.  But that is how it works: again, SCARCITY.  Beauty must be RARE at all costs.  If it were really common as dirt (which it is) our whole system would collapse.

But that's coming, too.

I'd add that while assembling a few images to illustrate this entry, I Googled "Beauty" and "Cosmetic Mutilation".  Either one is apt to completely creep you out.  Even worse, the line between them gets blurry fast.

How do we un-explain all this to our children?