I can if I want to.

In the car:
Daffodil: “Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.”

Daffodil: “Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.”

Daffodil: “Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.”

Daffodil: “Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.”

Daffodil: “Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.”

Daffodil: “Am I talking too much?”

Me: “No, you’re fine.”

Daffodil: “Because I can be quiet if I want to.”

Me: “Do you want to?”

Daffodil: “No….”

Daffodil: “But I can.”

Daffodil: “Listen:”

Daffodil: ”                                                                                             ”

Daffodil: “See?”


Last night Daffodil and I ate popcorn and watched Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind together. She found it frightening and upsetting in places, but even though in daily life she’s terrified of most insects, what upset her the most was the violence against the Ohmu. The baby Ohm being towed through the air as bait to lure its enraged giant relatives to destroy the valley had her in tears.

Quote of the evening:

Movie: “It’s Lord Yupa! Kill him and you’ll be famous!”

Daffodil: “Aren’t there better ways to be famous?”

Escape From the Salt Mine

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears. I would a tale unfold whose lightest word would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood, make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres, thy knotted and combined locks to part, and each particular hair to stand on end like quills upon the fretful porpentine.

Some little time ago, the wolf being at the door and feeling rather strongly the need to keep the heat on in the middle of winter, I went in search of what is sometimes called ‘gainful employment’, although what is actually to be gained from this eludes me still. Rather, being lured to the vicinity of the Salt Mine with promises of gold and something called ‘work-life balance’, I was set upon by thugs, bound in chains and set to work in a cold, dank cell deep beneath the earth picking salt out of the solid rock with a spork, grain by grain. There I was kept, day after day, scraping away at the stone with my runcible spoon, to the accompaniment of clanking chains, the despairing moans of my fellow inmates, and the screams of those receiving their daily beating. Escape seemed impossible.

Then I noticed that I was becoming thinner. The toil, the stress, and the meager rations were causing the pounds to melt from my frame, and I began to hope that I could slip the gyves from my ankles and effect my departure unnoticed. Such, however, was not to be, as the guards, having experienced this before, were alert to the possibility and began to regularly tighten the bonds that held me. Hopelessness washed over me in a black wave.

And then, one day, chipping away at the rock and thinking that death, at least, would free me from this captivity, a cunning plan blossomed in my despairing brow. Only death, indeed, could save me. I made my plans accordingly.

Biding my time, I waited for the perfect moment. Then, just two days ago, I saw my chance, and acted.  Shuffling along the passage to a new cell, chained, like all the others, to an eighty pound shot, we passed near the edge of the central shaft that plunges hundreds of feet straight down into the earth, ending on a jagged outcropping of granite. Stepping to the brink, I nudged the iron ball over the verge, and a moment later was yanked from my feet and dragged down into the darkness.

The guards, of course, noticed my sudden absence, and shone bright lanterns down into the shaft to see what had become of me. I had, however, cleverly endeavored to strike my head on the rocky outcrop, crushing my skull, and spraying blood and brains everywhere. Seeing my broken body lying in a growing pool of my own blood, still chained to the shot, their suspicions were naturally allayed, and they went about their business of scourging my erstwhile fellow workers.

Waiting until the procession had passed on and I was left in total darkness, I then implemented the rest of my scheme. Quietly, so as not to attract undue attention, I gnawed off my leg, freeing myself from my chains. Having no other use for it, I ate my leg, and strengthened by this nourishing meal, I proceeded with my plan. Scooping up such brains and blood as were within easy reach, along with a fair amount of sand and old bat guano, I stuffed them back into my skull, and climbed, crawled and hopped my way to the surface, and taking advantage of the inattention of my captors, slipped out into the night. Gathering up Princess Daffodil, we hied ourselves to the greenwood, where now we dwell, footloose, as it were, and fancy free, living by our wits, such as they are, and inhaling the clean, fresh scent of Freedom.

Having made my escape a mere two days past, I am still recovering from the trials and privations of the Salt Mine.  However, when my leg grows back and I have had a chance to organize my thoughts, I will return to the task of recording the doings of young Daffodil, AKA Rocket Girl.


Dear Daffodil Fans,

I would like to apologize for the recent lack of new Daffodilia gracing this page. Circumstances have not been conducive to producing new product. Not only does my sentence at the Salt Mine interfere with the more or less constant association we once enjoyed; the soul-sucking horror of it leaves me drained and shaken and hardly in the right frame of mind to write or draw or much of anything at all. Generally, by the time Daffodil’s soothing presence has reduced the stresses of the day to a manageable level, one or two of us is asleep, and then before we know it is time for another day of existential terror and despair. Should I draw, under the circumstance, the result would be more like Hieronymus Bosch than anything.

In the car last night:

Daffodil: “Papa, you look sad.”

Me: “Yes, Daffodil. I had a terrible day with terrible people.”

Daffodil: “But then I come along and make everything better.”

Well, it’s true, but the conditions for producing a steady stream of Monsters and Daffodils still do not, at the moment, pertain. Daffodil is as interesting as ever, but her Boswell has proven a weak reed. Her public must learn to accept the most sporadic of updates until the situation improves.

The Management.

One or two mice ganging agley

I had intended to work out some things on the Rocket Girl project tonight, but events have supervened. I picked up Daffodil this evening after work and took her to the grocery store to get a few supplies. Getting out of the car, she put out her arms and said, “Carry me.” So I picked her up, and as we crossed the parking lot she put her head against my neck and said, “I’m dizzy. I feel like I’m going to fall up to the clouds, and you, too.”

Her head wasn’t hot, and she seemed to be in good humor, but she didn’t want to walk, so I put her in the seat of a shopping cart, something she hasn’t done in a long time. As I went around the store, she gradually slumped over and leaned bonelessly on the handle of the cart. I only needed a few things, so it wasn’t long before we got into the check-out line, and as the cashier began to scan our items, Daffodil, without so much as lifting her head, spewed two or three quarts of diverse nastiness on her arms, her coat, my shoes, and at least as much of the floor as I was able to see.

The cashier was very helpful about it, giving me some paper towels to clean her up a bit, and we skedaddled, leaving the mopping up to others, along with our (my- Daffodil was pretty much passed out) profuse apologies.

After some cleaning and changing and more cleaning and spewing and more cleaning Daffodil is passed out on the futon with Harold and the Purple Crayon to lull her, and I am doing laundry…

Work on Rocket Girl has been suspended for the time being.

Rocket Girl Strikes Again

RG strikes again

So I did some sketches of Daffodil in her new haircut, with a bit of movement toward cartoony cartooning, instead of my usual illegible scrawl. As you can see from the header, there’s still quite a bit of illegible scrawl, but also (besides a moustache that appeared out of nowhere), a certain sort of Popeye feel to some of it. This got me thinking about the various -Punk genres. By their nature, they tend to be somewhat technologically elastic, but it has always seemed to me fairly essential that if you’re doing Steam Punk that the fundamental elements of design belong to the late 19th century- and certainly no later than the outbreak of WWI. Similarly, Diesel Punk seems to require design rooted in the period from 1930 to the end of WWII. Atom Punk, while it draws on elements of sci-fi going back to the 30s, is still quintessentially 50s- up until we got a real space program.

This, obviously, leaves a gap from 1914 to the market crash of 1929, little bits of which sometimes get pulled back into Steam Punk- usually with the effect on yours truly of seeing a Centurion with a wrist watch in Ben Hur. It does not, though (and I confess I don’t really keep up on these things), appear to be ‘a thing’. And no wonder, because there’s no obvious pervasive technological breakthrough to characterize the era. And this would not be important to anyone, except that Daffodil’s haircut is more 20’s than anything…

RG FP sketch2

At any rate, it seems to me that this is an era that could use some punking, and so I’ve started noodling around with what, for want of a better term, I’m calling Flapper Punk. Naturally a bit of John Held, Jr. is in there, and some Elzie Segar, and perhaps a touch of Winsor McCay are likely to creep in, not to mention Rube Goldberg and even some Georges Barbier if I completely lose my mind (which appears imminent). On the upside, it’s an era with style and a certain amount of innate goofiness, on the downside, it is very not-about-rockets. Rickety, yes. Rockety, not so much. So I will just have to see what sort of rickety rockets and ramshackle robots I can come up with.

RG FP Sketch

Rocket Girl

Rocket Girl

The origins of Rocket Girl are shrouded in mystery. Well, not to me, but there are some things that are better left to the imagination. Suffice it to say that when Daffodil was a very tiny thing circumstances arose that lead to this cognomen, which in turn lead to me writing a little song by the same name which, if you are very, very lucky, I will not at some future date record and post to this blog.

So, having a perfectly good theme song already in the can, it seems unavoidable that at some point I should do a Rocket Girl story, and it seems that this is, more or less, that point. A month or so ago I started giving the idea some consideration, and at that point I was thinking of doing it as an Atom Punk piece, with big Cadillac fins and bubble space helmets, and I did a couple of sketches to notate the general idea. I wasn’t all that thrilled.

Rocket Girl 1

So, after musing on the question a bit, I tried some Diesel Punk ideas. A bit more on the Indiana Jones end of things. Maybe a little better, although I hadn’t got around to designing any machinery yet, which in a project like this is fairly important for the overall look and feel.


After that, I started to think, well, why not go whole hog and go Steam Punk?  I’ve been a big Steam Punk fan since seeing the original Wild, Wild West tv show and a rash of Jules Verne-based movies in my youth. So I messed around with that a little bit, and about this time Management sprang for the tablet (A Surface Pro 3, running Sketchbook Pro, if anyone cares). So I started messing about on that a little too (see header).

RG SP 1b

And then, of course, Daffodil got her hair cut.

Now, normally a haircut is just a haircut, but this one has repercussions. A bob is just not Steam Punk. The ‘punk’ in Steam Punk is, of course, all about taking liberties with reality, but it remains essential to have some stylistic integrity, or what have you got? So, do I use the ‘old Daffodil’ with her knotted and combined locks, like quills upon the fretful porpentine, or skip back to Atom Punk?

Changes Ahead, Changes Afoot

Changes Ahead

A variety of changes are underway here at the Global International Headquarters of Monsters And Daffodils Inc.

One change which is, in a manner of speaking, both ahead and already complete, is that Daffodil has had a haircut, and is now sporting a neat bob with bangs. The idea, under discussion with various authorities for some little time, being to tame her raging and disordered locks, the deed was done last week. This will, of course, require various stylistic updates to MAD, among the many others planned or contemplated. Lest anyone fear that a mere haircut has quelled Daffodil’s unruly spirit, be assured that if anyone can add an element of windblown madness to a short bob, it’s Daffodil.

Technology is coming to MAD as well. As foreshadowed elsewhen, the circumstance of life have made working with traditional media very difficult for the Author, and production has been plummeting. So, Management, going out on a fiscal limb, has disbursed, frittered, blown, and/or wisely invested a considerable sum of money it does not actually possess on a ridiculously expensive tablet that it hopes will launch MAD vigorously into the 21st Century and make it possible to actually get stuff done. So far, of course, this has merely created more delays in production while the workforce attempts to adjust to the new methods, which, for ancients such as ourselves, used to operating with tools and materials like paint brushes and canvases, seems a lot like pushing snot on glass with a stick. Results will, eventually, be forthcoming.

Also ahead, some changes in format for MAD. While we will continue to present random smatterings of Daffodilisms and episodes of My Little Art director, current activities at the Salt Mine have made these offerings more difficult to produce regularly. Thus, Management has decided to explore some additional products that the workforce can address without the painful necessity of remember exactly what Daffodil said for the day or two it often now takes to get the opportunity to record it.

Two of the projects now under consideration are a Rocket Girl (back story to follow) serial, and a Princess Daffodil serial, either of which may ultimately become books. A bit of preliminary sketching has taken place on Rocket Girl, set back somewhat by the recent Hair Cut. In the coming days I hope to share some of this with my Gentle and Discerning Readers, and hope you will provide some feedback about the various possible directions the project may take.

A Star Is Born. Or Not.

Princess Daffodil is sick today. She has a fever that goes up and down, and something of a sore throat, but not sufficient to make red spots or large swellings. All in all, she is in languid good humor, mostly watching Harold and the Purple Crayon and critiquing his sartorial choices.

(Daffodil: “Papa, why is he wearing those footies?”

Me: “He’s supposed to be in bed, sleeping.”

Daffodil: “Yeah, but why is he wearing THOSE footies?”)

Also, some time in the last week, she has decided she wants to be on TV.

(Daffodil: “Papa, I want to be on TV.”)

She is contemplating strategies to achieve this:

Daffodil: “Papa, can we put something on America’s Funny Videos?”

Me: “I don’t think we have anything to put on America’s Funny Videos.”

Daffodil: “I could fall in the toilet. I would do that.”

This script has been axed by the suits at the pre-production meeting and sent back to development.