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  November 01, 2007 | Oil Asanas « Previous | Current | Next » Comments (1) | Archives | About Email lind at

While doing research for this cartoon, I came across some startling images of the machinery we are using to squeeze the last, precious bit of fossil fuels from the Earth. Below is of the largest earth mover ever built (see this blog for more info on Energy Monsters). It's for coal mining and looks like something conjured by a nightmarishly dystopic science fiction novel.

The trucks used for oil sands are enough to make any three-year-old attain Tonka Toy nirvana.

But the landscapes created by our machines are hell on Earth. I am planning number of cartoons on Alberta's oil sands, so I won't rant too much here. The more I read about what oil companies are doing in Athabasca, the more ghastly Canada's economic dependence on this wanton destruction looks. As Rick Salutin wrote last Friday:

Peter Mansbridge furrows his brow but doesn't wonder why a country without workers who make anything has to pay higher markups on iPods than America does. We're on the way back to producing only what we always did: unprocessed resources like oil, wheat and wood. But the knowledge purveyors prefer to focus on the cost of Levis, obscuring rather than exploring any connection between making and buying.

What will an all-retail economy look like, when that day arrives? My stretch of College Street in Toronto is pretty much restaurants and caf├ęs, rarely broken by even a futon store or 7-Eleven. Can a society survive by serving each other lattes? People rise in the morning, go to their posts and start feeding the customers. But everyone does it, so they're all running in and out, serving and being served. I have to finish this croissant so I can rush back and make you a falafel.

But at least our high loonie makes us feel good about ourselves -- strong and full of positive thoughts -- while we busily drain our lakes and raze our forests to mine oil from sand. And when our water, forests and oil are gone, we'll be left with our positive thoughts but not much positive left to think about.

This is a funny article:

What happened when I followed The Secret's advice for two months

Time is the best editor. I reworked the Harper on panel 5 from an initial pencil sketch that I thought had more spontaneity, drawn directly on the computer using the pencil sketch as a template, something I usually never do. Now, in retrospect, I prefer the pen-and-ink drawing above for that panel that I replaced. It looks more fleshed out and rounded.

Earworm: Middle of Nowhere by Hot Hot Heat, from Victoria, BC.



You can see a more extensive portfolio of my work at the blog, including This Bright Future, a distilled and partial continuation of Weltschmerz, Turtle Creek, a daily comic about a turtle and a computer, and Footprint in Mouth, a quarterly cartoon I draw for Alternatives.

Weltschmerz in Print

Weltschmerz ran in Toronto's Eye Weekly from 1997 to 2007. It ran in weekly papers in southwestern Ontario, Ottawa and Edmonton between 1995 and 2008.

Notes on Writing a Comic Strip

I wrote this 17-page, 4 MB PDF document for my workshop at the 2006 Eden Mills Writers' Festival. It details the creation of one strip and gives tips on writing comics.

Politics and Environment

Monbiot | Guardian columnist and Heat author George Monbiot's blog. Not only about global warming, but expect plenty of refutations of the flat-earthers. His writing is witty, incisive and bang-on.

Desmog Blog | An indispensible (and Canadian) resource that "clears the PR pollution that clouds climate science."


Weltschmerz playlist at CBC Radio 3 | Some of the music I listen to while drawing this comic -- independent and Canadian.

This American Life | Radio documentaries that hit the heart, brain and funny bone.

CBC Podcasts | I don't listen to much live radio. Now, podcasts allow me to catch a lot of what I miss. I listen to The Current, Ideas, Spark and Search Engine while inking.


Diesel Sweeties by R Stevens | Witty repartee between guys, girls and robots drawn in a pixelated yet surprisingly versatile style.

Scott Pilgrim Manga-style indie-rock romance by Canadian Bryan Lee O'Malley | The most fun I've had in a comic book in recent memory. Highly recommended.

Dykes to Watch Out For | Alison Bechdel's brilliant weekly strip has been ghettoized because of its gay themes but deserves a wider readership.

Doonesbury | Garry Trudeau is still great after all these years.

Kevin Heuzenga | Enviable drawing style and dry wit. Start with Time Travelling.

Graeme MacKay | The editorial cartoonist for the Hamilton Spectator has a distinctive, addictive drawing style. And he makes me chortle.

Friends and Neighbours

Blog Guelph | Hometown photos and events.

The Narrative | Riveting photoblog. Matt O'Sullivan is at the right place at the right shutter speed.

Breast of Canada | A calendar promoting women's health.

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