Upbeat Man™, World’s Most Upbeat Superhero, Gets Out of Bed

Comics, Merch, Motivational

upbeat-man-bed

Buy this image on clothing and stuff.

Need motivation? Take it one step at a time. Focus on the positive. Be like…Upbeat Man, World’s Most Upebeat Superhero.

Concept: Walt Jaschek. Art and dialogue: Bill Lux. © Walt and Bill. Upbeat Man™ is a registered trademark. Not a member, FDIC.

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“Happy New Year”: A True Walt Story, In Progress.

Comics, Creator-Owned, In-Progress

happynewyear-rickburchett1

happynewyear-rickburchett-page2

First two pages of a autobiographical story. Script and lettering: me.

Pencils and inks: comics master Rick Burchett of Webster Groves.

This needs completing. Kickstarter is calling.

Rinse and Spit: A Comic For Dentists and Dental Staff

Comic Strips, Spec

rinse-and-spit

My buddy, St. Louis illustrator Chuck Hart, saw an ad from a trade magazine for dentists and dental staff, seeking a comic strip about “daily life in the dental office.” I suggested “Rinse & Spit,” and wrote sample strips. Chuck drew this one as the pilot. Still waiting for word from the dental mag. Come on, this strip could go on as long as a root canal.

Squirrel Squad™ Cheers on the Cardinals

Comics, Creator-Owned, posters

squirrel-squad

St. Louis comics artist Lorenzo Lizana and I created The Squirrel Squad™ a fews years ago for a pitch to a cartoon network. They didn’t bite, which we thought squirrelly, but  we had fun using them on this poster urging on the St. Louis Cardinals in a 2012 World Series race. (Squirrels were a thing for the Cards then. You can Google it.) 

Amazing Tech Predictions from 1978, Come True!

Musings, Nostalgia, Technology

“Must…have…now!,” I exclaimed, as I whisked this 1978 Newsweek from atop a stack of vintage, disco-era magazines at a nearby Antique Mall. Cost: $1, same as cover price in ’78! Are you kidding? A deal to reveal… “TV of Tomorrow!”

newsweek-1978-cover-lowrez

I am mesmerized by the meticulously rendered M. Kunstler cover, with its Bruce McCall-like images of a nuclear family at play. But more so, I gasped at the cover’s eerie, uncannily accurate prescience regarding details of Our Modern Digital World.

Hold onto your Roller Derby helmet! This painting predicts:

1. Our ability to summon Uber and other ride-sharing services while tracking driver proximity.


2. Remote-controlled drones.


3. The iPhone 10. (You heard it here first.)


4. Our growing acceptance of recreational marijuana.


5. The breech at Ashley Madison and revelations of passion gone awry.


6. The announcement that Will Ferrell will soon start in a tennis dramedy. (True and coming soon.)


7. Ghost photobombs.


8. The perennial popularity of vinyl. (Vinyl? Still around? That can’t be right.)

But, bravo, Newsweek, for this unnervingly accurate, telescopic view of tech today from 1978, the year of “Grease,” “Superman” and “National Lampoon’s Animal House.” Let’s download those films by thought control, shall we?

Meanwhile, there is one futuristic, tech object I can’t identify in the shot.

I mean:

What the heck is THIS?

Perhaps the future isn’t completely knowable.

Walt Jaschek is obviously a futurist.

After Working 5 Consecutive, 12-Hour Days…

Retail, Walt a Life, Weekends

(…as did fiancé Randy and me…)

…we gave ourselves the ultimate Saturday morning reward.

Of course I’m talking about a trip to…

randy-walt-costco

Walt Jaschek is being sarcastic. But we did go to Costco.

Dick Tracy original sketch, signed by Chester Gould

Autographs, Comic Strips, Flashbacks, Original Comic Art

dick-tracy1

Calling Dick Tracy! In 1969, a ninth-grader in Jennings, Missouri, sends a fan letter to Chester Gould, Tracy‘s creator, and a week later, opens the mail to find this personalized sketch and note! The delighted recipient (one “Walt Jaschek,” seemingly) immediately alerts his friends via Two-Way Wrist Radio. Okay, that part’s not true. But the masterful, ink-on-bristol sketch (about 4″ x 10″) holds an honored place in my office still today.

One lesson, as I see it. If you like somebody’s work…

Write a nice letter!

11 Signs We’re Writing Too Many List Posts

Content Writing, Musings

list-post

Ah, numbered lists! As content, they’re proven link-bait; they’re merciful on readers’ eyes; and they’re an easy, go-to structure – maybe a little too “go-to” – for me and my fellow content writers. Here are 11 signs we might be addicted to writing list posts.

1. We keep a list of list posts we intend to write.

2. We tell our spouses or partners, “Here are six things you can do to turn me on tonight – and one you’ll have to figure out yourself.”

3. We’d rewrite the title of “Four Weddings and a Funeral” to “Four Weddings and A Funeral You Won’t Believe.”

4. For background music while writing lists, we listen to a Spotify playlist of Franz Liszt.

5. We are bummed Listly.com is already taken. It was on our “domains-to-buy” list.

6. We get a secret thrill when Microsoft Word automatically puts a numeral or letter in front of our lists. How does it know?

7. We spend lunch thinking of “50 New Ways to Leave Your Lover.” But we can’t get further than #22, “Use the Lyft app, Hap.”

8. We try to recall the exact list of reasonsNobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.”

9. We are envious of recipe posts because they by nature get to include ingredient lists. Damn them!

10. Our Bucket Lists include doing a podcast of Celebrity Bucket Lists. (Actually, I’d listen to that.)

11. To see this last, surprising sign, download my ebook… Just kidding. I don’t have an ebook to download. 

Yet.

 Walt Jaschek has #11 on his list.

Marvel’s No-Prize: Yes, I Won One.

Comics, Flashbacks, Musings

noprize

Memory. 1968. Eighth grade. An envelope arrives from Marvel Comics! In it, another envelope. A No-Prize! Bestowed by then editor-in-chief Stan Lee, who created the No-Prize as a running joke in Marvel Comics letter columns. I wrote a published letter deemed worthy of a No-Prize — and no prize I’ve won since compares.

“Congratulations,” it says. “This envelope contains a genuine Marvel Comics No-Prize which you have just won. Handle with Care.” I did, through the decades. That’s a pic I shot recently. The outer envelope (from 625 Madison Avenue, New York, 10022) has yellowed. The No-Prize itself… is mint. 

Walt’s Copywriting Process (Sort of.)

Process Posts

After decades of writing marketing copy and content in every medium in our time-space continuum, including branded fortune cookies (really,) I have been asked about my “copywriting process.” For visual learners, I try to capture it in this bar chart.

walt-copywriting-process

Aaaaand repeat.

Wow, look at all that red. I guess self-pity is the most colorful kind of pity.

Oh, I’m kidding, for the most part.

But not the whole part.

Walt Jaschek promises more process charts soon. Let’s hope his short-term memory holds out.

How do you pronounce “Jaschek?”

Walt a Life

Q&A with Walt Jaschek about the pronunciation of “Jaschek.” Good luck.

walt-jaschek-4seasons

Q. How do you pronounce Jaschek?

A. Well, much of my family here in the U.S., including parents, pronounces the “s-c-h” combination as an “s” sound, like ja-sic, with a short “a” sound, as if to rhyme with “classic.”

Q. But you do not pronounce it that way?

A. No.

Q. Why is that? 

A. During college, I started to embrace that odd “sch” consonant combination as a “shhhhh” sound, like the “sch” in Schwab or Dr. Scholls or Anheuser Busch, makers of Busch Light, thinking that this would actually help pronunciation, not hinder.

Q. So did it help, then?

A. Not at all.

Q. Is it true that your high school gym teacher would call you “JAZZ-check” in a high-pitched nasal, and that you felt that “JAZZ-check” was some alternate version of yourself that ran laps in a jock?

A. That is true. How did you get that information?

Q. We hear things.

A. Hmmm.

Q. Do you often see your name misspelled as Jassik, Jasik, Jashek, Jaschek or Yashek?

A. It’s like you’re reading my mind.

Q. You know, in its original, Germanc language, the “j” would be pronounced like a “y.” 

A. True.

Q. So you do it that way?

A. I can’t really yustify that. I mean, justify that.

Q. So, in that case: how DO you pronounce “Jaschek”?

A. Me?

Q. Yes. 

A. I have no idea.

Q. [Sigh.] 

A: I was hoping you knew.

[SFX: Muted trombone.]

Walt Jaschek pronounces life “fun.”

Is Paul Blart based on Mel Cool: Mall Cop?™

Comic Movies, Comics, FAQS

mel-cool-freeze

Mel Cool: Mall Cop.™ Copy and layouts: Walt Jaschek. Art: Don Secrease.

Is Paul Blart based on Mel Cool: Mall Cop?

The short answer: not as far as we know or can legally prove. In fact, bless that Paul Blart. Somebody had to be “the” Mall Cop in pop culture. He won.

But here’s a longer Q&A with Walt Jaschek about that, originally published in 2009, when the movie was coming out but more than a decade after Mel Cool: Mall Cop was published.

Q: Are you and your collaborators getting a piece of the action from the new movie “Paul Blart: Mall Cop?”

Walt: No.

Q: Why is that?

Walt: Paul Blart: Mall Cop is not (as far as we know or can legally prove) based on Mel Cool: Mall Cop®, the long-running comicbook and web series created by Don Secrease and me in 1995, even though there was both a Mel Cool feature film screenplay and a cartoon series pilot script floating around Hollywood for years.

Q: What is your reaction to that?

Walt: Existential sadness mixed with raging anger.

Q: Really?

Walt: No, I’m just playin’ with you.

Q: What?

Walt: I’m cool with it. Mel Cool with it.  I’m philosophical about the whole thing.

Q: “Philosophical?”

Walt: Yes. In fact, let me put on this toga.  [Rummages through a box of costumes, looking for the toga.]

Q: [While he does so.] But you just said there was a completed screenplay…

A. [Still rummaging.] There was. Cary Anderson and I wrote the story, based on the comic; Cary wrote the screenplay. Paul Fey produced. It’s a funny script. But in Hollywood, you gotta be your own agent and work the thing on a daily basis. I was in St. Louis, Cary is in Baltimore, and Paul has World Wide Wadio to run.

Q: Quit rummaging.

Walt: [Finds toga, puts it on.] Ah, here it is! My philosophy is, “live and learn.”

Q: All that for that?

Walt: “Live and learn.” To the victor, the spoils. That is, to the first one to actually get a star and a deal and Happy Meal tie-ins, the spoils. Have we gleaned nothing from “Entourage”? Next time we bring a comedy concept to Hollywood, we dig in like a pit bulls on amphetamines.

QYou have more movie-worthy comedy concepts?

Walt: What, are you kidding me? I’d tell you, but…

Q: …you’d have to kill me?

Walt: [stares at him from an angle]  No, but what an odd thing to say.

Q: [quickly changes subject] So: you’re not bitter about Paul Blart and you’re not suing?

Walt: No. I really think it’s just great comic minds thinking alike. The movie looks really funny, actually. Kevin James. He knows from funny.

Q: Any sales of your work in the wake of publicity from the movie?

Walt: We’ve sold one comicbook, one t-shirt, and made about 46 cents in AdSense revenue.

Q: So it looks as if you’re raking in some dough from the whole Mall Cop thing, after all.

Walt: Praise the mall gods. There are mall gods, you know.

Q: We believe you. Um, are you going to leave that toga on?

Walt: Yes. I think it’s flattering to my shape.

Q: Thank you, Walt.

Walt: You’re welcome, Q.

Walt Jaschek has created and co-created other comics, such as those Dang Gnats!

Walt Goes (Or IS) Mid-Century Modern

Appearances, Plugs, Walt a Life

waltjaschek-midcenturymodernPopped into Porona Pasta in downtown St. Louis today. ❤️’d cool concept, delish food and Atomic Dust branding, including this wall: It’s mid-century modern! Like me! (In fact, my birth year, “55,” is in the photo. See it?)