#takedown – a new comic book by David Blumenstein

This is the cover of my new comic!


On November 6 last year, I went down to St Kilda Pier to wait for Julien Blanc to arrive. He’s an American “pro” pick-up artist (PUA). He teaches men how to meet women. After learning from him, he says, “you will know step-by-step what to do in all situations”.

If you’re in Japan, for example, you might do as he does: chat with some girls, playfully grab them by the neck, pull their heads close to your crotch. They might flinch or giggle nervously, but “all you have to say to kinda like take the pressure off is just yell ‘Pikachu’ or ‘Pokemon’ or ‘Tamagotchi’ or something.”


I enjoy making fun of pick-up artists, their silly codenames and their cryptic jargon, but their “sarging” tactics are sometimes pretty disturbing. And many guys, whether they know it or not, have female friends who’ve been hassled by these guys — sometimes the result is funny, sometimes wearying (they are generally taught not to take “no” for an answer) and, sometimes, frightening.

But I’m a dude, so I get why we might go to hear a guy like Julien speak. And not everything PUAs teach is bunk. Like with any self-help cult, there’s bits of useful, sensible information in there — mixed in with worrying stuff which has a lot of anger at its heart.

Like other small groups*, PUAs form tight-knit, often online-based communities which, when whipped into a defensive frenzy (defrenzy™) can have difficulty understanding the problems outsiders might have with them.

Some of them are pretty nasty online. But I wanted to see Julien in person, hear what he had to say and meet some guys who listen to him. So I signed up to attend his free seminar!

#takedown is about the people I talked to on the pier while we waited for our hero/villain to arrive.

EDIT: why not tell people when/how they can get it? Good idea, David.

Pikitia Press is launching several new books they are publishing or distributing on March 27 at Silent Army Storeroom in Melbourne (these being DRAWN ONWARD by Matt Madden, MOWGLI’S MIRROR by Olivier Schrauwen, BLAMMO 8 1/2 by Noah Van Sciver, GUZUMO by Matt Emery and #TAKEDOWN by me). You can pick up an early copy there (we’re doing a small run just for the launch).

Alternatively, you’ll be able to buy it online from Pikitia Press (if you’re a retailer or a library, why not do this?), and then it’ll be available in bookshops from May.

Graphic novel, day 942

I haven’t done much on me “graphic novel” (a.k.a. “longer comic”) this year, but pulled all the ideas together and started to get a story structure and character designs happening over Christmas.

It’s about a cult leader learning on the job (there’s no university course that I know of).

These are people he learns from, people he’s jealous of, people whose lives he fucks up, people who fuck him up.

It’s probably called Sciensatics now, and you can add it to the list of Things David May Yet Finish.

— DB

Old/young versions of a man who'd probably end you if he got the chance

Old/young versions of a man who’d probably end you if he got the chance

Potential victim

Potential victim

A potential threat to the Empire

A potential threat to the Empire

A varying group of skills and attitudes

A varying group of skills and attitudes

Woman with sass

Woman with sass

Various bastards

Various bastards

Young and old versions of highly objective woman

Young and old versions of highly objective woman

F. Howard Handler, future cult leader, and yet-unnamed major character

F. Howard Handler, future cult leader, and yet-unnamed major character

Scribing about scribing

“Scribing”, otherwise known as “graphic recording”, “graphic facilitation”, etc, is where an event is captured, often in real time, by an artist using words and pictures. You can be employed to do this, though I often do it on paper for my own benefit at conferences or talks I attend.

This year I’ve had more work in this field, so I was asked to speak on a “Graphic Recording” panel at the Australian Cartoonists Association’s Stanleys Conference this past weekend. Because I’m less expert at it than the other participants (Sarah Firth, Luke Watson and Glen Le Lievre), I asked if I could just scribe the panel itself rather than speak. This was the result!

Scribing about scribing - result of a panel at the ACA's Stanleys conference, Nov 2014

Hopefully you get an idea of the content of the panel, which was really well received. The very funny Peter Berner came up and asked me some questions about it afterwards, so hopefully we’ll be seeing him doing some scribing soon (he’d be uniquely well-equipped for it)!

Someone asked if we tend to “editorialise” while we draw. I said that I definitely do (unless I’m asked not to). I certainly did above. The editorial is bound up in the process of understanding what we’re scribing. If we don’t get it (which happens when we’re thrown into a situation with no context and loads of jargon/acronyms), you end up with lots of words and arrows and clouds and stuff but not much rhyme or reason to it. If we understand the topic, you get a better result (and I can start making jokes)…

I’m in (on) MAD!

First issue of MAD Magazine I ever read was Australian MAD, issue 283, with a Derryn Hinch cover by Peter Broelman. I was hooked for years, going back and picking up loads of old issues full of brilliant art by favourites like Jack Davis, Paul Coker, “Duck” Edwing, Don Martin, Sam Viviano… I still have them all. They taught me about important people like Spiro Agnew and Tammy Faye Bakker.

It took 26 years, but I finally got up the nerve to hassle Australian MAD myself. You’ll find my first contribution on the back of the current issue, #487! Here’s how to read it:

How to read my first contribution to Australian MAD


You can imagine how proud I am to have created something that will be visible, scuffed and bent, in dusty closets and on bathroom floors for years to come!