Arizona: The Land Of Meth Heads and Unopened Star Trek Toys

Mouths Within Mouths

I’m currently in Arizona. Not by choice, mind you. I’m here out of familial obligation. The simultaneous happenings of my sister’s birthday and my partner’s mother’s birthday was enough to lure us back into the rattlesnake infested, drug addled wasteland that is Tucson.

Arizona, where I was born and raised, is not my favorite place. Partially due to the massive amount of time I’ve spent here, and partially due to the unsavory individuals I’ve encountered within the boarders of the Union’s Most Bigoted state.

There are two things that constantly shock me about Arizona. 1) People here don’t change. Every time I return to this state I inevitably encounter people I know and they’re always doing the same thing. They’re always working some dead end job. It’s like the entire state has convinced itself that it needs to be doing whatever it is that they’re doing. Even if what they’re doing is working at a gas station. 2) There are Star Trek figures at every store in Tucson. Not the cool Art Asylum ones either. The crappy big-headed Playmates ones. They’re everywhere. I don’t know if a batch of collectors died and their relatives have been dumping their TNG and DS9 toys and local used book stores or if people are finally getting older and realizing that these toys aren’t “going to put their kids through college”.

Arizona’s a weird place. It’s flat, dry, and, obviously, fucking hot. There’s nothing to do here. The positive side of the fact that life here is so uneventful is that it necessitates self reflection. The topography of the social terrain requires the inhabitant to administer self-diagnostics. When you’re born and raised in Arizona, you’re forced to evaluate yourself and what you want out of your existence because there’s literally nothing else to do.

Due to the harsh social terrain of Arizona, individuals who spend any significant amount of time here develop social adaptations. They become predators. They grow psychic barbs and talons. People who live and survive in the desert do so because they’re conditioned for it. They’re psychic vultures.

The desert is an inhospitable place to attempt to subsist. Everything is constantly attempting to kill you. Literally and metaphorically.

All that being said, this trip has been really nice. Ever since cutting a few people out of my social circle my level of happiness has skyrocketed.

Honesty is key. Vulnerability is a commodity. It’s these exchanges of dark secrets that cements a friendship. I’ve developed deep rooted connections with people in this place. There’s something about existing in a pack of wolves that helps you to appreciate the other sheep, if that makes any sense.

Tucson, and Arizona in general, is a mixed bag of awful and joy. Obviously, my family lives here. Some of my closest friends have chosen to remain here. However, the overwhelming stillness of life here is debilitating. Possibly, it’s my inability to let go of the traumas that I’ve endured while living here, but sadness echoes in the place. In Los Angeles, life is full and vibrant. It’s almost overloaded with color. I have an amazing partner who I go on swashbuckling adventures with. I have friends and adopted family who are intelligent and creative. In Tucson everything is brown, slow, and slightly decayed.

Arizona feels like another lifetime. It feels like when I moved away from this place I died and was reborn. And every time I come back here I’m forced to confront the ghost of who I was.

The first question I get asked at parties and social functions in Hollywood is inevitably “where are you from?” because no one in L.A. is actually from there. I’m always forced to spit out ‘Arizona’. It never feels right. I don’t consider this place my home. I don’t consider myself from here. It’s the place I was born and then left.


Dave Baker

Tucson, Az 2013

In Space, No One Can Hear You Be A Bigot

What’s the plural of Kaiju? 

You know what’s been missing from the tried and true western genre? Monsters. Big stumpy monsters. Like Godzilla. Can you imagine a book that had a cool stoic western protagonist and tons of stomps monsters? Man, I wish there were more comics like that. I guess I’ll just have to make some. Well, that is to say Nick Diaz and I will have to make some.

Along with Action Hospital, my day job of writing commercials, and the screenplay I’m writing right now, I’m working on a Kaiju western with artist extraordinaire Nick Diaz.


Nick has done work for Archana and Moonstone in addition to drawing some comics for a middle eastern comics publisher. That’s right. Nick’s made comics in the middle east. How rad is that?

 old west mustache, FOR THE WIN!

old west mustache, FOR THE WIN!

Anyway, Nick and I have put our heads together and are currently in the middle of creating a western/kaiju epic titled Creaturelands.



Just take a second and look over these character sketches. How good is Nick? How amazing are his monsters? Super pimp, right? Yeah, super pimp.
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Nick and I are plugging along with Creaturelands. Hopefully, we’ll have some finished products to show you soon. Currently, Nick is about five pages away from finishing the first issue. We should be selling it to a publisher/setting it up as a webcomic/or whatever we’re going to do with it after that.

Nick is a work horse, man. You should see the detailed thumbnails that he sends me. His thumbnails are almost as impressive as his finished pages. The guy really puts his back into everything he produces.

I’m so thankful to have him as one of my collaborators.


Action Possible and the Progress of the Hospital! 

Robert is still working on his layouts and I’m about 1/3 of the way through my Action Hospital script.


Writing comics is hard. Drawing comics is hard. Writing and drawing comics is like giving birth. You’re constantly questioning yourself. Why did I write this scene this way? Why did I set it in this location. I suck at drawing this location. Why didn’t I set it in a different location. What is my problem?!

Like I said: I’m a glutton for punishment.

photo copy

That all being said, I’m pretty happy with the way things are progressing. I’m not hating the work I’m putting down on paper. I’m not unhappy with the script. I’m just slowly working through it. I’m hoping to have this all wrapped up next week so that I can move from the pencils to the inks.


She Said With A Strangely Nasal Voice

My journey with the starship Voyager is progressing and I’m starting to Love/Hate it.

So far in the first five episodes the show seems obsessed with the idea of reflections. In theory this isn’t a bad idea. The concept of reflections serving as a visual metaphor for the fact that Voyager is the fourth tv show to carry on the legacy of the Star Trek legacy. The fact that these various franchise installments mimic and imitate each other is analogous to the reflections concept. It’s a really great idea for commenting meta textually on the various permutations that the franchise has gone through.

However, it’s pretty terrible in execution. Nearly each one of the first five episodes has dealt with a reflection of the Voyager in someway. For example, the Voyager drops out of warp due to a distress beacon from a ship trapped in the even horizon of a collapsing star. Eventually the crew figure out that the ship that they’re attempting to save is, in fact them. That they’re seeing a reflection of themselves across space and time. Cool idea right? Sort of. The show just misses each time. I don’t know if it was because famed Star Trek writer Brannon Bragga was primarily assigned DS9, which left Ron Moore do be the head writer  Voyager or if it this is just this is what happens with all Star Trek shows. They’re bad for like two or three seasons and then the writers figure the show out and BOOM. It’s amazing. I’m not sure.

All I know is that every episode of Voyager is brimming with potential and very few episodes have really excelled.


I’m keenly interested to see how they handle Commander Chakotay, the Native American first officer. At one point in the pilot one of the Star Fleet officers calls Chakotay an Indian and I cringed. It’s really hard to believe that a 24th century man would use that term to describe someone of indigenous birth.


Alien? Anyone? Alien? 5 Points?


Until Next Time,

Dave Baker

Hollywood, Ca 2013

Look. Something’s Burning.

Momentum Is Key

I find that whenever I stop doing something of a little while it takes me a bit to get back into the swing of it. Case in point, comics. I’ve been banging my head against the wall attempting to crack this third Action Hospital script for a while now and then yesterday, I sat down, wrote it, and started drawing it. Biff bang Boom. All there.

Unused cover for the Pitch

Unused cover for the Pitch

Making comics is kinda like dating. Only with less sex. You’ll see why I say that in a moment.

So, Action Hospital #3 has unintentionally been in the making for a while now. About a year ago another writer and myself started working on a comic together. For the sake of anonymity we’ll just call him Captain Awesome. At that stage in my life I had just stopped working with my longtime writer pal/wookie life partner/bff/whathaveyou. I wasn’t looking to have a serious ‘writer-relationship-partnership’ style thing. I was just looking to hang out, make a pitch for a comic, and see if we could sell it. I was pretty upfront about it. I enjoyed co-writing with Captain Awesome a lot. He was fun, we had a lot in common, and our script came out really well, I thought. So, I set to making the pages. I really put a lot of effort into those first five pages. Those were the pages we were going to use to pitch the book to publishers.


I finished the first five pages and we went to a convention together to network, meet editors, and try and get some feedback on the pages before digitally submitting to the usual publishing companies. Over the course of the convention I brought up that if we didn’t sell our book, I wasn’t really interested in drawing a whole six issue mini series. Captain Awesome didn’t take that too well. Now, full disclosure, this was his first comic. So, I’m not really sure if he fully comprehended just how long a six issue mini would take to complete. At the pace I was drawing it probably would have taken me 8 months to do six issues. That was not at all what I was shooting to do.

Super blurry pencils!

Super blurry pencils!

Captain Awesome didn’t like what I was saying. So, the project died. I’ve had these really awesome pages laying around for a long time and I just haven’t really known what to do with them.


Until now, I decided to take the pages that I made with Captain Awesome and re-write them. I’m using them as an intro into a new story. It’s pretty fun. I’m in the middle of drawing the new Joan-centric pages currently. The story, when it’s all finished, should be around 16 pages long. So, it’ll be our first Giant Sized Action Hospital!

The drawing is going pretty well. I’m a bit rusty when it comes to lay outs. Other than that, things are progressing fairly well.


Space: The Final Place You Can Be Shitty To People That Don’t Look Like You

As I’ve been drawing/writing/masterminding/being a nerd, I’ve started watching Star Trek: Voyager. When I was a kid I remember watching Voyager and hating it. I remember hating Janeway’s voice with a passion. Now that I’m a psudeo-manchildadultthing I actually don’t mind it. It’s an interesting character element.


I love the idea that we’re on a ship with a female captain. It only to like four TV shows and 7 movies to get to that point, but whatever. Woman captain. I’m down with it.

Recently, I’ve been reinvestigating DS9 and I love it. Ben Sisco is the coolest dude ever. I love the show, the cast, the station. It’s great. What’s not great? The space jews. Yes, the Ferengi were in TNG but they weren’t untrustworthy, thieving assholes. They were just shitty slavers with whips. They where one dimensional. Quark, the main ferengi in DS9, is borderline a racial cartoon. He’s almost an anti-simetic poster child. He has screwed up teeth, a big nose, and he’s money hungry. It’s so disgusting. People bitch and moan about how JJ Abrams’ Star Trek isn’t Trek because it’s not about the enduring spirit of man or about how tolerance and love are the only blah blah blah. Fuck that. The Ferengi are persecuted and openly mocked by Star Fleet officers all throughout DS9.

During the first 30 seconds that Harry Kim, the new tech officer in Voyager, is introduced Quark attempts to swindle him. Kim responds ‘They warned us about Ferengi at the academy’. Quark gets super upset and calls Harry Kim a racist and threatens to report him to Star Fleet high command. Harry Kim, seeking to calm Quark down offers to buy all the trinkets that Quark is selling. This is where another Star Fleet officer steps in as says, ‘these aren’t worth anything. Don’t give this Ferengi your money, Ensign.’ As their walking away the officer turns to Harry Kim and says ‘Didn’t they warn you about the Ferengi at the Academy?’

What is this? Star Fleet has institutionalized racism? Or speciesism? or whatever? What is it with the bigotry towards the ferengi in Star Trek? C’mon, Star Trek. I expect more of you. No culture is singularly one-dimensional.

If there’s ever another Star Trek tv show, I’m going to pitch 9,000 ferengi centric stories.


The title of this blog post is from a book about Super Spies, a three headed monk/robot, and time traveling green skinned woman. I think it’s fairly obvious what I’m referring to. No points for you.


Until next time,

Dave Baker

Hollywood, Ca 2013