People ask me, sometimes, “Jhonen, did you go to art school?”
I look them in eye and I tell them “Commander Mark was my goddamned art school and that’s all I needed, bitch!” As they’re asking me why I had to respond in such a way and am I feeling okay, I write, in reverse, the link to the above video on my knuckles and then punch them in the face.
Commander Mark visited my elementary school for an assembly once, and it was one of the best days of my life. I’m sitting here thinking about it some more, and I’ve actually gotta change that to THE best day of my life because everything after that point was just pure shit. Commander Mark, you ruined my life you were so awesome.
Anyhow, I used to watch that show, hypnotized, crazy over Commander Mark’s skills and his positive attitude. I don’t know the reality behind it, but it seemed he genuinely loved drawing, and more than that, building that world of his, making it an actual place in my head. I didn’t know it then but I was to use Commander Mark’s approach and upbeat persona as a template for my own love of world-building, except with more of an emphasis on hating everyone who tried to enjoy things anywhere near me.
I can still remember the way I’d just stare at the forms he would doodle, instructing you how to make the thing appear to be anchored in a physical space by shading one side or showing different surfaces at once instead of just doing everything in profile. The way other kids looked at cakes or candies, that’s the way I’d look at a simple table the guy would draw.
I bring this up because I was just sitting here, taking a break from a drawing I’m doing and for whatever reason, Commander Mark popped into my head so I decided to look him up on the internet. Seems he’s still out there, teaching kids to hate the world around them for being so fucking boring, inspiring them to build fantastic universes around themselves like a protective cocoon against the soul-draining horrors of reality. Everything your physical eyes show you is a miserable letdown, and nothing that is will ever match the mind-blowing wonders of what you think should be. ABANDON YOUR PLACE IN THE WORLD OF MEN, CHILDREN! START THE WORLD ANEW IN YOUR MINDS.
Maybe that’s not the pitch he gives so much, but it’s what I took away from it, and that’s what matters.