My spin, an homage, to dime store Valentine's Day Cards of yesteryear

anti-Valentine’s Day Cards: how you really feel

If my Flying Spaghetti Monster Valentine’s Day cards attest to anything, and they don’t, it’s that one can never be too sure which slight rituals of yesteryear will stick with ya. Turns out one of mine would be those die-cut treasures adorned with kiddie pop-culture icons, the Valentine’s Day card assortments. Here’s a roundup of four for this year.

mess without tyou - valentine's day card
I’m A Mess… Without You, Valentine!

#4: I’m a MESS Without YOU…

Roses? Sure, I s’pose. Candy, too.

For those other times (and timing… timing really IS everything), well, True Love endures many terrible moments (potty humor is always funny, no?).

This, it turns out, was the most time consuming card: I forgot how to draw hands. Really. Yeah, should be easy, so the artists’ folklore holds, since one may not have a model, but you’ve always your own hands.

So, huge thanks to Gris Grimly and Ragnar for demonstrating just how dynamic, expressive hands can be (Gris makes these writhing spider-esque hands that make me crazy happy).

top of page

guillotine valentine's day card
I’m Losing My Head… Without You, Valentine!

#1: Losing My Head

Oh, no story behind this one. And yes, I know guillotines never employ ratchets (spent an hour over coffee researching. purchase blueprints online? you bet you can. this dude sells ’em, quite handsome ones, too. wonder whether that’s on a gov’t watch list…)

Opted to disregard historical accuracy as this rack and pawl-inspired setup seemed more dramatic…. less stable. Mostly because of a particularly, ummm, loud childhood mishap with our boat trailer — never quite regained confidence in ratchets and latches. You try explaining what the boat is doing sliding down the icy driveway in the dead of winter and you’ll see it my way, too. DON’T TRUST those little catch-releases.

Sorry for not including Mssr. F.Spaghetti Monster, might try to knock out a new one in praise of all things noodly later this week while on the train. (my flying spaghetti monster valentine’s cards, last year’s obsession)

Check out the great retro VD Cards on flickr, terrifics!

Oh, upon reflection, I did have a go at a guillotine. Though it was junior high. For a haunted house … at my folk’s church. (STFU). Worked rather well.

Visitors had to crawl into a tiny room through a cardboard-box-maze (about 2′ square, 12′ long) where they witnessed a gruesome sight (OK, mildly convincing): my mom’s styrofoam wig head, painted a bit, decapitated (the paint job intended was one of mock surprise, however, afraid now in picturing it, it more closely resembled “inflatible sex doll ready for action “, ahhh, a more innocent age). Aquarium hoses provided arteries through which much (concrete staining we’d later learn) Cool-Aid was pumped.

We then would grab a “victim” from the assembled spectators (usually said “someone” entailed one small enough to (a) be scared, and (b) be grabbed), put them on the rickety guillotine, and repeat the execution, with the one difference being this time the bench/platform on which they laid dropped at the last moment (hopefully) and off they’d slide into the next room through a small hole in the wall.

That part was always a problem, frankly.

Drying Cool-Aid is sticky.

Sticky prevents sliding.

You see where I’m going with this, no?

But, it was a really cool idea.

top of page

leach 'suck face' valentine's day card
Hey, Valentine… Let’s Suck Face!

#2: Let’s Suck Face

A theme emerging for ’07’s Valentine’s Day card lineup? Bah! Lest speculation carry on unabated allow me this: I emphatically deny such an intent, nor, contrary to appearances has some emotional crisis befallen me. Perhaps it’s too, too easy a target, but VD screams for such a polemic.

Minimally, taking a piss on the gravitas of those guaze-focused, slow-motion, gleamingly toothy ads, or worse, the silently mouthed “oh, darlings”. The healthy relationships I know are much funner than these saccharine tenderness-infused contrivances. But, then again, I know some real bastards.

Oh, speaking of: phantasmagoric WFMU’s Ed Shepp’sAgainst Love: A Polemic” merits a listen.

On this sketch: my life has mostly been an enjoyable, leech-free affair. As a tot, however, we had a creek at the bottom of Our Hill (seemed mountainous then, it’s a glorified speed-bump of an incline in truth). This creek went through a ginormous tunnel under The Highway (that would be I-35), emerged from the cool darkness into Narnia.

We’d no doubt the type critters living in those chill waters inside that tunnel, which, had fantastic echo-y acoustics. Perhaps due to server 24″ CMP inflows (corrugated metal pipes, civilians!).

Anyway, on the other side the creek slowed, deepened as it suddenly twisted in ways it was not allowed in my suburb-tamed neighborhood on the tunnel’s other side.

Here, in the woods neath railroad tracks, illegal dumping spots, and undeveloped fields, the crick got damn lazy. Thick over sharp rocks like syrup it pooled; dark, leaf lined, bathtub-warm spots, often carved through large tree roots, eroding back the five foot “cliffs” lining it’s way.

Well, here, obviously, is where I had my few leech encounters. And though I visited that magical side of the tunnel only a dozen or so times, to this day I could map much of that creek, and the pools, and the odd gross-out-fascination we had upon discover leeches on our calves.

So, sure, they’re gross critters — aren’t we all, in some way?

Give leeches a chance, it’s not asking too much. And you might just find the one lover small enough to cuddle in your condo-sized bath tub with ya.

top of page

valentines day card rabbit fuzzy butt
Boss, Hare’s Hopping you’ll tongue the filth
off my fuzzy butt! Happy V.D.!

#3: Tongue the Filth Off My Fuzzy Butt!

OK, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry. I’ve no idea why last year was all sweetness ‘n innocence, and this year I’m being, well, a tad hateful and now…? Now? Let’s be frank; this is mildly offensive. I’ll be losing my PG-13 along about now, right?

Hmmm. Perhaps because Ludlow and I luncheoned excessively with Ben and Corinne at Eat Well and the conversation, as is the way, well, meandered a bit about the rather petty practices, to the point of venal-ity (that’s not allowed, right?), of our employers.

Whatever the reason, here ’tis. Hope you aren’t too offended.

top of page

See Also

Hungry for more cards, or, say, a coloring book? Then we’ve got you covered:

About the Sketches

Guillotine Card

If anyone has pointers on using Corel Painter IX.5, please let me know. Love it, right up until she drives me nuts. The ability to rotate the work canvas and the line-dampening alone make me wish this program was more accessible.

Mainly it’s organizing those gazillion pens, brushes, etc. Oh, and inking with nice variable line-weights. Perhaps a new tablet?

Did have a disaster; program crashed, corrupted the file. Had to start over.

Leech Hottie

For reasons clear from the Painter fiasco I opted for a purely Photoshop approach on Leech Card. Just tweaked some Nagel brushes and created a quite jittery pen for the outlines.


Keep intending to give a tremendous thanks to Blambot’s font gurus. Great comic and lettering fonts, many free.

top of page