two, dominion, staffs, wands, staves,

Star Wars Tarot: Two of Staves

When you’re going from here to there, you can’t do it with one foot… net very well at least. You’d be like a maimed Anakin Skywalker on a Volcano planet, screaming “I hate you” and trying to do his best with the woody dialogue he memorized in his trailed. Or maybe you’d hobble around like a humanoid droid holding your other foot, shortly after you’ve been rebuilt by your astromech counterpart.

You need at least two feet to make the first step.

Early on in any journey or endeavor, we don’t just need to know our goal, but we need to make plans for that goal. In “A New Hope” Luke wanted to be a Jedi but the only person he knew who could train him was died at the end. Then he went to Dagobah, met Yoda and now we have a plan to confront Vader.

Senator Palpatine had a plan. It involved starting a war, becoming the head of Senate and killing all the Jedi. And all this can be seen visually in the holographic plans of the Death Star.

To have a plan doesn’t simply mean creating a list or directions and then following those directions. It’s actually kind of rebellious because you’re subverting the natural order, the given system or someone else’s plans. There is a boldness to it. You’re going to piss someone off, and in the case of galactic conquest, kill a lot of people.

But I got side-tracked here. This card isn’t explicitly about making plans, but it is about having power. Having respect, dominion and authority. Wielding the Force for your goals.

This card is about power and power can be seductive. In the case of the Emperor, he wielded power for its own sake and not in the service for others. Something a Jedi should watch out for.

May The Force Be With You.

You are not neglected

So, personally it’s been a busy year. And like a lot of people out there, I got to get my act together.

But if you need to see new stuff from me, follow me on instagram.

Check it out:

Self portrait for vol.79 #sketchbook #ink #watercolor #art #selfie #drawing

A photo posted by Elan’ + + + (@toecomics) on



Modern Courtship

Star Wars Tarot: Ace of Staves

One of the first things I noticed about the Rider-Waite Ace of Wands card is how much the wand resembles a penis with a leaf growing out of it. This would make my inner-twelve-year-old giggle, which isn’t a very suppressed part of myself. A friend called it “The Ace of Dickweeds”. I mean, its made out of wood!


But since we’re on the subject of phallic symbols, let’s talk about The Sword again. The sword was the first known weapon specifically created to kill another human being. It cuts down. It destroys. It destroys lies with truth and logic. It upholds justice with force, or in the case of the Jedi, THE Force. It is severe masculinity. Remember Space Balls when they had their lightsaber fight? It was pretty much a contest of whose Schwartz were bigger. Who was a more man? Who was dominant? Who had a bigger dick?


The Staff, or Wand, isn’t a tool of destruction (at least that’s not its main use). If you put some bristles at the end of it, you can make a brush. And the brush can paint a beautiful masterpiece or put a coat of paint on a newly constructed house. And that home is made out of Staves or staffs or wood refined for human use. Where Swords are the masculine’s severity, Staves are its mercy. It creates, rather than destroys. It builds up, rather than takes apart.


The staff is also associated with fire. You can burn wood. Yes, fire is destructive, but if used properly, you can make a good meal, a porceline plate, even a sword. Unlike the element of air, which is assoiated with thoughts and logic, fire is associated with creativity, passion, intuition, excitement, and spirtuality. It can be a light of inspiration, the burning one feels for those they want to kill, those they want to make passionate love to, or for those in complex relationships, both. It can be the Bodhi tree that the Buddha sat under. Or it could be the cross that Christ died on, a symbol of faith. Both trees gave light to both men.


The Tuskin Riders are a firey people, wouldn’t you agree? The first time we see one, it attacked Luke Skywalker, holding its Staff over its head. Yelling in rage like a cross between a wild animal and a broken tuba. Do you think you can logically talk your way out of an attack by Sand People? They’re savages! Not like the noble savages of the Wookie or the adorable savages of the Ewoks. They kidnapped and tortured Darth Vader’s mom. They didn’t have a reason, either because they’re that savage or that under developed. They are more like a natural force than a band of nomadic people. Stormtroopers tried to frame them by destroying the Jawa transporter. An easy scapegoat because you know they’ve attacked Jawas before. They randomly shoot Pod Racers. And most importantly, their savagery ignited Anakin’s hate and anger and pushed him ever so closer to the Dark Side of the Force.


The design of this card is based on that first time you see a Sand Person but I added distant smoke to further emphasize the wild and firery personality of the Tuskin Raiders.


But enough of Sand People. We can find Staves among the Ewoks and the Wookies. They represent another side of the Staves. These creatures CAN be reasoned with. Your intuition and passion and creativity can be an ally and be used to bring down the Dark Side or the evil Empire. It can help you take down your own personal Dark Side… or as C.G. Jung would call it, your Shadow. Actually, all the tarot cards can help do that, even the scarey looking ones.


When I see this card in a reading, it means that your intuition or creativity of fire is just below the surface ready to erupt. Its a plant, the North American Dickweed, just about to grow out of the ground. Its a reset buton. Your will and faith and sense of adventure are renewed. And its hard to say what that really means. Because the Staves don’t represent things, but how things are done.


May The Force Be With You.


A Break-up Letter to San Diego Comic Con

Dear San Diego Comic Con,

When I first met you, I just graduated from high school. You were so cool. We would hang out all day and talk about what we wanted to be when we grew up. But around that time, you also started to hanging out with the popular kids. They were all wrong for you. They didn’t really care about you or comics. They just wanted to use you. Your attitude started to change. You got all conceited. I mean, you were still cool, even sexy with all that cosplay and sh!t. We still had some good times!

Remember that booth we rented? Or that table? Remember that magical night we watched Warren Ellis talk? Or that Tenacious D concert? Or when I was nominated for that award?! Or remember just simply, staying up late watching movies and cartoons? You always managed to blow my mind and show me something beautiful and new. You always seemed to inspire my creativity and my soul.

Those were good times, San Diego Comic Con. They were great, in fact. Those were times that, more than anything, I wanted to be inside you. And I wanted to stay inside you for a long long time. But now, everyone’s inside you: the press, Hollywood, people who’ve never even read a comic book. We just don’t have that special connection anymore and I can’t imagine sharing you like that.

Now I hear that you’ve become a Goldigger lately so more people can be inside you. So more people can use you and throw money at you. You’ve lost sight at what’s important, San Diego Comic Con. It sickens me a bit, but I’m not here to judge you. You’ve meant so much in my life: those fourteen or fifteen years we spent with each other are priceless.

The sad thing is, most of those people, those new people in your life, will never understand you like I do. Most of those people don’t love you like I do. They just want to have their way with you, maybe for the weekend or just one day, but I wanted you all the time. If I had you all year long, I’d be a very happy man.

It’s been over between us for a while now. Ever since that argument we had at the Portfolio Review section in 2010. What the f#ck were you thinking!?

Anyway please, please, San Diego Comic Con, please have some dignity! Or at least hold onto the dignity that you have left. You deserve so much better. You used to be so smart and charming, but now its like all of your intelligence has left the room.  {You see, that was a metaphor for all the smart and interesting panel discussions like the Comic Arts Conference or Spirituality in Comics… which was a panel discussion I was on one year…. its a metaphor for those types of events being moved to the Marriott instead of staying in the Convention Center.}

Anyway, I’ve been seeing other conventions. I started seeing Comikaze, probably because we live in the same neighborhood. Although we don’t have as long as a history like you and I. WonderCon Anaheim is really cool, but I had to admit, the first time we met, it was really rocky and the parking sucks because there’s that weird cheerleader thing going on. What’s up with that? AnimeExpo is awfully cute, and you know I have that thing for the Japanese, but… I never had deep, thoughtful, inspiring moments with AnimeExpo like I had with you.

I’ve never had a convention like you before and I’ll never have a convention like you again.

Here’s Looking At You Kid,
PS. But if I’m ever nominated for an Eisner Award again… I. will. SO. WRECK YOU!

—and you’d be all like, “say my name! say my name!” and I’d be like, “that’s how you LIKE it you naughty naughty convention!” And I wouldn’t give a f#ck whose watching!

Originally published here.

An Excerpt From That Novel I’ll Never Finish: Red Line

Last week, I took the Red Line, the subway here in Los Angeles, to Downtown. The train was filled with neutral, silent faces except for a father and his three very young children. He sang to them songs, the type you’d learn in Pre-school and Kindergarden. He kept them entertained as a means to keep them seated. A lesser man would yell at them and bark commands, but he sang to them and made them laugh. He made sure they were safe and behaved.


So, of course, I chose the empty seat across from him.


The father noticed my bag. My bag is one of a kind. It is an ornate and metallic Tibetan scroll holder attached to an East German Map bag. He pointed at it and told his kids that that’s the magic scroll from Kung Fu Panda. The children were in awe.


The train’s speakers announced that my stop, 7th & Metro, was coming up. So I showed the kids the metallic scroll holder. They asked to touch it and I let them. It is a mysterious looking thing that I traveled as far as Echo Park to attain it. I have two of them, each one cost me about forty bucks. Although I’ve seen some on eBay selling at 80.

Anyway, the kids wanted to see what was inside. I opened the cover and all there was were pencils and pens. “This is magic.” I whispered. The kids looked at me with confusion. “This is real magic. I use these to control words and pictures. Kings have ruled with art and pictures. And those kings have been brought down with words. Master the words that come out of your mouth, your heart, and the ones you craft with your pen. Ask yourself what the pictures are telling you, or more likely, what they’re selling you. Go to school, and sharpen your tongue like you sharpen a fine and dangerous weapon. Study art and understand the designed world. For some day, you may bring down a corrupt king or become a just one.”


My stop came up and the doors slid open. Instinctively, I threw a smoke bomb onto the floor and disappeared from the three children and their father. As I left, like a ghost, I said, “You’re an awesome dad!”

True story.


Star Wars Tarot: The High Priestess

One of the biggest challenges of adapting Star Wars into a set of Tarot cards is the lack of female characters. Sure, there are a lot of female characters in the Extended Universe but that may or may not be cannon. This whole problem of the lack of females in the Star Wars movies reminds me when me and my sister used to play with our toys.  Although my childhood memories are hazy, I do remember a diminutive Darth Vader riding in the passenger’s seat as Barbie took him for a ride on her pink Corvette.


The female parts are a little underwritten.

–Amy Poehler


Our last card was “one”, the Magician. We are at number two, the Divine Feminine. Where a Magician has to train and study to perfect his craft, The High Priestess just is. It just happens. Traditionally, for boys to become men, they have to go through initiation, or they have to prove themselves as a man. When a girl becomes a woman, one day it just biologically happens. Personally, it reminds me of how me and my sister separately learned Tarot. She just picked up on it and would give very intuitive readings. I read books, went to lectures, practiced and made mistakes.

Now, I know I might tread into language that might be politically incorrect. “Masculine” doesn’t necessarily mean “a man” and “feminine” doesn’t necessarily mean “a woman”. I have met women way more masculine than any man I’ve met and men who are way more feminine than any woman I’ve met. And I’ll probably use other terminology that has nothing to do with gender issues, but with explaining my understanding of Tarot.

So The High Priestess is “The better half.” She is kind of like a female magician, maybe even a wife or girlfriend. But also The High Priestess used to be The Popess, a female Heirophant (or the Pope). The feminine principle is hidden, mysterious and subconscious. Within Christendom, in the Holy Trinity, The Holy Spirit is feminine. We can understand what the Father and the Son are, but the Holy Spirit is a lot more abstract. So is The Force.

Often times, this subtle power that the feminine has has been mistaken for the women being the weaker sex. Subtle doesn’t mean weak. Gravity is a very subtle force in the Universe.  But without it, there would be no stars or planets or galaxies. Can you imagine what your life would be without your mother? And if you were motherless, didn’t you often dream about what it would be like to have one? Being a woman is powerful. There are countless times I’ve made a fool of myself to a nice girl. They really don’t have to do much, hell, they don’t have to even be that pretty.

I work in a very masculine, geeky, industry. When its just men in the room, it has a certain energy. When you introduce some women– and I don’t mean “we’re going to hook up with our co-workers”– when you just bring women into a very male environment, things change. Its a bit lighter, more balanced and a bit more sociable.


Behind every great man there’s a woman.



A long time ago, George Lucas had a wife, Marcia Lucas. She was the editor on George Lucas’s early films. They had a divorce toward the end of  Return of  The Jedi. Being a creative person, you’re probably going to talk about a good amount of your ideas to whoever’s sleeping in your bed. And if that person is smart and creative, they’re going to call out on your bullshit. They’re going to tell you when your work sucks or when they don’t understand this or that. They will be supportive, but they will be honest. I could just imagine George Lucas showing Marcia his first draft of Star Wars and Marcia telling him what she liked and what she didn’t understand. I could imagine them disagreeing on how this shot or that shot should be edited. I can also imagine how messy this divorce was since the Oscar Award Winning Editor, Marcia Lucas,  has only been mentioned in passing from official LucasFilm books. She might have not been a writer or producer or director in the creation of Star Wars, but I can’t see a woman in her position, both as an editor and a wife, have some sort of influence on the films.


I have an innate ability to take good material and make it better, or take bad material and make it fair. I’m compulsive about it. I think I’m even an editor in real life.

Marcia Lucas


The Prequels are a good example of a Magician (ego) without their better half,  High Priestess (subconscious).  When George Lucas made “A New Hope” he was just a film school graduate who made some interesting films. When he made “The Phantom Menace” he was GEORGE LUCAS and no one questioned his ideas or his authority. No one took him aside and told him, “I’m not so sure about this Jar Jar character.” And the only person who could say anything like that was no longer sleeping in his bed.

So, here we have Princess Leia hiding secret plans in R2D2. And then when Luke Skywalker sees a part of this message, he had to find out who this girl is as if she was a part of him.

When you compare Luke Skywalker to Princess Leia, Luke is defined by what he is doing. Princess Leia is defined by what is revealed. As we got to know Princess Leia, we assume she’s a damsel in distress, but later on we find out that she’s not a bad shot. Her love for Han Solo is hidden, even by her, although its apparent to Han Solo. She was a hidden Jedi. She never knew she was Darth Vader’s daughter or Luke Skywalker’s twin sister. Plus, that metal bikini was a revelation in and of itself.

She is the better half of Luke Skywalker, separated at birth and sort of attracted to each other in an incestuous way. When Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi were being written, you could get a sense that the whole brother/sister thing was written a little later. It could have easily been written where they weren’t siblings and they lived happily ever after.


The Force runs strong in my family. My father has it. I have it. And… my sister has it. Yes. It’s you, Leia.

–Luke Skywalker


On The Khabbalistic Tree of Life, The High Priestess is associated with the path between Kether and Tiphareth. Tiphareth means “Beauty” and its associated with the heart, the sun, the son (as in Jesus Christ), other god-like men like the Buddha. Kether means “Crown” and it gets more abstract, its God in the highest. It kind of see this as a trinity. Two Sephora held together by the mysterious and sacred feminine. That if you travel past the Christ or the Buddha or the best part of yourself, you can reach the Divine, the Force.


Tao produces one
One produces two
Two produce three
Three produce myriad things

–Lao Tzu

Derek Lin Translation


Do you think Luke could have ever done it without the love (as ambiguous you want to define that word) for his sister? My Dad just turned 7. I can’t imagine him living without my Mother by his side? Behind every great man is a great woman. Behind Darth Vader’s anger is his dead mother. A great Force is hidden behind your subconscious. If you do not recognize this side of yourself: the feminine, intuitive, secret, hidden side of yourself, then you might just end up with a cold, robotic, asthmatic heart. You might end up as some shriveled up old power-hungry Emperor. You might end up with too many damn Star Wars figures displayed in your room. Maybe if you got rid of half of them, you can make room for someone to share your bed with.


May The Force Be With You.


Next, The Empress (But I haven’t done that, so the next is The Hanged Man>>

More resources on the High Priestess:

The Pictorial Key to The Tarot