34 thoughts on “It is better to be the hammer than the anvil”

    • Thanks, Dave! Years ago (when at Maverix Studios) I had the idea of doing some silly comics using fortune cookie fortunes as prompts. I collected tons of fortunes & kept them in a take-out box (like the one seen in last panel). I even thumbnailed a few ideas but never got around to finishing anything. Till now!

  1. Jamie, You know, when you see something so great, you think it must have been done before, but then it hasn’t , and it is such a simple great idea that why wasn’t it done before….?
    You know, how Eisenstein said cinema is when two ideas are put together and create a third idea…?
    Just trying to say how freakin great this is!
    Please continue to be great, my friend.

    • Hey Scott! I’m glad you like this idea. I had the notion a long time ago and have been collecting fortunes for many years. Stringing a storyline based on the fortunes was harder than I’d initially thought. Mainly because 80% of the phrases are pretty generic & repetitive (I must have 30 copies of “the time is right to make new friends”). But occasionally there comes a profound gem, and with enough of those, a story idea begins to gel. Great to hear from you, and thanks for commenting!

  2. Love this/these Jamie. Really brilliant. I can see them on t-shirts/sweatshirts… and posters!!!! Really great!!!
    Hi by the way!

  3. Love your interpretation / adaption of the fortunes into zen – noir. You are a genius Baker! A true genius. I am humble in your shadow.

  4. lovely work James, and extra admiration for following through with an idea that you’ve had percolating a long while, i presume. apart from all the other loveliness, can you describe your technique of adding the speckly texture?

    • Hey Charlie!
      I have a few texture layers, some above the characters, and some below. Dark textures are usually set to MULTIPLY. Light textures are set to OVERLAY, all to varying opacities. Most of these layers are made with gradients applied using the DISSOLVE quality at about 60% which makes a grainy layer. Sometimes scaled up for a more gritty effect. Additionally, sometimes I apply a gradient using DISSOLVE and then contain it in a clipping mask, so that it affects only one area (usually a character). I’ve been playing with this approach for a while now so I keep the texture layers and often reuse them in a new piece.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  5. I never appreciated how Noir fortunes are but will now always read them that way! What a great idea. I’ve now read it several times and just love it. This is a concept made for a writer’s strike.

    • Ha ha! Who needs a script when you can throw a bunch of FORTUNES up in the air?

      I have a few other ideas for FORTUNE COOKIE THEATRE that aren’t necessarily NOIR, but starting in a restaurant seemed a good way to introduce the concept. A Chinese restaurant in SF, was the obvious choice, and 2023 is year of the RABBIT.. That led to populating the rest of the cast with other zodiac critters.. so the rest of the ‘story’ just flowed out of those early choices.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Nicole!

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