Comics! Part 3

I’ve probably drawn hundreds of one-panel things that are like surreal cartoons, I’ve never quite gotten the hang of telling a story in pictures. My words tend to overwhelm the pages, I can never make the characters look like the people from panel to panel. And I’ve tried.

Crack Cats in Suburbia. Unfinished, but a high-res scan. If you blow it up, it’s possible to read.

These two unfinished comics, Crack Cats in Suburbia, were drawn in 1996 or 1997. I was heavily immersed in the counterculture at the time. We didn’t watch TV or listen to the radio. The strip was about a sense of alienation in a mainstream world, but also about finding a person to be an outcast with, as Dr. Seuss said: someone with a compatible weirdness.

I wanted so badly to draw this comic but could never get it right, and the more I worked at it, the further it was from completion.

I didn’t try to draw a full-page comic strip again until 2010, when I read this funny article by Shalom Auslander. I actually really enjoy his writing, but there was something so upsetting to me about the “loathsome writing jobs” reserved for people who didn’t know enough about writing, because of course, I was working at one of those loathsome writing jobs at the time, and I was ALSO writing fiction. Which no one liked. Whenever I read published authors with actual audiences complaining about how hard writing is or how they are crippled by their own self-doubt, I want to find and punch them. Although I did find it amusing that one of his demons was whether or not Philip Roth had done it first, since he’s easily compared to Roth. Anyway, I don’t want to hear any successful artists complaining about being successful artists, especially if they have spent years doing a loathsome job in the field.

I must have tried a dozen different punchlines but they never came out right. I was searching for that balance between comedy and outrage.

I must have tried a dozen different punchlines but they never came out right. I was searching for that balance between comedy and outrage.

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