I’m not entirely sure how long I’ll be able to keep drawing webcomics, in part because drawing webcomics is not a lucrative profession, but also because I started drawing webcomics with the intention of being funny, and increasingly, as the days go by, I don’t feel funny. I hear myself making jokes at parties and people laughing at them, and I still don’t feel like anything’s funny. I feel like I’m pretending to be funny. Being funny right now is like dressing in drag. The end result may be stunning, but it knows it’s playing an imitation game.
Watching my work become increasingly unfunny scares me, despite the positive feedback for telling the truth.
The effect of the Desmond Tutu comic–3 serious panels, followed by a punchline–seemed like a good compromise, so I tried it again. I leave it to the reader to decide. Can I put swastikas in panel 2 and banana cream pies in panel 4? Admittedly, this piece has a little less cohesion than The Fourfold Path.
Panel 2 was troublesome. I Googled “anti-semitic graffiti,” but I couldn’t bring myself to reproduce most of the things I found. I’m not saying “kike” is the line for me–I bet a lot of people wouldn’t even recognize it as a slur, and it certainly isn’t an n-bomb–but I didn’t want it in my comic, either. It’s hard enough going through life knowing that there are people who flat-out want me dead because of the shape of my nose.
Anything I could say about panel 3 has already been said by commentators more eloquent than I. As we transition into a world where the president of the United States thinks it’s perfectly fine to publicly, in front of a large audience and many cameras, mock a man’s physical disability while that man is attempting to do his job, who can really predict the depth of the rabbit hole? What does comedy even mean in this world? Reality is more bizarre and unpredictable than any joke I could think of. I’m the rare person who never enjoyed The Daily Show because it frankly depresses me that comedians were the only people telling the truth, and that they had that much to say.
If you would like to read the sad comic reproduced in panel one, you can find it here: The Weight of the World.
Dave McKean, if you are unfamiliar with his name, is the artist who created the covers for Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, among other things.
In real life, my hips are not that small. But I guess in real life, the president-elect is not that orange. The size of his hands, the color of his skin: these are the least of the problematic concepts that those who believe in equality, freedom, and the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America will struggle to explain to ourselves and the children in our lives in the coming months.
I like it. But remember: comedy is the salve that relieves, however temporarily, the pain inflicted by the evil occurring in the real world. I do watch The Daily Show, and it is simultaneously encouraging and depressing that the most truthful source of news is a comedy show.
I guess my problem is that it’s *so* temporary. No sooner have I made/laughed at the joke than I remember the hurt that it covers…
Yes, sadly the effect is *very* temporary, but that should not in any way imply that the effort wasn’t worth it. A single ray of sunshine in a darkened room is sometimes enough.