His second-to-last word were, “I don’t want to be a statistic.”
This is something from my sketchbook, the only comic of a million ideas that I had while drawing “Close Encounters of the ∞ Kind” that I actually recorded. It never got worked up because I was busy and it was dark. But, man, we are living in some dark times. I had a whole screed that I intended to publish here about how dark those times are, for me personally and for the world at large, but suddenly I’m not feeling it. A few weeks ago, a Facebook friend asked, “People with invisible disabilities, what do you wish other people understood about living with your chronic illness?” and I wrote, “I am literally doing the best I can.”
I am literally doing the best I can.
In case anyone was wondering, I finished all the art for Close Encounters; it took me about 8 months all told, working an average of maybe 20 hours a week for most of it. Linda loved it. Although it was meant to be ambiguous and mind-bending, beta readers seemed to find it a bit too ambiguous and mind-bending, so I’m adding just a bit more text. But honestly, its intention is to be something that the reader has to work at and at this point in my life whether or not an individual gets my art has little impact on my artistic process.
What bums me out: the artwork is about 1000 times better than what usually ends up in my webcomics, and it still bears about as much resemblance to the pictures in my head as a 5-year-old’s crayon drawing does to a portrait of their family, and to get it that good required an entire month to draw a single page. Granted, I learned a lot in the process and if I had to do it again, it might take only 4 or 5 months, but that’s still too slow for the kind of comics I want to produce. You need at least a page a week. At 4 pages a week, these webcomics are as good as it gets right now. It’s a conundrum.
Hopefully, I can announce the next comic book on the horizon pretty soon.
I got 2 phones.
I wanted pictures of a fluffy elephant toy and I didn’t want to pay for it, so I went to Toys R Us and photographed a fluffy elephant there. The Canon Rebel was in my bag but just as I found the store it occurred to me that it would be equally effective, for my purpose, and much less conspicuous to use a camera phone instead of a massive DSLR.
The black phone on the left is one of the crappiest phones you can buy. The keyboard sucks, the GPS sucks, the voice recognition sucks, and also the rear-facing camera is broken, so it only takes selfies. The white phone on the right is superior in every way, but it has a cracked screen and that bothers me more than all the other things, I guess. But I carry it sometimes for various purposes. No one noticed me taking 30 photos of 1 plushie from 30 different angles, and now I can do some more work on my big project.
After a crash photography shoot and some bare bones work in the library, I went to Ms. Kitty’s house, and she told me about “2 Phones” for Kevin Gates. In this masterpiece of self-aware modern music, the upcoming entrepreneur must carry 2 phones, one with which to communicate with his lover, and the other to conduct his business. I told her that I used one for Pokemon and the other to play words with friends. And then later, while I watching the video, Miss Kitty came in and told me about the Pokemon Go remix. Which makes sense.
Anyway, whenever I think of all the things I haven’t got…it’s important to remember how much I have. I’ve got 2 phones. But what I’m most grateful for is the work I did with that phone. It really is a true privilege to get paid to create things.
If you’re wondering why past Mallory has curly hair and future Mallory’s hair is straight, that’s because it’s 1989, so past Mallory is sporting a bad perm.
Just some standard silliness. If I could travel back in time and give 3rd grade me some advice, I’m not sure what I’d say. It’s tempting to joke about stock tips and the outcomes of sporting events, but in fact I don’t really have a great sense of what that would be, and 8-year-old me probably wouldn’t have cared anyway.
If picking a past me to meet and offer advice, I’d probably pick 7th grade me, because she could really use some assurance that she’d show them, she’d show them all. And it would have been nice if future me had clued hormonal adolescent me in about pointless relationships and the fact that I wasn’t actually going to get married until I was 38.
I learned my times table eventually. But, like, not until high school. It wasn’t a huge priority. I was never going to become a physicist. Unlike Mallory Morimoto, who, most likely has further heroic time traveling adventures to pursue. There are wrongs to be put right.
What I’m saying here is that technology has really transformed every aspect of our lives.
Some relationships are just closer than others. Or maybe some people are more forgiving. I have a couple friends who fall into the third category. All this constant communication technology is a huge imposition on my life, and if people want to v-chat me, they have to do it on my terms.
We’re talking really good friends.
This is easily the grossest comic I’ve ever written. Or am every likely to write. But the fact of the matter is, 20 years ago the idea of bringing a computer into the bathroom was unthinkable, and using the telephone in there was really reserved for teenagers with really long cords and no other privacy options, or for people staying in fancy business hotels. Now it seems totally normal. For some people, not bringing their smart phone into the bathroom would feel weird. Friday night I was at a party in a really loud bar, and I got overwhelmed, and went and played Words with Friends in the bathroom, and that was a totally unremarkable thing to do. No one looked twice.
At any rate, this comic should discourage people who don’t know me well from v-chatting me.