Tag Archives: critics

Dragon Comics 137

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Because I’m in a hot air balloon! Also, I’m not sorry. 

Turn everything on its side.

Let’s just say that Dragon cannot let anything bring Dragon down. Dragon needs to rise about the trolls. Dragon has buoyancy, and will continue to rise. Today I sold some more copies of my book, just a handful, and also some merchandise in my shop. I made $16, give or take, on my art. If I could do that every day, it would make a huge difference in my lifestyle.

Also, some self-styled art critics on Reddit told me my  book cover sucked, but, based on their non-critical criticism, I doubted they had any idea what they were talking about, and sure enough, today, an experience writer who has published MANY books and does not know me personally or have any reason to offer me false compliments, said my cover was great. So I think I will believe the non-anonymous, non-rude, successful person with visible credentials in the field versus the trolls hiding behind their troll mantles.

That’s why Dragon’s smiling in panel 4. Dragon can’t hear your negativity.

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Dragon Comics 136

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There’s no such thing as bad publicity. 

I’ve written about it before: you know you’re doing well when people start talking smack, because if you weren’t making an impact, the haters wouldn’t even have the chance to see your work let alone pass judgment on it.

Sold more copies of my book today and got a new backer on Patreon, and yesterday’s comic got over 1000 hits in 24 hours. Some people hated it, and told me so in the most condescending possible ways on Reddit, and that’s awesome. You see, I’m niche and you’re mainstream and you don’t understand my work and never can, and you’re not my audience and aren’t even qualified to offer a cogent critique, so it would be impossible to take your uninformed opinion about my potential seriously. But you are helping me reach my audience. I’ve written about this before, too. Google doesn’t care whether or not people like your work. It only cares that people engage with your work. Pissing people off is a great way to increase your web presence.

Good art elicits a response.

For so many years, my inability to draw as well as I wrote enraged me, but as soon as gave myself license to expose my flaws and deficiencies, when I got past the false idol of perfection and let function triumph over form, the path seemed clearer and clearer. You can tell a story, arouse an emotion, elicit a response with a stick figure, if you know what you’re doing. You can do it with a scribble. And you know what, writers of base insults? I know what I’m doing.

So, buy my book, support my Patreon, order my merch, if you get it, and you want to live in a world where different types of expression are encouraged to flourish. Or, tell everyone how terrible I am, so the people who get it can find me.

In the Court of Public Opinion

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Next on the docket: the case of Kindle versus some talentless  hack self-published novelist.

This one pretty much speaks for itself. Although maybe I should have called it “You Can All Go #@$* Yourselves!” Usually I like to think that I can be just as funny without swearing, but The Man suggested I go with the grawlix, which I’ve never done before, but is a time-honored comic trope. Because, seriously, in this situation, what else would you say?

Success

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I’m literally standing right behind you.

Criticism I can handle. Handling criticism is one of the skills they teach you in Iowa-style writing workshops, of which I have participated in 10. Criticism isn’t personal. Good criticism is useful. It helps you learn how to improve. Unlike insults, which are not useful. But even insults I can handle, having become inured to verbal abuse during my traumatic childhood.

Whether total strangers love me or think I’m a moronic talentless hack, I can still console myself with the fact that I am producing original content 5 days a week. Are they doing that? There is a line in the Tom Robbins book Skinny Legs and All where the main character, an artist displaying her canvas, is told, “My 5-year-old could do that.”

“But he didn’t,” the artist says. “I did.”

It’s like the band Nickelback. They’re hugely successful, and yet so many musicians despise them as talentless hacks, writing heroic couplets and playing 3 chords. But love them or hate them, you can’t deny that Nickelback created something. They created heavy metal music that could be played on the soft rock station. They created it and you didn’t, so try not to be too jealous that you didn’t figure that one out first, because if you had, you’d be the big rock stars, live in hilltop houses, driving 15 cars.

I’m just saying, make it useful criticism.

Anyway, 1 a.m. again. But I made something.

Dragon Comics 37

 

Too many snakes spoil the view.

Too many snakes spoil the view.

In retrospect, axes and stilettos are not particularly funny weapons. Maybe battle axes are funnier than forest axes, and I’m thinking stiletto heels are almost certainly funnier than stiletto knives. I’m still working out this visual humor thing. Maybe I need to watch Who Framed Roger Rabbit? again. But in fact, this comic is a bit of a bridge, so maybe it’s more important to showcase Dragon’s anger than Dragon’s comedic timing.

Do I owe it to the reader to be funny all the time? My tradition puts the story in front of the tone. Maybe Friday’s story will lend itself to a better punchline. Definitely next Friday’s story will, in a cerebral way. But this arc is a little darker than usual.

So be it. I’m not for everyone. If you don’t get it, you can always go read The Family Circus.

Looking back over my notes, I see that I missed the marginal note explaining that, in panel 4, Dragon should be carrying a burlap sack, a coil of rope, and a roll of duct tape. I leave it to the reader to decide whether that would have made panel 4 funnier or bleaker.

Dragon Comics 15

Some comics are just darker than others.

Some comics are just darker than others.

A storyline of sorts is coming into play here; this is going somewhere, other than to a place where every punchline is either Snake insulting Dragon or Dragon killing the snake (not that that will never happen, because it’s still funny to me, but there ought to be some degree of meaning what equates to verbal slapstick.

Cat is working well; she basically looks the same cat every time. I’m starting to get a feel for her, unlike Rabbit, who still doesn’t look right in any drawing. It occurred to me last night, as I was falling asleep, that this in, in part, because I am drawing her mouth all wrong. Rabbit will be cuter the next time she appears.

Dragon Comics 14

OK, I love this comic. I mean, I must have rewritten Rabbit’s dialog in the 2nd panel 12 times, and I’m still not completely satisfied, but this is precisely what I want to be doing: talking about serious things, and then flipping a switch and falling into a punchline.

This is another best viewed as large as your monitor can handle it, particularly the last panel.

When you don't wear clothes, body paint is pretty much the only way to add color to your wardrobe.

When you don’t wear clothes, body paint is pretty much the only way to add color to your wardrobe.

If you are not familiar with the work of Mondrian, check out this quick GIS. You’ve probably seen it, even if you don’t know his name. In fact, I’m only familiar with his name because I was on the forensics team in high school, in the “oral interpretation” division (i.e. reading out loud) and one of my pieces was Harlan Ellison’s “‘Repent, Harlequin,’ said the Ticktockman,” in which Mondrian is a summation of all that’s wrong with a rigid and orderly mandate in a modern, automated world. I’m not fond of the aesthetic myself.

Of course, Rabbit is adorning Dragon with the iconic image of Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night,” which most people are more familiar with. I have the print hanging on my bedroom door. I’ve also seen it held out as a piece beloved by people who took one art class in college and haven’t looked at a painting since then, but, obviously, I don’t have any space to be snooty about art. It’s a beautiful painting even divorced of meaning, and it had a lot of personal meaning for me. It very much is a work that, to me, expresses the kind of deep connection to the universe, intertwined with awe and wonder for the universe, that I feel when I look at a sunset or a storm cloud.

I learned a lot from studying Van Gogh’s “Blue Irises in a Yellow Vase“; from copying “The Starry Night” I basically learned how freaking amazing Van Gogh was. Do you have any idea how many colors there are in this picture? A lot. Even looking at a very good copy (I recall seeing 3D reproductions that actually used scanning technology to recreate his brushstrokes) you don’t see as deeply into the nuances as you do when you get down to the pixels. Wow. Just wow. I spent more time on “The Starry Night” than I did on anything else this week.