Tag Archives: men

Boar Taint

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Can you tell that I’m pleased with myself? Can you tell that I’ve never seen a feral boar hog?

Jill is probably the Bonnie Jo Campbell character with whom I most strongly identify, because we’re both idealists who believe that, armed with only our advanced degrees and our own sense of self-righteousness, we can accomplish anything. Also, we both swear we’re only going to eat one square of dark chocolate a day. And then we both become overwhelmed with self-loathing when we fail.

I ended up cutting out more of “Boar Taint” than I intended, particularly the parts of the story that involve Jill’s awareness of being a woman surrounded by men, and of her concern for the Jentzen woman, who appears to be the only female in a household comprised entirely of men, who, presumably, are all inbred cannibal cultists. Speaking of which, those inbred cannibal cultists came out great. (Note: the text does not ultimately support the cannibal cultist theory, but it does give you the sense that Jill is walking into Texas Chainsaw Massacre or The Hills Have Eyes right up to the point where she drives off with the boar hog.) Also, the panel in which Jill’s husband (his name is Ernie, and the story also lets us know that he and Jill are really in love and spend every night humping like rabbits) tries to gently explain to her that nobody is selling a high quality stud pig for 25 dollars looks pretty sweet.

Anyway, that’s a wrap on American Salvage. It took twice as long as Mothers, Tell Your Daughters but the illustrations are probably twice as good. I gave myself a deadline of New Year’s Eve to finish the 14 stories in this book, because then I wouldn’t have to change the copyright date on the bottom of my template. Deadlines are helpful. Next year, I’ll create the cover and some other supplemental material, and I understand Bonnie Jo wants to bring the print comic out in time for a literary festival in March, so look for Bonnie Jo Campbell Comics v. 2 in the spring. Fingers crossed, next year I’ll get my chance at Women and Other Animals. 



Storm Warning

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Do you think there’s enough blood in panel 2? I’m not sure there’s enough blood in panel 2.

This is the heartwarming tale of how toxic masculinity is purified in the crucible of life-threatening injury, and, combined with fear in the alembic of loneliness, transmuted into the burgeoning crystals of the ability to express actual love. What’s hilarious here is that Doug, upon realizing that he loves Julie, immediately tries to convince himself that he doesn’t really care for her, because, I guess, it’s not manly to have feelings? And then, as it happens, once he’s wholly dependent on her, he doesn’t want to acknowledge that he even likes or respects her. Only when he’s got less than nothing does he finally admits to himself that Julie is kind of a peach if for no other reason than she puts up with his ridiculousness.

I wonder how the story would have gone if Julie had been the one injured and Doug had to choose between nursing her through her convalescence or running away.

This comic was a lot of fun to draw. It took 10 days because my power cable broke and then I got the flu, and some of the images were pretty challenging, but I love the results. Probably the wounds would be worse in panel 2, but then it would have just been a cloud of blood, and that’s less interesting to look at. In panel 6, I realize that Julie is likely supposed to be wearing a jean jacket with no shirt underneath, but let’s say that she went home and changed before she came back. Probably, she left the bar still mad at Doug, then went home, then realized that she left a basically paralyzed guy alone in a lake house during the storm of the century and started to feel bad as she sobered up and then went back to babysit his crabby self. That’s love.

This is one of the happiest stories in the book, I feel.

I was telling my friend the coyote about how I had to draw a picture of a girl coming into a dark house during a power outage and he said, “That sounds hard,” and I said, “Not as hard as getting up early and wearing a tie 5 days a week for 30 years,” and I meant it. Hallelujah, making webcomics is the best job I’ve ever had.

World of Gas

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I envy people with this kind of energy, but not people with 3 teenage sons.

Back in 1999, I felt pretty much the same about Y2K. What a lot of fuss. I worked that night; New Year’s Eve is a good time to make money. But people can always find something to get riled up about. There are still dirty dishes to wash at the end of the day. If you can’t identify with that, you won’t understand this story. The last panel could have been Susan washing dishes, but I drew dirty dishes for “My Sister Is in Pain” and it’s gross. Dishes are a pain and I have to do them at least twice a day. I love the idea of all the machines stopping for a while and people just shutting up.

That Pur-Gas logo looks sweet.

Your Picture in the Paper

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In case you’re wondering, my performance at the Dan Quayle rally did not go over well among his supporters. I’m lucky I’m cute, or I’d probably get beaten up a lot more often.

To be fair, the TV station must have figured out their mistake because they appear to have added 2 women talking to the clip and cut out 2/3 of my friend’s interview by the time I wrote this comic. But we had a good laugh about it Saturday night, my friend being the first to point out the irony/institutionalized sexism. Also to be fair, my friend is a very cool white guy, and very well-spoken. But there were a LOT of other voices KGUN9 might have chosen to air.

A lot of people’s favorite sign on the internet seemed to be the one that read, “So bad even introverts are here,” and that really resonated with me. I have strong beliefs, but I find social action terrifying. Even calling my representatives fills me with dread, but the last few weeks have inspired me to take more a participatory approach. I did call my senators, and emailed them, and had a letter I wrote (printed on paper and signed) hand-delivered to my congressperson. And I forced myself to get up and march, even though contemplating the act was nerve wracking and anxiety provoking. And I ended up having what I’d consider, under any other circumstance, a really unflattering, and somewhat misleading picture of myself circulated to 10s of 1000s of people because for a split second I looked the part, even if, for 25 years, I haven’t really acted it. I mean, I write, I talk, I educate individual people here and there who seem receptive to opening their minds, but there are so many folks who have consistently done so much more. I admire them, but I don’t know how to force myself to act like them.

I am a lot more comfortable behind my keyboard. Today I was invited to this National Write Out action, with the theme “What’s worth fighting for is worth writing for.” But, of course, that’s all backward. Writing is easy. Going out and making noise is hard. Still, if someone wants me to hashtag something for the good of humanity, it’s almost the least I can do.

Tell Yourself

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I think we’d all jump off a bridge if Amber dared us to. Am I right?

This comic seems a little graphically threadbare to me, compared to the previous ones, and I think it’s because “Tell Yourself” just doesn’t have as much definitive imagery as some of the other stories in Mothers, Tell Your Daughters. “Playhouse,” yesterday, for example, has the peonies and the playhouse and the alcohol and everyone’s hair and the rabbits and the fruit stickers and the Tasmanian devil tattoo. The central visual feature in “Tell Yourself has got to be Mary’s clothes, and frankly, I also find the idea of a barely-adolescent girl wearing low rise jeans and a crop top with a pair of cupcakes over her cupcakes slightly discomfiting. I didn’t want to spend too much time focusing on her “darling new breasts.”

My mother would have done anything to persuade me to dress in a more feminine fashion when I was in 8th grade, but she never in a million years would have let me out of the house in that outfit, even when I was in high school. She would have been highly critical if she saw me dressed that way when I was in college. But I see little kids dressed like that all the time. The supply seems equal to the demand.

After the outfit, the only big visual symbol is the rocking chair, because I couldn’t figure out how to work in the gum-cracking or the terrible baby perfume. For the first time in this project, I was really at a loss for how to illustrate the final panel. I settled on the potatoes; it locates the narrator in this role she has created for herself: being a mother comes first, even though Mary’s already gone. But she did change her shirt. And I’ve left mom with the knife. She’s not wholly defenseless.


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All things considered, the results are pretty pleasing.

This being one of my favorite stories in the book, I wanted to really do it justice. Unfortunately, today was the day that all my equipment decides to rebel: both the computer and the Wacon tablet failed over and over again, in a variety of new and enraging ways. I must have unplugged and replugged the tablet a hundred times, and closed and opened Photoshop fifty times, and rebooted the box twenty-five times. Hundreds of times I had to go back because the tablet either did something I didn’t tell it to do, or didn’t do something I did tell it to do, or just didn’t do anything at all because the power cable is frayed and sometimes disconnects. It was the perfect storm of resistentialism. At least I’ve learned my lesson about saving everything all the time. If only I didn’t require so much technological assistance.

At this point, I’m leaning strongly toward using my savings to invest in entirely new machinery.

Despite all that, the comic seems right. Not sure if there will be a comic tomorrow. Gotta work out these gremlins before I spend another 8 hours cussing at a hunk of metal and plastic.

Special thanks to the Bear, who didn’t mind me freaking out on him and invading his home for tech support just before midnight.

ETA: I went back and fixed the 2 typos pointed out to me oh so gently and lovingly by the trolls at Reddit. I also gave Pinky some eyelashes in panel 6.

Indifferential Equations


Him: We blinked at the same time! It’s definitely a signal that I should kiss her. Her: I wonder how many giant nuclear powered robots I would need to take over North America.

Three things: First, a few people indicated in a Facebook thread that they would enjoy being depicted in a QvD comic, so here’s the first one. You may recognize Laura from that one time she modeled my merchandise. Actually, she’s been featured in this blog twice, but the first time she was wearing a welding mask over her face, because she’s that kind of person, so you probably wouldn’t recognize her from that.

Second, I was thinking about gender, because that is something I think about. All. The. Time. Specifically, I was thinking about the interaction between heteronormative men and every kind of woman, and the Rabbit’s running commentary about the men who force her to interact with them on the Bart and the Oakland/San Francisco ferry, and about some of these dudes on Reddit who seem to willfully not to get it. So let me lay it out slowly: the odds that a woman with whom you briefly exchanged glances on public transit is very excited to meet you are low. Extremely low. This situation that I’ve drawn is a no-brainer. Note the woman’s posture: she is turned away from you AND leaning away from you AND she has her legs crossed away from you AND she has her arm protectively around her leg AND she clutching her purse on her lap AND she’s reading a book. She is doing this because she wants to reduce the number of times in a given day random strangers hit on her.

Your interest in her is not special;  more interesting men than you express interest in her. All. The. Time. She is overtly demonstrating her lack of interest in you, and her desire to maintain her perimeter. There is a 100% chance that if you try to talk to a woman with this posture, you are annoying her. There is a 50% chance that she finds you actually threatening. I don’t care that you’re a “nice guy.” If you can’t understand this, you’re not a nice guy. Like I tell my stepkids, just wanting something doesn’t mean you get it. No matter what you think, she is not playing hard to get or sending you magical brain signals about how much she wants you. This human being is interested in reading her book without being disturbed for her entire commute.

Which leads me to the third thing, which is that although Laura does some modeling work and often looks like a model when she’s dressed up, Laura is not a model. Laura’s profession is actually metallurgist. She has a degree, I think, in materials engineering. This is the thing that drives me crazy about men who address random strangers with the idea that if a girl is attractive to you, she must be interested in you: they almost never approach you with the idea that you might be smarter than them, and if they do, they usually don’t have any way to use that knowledge except as a compliment. So if random sweatsuit wearing subway guy plunks down next to lovely bookworm girl and asks about her book, he’s going to be way out of his league if she actually starts discussing differential equations.

I should point out that I know nothing about differential equations, having barely passed my requisite math classes in high school. I copied this one from the internet because I liked its shape and its name: it’s the Anger Equation, and I carry a lot of anger. But I don’t enjoy talking with human beings in general, so I rarely start conversations with strangers in public and will not likely be embarrassed because someone wants to talk about differential equations.

I should also point out that this comic must have been in some way inspired by the classic Gary Larson strip, Same planet, different worlds.

Also, I hope Laura has a good sense of humor about me putting her head on someone else’s body to make a point about not objectifying attractive women. At least I’m not a random stranger.