Just a little scribble that could probably be a comic if I didn’t think that whatever was going on here is probably not funny. Can’t help but think that this drawing means something, but it’s hard to articulate what that might be. I certainly was not trying to draw anything like this.
I made this as a birthday card for an old friend of mine but I realize it is too amazing not to share with the general world. As anyone can see, I have drawn myself as a Gorn and my friend as Captain James T. Kirk from the original Star Trek series episode “Arena,” in which an advanced race forces Kirk and this lizard guy to fight to the the death in order to—get this—prove that violence is wrong. Something like that. I haven’t seen it in a while. To me, the OG Star Trek is the real Star Trek. I’ve seen some good portions of some of the other series and even enjoyed some of them, but there’s no substitute for the earnest camp and optimism of the original. Its understanding of sexism and racism were primitive, but its heart was in the right place.
The ASDM webpage on which I found the reference photo of the larval beetle offers this statement of caution for desert motorcycle enthusiasts who don’t wear helmets: “Being hit in the face by a beetle this size can be quite painful.” That’s probably an understatement; one flew into my head earlier this month and I wasn’t even coming toward it at 60 miles an hour and it still felt like being hit by a rock.
Anyway, I think these creatures are fascinating, and, for whatever reason, they don’t feel like cockroaches to me. My response to cockroaches is visceral and immediate; if one crosses my path, I feel compelled to smash it as if it’s a vicious, carnivorous alien (even though cockroaches are harmless, vegetarian, and have been around longer than humans). My response to giant palo verde beetles is, “Cool! It’s a giant bug!” And then I take a picture and send it to my nephew or something. He’s at a prime age to appreciate giant bugs.
My first script had the final panel as some snarky remark about how maybe these insects had it all figured out and maybe we’d be better off if we spent our childhood and adolescence underground and then had thirty days to mate before dying, leaving the next generation to figure things out on its own. Then I thought I’d go for a straight biology story, with only a little snark. Then I finished the artwork and thought the panels looked kind of blank, so I put the snark back in, in word balloon form. That’s why the text doesn’t quite fit the space.
Normally, I don’t feel good about killing things. Once I smashed a cockroach shortly after hearing some Buddhist lecture about how every living creature is a reincarnation of your mother and it almost made me cry. But some things are disgusting to begin with and intolerable once they get inside of your home. Some things need to be dispatched with extreme prejudice. But I still don’t like doing it, which is why it’s nice to have The Man around, because he’s much more efficient and confident about exterminating vermin.
In reality, the Boy and the Girl are actually ridiculously well-behaved. Sometimes I try to encourage them to misbehave just because it seems unnatural to me that children should be so well-mannered and so little trouble. However, they are so good that they won’t be bad even when I tell them to. They cheerfully execute chores with no grumbling or backtalk and very little procrastination.
When I was little, though, this was pretty much my attitude. Why should I slave away for my parents? Taking care of us was my mom’s job, after all; I shouldn’t have to do it for her. Also, I really liked playing with fire.
So in this case, it’s my thoughts coming out of the kids’ mouths, except for the part where the Girl says, “EW!” That is something she would really say. I doubt either of them are familiar with the word, “homunculi,” or the implications of “working for The Man.”
Since we’re talking about comics, I just read the best novel anybody ever wrote about writing comics.