Tag Archives: sad

Elementary Class Consciousness, 2016

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The times are tough now, just getting tougher/This old world is rough, it’s just getting rougher

The first place I ever encountered the phrase “class consciousness” was in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Of course. “I’m really awfully glad I’m a Beta.” Everyone in that book is conditioned to be happy with where they are and what they have. In the real world, you meet a lot of discontent people. Some of them seem to achieve everything with little effort but never feel like they’ve acquired enough. Some of them seem to throw themselves full throttle into their own survival and barely earn enough to subsist.

And then, because we aren’t conditioned to like where we are, but rather to believe that we deserve to go further, and can if we just put our backs into it, sometimes the masses notice that all their hard work only enriches those who have more and do less, and then they rise up against their oppressors in class warfare. That’s the theory, anyway.

In my imagination, all 4 panels should have been a contiguous street scene where the management lady interacted with the hourly laborer in front of a building where the disabled veteran sat and the limousine was parked, but my art-fu has not advanced that far. Perspective is like a foreign language to me.

Merry Christmas. It’s not my holiday, and I don’t understand it, but it seems like an especially depressing proposition this year.

Dragon Comics 149

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I need all the friends I can get.

This long-neck brontosaurus (I was delighted to read that “brontosaurus” is no longer considered a misidentification) is a friend of the Fox’s who often attended his writing parties. However, for various random reasons, for months and months we never managed to attend the same writing parties, and by the time we did meet, she was already planning to move out of state. And it takes me so long to really become friends with people. She is cool, but she is planning her going-away party.

It’s so weird that I live “out west” and yet people I meet here just keep managing to move farther west.

Thinking about tonight’s comic, and my new friend’s leave-taking, I remembered that she once told me if I ever drew her in a comic she thought she should be a dinosaur, that other people thought she looked like a dinosaur. Everyone agreed she should be depicted as a brontosaurus, so that’s pretty easy to draw.

It just occurred to me that a meeting/friendship between a dragon and a dinosaur is both natural and comical.

Haters Gonna Hate

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If you can’t join ’em, verbally abuse ’em.

On my Facebook feed, the haters seem to be in the minority, while the majority are excited to do doing something that provides more joy than they’ve felt in a long. But everyone knows these people, the ones who are too cool for everything, who feel that showing enthusiasm for the wrong things is a weakness. The Australian musician who made fun of me in 1997 for going to all the major museums in London, because in his book, the only interesting places to go were bars and clubs. The grad school colleagues too terrified to express their love of genre fiction, because there was only one kind of acceptable lit-er-a-ture and it didn’t have dragons in it. The people who go to parties and refuse to dance (OK, some of you have social anxiety, but isn’t it because you’re afraid these guys will make fun of you for enjoying it?) or watch anime or wear funny hats in photo booths.

They don’t understand how anyone can retain their childlike sense of wonder, and so they seek to crush it out of others because they don’t understand it, or they’re afraid to cultivate it in themselves. Because someone like them might come along and shame them for it.

Never feel ashamed about having a good time. And if you can’t tolerate watching others have a good time, close your window and go back to watching depressing stuff like DexterBreaking Bad, and The Walking Dead on Netflix. (Disclaimer: I haven’t really watched any of these shows, because I know that what you put into your brain has a real bearing on what comes out of your brain.)

Don’t be a hater. Buy my book, support my Patreon, order my merch.

The Weight of the World

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There’s no second punchline, because there is no first punchline. It’s not funny.

Sometimes, words just form in your head and you don’t have any choice but to write them down. I’ve gotten whole phaetons this way, whole pages at times, without any conscious thought. The other day, contemplating the violence, hatred, and pain that seems so prevalent in the 24-hours news cycle, these words fell out of my pen. Well, you can’t make a comic about that, says I, but in my experience, people love depressing comic. And this is the most depressing one I’ve ever written. So it should have at least as much staying power as the one about my post-traumatic stress disorder.

I don’t want to be the person whose privilege is to look away, but the subject matter of this comic was hard to draw. The trash picking kids in India for the first panel were the worst. After I drew it, I went back and erased about 10 pixels around each of them, because I couldn’t stand to have the drawing of trash touching these cartoon kids. The dead African men were a little easier, because they were already dead at least, and not likely to suffer anymore. And then the Syrian refugees…all those Syrian refugees. So many homeless babies. What right do I have to live in a house and eat food, let alone draw comics and write speculative fiction novels, when people are in so much pain all the time?

Meanwhile, so many people around me are going through personal turmoil, or working hard for causes like trans rights and Black Lives Matter, or just trying to overcome heartbreak or pay their bills or not be hurt by strangers on the internet or toxic family or bad relationships.

But that’s the thing about myself I’ve known for a long time. At heart, I am a cynic, full of darkness and nihilism, but I found long ago that the only way for me to exist was to wear a cloak of optimism, to cover myself in rainbows and announce that everything was going to be all right. I wouldn’t be here now, writing this blog, if I hadn’t done this. People freak the hell out if ever they see what’s under the cloak. They don’t like to hear me tell the truth.

This is a true story: in 1997, I was driving from Yellow Springs, Ohio, to Deerfield, Illinois. I had lived in Yellow Springs off and on for 5 years, and had just left behind me 2 of my best friends, the guy depicted as the Bear in Dragon Comics, and another guy who’s too complex to be summed up as 1 single animal, but I think he would be happy if I called him the Faun. They hugged me goodbye as I hopped into my moving van, and as soon as I pulled out of sight, I burst into tears. I was driving toward something good, but I felt such grief over what I was leaving behind.

The road merged onto the highway, Interstate 94, a road I knew well and had driven many times, a road that would take me right to my parents’ house. I looked up and saw the sky above the tree line, and a brilliant circumhorizontal arc splayed out across the clouds. This awakened in me the memory of a dream I had had about 15 years earlier, as a very little girl, about a goddess appearing to a group of children in a rainbow made of clouds, and instantly, I stopped crying. It was as if the universe had opened up to me, or at least one single page of it. This sign was telling me my purpose in life, why I had been left on this planet that always seemed so alien and hostile to me. I was here to serve as an avatar of Aphrodite: the acolyte of love and beauty.

This answered a lot of questions for me, specifically about why I was so unhappy all the time. Depression: anger turned inward. Because I was here with a very specific job to do, but it seemed as if the legions working against my cause were so much more numerous. Serving love and beauty is easy in paradise, but it’s a great and terrible work in a world where so many serve hatred and ugliness. I was angry because the opposition was so great, and I had no choice in my work.

Anyway, the world is terrible. And I keep drawing comics.

Enough

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I don’t even eat ice cream. Ice cream is just a metaphor. For giving up.

This comic pretty well speaks for itself. I basically forgot how to write and how to draw today, in addition to still not remembering how to breath like a normal human being without medical assistance. It’s very sad. But at least the precious, precious roof has been protected.

There are scripts for real comics on my desk. But this is what came out.

His Song Went on Forever

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I’m not that deep. I’ll never be that deep. But I can see into the depths. 

I don’t usually do stuff like this, not being one for idols, but David Bowie was such an phenomenal creative spirit that it’s hard to imagine the hearing, seeing human being who wouldn’t be inspired by his work. He was a true artist in every sense of the word, a man who wrote what still stands, in my mind, as one of the greatest commentaries ever created on love, aliens, and rock and roll (let alone one of the greatest albums of all time) when he was 24 year old, and then, rather of resting on his laurels, invented himself again and again, for every album, for every movie role.

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars played in the background as I drew this comic, and while I’ve listened to this album start to finish literally hundreds of times in my life, I kept hearing new ideas, new notes. It kept offering new inspiration.

I can’t even talk about “Lazarus” right now.

If you notice that I have chosen the silhouette of Jareth, the Goblin King to represent the dozens of faces that Bowie wore in his career, it is because I am 9 years old, and because when we fall in love, we always remember the moment, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t love The Hunger or The Man Who Fell to Earth, brutal and adult as both those films were.  

This is sort of what I feel about any really great artist finishing their work here: it’s sad they had to go when they did, but it’s wonderful that they got to stay as long as they could. The world is a better place for the existence of people like David Bowie and Robin Williams, and I’m a better artist for having walked in their light.

Dragon Comics 10

You keep on using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

You keep on using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Good news! I was able to complete 3 comics over the weekend, so I’m going to try to update 3 times a week for the foreseeable future, with an end goal of eventually having the ability to deliver dailies. This is dependent on whether I can deliver dailies and make progress on the graphic novel. Time will tell. But I’m pretty confident that I can stick to this schedule, and actually get far enough ahead that I don’t miss any days if I have an off week or go on vacation someplace without electricity. Plus, I’m really happy that my hand lettering is improving. I know I could just type the text, but I love hand lettering and would rather do it myself, even though it’s less than perfect.

In further good news, I had dinner with the real life Fox and Otter and made sure that they knew how much I really love them both. Fox said, “In all the years you’ve known me (about 8) I’ve never had a boyfriend.” I said, “I’m fine with you having a boyfriend. I’d just like you to have a boyfriend somewhere in the vicinity of where I am.”

What else? This comic is based on a real life conversation I had with the Man. I can never tell if he’s serious, but apparently he felt left out because his comic persona was not invited to the fictional comic drawing party. Well, now you can all suffer through enjoy a week’s worth of the Man. Because he spends the most time with Dragon.

Sort of a Sad Story

It’s been a couple years, but this still gets me.

Everything is complicated.

The Dissertation Mandala: everything is complicated.

Just deleted an 800 word post, because it didn’t say what I meant it to say.

The story of this mandala, in short, is that I had a friend for 17 years, a close friend, a woman I considered one of my best friends. Although there was a parabolic pattern to her love for me, I always loved her. However, we fought with increasing tendency, until she eventually told me, in no uncertain terms, never to contact her again.

Of course, there’s more to the story than that, but the story of this mandala is that, maybe six months or a year after she broke my heart, she emailed to say that she still never wanted to talk to me again, but she did want to hire me to edit her Ph.d. thesis, and for various reasons, only one of which was money, I accepted.

It was a hard edit. The dissertation was hundreds of pages long, and its quality didn’t come close to her previous work that I had read throughout our friendship. It took a couple weeks to make a single pass on the manuscript. She seemed satisfied with what I’d done and paid me; I haven’t heard from her since, although I miss her often.

This mandala depicts the layers of emotion and complexity I felt while reading her work.