Rickets and Prester sketchbook drawing.
So, there are several reasons for the recent delays in me posting strips, and in the next few the strips are gonna get a bit meta and start explaining some of the thought behind the strips. One reason for the delay, though, is that I’ve been writing a bunch of shorter strips that weren’t really part of Damaged Goods or anything, but that I just wanted to do, and I decided at this point it would be a good place in the story to do a bunch of them.
Several of them, like this one in particular that mentions Mitt Romney, are a bit timely, and if I didn’t do them now I might not ever do them. Sometimes I come up with an idea for a strip, and then it sits on the shelf forever until I get around to it, and when there’s something topical in it it then ends up going through several iterations. The strips I posted about turning 28 was originally about turning 27, and it sat around long enough that when I did it I had to change the number. The Carnac homage joke I did a while ago originally had another name in there for the slut joke, and went through a few iterations of slut until, when I finally illustrated it, Kim Kardashian seemed like the slut du jour, so I put her name in there even though I don’t think anybody knew who she was when I originally wrote the strip.
This one though, I particularly wanted to say that there’s something wrong with anybody who would vote for Romney, and, although I’m sure there will be other idiot Republicans in the years to come, I particularly wanted to say that about him. Also, the fourth and, let’s hope to God, the last Twilight movie is coming out soon, so if I waited on that I would have lost my last chance to make fun of those movies with this particular joke.
I’ll go into this more as it goes along, but I think I had a bit of a breakthrough about Damaged Goods. I love the big epic plans that I’m working on for my characters and that I always allude to, but I think I’ve realized that I was sacrificing something by tying myself in bit to tightly to that. If I came up with a joke or a strip that didn’t fit within the framework of Damaged Goods, I’ve been setting it aside and figuring that I’ll get to it later. That was starting to make me frustrated with Damaged Goods, though, when it should be something that I’m excited about. When I tried to make myself sit down to do the strip that should come next in that story chronologically, I was also thinking, but what about this other thing I want to do… If Damaged Goods has, say, 250 strips, and I wait until I finish it until I work on this other thing, that means this other thing is at least a year and a half away in the pipeline.
The whole high concept of A Waste of Time- Or, one of the several high concepts, as I take myself extremely seriously- is that it’s supposed to be an umbrella concept that drifts in and out of fantasy, and thus allows me to write about whatever I want to write about, write about all the things I’m interested in and passionate about. Sometimes it can be very autobiographical, but then it can get off on tangents about Rickets and Prester, etc. I realized that, by tying myself too strictly to finishing one thing before I work on another, it removes some of the freedom that allows these strips to flow out of me. So, this has been a balance I’ve been struggling to find all along, and sometimes that resulted in storylines being started in the middle and posted all out of order, etc. I don’t want to do that anymore, I want to at least tell a particular story in the order it’s supposed to go in, but I’ve decided I want to allow myself more freedom to post asides and tangents. So, right now we’re in the middle of the first chapter of Damaged Goods, The Children of Marx and Lady Gaga, but I’m gonna post some strips that are one-offs and not necessarily part of that.
I think that, when I collect Damaged Goods, I’ll probably release some other magazines or collections that contain all the other stuff, and Damaged Goods will just be the strips that are relevant and designed to go there. So, reading along on this website, you’ll get that big adventure that my characters are setting off on- You will, really, even though I know I’ve been alluding to that long enough that when I mention it now some people are probably rolling their eyes, just like they probably roll their eyes when they see the optimistic ”Updates Monday/Wednesday/Friday” projection on the banner on the top of this page- and then, you’ll also get asides and other random strips and drawings. I’ll just try to place them at breaks in the story, so it doesn’t make things too confusing to read as you scroll through the archives, which were a mess for a long time and which I’ve been working to make more cohesive. So, we’ll see how this all works out.
Prester, all decked out in Dove of Love bling after he sees his favorite Christian rock band. A little preview of a comic that I’m posting next week!
So, this is a drawing I did of the young Jean Pierre Leaud from Truffaut’s 400 Blows. The chapter title Children of Marx and Lady Gaga is a reference to the Godard film Masculin Feminin, which Leaud was also in. There are a lot of things going on in the comics I’ve been doing and the comics that are coming up that tie in to 60’s French New Wave films, and 60’s culture in general.
As the comics coming up talk more about money and capitalism and the relationship between those things and art, it’s hard to not think about Occupy, and the obvious parallels between the dissatisfaction people have now and the protests going on, and things that were going on in the 60’s, and things like the student protests in France. There’s more 60’s stuff in my comics going back a while now, with the references to Bob Dylan and R. Crumb, who became associated with that era even though he didn’t like it. I think using some iconic things from 50 years ago to talk about what’s happening now appeals to me because it shows the circularity of these things, how they come around again, like the fly life cycle drawings in Morbid Obsession were meant to.
The best we can do is try to break out of the cycle if it’s destructive, and move forward. Hopefully every generation is moving forward a little bit. The world that young people in the 60’s were hoping for didn’t quite come to pass, but the world definitely became better than it was before then. As the zeitgeist tries to have a forward momentum again, there’s always the reaction from the other side to pull us backwards, which is what the Republican party represents today.
I try not to talk about these things in magical terms, but I find it kind of fascinating the way these ideas float around in the collective unconscious. That’s part of why I like to specifically call out in my work some of the influences that I’m thinking about at the time. In Masculin Feminin, you see French young people in the 60’s talking about Bob Dylan, fascinated with the ideas that are going around across the ocean. In turn, Bob Dylan is fascinated with the French poet Rimbaud, and kind of completing that circle is this picture of Leaud which has him in a pose and outfit looking very much like that famous portrait of Rimbaud that I drew in one of my comics a while back.
A couple weeks ago I was walking to a comics store in the Mission District of San Francisco, and I noticed some trailers parked along the street. A little further along the street, I come across Woody Allen filming scenes for his new movie, and I stopped to watch him for a while. I wondered what he would think knowing that a comics shop down the street was selling my book, in which I drew my rabbit making the joke Woody Allen made at the beginning of Annie Hall. That joke, of course, was a Groucho Marx joke, which Woody mentions in the movie. He’s talking about the wisdom you can find in jokes, and by deliberately mentioning a hero of his, he’s placing his work in the lineage of ideas that fascinate him. Part of the reason I liked Marx and Lady Gaga as a title was that you could take “Marx” to be about Karl, or it could be about Groucho, who I had just mentioned in my book. Some of the comics now are concerned with capitalism, but I didn’t want to seem like I was abandoning the themes about love and relationships and so on that I’ve been interested in, so it amused me that using that name could refer to either.
That’s what’s fascinating to be about art in general, you’re sending these ideas out into the universe, and you’re never quite sure exactly what ripples they’ll create. Some people read my comics to have meaning extremely close to what I was thinking about when I wrote them, but other people with their own life experiences bring something to the comics that leads them to come up with interpretations I never would have thought of, which I love. I think that’s amazing.
Woody Allen directed his first movie, Take the Money and Run, in San Francisco in 1969, and now he’s returned to film in San Francisco for the first time since then, and when I saw him it was actually a few blocks from a spot where he had filmed portions of his 1969 film. When I was watching him, there was a lady standing next to us that I think had lived here that long, talking about how the neighborhood had changed since the last time Woody was filming it. I somehow doubt it crossed his mind when he was starting his movie career in the 60’s that decades later when he came back, across the street from where he was filming there would be a comic shop selling some comics that have sex involving twinks and cartoon rabbits in them, and also jokes made in homage to films from Woody Allen’s career.
Young Jean-Pierre Leaud. The whole Children of Marx and Lady Gaga thing in my comics right now is a reference to the Godard film Masculin Feminin, which Leaud was in when he was older, but in general there are a lot of things in my comics that are kind of playing with themes from French New Wave films from the 60’s, so that’s why I’ve been posting pictures of him. I’ll probably blog some about all of it as the storyline goes on, but I wanted to do this drawing now. I’m not sure exactly how I’ll use this drawing in the storyline, but it seemed important.
I also drew this yesterday, from a photo sent to me by a fan. I love my job. Now accepting (submissive) submissions, should anyone care to send them :D