Cartooning is a curse. Don’t let the posis tell you different. It might seem fun before the carpal issues settle in, but in the long run nothing will destroy you faster.
Now that i’m finished with another book, you’d think i’d be trying to figure out how to get into grad school, getting a hobby that actually makes money. But instead, i still spend all my free time drawing, as if drawing was just my personal prophylactic against reality (and profit).
But then, picking our own particular poison might be the only thing in this world we have resembling free will. Since i’m getting old enough to see the finish-line tape in minute detail, i’ve realized that i’m probably doomed to keep drawing for as long as my body allows (which means roughly between two weeks and four years, if my estimations are correct). And since what we optimistically call “mid-life” would be nothing without self-aggrandizing thoughts of one’s Posthumous Legacy, i’ve been thinking a whole lot lately about what longer work — very possibly my last — i should claw away at next.
Since Sick is basically begging not to be bought, i thought maybe the next time i spend a year (or five) drawing a long-form comic story (assuming i ever do again), it should probably be something with at least a small chance of selling copies and dragging me out of retail. And before you click away in disgust, yes i know the odds of this are a pencil-shaving away from nil — but still, if i’m doomed to be a cartoonist, why not go whole-hog on the escapism, and dream just a little about literally being a cartoonist, in the actual, the-IRS-agrees sense, right? What i’m saying is, we’re trying to get that paper! And we don’t mean bristol!
So, like any desperate, pathetic failed artist riding that sweet spot between middle age and minimum wage, i’ve been busy sifting through the chicken entrails, trying to divine Just What The Fuck It Is Readers Want [to buy]. After realizing that all of my usual ideas involve angry screeds against basically everything constituting existence (and thus my readership), i decided that a much less-stupid way to go about this witchcraft is just to ask some readers what they want to read. And what better place to start than the one place on Earth i’m pretty sure i can contact people who read my comics — this website.
So, if anyone is actually reading all this: what do you think i should draw next? What kind of work would you want to see me draw, to the extent that you would actually pump some cash into a kickstarter or patreon? What is it that people keep wanting me to draw?
Just to show you how badly i need help with my Art Career, here are some recent ideas that i have sketched out or have already drawn a bit:
1. Shitcan: A Participant’s Guide to Collapse
A “comic” outline of the imminent destruction of everything we know, consisting of a deluge of horrific facts about how things are all swiftly and irrevocably ending, whether or not Bernie gets “elected” to head the Reichstag. Sounds fun!
2. Aloha Means Goodbye
An anti-colonialist history of the Hawaiian Islands, from white contact to the present, seen through the lens of my own childhood experiences there. (Because the world needs another Comic Memoir.)
3. Crass, pandering smut
People seem to buy a lot of story-driven cartoon porn at the bookstore where i work. It makes me think i should draw some too, and sell it. (Because the world really needs another depiction of straight white male-gaze sexual fantasy.)
4. An illustrated cartoon guide to mushrooms
Nothing inspires a dilettante like the opportunity to present themselves as an expert! This will basically be an excuse for me to draw nature a lot, by selling out its secrets to urban Whole Foods patrons.
5. The Normals
A story i started & abandoned around 2010, about the spread of a disease on a fictional island chain in the late 19th century. Got kind of hamfisted, but it was fun for a while. (For those wondering what i was wasting all my time drawing in New York in 2010-2011, this was it.)
6. The White Man’s Guide to Masculinity
So, patriarchy is p fucked up, and it’s p much everywhere, and no amount of callout culture or feminist process is going to fix it until men themselves start doing a better job of addressing it (and destroying it). That means creating a culture among men that’s actually interested in understanding how Manhood is constructed within patriarchal society. And we can’t do THAT until we actually figure out what the fuck manhood even means. Even today, with feminism taking its latest turn as watered-down buzzword in (patriarchal) mainstream media, it seems like the systems built on patriarchal oppression are stronger than ever. Cismen certainly don’t seem any less dominant these days, what with our recent obsessions with “pick-up artists,” being “alpha,” and all this other retrograde rapey-shooty shit floating around the marketplace (and hivemind). And so, big surprise: i thought i’d draw a comic about men. I have some Big Ideas on the subject — from titillating to downright soul-crushing — about how we construct ourselves as men, even post-Bowie, which i’d probably never share with the world unless somebody out there thought that a few thousand people would pay $20 to read them. There’s not many subjects out there that have gotten too little exploration, but masculinity is definitely one of them. At any rate it’s sure to piss off a few MRAs, which is almost payment in itself.
There’s more on my List of Sad Neglected Projects That Might Never Get Made, but i have to go clock in at my retail job now. I’d love to hear your comments on all this — “your” meaning you, even if you’re a jerk. How would you like to see me waste my life? TBH i’d also settle for a hot tip on a custodial library job in a small college town somewhere outside of Illinois.