gabby's playhouse

a gabby schulz & ken dahl internet repository

Gordon Smalls Endures The Wasteland

This comic originally appeared in Papercutter #6 in 2007. It is also viewable on Jordan Crane’s amazing What Things Do — if you want to look at it a little bigger, go there.

As a special bonus for those who scroll all the way to the bottom, here’s the illustration which was the back cover to Papercutter:

10 Comments on “Gordon Smalls Endures The Wasteland”

  1. Much appreciation, thanks for all you do to help the fight Gabby. In love and rage, man.

  2. At least you can take comfort that you’re on the right side of history? I get SOME comfort outta being smug – it helps dilute my rage……..

  3. incredible. My favorite part was the end illustration. To me it symbolizes the fact that the tribal “native” people aren’t exactly living in utopia either. They too, have to kill to eat. to survive. Its part of the system, to live, living organisms must kill and consume other life for energy and nutrients. Which is what we are doing to the planet. We are consuming it in order to survive as comfortably and efficiently as possible. Good intentions, sure, but selfish. They have taken us down the road of destruction and we are on the way to completely destroying the beauty and life of the planet. We are out of balance. We are in a system of tit for tat, and we have sucked the tit of the earth dry. Consuming is vital for life to grow, so death will happen, and when you get down to it there is nothing “evil” about death. It leads to life and is just as necessary, and maintains the balance of many things. but if you start selfishly over-consuming that is when it can become “evil”. Animals rarely or never (besides humans) kill for a reason besides survival. They take what they need, nothing more. Our over-sized brains combined with our survival instincts have led to over-consumption, and now destruction and possible death of the entire planet. And I believe this is happening because of our incredible fear of death. We live in boxes that protect us from the elements and predators, make pesticides to prevent death of plants, and stay a hospital bed vegetable for years pumping debt into the system through an IV. Maybe if we got over our fear of death, we could live. Live as the tribal people do, in the wild. Life and death living harmoniously together, each just as sacred as the other.

  4. absolutely genius. just read Welcome to the Dahl House and had to read more. thank you.

  5. You are a very skilled cartoonist. Your work is beautiful and highly thought-provoking. Ultimately (and not that it matters), I find the core arguments are somehow lacking. For example, Gordon goes out to join the “natives” and feels angsty and out of place. Are these really substantial sentiments? He chooses the luxury of being able to agonize rather than choosing a life of simplicity, but it is still a choice. It seems as though many brilliant minds in our modern day make similar choices- to stick with civilization because of their underlying belief in it’s potential.
    There is a recurring thread of misanthropy in much of your work. The “natives” from the forrest are kin to the young gas station attendant, only, somehow, the gas station attendant finds himself entangled in the paradoxical world of modernity. The issue I am trying to raise here is the question of who is “troubled” by society and who is “untroubled”?
    The aristocracy of society builds a fictional economy by creating “demands” and by creating a social structure into which all other tiers and ranks in society can be thrown. What capitalism does is it ascribes tremendous power to material objects, so that a class system is created. Of course the “system” is totally superficial in that it creates sentiments that were previously nonexistent-such as class, class envy, etc. Affluent people in late capitalist society develop an insatiable need for commodities- a “need” that can only be fed by the labors of the poor and the working class. Because the affluence of the aristocracy is seen as idyllic, the poor, themselves, strive only for the prospect of wealth. Thus, the poor are somehow sucked into working to produce useless commodities for the rich, and they are sucked into needing these commodities for themselves.
    This strip is the best argument for a Marxist society that I have ever seen. Thank you.
    Ah, anyway, I have a lot to think about now, but keep up the fight, Schulz/Dahl.
    Oh and I understand now. I take back what I said earlier about “lacking core arguments.” You are amazing- a voice that must be heard.