Capitalist Pig has been conceived as the villain of all these comics. Prester is pretty mixed up, but he’s got a bad past and he’s naive, and Rickets has his faults, but Capitalist Pig is that one that might have an amiable exterior but is really up to no good.
Capitalist Pig is a piggy bank, and his chest says Taiwan, which is where he was made. There’s a lot more to him than that, but I’m going to be gradually revealing it in stories that are coming up. There’s going to be something about him, specifically, in the next big storyline, the first storyline of Damaged Goods, that will be important to how exactly he relates to the other characters.
When last we saw Capitalist Pig, Rickets and Prester, paranoid that he might have Swine Flu, had tried to kill him. When they attacked him with baseball bats, they discovered that if they cracked him open he was, being a piggy bank, full of money. They’ve been living off of that money ever since, and it’s been funding their cocaine and drinking and general debauchery. That money isn’t going to last forever, though, and when Prester’s cocaine habit no longer has the financial backing it needs, it’s gonna become a problem. Capitalist Pig hasn’t forgotten that they tried to murder him, either, but his general approach to things is always to put on a happy face and take the long view, where he thinks that eventually he’ll come out on top.
The storyline where Rickets and Prester try to murder him, Swine Flu , is an older storyline at this point, and the characters look a lot different to me now and I’m not wild about some of the comics in there. It won’t be necessary to read that to understand the stuff that’s coming up with the characters, but there is stuff in the older comics that will probably make a lot more sense as the comics roll on. My general approach to how I write these is that I try to make most of the individual strips or smaller series stand on their own, so you can read as much or as little as you like, but there’s usually a lot more going on if you want to dig.
I haven’t used Capitalist Pig much in the comics recently, because I’ve been more focused on doing relationship comics and things like that, but I’ve had some big stuff planned for him for a while, and I’m finally going to get around to some of that with the start of Damaged Goods.
Capitalist Pig was originally created, as you might guess, as a way for me to bitch about capitalism. I was working a shitty retail day job, and I had a lot of complaining to do. That desire to complain about it hasn’t gone anywhere, and as I continue to explore the central themes of the comics, which are basically the characters trying to figure out what it is they’re looking for in life that would make them happy, the rabbit’s efforts to become a successful artist are obviously going to be a big part of that, so as he has more to say about how hard it is to make a living off of art, Capitalist Pig is going to be a good sounding board for those discussions. The ways that money plays into the lives of the other characters, specifically what will happen with Rickets and Prester once they run out of money, will make Capitalist Pig an important character to those stories, too.
So, over the last several months as I’ve been outlining and writing things, it became more and more clear that it was the time to tell some of the Capitalist Pig stories I’ve been planning, and for his presence in my comics to get bigger. Combined with what’s going on in the culture at the moment, and all the talk about corporate power and the Occupy movement, I had a lot of other things I wanted to say about Capitalism, too, and suddenly this character I made around five years ago was seeming very current and zeitgeisty. These are the perks of being a visionary artist with your finger on the pulse of things, I suppose :P
Out of all my characters, Truckstop is probably the one who really knows what he wants and is totally comfortable with it.
Truckstop’s biggest frustration in life is that other people aren’t as comfortable with themselves as he is, although he’s extremely patient and supportive with my other characters.
Truckstop came by to crash at the house with my other characters around two years ago, and it seems like he’s still there. I don’t really plan on him going anywhere.
One aspect of Truckstop’s character that’s only been hinted at so far is his past, and he does have a bit of a mysterious past that, like Prester’s, will get explored as things go on. I wanted to set up the idea of an ex boyfriend of his that we haven’t seen yet, and that will be explored later on.
Truckstop, specifically, was made to tell stories that people have told me that I thought would make good comics, but where I didn’t think it was the best idea to draw the actual person who told me the story. He seemed like a good way to use some of the more outrageous things that I’ve heard without divulging confidences. Mostly everything that Truckstop says is something that’s actually happened, but not to me. The story of his name, specifically, is a sex fantasy of somebody’s, but that one isn’t a story of something somebody actually did. At least, not somebody I know personally. I’m sure somebody’s done it as some point.
For those of you who want to follow Truckstop’s amazing escapades, check out the Facebook page I just recently made for him ! There’s not much on it yet, but it’s gonna be added to soon. Tomorrow’s gonna be another Truckstop drawing from my book that came out last year that I don’t think has been on this website yet.
Prester the teddy bear is a born-again Christian Conservative teddy bear who’s in love with Rickets the robot but can’t admit it because of his religious beliefs. He’s a recovering alcoholic and he justifies having sex with Rickets because he only does it when he’s drunk, so he can say he wasn’t in control at the time. Since he’s not supposed to get drunk anymore, he gets high first and justifies getting drunk because he was high when he started drinking, so he wasn’t in control of that at the time, either.
Prester has a bit of a dark past that’s going to be an upcoming storyline. He discovered Jesus, and also his favorite Christian Rock band Dove of Love , when he was in AA for his drinking problem.
Neither of them realize it, but Prester was made by Rickets when Rickets worked at a teddy bear factory, and right after Rickets’ traumatic breakup with the boyfriend robot he had been dating.
Because of the conditions of his creation, Prester wasn’t quite like other teddy bears.
His solution for his growing feelings for Rickets is to respond with growing devotion to his homophobic Christian causes.
Prester’s look has evolved over the time that I’ve been drawing him, and the drawing above is sort of a re-drawn version of the drawing below, which is in my book that came out last year, because I felt that Prester looks so different now from the older version that it should be redrawn.
Also, what’s on Prester’s sign now, “Faggots Burn In Hell,” is important, as it’s the title of a song by Dove of Love.
Next up, I’m going to be posting a few pieces related to things other than the character guide, and then soon after I’ll do a character guide entry for Truckstop.
The idea of Rickets is that he’s a robot that’s destroyed his memory chip, so he’s not quite right in the head. He destroyed his memory chip after a traumatic breakout with a boyfriend robot he had, and then set off on the road to find a new life. I wrote the story of his relationship with the boyfriend robot and him destroying his memory chip in a storyline called Marching to “The City,” which you can read here . The story of what happened next, and how he ended up living with the rabbit and Prester the bear is something that I’ll tell later on.
Before destroying his memory chip, Rickets was one of many robots that worked at a large factory where they created teddy bears. Rickets created Prester the bear after his breakup with the boyfriend robot, and so Prester was a little bit off to begin with, because his creator was in an off mood. That’s sort of my metaphor for how I created Rickets, because I made him after a traumatic breakup on which I based his storyline. Originally the cast of my comic was mainly the rabbit, and his boyfriend, who I drew as a monkey because I called my boyfriend Monkey as a pet name (Aw) and Capitalist Pig, who I used as a way to complain about my job and a lot of other things. After I broke up with the monkey, I wanted a new character for the strip, and I came up with the idea of a little robot who was broken and had been discarded. It seemed like a fitting, if somewhat dramatic, representation of how I felt.
Rickets is now in a highly dysfunctional relationship with Prester, wherein they like each other a lot, but Prester can never admit it because he’s a born-again Christian and professes extreme homophobia. Rickets doesn’t understand, because he doesn’t have his memories from those days, that he’s actually in love with the teddy bear he created himself. This is supposed to be my metaphor for an artist being in love with his own art, and it’s the same reason I find it funny to draw my rabbit lusting after twinky guys wearing rabbit ears. I think what I’m trying to say is something about a choice we have, which is to fall in love with a real person, and appreciate the people who are really in our lives, or to yearn for a kind of idealized romance that we’ve created in our heads and possibly doesn’t exist. The Narcissism of affection, and also of art. This is one of the reasons I like to joke about art and sex being the same thing, because they’re both forms of communication, or connection, but whether we’re truly forming a bond with somebody else or just talking to ourselves is the question about whether it’s healthy or not. Where Rickets’ relationship with Prester will go, that remains to be seen.
Rickets’ personality has evolved a bit. Originally in my sketchbooks as the discarded robot in the gutter, he was much more of a sad sack kind of character.
I think that’s about all I’ll give away about Rickets at the moment, although I do have big plans for his future, and also the future of the boyfriend robot character, and even a love interest that’s going to try to tempt him away from Prester. So check back, a lot more coming up.
Next up, I’m doing a post about Prester.
For the character guide on this website, I’m going to write brief biographies of each of the characters, and talk about their stories and personalities, and also talk about where they came from and why I made the characters. In the case of the rabbit, I realized I had already written a description that I liked for the introduction of my book collection that came out last year, so I’m going to put that here.
I still remember with vivid clarity the moment when I realized exactly what my cartoon rabbit was. Around five years ago, I had been drawing him a lot. He seemed to insist on it. For a few years after High School, I had decided that I was going to be an Important Novelist, and I had put drawing on the backburner, but since I was little I had always drawn, and I felt like there was part of my brain that was being neglected when I didn’t. The rabbit started as a little logo, crawling on all fours and drawn as simply as possible, and I thought he might be an icon I could use on things, like the signature babies Keith Haring drew early in his career.
I worked at Borders at the time, back when there still were Borders, and I would draw him on the schedules or papers, whatever was around when I was bored or listening to something inane from a customer on the phone and I had a pen in my hand. Really quickly, though, the rabbit started to stand on his hind legs, and almost right after he started to have word balloons next to his head and appear on the marker board in the store’s breakroom saying things like, “Fight the man!”
The moment I remember clearly like a lightbulb going on over my head was when I realized that the rabbit was just me. He was saying the things I wanted to say. All at once, I realized that I could draw myself as this rabbit, and draw my own life in comics, and it could be totally me at the exact same moment when it also wasn’t me, because I’m not actually a cartoon rabbit. I realized that he could be me just as much as I wanted, and then could also go on any adventure and do anything I wanted him to that I couldn’t really do, and it wouldn’t in any way be breaking character.
I called the whole thing I started writing A Waste of Time because, while to me it felt like this transcending liberating vehicle where I could write anything I wanted and live as close to or as far from reality as I liked, I could also see where to other people all these bizarre comics about this cartoon rabbit and his emotional problems might seem like silliness, and a total waste of time. I think that feeling was crystallized by my boyfriend at that time, who somehow didn’t immediately jump on board with my visionary genius. We were often fighting about money, since we just had completely different concepts of it. He was a few years younger than me, and while I was still working at Borders, he was already on the second new car he had purchased and felt naked if he left the house in jeans that cost less than $300.
Once, a friend of mine in Chicago emailed me to say she worked with Jeffrey Brown. She worked at a Barnes and Nobel there, and he worked with her. She sent me a handmade zine he had done, and this one degree of separation from somebody who did comics was a first and a thrill to me.
I showed my boyfriend the comic, “Look, my friend in Chicago, she sent me this, she works at Barnes and Nobel with Jeffrey Brown!”
“Who’s Jeffrey Brown?” my boyfriend asked.
“Who’s Jeffrey Brown?! He does autobiographical comics, and they’re great! It’s just the type of thing I’ve been wanting to draw! He’s one of the biggest people that does it!”
“So, this is one of the biggest people doing what you want to do. And he works at Barnes and Nobel.”
“Well, yeah. I think he needs the insurance or something.”
“Wow. This is quite a lucrative career you’re choosing.”
My boyfriend then, he just really knew how to boost your confidence.
But the thing is, if you choose to look at it that way, all anybody’s ever doing is wasting their time. We’re all just trying to fill up those hours until we die. But what I’ve always felt is, what’s so horrible about that? Because the choice we have is whether or not we want to waste that time with something awesome. I keep chasing after guys, even though I’ve had relationships much worse than that one, and I keep making comics, even though there are totally talentless people in other fields making more money than me, because these are the things I love to do. And if I’m gonna be wasting my time, I’m at least gonna waste it on something that fucking rocks.
-Rick Worley, 8/20/2011
Alright, so for the next couple weeks the posts I make will be character portraits for an ongoing character guide for this website. I figured I’d post this one first, because it’s just an image I’ve wanted to do for a long time as a little allegorical representation of the characters. Rickets and the rabbit being different representations of me, I liked this little image of them together, and Rickets with the flower, and all the little things in here that are kind of ongoing symbols I’ve used in the comics.
The next posts I do will be individual character portaits, and I’m going to attach little biographies to them of the characters that will hopefully catch up new readers a little, but will also talk a little bit about my thoughts about the characters, and also probably give some details about their backstories and what’s coming up for them that I haven’t talked about on here yet.
A Waste of Time is a series of comics that I started about five years ago, and in that time it’s grown in several different directions. A lot of it’s autobiographical, generally I’m the rabbit, but my cast of cartoon characters has grown to have lives of their own, and stuff they wanna do. They’ve fallen in love, they’ve tried to kill each other, all the kind of stuff that you hope fictional creations will do.
Sometimes the stories with the “fictional” characters are more strictly based on my personal life than some of the “autobiographical” stories are, and the characters say things to one another that I’ve said, or that have been said to me. I think that’s alright, because I don’t expect people to read this all strictly as journal entries, even though sometimes it’s pretty close to that. What you should know is that, as much as I can, it’s all coming from places that are true, in one way or another, and that’s the way I hope to keep it.
Whether it’s all been a waste of time, or the things that any of us choose to do with any of our lives are actually the best possible way for us to use the time we’re given, well that’s something we’ll never really know until it’s too late to change the decisions we’ve made, right? So if the comics are about one central theme, I guess that’s it: figuring out what it is that you’ve been given by the universe, and doing the best with it that you can.