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