Alright, the second page finally, I know I posted a version of the first page a year or so ago, so anybody who saw it has probably wondered what to make of the image, and what was happening to the robot after he woke up. Well, here it is, the robot in his little robot city marching off to the factory in the last panel, which is where he works. It’s exciting for me to be posting this, because it’s been going around in my head for a really, really long time now. The sun on the factory in the last panel is something that’s been showing up in my comics for years, and now finally you’ll get to see some of what that’s all about. In the next couple of pages when you start to see some of what goes on at the factory, you’ll start to know some of what Rickets the robot is about.
The little robot city, for me, is emblematic of a lot of things. It is, in one way a reference to the kind of suburbia I grew up in. I was thinking a bit of the suburbia in Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands, and actually I grew up not that far from where Burton did in Southern California, so when I saw that movie I always identified immediately with the type of suburbia he was doing an archetypal version of, and sending up. I wanted my robots to come from a kind of generic housing that’s idyllic on one hand, but immediately slightly creepy. When I see housing tracts like that, I think of them being stamped out from repeated blueprints over and over by corporations. They spring up around areas having some economic growth, where the old housing no longer is enough to house everybody that works there, so they’re meant to look cute and enticing or whatever, but really they’re just kind of like shelving, a way to maximize space, or a place to shove all these people. They’re not amazing houses, but you’re selling an American dream to people who have just broken past having enough money so that they don’t have to live in apartments, so they’ve got like little lawns and little driveways and just enough amenities to make people satisfied, and feel like the job they’re commuting to is worth putting up with for the prize they’ve been given. They’re the real estate version of sedatives.
The little robots in the story, of course, are completely satisfied with their little houses. The houses have driveways, even though none of the robots have cars. They have driveways because the houses would look incomplete without them. The robots are being sold an image that they know is supposed to be what they want, but they can’t actually drive anywhere.
The factory is probably my version of the retail jobs I’ve had. It looks cute and exciting with the big sun in front, but if you look closely, there’s barbed wire on the fence, some of the windows are broken out, and next to the gates there’s a little guard tower with opaque glass that looks like something from a concentration camp.
Melodramatic, maybe, but the point is I really disliked working retail. I’m talking about big corporate chain retail, of course. Retail is the same, they’re selling you the idea of good times, excitement, or sustenance, but it’s all just a big machine designed to get your money from you. The placement of shelves, the signage on the walls, you can look at it in a good way, which is that they’re trying to make a pleasurable shopping experience, or in a more cynical way, which I came to, which is that they’re just doing whatever they can to get in your wallet, and they’d sell everything from cardboard carts if they could. The two ways of looking at it are basically the same.
Anyway, the plan is for it not to take another year to post the next part of the story now. Page three will be up tomorrow.