This strip actually concludes me posting the strips that are collected in my recently published book, but the story doesn’t end here at all. When I was putting together the book, I tried to organize the strips and stuff that was included in a way that lent it a structure and brought it to a place where I felt the characters had a satisfying moment that could serve as their last moment in the book and hopefully create a good experience for the reader, but the things I have planned for these characters all feed into big arcs that will go on for quite a while. Actually this strip that I’m posting today isn’t even the end of this particular scene, the comic that I’m going to be posting on Monday picks up exactly where this one leaves off and shows some more of what’s going on in Prester’s room.
There are also still several spot illustrations and other odds and ends from the book that I’m going to be posting here, and one of the next things that I’m going to do on this website after the next few strips and drawings is a character guide with profiles for the main characters in these comics, which will hopefully be fun for people to read, and also a way for newer readers to jump in, since I think at this point I’ve accumulated enough material that it might be a bit confusing for somebody new trying to figure out what’s going on.
After the character guide, some more strips and drawings and stuff, I’m going to start posting two things that I’ve been writing. One of them is the collection of strips that will eventually form my next book, which at this point I’m planning to call Damaged Goods. It’s the next part in the ongoing saga of my rabbit, Rickets, Truckstop, and Prester, and all those characters, and it will also heavily feature some of my other characters like Capitalist Pig, and there are also going to be a couple of new characters that I’m pretty excited about.
When I plan these things, I usually at some point think in terms of big story arcs and things that I want to tackle, and so all the comics I’m doing under the banner of A Waste of Time are part of something that’s going to take me a long time to tell. Within the structures of the bigger stories I’m trying to do, I also like to leave enough wiggle room for things to be included as they happen, since a lot of the strips are meant to be autobiographical in one way or another, and I don’t know yet what’s going to happen in the parts of my life that I haven’t yet lived :) The storylines and collections that I’m doing are meant to be chunks of all of this, so that people can read one bit or storyline and understand it without reading every single thing that I’ve done. Although, of course, who wouldn’t want to read every single thing that I’ve done? :P
The other thing I’m doing is a big project that will still fall under the A Waste of Time banner, but that’s taken on a life of its own. It was originally supposed to be kind of a fun, short thing, maybe five pages or so, but once I started going I felt like there was so much more I could do. I’ve been doing a ton of research for it, so I want to talk about it, but I feel like I should keep it kind of secretive until I have more to show. Although, of course, it’s not totally secret, because some people who know me know that I’ve already been talking about it a lot. That’s because I’m excited, I think it’s gonna be a great comic! I’m trying to script this out fully before I start doing too much of the illustration, and the drawing side of it is going to be pretty complicated in some places, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to do three pages a week of it the whole time that I’m doing it, so the idea is to get far enough ahead on it before I start posting it that, when I start posting pages, I’ll be able to keep putting them up in a pretty timely fashion. So, more on that as it develops :)
Anyway, keep checking back, a whole ton of stuff coming up! Thanks to everybody that’s been reading my website all this time, and if you’ve been enjoying the recent strips, check out the store page for information about how you can order my book collection, which, I have to say, looks really pretty, and I’m proud of!
I’m still debating how much to spell this out, but I’ll kind of point out some of the connections I was trying to make here. Throughout the book, there’s a lot of repeated imagery that’s meant to compare and contrast certain moments in the lives of the different characters with each other. The first panel here, the background is actually the same background I used on the page in the Marching to “The City” story where Rickets destroys his memory chip, and the pose of the rabbit is meant to be similar to the pose Rickets had when he pulled out his memory chip and looked at it before inserting it for job training, the idea being here to compare the CD that the rabbit is looking at to a memory chip, because we all know that certain songs can carry with them associations of when we’ve heard them before, and be loaded with memories. In this case, though, the rabbit doesn’t really remember much about the night that the monkey associates with this song, and so that sort of gets at part of what I was trying to say with the whole memory chip thing, because the question here is whether the rabbit chose to forget it, like how Rickets destroyed his memory chip, or if it’s just that experiences can be different for different people in the same place at the same moment, if they’re not on the same page, and that night was different for the monkey than it was for the rabbit. So, them not being connected in that way kind of makes the rabbit wonder how much of a connection they really had, and how many of his memories were idealized.
I’m debating with myself how much exactly I should talk about my intentions with some of these comics, and how much I should leave it open to interpretation. I think the best thing to do might be to point out some of the connections and things I was trying to do, but maybe not spell out an exact interpretation of them, since there is meant to be more than one way to take them.
The use of a song here is meant to be an echo to the comic where the rabbit is listening to Arctic Monkeys, among other things, and actually is setup for a much bigger story I’m planning to do in the future. I used Andrew Bird because that actually is the album that I was talking about with this particular ex in the conversation that this comic is about. The idea is that you can take it a number of different ways, because this conversation is pretty verbatim to an actual conversation I had, but its placement in the story in the book is meant to give it different resonances and compare it to other situations. More of this will become apparent as things go on, but the characters can all represent several things. In their own universe, the characters have their stories and you don’t need to know exactly what is autobiographical for you to put it together. On the other hand, there are games going on that I think lend a lot to what I’m trying to say with the comics once you read enough for the games to become a little more obvious.
The ex-boyfriend that the monkey character is based on is also the same ex that the robot with glasses in the Rickets story Marching to “The City” is based on. The idea being that one of the main intentions of Rickets is that he represents a different side of my own personality, which is kind of a little joke because obviously in one sense the comics where the rabbit is talking to him are really just me talking to myself, since he doesn’t exist. So, Rickets and the rabbit have a lot of the same story, and I’m sure some people have noticed that the robot’s name is only a few letters off from mine. Rickets handles things a little bit differently, he’s supposed to be the more cold and logical side of me, which is one reason I made him a robot, but he’s also a broken robot, he’s destroyed his memory chip, and part of the rational for that is that I don’t think it’s in our makeup to react calmly and rationally to everything, that’s not how people are, it’s not a perfect reaction, it’s a broken reaction.
The ex that features into these stories, the thing with him is that what role he represents in the story of my life is based largely on how I choose to view him. At the time, I was crushed over the breakup, but looking back, I can’t be entirely sure why. What I thought I was loosing might have actually been my idealized version of him that existed in my head, rather than what I was actually losing which, really, was in some instances kind of a douchebag. Rickets destroyed his memory chip, so in the kind of fantasy flashback version of the relationship that I told with him, it was all very beautiful and romantic with the reasons for the conflict never really explained. I didn’t destroy my memory chip, though, so things got more complicated for me. I did actually see the guy again several times, this comic being an example of one of those times, and he was always eager to be affectionate and communicative when it served the purpose of stoking his ego or assuaging his loneliness.
He was usually seeing a new guy or two, but when he needed attention he’d look me up and I, being an idiot, was there. He knew how torn up I was about the breakup, and he’d say things like what he says in the comic above and then breeze back out of my life without any apparent awareness that his actions might have consequences. He’d come over, and he’d say he missed me, and we’d have sex, and then his phone would vibrate and he’d get guilty and suddenly less interested in sex and when I pressed him he’d eventually explain that he was getting texted by some guy he was seeing. He broke up with me a few weeks before my birthday, and I didn’t have any birthday plans other than spending the evening with him, because I had planned to see my other friends on days before or after my birthday since he had issues with almost all of my friends and he didn’t like seeing any of them, and most of them didn’t really like him. Maybe this should have told me something. If I had a male friend, he’d be obsessed about me cheating on him with the guy, and in the case of my female friends, he just couldn’t really seem to get along with them. So, when we broke up this ex made a big display about how we were still supposed to be friends, I was still so important to him, and all that, and so I asked about my birthday and he said, no, no, of course he’d still spend it with me, so I didn’t make plans with anybody else. On my birthday he showed up pretty early in the evening, we had dinner, and then suddenly he said he really had to be going. Turns out, he had made a date. I was back at my apartment by around 7 in the evening with nothing else to do. I ate cake my sister had brought me.
So, douchebag. Yet, for whatever reason there was this emotional connection, and it wasn’t completely one-sided, because however fucked up it was what passed for showing affection for him, he still did manage to continually show up back in my life. But in writing about this, I can capture bits and pieces of it, or certain events from certain perspectives, but I can’t do every subtlety and everything that passed between us, so I do bits of it from one point of view, bits of it from another, and you can add up the bits, but I think one of the great benefits of doing these short stories or strips is that you can also take them on their own without the context of every other strip, and the individual pieces can be observations about relationships that can be applied to relationships that weren’t exactly like that one. I like this strip, because at the end the question posed is kind of how do you respond to the things the monkey character said? There’s a bit more to it in the follow-up strip I’ll post next, but I think it’s a good question to ask without necessarily spelling out an answer, because I didn’t know exactly how to respond to it then, and I don’t know exactly how I would respond to it now. You can take the cute robot story part of the story, or you can take it with the other parts. the relationship had some things in common with a cute kind of fairy tale relationship, and it had some things in common with a situation that could constitute something I would consider at the very least codependent and dysfunctional.
Anyway, that’s probably enough explanation for this particular strip, I’m gonna continue these thoughts with the strip posted on Wednesday.
I actually drew this one a pretty long time ago, over a year ago, actually, but I realized that it could be part of something bigger with the rabbit character dealing with the monkey character again, so I didn’t post it. In the book, I decided to use it as part of a little series of comics with the rabbit talking to the monkey after I’ve had all these comics with him mulling over his relationships after the dating strips in the book. There’s gonna be more stuff with the monkey going forward, and more stuff I’ve done dealing with that same relationship from different perspectives. I think something the comics in the book do a good job of, collectively, is sort of establishing the main characters so far, and how they currently relate to one another, and now that I’ve done this setup, I plan to take them on much more epic adventures, and also to reveal a lot more about their pasts.
I think this strip is a pretty good analogy for being restless in a relationship. There are a few other things going on, like the sun which is meant to tie into the Marching to “The City” storyline and things like that. If you’ve read the older comics, you’ll know that the rabbit used to date the monkey character, and that’s a relationship in my life that’s been referenced in a lot of different ways, so the ways that these storylines tell stories from my life from different viewpoints and in different styles will hopefully be something that’s more apparent as it goes on and makes more sense as more of the characters’ histories are shown.