Alright, so I think the plan is roughly as follows:
The colored version of this picture will be posted tomorrow, and I think that will complete the character guide sort of images for now. There are a few more character guide entries I’d like to make, including a couple new characters that haven’t been introduced yet, but I’ll work on that as Damaged Goods goes on.
On Friday, there will be a new standalone strip I did just for the fun of it, and next Monday there will be one more image from my book that came out last year that hasn’t been on this website yet. I’ve been saving it to post at the right time, because it’s meant to tie in directly with the first image of Damaged Goods.
Next Tuesday, probably, I’ll be posting the cover image for Damaged Goods in black and white, which I mostly finished drawing last night, by the way. It looks pretty awesome, and I’m kind of proud of it :) I drew it in a couple pieces, for reasons that will probably become apparent once you see it, and so I’m going to be putting those pieces together and coloring it over the next couple of days, and then posting the colored version here next Wednesday. As I work on different versions of it, I’ll probably be putting them up on the Facebook page for my comics , and talking about it on Twitter as I go, so if you’re curious about such things, Like and follow me and all that and you can get a little more behind the scenes with the art as it progresses.
Then next Friday I’m planning to post the first image from Damaged Goods past the cover, a title page image for the first chapter. After that we’ll be off with what I’m planning!
In between chunks of Damaged Goods, I’m going to keep posting pieces of all the other projects I’ve been talking about, including more Douchebags of Comics cards. I posted a partial list of candidates for cards a couple days ago, and I’ve actually had more suggestions since then. The goal is to get to a set of 52 cards now to create The Douche 52, so if you have suggestions for people who you think deserve cards or, also, if I’m considering somebody for a card who you don’t think deserves one, please feel free to let me know!
So, I’ve been talking about making around 50 Douchebags of Comics cards, because I was thinking that was about the right size to make a tradable, collectible set, and then I realized that with two more cards I would have 52 cards, which would be perfect to also make a deck of playing cards of the set, maybe as a bonus or something after it’s all finished. 52 is also a good number because it affords me ample opportunities to make fun of DC’s New 52 initiative.
So, now that’s what I’m working toward, a list of 52 people to make cards of. I’ve continued to receive suggestions from people, and I’m open to more still. Below is a list of, not everybody, but a lot of the people I’m going to be making portraits of soon, and a partial list of people who I’m seriously considering, but haven’t decided yet whether they will receive a card or not.
Already have illustrations for cards:
Orson Scott Card
Definitely receiving cards:
J. Michael Straczynski
Doing a card of Wertham seems funny, and he obviously deserves it, but I’m undecided because the main thrust of the cards is people who are actually involved in the comics industry from the inside and are messing it up that way, and of course he never made comics, he just attacked them.
I might do a few portraits of Dave Sim, since he’s had so many people suggest him for a card. If I do a set of playing cards also, if I have four portraits of Dave Sim, I can use one for each of the kings, and he can enjoy his throne as king of the Douchebags, a spot he’s worked a long time to secure.
I think I’m gonna be doing a Kickstarter to pay for printing up the cards, and I’m going to be giving away the original art for my portraits of the Doucebags as incentives for people who give enough money. There are actually lots of incentives I’ve thought of as possibilities for this. If I do 52 portraits, that’s 52 pieces of original art I can give away to people, and I was thinking I could also do an original portrait for the person who gives the most, maybe a portrait of a Douchebag of their choice, or even a portrait of them if they wanted. For people who give less, there are a lot of other things I can give, including, obvious, a complete set of the cards, or a trading card deck of them, depending on how many different ways I go about producing this.
And of course, for one of the big incentives, I can give away the portrait I did of Rob Liefeld, complete with Liefeld’s signature on it. If you didn’t read my blog yesterday, check it out, I talk a lot about this, and specifically about meeting Liefeld this weekend at Image Expo and talking to him about the portrait I did of him. He was a total good sport about the whole thing, and wrote Spicket! on the portrait for me.
So, let me know if those incentives sound good to you, or if you have any ideas for others that would be good, and also keep letting me know your suggestions for Douchebags! I’m gonna start working on the video for the Kickstarter soon, and also probably working on my portrait of Jim Davis, who I think will be getting a card next.
Next up, a character guide entry for Capitalist Pig will be posted tomorrow, a new strip later this week, and I’m hoping to post the cover for Damaged Goods and start post comics from it around the middle of next week.
One thing I really have to give to Rob Liefeld, he definitely knows how to deal with people reacting to his work.
This last Friday, he retweeted a tweet I had made about him and Todd McFarlane, in which I sort of called them both douches. I didn’t know what to make of him retweeting it, if he was pissed about it or something, and I tweeted my confusion. Should you like to read all this or follow my further Twitter adventures, by the way, here’s the link: http://twitter.com/bloodoftheland . Instead of being pissed, he replied that he thought my tweet was funny, and then also went on to say that he had seen the drawing I did of him for my Douchebags of Comics trading card series, and he liked that, too.
Basically, he was being totally cool about it, completely capable of laughing at himself. It was almost enough to make me feel bad about the whole thing. Almost, but not quite. Considering that he was being so cool about it and that I was going to Image Expo this weekend, I thought it would be pretty hilarious if I got him to sign the drawing I had done of him, so I brought it with me to try.
Rob was one of the only ones of the Image original founders doing a solo signing by himself early in the day, that I saw anyway, and he was being completely approachable, nice and chatty with the people coming up to him, and willing to sign about as many books as people brought. I know that because the people in front of us in line had an entire backpack full of older things they wanted signed, including some old issues of Wizard magazine still kept pristinely in their original polybags. I was getting irritated at them in line, just watching them assemble the giant stack of stuff they were going to ask for signatures on, but when they handed it to Rob he didn’t bat an eye about it.
I gave him the drawing I had done of him, and told him who I was, and I told him he could deface it, draw on it, write whatever he wanted. I figured I’d at least give him the chance to talk back about it. Instead, he wrote that it was funny, and also wrote “Spicket!” on there for me himself.
I also, before going up to him, found a table that sold me a copy of Hawk and Dove issue #1, because I felt that it might be really rude to ask Liefeld to sign something I had drawn, but not ask him to sign anything he had actually drawn himself. I’m not sure if that would be more or less rude than asking him to sign a portrait of him that I had done for a series of cards called Douchebags of Comics, but I figured at least I wouldn’t be piling one rudeness onto another.
Liefeld signed the Hawk and Dove comic for me, too, and didn’t seem remotely phased by any of it.
Actually, in addition to signing the comics, he talked to me for several minutes, was complimentary toward my drawing, and said that he had read the blog I’d done attached to it. That last part kind of took me back for a second, because I had been kind of hoping that he had just seen the picture and not read the blog I had done with it.
In that blog, I *might have*, among other things, said that Liefeld looked like a, “mentally handicapped circus clown.” I think I have a pretty good sense of humor about myself, and a pretty strong level of confidence in my abilities, but if somebody said all that stuff about me, I might have been somewhat miffed, or, if the remarks came from another person who works in my field, at least tempted to make a return shot about their own artistic output. Liefeld, on the other hand, told me that he thought I was talented.
So, Liefeld’s earned major points from me this weekend. I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t say what I said in my blog, but I think I made it pretty clear in that blog that my Douchebags of Comics card series will include different sorts of douchebags, and I said there that I don’t think Liefeld is a bad person, and I don’t think he’s insane like Dave Sim, or evil like Orson Scott Card, I just don’t like his art. Specifically, I think that the flashy sort of 90′s style comics art, which is what Liefeld is known for, and the industry that decides it would rather produce that sort of art than other kinds, is a big obstacle for the kinds of comics that I would like to see being made. That said, Liefeld wins this round, because he completely understood the parts of me doing these cards that are supposed to be funny, and also understood the parts of my opinions that he doesn’t agree with and let them roll off his back.
As for the Douchebags of Comics cards in general, this experience actually totally reaffirmed my feelings that I’m doing them right. Liefeld took what I said and didn’t want to make a battle about it, and he took it how I meant it. It also made me extremely aware of what I knew before, which is that the world of comics is a small place. If you throw a pebble into that pond, somebody will notice the ripples. So that made me extra determined that, if I’m going to make a card of somebody, I should know what the fuck I’m talking about and be able to defend it. To that end, I’ve been reading a lot of Dave Sim this weekend and, oh man… Talk about a whole different level of douche. That’s gonna have to be saved for another blog, or maybe a few of them.
To print the cards up, I’m thinking of doing a Kickstarter, and giving away the original drawings I’m doing for the series as rewards for people who give money. I’m gonna be posting more details about that in the next few days, as I work on them. I think the portrait I did of Rob Liefeld, complete with his signature on it, is gonna be a great prize to give to one of the people who give the most to the Kickstarter. If you’re curious about getting original art from the series, or about the other rewards I’m planning to give, keep checking back and I’ll be posting more info about it as it develops!
Colored by the great Phil Good for the back cover of my book. I like this drawing a lot, because I think it’s about the cutest way possible to draw a cartoon fox cruising for a seedy gang bang.
For more upcoming Truckstop news and drawings, Like his Facebook page I recently made.
Early next week, I think I’m gonna post the Capitalist Pig entry for the character guide, since Capitalist Pig is gonna be an important part of the upcoming storylines in Damaged Goods. Then maybe a few more different pieces before we’re on to Damaged Goods itself. I’ve been drawing the cover the last few days, and I’m pretty excited about it. It’s a bunch of my characters in a big cityscape, and it’s a few orders of magnitude more complicated than most things I’ve drawn before. I want it to be a big banner image for this whole wave of upcoming stuff, so I’m putting a lot of time into it, hopefully that pays off with a pretty awesome image.
I might post another Douchebags of Comics card or two before starting Damaged Goods, we’ll see. I’ve been reading a bunch of Dave Sim interviews and stuff to prepare for doing a card of him, and… wow. I already knew a lot of his more infamous remarks, and he was going to get a card anyway, but when I announced the cards I got inundated with suggestions to make a card of him. He got far more suggestions than anybody else. Apparently, when you say, “douchebag,” people think, “Dave Sim!” But in spite of all of that, until I started doing some research I had no idea just how deep the well of crazy went on this one. The more I read, the more I almost start to have mixed feelings about doing a card on him, because he’s obviously a deeply mentally ill person, and making fun of him kind of seems like picking on a disabled kid.
That said, his torrential outpouring of hate and hostility over the last couple of decades makes him more than deserve it, and whatever he is, he’s not stupid. A lot of his views are stupid, but he willfully ignores, or the illness in his brain ignores for him, large parts of reality so that those views seem cogent to him, and he can bend everything together into some big map of his own reality he’s creating, just like how he thinks it makes sense to bend a bunch of religions together and create a religion of one, where he’s the only member, and still be convinced that out of the whole world, he’s the only one who believes the right thing.
He’s also not untalented, but it kind of makes me mad to see what skill he has wasted on what could have been a great series of graphic novels, and instead was turned into a vast scale model monument to craziness and obstinance. I understand some of his artistic decisions, and there was potential there, so it’s upsetting to see how he threw it out the window.
Anyway, that’s enough on Dave Sim now, since I’m sure I’ll be posting more later. Maybe I’ll do the card for Jim Davis first, since I know I’ll enjoy making fun of Garfield. If anything is unambiguously crap, Garfield is it.
Alright, so the past couple of weeks I’ve still sort of been doing a Monday/ Wednesday/ Friday schedule, but I’ve been posting a little bit more than that. On the other days, I’ve posted things like the non-colored versions of drawings that are gonna be posted the following day colored, so you can probably guess what I’m gonna be posting tomorrow. After I have the character guide all up, I’m probably going to move those posts around in the archive so they’re at the beginning, so new readers see them first. Then the non-colored versions of the drawings will stay here with their blogs for people who are going through the archives chronologically.
See, it all makes sense in my head. Sort of.
Alright, so over the last few weeks what I’ve been trying to do is gradually talk about my various upcoming projects that I want to be working on, and I think now I’ve got the ones that will be coming up in the immediate future covered.
The next batch of strips for A Waste of Time will be called Damaged Goods, and feature the return of Capitalist Pig as well as some additional new characters. I’m going to start posting that in the next few weeks. Simultaneous to that, I’m going to be working on my big piece that will discuss the porn industry and the lives of some porn actors. I figure I’ll start posting that after the first chapter or two of Damaged Goods are posted, and maybe alternate chapters from each project as I post them. Tying in to Damaged Goods, I’m talking to people about working on some music for an EP of songs by Dove of Love, Prester’s favorite Christian rock band. If you’re interested in being involved in that, let me know, as it has the potential for awesomeness.
Kind of as a companion to all of this, I’m working on The Comics Manifesto, and also a series of trading cards, Douchebags of Comics. So far the response to Douchebags of Comics has been really enthusiastic, with a ton of responses, and some people very eager to tell me people they feel deserve cards. If you have suggestions for people who you think should get cards, let me know. So far, the incomplete list of people getting cards or under consideration is something like:
Already have illustrations for cards:
Orson Scott Card
Definitely receiving cards:
J. Michael Straczynski
That’s a rough, incomplete list, but it touches on a lot of the heavy hitters, especially Dave Sim, who so far has got the most suggestions for having a card out of anybody by a large, large margin.
For the next couple of weeks, I’m still going to be posting odds and ends, including the next couple entries in the character guide for my website, so check back. After I’ve posted these things, it will be on to Damaged Goods!
Orson Scott Card is what I’d consider to be a deeply mentally ill person. In addition to other things, for decades now, he’s continually spouted off in a jaw-droppingly rabid fashion about just how much he doesn’t like gay people. It takes a special kind of crazy to get that worked up over something that, theoretically, has no effect on your life whatsoever.
The first one was his big vomiting up of crazy in 1990 about how gay sex should stay illegal, among other things:
“Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books…to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society’s regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens.”
That’s right, not only does he think that “homosexual behavior” should be illegal, he doesn’t think that gay people should even be considered equal citizens. Which explains his views on gay marriage a bit. Personally, I’d venture the opinion that the ones who shouldn’t be permitted to remain a part of society are the people so seething with bigotry and ignorance that they find it difficult to cohabitate the planet in proximity to anybody who isn’t like them, even when those people are doing nothing that in any way affects them.
But that wasn’t it, not nearly. That was Orson Scott Card around 20 years ago, and he’s continued to drift from reality.
Of course, when you’re a mentally ill person, reality seems pretty relative. In his big 2004 essay on the subject , because I guess Card felt that people were lying awake at night wondering just what the fucktard was thinking about gay people now, he makes labored, poor analogies using Alice in Wonderland to talk about how the gay agenda is pulling society into a rabbit hole where the reality of marriage, as he sees it, is being distorted. That’s right, we’re being pulling into some terrifying, strange alternate reality in which everybody has equal civil rights and consenting adults whose actions have no effect on your life can do as they choose. Sounds pretty harrowing, doesn’t it?
Then there was the big one, Card’s 2008 explosion of retardation in which he actually suggests the overthrow of the Government if Prop 8 was struck down. No, really:
“How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.”
I can’t link to the original version of that essay because, as near as I can tell, it’s been taken down, but the salient details have largely circled the web and you can find them any number of places. There are lengthy excerpts on this blog here and also a good editorial on it with more quotes here .
It speaks a great deal to his character that Orson Scott Card would feel strongly enough about something that his delusional mind would start talking about overthrowing the Government, but then allow the article to be removed when the fallout from his bigotry becomes too great. He’s not just a bigot, he’s a slimy, lying, cowardly bigot, who time and again has gone on these long screeds, and then immediately played the victim card and said he was being mischaracterized, and that the evil Liberals were out to get him.
The 1990 rant, for example, he has since characterized as actually being pro-gay, I guess because he wasn’t actually proposing mass extermination. If you want to read his verbal gymnastics trying to explain how a rant in which he talks about how gay people shouldn’t be considered citizens is actually pro-gay, it’s above the essay itself at the link I provided above.
He goes further than just claiming his comments have been mischaracterized, which they haven’t, and, as bigots often do when they’re trying to victimize others, he attempts to cast himself as the victim: “Please remember that for the mildest of comments critical of the political agenda of homosexual activists, I have been called a ‘homophobe’ for years.” Apparently in the World of Orson Scott Card, saying that gay people don’t deserve to be considered equal members of society, calling them, “tragic genetic mix-ups,” and saying that it all upsets you to the point that you think the Government should be overthrown if it supports it, in Card’s World these are, “The mildest of comments.”
If those are the mild comments, what does the nutjob *really* think?
He’s at it again these days, after writing a new book, Hamlet’s Father, which exists largely to repaint Hamlet’s father from the Shakespeare play as a gay pedophile who, by molesting them, turned Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and apparently a lot of the other characters, gay. No, really.
Card has said before that he thinks that gay people are turned gay by being molested. How they are *turned* gay, and then also, “tragic genetic mix-ups,” is the type of self-fulfilling mind-trick of which Card seems fond. He’s now written an entire book devoted to rewriting Shakespeare chiefly for the purpose of turning one character into a gay pedophile so that Card can illustrate how gay pedophiles work in his World- In this case, they’re pretty busy, because it seems that Hamlet’s father molests pretty much everybody in the story- and then further to show how being molested has turned these characters gay. Other than that, he doesn’t seem to have added much to the narrative, other than his basic lack of understanding of the characters in the original play. He used the story more or less just to illustrate his version of gay culture.
But wait- does that sound just slightly homophobic to you? Well, according to Orson Scott Card, that means you’re obviously a biased Liberal with an ax to grind who’s out to get him! In this case, instead of an essay Card wrote an entire novel to showcase his mental illness, but, just like the essays, he quickly backtracked on that and lied about it, too. You can read his refutation of the accusations that the book is homophobic here .
“There is no link whatsoever between homosexuality and pedophilia in this book. Hamlet’s father, in the book, is a pedophile, period. I don’t show him being even slightly attracted to adults of either sex,” Card said. At some point, you have to wonder if he knows how ridiculous he really sounds, and if he’s just trying to be funny. The father in Card’s book molests boys, and because of that they grow up to be gay. And then Card says that there is no link between the pedophilia in his book and homosexuality. He’s passed that Ann Coulter point where you know he probably can’t even believe the shit that’s coming out of his own mouth, unless he really is just a seriously mentally ill individual.
He doesn’t even just hate gay people, either. In his marriage ramblings, he seems to have some serious problems with women. In his central idea of the ideal marriage that he thinks the Government is trying to subvert, he describes the role of women this way:
“Faithful sexual monogamy, persistence until death, male protection and providence for wife and children, female loyalty to children and husband, and parental discretion in child-rearing.”
He slips it in there carefully, like he always does, but female subservience to their husbands is, along with his hatred of gay people, a key part of Card’s World view.
He’s not crazy about female authors, either. He decided for some mysterious reason to go on a lengthy jag about JK Rowling when she was trying to protect her intellectual property by trying to prevent the publication of an unlicensed guide to her books that would have overlapped with something she wanted to create herself. For some reason, he doesn’t just debate the intellectual property aspect, he goes to great length to assault JK Rowling’s integrity in every way and imply that her overall success is undeserved.
As far as his skills as a writer go, which isn’t very, Card has discovered one effective trick. When he’s denying things that he’s said, and also when he’s accusing people or the courts of doing things in these essays of his, he’s figured out that he can just kind of make facts up, and if he tosses them out there in the middle of a long ramble, he figures they’ll be accepted at face value and his arguments will be supported by them.
When he talks about abortion clinics, he says, “It is now illegal even to kneel and pray in front of a clinic that performs abortions.” What? When, where? He’s just made this up, but it’s supplemental to his main argument about the overreach of the courts, so he thinks that people will just gloss over it and it will be assimilated as a fact to support his essay. About gay marriage: “When gay rights were being enforced by the courts back in the ’70s and ’80s, we were repeatedly told by all the proponents of gay rights that they would never attempt to legalize gay marriage.” Neat trick, he’s inventing more history there, and using it as an example of how the proponents of gay rights are liars, not him. Which again, is ancillary to his main argument, but he thinks that if he throws it in there, supporting the idea that gay rights activists are liars will support his main argument, which is that we’re being lied to about marriage equality.
He does the same thing when he talks about JK Rowling: “And don’t forget the lawsuit by Nancy K. Stouffer, the author of a book entitled The Legend of Rah and the Muggles, whose hero was named ‘Larry Potter.’ ” He just throws that out there in the middle of what he’s saying, knowing that, as he’s presented it, it makes JK Rowling look like a thief. The case in question, though, was dismissed and JK Rowling found to be accused baselessly, which Card probably knows, but he knows that the majority of people reading what he’s saying aren’t going to fact-check every detail, and he’s therefor accomplished his purpose, which was just to make Rowling look bad, and devalue her position.
The reason I wanted to do this portrait the way I did is because that’s pretty much what I think evil looks like: a harmless-looking smiling chubby guy in a bad Hawaiian shirt. Orson Scott Card lies about what he is. Every time his homophobia, misogyny, or whatever else is wrong with him, become apparent, he always does this little dance of, “What, me? I’m just saying the way I see it, shouldn’t I be allowed to express my opinion?” That’s how the worst bigots present themselves, as though they’re just voicing an opinion, what could be wrong with that? Orson Scott Card presents himself as a mainstream figure, publishing fun adventure novels, but underneath that there’s something much worse.
I have him saying the word Tragic in reference to his quote that gay people are, “tragic genetic mix-ups,” because that, combined with the smiling harmless guy he’d like to present himself as, is a good encapsulation of how I see him. He’s grinning and writing fun sci-fi novels, very often directed at younger readers, but what’s actually coming out of that mind is extremely, extremely tragic.
I’m making this post to announce two more upcoming projects that I’m working on. First, I’m doing a series of trading cards that I’m calling Douchebags of Comics, and Liefeld will obviously be getting a card.
I had a lot of fun a while ago doing a portrait of Frank Miller after the babbling insanity on his blog and I thought it would be fun to do more. Once I started thinking about it, I realized that there was no shortage of people in the comic book industry that deserve to be called out as douchebags. There’s Orson Scott Card, who is a completely nutty homophobe, Chuck Dixon, also a homophobe, Dave Sim, a paranoid misogynist (Although he’d object to the term misogynist. He’s just some other sort of person who thinks that women are biologically inferior, I guess) and on and on.
Rob Liefeld, for me, is emblematic of a major problem in the last 20 years of mainstream comics, which is these sort of mentally deficient man-children that started taking over things in the 90′s by playing to the worst common denominator of the fan base and valuing flash and crumminess over any kind of storytelling or content or talent. The Todd McFarlanes and so on.
Their reign of crap comics and foil covers and all that almost ground the entire industry into the ground, with Marvel filing for bankruptcy around a decade ago. What we’re witnessing now is, rather than being shown the door, these same inmates that almost burned the place down are now being given the keys to the asylum. Rob Liefeld can’t draw, and he also can’t write, so I guess somebody at DC thought maybe two negatives would make a positive, so they should pay him to do both. It’s kind of the Tony Daniel strategy, although I think Tony Daniel probably has a little more drawing ability than Rob Liefeld, even if he does have a similarly adolescent storytelling sensibility.
For me, Rob Liefeld gets a card in Douchebags of Comics because he seems to take a particular pride in his mediocrity. In his own blog, Liefeld compares himself to Michael Bay, and seems to equate success with the quantity of toys you sell based on a product. ”I’ll be the first to tell you that we were never the best artists. We were never the best at anything, but just like a song or a band or whatever, we caught on and we toured rigorously,” Liefeld says of the success of the 90′s Image comics crowd.
In, “How To Beat The Haters (how I do it),” a blog entry on his website, Liefeld spends 3,617 words (A few extra because he seems unaware that “Online” is a compound word and consistently types “on line”) explaining his philosophy that, when you’re the most reviled artist in mainstream comics, and one of the few things a pathologically divided fan base can agree on is your general suckage, it can’t be because of anything you’ve drawn, it must be a problem with Haters because, afterall, he sold a lot of comics a couple decades back.
The word “Spicket!” on my drawing above is a reference to this blog in which Liefelds discusses the phenomenon of people, “Grilling me on a spicket.” Google tells me that “Spicket,” is *sort of* a word, a semi-colloquial variation on, “Spigot,” and you can assume from close reading that Liefeld was trying to use some form of the expression roasted on a spit, but how one could be roasted on a spigot is a bit mystifying. Either way, the point is that, throughout the post, it’s obvious that Liefeld has a kind of tenuous, Sarah Palin-ish grasp on the English language. He’s an adult man that thinks that apostrophes pluralize things. And DC is paying him to write three titles for them.
The real problem, of course, is that people that think that employing him is the route to making a good comic book company, so I kind of went back in forth on my head on whether Liefeld should get a card in Douchebags of Comics, but I decided he needs one for the kind of defiant pride he takes in sucking. There’s also the fact of the sheer sloppiness of his work which seems to me to convey a certain kind of contempt or disregard for his audience. Looking through some issues of Hawk and Dove, it was pretty amazing to me the number of panels that didn’t have backgrounds or looked half-finished. I felt sorry for the colorist that had to go through there and try to make it look like it was a real comic.
I felt that the image of him enthusiastically, with big jazz hands, saying, “Spicket!” conveyed pretty well my opinion of him as a storyteller. He has a certain kind of enthusiasm, sort of like the enthusiasm of a dumb puppy that’s about to get a milk bone. This was actually a pretty hard drawing for me to do, because most of the portrait drawings I do are of guys I think are attractive, so I wasn’t used to drawing somebody who looks like Liefeld. I had to keep reminding myself: No, you’re drawing Rob Liefeld, it’s *supposed* to look like a mentally handicapped circus clown.
He’s not as evil as I believe Orson Scott Card to be, though, or as mentally ill as I feel Dave Sim and Frank Miller are. I want the series of cards to incorporate all sorts of different people who are part of the problems with comics. On the back of the cards, I think I’m going to put Stats, where I rate them from One to Ten on various criteria, such as Talent, Misogyny, Racism, etc. Rob Liefeld, for example, might get a One in Talent, but not rank as highly in other fields as some of the other people getting cards. Dave Sim, whose drawings I admire, might get an Eight or so on Talent, but would also get a high score on some other categories.
One fun thing about working on these cards so far has been that, as soon as I explain the series, everybody I’ve mentioned them to who works in comics or reads comics immediately had several suggestions for people who deserve cards. If anybody reading this has candidates they’d like me to consider, please tell me and I’ll look into them. I’ve had several good suggestions already. I think it will take around 50 Douchebags to make a good set of trading cards, and I’m sure the comics industry will have no problem supplying that many.
The other thing about working for one of the big mainstream publishers that do so much damage to the medium is that a lot of people employed by them, if they want to continue to be employed, can’t say certain things about ongoing projects or other creators. They’re supposed to pretend that they don’t think the Watchmen prequels are the stupidest thing ever, for example, because these are their friends working on them, and their employers producing it. I understand the dilemma, so I enjoy the fact that I doubt DC or Marvel would ever want to employ me or that I would ever want to be employed by DC or Marvel, so I can say what I want. Given a lot of the recent rampant douchebaggery from those two companies, I’ve had a lot of things I’ve wanted to say about them, so I figure I might as well start having fun burning those bridges.
Which brings me to my next project I want to talk about: I’m creating a manifesto.
I love comics, and I see in the medium more potential for communication and expression in today’s world than probably any other medium. I also see more *untapped* potential, and a marketplace kept stagnant by bad business and tepid, uninspired laziness from companies that have a stranglehold on the distribution system, but choose to not use that stranglehold to *do* anything.
So, for a couple months now I’ve been working on something I’m calling The Comics Manifesto. It’s going to be my treatise on the potential of comics as an art form, and also on the functions they should serve for creativity, communication and expression, as opposed to fan service for milking licensed characters.
I’ve had a lot of conversations with other people who work in comics over some of these issues, and I’ve felt encouraged that I’m not alone in my sentiments. The whole idea of the potential of art, and the roadblocks that bad practices tied to the way that art is monetized throw up in the face of that potential, is central to a lot of the things I’m writing with my characters, and also to the manifesto. So much of what goes on in the World of mainstream comics is such bullshit, and takes comics so far away from what they could and should be, that it makes a lot of people depressed about the medium as a whole when it could actually be one of the most exciting things happening.
So, I’m gonna be posting bits of the manifesto as I go, and anybody that cares about comics, feel free to comment on it or send me your thoughts about it. I’m hoping that, like how a lot of people I have talked to about my candidates for Douchebags of Comics cards have enthusiastically told me how much they’d like to see so-and-so get a card, the manifesto can speak for more than just me.
I’m posting this the day after Valentine’s Day because I drew it as a Valentine’s Day present for my boyfriend, and I didn’t want him to see it online before I gave it to him.
Another reason for some of the delays in posting in the last month or so would be this guy, since we’ve been spending a lot of time together. He’s the first guy in several years that I’ve officially been boyfriends with, and we’ve only been dating since the end of December, but when something’s right it’s right.
I’ve written some comics about him already, but there’s a lag between my current life and the comics that I’ve posted since, in case you didn’t know, comics are a lot of work, dammit. A big theme of the comics I’m doing in my next set of storylines, Damaged Goods, is the question of whether or not our past is damaging enough to us that it inhibits our ability to move into the future. The dating strips in the first part of things involve me looking at and going over some of my old relationships in my head, and kind of wondering what it was about them that didn’t work. I was hoping for the collection to come to come kind of conclusion or speculation about the reasons people can have such a hard time connecting with each other, and then ask the question of whether those problems can be overcome. My relationship with this guy, then, will provide the perfect ending for the collection, because as I’m dating him, how well it works will provide the answer to those questions.
That’s sort of part of the high concept of a lot of my comics, to have it partly very planned out and structured, but then to leave room within that structure for real life to happen, because the comics are partly autobiographical, so there’s always going to be part of the story that I don’t know yet, because it hasn’t yet happened.
So far, though, it’s looking like this collection could have a happy ending. This guy, he indulges my inner nerd, watches Star Wars with me and talks about writing, he’s easy to hang out with, affectionate and not emotionally cauterized like some guys I’ve dated. And then, on top of that, he’s exceptionally cute, which is important due to the fact that I’m shallow.
He makes me feel the way past crummy relationships made me wonder if I would ever feel. It feels good to know that, in spite of all the encouragement for pessimism, I’m still stupid enough to be optimistic :)