So, this is a drawing I did of the young Jean Pierre Leaud from Truffaut’s 400 Blows. The chapter title Children of Marx and Lady Gaga is a reference to the Godard film Masculin Feminin, which Leaud was also in. There are a lot of things going on in the comics I’ve been doing and the comics that are coming up that tie in to 60′s French New Wave films, and 60′s culture in general.
As the comics coming up talk more about money and capitalism and the relationship between those things and art, it’s hard to not think about Occupy, and the obvious parallels between the dissatisfaction people have now and the protests going on, and things that were going on in the 60′s, and things like the student protests in France. There’s more 60′s stuff in my comics going back a while now, with the references to Bob Dylan and R. Crumb, who became associated with that era even though he didn’t like it. I think using some iconic things from 50 years ago to talk about what’s happening now appeals to me because it shows the circularity of these things, how they come around again, like the fly life cycle drawings in Morbid Obsession were meant to.
The best we can do is try to break out of the cycle if it’s destructive, and move forward. Hopefully every generation is moving forward a little bit. The world that young people in the 60′s were hoping for didn’t quite come to pass, but the world definitely became better than it was before then. As the zeitgeist tries to have a forward momentum again, there’s always the reaction from the other side to pull us backwards, which is what the Republican party represents today.
I try not to talk about these things in magical terms, but I find it kind of fascinating the way these ideas float around in the collective unconscious. That’s part of why I like to specifically call out in my work some of the influences that I’m thinking about at the time. In Masculin Feminin, you see French young people in the 60′s talking about Bob Dylan, fascinated with the ideas that are going around across the ocean. In turn, Bob Dylan is fascinated with the French poet Rimbaud, and kind of completing that circle is this picture of Leaud which has him in a pose and outfit looking very much like that famous portrait of Rimbaud that I drew in one of my comics a while back.
A couple weeks ago I was walking to a comics store in the Mission District of San Francisco, and I noticed some trailers parked along the street. A little further along the street, I come across Woody Allen filming scenes for his new movie, and I stopped to watch him for a while. I wondered what he would think knowing that a comics shop down the street was selling my book, in which I drew my rabbit making the joke Woody Allen made at the beginning of Annie Hall. That joke, of course, was a Groucho Marx joke, which Woody mentions in the movie. He’s talking about the wisdom you can find in jokes, and by deliberately mentioning a hero of his, he’s placing his work in the lineage of ideas that fascinate him. Part of the reason I liked Marx and Lady Gaga as a title was that you could take “Marx” to be about Karl, or it could be about Groucho, who I had just mentioned in my book. Some of the comics now are concerned with capitalism, but I didn’t want to seem like I was abandoning the themes about love and relationships and so on that I’ve been interested in, so it amused me that using that name could refer to either.
That’s what’s fascinating to be about art in general, you’re sending these ideas out into the universe, and you’re never quite sure exactly what ripples they’ll create. Some people read my comics to have meaning extremely close to what I was thinking about when I wrote them, but other people with their own life experiences bring something to the comics that leads them to come up with interpretations I never would have thought of, which I love. I think that’s amazing.
Woody Allen directed his first movie, Take the Money and Run, in San Francisco in 1969, and now he’s returned to film in San Francisco for the first time since then, and when I saw him it was actually a few blocks from a spot where he had filmed portions of his 1969 film. When I was watching him, there was a lady standing next to us that I think had lived here that long, talking about how the neighborhood had changed since the last time Woody was filming it. I somehow doubt it crossed his mind when he was starting his movie career in the 60′s that decades later when he came back, across the street from where he was filming there would be a comic shop selling some comics that have sex involving twinks and cartoon rabbits in them, and also jokes made in homage to films from Woody Allen’s career.
So we’re finally at the last page of the whole little Morbid Obsession thing I wanted to do as kind of a prelude to the main storyline that’s coming up. It was a pretty simple idea, I wanted to compare the anxiety over the short life of a fly to the way I feel when I worry about wasting the time life has given me, and I liked the idea of rhyming the circle of the fly’s life cycle to the circle of a clock, and here it is. It’s meant to provide some context as to the rabbit’s personality when people read this storyline, and set up some of the themes I want the stories to be about, but I started to kind of obsess on this and what’s to come afterwards, and I found it much easier to write page after page of things that will follow this rather than finish this little framing device, because I wanted it to be right for what a lot of this work is going to be about.
Also, that teacher might have be partially right with her ADD diagnosis, when I’m about to complete something that’s always when my brain signals me that it’s time to start something else. I think, look, shiny!
The idea for the whole fly thing came to me late last year when I was dating another guy, when he shows up in the comics he’s gonna be called the Boy from Fremont, due to him being from Fremont. I was dating him last fall, and he’d come into the city and sleep over, since he took Bart here, and Bart back to Fremont stops kind of early. I’m on my crazy artist sleeping schedule, though, so he’d fall asleep around one or two-ish, and I wouldn’t be tired yet. So, I was lying awake in bed next to him one night, I had recently had my book published, and I was thinking of the themes that I wanted to connect the next set of comics I wanted to do, and for some reason I had the memory of seeing that fly trapped behind glass when I was little, and it seemed right.
The comics I’m writing about the Boy from Fremont will precede the end of the stuff I’m calling Damaged Goods, because how things turned out with him led to me jumping into my next relationship, and that’s the one with the guy I broke up with a couple months ago and was posting drawings and things of, the one that I was writing into the Damaged Goods storyline, and leaving the ending of the storyline up to the state of the relationship at the time I finished writing. So, I kind of like the symmetry of the relationship stories toward the end of the book being the events that inspired what I wrote as a prelude for the book, if that makes any sense.
That’s my roundabout way of explaining and, I realize, not really explaining at all, why this whole Morbid Obsession bit took me so long to finish, as it was kind of hinging on things in those relationships, even though I’ve more or less had it written for months. The first chapter, people might remember, is called The Children of Marx and Lady Gaga, which is a reference to the Godard film Masculin Feminin, and the themes of 60′s French New wave films are kind of important to what I’ve been writing, so next up I’m going to post some drawings and random bits I’m doing related to that, maybe another Douchebags of Comics card or two, and then we’re finally past the prelude and on to the storyline proper, which will start with a strip about Rickets and Prester, right after we last saw them, when Prester comes home from the Dove of Love concert he was headed out to see.
So I’m posting this as a blog instead of posting the illustration as a comic with a blog attached, because I’m probably going to post the next Morbid Obsession strip soon, and I’d like to keep them somewhat in order when people are browsing through the archives. You know, posting things in order like how I always say I’m going to and then I don’t.
I figured this drawing was worthy of a post, though, because I like it. This was drawn from a picture a fan sent to me a while ago in the hopes that I would draw him, and I meant to but hadn’t got around to it yet. So many twinks, so little time… It’s hard being me, I know. But still, I very much appreciated the picture. I actually had it as the background on my cell phone for a while, so whenever I saw it there I would be reminded of why I’m an artist. For the money shots, obviously.
I especially wanted to draw it because I thought drawings of the things that I’ve had as cell phone backgrounds might make a good series eventually. After this, I had a picture of a guy I was dating on there. When my friend, who knew how much I liked this photo, saw that I had put a picture of the new guy on my phone she said, “Oh, he replaced butt boy? Wow, things must be getting serious!”
I did like him, but that ended up not going very far. After him I started dating my last ex, the one that’s now been the subject of a few breakup comics and blogs, and he was my next cell phone background. It was a cute picture.
When we broke up, I thought that maybe I should have something on there other than a picture of whatever boy I was currently into. It’s nice to have a picture on there of a boy I’m dating, or a boy I just think is really cute, but, assigning importance to things that may or may not have any, I started to feel slightly awkward that, if you looked at the cell phone backgrounds as a timeline of my life, my life was being defined by the series of cute boys I dated and it ended up not going anywhere with.
That was a depressing thought, so I decided to make my new cell phone background something of much more lasting significance. Next to my desk where I draw my comics, I have two things framed on my wall as inspiration for me, things I like being able to look at while I work. I have a poster from the Bob Dylan show I saw a couple years ago, and I have a copy of the last ever Calvin and Hobbes strip that I saved from the newspaper the day it came out, which is, wow, like 17 years ago now. I joke about doing comics for the money shots, but Calvin and Hobbes is probably a much bigger reason, and I love that strip now even more than when I saved the last one from a newspaper back at the age of 12, so it’s a much more enduring love story for me than the last several twinks who have wandered in and out of my bedroom. So, after this last breakup, I took a picture of my framed Calvin and Hobbes strip, and right now I’m enjoying having that on my cell phone a lot.
So, this is what I was thinking of when I did the fly life cycle strip a while ago. Actually all the drawings of the rabbit here are sort of quotes of panels from previous strips, I want them to sort of show the cycle of frustration I’m trying to talk about all together. When I’m thinking in terms of these strips being seen all together, not one at a time, I probably shouldn’t be posting portions of the storyline weeks and months apart, but hopefully this will encourage people to go back and re-read and such once more and more of the strips are up.
So, every excuse imaginable for me to not work on this particular series of strips seems to have cropped up, and it’s starting to drive me a little bit crazy. I think I’m partly looking for excuses not to work on it because talking about my experiences working retail jobs is much more depressing to me than talking about any of my breakups or ex boyfriends, and now I’m looking for a job because I could use the cash and I think I’m filled with dread about working someplace like this again.
The thing is the whole Morbid Obsession bit of the story is meant as kind of a prelude before Capitalist Pig comes back and a new character is introduced and shit starts to go down, and now I feel like I’ve been writing it for 20 years. The stuff that’s coming up next, I’ve been planning forever, and so I’ve had the vague shape of these strips in the prelude already sorted out in my head for quite a while, and when I’m wanting to work on comics I’m more inclined to be planning other stuff, or working on things that come farther down the line in this storyline, rather than return to a part that I’ve mostly already written and is unpleasant for me. I think I underestimated just how unpleasant it would be for me to write so much about fear of being a failure as an artist and not having the time to do the things I want to do. I guess that’s a good thing that it’s felt so unpleasant, because that means I’ve struck right at the root of the things that preoccupy me.
The trick is not to let the fear of failure become a self-fulfilling prophesy, I guess, because once I start to worry about what will happen if these comics bomb, that makes it easy to put off working on them and work on something else that seems less foreboding to me. I should remind myself that the comics I’m uncomfortable with are probably my best material, otherwise they wouldn’t make me so uncomfortable. But trying to tell that to all the crazy parts of my brain at once is like trying to make a class full of preschool students all sit down and simultaneously be engaged by a silent film.
There was the fact that the website was down for a week, so not posting then wasn’t my fault. And then there was the fact that I was getting paid to do a commissioned story, so drawing that seemed like a priority, and I was, after all, still drawing a lot. Like I said, a lot of excuses. There were less concrete reasons why, for the last couple months of my last relationship, I hardly drew anything. It was weird because on the one hand I thought things were happy, but now I’m wondering about the extent of my ability to lie to myself, because I think part of me knew that something was wrong, and me not drawing was symptomatic of that. In a good relationship, you should have a feeling of security, right? I think instead I had a feeling of tenuousness, like it could slip away at any time, and thus it became my priority to manage that. I think what I saw as myself being attentive, spending a lot of time with my boyfriend, and etc. was actually me clinging to something I thought might be disappearing. The priority seemed to be maintaining that from one encounter to the next, rather than that being a constant and a backdrop for other endeavors.
Anyway, I’m not too sure what the point of the rambling is, but I suppose I felt like expressing that I’m frustrated that I’m not further along in the storyline already than I am. I’ve also resolved several times to blog more, and done that inconsistently, so I suppose it’s multi-tasking to blog about my frustration, because then at least I get some productivity out of it. The original idea for this blog was to talk about my job at a bookstore and complain about the little petty dictators I had to deal with there like the one I drew in this comic, but what’s aggravating about those people thinking they have power is that they’re trying to assert power from a place of being so pathetically unimportant, and so now, at the distance of over a year from having worked in that bookstore, those people seem more like jokes than something that’s actually worth getting angry about, so I don’t have all that much to say about them.
So, now that I sound incredibly bitter and disenfranchised, I bet you really can’t wait to come back on Monday and read the next hilarious installment of my webcomic, can you? It’s a phase, I promise, I’m not like this all the time. Just like 16 hours a day. The rest of the time I’m sleeping, which means I’m thinking about sex and probably happier.
I don’t know if I explained on my last post that Seduction of the Innocent, based on the Wertham book, obviously, is the title of the Batman on Robin commissioned story that I’ve been working on. I don’t know how innocent Robin is though, exactly, he seems like a bit of a hobag. But it’s cute if he’s playing innocent, so I would go with it. Anyway, I finished the 10 pages, so I thought I’d do a post about the rest of them before I moved on to posting other things.
So let’s see. On this next page we have Batman taking off his jumpsuit, but leaving on the cape and cowl, which is good because that’s more fun to draw in this story than just some guy’s face. This is also some of the first chest hair I’ve ever drawn. My twinks don’t normally have chest hair, so commissioned stories are good because they force me to learn to draw things I probably wouldn’t try to draw otherwise. There are a few versions of the big dick panel, because we discussed whether or not the bottom of Robin’s shirt should be visible, etc., and I did it a few ways and left it to Jason to decide.
I liked this page a lot. I added an extra panel from the script because I wanted to move panels around so that those two panels on the second row were next to each other. I wanted, when your eye moved left to right reading it, for that to follow the thrust of Batman’s dick into Robin. I also like the thing with Batman covering Robin’s mouth while he fucks him. That’s always the problem with twinks, you get to fuck them but then you have to listen to them talk, as well. It’s a difficult trade-off. The word balloon up at the top is Batman telling Robin “No,” when Robin is about to cum. Bottoms love it when you tell them, “No,” they need to be shown who’s boss. That’s free relationship advice there, folks.
This page was difficult for me to draw. With nothing going in Robin’s butt, my interest begins to wane. But his penis is awfully cute, I suppose. On the last panel there, Batman is ordering him to cum, so on the next page we get:
A lot of Bat-jizz. This page comes close to doing one thing I swore I would never do, which is the ridiculous giant penises you see in a lot of porn comics. I don’t think two foot long penises are sexy in life, and I don’t think they’re sexy in comics. They make me think a person probably needs medical attention, not sex. However, on this page the penises aren’t actually larger than I drew them on other pages, they’re just meant to be closer to the viewer. In the first panel it’s Robin’s big cumshot, so I thought the penis should be the focus, and in the fourth panel, Batman is about to start fucking him again so his penis is supposed to be the focus and look intimidating. With foreshortening taken into account, the size of the penises is about right, I just wondered if they looked too big. In the end I think they came out alright.
In the last panel there Robin has kind of turned the tables on Batman and he’s feeling kind of full of himself, post-orgasm. He knows Batman still wants to fuck him and he’s cracking jokes to irritate him. I think the script said that Batman was visible in that last panel, but since the idea was Robin using Batman’s desire for him to his advantage, I thought the pose of him with his butt up in the air, showing it off, and talking to Batman from between his legs, was really good.
I like the first panel here a lot. I think it’s cute how excited and confident Robin looks about getting fucked. I like the fifth panel, too, it’s intentionally done as an homage to this dumb sex scene that, when I was about 17, I loved and jacked off to who knows how many times. The poses are based on the movie, which is not a Batman and Robin porn movie, and then I put Batman’s costume, etc., on them. I also think it’s cute how Batman is grabbing a fistful of Robin’s hair there.
So this is the last page. In the first panel there, Batman finishes up, and then the script said something about him slinking off into the shadows in the next panel. Throughout the comic, whenever Batman is trying to act cool and intimidating like the comic book Batman, I drew him a little more comic-booky in those panels, his chin got bigger or whatever. So in this panel with him slinking off into the night, I drew him more like a comic book Batman, with his shoulders making those pointed shapes that they do in the comics for some reason, and his eyes becoming those kind of Todd McFarlane-y triangle shaped eyes. When I was showing these pages last week at the Center for Sex and Culture, somebody pointed out that in between the first and second panels, you don’t know whether or not Batman actually put his clothes back on, or if he’s still just wearing the cape. I like the idea of him slinking off, all masked-avengery, having forgot his pants.
So, the story is that Batman leaves, but he leaves Robin tied to the bed and the door still open. On the third panel I tried to draw a shaft of light that looked like it was coming from an open door. The focus of that spotlight effect, obviously, is Robin’s used butt with cum leaking out of it, which is of course what I paid the most attention to while drawing.
Then, the guy in the Joker mask, who was there way back in the first page of the story, shows up, and now he’s gonna fuck Robin too. We leave Robin tied to a bed, and used as a slutty cum dumpster which is how, in the comics, I always felt Robin was meant to be.