Someone had reposted my recent commissions post and made a comment inquiring why I don’t just quit my job to do art full time. I’m sure there was no slight intended, hell it was probably complimentary, but this comes up from time to time. The short answer is this: "because i’m an adult with debt & responsibilities who realizes walking away from 40k a year job to doodle for others is selfish". I’ve never understood how steady income, insurance, etc is seen as failure. Chase dreams but sleep comfortable I say. The fuller answer tho I think is worth a share, so if yer curious read on for
THE ECONOMIC REALITIES OF BEING AN ARTIST IN THE YEAR AFTER THE YEAR OF LUIGI ACCORDING TO RUSTY after this here jump
I heartily endorse this whole shmear, but this paragraph in particular speaks to me:
"Yes but if you were serious about your art" AHHAHAHAHA yeah that, that’s baby talk for "you are not being the artist I want you to be per my parameters.". Art shouldn’t be dictated by rules, and the only ones I go by are the ones I make. That is the most freeing thing humanly possible.
I’m currently on the receiving end of a lot of otherwise well-meaning folks who nonetheless are barking down my snorkel about how I’m spending (or “wasting”) a lot of my time doodling a buncha goofy shit and old comic book characters. What they want me to do instead is make my “own characters”. Nerds, I made my own characters, I did original comics for ten years, I got an Ignatz*, I’m fine thanks. Right now I’m really into doodling any dumb thing I want, it makes me happy.
I gotta be honest, I’ve recently started getting back into creating comics because, for the first time in a long time, I really feel like I want to make comics - and that’s in spite of the (like I say, well-meaning) boosterism. None of the “y’oughtta”-ing I ever got from anyone ever made me feel enthusiasm about doing comics, it made me feel guilty and put-upon. Every time someone said “I’d love to see you do something original instead of just drawing Hoppy the Marvel Bunny and stuff” it just made me regret ever letting them see my drawing of Hoppy the Marvel Bunny in the first place, you know?
I realize I run the risk of sounding ungrateful when it’s folks merely trying to say, in a clumsy (and unintentionally patronizing) way, that they want to see more of my work. Thanks for that, honestly, but let me pick where my passion lies, thanks.
Could you re-do the lyrics to the Beach Boys' Kokomo and use references to Avengers characters instead of tropical getaway locations? Thanks.
Sure, just let me drink this whole bottle of Drano drain cleaner first. As I chug it down, here’s an interesting fact, according to Kurt Vonnegut the chemicals which make up the human body are basically identical to the chemicals which make up drain clogs, so ghurrrhgle gughgulg gguglglgllg**
“stavner said: What about mutants who aren’t that powerful, or just look funny? And why, if the oppression metaphor doesn’t work, do people respond to it like it does?”—
Hey, those are some really good questions (in response to my post about the X-Men from last Friday afternoon, where I suggested that the common interpretation of the characters as a metaphor for systemic oppression was, at best, heavily flawed), thanks! I’ll do my best to answer ‘em … uh, briefly.
I should clarify that I don’t think the X-Men work as an inclusive metaphor across the board, but a lot of the characters individually do work out wonderfully as metaphors on a case-by-case basis. Nightcrawler, being a devout Catholic who looks like a demon (and is a demon? I think, that addition to his origin is after my time) is a terrific analogy for the conflict homosexuals face in the Catholic faith, or the resistance women experience when seeking roles in some denominations of the modern church. Likewise, Rogue makes for a great metaphor about the adolescent male fear of female sexuality, and how society will ostracize, alienate and portray as castrating the female sexual drive in general …
Those are great. Other characters, like Colossus? What does Colossus represent. Lifeguard and Slipstream? Longneck? How about the X-Men in general, an oppressed minority who live in a mansion in Westchester County NY and have a private jet?
Comic book mutants, as a whole, lack almost everything that truly, systemically oppressed minority groups possess: common lands, language, heritage, culture, music, literature, folklore, or all the other indentifiers of community which systemic oppression typically targets to abolish, diminish or appropriate; an historical relationship with majority cultures which is, again, endemic in oppressive systems; obliquely extant social mores which keep them at a disadvantage; demeaning semiotic signifiers in language, media, etc. Also, not ever turning into giants and wrecking whole cities accidentally.
I mean, listen, they’ll work as a metaphor until you’re twelve, which is fine, basically. “Everyone should be judged by the condition of their character, not by their flippers and laser faces or tentacle balls or whatever.” That’s good enough to get you up through puberty. After that, embrace nuance.
As for why folks continue to subscribe to that interpretation, well, it’s the Grey Poupon of critical analysis, it seems sophisticated but it’s only the over-the-counter brand (thanks to Andrew Weiss for that metaphor). Lee and Kirby started the “humans hate and fear us” dialogue, and it’s been the go-to interpretation ever since, even if it’s a little phony upon review.
Thomas Midgley, Jr. (May 18, 1889 – November 2, 1944) was an American mechanical engineer and chemist. He was a key figure in a team of chemists, led by Charles F. Kettering, that developed the tetraethyllead (TEL) additive to gasoline as well as some of the first chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Over the course of his career, Midgley was granted over a hundred patents. While he was lauded for his scientific contributions during his lifetime, the negative environmental impact of some of his innovations have considerably tarnished his legacy.
Midgley died three decades before the ozone-depleting effects of CFCs in the atmosphere became widely known. Another adverse effect of Midgley’s work was the release of large quantities of lead into the atmosphere as a result of the large-scale combustion of leaded gasoline all over the world.
High atmospheric lead levels have been associated with serious long-term health problems, including neurological impairment, and with violence and criminality in cities.J. R. McNeill, an environmental historian, has remarked that Midgley “had more impact on the atmosphere than any other single organism in Earth’s history.” Bill Bryson wrote that Midgley possessed “an instinct for the regrettable that was almost uncanny.”
Biography of Thomas Midgley Jr, the man who gave us leaded gasoline and CFCs. It’s sort of fitting that he died at the hands of his own invention, too:
In 1940, at the age of 51, Midgley contracted poliomyelitis, which left him severely disabled. This led him to devise an elaborate system of strings and pulleys to help others lift him from bed. This system was the eventual cause of his own death when he was entangled in the ropes of this device and died of strangulation at the age of 55
“Hollywood is the only industry, even taking in soup companies, which does not have laboratories for the purpose of experimentation.”—
-Orson Welles quote, I’m just gonna hang this one here. I dig where it’s not exhaustively accurate (sound labs, tech labs, sfx labs, et al, these things exist), but you take his point, right? Creativity, art, the vital need to experiment so that a form isn’t reduced to mere marketing. Stirring the water to keep tropes from forming on the glass. It’s how you keep the weeds from eating up the garden. A third metaphor.
The more you hang out with film nerds, the less cool it seems to become to enjoy Orson Welles, but I love this guy. I love how he spent half his career saying “Look, folks, I’m no genius, never said I was a genius, I have no idea where this genius biz is coming from” and then slowly turns around and “By the way, I’m a MAGICIAN!” and then throws amazing shade on Alfred Hitchcock or something. Unpredictable.