Another collaboration with Becky Hawkins.
I particularly liked the way Becky, inspired by some photos of ceramic art galleries, colored the backgrounds. She also created a recognizable aesthetic that's carried through on all three of the pieces seen on display - certainly not something I called for in my script! Seeing details like that, which I hadn't even thought about, is a big pleasure of collaboration.
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I wrote this cartoon over two years ago, the same day I wrote "The Five Stages of Finding Out Your Fave Is Trash." Although I liked both scripts, they cover similar ground, so I drew one and put the other in my "to be drawn someday" folder.
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Coincidentally, the issue of enjoying art made by people who say or do terrible things, has been on my mind this week. And on my shelf.
Among the many nerdy little figurines decorating my room are a couple of Harry Potter figurines - one of Harry, and one of Hermione. I got them both because I like the characters (especially Hermione), and because I liked the artistry of whoever sculpted them - the choice to use a cartoony approach to create humor and energy.
I'm planning to get rid of them. Not because I've stopped admiring the sculpt, or because keeping them would mean I'm transphobic.
I'm getting rid of them because when the plague ends, I hope to go back to occasionally having friends and acquaintances over, and I worry that some guests - especially those that don't know me well - might see the figures and wonder if that means I agree with J. K. Rowling's anti-trans views.
To be clear, I'm not saying that enjoying Harry Potter books and films and figurines, makes anyone transphobic. And I'm not worried any of my guests would "cancel" me or even say anything aloud. I just value not making guests (in this case, especially trans guests) uncomfortable more than I value looking at these two figurines.
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After I took the photo of the figurines for this post, I noticed that they're displayed above some Tintin figurines, which I'm not getting rid of. The Tintin series, of course, has been rightly criticized for racism. So why aren't I getting rid of those figurines?
Well, for whatever reason - perhaps because the series was created so long ago (Tintin began in 1929), and so there's no live controversy keeping the problematic aspects of Tintin in the news - Tintin isn't as associated with racism as Harry Potter is with transphobia, so I don't worry about those figures making guests uncomfortable.
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This is an unusual strip for me because I'm not really condemning anyone in the strip. The main character is clumsy and hypocritical, yes, but in what I think is a human and understandable way.
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I'm sorry you haven't heard from me lately. I've been making slow progress on a few strips, but I've also been having what I think of as an "AHDD meltdown," where I usually feel unable to get work done - even though I want to work, and I like working, and I feel better when I'm working.
I'm wondering if the combination of anxiety due to covid, and staying in my house due to covid and winter, is making my ADHD worse (or at least, making me less effective at dealing with it).
I'm just going to do my best and hope I'm able to be more productive going forward.
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As always, thanks for supporting these comics (and welcome to the new supporters)! It's your support that allows me to create these comics - and, when I collaborate, to pay my collaborators full value for their work.
But as nice as it is to get paid for my work and thus to be able to buy frivolous things like food and shelter, what matter as much to me (emotionally, albeit not physically) is knowing that there are people who value my work enough to want to support it.
You're seeing this strip weeks (and maybe months!) before I'll post it in public. But if you're supporting at the $5 level or above, feel free to show it to folks without waiting.
I'll be back this week with at least one more comic strip - or two if things go really well. Until then, I hope all of us will be safe and warm and in an increasing proportion of cases vaccinated.
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TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON
This comic strip has four panels. There is an additional small fifth panel, the "kicker" panel, underneath the comic strip.
This panel shows a man with a van dyke beard, a cable knit sweater, and a fisherman's cap (although the man doesn't look at all like a fisherman!) in a fancy art gallery. The gallery is displaying artistically wrinkled pottery; we can see two pieces on pedestals, and a third piece hung on a wall in the background. Soft spotlight lighting picks the art out.
The man is leaning his elbow on a pedestal, looking confident and happy as he lectures a small crowd of people in the gallery.
MAN: John Smyth is the biggest influence on my pottery. Whatever I know as a potter, I learned studying Smyth's work.
A longer shot as the man continues to smile and speak. However, he's interrupted by a glasses-wearing person in the audience, who raises a finger.
MAN: No one potting today is as innovative and exciting as...
GLASSES: Did you see four women just came forward with #Metoo accusations against Smyth?
The exact same shot as panel 2, but now the man is no longer confident; he is wide-eyed, his mouth has dropped open a bit, and he's sweating. The audience looks at him, waiting for his response.
A closer shot as the man puts a hand over his heart as he speaks to the crowd. His eyes are shut; he's trying to look sincere.
MAN: I never liked Smyth's work.
SMALL KICKER PANEL UNDER THE BOTTOM OFTHE COMIC STRIP
A blonde woman with nice earrings speaks directly to the viewer, looking just a bit angry.
WOMAN: I know nothing about Mr. Smyth or these allegations... but clearly this is yet another anti-male witch hunt!