This was originally drawn in February or March or something as a kind of totem against the fear of continuing to draw and update this webcomic I was then experiencing. I guess it DIDN’T TOTALLY WORK, since I haven’t finished inking and coloring it until now, but it was nice to see it looking at me from my drafting table from time to time, reminding me that comics are important in my life!
I drew most of this strip back in like October of last year and have been leery of putting it up ever since, to a degree greater than I am leery of putting forth anything I write or do. The most recent thing I have worried about: the reaction to Jessica Udischas’s awesome Manic Pixie Nightmare Girl, specifically this strip, which got her banned from posting to reddit’s r/transgender. That is awful and I’m mad at everyone who gave her shit about the strip, because it’s sad and really beautiful and I feel really really fortunate never to have experienced anything as bad as what she’s drawn, and expecting people who do experience shit because of their identity on a regular basis to somehow magically rise above that shit so you can feel comfortable that Everything Is Okay is NO GOOD.
About this strip specifically, or I dunno why I am leery of it: I’ve been really fortunate to retain a lot of cis friends after transitioning. It sucks to have that be something that I can consider myself fortunate about because it’s not really the norm. But at the same time, this privilege differential is real, I did watch the way I was treated change in subtle ways that line up in wackily coincidental fashion with the overall ways society is structured, and I end up thinking more often than I’d like to admit: if it came down to it, like if I did something that pissed this person off or something, at what point would they use my being trans against me? At what point would they reveal that All Along they were tolerating/humoring me rather than actually believing me? To what extent am I a joke or humorous detail to people I like and trust when I am not present?
I don’t think this is an irrational fear. And a lot of the time in late 2013 I had pretty much Cathy’s experience: spending hours reading tumblr as my primary point of contact with Other Trans Women and feeling the grim sense after it, when I spent time with cis friends, of whatever this emotion resolves to: it’s only a matter of time before this breaks down. It’s only a matter of time before I become a problem for these people. Maybe it has happened already.
I don’t think this as often anymore–honestly because I have met and spent time with more trans women since 2013 and I do kind of feel like I’d have A Place To Go To in terms of human contact if things got bad, which puts less immediate strain on friendships with cis people, same way maybe that knowing you have enough money to survive for a few months if you quit your job tomorrow makes it easier to go to that job. But I do still think it, and there is not a way not to think it, and it is one of the grimmest parts about being trans: the inextinguishable paranoia that at any moment, it can turn into trans vs. cis, that maybe everyone is waiting for that moment. If you think this is crazy and that I should get over it, I encourage you to step into the mysterious cabinet that lets you live as a trans person for the next 24 hours and get back to me on this idea.
Mona, as written, is not gonna (intentionally anyway) be a jerk to Cathy in this way, which I know with 100% certainty because I write her. But I mean Cathy doesn’t know that about Mona, just as I don’t know that about other people I know whom I don’t write dialogue for (though the people I *do* write dialogue for are okay is the thing), just as they don’t know that about me when we’re on opposite sides of other privilege differentials. Yet their friendship is of long standing and overall social forces are not a metric one can use to evaluate a specific connection between people. And it’s not like Mona is fucking up here in any way, except in the general ways that she is a fuckup. THE WORLD IS FUCKING UP IS MORE THE THING AND WE ARE ALL CAUGHT IN ITS WEB.
I don’t know I’ll just post this, maybe other people have had the fun experience of feeling extra depressed and alienated after reading tumblr and harboring suspicions of everyone they know who does not share their context
All this mostly makes me think I need to be working more on the CLIMACTIC ADVENTURE of my own D&D campaign; it involves a lot of centaurs and a vineyard probably burning down is all I can say
I am not crazy about the inking in that last panel, but I wrote and penciled these D&D comics like ACTUALLY LITERALLY A YEAR AGO (posting this on September 10, 2014) and am glad they are finally done
Ha ha that Cathy is such an asshole
If you are not hip to the conversation, this owes much to the best Chick tract there is.
I swear I will one day post comics at a regular rate, as soon as I figure out to not have it just be another job I do in addition to my job
I’m really curious about what character class / race combo Mona is even playing here, honestly, but I would also like to play this character maybe
This one is just crude / my favorite part is the idea that they make Cathy DM for this kinda stuff. Having DMed weird creepy situations and BEEN A PLAYER in weird creepy situations, I do not know how she would handle it, though I guess with quiet resignation?
I dig Inez’s pants too, even though it’s more a casualty of this world only being rendered currently in two colors for Reasons than like she’s *actually* wearing yellow pinstripe pants probably
Okay there are gonna be a couple more D&D strips and then we move on to converting the like twenty gazillion scripts I’ve been sitting on most of this year into whimsies for y’all
(oh crap i published a book also, it’s over on the sidebar, or you can pick up a copy here! you can also listen to a recording of me singing Born to Run with chiptune accompaniment by K Carter on that site if you’re down for that kinda thing) (I am even though I’m not a great singer) (but I have HEART, I think) (moxie)
This is some basic D&D whimsy, but (1) I like the idea of starting a magnets business for some reason, and (2) for some reason it’s always really charming to me when Cathy and Betty have conversations! I don’t know why!
There are more strips in this series and I will do new strips eventually. The “publish dates” are just gonna have increasingly little to do with the “actually completed dates” and that’s just the New Normal I guess
I wonder if comic strips about D&D/roleplaying games generally are one day going to be as inscrutable to future generations as I dunno, golf strips are to mine; I wonder if they are already? It was pretty inevitable that this was going to happen though. I like Cathy’s hat a bunch here (I have a monochrome version of same, for special occasions.)
This inaugurates a fun short storyline about dice rolling and such
A belated Halloween SPOOKTACULAR! There was going to be a second part of this showing Inez’s costume as well, which was to be Jadzia Dax. (Mona doesn’t do costumes.) But the fact that this is being posted on April 2, 2014, some time after Halloween, means that I should probably just let it stand on its own. (I have a sketch of Inez as Dax but it’s not really ready for prime time, so just imagine it, if you have a need to do that) (I would)
The joke here is not really one I would write now, I think, even like six or seven months after I wrote it? I still think it’s funny that (a) Cathy’s ideas about costumes are still just awful (who goes as Laura Dern from Jurassic Park and expects anyone to get it), and (b) I assume that Daphne Rickets actually thinks she is really appreciating a “great costume” because she doesn’t live in Reality. Really the joke is just that the kids have cute monster outfits on / Halloween strips require no further jokes
(The kids in this, btw, are Betty and these kids, if we have forgotten!)
NEXT: Belated birthday, maybe, or Dungeons and Dragons, or religious material; I don’t know! I have a lot of stuff half done
This can hardly bode well, huh :(
So it’s been a while–this was initially drawn back in October of 2013 (the actual post date, for ARCHIVISTS, is April 1, 2014, like half a year later). I have basically no good excuses other than suddenly having a lot more freelance work with much shorter deadlines than I used to, traveling a lot, getting eye-injured, working on my book, getting sick, etc. etc. excuses excuses that are not sufficient. Whether it’s as a result of this or a cause of this, I’ve been generally feeling down and disconnected from comics, and nervous about drawing to the point that my hand kinda is not steady in a bad way? (This was mostly inked a while ago, before this really started in earnest.) I don’t even really read comics much anymore because it bums me out to do so
I’m hoping this is a phase because I do have a bunch of Bad Mother strips in stages of semi-completion that should not actually take that long to sit down and complete! Many are funny and well drawn I think! It’s just this awful psychological thing that I guess has been responsible for all of my hideous lapses in actually being consistent with comics work–this feeling when sitting down to draw that EVERY LINE IS THE WORST LINE ANYONE HAS EVER DRAWN which I’ve started to get lately even though like objectively I’m better at basic drawing than I ever have been ever.
In the past I didn’t talk about this stuff because I felt it was “unprofessional” to do so, but that is absurd! It’s not like I’m ever going to be a professional at comics. I don’t even think there is such a thing anymore, and it’s certainly not going to be this comic if there is? So it seems silly not to just be honest about “hey this is kind of really, really hard for me to draw lately for no good reason.” I mean why “front” about this? Why pretend that the website isn’t currently a terrible shambles that I feel incapable of figuring out how to fix in the time between working, trying to finish my next book, and trying just not to feel bummed out a lot while still Honoring Professional and Personal Obligations and Commitments? Why project an image of false cheer? An image of resolve against the darkness, sure, but I’d feel stupid trying to seem fun right now, and it feels like literal death to think about how I should try to make sure that my website permits like a good marketing experience for everyone or something in which no dark thoughts are permitted because Professionalism. I am sorry if I have failed to provide a good marketing experience for you
I realize that being capable of projecting an image of false cheer is like essential to the functioning of society sometimes and I’m sorry I can’t do it right now, but I can at least get it together enough to finish some comics instead of just avoiding this task? I can go that far? I WILL BE FINE; I CAN AT LEAST POST COMICS EVERY COUPLE MONTHS Y’ALL.
I don’t know if I even would have been able to get it together to do this had some of you not said VERY NICE THINGS about this book and this comic generally, like actually things that keep me going with this? So I can at least try to like scrape together some basic comix dignity to produce new work for you, when I can? This is not some kind of “line”–I literally find this comic and All Drawing psychically unpleasant to work on right now, and it’s only the knowledge that some people really will get excited if I post new work from time to time that makes that even seem like a good idea rather than the “arts” equivalent of rubbing poisonous plants on my arms. (I think this comic is good and everything and A Valuable Thing and I still super enjoy writing it; that isn’t the issue; it’s just like the actual drawing of this comic makes me think stuff like “all the comics you have ever drawn have failed and you don’t know anything about drawing really so why will this one be any different huh why are you fooling yourself.” None of this is true in any way I ultimately care about, but that is not actually the issue, and it’s not like I can just stop thinking this stuff, only “power through it” or “play music really loud.” The fact that the comic is pretty distinctly second place in terms of Vital Pursuits after my novel means that it gets whatever third helping of willpower is left over after novel writing and work, which is I guess not often enough to fight this darkness, for which I’m sorry, but short of just not having to work anymore, which isn’t going to happen ever, I don’t know what to do about it?)
okay I’m going to stop writing this now–I am generally fine; I am getting lots of work done on my new book which is aces; I am Pursuing Interests and everything–working on this comic just depresses me a lot lately, but I’m gonna brave the darkness for y’all and we will maybe work our way back to a Place of Light, okay? okay :)
HOW MYSTERIOUS YET REVEALING
Ugh, I’m sorry it took so long to get it together to update this. A combo of eye injury + high volume freelance work + holidays + downer moods. I’ve kept busy with writing them at least. At this point a couple of maybe-unwise holiday strips require some backdating (i.e., this was actually posted January 9, 2014) but stuff will come out. “The book is what matters,” this is what I tell myself.
A new issue of Rocksalt Magazine came out during the interim, and it is a REALLY GOOD ONE! Check it out on Scribd!