20130903

I Am That Gadfly

20130903

The first page of the BIG FINALE, starring T. S. ELIOT and DAME JUDITH ANDERSON. Nine years young! Fair warning that I’m not going to update this anytime soon (this page has actually been sitting around since last year at some point) — I just wanted to put something up for the anniversary out of a sense of sorrow that this thing isn’t finished yet, agh. Comics take so long to do; y’all don’t know.

(To those not in the know: here!)

2012-04-26-mwhf

To Be Concluded

2012-04-26-mwhf

So this strip marks the point where I run out of the plot ideas I have had since like 2009! Aside from (1) how the whole Elvira-is-a-ghost plot is going to resolve and (2) how the whole strip will resolve, which are already pretty much set, ALL IS MYSTERIOUS NOW, or was before maybe a month ago when I started plotting out much of the Last Storyline. After that storyline concludes, sometime I do not know when, I will still do new stuff with the grim Man Who Hates Fun crew, but probably on a much more occasional schedule, and without these ridiculous story arcs that take A GAZILLION YEARS to conclude.

Before all is over, expect an adventure featuring (1) ancient philosophers! (2) beloved British actresses! (3) anticoagulants! (4) magic and ghosts! I wish I didn’t have to subject you to such an adventure, but status quo must be reached. What was started must be completed, and will be completed in a way that will delight Many of You. I guarantee this!

For now, expect delightful Existential Girls action on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the next couple of weeks, and I’ll see everyone on MAY 13 for the debut of BAD MOTHER. You will not be disappointed by it!

2012-04-24-mwhf

Bullets, Bury Yourselves in Me

2012-04-24-mwhf

RIP Leonard.

I should do more honor to this character in the blog post than I did in the comic. Basically this character was initially supposed to be a stupid joke for this strip. I still love that strip, mostly because it has no real punchline — it’s just this kind of stupid escalating situation based on the hilarious idea that Brian Eno made some kind of computer called the OBLIQUE STRATEGIST, that for some reason outputs to ticker tape, and that’s as gnomic as real Oblique Strategies are. Yet while real Oblique Strategies are fun ways to generate new kinds of thinking about whatever it is you do, they are not really a good method for DETERMINING THE COURSE OF A MULTINATIONAL EMPIRE, hence the joke. Because it would ruin it to have a coherent “summary” kind of punchline, I decided that the last panel should just be this arbitrary hunk of “webcomics drama” where one totally negligible minor character confesses this like undying passion for another character.

But THERE ARE NO MINOR CHARACTERS! There never can be.

So later, when I knew that the plot had to involve bringing back Dascha Rand as a kind of fun ersatz gay Uncle Scrooge figure, it made total sense to reintroduce Leonard as a source of wacky exposition, potential drama, and arbitrary pathos. The fact that he has this secret love for Dascha Rand has pretty much absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the plot — like, he sees the Main Character as this Serious Rival and the Main Character really has no interest in Dascha whatsoever. He is really sad and embittered, and he gets, like, beaten up by children.

The end “joke” of course is what you see above: that Leonard makes this grand heroic confession and gesture in an effort to truly prove himself worthy of his one undying passion, and there is no effectiveness in it whatsoever. I don’t even know what he was thinking. That he’d jump in front of these bullets that were fired what, a full minute ago? That he’d like land harmlessly on the dock and confront the shooter? They’re not even near Manhattan Island anymore. I really have no idea what his idea was here. And yet there is a crazy kind of glory in it, maybe.

But I am done torturing him now. He has been most notoriously abused. The whole point was to have a heterogeneous character who typified like, Scott Summers/Jean Grey comic book torrid passion, who was essentially there for the other characters to kick around. Charitably you could call it some kind of sophisticated parody of Ayn Rand books, I guess, but really it’s just mean, and I feel pretty low down about doing this now. But what else do you do with a character like this? What else do you do.

Um, so TUNE IN THURSDAY to see what effects this gesture may have had, everyone, in the FINAL PAGE OF OUR CURRENT CHAPTER

(Other notes: He is named after this guy, who I actually met once in 2004 at an event related to a college philosophy class I took that his wife taught! I remember that he was kind of obnoxious during the actual event — I asked a question that made mention of copyright law as “arbitrary,” meaning “decided by an arbiter of some kind,” and he flipped out and said REALITY IS NOT ARBITRARY! But then I talked to him after the event and he was the nicest guy in the world, and told me that it had taken him years and years of dedicated study of philosophy to understand why nothing is “arbitrary,” and that I shouldn’t be hard on myself. He seemed legitimately concerned about this in a way that I, um, hadn’t altogether come to expect from philosophy professors, so I guess I saw fit to pay him the extremely dubious honor of being the inspiration for this character who I’ve just coldly dispatched.)

20040921

Awful Rob Reiner Farce

20040921

How much of my life have I spent like converting these comics to new formats and thinking of new titles for them and uploading them to different websites?

this is maybe the first appearance of Elvira’s Julee Cruise poster that I draw compulsively in the background of her living spaces a lot and also own

20040920

Obviously He Seeks Higher Things

20040920

The proto “alt text” or whatever is because this appeared in the local UT paper, The Daily Texan. I think it was drawn near the turtle pond if you’re curious.

I think this is the first comic where I realized that I liked Elvira a lot more than the main character? I mean I maybe realized that within like two seconds of drawing her.

20040915

Curse My Rigid Moral Structure

20040915

Another one with hideous lettering. You couldn’t even read this one in print, as I remember. I don’t know why I thought it was smart to write in sentence case at the time. It seemed unique, daring.

I still love the line about him being merely “a man who dislikes yet unknowingly abets fun.”

Look at the ridiculous DRUG PARAPHERNALIA in Elvira or whoever that guy is’s dorm room! He’s like drinking, smoking, gambling, and all manner of things at once! How OTT!

20040910

Elvira Ellison

20040910

Slowly we start restoring these to their rightful place on the new site, with NEW SLIGHTLY IMPROVED SCANS. This one originally debuted on September 10, 2004. I like the Kerouac “diss” and the little author photo of Seneca. I like that the presentation completely buries the joke, which I still think is kinda funny. I like how everyone has a terrifying jawline in this one!

I remember I was vaguely thinking that this library patron might turn into some kind of regular character, but was against the notion.

20040903

The Man Who Hates Fun: An Introduction

20040903

Welcome to THE MAN WHO HATES FUN. Your enjoyment of it will only grow as I release new and exciting installments of it to this site!

Commentary on this from the vantage point of May 2012: I know the name for the character came out of a car trip to Corpus Christi, TX with friends in August 2004 (I can be precise about the month because I remember I’d just moved into a new house in Austin and had to take off on this trip something like the Very Next Day.) I was twenty-one and I remember spending a lot of time working on these strips in a room laid out like an office with a big camo net on the ceiling, listening to Bauhaus at strange hours. It was a good time!

This was going to be a project sort of like Boat Girl is for me now: a single idiosyncratic character who appears in a series of disconnected episodes, in each time being unpleasant and philosophical in a way that is swiftly undermined. I had done a couple of webcomics before this (thankfully LOST TO HISTORY) and it always stopped being fun right around the time that plot and character intruded, so I wanted to avoid this at all costs. Clearly this didn’t happen, and I only kept it up the “gag strip” idea for this episode and the next one before introducing characters and some kind of story, although I still tried hard not to write anything in advance. In retrospect I’m not sure why this was such a worry.

Technical notes: I seriously don’t remember what I was using to draw at the time, but it looks like Microns, maybe? I know the panel borders and balloons were done with a brush and really terrible ancient calligraphy ink that eventually turned purple on the original art. I do remember putting lots of fun little jokes on the spines of the books in the background that I completely can’t read now.