If you’re reading this I will assume that you’ve read the entire Underworld Saga ‘Redux’, and I hope you really enjoyed it. It’s the longest story I ever wrote for MythTickle and I remember that when I first wrote it over four years ago I began with an idea and didn’t plan where I was going to go with it nor knew what was going to happen. At the first I wanted to kill Boody and have him enjoy an adventure in an afterlife but I didn’t know that Dudley would go after Boody and wind up in a different afterlife and I didn’t have any notion of what I’d do for an ending. I just wrote it moment by moment, and no farther ahead than maybe three strips. It was an exercise in creative writing that happily turned out well. If the saga was new for you I’m very glad to have you along.
I thought I’d just write a note about this, nothing major, just wanted to say thanks for indulging my rerun and thanks for staying with me. The time off that I’ve had from the strip these last few months has allowed me to focus more on my health and I have to tell you that I am a much healthier and better guy now than I was last April. My knees rarely hurt anymore and I’ve dropped 25 pounds since then. And I can carry my daughter up and down the stairs in my arms with ease. It’s a great feeling to have all that weight off my knees, go down two full waist sizes, and wear my old favorite shirts again. Somehow now I have to try to keep my work, gym, and MythTickle schedule juggled effectively. I really don’t know how I’m going to do this but we’ll see.
I also want to clear something up:
The recent cartoon I posted on Sept. 17th seemed to garner some sympathy comments which isn’t what I was going after at all. I was making an allusion to the recent free download of U2’s new album on iTunes. Some people got that, but I wanted to clarify this for people who didn’t understand what I was trying to do. I kept it subtle because I like subtle, especially in comics. My readers are smart people, they pick up on ‘subtle’. But if the comic was too obscure then I congratulate you on not being so tuned-in on pop culture and the snarkiness of the web. After U2 made their new album available this week to everyone on iTunes for free and uploaded it to their “cloud”, I was really surprised at the resentment and even anger I saw on the internet from many people. I read things such as “an infringement on my account”, “trespassing”, and “forcing” their album on the public. I was just astounded at the derisiveness for a band who made their album free for everyone. They didn’t download it onto anyone’s device, just made it available. If people didn’t want it, they were free to delete it and not download it. But oh boy, the hipsters and wanna-be rock critics were in a uproar. I only wish they could get that angry and active at election time.
I got to wondering about that, “No thanks, damn you!” perspective and how I believe it proves that artists can ironically damage themselves by giving away their content. It seems so silly, one would think they would be thanked. Or at the least, “thanked but no thanks”… thanked. Yet many people want to burn Bono in effigy right now. For giving them a new album for free. I just don’t get it. But what about other people who give their talent away? The artists who aren’t already rich rock stars. Artists who seed their paintings onto the city walls and streets, actors who perform shows for nothing, non-syndicated web cartoonists, and musicians who perform in the subways and street corners, all of these noble artists are looked down upon by most people, sometimes even as harshly as a mime. YIKES! The thinking is, “If it’s free it can’t be that good. Must be crap”.
I wish I could figure out a way to make this perspective change but it seems impossible in our fabulous übercapitalist culture, I can’t even imagine what it would take. People rarely look past a price tag to value content or talent.
But anyway, that last frame wasn’t about a pity-party for me, I wanted to have someone respond to Karma with the line “You too?”, as in ‘U2’, but I couldn’t think of anyone in the strip who gives their work away to the public for free, except yours truly. Sure I wish I were syndicated in newspapers, even if it were Sundays only (which is the only way I think MythTickle could survive in papers really). But I have many web comic artist friends who aren’t even syndicated on the web like I am from Universal, who have to distribute their work on their own websites and try to pull readers over to them, who have been struggling for years and their work is absolutely amazing- far superior to most of what I see in the newspaper. Not every strip in the paper, but most. That comic wasn’t about me, more for my web cartoonist colleagues who aren’t paid something by the syndicate like I am. My fault for not being clear on that, it was a complicated thought and I tried but wasn’t clear enough. Mea culpa.
I guess my message is, think twice about the artists of every stripe who is just putting it all out there just so you’ll notice them, and appreciate them. Maybe give them a break. Maybe open up a Sunday paper and think, ‘Gee, that’s not very funny or imaginative. Why is that even in here when there’s so much more unique work being done out there in the cold?’ Or maybe you’ll hear a song and think, ‘Why am I hearing this person on my radio? I heard someone in the subway yesterday who’s voice could melt this singer to ashes.’
Then maybe write a letter.