A couple of weeks ago I did a comic about paper beating rock in the rock, paper, scissors game.
People online got mad at me for making light of domestic violence.
Last week I did a comic about Alex messing with Kevin, saying that he had a sex dream about him.
People online got mad at me for making fun of gay people.
And that shit stuck with me.
It killed me to think that something I take joy from caused another person to hurt or to get angry.
Though, a couple of weeks back (the week I drew the comic about hair), I got some drawing advice from a comic artist that I truly admire and aspire to be like. He taught me a few quick pointers to help with the art and then gave me some advice about taking the critiques of strangers too seriously.
“I volunteer with kids from time to time, teaching after school art classes. One of the first lessons I always give them is this: If you make somebody a sandwich and they don’t like it, does it hurt your feelings? Of course not—maybe they’re allergic to one of your ingredients, maybe they just ate, maybe they were in the mood for soup. It doesn’t hurt your feelings because YOU ARE NOT THE SANDWICH you make. You are not your work, either. It’s a message I think is good for artists to remember, and one I have to remind myself of from time to time. Our job, as I see it, is to try to bring laughter or reflection to the world. It’s a fucking honor to do, and I can take a few on the chin for the cause.”
And you know what, after thinking on that and flip flopping back and forth – that makes a lot of sense to me.
I stewed on today’s comic for a long time. I’ve done a few comics about cutting in the past and taken quite a bit of grief for them. I honestly do get why someone would get frustrated at the thought that I’m taking something seriously dangerous and making light of it. I do.
However, this is my escape. Humor. I don’t laugh at people afflicted with or impacted by these horrific things, I laugh at the idea of them. Not even because they’re funny in themselves – but because laughing is the lubrication my brain needs to help process things that I just don’t understand.
So I’m not going to be worrying about comic topics from here on out. I know myself pretty damn well and know that I’m never going to do something specifically to hurt another person. I’m going to do comics that help me laugh and cope with the BS that life hurls at me.
If you’re offended, feel free to tell me. I’m sure I can muster up a sincere apology if need be, but I’m not going to lose any more sleep over making this thing that I’m so passionate about. These comics are as much a coping skill to me as they are a chronicling of my random and sketchy ideas.
Hopefully we’ll keep meeting here every Wednesday and both be a little bit better off because of it.
For now, I’ll put my soapbox back in storage and let you get on with your day.
Enjoy your Wednesday.