430. Buzz kill

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.

He said:

“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.

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4 Responses to 430. Buzz kill

  1. Keyla says:

    I’m glad you’re not going to lose sleep over this anymore… I think your comics are hilarious. Sometimes we just have to laugh at life in order to deal. My dad killed himself a little over a year ago, that first week we all spent time laughing at things, like when we picked him up from the funeral home after he was cremated, I said to my Mum, “huh, dad’s lost some weight” while shaking the box. We both laughed so hard we had to leave the funeral home since it felt so awkward to laugh out loud at a funeral home. Or when I told my Mum, “I’m putting him in the trunk.” Why? “because if we get into a car accident I am not going to be asking my insurance adjuster if I can take the dust buster to the car to scoop up my dad”. Sometimes you just gotta find the humor. Don’t stop with your comics, they are great, if they offend people they can choose not to read them!

    • Alex says:

      Thanks so much! It’s really nice to know that I’m not the only person out there that uses humor as a coping skill. I really think humor takes the edge off of things that we wouldn’t ordinarily be able to handle.
      The way you used it to help cope after losing your dad is amazing. Sometimes people stare at us when we’re using humor to get by, because yeah – it does seem a little strange to laugh at these inopportune times – but it doesn’t matter. We get to set the example in times like that. Thanks for commenting!

  2. bradroberts says:

    I only recently found your work, but I think what you do is great! Some of the things you touch on are serious issues, but it still gets people talking about them one way or the other.
    And as a gay man, I loved the sex dream comic, that’s one of those things I can see myself doing just to mess with my friends.

    • Alex says:

      Thank you so much. That really means a lot to me. I honestly believe laughter is one of the most powerful tools we can use against some of the stuff life hurls at us. Sad more people don’t use it.

      Your comment made my day. Much appreciated.

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