I’m drunk enough to admit: I am a shit webcomic artist. I know it, strangers know it (and remind me), friends know it, other artists know it. All this stupid goddamn pain gets in the way and I struggle just to do a dumb sketch every couple of days, the dedicated energy required for a half-decent…
Shinga — I first came across Head Trip in 2006 after seeing some particularly witty banter between you and Randy Milholland on the Something Positive LJ forum, and following your livejournal. And it was amazing. I even created a DeviantArt profile to follow Head Trip, despite the fact that I personally have the artistic abilities of a lobotomized moose.
Both your art and your blogging were helpful to me, as you talked frankly and honestly about disability and pain, and showed yourself still being clever and snarky and amusing even when you need a wheelchair or a walker or a cane — especially helpful when I needed a cane for two years during a recovery from a bad fall.
In 2007, I introduced my little sister to your webcomic after I caught her reading Twilight. Seven years later, a good portion of the likes and reblogs from your Tumblr are probably from the world’s best little sister.
In 2010, just after we got married, my wife discovered that she had both a wheat allergy and Fibromyalgia. Because I had read your comic and livejournal, I was already aware of both what living with fibro could be like, and how some people would react to the diagnosis — your post calling out a few people on their insistence that fibro “wasn’t a real illness” was what made me realize that I needed to be ready to deal with similar bullshit when people found out about my wife’s diagnosis (and while handing my dad’s ass to him over Thanksgiving dinner didn’t exactly put us in the holiday spirit, the look on his face was priceless). My wife also enjoyed Head Trip even before your diagnosis, and was comforted by being in such good company.
And, having gotten the backstory out of the way, I now reach the thesis of this post: YOU ARE A GOOD WEBCOMIC ARTIST. You make something wonderful, without any expectation of serious compensation, for everyone to see and enjoy for free. You don’t owe us a twice-a-week schedule, nor do we expect your art to be anything other than whatever you decide to draw that day/week/century.
I’m not trying to undermine your right to your own opinion about your work, and I know that my first response to you boils down to me saying “nuh-uh!” to you, but I don’t want you to think that your readers are all just looking for an excuse to stop liking you, or that we would judge you any differently just because some pretty sucky life circumstances prevent you from updating as often as you would like. We’re thankful that you share your art with us instead of locking it away. We enjoy seeing your illustrations of your Mal’s life. And while seeing a new Head Trip update is a good thing, you aren’t sinning against us by working at your own pace.
PS — also, I designed an artificial neural network to help study things like fibro and other neurological issues. I can’t promise that anything will come of it, but be aware that there are people working to try to make things better for you and others in your situation. And if I find a cure, I promise to do my best to make sure that you get access to it as soon as possible.
Um, well, yeah, it would be frustrating not to know that you shouldn’t be wiggling the torsion wrench and the pick at the same time. And also to have a pick that is apparently sideways.
Seriously, did nobody who designed that game actually learn how to pick a lock?
Apparently not! Unless snapping ten or twenty picks in half as you try to rotate a single pick around the lock until you find the spot where it ~*magically*~ opens is how picking locks works.
Snapping… what? In real life, you’re supposed to exert about as much force as a rubber band stretched by half an inch. That’s like hearing a surgeon complain about how he keeps breaking off scalpels in his patients!
Although to be fair real lockpicking usually takes somewhere between five minutes and an hour, depending on the lock, so I suppose there’s something to be said for a degree of unreality.
The current state of the patent office, and the widespread abuse of intellectual property law, is a serious block against innovation today. In order to sell my designs, I must not only patent them, but have enough money set aside to fend off the inevitable wave of litigation from predators looking to score a quick settlement out of the threat of protracted legal action. This has the effect of suppressing small entrepreneurs and forcing them to simply sell full rights to large corporations, yielding smaller profits and divorcing the creators from their creations.
There, I said it. Someone had to. There is nothing to be learned from the Sandy Hook shooting, we don’t need to take any preventative steps, and banging on about it is utterly pointless. At this point, a good portion of my readership is most likely searching for the proper words to condemn me as some flavor of demonic taint, so I should probably clarify: I’m not saying that it wasn’t sad, or that the lives lost were meaningless, simply that there really isn’t anything to be learned that we didn’t already know — namely that nothing can make life completely safe, the world will continue to surprise us, and no matter how hard we try, we can’t be prepared for everything.
And it’s true. Gun control? Against a group of unarmed teachers and children, improvised weapons could have had just as much of an effect. Ban violent video games? There’s no evidence that Adam Lanza played them (initial reports that he was a Mass Effect fanatic turned out to be incorrect). Arm teachers? Then you have to worry about properly training millions of teachers, plus the cost of the guns themselves, the risk of accidental discharge deaths, and the fact that armed personnel onsite don’t actually prevent spree killings from taking place.
Sandy Hook was a month ago. It’s over. We can’t fight that battle after the fact, and, sad as it may be, we can’t predict the unpredictable. There was no reason to think that a gunman would target that school, and there is no reason to think that another gunman will target another school, except by random luck of the draw. The victims did die in vain, because they weren’t martyring themselves for a cause, and trying to turn them posthumously into a crusade implies that just being children and teachers wasn’t enough.
So stop your meme-posting, your emotionally-charges political flames, your endless mudslinging and blame-throwing. That isn’t how they would want to be memorialized, and it isn’t helping anything. Shut up, focus on things that actually can be made better, and get on with your life.