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.