Cartooning Like You Mean It

Cartooning, Teaching & Living – by Tom Hart

Archive for September 2006

September Mental Loops

with 2 comments

I’m a lousy blogger because I never let my guard down. But it’s September and I always feel gooey in September.

Being in the paper has made me super energized; I’ve created strips through the end of the month. After this week’s strips about Nora, we follow up with some fun ones about health care in this country and stepping on a nail. The week after the characters decide to attack the other comic strips- invade, or liberate, or something like that. They’re funny; I like ’em.

Margo asked me how hard it was coming up with a new strip every day. I told her it’s totally easy. I showed off my 4 boxes of index cards with budding ideas, waiting to be expanded and played with.

And so, after finishing the “liberation” strips, I barrelled into a new one about an evangelist type who shows up in the junkyard, going on and on about his faith (the “kumquat”) and his commandments that go up to eleven. Then I stopped. They were too silly, the new character was exactly how he should look- goofy, annoying, overly loud and outgoing. Simplistic and goofy.

Kumquat1001I hate characters like that. I also wasn’t sure how much I should try to attack our world’s religions, or how I should go about it. I started getting into a mental loop.

I started worrying about the appropriateness, and I looked on the page and saw staring back at me too many weird combinations of choices (compromises?). The goofy character, the goofy satire (kumquat), the hesitation, the work I put into developing a new mytghology that might read as parody. I stopped.

Since I said this is so easy, I moved onto the next idea I had: obsessing on the Ziploc bag as a totem of useless marketing and development. “It’s fine how it is, let’s get these people to work somewhere else.”

Two strips, three strips, easy (though with not without a little klunkiness…) then stop.

The loop changed but re emerged: Being in the paper causes me to try to think through my ideas more so that they don’t read merely as attacks. They can be seen as temproary fits while trying to wrap one’s brain around entire issues, the entire delimma. This isn’t bad, and that wasn’t the issue.

But they seemed irrelevant.

It’s September. The summer over, Labor Day waving in a new season of attention we’ll begin to pay to the world: elections, the news, TV shows for what they’re worth. You can feel things gearing up again, and I’m fixated on how to tool old rants into something inclusive.

Armitrige comes out and says he leaked to Novak. Survivor is starting a race war. Hillary is being chased by her own Lamont type. Iran is Iran. A dude wrote a book about “manliness.” Al Gore is hotting things up.

I like the Ziploc strips. But sometimes the best advice is stop what you are doing, take a day off, and come back.

It’s easy to do a strip a day- too easy.

I usually tell my students to stay angry. Stay connected. Don’t sever your connection to the real world.

September is a time for integration, rededication. That’s tomorrow.

So today, I’ve gone fishing. Well, reading Margaret Atwood, really.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by hutchowen

September 4, 2006 at 10:36 pm