Cartoon: Message in a Bottle


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This one was so much fun to draw. Drawing water is always a challenge. This time I tried to ape one of the ways Walt Kelly used to draw water in “Pogo,” and although of course I didn’t fully succeed, I’m still pleased with how the water looks. And I’m pleased with how the figures look. And I’m pleased with Frank Young’s colors.

(Of course, it’s easy for me to be pleased with a cartoon’s art when it’s new. The real question is, will I still like it in a year?)

Some of you may remember seeing a stickfigure version of this cartoon, which I posted in the Discord (join us!) seven months ago. A couple of people didn’t think the cartoon made sense, while a couple of other people liked it and said they were cracked up by the “Hold on, there’s another bottle” line. I love that line, so I (eventually) decided to draw this anyway. They can’t all be beloved by everyone!


It’s unsurprising, I think, that this cartoon was first written during the Trump presidency. At the time, a lot of people (understandably) thought of Trump as the chief evil in the country. This cartoon is saying “wait, no, there are levels and levels; Trump is a symptom, but the real problems go much deeper.”

Or at least, that’s what I think it says. You may see something else in it, and that’s fine.


Many years ago, I noticed that my cartoons tended to include Black characters 1) mainly in cartoons about racism, and 2) always as the person expressing the “correct” side of whatever issue the cartoon is about. It’s like I was typecasting Black characters, and I began consciously trying to improve.

To some extent I can’t do anything about that – in cartoons where a character is representing the Republican party or patriarchy or white supremacism, it would be ridiculous and confusing to have that character be Black.

But in a cartoon like this – not about racism, and where nether character represents the GOP – I can have both characters be (in this case) Black women, and it works.


Also in the Discord, Marn (hi Marn!) posted a 1956 Peanuts strip that my strip reminded her of. As you can imagine, that comparison pleased me a lot.


I was having trouble with the first figure in panel one, so I searched for a reference photo to help me out, and found one, from a photographer who creates many reference photos. They also generously gave me permission to reproduce their photo in a process image. I always enjoy seeing process images, so I imagine some of you enjoy them, as well.

 

* * *

Apropos nothing (except the mention of Peanuts), on Twitter I did a “I’ll post one comic I love for every like this tweet gets” meme thing. The tweet ended up getting 171 likes, but I decided it would be okay for me to quit after listing just 100 comics I love. So here’s the list, if you’re curious. It touches on a lot of different genres.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. All of the panels show two women talking in some sort of park or meadow (green and hilly with some trees in the background), with a gentle river or large stream in the foreground. The first woman has long curly-with-spirals hair, and is wearing a hairband. She’s wearing black pants, torn on one knee, and a hoodie. The second woman has short hair and glasses, and is wearing a short-sleeved shirt with a “!” logo on it and purple pants.

PANEL 1

HAIRBAND is crouching down and reaching for a bottle floating in the stream. The bottle, if you look closely, has a rolled-up piece of paper in it. GLASSES looks a little surprised but also amused.

HAIRBAND: Look, a message in a bottle!

GLASSES: What’s it say?

PANEL 2

Hairband has removed the paper from the bottle and is reading from it; the bottle is held in her other hand. Glasses is holding up a forefinger as she makes a point.

HAIRBAND: It says “Help! We’re trapped in a country where an absurdly awful minority party is attacking elections and democracy!”

GLASSES: So if the problem is a bad political party, all they have to do-

PANEL 3

A close-up of Hairband shows her continuing to read from the paper, with a concerned expression. Glasses speaks from off panel.

HAIRBAND: It goes on… “That party stays viable because bad constitutional design and partisan judges have made it possible for them to remain viable while most voters oppose them.”

GLASSES: I see! In that case, they can-

HAIRBAND: “And even that is a symptom of how entrenched interests of race and wealth have controlled the country from the start.”

PANEL 4

Scowling a bit with concentration, Glasses speaks, looking less certain now than in the previous panels. Hairband is kneeling down and reaching for a second bottle that has floated along the river.

GLASSES: So the root of all the problems are entrenched interests? So can they-

HAIRBAND: Hold on, there’s another bottle.

Posted in Cartooning & comics, Elections and politics | 5 Comments  

Cartoon: Overwhelmed


If you like these cartoons, please support my Patreon! Lots of people making small pledges adds up to me making a living, which is rather cool.


This cartoon is another collaboration with Becky Hawkins


Another cartoon that was, for me, more about communicating a certain feeling than it was about telling a gag.

I’m in love with how Becky’s art came out on this one. Becky has been using the “ribbon lettering” to funny effect in her work for years, and I’ve always loved how it looks, so I was really happy to find a way to use it in a political cartoon.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. Each of the panels shows the same character, a bearded man wearing glasses and a checked shirt open over a tee shirt.

PANEL 1

The man is walking, bent over like he has a heavy weight on his back. He’s surrounded by a twisting, circling ribbon that says things like: ABLEISM LONELINESS TRANSPHOBIA RACISM POLICE VIOLENCE DISEASE POVERTY GENTRIFICATION and so on. The man is talking to himself. The background is a dull greenish gray.

MAN: There’s too much wrong with the world! I’m overwhelmed!

PANEL 2

The background turns bright yellow as the man straightens up and talks towards the sky, with an expression and body language indicating determination. The twisty ribbon has disappeared.

MAN: Enough! From now on I’ll just think about the single most important issue! Which is global warming! No other issues matter if the Earth is destroyed!

PANEL 3

The background color dims back towards a green-gray as the man thinks it through, a hand on his chin in a “I’m thinking” gesture.

MAN: Of course, we can’t deal with climate change until we can hold corporations accountable…

MAN: …which can’t happen without a better government…

MAN: But we can’t have a better government while elections are so broken…

MAN: …which means we have to be looking at racism! And classism!

MAN: …and… and…

PANEL 4

The background has become a dull green gray, similar to the first panel but darker. A yellow spotlight-type light picks out the man, who has crouched onto the ground, face down, almost in a fetal position. The ribbon is back, but this time, instead of swooping around him in many directions, it’s a single big spiral seemingly pressing him down. The lettering on the ribbon says “CLIMATE CHANGEVOTING RIGHTSBROKEN DEMOCRATIC CAPITALISM RACISM POVERTY…” and so on.

This panel has no dialog.


This cartoon on Patreon.

Posted in Cartooning & comics | 7 Comments  

Cartoon: Destroying Statues Is Erasing History!


Please support the making of these cartoons by supporting my Patreon! Supporters got to see this cartoon back in April.


In June 2020, after demonstrators tore down a statue of Andrew Jackson, then-President Trump  “We should learn from the history. And if you don’t understand your history, you will go back to it again.” U.S. Senator Josh Hawley, objecting to renaming military bases named after Confederate figures, said “I just don’t think that Congress mandating that these be renamed and attempting to erase that part of our history is a way that you deal with that history.”

This idea – that removing statues and renaming bases is the same as forgetting history – is bizarrely commonplace. Apparently if a Republican is wealthy enough, they teach their children history through statues rather than using schools and books like the common folk do?

The gag in this cartoon is, I admit, pretty obvious. But I hope it’ll give some of you a chuckle, just as it did for me when I thought of it.


I tried using a different “brush” (since I draw on computer, the “brushes” are all virtual) to draw this one, hoping to end up with a looser, freer line. But I think it had the opposite effect, making the lines tighter than usual. The truth is, I’m just too much of a control freak about my lines, and it makes it hard for me to loosen up.

Of course, constantly trying to get an effect that I rarely achieve is part of what makes my job continually interesting to me. So that’s a silver lining, I guess. (Looks at the lively inkwork in a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon, sighs.)


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. Two people, a woman wearing a hair band and a man with a mustache and a checkered shirt, are talking in some sort of sculpture gallery with arched doorways. All of the sculptures we see are “busts” – that is, sculptures of just the head and shoulders of various people, on pedestals. In panel one, we can make out sculptures of Lincoln and Washington.

PANEL 1

Headband and Checkered are talking angrily at each other. But they’re not angry at each other – they’re sharing their mutual anger at things happening in the world.

HAIRBAND: Removing “racist” statues is terrible. We shouldn’t forget the past!

CHECKERED: Exactly!

PANEL 2

The man in the checkered shirt waves his arms as he makes a point. His hand bumps a bust of George Washington, knocking it over.

CHECKERED: They’re not just removing statues – they’re erasing history!

PANEL 3

The two of them both flinch away from the statue as it crashes to the floor. We can see little  shattered pieces of the statue, including a nose and mouth, bouncing up from the floor. The checkered shirt man looks especially distressed, holding his hands to either side of his face.

CHECKERED: Oh no! The bust of George Washington!

PANEL 4

The two of them are looking down at the floor – presumably at the shattered remains of the statue – and looking puzzled.

HAIRBAND: George who?

CHECKERED: Um… I don’t know.

Posted in Cartooning & comics, Conservative zaniness, right-wingers, etc. | 16 Comments  

Check Out My Author Spotlight in Lightspeed

Lightspeed July 2021 Issue 134, dragon with riderLightspeed Magazine has posted my author spotlight interview about my most recent story, “Innocent Bird.”

I talk about how the story came about, what plans I might have for future stories, fan feedback, and my current long-term projects.

Check it out, and read “Innocent Bird” at Lightspeed Magazine.

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Check Out “Innocent Bird” in Lightspeed

I’m really excited to be in Lightspeed again with my new short story, “Innocent Bird!”

It began with Shoko finding feathers in her bed. It was her third year of high school. She’d just turned seventeen.

She was falling in love, and her wings were coming in.

I wrote the first draft of this story as part of the Codex message board contest Weekend Warrior. The prompt was to “Write a story inspired by your favorite video game. Stay away from anything copyrighted, but use the sounds, activities, or setting for inspiration.”

At the time, I was playing a rhythm game based on a Japanese anime, Love Live, about girls in a musical performance club. 

During rough times in my life, I’ve often found myself inclined to media about friendships. Love Live is a very gentle universe where conflicts are low stakes and kindness wins out. 

My story isn’t like that–but I loosely used it as a point of departure for creating a contemporary fantasy world. I’ve written a couple of other stories in this setting, about the girls coming to terms with magical abilities as part of their adolescence. I’m not sure how they all fit together as a whole yet. I greatly admire Isabel Yap’s “Hurricane Heels” which is a multi-part novella, written in a literary style but following the characters in an imaginary magical girl anime. I want to avoid putting together something that’s too close to hers in structure, but it’s definitely an inspiration for me when I’m thinking about how to put the two conflicting genres in tension–and harmony–with each other.

I also went to another of my common inspirations for this story–reversing a common storytelling element. In this case, I wondered about reversing the themes that resonate in selkie stories.

I hope you enjoy this story! I talk about it more in my spotlight over at Lightspeed. My many thanks to Akemi Marshall for her advice and expertise. 

At first, there were not so many feathers, but soon there were more and more. She’d assumed they’d be white; in drawings, most people with wings had feathers like swans or doves. Hers were like a sparrow’s: tones of warm brown like her skin in summer, speckled with olive-black like her hair and eyes.

Day by day, Shoko’s feeling of incipience rose. She wanted to kiss Ichika. She wanted to hold her close. Love fluttered inside her as her wings soon would in the air.

She was desperate to stop it.

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Cartoon: Support Workers’ Rights! (But not THOSE workers.)


If you like these cartoons and want there to be more, please support my Patreon! A $1 or $2 pledge really helps!

(Supporters got to see this cartoon back in April!)


An article on The Hill about sex workers lobbying congress.

Sex worker advocate organizations and congressional staffers who spoke with The Hill said that stigma was one of the primary factors keeping those voices sidelined.
“No politician wants to or until very recently wanted to be seen as facilitating sex work or encouraging sex work,” said Mike Stabile, director of public affairs at the Free Speech Coalition, an adult industry trade association.
Khanna told The Hill that his colleagues “didn’t even want to take meetings because of the possible images or pictures” with sex workers that could have been taken.


I don’t have much to say about this cartoon. Given the overwhelming Democratic (and Republican) support for Fosta-sesta in Congress, it’s clear that the Democratic party won’t be doing a thing to help sex workers as workers.

I thought of the image of a fleeing Senator leaving a hole in a wall like Wile E Coyote, and it made me laugh. Apparently the editors of Dollars and Sense Magazine were amused as well; they’re including this cartoon in their annual labor issue.

Character design was more important than usual for this cartoon. In particular, the senator had to have a silhouette so distinctive that readers would recognize his shape in the final panel, after only having seen him in three panels. The three women didn’t need to be as recognizable, but they still had to be pretty recognizable, since our view of them in panel 4 is a little obscured.

Plus there was the problem of fitting all three of them within the senator’s silhouette in panel four, which I solved by giving them radically different heights. It’s only now, looking at it, that I realize that I gave the yellow-shirt woman Calvin’s proportions and the green-shirt woman Hobbes’ proportions.

My main goal in drawing them – after recognizability and fitting them all into panel four somehow – was to not have them all have the same body type, and to draw them as ordinary people rather than how some cartoonists draw sex workers.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. An additional tiny “kicker panel” appears below the bottom of the strip.

PANEL 1

A senator stands in his office, facing three constituents. In the background we can see a fairly fancy looking desk with a lamp on it, a window with tall drapes, and a tall executive-style chair behind the desk.

The three constituents are all women. They’re dressed in casual-nice clothes. There is a tall woman with black hair tied back in a low pony tail, who is wearing a long green shirt and boots over her jeans; a short woman with short black hair wearing slacks and a yellow button-up shirt; and a medium-sized woman with blonde hair, who is wearing a light blue cowl-neck shirt and a mid-calf length skirt with a dot pattern.

The senator is smiling big and spreading his hands as he talks to the three women, who are all facing him.

SENATOR: As a Democrat and as your congressman, I know the importance of worker’s rights.

PANEL 2

A close-up of the senator. He holds a hand over his heart and looks terribly sincere.

SENATOR: It doesn’t matter if you’re a freelancer or an employee – Democrats will always stand with workers.

MEDIUM WOMAN (speaking from off panel): That’s good to hear.

PANEL 3

Back to a the same shot as panel 1, showing all four characters. The senator has gotten out of “make a speech” mode and is now in “friendly small talk” mode.

SENATOR: So what do you all do?

TALL WOMAN: We’re sex workers.

PANEL 4

We are looking at a brick exterior wall of a building. There is a hole in the wall the exact shape of the senator character running. Through the hole, we see the three women peering out; two of them look amused, one looks a little pissed off.

TALL WOMAN: Look at him go!

SHORT WOMAN: And they say Congress doesn’t move fast.

TINY KICKER PANEL BELOW THE BOTTOM OF THE STRIP

The tall woman is talking to the other two women.

TALL WOMAN: I’ll ask him a follow-up question at his Thursday appointment.


This cartoon on Patreon.

Posted in Cartooning & comics, Prostitution, Porn and Sex Work | 2 Comments  

Open Thread and Link Farm, Smile To Get In Edition

  1. Laws Aimed at Banning Critical Race Theory in K-12 Schools Are a Poorly Written, Misguided Mess – Arc Digital“…it is currently illegal in the state of Tennessee for teachers to include any material in the classroom that promotes ‘division between, or resentment of, a race, sex, religion, creed, nonviolent political affiliation, social class, or class of people.’ How is a civics teacher supposed to operate within those limits? Can she have her students watch a modern presidential debate? Evaluate a partisan campaign ad?”
  2. Where Jobless Benefits Were Cut, Jobs Are Still Hard to Fill – The New York Times (an an alternate link)
    The unwillingness of business owners and conservatives to admit that basic economics applies to job markets – i.e., if you can’t fill a position, you need to offer a higher wage – is mind-boggling.
  3. A succinct explanation of the case against using SATs for college admissions.
  4. How Twitter can ruin a life: Isabel Fall’s complicated story – Vox
    AFAIK, this article is the only time Fall has spoken to a reporter about what happened. Complex and heartbreaking.
  5. Beyond Tulsa: The Secret History of Flooding Black Towns to Make Lakes | The Amber Ruffin Show – YouTube
    The video is about six minutes long and the history it’s talking about is pretty jaw-dropping.
  6. The Best Welfare Reform: Give Poor People Cash – The Atlantic
    This article is from 2015, but it’s point still applies. Giving poor people cash and letting them spend it as they will gives more “bang for the buck” than programs that control how they can spend money (like food stamps).
  7. Tardigrades Survive Being Shot Out of Gun at Speeds up to 2,000 Mph
    But over 2,000 mph and they’re toast.
  8. Revealed: The huge change coming to pedestrian crossings in London | Evening Standard
    The crossings will default to showing “walk now” for pedestrians, and will only switch to something else if cars are approaching. I haven’t thought about it before, but of course that’s how pedestrian crossing signs should be programmed.
  9. The Surprising Problem With Star Trek’s Most Celebrated Episode | by Noah Berlatsky | The Establishment | Medium
    “But after all the praise, it’s a bit of a let-down to return to “The City on the Edge of Forever” and realize that it’s actually an elaborate exercise in justifying violence and would-you-kill-baby-Hitler ethics.”
  10. Weight bias and grading among middle and high school teachers – PubMed
    The same essay was given to teachers, accompanied by a photo of the “student.” If the photo was of a fat kid, on average teachers gave lower grades.
  11. Diets Don’t Work, So Why Do We Still Pretend They Do?
    Lots of useful links for the “diets don’t work” case in this article.
  12. Winners of the 2021 BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition – The Atlantic
    It’s a bunch of really really pretty photos of wildlife.
  13. Transgender People, Bathrooms, and Sexual Predators: What the Data Say | by Julia Serano | Jun, 2021 | Medium
    Did I already link this one? If so, I don’t mind linking it twice. (And it includes a cartoon by me and my friend Becky Hawkins!)
  14. What I learned about male desire in a sex doll factory | Sex | The Guardian
    A more accurate title would be “I visited a sex doll factory and that gives me an occasion to write about some of the things I’ve learned about male sexuality,” but still a good article, I thought.
  15. Shashinkan – YouTubeEnglish title: “The Portrait Studio.” This wordless fifteen-minute animated film, about a portrait studio photographer and one of his clients over the course of many decades, is the best thing I’ve watched all week. Written, directed, and principle animation by Nakamura Takashi, best known as the animation director of the movie “Akira.”
  16. Gender-Neutral Pronouns Aren’t New – The Atlantic
    I really like “thon,” a gender-neutral singular that was proposed, and actually made it into the dictionary, in the 1800s. It was short for “that one.”
  17. The Incredible True Adventure of Gay Activists Recruiting for the Black Panther Party in 1970
    “In 1970, five gay activists took a road trip to meet with the Black Panther Party. Here, historian Hugh Ryan collects their memories of communes, free love, coming out, getting arrested, consciousness-raising rap sessions, gun shooting, acid dropping, and trying to be macrobiotic at McDonald’s.” A delightful small slice of oral history. Great photos, too.
  18. Fentanyl, Guns, and Murder Mean You Should Get Ready for a Bloody Summer
    Why have homicide rates been going up since 2014? This author argues that open-air drug markets and increased gun ownership are the most likely culprits.
  19. Voter suppression: A short history of the long conservative assault on Black voting power – CNNPolitics
  20. Biogen’s new Alzheimer’s drug could cost Medicare billions after FDA approval – Vox
    The drug’s effectiveness is in great doubt. But the biggest problem is, unlike other countries, the government has no power over the price of the drug.
  21. Of all the COVID mitigation policies, other than vaccinations, the most effective seems to have been indoor masking.
  22. The Ames Window Illusion – what it is, how it works – YouTubeThis video shows the Ames window illusion, which I’ve never seen before and it’s pretty spectacular. (If you like optical illusions). But like a lot of optical illusions, not everyone can see it. The video, about 15 minutes long, also explains how the illusion works in some detail.
  23. In China, Canon creates software that locks workers out of meetings unless they smile. | Financial Times
    “And you’ll note that the people in Peaksville, Ohio have to smile. They have to think happy thoughts and say happy things because, once displeased, the monster can wish them into a cornfield.”
  24. Amazon’s Greatest Weapon Against Unions: Worker Turnover | HuffPost
    “Turnover can be expensive for employers, since they have to constantly hire and train new workers who, for at least a period, will be less productive than the ones leaving. But labor experts say a company of Amazon’s size and sophistication would not have high churn if it didn’t prefer it that way.”

Posted in Link farms | 25 Comments  

Cartoon: One Day At The Critical Race Theory Menace Convention


If you like this cartoon, help me make more by supporting my Patreon. Thanks!


The “Critical Race Theory”  (aka CRT) panic won’t last forever – sooner or later, the right will move on to a new term to fearmonger about. (Previously used terms include “political correctness,” “social justice warriors,” “cancel culture” and “the woke.”) But it might last for years, because they seem convinced that they’ve got a winning strategy here.

Christopher Rufo, an extremely prominent right-wing opponent of CRT, was shockingly open about the game plan on Twitter, writing:

We have successfully frozen their brand—”critical race theory”—into the public conversation and are steadily driving up negative perceptions. We will eventually turn it toxic, as we put all of the various cultural insanities under that brand category.

The goal is to have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think “critical race theory.” We have decodified the term and will recodify it to annex the entire range of cultural constructions that are unpopular with Americans.

Indeed, a Utah Board of Education member, in an anti-CRT slideshow, listed what she said were common “euphamisms” for CRT. Items on her list include “diversity,” “systems of power,” “multi-culturalism,” “racial justice,” “systemic racism,” and “anti-racism.” Basically, it’s become a basket into which the right can put anything they want, but particular any progressive or left-wing view of racism.

And now conservative legislatures across the country are rushing to ban Critical Race Theory from schools, universities, and government organizations. The bans tend to be a grab-bag of things the right objects to in education and diversity training. Much of it is genuinely objectionable – but rarely, if ever, happens outside the fever dreams of Fox news commentators. But the bans are often written in such vague language that they potentially could be utilized against any anti-racist thought.


So what is Critical Race Theory? I’ll quote the Washington Post:

Critical race theory is an academic framework centered on the idea that racism is systemic, and not just demonstrated by individual people with prejudices. The theory holds that racial inequality is woven into legal systems and negatively affects people of color in their schools, doctors’ offices, the criminal justice system and countless other parts of life….

Khiara Bridges, author of “Critical Race Theory: A Primer,” said traditional civil rights discourse maintained that racism would end when people stopped thinking about race. The dissenting scholars, she said, rejected that conclusion and believed race consciousness was necessary to overcoming racial stratification.

If you’d like a much longer and more academic explanation than the Washington Post article, you could try Bradly Mason’s explanation here.  Or, for a shorter version, Bradly summarized his article in a twitter thread.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. The first three panels show a podium, on a stage, with a light purple curtain behind it. A sign on the podium says “The Critical Race Theory MENACE Conference.”

PANEL 1

A white man with a tidy beard and mustache and nice hair, wearing a collared shirt and a striped necktie, is standing behind the podium, yelling.

NECKTIE: Critical Race Theory is how the Marxist left brainwashes our children!

NECKTIE: Critical Race Theory is the new face of Jim Crow!

PANEL 2

Now smiling pleasantly, Necktie man takes a step back from the podium, waving to a bald white man wearing glasses, a suit jacket, and a wine-red turtleneck. Turtleneck man is also smiling pleasantly as he walks to the podium.

NECKTIE: Thank you very much. Our next speaker is columnist Richard Thomas, here to tell us more about Critical Race Theory. Welcome, Richard.

TURTLENECK: Thank you.

PANEL 3

Turtleneck man is now standing behind the podium, yelling and waving his arms wide.

TURTLENECK: Critical Race Theory is a plague! A pestilence!

TURTLENECK: Critical Race Theory is the boil on America’s butt and it must be lanced!

PANEL 4

A new scene. We’re now in a coffeeshop, where Necktie Man and Turtleneck man, talking sedately, are sitting at a small round table with coffee cups in front of them. Turtleneck man also has a muffin. Necktie is rubbing the back of his head with one hand, looking puzzled, and Turtleneck man is shrugging.

NECKTIE: So, um… What is critical race theory?

TURTLENECK: I dunno. Some academic thing?



This cartoon on Patreon.

Posted in Cartooning & comics, Conservative zaniness, right-wingers, etc., Race, racism and related issues | 3 Comments  

Cartoon: White People (But With Subtitles)


Help me make more cartoons by supporting my Patreon! (Patrons got to see this cartoon over two months ago!)


I started work on this cartoon on November 28, 2006. (Or at least, that’s when my computer tells me this file was created). I had the idea and wrote a bunch of panels, but I wasn’t happy with them, so I left it in my folder of unfinished cartoons. And every year or two, I’d take a look at it and rewrite some panels, and write in some new ones, and then put it away undrawn.

I wrote fifteen panels in all before I had eight I liked.

Then I started drawing it in my usual “bighead” style before I realized I wasn’t happy with it and put it aside for another year or so.

Then I did some more rewrites (including moving the title lettering to the center panel, rather than having it in panel 1) and finally actually completed it. I used somewhat more realistic human proportions just for a change of pace, since the last several strips I’ve drawn have all used bighead proportions.

Fifteen years from start to completion might be the longest I’ve ever taken to do a cartoon. If not it’s sure up there.


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has nine panels, arranged in a 3×3 grid. The central panel has no images other than large title lettering, which says “White People, But With Subtitles.”

Each of the other panels has an image of a single white person talking directly to the reader. All of the panels have yellow printed subtitles, “translating” what the person is saying.

PANEL 1

A cheerful looking white man stands in front of flowering bushes. He’s holding out one hand towards us, shaking it in a “no no no” gesture. He’s wearing a tee-shirt that says “Close The Border” with an illustration of the border wall (although the illustration is kind of unclear and I suspect a lot of readers won’t get that, but that’s okay).

MAN: It’s not about race!

SUBTITLE: It’s completely about race.

PANEL 2

A light-haired white woman leans casually against a stone wall as she talks to the reader, smiling.

WOMAN: Of course I have Black friends!

SUBTITLE: I ask my Black doorman about his kids if I’m not in a hurry.

PANEL 3

A white man with glasses, a mustache, and a necktie sits at a desk, a laptop open in front of him. He has one hand raised, palm up, in a sort of half-a-shrug gesture.

MAN: They’d feel better if they talked less about racism.

SUBTITLE: I’d feel better if they talked less about racism.

PANEL 4

A white woman stands on a city street; we can see bits of two buildings, and an alleyway, behind her. She has glasses and her red hair is in a bun. She’s smiling, and holding one hand to her chest (just below her collarbone) in a somewhat surprised manner.

WOMAN: You’re so articulate!!!

SUBTITLE: I’m surprised that Latinos are intelligent.

PANEL 5

This panel has nothing but large lettering, which says “White People, But With Subtitles.”

PANEL 6

A white man with a van dyke beard and a full-of-himself expression is at some sort of party (we can see a few other partiers in silhouette in the background) and holding a wine glass.

MAN: I’m one-twentieth Indian myself, so I know all about reservations.

SUBTITLE: Your culture, my party chatter.

PANEL 7

A white woman with a checkered shirt is behind the wheel of a car, speaking out the window to us with a somewhat grumpy expression.

WOMAN: I’m not against assistance to hardworking families.

SUBTITLE: I’m against assistance to brown families.

PANEL 8

A redheaded white man clasping his hands in front of him and standing on a grassy hillside smiles wide and speaks directly to the viewer. His tee shirt has a manga drawing of a pretty woman.

MAN: Asian women are so beautiful and quiet!

SUBTITLE: Let me tell you what kind of porn I enjoy.

PANEL 9

A light-haired white woman holding a book (possibly a bible) open, as if she was just reading it, speaks to us. She has a pleasant smile, and is standing in front of a small but nice church building, which features a bell tower with a large clock on it.

WOMAN: Judeo Christian values built this country!

SUBTITLE: If I put “Judeo” at the start of sentences, I sound less like a Christian theocrat.


This cartoon on Patreon.

Posted in Cartooning & comics, Race, racism and related issues | 27 Comments  

MileHiCon Guest of Honor

I’ll be attending MileHiCon October 1-3, 2021 as guest of honor!

It’s exciting to attend a convention in person after more than a year of staying home. I’ve heard so many good things about this one!
I’ve had several new pieces come out, and a few which are forthcoming, so it’ll be exciting to talk to fans and peers! What pieces would you like me to read? (I’m also happy to read old ones, of course!) Additionally, I get an hour to do just about anything! Let me know if there’s something you’d be excited to hear me talk about.
I’ll post an update once the schedule has been released and what I’ll be doing throughout the convention. As always, it’s an honor to be selected!

milehicon53 banner, rocketship in left corner, october 1-2-3 2021 and additional information in right corner

Posted in conventions | Leave a comment