If you like these cartoons, then you’d probably like my cousin Edna. And if you like my cousin Edna, you’d probably also like her special tuna noodle casserole made with tabasco sauce. And if you like my cousin Edna’s special tuna noodle casserole made with tabasco sauce, then the police are interested in talking with you about an incident on Berlington Circle Avenue last Tuesday, but they say you’re not a suspect and no need to hire a lawyer. But if you do hire a lawyer, cousin Edna knows a guy. And that guy supports these cartoons on Patreon.
There’s this thing I do in my cartoons where, anytime part of me decides to do something to save time, another part of me immediately rush to fill that void.
Like, “this cartoon doesn’t need backgrounds. Not every cartoon needs to have a background. Calvin and Hobbes often didn’t have backgrounds.” (My personal guide to if something can be good cartooning or not is usually “did Calvin and Hobbes do it?”)
…Which led to the decision to not do backgrounds. What a timesaver!
…Which led to the decision to take advantage of the faster drawing time by adding in two more panels, meaning four more figures.
At this moment, I’m actually pleased with the art. I feel like the body language and the inking doesn’t look as stiff and over-controlled as my stuff often does.
(To be clear, I don’t really think my work is unusually stiff and over-controlled, as comics go. But it is stiff and controlled compared to how I’d like it to look.)
I can’t believe that after (mumble mutter) years doing political cartooning, this is the first time I’ve done a cartoon about nimbyism!
The housing crisis hurts, and in the end, the only way of addressing it is to build more housing and make our cities – especially the cities that lots of people want to live in – denser. It’s as simple as that.
But it’s also impossibly complex to implement, because the system in the US for building more housing has so many places where changes can be vetoed. And when most of your life’s savings are tied up in a house – which is the situation many homeowners are in – any change can seem threatening.
(And of course, there’s also racism and classism in the mix. There always is.)
TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON
This cartoon has six panels. All the panels show two women, one with spiky hair and one with curly hair, talking to each other. The spiky-haired woman is wearing a red and pink striped v-neck tee shirt, shorts, and sneakers. The curly-haired woman is wearing an orange tank top and a purple skirt with a pattern of large dots.
Spiky is looking distressed, holding her hands to her head; Curly looks determined, pounding her palm with her fist.
SPIKY: The affordable housing crisis gets worse every year!
CURLY: Let’s fix this – I’ll do anything!
Spiky is enthusiastic, lifting a pointer finger in the air as she makes a point. Curly turns away, holding up a palm in a dismissive way, looking annoyed.
SPIKY: Our biggest problem is the zoning laws. If we allowed taller buildings with units reserved for low-income–
CURLY: I don’t want to live close to those people!
Spiky is taken aback, and makes her new point with a lot less confidence in her body language. Curly keeps her back turned to Spiky and crosses her arms.
SPIKY: Um… Let’s at least ban single-family zoning. If people could build “granny apartments”–
CURLY: That could change the “feel” of my neighborhood.
Spiky clasps her hands in front as she makes a new suggestion, almost looking like she’s begging. Curly has turned back to face Spiky and looks angry, arms akimbo.
SPIKY: If we got rid of minimum lot sizes…
CURLY: Ugh! Houses built close together are ugly!
Spiky makes another suggestion, looking unhappy, and Curly angrily rejects that suggestion.
SPIKY: How about eliminating parking minimums for new housing?
CURLY: And make parking spaces harder to find? Never!
The characters are drawn smaller, as if we’re exiting this scene. Now Spiky looks annoyed, and her arms are akimbo. Curly looks cheerful and spreads her palms as if she’s making an obvious point.
SPIKY: So when you said you’d do “anything”…?
CURLY: Anything that doesn’t change anything.