Monday, November 9, 2009

Life, the Universe, and Webcomics

Hi, everyone. Today I've got a couple of reflections on comics to share, and an announcement to make. I was reading through Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics the other day, the section where he talks about the universal relatability of a simplified human face rather than a detailed one. And I've been thinking a bit about relatability in comics in general.

Why do we like comics in the first place? I think it's because on some level, they reflect the realities of our own lives. Yes, they often contain robots and wizards and other unreal things too, but I don't think any of us would read about the adventures of Spider-Man or Dr. McNinja if we couldn't relate to how they deal with highly stressful situations through wit and humor. Nevermind that their stressful situations involve bizarre mutated supervillains and conflicts resulting in massive property damage! The humor-as-a-coping-mechanism schtick is something we can grab onto, and we do: because on some level, that's us.

Comics are about life. In comics, no matter the medium, you will find people working hard to make ends meet, people who hate their jobs, people who love their jobs, people messing up their interpersonal relationships, good friends, loves lost and won, conflict, challenges, and hope for the future. In comics, there are characters doing the exact same things you are doing--just doing them in space, or in a sparsely-populated void of absurdity, or with the disembodied heads of historical figures, or maybe just failing at doing them with hilarious results. Comics take real life and look at it through a funhouse mirror--but in doing so, they affirm the value of real life.

Comics have to be about something, you know? Something besides just comics. And on some level, comics are about you and me.

And recently, I've been reminded--in some ways through comics!--that I need to pay less attention to comics, and pay more attention to just living my life.

The holiday season is coming up. I'm gonna be visiting relatives, doing Christmas shopping, and getting a lot of things together. Also, I'll be pretty busy at my job--the business of liftgate and snowplow parts is highly seasonal, and things pick up this time of year. And then there's the webcomics stuff I'm already doing: I've been chosen as a judge for The Webcomic List's TWCL Awards 2009, and there's the work I do at the Multiplex Store. Couple that with the racquetball, running, and role-playing stuff that constitutes me having a life, and yeah, there's a lot going on.

So, TWIW is going on holiday hiatus until the new year. Of course, I'll still be reading comics and talking about comics, and I may even drop a post or two here--because, as you all know, I can't shut up about comics. But this holiday season, I want to pay attention to my whole life, not just the "comics" part.

I'll get back to posting regularly in this blog after New Years--sometime between the 1st of January and the 8th. As I said before, I may even drop a couple of posts between now and then too. If you want to stay up to speed on TWIW, there are a number of ways to keep yourself informed: via Twitter or TWIW's RSS feed. If you want, you can even shoot an email to DeathbyChiasmus -at- gmail -dot- com requesting a notification, and when I make the first post of the new year, I'll email you right back.

Today is my brother's birthday. Today he turns 25. I'm not sure what we're doing to celebrate, but I know it'll be fun.

I'll see you back here in 2010. Keep on reading good comics, and don't forget to live your life.


speearr said...

Really? Okay then, take care and enjoy all the extra time on your hands, and see you back in 2010!

Jackson said...

"all the extra time on my hands?" Oh, Speearr, you crack me up. ;)

In all seriousness, thanks for the well-wishing. Terence N. is still on my list of regular reads, so I'm sure you'll see me around from time to time in the comments section, as always. Keep the quality comics comin', man!

Andrew Stella said...

Wow the first part of this post was deep. I've never taken the time to think about what comics really mean on that kind of a level...

nice work!

Andrew Stella