Reading People Reading "My Brain"


by

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


The following post was written by David Heatley, in response to last week’s Cage Match:

I’ve been checking out some of the reviews of my book floating around on the web, including here on good ol’ Comics Comics, and I wanted to take the time to articulate some of the intentions I had with My Brain is Hanging Upside Down and respond to some of the criticism.

First off, I’m really proud of this book. I spent almost five years on it. It’s not perfect by any stretch and I’m sure it will be a maddening read for some people, but it’s my baby and I stand behind it. I think of it as a catalog or a ledger accounting book. It’s an inventory of my life. It doesn’t have a traditional novelistic arc to it. It doesn’t follow the rules of usual literature and might not look like your run-of-the-mill comic book.

My Brain is a series of fractured vignettes that approximate a self-portrait, clearly incomplete— a record of who I was and what mattered to me most while writing it. More than that, it’s the best way I know to talk about my country. There’s an amazing amount of personal and cultural baggage I was bombarded with as a kid and teenager and it’s my job to sort it out and make sense of it and decide what’s worth keeping (and passing on). The risk I took was in betting that readers would find that process entertaining or moving or helpful in some way. It seems the jury’s still out, over here at least.

I used to do this a lot, but I no longer spend time wishing works of art were something they’re not. I don’t wish Stan Brakhage made commercial Hollywood films. Or that Kanye West would do something more stripped down, personal and emotionally revealing. I try to accept art for what it is and decide if it has anything of value to offer me. If I take a stance against it, especially if it’s accompanied by a righteous feeling of being sure of my opinion, I’ve found that I’m using someone’s work to further my own unhappiness, discontent and irritability and ultimately it has nothing to do with the artist on whom I’ve fixed my angry gaze.

Frank Santoro leads the discussion here with a lot of emotionally charged accusations, which for me, mostly amount to this: “Your book (of which I read bits and pieces in the bookstore) stirred up a lot of feelings in me and I’m angry at you that I have to feel these things, so I’ll pretend that it’s actually boring and that I don’t care about it.” This was disappointing since my hope is that people will actually read the book, in all its complexity, before commenting on it (I’m reminded of Catholic nuns protesting Last Temptation of Christ). But also because I’m a big fan of Frank’s work and like him personally. He has a simultaneously painterly and cinematic approach to comics that I find enlightening and educational. He was a big inspiration for me in working on the “Family History” strip of my book, in particular his book Incanto, which is a gorgeous series of drawings done at an inhuman velocity. I’ll continue to admire and seek out all his new work. No hard feelings, Frank! For real, yo.

Tim Hodler articulated some excellent points of criticism and was generous with his praise. He’s of the mind that the asides in the book, written in the present tense while I was working on it (including the “shout outs” in “Black History”, or the epilogue of “Sex History”) don’t belong and are too jarring to be included in this volume. I’m not objective and I’m sure I have a distorted view of how they come across. I think they add a further wrinkle of complexity to the story. For what it’s worth, I’ve heard from several readers that they loved reading the asides in the midst of the otherwise heavy narrative. It was like a comic relief or a moment of decompression.

I don’t have much to say to people who don’t like the way my art looks. I certainly have my own preferences and tastes and you’re entitled to yours. Hopefully I’m getting better at it. There’s plenty of other stuff out there if you’re mostly looking for traditionally beautiful comic book artwork. I think Overpeck will look a little more “fully baked.” This one was like editing together the work of 5 different people under a single pseudonym.

I want to clarify Heidi MacDonald’s comment about a panel I recently did at Barnes & Noble. She states, “Heatley was very frank about being a narcissist and how that informs his work. I got the impression that the effect on the audience is a secondary motivation for him.” What I actually said was that there’s something narcissistic about all writing. We’re people who are traumatized into thinking that the most incredible thing in the world is what’s happening inside our heads at any given time. And we constantly think about how we can use what we’re experiencing in our own work, sometimes at the expense of being present with the people around us. I went on to say that I hope that what may look like narcissism could be seen as a desire to look deeply into myself and share what I find. I don’t feel a lot of attachment to my story as something that defines me. I’m done with it. And if I’ve done my job with this book, my readers will find something useful or illuminating or entertaining in it.

Noah Berlatsky, an acquaintance of mine, and a talented, but bitter writer living in Chicago, wrote about my “Sex History” strip on a site called comiXology. The highlights of his career so far have included well-written, but scathing attacks on Chris Ware and Art Spiegelman with titles like “In the Shadow of No Talent”. For the record, back in 2002 I almost illustrated one of his poems as a comic strip, but had to abandon it because it seemed too similar to a Marc Bell strip at the time. He also contributed to an incoherent failure of an anthology I produced while living in Chicago called The New Graphics Revival. I stand behind the idea of that book, which was that given the time and materials, most anyone could produce an interesting comic strip. But I’m embarrassed by almost all of the work that was sent to us, mostly by a middling, call-for-entry gen-x set. I’m not saying that my failing to promote an anthology that contained work by him or my inability to finish a strip based on his writing could have led him to write this line: “Whether through pointlessly tangled continuity, repetitive autobio dreck, aggressively ugly art, or reflexively irrelevant literariness, [Heatley's] comics seem determined to find some way, any way, to keep out all those readers and creators who might otherwise, and naturally, see comics as their own.” But anything’s possible!

More to the point, he claims that in the anecdotes about bad sex, longing and one night stands that make up “Sex History”, I’m depicting ciphers, not real women. “He occasionally wonders what is up with one of them — why is she behaving so oddly? Why didn’t she get me off? But he never really cares enough to find out — or, at least, not enough to waste one of his tiny panels telling the reader about it.” Unfortunately, he missed the fundamental idea behind the piece and took the work at face value. The “me” character is something of an unreliable narrator. I’m asking the reader to imagine an alternate universe where the details of falling in love and getting married deserve a single panel and where obsessive thinking about a meaningless crush or one-night stand deserve dozens. I’m certainly not defending the behavior or even the thinking shown, quite the opposite. Something I tried to expound on in the strip’s new epilogue.

The pink bars, by the way, are pretty much a non-issue outside comics circles. I think previous readers feel like I gave them something and then took it away. So now they’re angry. One plausible theory, at least.

A few words about “open ambition”, which seems to be popping up on the comments section here. I’ve never felt at home in the “indie” comics world, where authenticity is judged by how few books are sold and ultimate hipster cred is dealt to artists who are selfless enough to leave their name off their piece entirely. It’s true I’m a self-promoter. I want my book to sell. I want to make lots of money. I want to have a house and give my kids a college education. I used to think that making art and making money were incompatible. It took shedding a lot of my own self-loathing and shame to get to a place where I believe in what I do and get excited about sharing it with as many people as possible. Maybe I’ve tipped a little too far in my excitement. I’m cool with that. I’m not sure what “careerist” means. It must be the sexiest word a surly 25-year-old can muster to put a “successful” artist like me in my place. “He’s just in it for the career!” I don’t really make those distinctions. The business side of art isn’t evil. It’s interesting. If all that turns you off, there’s plenty of other work out there by sad, lonely, misunderstood artists to fetishize and worship. They need your attention more than me.

It was heartening to hear some excitement even among My Brain‘s detractors for my next book Overpeck. I think of it as the polar opposite of what I was going for with My Brain, so there’s a good chance all my fans and critics will switch sides when it’s published. Or maybe not. It should be out from Pantheon by 2010 or so. It will have a more-or-less novelistic structure with a traditional story arc and will feature the best, non-cramped art I can deliver. Yours for $24.95, if not less.

Sincere thanks for reading. And for all your comments, even the viciously nasty ones. Peace out.

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22 Responses to “Reading People Reading "My Brain"”
  1. Tom Spurgeon says:

    That’s a nice essay and I don’t mean this as personally as it’s going to sound but this statement here?

    “I’ve never felt at home in the ‘indie’ comics world, where authenticity is judged by how few books are sold and ultimate hipster cred is dealt to artists who are selfless enough to leave their name off their piece entirely.”

    That’s just achingly stupid, specifically dead-wrong according to eight billion examples, and sounds like something some goofy, ill-informed and hissingly defensive superhero fan would write on a CompuServe message board in 1995.

    I’m not many things in this life, but I have been close to the core of indie comics and their values for a decade and a half, and I assure you this argument is almost always self-serving nonsense so far removed from the actual reality of things as to be laughable if it weren’t insulting both by implication and by being so wrong. It usually comes from someone feeling way more defensive than they proclaim they feel in another part of their statement, although I don’t know David at all so I can’t say what his motivation is for using it here. Maybe he really believes it.

    I’d also suggest that in this case it’s unnecessary. I was the one who introduced the term open ambition into the conversation, and it wasn’t to spring it on anyone but if you’ll go back and look it was to counter what I felt was Dan’s way too easy granting of an artist credit for certain motivations simply by virtue of engaging certain subjects. Specifically, I felt that Dan was giving David credit for something that wasn’t in David’s work, at least not that I could see, and that to do this in a way that would convince me he would either have to go back and show me where it is or, if he was working from outside sources, explain to me why this assumption was better than any of the others one could make, including what one could glean from statements like David’s above. That’s all. If I wanted to push a specific construction and argument, I would have.

    My apologies if the above sounded harsh, but that’s such a pernicious, shameful falsehood. Just because someone (admirably, I think) has decided to change a personal outlook doesn’t mean they get to cobble together a fantasy by which they’re removing yourself from a culture that defines itself that way, especially when all the evidence suggests this simply isn’t true.

    My congratulations to David on the success of his book; I enjoyed reading it, and I wish him more of the same.

  2. Frank Santoro says:

    dog pile on the wabbit

    this is an ungracious and rough response. I’m not taking the high road on this one, sorry.
    No, wait, I’m not sorry.
    No hard feelings tho, yo.

    heatley’s comments in quotes

    “It’s an inventory of my life. It doesn’t have a traditional novelistic arc to it. It doesn’t follow the rules of usual literature and might not look like your run-of-the-mill comic book.”

    How can that even stand on it’s own? It doesn’t follow “the rules?’ What rules does it break? You’re not being clear: this is what it is, this is what it breaks. “might not look like your
    run-of-the-mill comic book.” What? Okay, so it doesn’t look like Batman Year One, sure. But what’s impressive about not looking you a “run-of-the-mill” comic book? Not much in “art-comics” publishing looks run of the mill compared to the old days. Manga doesn’t look run of the mill. On and on and on. Meaningless statement, designed solely for ego-stroking. “I’m different. See! Look at my comic!” You’re not different. You’re Tucker Max, and this is your attempt to be impressively HONEST. [everyone: look up that Tucker Max.]

    “More than that, it’s the best way I know to talk about my country. There’s an amazing amount of personal and cultural baggage I was bombarded with as a kid and teenager and it’s my job to sort it out and make sense of it and decide what’s worth keeping (and passing on).”

    -Sorry, that’s complete bullshit. “My country?” What–?—THIS is how you chose to “talk about it”? we get to watch you “sort it out”? great…

    “If I take a stance against it, especially if it’s accompanied by a righteous feeling of being sure of my opinion, I’ve found that I’m using someone’s work to further my own unhappiness, discontent and irritability.”

    Do what? Reactions to art that are negative, reactions to art related to being uncomfortable and irritable are the fault of the audience..? That’s genius. I’ll mention that to myself when I’m upset people in the audience are yelling obscenities at the screen during the end of “No Country for Old Men” or a 9 minute rape sequence. Because it’s all my fault, it’s not that something can’t be “Art” and also be “reallybad Art.” Sure, a movie can be is gross, (Pink Flamingos by John Waters) and good art. But everything that’s gross isn’t inherently just good and misunderstood.

    “‘I’ll pretend that it’s actually boring and that I don’t care about it.’ This was disappointing since my hope is that people will actually read the book, in all its complexity, before commenting on it (I’m reminded of Catholic
    nuns protesting Last Temptation of Christ).”

    God forbid that it could, actually, be boring. You get enough people in a room, you’ll find somebody who thinks the Wire is really boring. It doesn’t mean they’re stupid. Doesn’t necessarily mean the Wire is capital B friggin Boring. But it does mean: and yeah, this is semantics, that the Wire is Boring—to some people. The assumption that I-frank santoro-am lying about being bored because, oh saints be praised, a shitty story about sambo lipped African Americans didn’t entertain me—that’s just the arrogance of the writer. Get over yourself. You don’t get to control the response.

    “ The “me” character is something of an unreliable narrator. I’m asking the reader to imagine an alternate universe where the details of falling in love and getting married deserve a single panel and where obsessive thinking about a meaningless crush or one-night stand deserve dozens. I’m certainly not defending the behavior or even the thinking shown, quite the opposite.
    Something I tried to expound on in the strip’s new epilogue”

    And that right there is why it isn’t a courageous, difficult piece of art. Because instead of being an honest portrayal of narcissism, of “unpacking cultural beliefs” you just wrote heavy handed depictions of sex and then attributed anything that could smack of misogyny or repellent behavior to an “unreliable narrator.” Because you have no courage, none whatsoever.

    “The pink bars, by the way, are pretty much a non-issue outside comics circles.”

    DAVID HEATLEY IS A NON-ISSUE OUTSIDE COMICS CIRCLES.

    “I’ve never felt at home in the “indie” comics world, where authenticity is judged by how few books are sold and ultimate hipster cred is dealt to artists who are selfless enough to leave their name off their piece entirely.”

    That’s all well and good, but why be such an asshole about it? Can’t you just go off with Pantheon without shitting all over the publishers who got you there? Why even say this about “indie” comics? It’s just bullshit.
    I don’t get this part at all–did anybody in the comments really make the statement that Heatley should be working in a salt mine? No, they said “don’t be a dick to the people who helped you out.”

  3. ULAND says:

    “I used to do this a lot, but I no longer spend time wishing works of art were something they’re not. I don’t wish Stan Brakhage made commercial Hollywood films. Or that Kanye West would do something more stripped down, personal and emotionally revealing. I try to accept art for what it is and decide if it has anything of value to offer me. If I take a stance against it, especially if it’s accompanied by a righteous feeling of being sure of my opinion, I’ve found that I’m using someone’s work to further my own unhappiness, discontent and irritability and ultimately it has nothing to do with the artist on whom I’ve fixed my angry gaze.”

    Well, I think David is right that fixing said gaze on the individual artist is probably unhelpful, but unfortunately for him, I think, people are going to develop opinions- and I see no reason why they shouldn’t be as sure of them as the artist is of their work- of any piece of work.
    This reads to me like a kind of rationalization for not taking any criticism seriously, or a desire to assume such criticisms are based on the critics personal flaws.
    I mean, I can’t imagine that David hasn’t had a strong negative reaction to a book. I see no reason to withhold an opinion informed by such a reaction.
    It’s one thing for an artist to say they’d rather not take negative criticisms into account, but to cast aspersions on the character of anyone who makes them seems very immature and transparently self-serving.
    Noah Berlatsky’s criticisms aren’t being responded to with his anecdote about pissing him off in some small publishing deal.Am I misreading it, or is he suggesting that was Noahs’ motivation for a negative criticism?
    I could write a lot about his response, but I’ll just write that it seemed really passive aggressive and oddly immature.
    And I like a lot of his comics too! I don’t hate the guy.
    I really don’t want to make this personal ( too late, I guess) but I get a real sense of solipsism from Davids’ response.

  4. ULAND says:

    Is Dash Shaw the “surly 25 year old” Dave is calling out?
    If so, um , I know who I consider more successful…

  5. ULAND says:

    I wish I could edit my first post, for the record. I reread Daves’ post and he did attempt to respond to Noahs’criticism…
    I’ll go away now.

  6. Frank Santoro says:

    Uland: “Is Dash Shaw the “surly 25 year old” Dave is calling out?
    If so, um , I know who I consider more successful…”

    hmmmmm….

    let’s go to the videotape:

    David: “Maybe I’ve tipped a little too far in my excitement. I’m cool with that. I’m not sure what “careerist” means. It must be the sexiest word a surly 25-year-old can muster to put a “successful” artist like me in my place.”

    Dash: “The problem is that Heatley’s been tipping his hand too much recently (the bogus pink censor bars, the MoCCA lecture where he sounded, to me, like a careerist.)”

    Frank: “Dash was the first to write “careerist” and used the phrase “tipping his hand” and David uses the word “tipped” and Dash is about 25, I think.”

    Arsenio: “Things that make you go hmmmm…”

  7. Anonymous says:

    i ran the gamut of emotions reading these last two posts. two of my heroes are frank santoro and david heatley. and my outlook on everyone now is considerably more tempered. but i think what really inspires me about frank-as-critic are the things he’s positive about – things that inspire him. maybe for others this is not the case, but for me negativity is not inspirational. and this debate has basically taken place on the negative side of the scale. reading these latest responses by frank reminds me of the way mccain acted in the last debate. you only go the low road if you are on the losing side.

    david heatley i’m glad you responded to all this. frank i’m glad you created this forum where these sorts of things can get aired. and you are a bigger man than i for not posting anonymously. i think there are a lot of things wrong with the indie/art comics world, and this forum is like a vaccine. it hurts but it’s healthier in the long run. looking forward to the next cage match!

  8. Box Brown says:

    I think Heatley’s work is wonderful and I’ve been looking forward to reading this book for long time. Though, I’ve seen some of it in other places, it was a great experience when I was finally able to open the book. Responding to critics, is always dangerous though, David. So, it looks like no one really took the high road here, but this statement by Mr. Santoro was particularly harsh:

    “DAVID HEATLEY IS A NON-ISSUE OUTSIDE COMICS CIRCLES.”

    Ouch. I think Mr. Heatley’s work is the most honest of any work I’ve read in comics in the last few years which makes it extremely interesting. But, I’ve struggled with honesty in art for a while now, and it’s not JUST honesty. It’s difficult honesty. And, the subjects ventured into here are difficult to say the least. They are also very important. People who have shared these experiences need need to get them validated and on a lot of these subjects those places are few and far between. In that way, David has done a great service. In addition to the work being aesthetically pleasing and entertaining.

  9. Jeffrey Meyer says:

    “I used to do this a lot, but I no longer spend time wishing works of art were something they’re not.”

    Yeah, except your own.

    I’m so sick of diplomatic (or faux-diplomatic) defenses and rationalizations… it reeks of desperation for attention and approval. It’s the kind of thing most politicians do when they “apologize” for some minor indiscretion. It’s pathetic.

    If Heatley had any guts, he simply should have said “Fuck you” to all the naysayers… instead of balls, though, all I see is a little pink box, shrivelled and sad.

  10. T Hodler says:

    Okay everyone. Let’s keep these comments relatively civil, please. It’s possible to disagree without slinging personal insults.

    I know that particular horse has already kind of left the barn, but let’s try to get back to basic civility if we can.

  11. Mega says:

    I basically agree with Frank, here. And while Box Brown thought it was harsh, I thought “DAVID HEATLEY IS A NON-ISSUE OUTSIDE COMICS CIRCLES” was hilarious. I also agree with everyone who is saying Frank’s positive criticism is more insightful and fun — I like it better, too, and during the Cage Match thought some of Frank’s dismissals to be a little less substantial than I’d hoped. But with this “response” of Heatley’s (laden with dodges, “meaningless” replies, and “ego-stroking,” and ending with an advertisement that recasts everything before it as just further advertisement on a larger scale, not for the next work, or the last work, but for a person), I’m glad Frank didn’t take the high road.

    No clue how Dirk Deppey could say Heatley responded “without coming across like a wounded narcissist, something few creators manage to achieve when crafting such responses.”

    Points to Heatley for his nice graph re: Berlatsky, though; that was funny and structured well enough that his passive-aggressiveness didn’t grate there like it did in the rest of the thing.

    (I’m commenting on the discussion, not the book; haven’t read it yet, but I do have a copy, which I got for free, and plan to try reading soon.)

  12. MZA says:

    i’m glad Frank posted about this. Reading the back-and-forth shit-talking has been more entertaining for me than reading “Sambo”. Mebbe somebody should draw a comix of this cage match!

    David Heatley’s drawing style doesn’t turn me off. It doesn’t turn me on, either (pink bars or no)

    Perhaps I will read My Brains Is Hangin’ Yo … in the bookstore, and spend the money instead on that Bat-Manga book. Pantheon wins either way

    –mza.

  13. Alex Holden says:

    “We’re people who are traumatized into thinking that the most incredible thing in the world is what’s happening inside our heads at any given time.”

    This helps summarize a big problem I have with Heatley’s work.

    When everything is presented through such a self absorbed prism, I find it difficult to relate on any level to what is going on.

    I know it’s a fool’s game to compare them, but (since it’s been mentioned several times) one of the reasons that I love “The Wire” is that you see the same world from every character’s perspective and there is empathy for everyone’s view.

    Maybe not sympathy, but empathy.

    As for the careerist angle:

    Dash Shaw got a book agent and jumped from Fantagraphics to Pantheon as well. I could not care less. I can’t wait to read Bodyworld on paper.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I reviewed a galley of this awhile back:

    http://www.sequart.org/columns/?column=2220

    The pink bars on it weren't evident in my B&W galley copy, so at that time, I didn't comment on it.

    I did comment on Heatley adding a new epilogue that completely altered the nature of the story, and his need to add "conclusions" to these accounts, in a review that for the most part was quite positive.

    I thought his need to do that was in itself very interesting and revealing in perhaps a way he didn't intend. In particular, it revealed a sort of personal blind spot in a story that was otherwise brutally honest.

    The more I hear David comment on this, the more that blind spot grows. I thought that David's recent comic on this was cute but condescending. I thought his response here was staggeringly narcissistic, passive-aggressive and petty.

    Leveling emotionally-charged accusations against a "certain type of person" (like a 25-year-old, or an "angry" person in a bookstore) without naming names was disingenuous and smarmy.

    While I didn't agree with Noah's review and also have a problem with his writing in general, I also thought it was also rather disingenuous to bring up this other matter and say "Gee, that's not connected, is it?"

    Most of all, your projecting your old feelings about art and authenticity ("suffering", "don't work for the man") onto other artists was especially insulting.

    Honestly, it sounds like you were really angry and hurt by a number of the responses you got (which is understandable, especially since I think a number of responses were either unfair or missed the point of what you were trying to do). Though you clearly were trying to be "nice" in this response, that anger still burned through your responses in a way that was pretty transparent to everyone (except, perhaps, for you) and really was much worse than simply saying "Fuck you".

    –Rob Clough
    sequart.org

  15. paulo says:

    2 Things

    - Frank Santoro you are on the money

    - I cannot understand it when people getting critiqued get all riled up about criticism. You don’t want people to make comments on your stuff and have an opinion then don’t put that stuff out there. You can’t have the exposure and not get comments. Thats how it works.
    Guess what not everyone has the same taste or likes the same things you do. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They don’t like you or something you’ve produced boo woo get over it. You mean to tell me that David Heatley is going to comment on every single critique of his work?

    And ending it, “Sincere thanks for reading. And for all your comments, even the viciously nasty ones. Peace out.” to me thats the “ultimate hipster” move. He meant to say, “Sincere thanks for reading. And for all your comments, except the viciously nasty ones. Peace out.”

    -P

  16. Walker says:

    This has been an fascinating read, personally I'm ambivalent at best to DH's book though i respect his design and colour sense, and think he does the "bad drawing" thing rather well. It showed a certain generosity on his part to provide a full reply and the responses here are leaning toward the outright unkind. He's a button pusher and I'd say he wins again in that regard.

    I'm always interested when artists disavow negative criticism as inherently embittered. The last person i saw do that in an interview was Vincent Gallo, another provocateur and solipsist. It discounts the reality that a lot of people do feel unhappy, marginalised &c, and that art whether in practiced or consumed form often provides solace for such people- DH's audience is unlikely to be as well-adjusted as he himself keeps on telling us he is. It seems to me what is underlying the problems people have here is a sense DH doesn't deserve the relative prominence he's attained, and he's attained that prominence in a manner which debatably undermines the ethics of the artistic community he comes from. Posts like the one above me here seem to have lost sight of that. This is about more than personal taste.

    Lastly- i wasn't impressed at all with the recounted dreams which i thought showed a failure of imagination. However, my sole comics reading pal, who also happens to be black, admired them a great deal, and had no problem with the Sambo story at all, despite having a hair trigger for such things (we've argued over race in Crumb, Clowes etc).

    -Walker

  17. Noah Berlatsky says:

    Hey David. Nice to see you joining the conversation. I’ve got a response here.
    Shorter version for those who don’t want to read that: David’s ad hominem attacks on me are silly and I think kind of unworthy of him, and I don’t find his defense of his work especially convincing. But I still love the anthology title he edited and now disdains, appreciate his past support of my writing, and wish him the best.

  18. Noah Berlatsky says:

    After reading through everything now…I think Tom and Frank pretty righteously take David to the woodshed. Frank’s note about the unreliable narrator seems especially apt to me. On the other hand…it is very, very hard to respond to criticism without looking like a douchebag, and it’s even harder when your work is so tied up with your personal life. So I appreciate David’s efforts to be civil, even if the facade does seem to crumble a bit at points.

  19. Brad Mackay says:

    “I’m not taking the high road on this one, sorry.
    No, wait, I’m not sorry.
    No hard feelings tho, yo.”

    Yeesh. Can someone (Dan?) please travel back in time a few days and nip this thing in the bud, before it left the gate? Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like they’re in the middle of a high-school rumble? The nerdy taunts and tough-guy “tude” between Frank, David and Noah are just wrenchingly embarassing.

    I mean, do we we really need another TCJ Message Board?

  20. Lauren R. Weinstein (Tim's wife) says:

    I second Brad. Reading through all of this makes me a little nauseous–a bullying, mincing, shit-sling that can only thrive on the internet.
    I think David should feel good that his work elicits so many strong reactions. But by now it’s a creepfest. Shut it down, Tim!

  21. Dan Nadel says:

    We’re going to shut this one down here. I’d like to thank David for his considered and, I think, generous, response.

  22. T Hodler says:

    There is a follow-up post to this discussion:

    http://comicscomicsmag.blogspot.com/2008/10/final-bell.html