Heroes Delivered By Pony Express
I love Cowboy stories. That’s a straight up fact.
Today’s art is intentionally whimsical. The intent is to make me feel somewhat better in general…the content for a long time has been on the “heavy” side. The fact is that it is Wednesday, during summer. Despite all of the challenges right now, despite all the dramas and so forth…I am on vacation, and new comics ship today. Those are both Good Things, complete with capital letters.
The summer is often where I get a bit experimental with the art. Yesterday saw that, with doing the panels as separate panels, creating a digital border, and importing them to a common canvas. I think that ultimately I like the weird, off kilter borders that the hand drawn process creates, but tomorrow’s art is another expedition into the advantages of digital mixed media. Today’s art is an experiment in the empirical absence of straight lines. There pretty much aren’t any, on purpose.
That very fact came up with friends in a discussion of Skottie Young’s art. I have made no secret on this site that I think he is brilliant, but my friends (who I respect) asked me legitimately, “would it kill him to draw a straight line?” I thought about this, and it is in fact the preponderance of crooked lines, of puffiness and “bentness” that gives a good portion of his work its distinctive quality, and as well, its cuteness.
In the mood for whimsy, it seemed like something to experiment with.
I drew this getting ahead of schedule for the first time in weeks, not realizing its almost prophetic quality. I saw that because the mail came today, and with it “United Teacher”, the Los Angeles Teachers’ Union’s very own newspaper. In it there are brief discussions of court cases that threaten status quo for them, notably Friedrichs v. CTA. In it, the proponents of actually curtailing the Union’s ability to speak for me, with my money are mentioned as having “billionaire friends.” It must be odd to live in their world, where they have the right to their own newspaper…but in order to dissent with them with the same free speech that get them that newspaper, I need to be an @#$ with “billionaire fiends obsessed with Union breaking.”
So…free speech for the group, but not for individuals. Nice, thanks for that UTLA.
I’m pretty sure that a portion of my Union dues actually goes to writing, printing, and mailing me that newspaper that I don’t agree with. I’d be okay with that, if I could unsubscribe to it. or if they would stop using other portions of my dues money to get political support for candidates that I don’t like. See…that’s the un-Constitutional part, that the case is about.
So…you ask…why does all that mess make the art prophetic?
The art is about being an Intellectual Maverick…a political cowboy of sorts that stands for the few things that Educators and Americans should care about. Personal freedoms, the Bill of Rights, and the basic goodness of the world. The battle for those things should be noble, not awful…although sadly, that battle is usually alone.
It’s also about delivering my sick friend his comics, as a basic human good to add quality of life, where it is very much needed. It’s about the kindness that characters like the lone Ranger used to teach me, on my tiny black and white TV, when I thought it was non fiction.
In my living room, I have a plush rocking horse that I used to sit on from time to time. It’s Under a kind of End Table by the door now, peeking out. I’ve moved from one house to another with that brown horse, having it for over twenty years. That’s why there’s no Chicken Steed or Flying Robot Pony….the chicken is fine, and the Robot is dangerous. The Plush Rocking Horse is silly, whimsical, and if you fall while riding it…it’s made of soft stuffing.
When I had that rocking horse and my tiny black and white TV, I thought California was much like the landscape in the artwork. The horse is as beat up as the Skottie Young style art suggests, but no less stalwart in supporting me in my adventures. Everyone should have a thing like that.
Everyone should take a moment to focus on the positive and the good, in their own day to day battles today. along the way, try and do just one random good thing for another person…it can be tiny. However, if we all did that, I think that Superman and the Lone Ranger would be proud of us.
For me…I’m gonna bring my sick friend some of the comics he loves. A small good, for sure…but enough of the small lets us move mountains.