The BIGGEST MERCH SALE I HAVE EVER DONE is happening RIGHT NOW in the HE STORE and ends on 9/21/13!!! $10 Books! $9 Shirts! Other things! Different Prices!
I used to have lunch with Josh IRL and his work friends a lot. This was back when the comic was still just a hobby. Josh had a core group of lunch-goers, but he would always show up with 2-3 new people. They, being average, sane human beings would ask me, the one person at the table of 8-10 whom they did not work with, what I did for a living. Back then this question always made me feel like they were saying, “We all make video games. How exactly are you NOT living up to your potential?” Or even more simply, I would hear, “Hi! Nice to meet you! Tell me why you hate yourself!” I would usually say something like “I manage a small design team,” which was true. I would leave out the second half of that sentence which was, “…that makes websites for dentists.” Gross.
Once cartooning became my full time job it took me a long time to get used to saying “I’m a cartoonist.” It was certainly a truthful enough answer to, “What do you do?” but (as with any aspirational, dare-to-dream career) I always felt kind of like I was lying. Like I should have said, “I’m a cartoonist but I’m not very well known and I’m broke.” Eventually I realized the question was not, “How successful are you?” It was, “What do you do?” And What I did was draw comics. Eventually the work became the reward. The measure of success was that I’d spent one more day or one more month cartooning instead of going back to a day job I hated.
Even though I now have the greatest job in the world, I still get squeamish with strangers ask me what I do. This is only with “normal people” type strangers. I’m always more comfortable with other artists, musicians or entertainers since they probably know what it’s like to live part of your life privately and an increasingly larger part of your life in some form of the public eye. I abhor small talk, and I try to cut it off at every possible pass. I try to give short, curt answers that won’t lead to follow up questions. This is, of course, unhealthy, antisocial behavior. At least I can admit that. I get even more weirded out when people in my regular life (people I know from pre-comic days, family, neighbors or anyone else I know NOT through the Internet) bring up specific comics I’ve drawn or talk about things I’ve said online. I guess to me it feel like Bruce Wayne showing up to a shareholder’s meeting and some guy at the end of the table saying, “Nice job capturing TwoFace last night, Bruce.” People aren’t supposed to see my nighttime activities. Of course I do post them in the most public forum on earth with my actual name attached to each and every one. This is also a brain problem that I have. Again, at least I recognize that it’s a problem.
COMMENTERS: Hate small talk? Hate small talk with a certain person in particular? To what lengths will you go to avoid long conversations with strangers, office mates, family, etc? When I’m on an airplane I pop my earbuds in immediately, even if I’m not listening to music. It creates a forcefield of “I probably can’t hear you, so don’t talk to me,” that I quite appreciate because, again, brain problems.
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