As many of you know, I am a long time fan of The Pain Comics, written and illustrated by Tim Kreider. Many of the later cartoons come with essays attached, going over topics ranging from heartbreak and all night drinking to discovering the similarities between the Occupy movement and the Tea Party. In recent years – specifically, after President Obama’s inauguration – he has spent more time focusing on his writing, and recently published a book called, “We Learn Nothing“. It’s not his first collection of essays, but the first one I picked up … and I highly recommend it. I almost feel as if I’m reading a series of journal entries from far more eloquent older sibling who chose a path in life that allowed him the luxury of regular reflection and introspection, minus the sanctimony occasionally associated with sharing these thoughts on a regular basis. Case in point, his recent NY Times op-ed on busyness.
Before the signing, he spoke for about half an hour or so, reading a selected essay from his most recent book (“Escape from Pony Island”, if you have it). It’s about Ken, a former friend of his who spent years of his life trying to warn the rest of them about inevitable societal collapse as a result of oil / food shortages. He admits this guy is very likely right, but given the choice between holing up in a post-apocalyptic commune, tilling the soil and hunting squirrel or getting shot by a passerby on the street during the initial food riots, he is choosing the latter. Or, at the very least, hooking up with another buddy of his to scratch at Ken’s door until he lets them in. Whatever sounds good at the time.
Afterward, he took some questions from the audience, which is where I learned about his op-ed piece. I was tempted to ask something about his writing or if he will get into cartooning again, but I didn’t have anything planned so thought it best to keep quiet. I usually find that if I “wing” something impromptu like that, I just end up sounding like a ten year old fanboy who just met Batman. Forget it.
I did, however, have the presence of mind to bring with me a printed copy of Jesus vs. JEEZUS – the first cartoon of his I saw – for him to autograph:
… and, he signed my book, with the comment, “Thanks for spreading the Gospel!” since I joked that I send this thing to just about everyone I know, whether they want it or not. So all is right with the world. This is going right up on my wall next to the pinups I got of Dita von Teese a couple of months ago. I think they’ll go well together 🙂