October 2007

3 October 2007

Dear Miss Panz,

Please congratulate Mr. Kreider on a fine comic this week. In particular the word balloon panel struck me as close to my heart. Years ago I had a similar idea which I in fact accomplished with Photoshop of some of the same images but with the old ad slogan "Got Milk". I think I also had pictures of Tiananmen Square, and the first woman to be electrocuted as well as that famous shot he labeled as "Bad Hair Day". I might have also had an image of the Canary Islands atomic test; "GOT MILK?" I was spending a lot of time with lactose intolerant people at the time.

Best wishes and I hope to see Tim in Baltimore some time soon.

Oh and tell Tim that Mike and I have started brewing beer. It's an excellent past time.

[gambrinous: adj. - full of beer]

Rev. Dr. Stone,

Another example of creative convergent evolution. I like in particular the grim non sequitur of the electrocution w/ the caption GOT MILK?. Sounds like you’d gotten pretty lactose intolerance intolerant.

One quibble, though: Canary Islands atomic test? I think you mean Bikini Atoll, right? Always embarrassing to confuse bikinis and canaries. Maybe a little too gambrinous?



3 October 2007

The stained glass idea is genuinely brilliant and should be done. Find a glassmaker and get designing! People with too much money will lap it up.

Minor nitpick re. archaic grammar: "cometh" and "givest" are both in the wrong persons. "Come" and "Give" will do just fine.

Stephen Wells:

Fuck. I knew some nitpicky classicist like you would call me on that. The problem is, "come" and "give" aren't funny. Isn't there a humorous archaic
form of formal address, such as you'd use with "Thou"? We strive for accuracy in all details here at
The Pain, but humor is, of course, our priority.




3 October 2007

Tim (if this gets that far),

When I was a young man, I had a "brush with greatness". I worked in the Diamond District in NYC. This is an area on 47th Street in Manhattan between 5th and 6th Avenues. The year was 1978 or maybe '77, and I worked for a company named Aurea Jewelry. Also known as Uno-A-Erre. You can google it, it still exists, although I don't believe that they still have offices on 47th St. They are a manufacturer of gold, based in Italy. Anyway...

I used to go for lunch at a health food shop nearby. I don't recall the name. One day while strolling to the shop, I saw a couple of people walking out of said establishment. It was John Lennon and Yoko. I just stood for a moment, stunned, as they walked towards me. I was literally frozen where I stood. My mouth hung open, I might have been drooling. Lennon and Yoko saw me and smiled. They walked up to me and he put out his hand. I slowly realized that he wanted me to shake it. So I did. He had a firm grip. Then Yoko gave me the peace sign. I smiled like a complete moron.

No words were exchanged. They walked by and I stood there for a while. Then I rushed into the shop and asked the guy behind the counter that usually made my tofu whatever if they came in a lot. He said that they dropped by occasionally when they were in the neighborhood. He said it like it was a simple thing. Bastard.

And so, the point is...

John and/or Yoko smelled VERY strongly of cannabis. And believe me, I knew the smell quite well back then.

One for the vaults.


RichEmma Eshleman


Mike (co-founder of celebritysmells.com) and I were thrilled to receive your story, our very first celebrity smell sample. We were of course shocked to learn that prestigious and respected cultural figures such as John Lennon and Yoko Ono could have been associated with the Drug Scene in any way. But this is the kind of intimate and stunning revelation that celebritysmells.com will provide every day. It all goes into our massive celebrity smell database.

Thanks for Your Contribution,

Tim Kreider


4 October 2007

Ms. Hautpanz,

Would you please forward this onto Mr. Kreider? Thank you so much.

Yes, Timmy, there is a pussy juice factory. It's somewhere in the Fatherland. I even wrote a haiku about it.

Somewhere near Berlin
A pussy juice factory
Makes the Germans proud



In fact you are incredibly the second reader to transmit this unpleasant information to Mr. Kreider. I myself would have preferred to remain ignorant of this thing. Naturally it is the work of the Germans. However, it is preferable to their preceding forms of disturbance.

Your haiku must be admired I suppose.




5 October 2007

“Other Projects”

I am pleased to know that even when headlines are not humorous, Mr. Krieder is.
His nod to his own "This is the worst" particularly hit the spot.




Nice to hear from a reader who remembers the "This Is the Worst" series from the old minicomics.



6 October 20007


Protip: making blanket statements about all Southerners (http://www.thepaincomics.com/weekly060315a.htm) being racists Christians who want to maintain a stranglehold on the culture of the country at large is a bit dishonest. The Midwest is also quite full of the same sort of idiot you caricature. People are working very hard in the south to change how screwed up it is--but we are working against a cultural momentum that even the Civil War didn't break. Some appreciation from New Englanders and people from the West Coast would be nice, for once, instead of being lumped in with the crazy Republicrat/libertarian religious fundamentalists. Isn't the inability to draw distinctions and treat people as individuals essentially what you lambaste in your comic?

Have a good day.



No offense to you and your enlightened Southern friends intended. (I myself grew up and lived for many years in Maryland, which, as far as anyone north of the Mason-Dixon line is concerned, is Dixie.) I’m afraid broad, unfair generalizations are to some extent the tools of the cartoonist's trade. But I no more mean to condemn all Southerners as bigots or evangelical dingbats than I mean to call all Americans warmongering rednecks, or all Muslims scimitar-waving maniacs. As far as I am concerned all the decent, friendly, humorous people of the earth are all on the same side in an age-old, war against ignorance, bigotry, and cruelty. But I admit that what with all the noise and rancor of the culture wars in America, it’s sometimes easy to forget about our allies down behind enemy lines, like the Resistance in Vichy France. My apologies for undercutting morale.

Vive la Resistance!



7 October 2007

Dear Ms. Hautpanz,

Please convey to your employer my pleasure with his latest masterpiece, "The Cartoonist's Other Projects". This is sheer, unabashed marvelousness. I chortled at each panel.

I may actually have some information to contribute to the fourth enterprise, the assemblage of celebrity odors. My friend and former co-worker Robert Kelley was once privileged to have been a television studio staffer, and it was his duty to clip microphones onto the lapels and blouses of interviewees. This included the very wealthy and technically gifted William Gates, founder of the Microsoft Corporation. As my friend approached to attach the microphone to Mr. Gates' suit, he was struck by the intense odor of his person. Not only is the billionaire challenged in the area of personal appearance, but he appears to be frugal with the soaps and deodorant as well. More credence to the Aspberger's diagnosis, perhaps. In any case, it is not a celebrity scent one would savor.

I wish to thank Mr. Kreider for producing the most intelligent and entertaining cartoon available on the Internet. His style and talent are greatly appreciated. I rue the day I was not at The Million Year Picnic to meet him.
Erik T. Ray
Explorer, Inventor, Maverick, Crackpot

Erik Ray,

Thanks very much for your kind words about my work. Since I get little
official recognition, the occasional praise from readers has to suffice as

It's an exciting time at celebritysmellls.com as the first reports begin to
come in. However, can I ask you to follow up with your friend and get some
more specificity on Mr. Gates' personal odor? Was it just typical B.O.?
Sour? Musky? Rank? A dried sweaty underarm smell? Like old socks? More like dirty underwear? We're planning an ambitious and complex taxonomy of smells upon which to chart individual celebrities, so as much detail as you can furnish us would be apppreciated.


Tim Kreider

Okay, my friend tells me it's the classic "I haven't showered in 3 days and probably slept in my clothes" odor: a mixture of sour, pungeant sweat; mildewy tweed; and just a faint hint of takeout Chinese Food. For that amount of wealth, I would expect he would have some kind of 3-second cleans-o-matic tunnel he could walk through that spritzes him with a blast of water, then instant 360-degree blow-dry, finished by a mist of cologne. But the truth is, he probably just is too lazy for morning ablutions and his staff are too timid to mention it.


9 October 2007


I've been reading your comic for years, but this is my first time writing. In the most recent comic I really enjoyed the first two frames, especially the idea behind "Cuckold!" The second one I can't say exactly why I like it, it's just funny, and could be a very versatile idea. So don't get down about it.

Cody Lape

P.S. I rather like the non-political direction it's taking. Lately it's been so difficult to actually get mad about anything due to outrage overload, and judging by the Artist's Statements for the past few months you could use any kind of mental break.

Cody Lape:

In the name of Mr. Kreider I wish to thank you for the rupture of your long position of spectatorial silence and writing with your compliments on his work. He is happy of knowing that the readers support the recent work, odd and disturbing though thhey can seem. He appreciates in particular your praise for the joining of cuckolds and the photgraphs of atrocity tastelessly disfigured. It must be feared that we do not see the end of them. It is not to worry; Mr. Kreider does not allow his mother “to descend him. ”

His mental equilibrium, always it is in the doubt. One of sensitive organization is the cartoonist, easily damaged. As his groupie Sadie said: “he is a special snowflake special. ” To be unaware of the news of the world certainly calmed his nerves to a certain extent. Of late he meditates and smokes the cigars and this seems to have the unquestionable means to a certain small measurement of the tranquility, although it afflicts offence upon the nose terribly.




10 October 2007

Kid, you are BACK! I was wondering, is Tehn pronounced "ten" or some other way? I ask, because I've noticed that as I wander about, doing the stuff I do and mumbling, I find myself saying "Oh, Mr. Tehn. . .", and I was just wondering if I was pronouncing it right. Probably not healthy, but I don't give a fuck.

You DO bear a striking resmblance to John Edwards. . .

Watching the U.S. from across a lake,


Ed Weidemann:

According to Mr. Kreider it must be delivery similar to “ten,” though that it requires with slightly one more soft, more aspired “T." Although I must say to you that he showed it thus the innumerable times and I cannot distinguish some difference.

Often I myself am saying, “Oh Mr. Kreider.”



P.S. The resemblance of Mr. Kreider's in Senator Edwards is often remarkable. His hairdo is one-fiftieth expensive, however, and his smile is to be buckled.


11 October 2007


Mister Cheney? Maybe he's been doing this since forever; I don't
know. Seems suspicious though. I advise vigilance.

Ethan Herdrick,

We appreciate your alert concerning possible plagiarism by my professional nemesis, Mr. Tomorrow. Suffice it to say, we have him under surveillance. In this instance the evidence is too inconclusive to carry out reprisals, but rest assured, our investigations continue.




11 October 2007

Mlle Hautpanz,

If you have not yet returned to your home country, please convey to M. Kreider my deep appreciation for both the return of Mr. Tehn and for his insightful comment attached thereto. It is my sense that the indifference people feel to each other is at the root of most of the painful interactions many people experience every day - and as previously stated in The Pain, the ability we have to bear up under this kind of crushing treatment is one of the little heroisms of the human condition. I am not so naive as to believe that "society is to blame" or any such useless platitude - I think that indifference of this sort is a learned behaviour, an intellectual addiction like sloppy speech. (For an interestingly connected discussion of the latter, I recommend G. Orwell's essay "Politics and the English Language.") It unsurprising, actually, since it is so common to treat people we know and (supposedly) love as disposable, using such meaningless phrases as "It's Complicated" or "It Got Wierd" to cover the fact that we simply wanted to use up what that person offered us and move on. From this standpoint, small wonder that seeing the downtrodden every day fails to move us because we put ourselves in the habit of using such encounters to aenesthetize the passionate and compassionate portions of our brain, and like a drug, it makes us feel kind of good. Could be worse, we think. At least I'm not THAT guy.

When presented with Mr. Tehn, however, the anaesthesia doesn't work because he's too unique to look upon passively. Mr. Tehn is all the things we fear we may become, and more, since he, like us, is constrained ultimately by what he IS. The addition of self-improvement to the comic was a brilliant stroke for this very reason. "Self-improvement," in the words of Chuck Palahniuk, "is masturbation... or self-destruction!" In the end, we always have to be what we deserve. I spent ten years in the American South trying to be a Suthron Gentleman. What am I now? A cheap Franco-American in expensive clothes. I've come home.


Mathieu Moyen

Mathieu Moyen,

Perhaps it is true that people value each other only to the extent that they are useful to each other. But this does not necessarily have to lead to some heartless and calculating Ayn Randian worldview. As Kurt Vonnegut has one of his characters say (I can't remember in which novel--many of his books blend together in my memory), "I can't think of anything worse than never being used by anyone for anything." In a place like New York, confronted half a dozen times an hour with human disaster--impoverishment, addiction, insanity--your empathy centers get burned out fast. But actually I suppose this happens pretty early to all of us living anywhere on earth, hearing about all the injustices and atrocities in this world from Baltimore to Darfur. If we didn't develop this kind of emotional callus I suppose we would all turn into madmen or a saints. People respond to the shame of it in various inadequate ways, from writing annual checks to drawing cartoons. The only person I've ever known who really did anything substantial to reduce the sum total of suffering in the world was an ex-girlfriend of mine who took a family of African refugees into her home for several years.

You make a good point about Mr. Tehn being--only more visibly than the rest of us--heartbreakingly limited by what he is. The older we get, the more we feel uncomfortably constrained by the bounds of the dumb personalities we're stuck with. Sometimes this life feels to me like a costume party where you're assigned your costume at the door and you have to wear it all night long whether you like it or not. You're like, "But I wanted to be a sexy French maid," and your host is like, "too bad, you're a pirate," and for a while you try to mince around with your pegleg and your stuffed parrot acting all coy and flirty, saying "Ooh la la!" and pretending your cutlass is a feather duster, but no one is charmed and people look at you weird, and eventually you just give up and start saying, "Arrrr, I'm a pirate, Matey, I'll keelhaul ye scurvy dogs, arrr, arrrr."


14 October 20007Ms CH (or Tim if that really IS you)...

The Mr Tehn cartoons really ARE good. I keep getting reminded of the old Jackie Gleason TV series and his character "the Poor Soul" for some reason. "Why is a homeless monster sadder than a homeless human being?" Hmmm, I dunno. I guess we expect a human being to know better. My sister, who drove me back from BWI earlier today after a depressing trip to Chicago (I'd say more, but I don't want to be called an emo bitch either, esp if I am one) responded to my saying, "I'm the fat chick" by saying tartly, "You've always been the fat chick," and then going on at length about how the oh poor me thing is getting tiresome. I have to wonder if she felt that way if I were her tuxedo cat saying that. (Hmmm, Tim, sounds like your mom, if your description of her attitude about your artistic judgement re the Playboy cuckhold collage is accurate, and my sis have similar attitudes.)

By the way, I am calling you on this "bros before hos" thing. I've watched "Rescue Me" too, that's where it's from!

Oh, one more thing about the "w" creatures whose name must not be mentioned lest Alaska lady have a further lawsuit-induced cow: Boyd is right, those critters really do suck.

Marty F

Marty Fuller:

I think my mother meant the "how did you ever come up with such a stupid idea?" thing in the best possible way. This is how she means most things.

Perhaps the Oh-poor-me thing does become tiresome. But then so does unsympathetic and judgmental nastiness in the guise of tough-love, I-just-call-'em-like-I-see-'em honesty. I am sure that if your sister's cat could speak, its first words would be, "Oh poor me."

I disavow any knowledge of the TV show of which you speak. Someone repeated the phrase to me at lunch.

Believe me, no one has to tell me the W_______s suck.

The Fat Girl


16 October 2007


I read the comic every week in the Baltimore City Paper. I certainly don't always agree with the opinions, but they do have the strength of conviction of, as Mr. Kreider described cartoonists, a stern moralist. The truth often hurts, but sometimes it needs to be given a voice so it may be heard by those who need the shock.

I appreciate the artist's statements - I think they're quite well written, actually.


A Fan in Balmer

David Punzalan,

Thanks for your kind and thoughtful words about my work. I'm glad you appreciate my artist's statements--I suspect I sweat a little more over my prose than most internet writers. Writing is actually what I studied, at no less an institution than the prestigious Johns Hopkins University.

My Regards to the City that Reads,

Tim Kreider


16 October 2007


I appreciate the quote in the artist's statement today. You know, I think if I'd read it a few years ago I would've dismissed it as self-indulgent, depressing crap that I don't need to hear. But anymore, it seems almost comforting. Sort of like a Buddhist reminder that we're not really in control of anything- anathema in this culture that says if we are not /*/productive* then we are nothing; if we are not in control then it means we are weak and easily dismissed. But there is a certain peace in letting go of that illusion of control, of unclenching your fists that is almost comforting. Plus, anything that claims to be an enemy of drama can't be all that bad. Well, I'll be turning 40 in about a month so while this sort of thing is not exactly a laugh riot to think about, it feels good for me, like eating broccoli.


Stacy in Austin


You will already have turned 40 by now. I'm certainly sorry the Russo quote was like eating broccoli. It is not my job to provide the broccoli of intellectual life; my job is to provide the oysters, cigars, and single-malt scotch. I will try to offer you a tastier, less nourishing diet in the future.

Happy Belated Birthday,



18 October 2007

Love the strip, and artist's statements, and Bawlimer references - spent a few years at th' Hop living off Greenwood. City Paper, Otto Bar. Please please please don't kill yourself. At the very least wait until you've contracted some horrible disease, or WWIII starts. The Last Days In The Bunker (as I recall) with Dick saying "Not now George, I'm very, very, busy!!" - Brilliant!! Keep cutting!!!

It'll get better. Probably, I hope.


Jason Galpin,

I apologize for the delay in replying to your nice note. As you may know from following the cartoon, things have been disorganized around here lately. (As Mr. Cheney says, "I'M VERY BUSY.")

I also attended the prestigious Johns Hopkins University, and lived in and around Charm City for most of twenty years. I have some fond memories of the Otto Bar--in fact I even played pump organ there the first night they re-opened. (I was terrible.) Glad to able to bring you a barroom whiff of that eccentric, hard-drinking town once a week.

If I haven't killed myself yet, it doesn't seem likely I will.



18 October 2007

Mr. Kreider:

The breakup thing is really rough. I went through that sort of crowbar-to-the-heart thing last year - incidentally, with the guy who introduced me to your work. Things like that are the only remaining sign that he has an ounce of taste or judgment. Anyway, I'd just like to chime in with the people who are (undoubtedly) saying your hideously self-referential comics are still great, and there's only so much bitching about Republicans you can do before you start repeating yourself. Thank you for drawing whatever you want and letting us read it for free.

Lucas Corso:

Mr. Kreider thanks you for the commiseration and the reassurance. Yes, it is difficult, as the French call le pied-de-biche au coeur. The break is complex, and it continues to eat at him, each day. He says, it is perhaps not to be recovered, but more becoming a part of him. I phone him not to desire this. Regrets on the unhapppiness of your own. As one who responds to readers' letters, I can say to you that taste for the work of Mr. K is not a reliable indicator of judgment.

Mr. Kreider will continue to produce cartoons within his power.




18 October


I just wanted to let ol' T. Kreider know that his razor-sharp wit has been deployed as a weapon against the assholes of the world by a very minor foot-soldier (me) in the WAR AGAINST MORONS. A few months ago (in the good ol'Spring of 2007) I was an MS student in Geology at Montana State University, where there were some good ole anti-abortion assholes hanging around campus with their pictures of bloody fetusi(?) yelling at folks. One of said folks was me; following is, in screenplay format, our interaction:

Asshole: Abortion is murder! YOU sir (directed at me); do YOU believe in baby murder!?!
Me: Are you asking me about abortion? Because if you are, then I support a woman's right to choose, if thats what you are asking me?
Asshole: Then you think it is RIGHT to murder babies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!???????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Me: I think abortion should be legal up to the point the child can speak persuasively in its own defense.
Asshole: *shocked silence*

So, in conclusion, it was a good day.

I am currently a PhD student (in Geology) at the University of Madison-Wisconsin, where I am sure I shall be forced to deploy the nuclear "Kreider"-option at some point.

Excelsior sir. Excelsior.


Eric Williams:

Mr. Kreider is happy about this use of his speech against the madness of Christ. It is remarkable that this succeeded in rendering their silence. He hopes only that it will not be necessary so that you can deploy tactics illustrated in "The War on Sex. "

In my dictionary, it is fetuses.

Wishing you well with the stones.



24 October 2007

I'm noticing your Artist Statements have been almost apologetic as of late, but in my humble opinion, you are POUNDING these fuckers straight down the fairway. Excellent in both concept and illustration. BLANK versus the Black Man is a great idea. (Not a racist comment by me (I Hope) as I'm an octaroom, and not racist; It's just plain funny.) Beware of Boyd though, a good friend of mine is 1/2 Korean, and those motherfuckers are crazy.

On a self-centered note, is there any way I can send you two of your books, with a SASE and get you to autograph them? That would be awesome.

Ed Weidemann

Ed Weidemann:

Mr. Kreider thanks you for your vote of confidence on his recent work, which is the product of desperation and despair. It is particularly reassuring to have approval of an Octaroon.

He agreed with you about the Koreans. It is well known that they are maniacs of the whole earth.

If you have immediate practice of the City of New York, Mr. Kreider will be signing books at Jim Hanley's Universe on Friday night, November the 4th, across the street from the Empire State Building.




24 October 2007

A surprising number of my friends turn out not to recognize the name Gethsemane."

I remember being just as gobsmacked at the close of the 4th season of X-Files when friends of mine didn't get the name of the episode and its relevance. I blame the worthless public education system (the same system that I managed to escape knowing the names of only three Roman emperors.)
Robert Himberger

Robert Himberger:

Indeed, it is a sad commentary on the state of America's education system even though viewers of The X-Files are ignorant of the passion and suffering of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is to be pitied.




25 October 2007

" About Mike Kirby, Sex Detective, the less said the better." - TIM

And with that, readers went wild in anticipation of the further wacky adventures of Mike & (we're hoping) Jennifer, the celebrated transsexual.

- Jen


Regarding "Mike Kirby the Detective of Sex in The Adventure of the Woman Who Was Not," it is not, as they say, "to hold the soufflé."
Mr. Kreider gives his regard.




30 October 2007

Dear Mr. Kreider,

Your Artist's Statement of October 17th reminded me of E.B. White's "The Door." Have you read it? If you're interested in reading a short piece of fiction on-screen, it can be found (and printed) here: http://fiction.eserver.org/short/the_door.html
Yes, both works happen to feature doors. That aside, I think you'll appreciate the story, which happens to remind me of the sort of outlook it shares with many of your comics.

Best Regards,

Jeremy Smith

Jeremy Smith,

I'm only now attempting to compile the letters page for October out of the administrative shambles left in the wake of Ms. C.-H.'s departure, and realize that neither she nor I ever responded to your excellent recommendation of E.B. White's "The Door." I remember now that I was putting off writing back to you until I'd read it, which took me too long. But I finally did get around to it, and found it to be a singularly strange and haunting story, sui generis. Thanks.

Tim Kreider