February 2008

12 February 2008

Reinstate grog?

Y'know the US military is on speed, right?

Mike Futcher,

I did not. I suppose this, like everything else, ought not to surprise me. I am reminded of a line from Flash Gordon (1980) “Are all your men on the right pills?”

I suppose this makes sense of some things. But it seems to me that if I were in Iraq, I’d rather be on painkillers.



13 February 2008

Dear Tim Kreider,

After flipping through a few of your comics (I've read them all already), I've been hit by a sudden whim to write you and say what an incredible comic you produce. It's a great feeling to see a politically themed cartoon that isn't cut off from touchy subjects. It's excellent to see a cartoon produced in the week 9/11 happened that doesn't contain a sickeningly patriotic undertone, but instead can easily poke fun at an open wound just ripe for the pickings (if your really that into picking at open wounds). It's also a relief to find someone with the same disgust with conservative christianity. It's fun to point out obvious flaws in a born-again's logic, and even more fun to find a comic that doesn't pale from the sight of religious controversey. I enjoy your satiracle wit on politics, religion, America, and especially the monkey in the oval office. I love your artistic style and diolauge, and hope your comic continues to fly under the radar of the Dixiecrat senators.

Not expecting a response,



Thanks for your kind words about my work. I don't suppose you are an influential critic or editor or agent, are you? Aw. Never mind. Just asking.

I am, indeed, into picking at open wounds. (It is a more useful tendency in art than in life.) I think I am able to be more blunt about touchy matters of religion because I have just about literally nothing to lose; I only appear in one alternative weekly and get paid a miserable pittance for it. Family daily newspapers have to worry about offended readers canceling their subscriptions. Nobody in alt weeklies worries about offending the fundamentalist dingbats, who by and large live out in the sticks. Race, on the other hand, is out. Hence the self-censoring of this week's forbidden Obama panel.



13 February 2008

Dear Ms. Hautpänz,

The artist's statement this week, as usual, gave voice to my own more-muddled and mostly passive thoughts on politics, patriotism, and the human condition. However, on pursuing the link at the end of the piece, I am moved from my generally lethargic moral position to make a request. Please inform Mr. Kreider (if you think it advisable) that, on seeing his bonus panel this week, I have come to the unavoidable conclusion that his psyche is deeply and horribly twisted.

I truly admire that in a man.

Best regards,

Bruce Banerdt

P.S. Mr. Kreider may be interested to know that it is solely because of his eloquent arguments on behalf of Pluto that I have, against my professional judgement, supported the continuation of that object's traditional status in the solar system. Of course, that has been made easier by the fact that nobody really cares what I think about it.

Bruce Banerdt:

Thanks for the generous, if backhanded, compliment. So far no other comments on the forbidden panel. I am lying low.

I am glad to know I at least persuaded a few people to keep Pluto in the astronomical tables of their hearts. Incidentally, my desktop background is that lovely image of a Martian sunset taken by the Mars rovers. I love those little guys.

Go Rovers!



13 February 2008

Subject heading: One less thing you agree with McCain on…

He is apparently now FOR torture...

< http://thinkprogress.org/2008/02/13/mccain-waterboarding-fail/>

Bruce Johnson

Bruce Johnson,

I am--not for the first time--disappointed. (As the Man in Black says, "get used to disappointment.") Now at least I can be wholeheartedly against McCain without feeling sorry for him when he loses.



14 February 2008


I loved your horrible thoughts thingy. A couple IMHO fallacies that seem pretty common, I would like to address:

1. Another terrorist attack would not be a boon for the republicans and Bush, but quite the opposite - it would show that all their spying and removing of our liberties was pointless - and it would seriously shake up Americans' faith in the protective abilities of the warmongering white man. In short, I think it would be DEVASTATING to the conservatives.

2. Noone is voting for Obama out of white guilt. They might say they are voting for Obama, but the voting booth is a private area where you can still anonymously stick it to the black man.

3. No, there are only 2.




Well, all I can say is, we'll see. Nobody knows what'll happen in the event of another terrorist attack. The reaction you predict would, admittedly, be the rational one, which leads me to think it's not what'll happen. I kind of suspect Americans will flee back to the illusory safety of Arab-torturing, retard-executing Republicans, the same way abused children love their abusive drunk dadies and later seek out alcoholic boyfriends who'll beat them up too. I do know that if there's a terrorist attack during a Democratic administration, the conservatives will come howling back up out of the sewers to blame liberal laxity and cowardice and call for immediate impeachment exactly like nobody did when it happened on Bush's watch.

As for white guilt, this is a subtle and elusive thing, often alloyed with a purer strain of honest pride that it's finally become conceivable to elect a black man to the Presidency, a nationwide wave of relief that we're finally living in the future.



15 February 2008

First, in response to your statement about the first panel of your February 13th comic, I'll note that the subject of assassination has not been beyond reach of the African-American community for some time, although, yes, the white, mainstream electorate seldom encounters this possibility in open forum. The first glimpse I received was during a 'Talk of the Nation' broadcast from Morgan State here in Baltimore. During the show, concern about assassination and Obama was raised without fuss and, as the discussion progressed, it became clear that this concern is a common, well-traveled topic for African-Americans.

We may only speculate over the willingness of the black community to talk about this concern while the white community remains strangely silent, agreeing that the racial dynamic is obvious, but also finding that oft-cited Kennedy comparisons play a role as well.

Second, I might as well add now that I've finally written you, that your old "Scum Belt" comic has long been a favorite that, as they say, "hits home," as I know many of your old stomping grounds well. Now, a few weeks ago, my wife and I were driving up Route 40 from the city, heading to friends in Joppatowne. Oddly enough, Route 40 slowed to a stop-and-go pace, and up ahead we saw the proverbial flashing lights. When we reached the accident scene, there, in the right lane, was a 4-wheel ATV smashed under a shiny-new Camry. The battle of civilizations is fierce, ugly, and prophesied in the pages of The Pain.

Alright, thank you much for the comic; it's a bit jaded, (just a bit), but a fun perspective.

- Dominic, Mount Vernon

P.S. "But this sort of atavistic haruspication at election time is hardly an exclusively female fallacy." What a line this is... If I'd never been to the Visionary Art Museum, I'd have no idea what you're talking about...


Actually the same ex who suggested the forbidden Obama panel told me that she'd heard frank discussion of the assassination fear in black media. I think probably mainstream (white) media isn't talking about it for the same reason that white people (and some brown ones, like that dick Dinesh D'Souza) like to pretend that racism is no longer an issue.

I sometimes miss my Undisclosed Location on the Chesapeake Bay, but I do not miss the Scum Belt.


p.s. I've gotten more mail about the word "haruspication" in the last week than I've gotten about anything I've written or drawn in weeks. Go figure.


20 February 2008


About six months or so I walked into a small obscure comic book store in Mexico City (where I'm from) and came out with a copy of an excentric and funny collection of cartoons. Needless to say, that book was "The Pain".

I enjoyed every cartoon as well as every ironic statement that delved further into whatever it was you were trying to ridicule. Upon finishing reading the book, I looked you up on the internet and since I have come to the site for my weekly fix of pain.

Not only do I think your portrayls are of great quality but your statements always hit the spot as well. I particularly enjoyed your long comment last week, where you threw in a hilarious cartoon about Obama.

I think you should consider adding a blog to the site. Your insight is always hilarious and it would be much appreciated if you would extend it beyond only the theme that concerns your weekly cartoon.

Anyways, all this amounts to me letting you know that the pain has reached south of the border and also to congratulate you on the great work.

Take care,


PS. If you're ever in Mexico City, let me know. I'll take you to the most astonishing hell holes around.

Diego Dávalos:

I'm flattered that you'd be willing to read a daily blog by me, but (with the occasional conspicuous failure of cool like this summer's) I generally try to keep the artist's statements political and not get into the mundane trivia of my personal life. I think I ought to save up my smartest-sounding thoughts for a once-weekly essay instead of filling up space with my thoughts on meditation, cigars, and the New York Times Saturday crossword or my list of the 5 worst films I've ever seen.*

I am always pleased to learn that my books are available abroad. I can't help but imagine that my political cartoons must be almost completely inscrutable to anyone not immersed in the American culture. I'm glad to know you're enjoying them. I'm especially gratified to hear from you in Mexico City, since several years ago I spent a month there traveling with the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus (long story). Although at the time I found it overwhelming and nerve-wracking--the diesel fumes, the constant blatting of car horns, etc.--I think of it fondly and am very glad to have gone. I brought back a chicharrone(sp?) the size of a shield, made out of a whole pig. Eventually I realized it even had the pig's face in it. Much was made of this item in customs. I ate it with lemon juice and Tabasco over a period of months. Being a lone and scrawny gringo, I did not explore the hellhole scene extensively, so your invitation is actually sort of tempting. I'll let you know if I make travel plans.


*Okay just for the record:
Breaking the Waves
The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant
Two or Three Things I Know About Her
A Hole in My Heart

20 February 2008


A few last words before I go into the dark HELL (Sorry I have to go with all caps, that doesn't really do it justice but I can't get a British Grotesque font in my e-mail) that is Texas (though the coolest part, Austin).

I do agree with you that Plastic Man is also a Kucinich man. As for the Dark Knight....well, I hate to say this, but given his vigilante tendencies, his extreme wealth and dark mood, he'd really be more of a coup d'etat sort of guy: (channels Frank Miller's narration) "Enough, I say. Time for a change. Enough of people kowtowing to special interests. Enough of letting the scum get away with it. Enough lawlessness. Time for order. It ends here. Blood will flow. A lot of it. Vote for Martial Law. I let Hillary have it. Right between the eyes."

Too bad you couldn't have fit some Marvel heroes in there somewhere, either.

As for why we are last to know of any matters of national importance (like what a hotty Elizabeth Kucinich is, or exactly why no one should eat a Jack in the Box taco for any reason)that, dear Tim, is the same is why folks not agreeing with the Dark Overlords' agenda do not get to run for President: wrong frat back in college, wrong amount of daddy's money, whatever other little category dooms us common folk to a life of "Not Our Kind, Dear"-dom.
Sorry to go on like Larnell Custis Butler here, but given my dark journey to Texas may delay any further missives, well, just let me add this as well....your Obama / KFC thing was actually funny - though Bruh Obama should've been smoking a Newport as well. PLEASE do not ever show this to anyone who just MIGHT contact Rev Sharpton or your ass may be out of business soon.

Marty Fuller


Feels too weird and kind of unnatural to mix up Marvel and DC. Personally I was always a Marvel man, but the DC heroes just came to mind for this one.

I am frankly amazed by your reference to Larnell Custis Butler
[note: indefatigable letter-writer to the Baltimore City Paper]. It used to amuse my friend John to preface his opinions: "Well, as an Afrocentric feminist..."

Condolences on Texas.


20 February 2008

Subject heading “guild navigator”

I must commend Mr. Kreider on his perfect representation of the party candidate selection process. Please pass on my compliments and esteem.


Tom Blackwell:
Thanks for your compliments. After another super Tuesday, the ballet of democracy continues, trampling our hopes underfoot like Godzilla in a tutu.

21 February 2008

Have a great birthday, I hope you get drunk and layed and your hangover is mild to non-existant.


Thanks for your birthday wishes. Well, two out of three; can't complain.


21 February 2008

Thank you for alerting me to the extreme hotness. I had no idea.

MIKE "newly-minted mrs.kucinich-stalker" WOOD


Mike Wood:

O yes, my friend. O yes. I saw a website on which people were comparing her unfavorably to Fred Thompson's generically hot blond bimbo trophy wife. I feel that there must be some deep connection between people's attraction to one or the other of these types and their political affiliation. Perhaps a study is in order.