August 2008

August 1

Mr. Kreider (Tim),

I just read your story in the Urbanite (True Stories), and I felt like I should write you an email. First, let me say that I've been a fan of yours since I picked up my first City paper when I moved to Baltimore. I look forward to your strip every week. Please don't retire.

Second, I know what you mean in so far as the story looses it's fun in telling the more you tell it. I won't bore you with my own story, but when I read your piece, I felt (feel) a definite "yeah, fuckin' A right it's a long story." Needless to say, some stories require a large amount of alcohol and cigarettes to tell –not to mention someone worth telling the story to.
My own story has morphed from a long, drawn-out spiel to a "long-version" and a "short version", to an almost glib "4 brain surgeries, dude" reply. I think my two favorite alternative stories are "tank driver in Desert Storm" (told to some poor fucker on acid) and "prison riot" (told to a drunk frat guy in Chapel Hill). One of the most challenging was when I had to retell the long version to a really persistent guy in Spain (in Spanish, drunk off my ass on Cuban rum and high as a kite on Moroccan Hashish). I've learned to steel myself whenever I hear "what happened to the back of your head?"
I have to say, though, that the story has gotten me more free drinks, female companionship, and drunken respect (fear) from lots of idiots out there –as I'm sure your story has given you. I even was granted an honorary membership to the "extra days club" from a very drunk marine whose entire squad (including him) fell from ~150 feel from a helicopter zip line (they all got up and walked away without injury).

Anyway, scars are cool, and they remind you of not what you've been done to you, but that you've been through it –and are still drawing breath.

If you come back through the city that spits on your tour, send me a note. I'd offer you a place to crash, but you probably have plenty of connections here still. I'd offer to cook you a meal, but we have 3 dogs –and being a cat person, you might not dig it too much (we have 3 cats as well, plus lots of other things). I can offer you a drink though, perhaps many –and a story, if the mood is right.

Take care,
Justin (Gus) Dopke

Justin Dopke,

Thanks for writing. Your letter was the first word I had that that issue of
The Urbanite had hit the streets.

I think you touch on something that I don't address explicitly in my story
(though it's kind of implicit in the "short version" panel) because I hadn't
really thought about it articulately: some people just don't deserve to hear
the real story. They don't have the history, the intimacy with you to have
earned it. I mean sure, if you just got injured whitewater rafting, it's no
big deal to explain to strangers in bars, but if it's some Whole Big Thing
then the question can be a little thoughtlessly personal. (It's kind of like
noticing that someone has a pale circle around their their ring finger and
chirping, "Hey, d'you mind if I ask you--what's the story with your
divorce?") It's pretty presumptuous if you think about it and it's
surprising how uninhibited people are about it. But, then again, bars are
places where people go to lower their inhibitions.

I agree with you that scars are cool, and I often feel contempt and disdain
for people who have had to pay money to get piercings or tattoos in lieu of
having ever had anything interesting actually happen to them. You sound like
you maybe have a whole caved-in skull or something really lurid and
spectacular. My own scar is impressive but not disfiguring, and I honestly
don't know how conspicuous it is anymore. Not quite sure how many girls it's
gotten me. Hard to parse the factors, sometimes. I never got made an
honorary member of anything, certainly nothing as cool as the Extra Days
Club. Though really we're all members of that club, though we don't know it.
You ever read Moby-Dick? There's a chapter in it called "The Line" that you
would appreciate.

I do have connections in Baltimore, including a house of my own an hour
outside of town, but perhaps next time I'm down we can have drinks and not
tell our stories.

Tim Kreider


August 5

Hi Tim

In your 23 July cartoon, you show John McCain with his arms raised above his head Nixon-style. I thought I read that due to his injuries he couldn't actually do this. Any comment?

Keep up the sterling work...

Best wishes

Chris Coleridge,

You are correct. In fact I was aware of this when I drew the cartoon. Opted for the expressiveness of the exultant gesture over strict verisimilitude. Call it artistic license. Anyway, I'd feel bad bringing up McCain's disabilities in cartoon form as I actually kind of like the guy, inasmuch as you can like someone you don't agree with about anything at all.

Thanks for keeping me honest, however. In general we do strive for accuracy at The Pain.

Tim Kreider



I had to laugh when I saw that you labelled the city of Caen on your
map of France in the "world war" section of your Ancient Americans
comic, because that has to be the biggest battle in which the American
forces did *not* participate. Caen was ultimately captured by a
combined Canadian and British force. I realise that in the United
States you folks tend to think of the Normandy landings as a case of
"America saves the day", but do keep in mind that only two out of the
five D-Day beaches were designated for US troops, with the other three
divided between Canada and the UK.

-Christopher, from Canada

Tim responds: [yapping-hand gesture]


Mr. Kreider,

Though I don't agree with all of the views you express in your comics,
I am nevertheless a big fan of your work. I particularly liked your
comic "Lost Secrets of the Ancient Americans". The comic combined
with the following phrase from your Artist's Statement:

"...with their vividly rendered CGI scenes of our buildings and
bridges collapsing, our monuments eroding. There's a morbid yearning
behind these visions, disturbingly like an adolescent's fantasies
about his own funeral. Adolescents like to daydream about such things
becausse the prospect of facing their actual futures is so
unimaginable, and hence terrifying."

immediately brought to mind Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold (the
Columbine High School shooters). I think your comparison of modern
American society to angst-filled, uncertain adolescence is very poetic
and apt. I think that the United States has become childish and
spoiled rotten by modern technology, and that it will only get worse
until America collapses taking the entire Western World with it.
After reading in this week's Artist's Statement that you did not get
any responses from this comic, I thought that I would write my
appreciation of it to you.

I also noted that you have received an influx of "doom and gloom" so I
have provided two links that present a more hopeful view of the world.
Things aren't as bad as they seem:

Decline of violence:

Decline of poverty:

There are many parallels between the decline and fall of the Roman
Empire and the decline and possible fall of the Western World (e.g.
the Roman Empire depended on its army and soldiers and collapsed when
its army collapsed; the Western World depends on its economy and
dollars and will collapse when its economy collapses). But if the
Western World does collapse spectacularly into a new theocratic Dark
Age (christianity in America and islam in Europe), then its rebirth in
the inevitable second Renaissance will be equally spectacular.

Thank you for your entertaining comics. A day with a new "The Pain"
comic is better than a day without one; and though you may not have
gotten any responses, that doesn't mean your comic had no effect.

Thank you again,
Maciej Wojnar

Wellington, New Zealand

I also really enjoyed your comic "My Arm is Fuckin' Tard" on 5/July/2006!


6 August

Dear Tim

I did like last week's comic about the ancient Americans -- it is posted on
my office door for the edification of passing students. Your drawing
perfectly captured the combination of apathy, nimbyism, and inability to
distinguish between real and trivial risks that seems to have paralyzed the
country. (Of course, saying all this makes you and I sound like
McCain/Gramm on the subject of American whiners, but they are right on that,
at least).

On the subject of people sending you horrible things to contemplate, I
nominate the following:
This is a downloadable short "book" by a Cambridge physicist discussing
energy associated with human activities, and evaluating the
physical/practical limits to various sustainable energy schemes. No
politics/policy -- just the physics. I found it fascinating, but also
rather depressing, because it is clear that modern Americans don't have the
will to do what would be necessary.


Scott Anderson


Illustrious Mr. Kreider,

As an artist you know that the audience is quite fickle and often the best work (in the artist's opinion) is left without praise, while the pieces that take the least effort are often lauded as genius. It's not always the most well thought ideas that are embraced by your fans. And yet I would like to express my admiration toward last week's Opus of American ineptitude and ambivalence. I believe Ground Zero is just as they want it because they like to rub salt in the wound, even as we try to ignore the painfully obvious failure of the Gulf situation. We no longer have a grand nemesis with which to draw lines in the sand. There are no more battle fronts. Even our concept of "terrorists" has grown diffuse as our national agenda becomes more terrorizing. But I think this is because people in general are burned out on the all encompassing negatives that are growing in number and depth, all around us, every freakin' day. So even the most noble concepts and their brilliant execution can seem depressing even if beautifuly rendered.

But don't loose hope. Even your flippant, off the cuff cartoons are fantastic and fill me with gladness. And I feel the world is a better place for them. Especially the filthy ones...
Keep it up! Viva la Resistance!




Just chill out, OK? So I took last week off on the comments front. If I'd known you weren't going to get any response to the installment of July 30 (which was indeed a brilliant cartoon) I'd have sent something, but I figured you needed a break from my silly blathering (and dire need for Spell Check).

As for this week, that was good too. I loved the Marcus Aurelius quote, its a damn shame his son turned out to be Commodus. The Lovecraft quote seems, troublingly enough, to be an accurate reflection of our own age. Three guesses which beady eyed smirking dickwad and his sneering monster of a retainer are leading the way towards the darkness....

(offhand wondering) Wonder if standing against all this onrushing madness like the Spartans in 300 is a sign of madness.....

Marty F


August 7

I really liked the Ancient Americans comic. It's along the lines of stuff I've been bitching about for years. I'm from northern Indiana, which when the original German settlers arrived, was a massive malarial swamp. For decades, the settlers chopped down one giant hardwood tree at a time and hauled it out of the swamp, all with hand tools. Slowly, at the expense of their health, they managed to eke out acre after acre of arable land. They didn't do it for themselves - they would never see the benefit of all this hard work. They did it so that me, my parents and grandparents, could have a comfortable and prosperous life, a hundred years in the future.

The farm, which once produced mostly dairy and corn, is fallow now, as nobody in my family wanted to take it over. My uncles and cousins are too busy shooting things and driving drunk to do anything with the land.

I'm not blameless - I moved to Colorado, the fuck away from the Scum Belt. But the farm is a good exemplar of the lack of future orientation that seems to breed and feed the apathy in your comic. When it's easier to buy a fucking $40,000 car on credit despite the fact that your house is in foreclosure, then yeah, we're fucked.

Anyway, thanks for the comic. Hopefully I'll be able to send a few bucks your way when I get my next paycheck.

David Gilbert
Commander Guy, WOLF BOY


August 8

Dear Mr Kreider,

For the past however-long-it's-been I have felt the stab of guilt upon reaching the end of your artist's statement, and pointedly ignoring the fur-coated beggar requesting money. I would like to donate money to you, if I had any, as I pretty much agree with every complaint you make, and think anybody who can draw such impressive smoke ought to receive some sort of remuneration for their talent. Unfortunately artistic patrons are not thriving in today's cultural climate of moronity. This letter is in response to your justified whining RE: no reply to the excellent Ancient Americans cartoon of last week. It deserved both donations and praise.

However, as a full-time student, moreover a full-time arts student, I am in no position to be anybody's benefactor. I did purchase both of your earlier books and intend to purchase the next, so I hope this buys me the right to visit the site every week for the reassurance that not everybody in this world is totally blind to the torrents of shit pouring from mouths to minds. I followed your cartoon during the Bush farce (in hindsight, it seems even more ludicrous than the experience, like Strangelove without the ethical point or a punchline) and kept reading even after I came to the realisation that at almost a quarter century of age it was time to tune out from the flim-flam. I'll still read your cartoon, but I'll not watch the news anymore, so I might not get all the jokes. I kind of prefer the non-topical work you do, but I guess it can't always be midnight at the pussy-juice factory. And where does one go after drawing a carrot-in-sphincter speech bubble? That seems a summit of inspiration.

Mr Kreider, I'm continually depressed to be living amid the disappointing dregs of the Enlightenment, which would probably have never even been attempted had the likes of Jefferson and Voltaire had a prevision of what the liberated masses would do with scientific knowledge and freedom from religious superstition (the Dr Phil phenomenon sounded the death-knell for me, personally), but at the same time I know it could never have been any other way. One needs a strong dose of Nietzsche's 'Russian fatalism' to get by, and to let go of the useless daydream that everybody will one day wise-up to their ignorance, bigotry, stupidity, and fear. There's too many of them. To paraphrase and bastardise Mr Socrates, it's not that our satirical cartoonists are so wise, it's that everybody else is so unbelievably stupid. Be grateful for the yardstick, I guess.

It is somewhat encouraging that all I have to do is type '' to see there's at least one fool out there, however hoarse-voiced and outnumbered, piping up with an indignant 'What is wrong with you people?'

Warm regards from Australia,

Luke Marsden

PS. I was most chuffed to discover that the illustrator of the only online cartoon I follow is also the author of the only perceptive article on 'Eyes Wide Shut' I've read. Kubrick always ran into trouble with the critics, because they were generally unable to grasp the quite undisguised fact that he was a far more intelligent human being than they. One of the more exciting days of my life was when an enormous book was delivered to my house, and inside of the enormous book was a strip of 70mm film, in which you could see a pod attempting to get back inside its mothership...

PPS. Perhaps it was just due to the discreet magic of the photographer, but a comparison of your self-portraits to the pictures on the letters page would suggest you have altogether more chin and jaw than you let on. Poetic license, I expect.

PPPS. I really should have written a far shorter letter, but I live in the suburbs and rarely get to rant about anything outside of football results and petrol prices. If for some reason your collected works take off and a whirlwind world tour is proposed, you are quite welcome to come and sleep on my mother's couch in Morphett Vale, South Australia. It's the neighbourhood sandwiched between Happy Valley and the abandoned oil refinery.


I was flipping through your archives, as I often do at work when at a computer, when I noticed something in "My Slogan" that I had been missing: your Tick shirt. As a person who often finds himself talking about the Tick as one of his favorite super-heroes (in fact, the family car is proudly adorned with a "SPOON!" bumper sticker), and having everyone else in the room go "...the who?", It's nice to see somebody else who knows and respects him.

Keep on truckin!




I can't believe you didn't get a single email about last week's comic, "Secrets of the Ancient Americans". Like you said, it was one of the better pieces I've seen on The Pain. Maybe it's too late, like when my wife points out that it's a NEW dress and I should have noticed it earlier.

After reading the SotAA comic, I looked up the details on the Empire State Building to see how long it took to build. I'm a Canadian from the west coast - details on New York construction are not generally taught here.

Holy shit, it got built in just over a year. It's just amazingly tragic to know that there's still a fucking hole in the ground where the Twin Towers used to be. That's just inexcusably fucked up. To know that The United States - the country that went to the moon, discovered atomic energy, developed the production line, etc, etc, etc, etc, - can't build one lousy building in SEVEN years is just heartbreaking. If you're "Under Construction" for 7 years, you had better be a failed dotcom's website. You're supposed to be The Big Guys, the "We can do the impossible" guys, the mavericks. Seriously - "fuck it, it's just the moon. It's not THAT far." Now it's "Well, if we get buy-in from all these agencies, we can form a committee to look at our options."

I could probably rant about this all day. Instead, I'll just tell you that I really like your comics and I think your commentaries are great.

Good luck!

Magnus McElroy
Electrical Engineer (EIT)


August 9

So. You broke the story about Edwards 4 years before anyone else and don't get any credit? Lame.

Keep up the good work.


Interestingly, the child in question was born only two days after my own birthday.
Let us all hope this is as close to presceince as I come.

You don't think it'd be fun to go all Leto Atredies on people? God Emperor Krieder the First, Worm King of Earth has a nice ring to it. We just need to find you some spice.


August 11

First I want to get the ass kissing out of the way and say your comics kick ass. Second, I know how much you, like myself, hate Bush and I think I've found something that would cheer you up more than any vividly described fantasy involving him. This is an actual fantasy someone on the internet (where else) has had about him, and it's so fucked up, I find myself always going back to it for a good laugh:

i am a 17-year-old male who's really against president bush. it's been said countless times, so i don't need to go into how badly he fucked up our country.

still, i get extremely turned on when i see him on the news. i imagine sodomizing him as he plays with his small wrinkled balls, the whole couch jumping, dick cheney peeping in on us. i know he's just a man underneath those expensive suits and pre-written speeches. i fantasize about smearing my warm cum across his asshole as he calls my name out to god. i want him spread-eagle in the oval office. on his knees in a top-secret room, promising me a share of the corrupt spoils of war between gulps of my manhood.

Heh, ever since reading this, whenever I see Bush on the news, I just picture him spread-eagle, taking gulps of some bi-curious male's manhood.

Please don't take this as a request to draw this though, because my penis would die.


Sir -

I know you are irritated that this week's cartoon is not up to its usual level of polish but I swear to God every time I look at the left wolverine in the final panel it sets me all to giggling. It is like the perfect horrible thing. I freely recognize that my reaction to this comic is fucking retarded but I cannot help myself. It's like something in my forebrain shuts down when I see those googly eyes and that round mouth -- it's like an evil version of the aliens from the Muppet show, the ones that were all "mmmmyep yep yep yep yep yep mmmhhmmm" except that the wolverine muppet would howl something about how your taxes are due.

In other news, I got no idea if you are still planning your journey across deepest America to yell about your new book, but Twice Sold Tales seems kind of like the place where you should talk. Granted, Elliot Bay Bookstore is where they will likely allow you to talk since Twice Sold has no real room to speak of, but I humbly submit you should pursue those two venues for a talkin' in Seattle. I certainly hope you intend to hit Seattle, since the West Coast is excellent and we have a fucking Spock Pants Museum.

Be cool, man. Money coming your way when it comes mine. I think that is your problem with the donations- your comics appeal to broke nerds. Start making more tepid office jokes and the cash should come a rollin' in!

Hail Satan,


August 12

Dear Mister Kreider:

Switch the speech bubbles between the dessert and the presumed woman's hindquarters and you will have comedy gold. even better, just remake the panel with all 6 possibilities between your cat, the pie, and the pastry. you'll need grizzled old 19th century prospectors to help you plow through that goldmine.

FYI i miss the blowjob giving kermit the frog doll please introduce it surreptitiously in a waminals cartoon.

keep on rockin
chris in tampa florida

Christopher DeLaughter [really?]:

You are not the first to suggest this, and in truth it occurred to me as I was drawing the cartoon. Ideally I would have left the panel blank and included Colorforms® of all three speech/thought balloons for the reader to switch as it amused him.

I doubt we have seen the last of the Kermit pupppet.

Tim Kreider

whats with the really? yeah its my last name what you want to fight about it? Anyways glad to know a talking ass saying "now noone will eat me" didn't occur to just me, along with a cat saying the same thing and a pie saying goodbye. bring on the funny.



August 13

"deservedly little knon....robert altman's Quintet"

Thank you for that little gem.

How is it that McCabe and Mrs Miller is a work of genius (at least to my way
of looking at things)....and yet Quintet is perhaps one of most tedious and
boring things ever projected on a screen.

I once read they were considering releasing an actual board game version of
Quintet....y'know to cash in on the huge commercial success of the action
packed film. I am still waiting for "Robert Altman's Quintet: The Burger
King Glass!"


American Psycho > The Dark Knight.

Carry on good sir.

Eli Friedmann,

Best guess: Altmaan's methods were famously improvisational. This is an
artistic gamble--even more of a gamble than any art usually is. We ought not
to be surprised if, once in a while, it produced ridiculous crap. If it
didn't, it wouldn't be a gamble. That it paid off as often as it did is why
people call him a great director.

Also, he was probably coked to the gills at the time, which infamously
tended to produce worse films than mere alcohol and marijuana.

Too bad about the Quintet board game. Though perhaps it would have inspired copycat Quintet killings.

Tim Kreider


In your recent artist's statement you write that "China, a capitalist behemoth whose economy is the envy of the world, is run by the same cabal of scared, senile totalitarians who ordered college kids crushed under tank treads at Tiannamen Square", apparently trying to draw a line of continuity from China's "authoritarian-communist" past to its "authoritarian-capitalist" present. However it is no surprise that "the same cabal" preside over the massacre of 1989 and the sweatshops of today, since the government that sent tanks into Tiananmen Square (not at all the same people Mao led in the Cultural Revolution) was introducing market reforms at that time. In fact, the majority of those protesting (and the ones who suffered the most from the crackdown) were not the "college kids" calling for Western-style democracy in Tiananmen Square, but labour activists throughout Beijing who, unlike most of the students, were protesting those very market reforms that have reduced China's working class to near-slavery today.

Possibly this is just annoying nitpickery to you but I couldn't let that go, sorry. Thanks for the comics and keep up the good work!


Subject heading: "Have you cracked yet?"

Just wondering, because I figure it'll be soon - the way you bitched over the (lack of) response to the Ancient Americans 'toon indicates it's not far off. By the way, you were right in that Ancient Americans was one of your better works; you're probably getting the same thing musicians have when they play an exceptional piece of music, in that once you're done it takes a while for the response to reach you: the stronger the wave, the slower the start.

Anyway, still thinking that I'd love to have t-shirts with some of your more memorable works on them - I'll be watching, and when you do crack completely, especially if it ends with you being dead, I intend to have some clandestinely made.

If you don't crack, or at least not in the next few years, I'll probably do it anyway - might sell a few to some friends who've loved the image (mostly the Science vs. Religion one) but can't be bothered to actually read much; I know a money-making opportunity when I see one.

Hope your cat is well and got over her worms.

"Crazy Chicken Eddie"


Dear Mr Kreider

If there is a webcomic equivalent of 'first time caller - long time listener' then I must place myself fully in their camp for the purposes of this communique (I believe a better term is 'Lazy Bastards What Can't Be Arsed Typing Some'). In a number of your recent and not so recent Artist's Statements you've given out that you feel under-appreciated for the stellar work you do. I'd like to say, as a long term fan, I'm very sorry I'm only writing to say thank you now.

I've been trying to compose a properly worded summation of how much I've respected and appreciated your work over the years (as Myles Na Gopaleen would say I've been a fan of Tim Kreider long before it was popular, or profitable) but frankly it's well past Beer O' Clock over here in Ireland and I have some amount of boozing to get through before I can claim contentment. Suffice it to say, you are a funny funny son of a bitch and like all great comics you can muster up at least a crack-throated monstrous cackle at even the most horrendous of events. As this whole world goes to hell in a hand basket your sense of humour keeps pace. I can only imagine the personal toll it takes on someone to put his belly to the bar every week and draw a funny picture about carpet bombing or the death of the American Dream or whatever sick prank Cheney decided he'd play on the world that week. It must corrode the very marrow from your bones sir. Yet you seem to do it, not for money or for shits and giggles but because you are compelled to bear witness for the-way-the-world-was-meant-to-be and for this I thank you. As you said yourself "The Truth $2.... No Refunds.

Apparently the party started early and people are looking for me to play some music so I'll draw this to a close as briefly as I can. Every Wednesday (or thereabouts) you produce absolutely stellar work. Your love of H.P Lovecraft has made my childhood adoration of his work seem slightly less geeky. You've introduced me to the wonderful work of B Kliban (that alone means I owe you pint) and you've made me laugh till I near cried on more than one occasion. Finally you're essays and artist statements have on occasion provided me with a bit of hard-earned wisdom that really helped during the knotty fucked-uppedness of my early 20's.

Thank you very much for your continuing efforts

It is appreciated (even in Ireland)

Turlough O'Brien

ps: Should you ever venture to these shores please allow me the privilege of getting you shitfaced.


I just wanted to write to say that this weeks cartoon was especially magnificent. More than anything else, the "Bigger Fish to Fry" theory captures the general feeling I've had about the world for a few weeks now. With all the shit going down, who has time to care about some douchebag's love child?

One of my favorite things about The Pain are all the little details, and this weeks comic was particularly rich in them. The panel with you and Tony Consiglio(?) stealing a pie off a windowsill was the highlight of my day. You also captured John Edwards' hair perfectly.

Alexandra Plotnik

P.S.: Draw more explosions.


Mr. Kreider,

I was reading your May 2008 Letters ( and
I noticed you used the term 'renumeration'. I feel I should break it to you that
the term is in fact 'remuneration'. I too thought it was 'renumeration', long
ago, and I was horrified when (in the middle of teaching Business English to
Czechs) I first discovered how wrong I'd been for so many years. I insisted the
textbook was wrong, I demanded a dictionary, and what I saw stays with me to
this day.

Two additional points of interest:
* The word 'renumeration' does appear in the OED as an obsolete word meaning
(wait for it) 'to enumerate again'. Evidently it hasn't been used since 1721.
* The word 'remuneration' can be traced back to the Latin 'munus' meaning
'gift, service, obligations', a root which also shows up in 'munificent',
'immune', and 'municipal'.

Cole Mitchell


August 14

After reading the the artist's statement, and then reading the
Stabbing story, I have this to say:

It's a shame you've stayed away from narrative comics. Your pacing
is terrific, and the drawings work.

Also, last week's "In the end, the wolverines." has had me cracking
up continually since I read it. As well as the ass and the pie
saying "Farewell, Tim." "I guess no one will eat me now."

Hey, if you do a Chicago stop on your book tour/signing thing, you
should base yourself out of Quimby's on North Ave. You probably
already knew that, though.


Jesse Dorje Irwin



The multi-page stabbing story was very enjoyable. Looks like a lot of work.


Your case for being (one of) J. Edwards first Love Child(s) -- which does sound better than hot dirty irresponsible sex child--is actually quite strong. As he is out there broadly offering to take paternity tests, maybe you could jump on that. It would generate you some publicity, once we have all gotten bored with russian massacre until it arrives palatably once more in blockbuster form....although the challenge of the emotional resignation, should it prove as true as it likely seems, may be too much to risk.

The "graphic essay" worked great! Truly a rewarding choice. It seems like an expansion of some of the best in the past anyway. This one was really good. looking forward to more.

I have--as a necessary aficionado of published matter directed to the interests of children--for some time been of the opinion that you would be an excellent illustrator (at least, if not writer as well) of truly engaging young juvy lit. Even with the background in stained glass pornography.
In my experience, kids don't like fluffy cute. They may pat the bunny because it makes the grown ups coo and produce candy, but a powerfully realized graphic of the confrontation of an abysmal darkness is what really rivets them.
Even the wonderful graphic series "Bone", which my oldest would not put down and which is basically the reason and metier for my 6 year old learning to read--in my opinion does not go far enough into the emotional darkness to be adequate to the awesome emotional vividness of children.

I certainly respect your avowed (to the point of introducing suspicion of its secretly harbored opposite) dislike of the general idea of children. That is another reason it seems to me you'd do an excellent job: you might be counted on not to pander.

As a possible sideline endeavor, please allow the idea to germinate/fester?

Aimie C.


Subject heading: "one small step"

Hi Tim,

A small victory for the good guys, I guess:

"A federal judge has told the University of California that when considering
applicants, it has the constitutional right to ignore high school course work
grounded in the notion that the Bible is infallible"



Subject heading: "A HILARIOUS CARTOON IDEA + A poem about squid"

Mr. Kreider:


You asked for it. I'd also like to voice my approval of the
graphic-essay form. Just figurin' a voice of approval is usually

Poem About Squid:

The Kingdom of the Squid

There is a place where the Atlantic eats
into Virginia's shore, where I was told
each rising century, as it completes
its seizure of the Earth, stopped and foretold
the form that it would take. And so amid
the waves I watched the Triumph of the Squid.

No mermaids sang, no human sound was heard.
No words would bellow from the sky, to give
an understanding of all that occurred.
A world was coming no prophecy would outlive.
The quiet waves, and every thing they hid,
fell silent for the Triumph of the Squid.

The sea became an eye, and a pale gaze
consumed the beach, the city and the hill.
A strange, unbounded shape began to raise
itself, then paused and blinked, considered, fell
back through the waves. There was no need to climb.
The world would sink down to the Squid, in time.

The sea pulled back another sheet of sand,
a slow but irreversible assault.
The cold Atlantic stretches out her hand,
reclaims the land, and leaves a crust of salt.
Waves drew me down, as down the shore they slid,
and drowned me in the Kingdom of the Squid.

- Daniel Wright


August 16

I'm not talking about yours, though I worded it like that so you would read it. I couldn't believe it when I saw this shit, it's just too fucking unreal. Don't worry about offending anyone, Tim, as long as shit like this is allowed to exist, and Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh have careers, there's nothing you can, even intentionally, do to get in major shit.

HAHA, do you see that Mexican woman dropping out that ugly Mexican baby? And the white woman giving Obama a blowjob was such a great touch! It's so true, black men only want to run for office so they can have sex with our white women! And you said the right has no creativity!
Why do some people seem to think conservatives are racists, by the way?


August 18

Dear Sen. Edwards,

Your piece in the Urbanite was great. Thank you for that. I hope
you'll be able to do more in the future -- it looks like a _lot_ of

Sincerely yours,
John B.


August 20


Wow, was your toon of Aug 20 so bad as that, you won't let the world see it online? Geez? You want to at least provide a description so we, the public, can decide for ourselves just how bad it is?




August 21

What? No Waminals this week?

I'm just kidding. I wanted to write a quick note from a new reader and
say that your comics are awesome.

PS - The first panel in "From Bad To Worse" is a riot. I laugh every
time read it.

Keep kicking ass,
Sean Collins


August 22

Subjkect heading: "8-20 shitty comic"

Dear Mr. Kreider:

I don't imagine it's that shitty. Tell you what, i will send you a shitty comic I made in MS paint and you send me the 8-20 atrocity and i promise not to post it anywhere and just laugh and die a little and delete it.


behold it is shitty but it is mine. please send yours.

August 23

I'm a bit behind in my reading of your letter's column, so image my
delight upon discovering that I had gone beyond the pale in breaching
the standards of good taste and common decency here at "The Pain". I
consider this truly a high water mark even in MY various and checkered
career. I shall be forced to craft my next written offence to the
hardened sensibilities of your regular readers with extreme care, if I
am to maintain this stratospheric level of vulgarity and tastelessness.
I feel that I may be up to this challenge.

Just sign me once again as:
[Name withheld just out of common decency]

P.S. Also, I've been entertaining this idea that with outrageous
gasoline prices, that Hummers, Escalades and other bloated SUVs will
STILL be the car of choice for the American Ignorati, they'll just
install coal fired boilers and steam plumbing in the unused extra space
in the back for a retro-steampunk conversion. I can see Jethro now,
spiffy chrome plated coal shovel that matches his "spinner rims" in
hand, feeding the firebox like a railroad engineer of yore, smokestack
belching soot and CO as they make their way down to the mall on
Saturday night. Feel free to expand on this theme in one of your
humorous drawings if you so desire.


It is your fault I even know that this woman exists.

And because of that fact, I share this link with you out of spite. As long
as you watch it, we will both suffer. We will both go through life
intermittently imagining the heartbreaking naked body of this alabaster
amazon, pressed against our own...

Sob. Sob yourself to sleep.

MIKE "why can't I be Dennis?" WOOD


August 26


Is everything okay? No comic for two Mondays, not such a great sign...
Although, nevermind the comic if that's what it takes for you to feel
alright. Seriously, I'm a long time reader and I really look forward to
the new The Pain every week, and when there isn't one it feels awfully
empty out here... but if you feel the need to take some time out for
yourself, then you have my heartfelt support.

Thanks for all the comics you've done so far!



For future reference, the cartoon is updated Wednesdays. You should find this week's up now. Not to worry--all's well with me.


Whoops! I guess I overreacted, my bad... I'm glad to hear everything's
okay though.

By the way, as a geneticist, I'm fascinated by your two-headed turtle
story. Mutants are super cool. And as a human I do hope the poor thing
will be ok (although I'm feeling pessimistic about that).


August 27

Subject heading: "Dude you been quoting Marcus Aurelius a lot lately"


I do wish I had better news to offer regarding the two headed turtle. However a different two headed turtle has turned up in Mishawaka, Indiana (I enclose this link: and assume this isn't the missing one in NY. Also a curious coincidence disclosure: my grandfather was born in Mishawaka, Indiana.)

I am a bit curious though: who's the lovely young lady expressing such deep concern in this week's strip?



August 28

Hey Tim,

I wasn't sure if you'd heard about the Redneck methheads they arrested and are assuming were conspiring to assassinate Obama? It's funny that the first ones they catch are of course the stereotypical, white trash who got all hopped up and decided what a good idea it would be to save the world from the black mennace. I just don't know what to believe sometimes. You'd like to the FBI was actually on the ball for once.

Oh and I really really hope you're making a big, two headed turtle costume for halloween. You'd be the toast of the town man.
The Two Headed Turtle Avenger!

Of course a strait up Gamera costume would be pretty sweet too.



Just so you don't loose hope while attempting to ignore the election:

Yes...some recent polls indicate the worst...but careful analysis of the all
important electoral college which so fucked us in 2000 (with some help to be
sure) reveals a different picture and even if mccain has enough racist
homophobes on his side to inch ahead in the popular vote....we could still
pull this thing out. Not that obama is the best thing since sliced bread or
anything....but his election can only be a good thing at this point.

Yet here we still are....balanced on a seemingly impossible point between
apathy and dread.

Carry on sir.

-Eli Friedman


Dear Mister Kreider,

From diligent reading of your comics and musings in the artist's statements, I have noticed that your dislike for Republicans and right wing politics is generally counterbalanced by your love of beautiful women.
With this in mind, are you aware of the existence of John McCain's slammin' hot daughter?

See for yourself:

I hope this sudden revelation doesn't cause you to shift your political allegiances.

- Mark Sawko-Michalski


August 29

This reminds me of a doomsday religious cult I read about, whose members went seriously into debt because they were fully convinced the Second Coming of Christ was imminent, and they would be Raptured before they had to pay their bills.

Stuff like that was widespread in 1999 with the dire predictions of Y2K. The magazine "American Survival Guide" went under just after January of 2000 because many of their advertisers were convinced civilization would collapse and sold out before they ran for the hills. The end finally did arrive... but it was for the magazine.

Steven F. Scharff
Henderson, Nevada
(Future site of beautiful Las Vegas Canyon)



In this, of all weeks in the Political Calendar, you should not be straining for targets to satirize. I realize this. However, I miss the George and Mr. Cheney panels, and this idea came to me during my digestion of the Palin soon-to-be debacle:

In light of McCain's never robust, but increasingly befuddled, mental capacity, who will really be running the show should the unthinkable happen and Republicans pull out a November win? Viola, a chance to introduce the eminently caricaturable Sarah Palin, exhume Ronnie Reagan, and showcase a swan-song for George, though perhaps not for Mr. Cheney. Cthulhu references are always good, too.

As an aside, I doubt that you're the type to waste time browsing any user-driven political fora, but if curiousity should ever strike you, I'd suggest the Politics tab at Fark has some wildly creative people, mouth-breathing knee-jerk hacks, sharp observers of American culture, and above all, vicious snark. Even the non-political threads can be pretty entertaining.

Retaining hope of no worse than a polite dismissal, I remain,