Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
My editor hates this kind of cartoon,
where "it's just some character, look how weird he is," and there's
no underlying message or subtextual levels to explain to any concerned or
disgusted readers. He didn't like "He's Got Complicated Pants,"
(issue #4, and if you' haven't seen it you can probably imagine it for yourself,
it's just what it sounds like), either, which is some readers' favorite.
This cartoon was indirectly inspired by my friend Emily, who called to let
me know that a town in Florida had recently banned Satan. I did think about
this premise for a while, and came up with some pleasing mental images, like
the Devil disguised as a tourist trying to sneak into town, loitering in gift
shops where they sell crap made out of seashells, having his license and registration
suspiciously examined by a cop, etc., but in the end I decided not to draw
a cartoon about the story because it's one of those things in reality that
can't be improved by satire or parody; it already is a cartoon.
However, in the process of trying to come up with ideas, the title "You
Can't Keep a Bad Man Down" came to me, and this drawing followed inevitably.
Long-time readers of The Pain may recognize this character from several
previous cartoons in my comic books. In an early one he's smoking a cigar
and leering vilely, telling his weeping girlfriend, "Hey, I ain't no
bad man, baby." Which he surely is. In another one, later on, we see
his mistress leaning over him in scanty lingerie reading aloud from a bedtime
story that goes, "Once upon a time there was a very bad man, and he lived
happily ever after." He snuggles down contentedly under the covers and
says, "Oh, thass my very fav'rite story." (He also appears,
in slightly altered form, as "An Ass Man of the Highest Order,"
saying, "Lemme tell you somethin' about myself. I like butts. You like
'em?") Here, in an inspirational message for troubled economic times,
we see him in sadly reduced circumstances but undaunted, starting over from
scratch, pulling himself up by his own bootstraps--an evil Horatio Alger,
an American hero.
I love this man.