Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 10/03/07

Artist's Statement

What will happen on the day that Tim Kreider decides to stop drawing his phenomenally successful and much-loved cartoon, The Pain---When Will It End?? Will he at last get a respectable job, join the workforce and become a productive member of our society? Or will he simply retire, to pursue a life given over entirely to pleasure? Well do not be silly. Tim Kreider has many, many other creative projects in mind to which his arduous duties at Pain, Inc. have precluded his devoting his full attention.

“Cuckold!", clearly, is genius. Years ago I found a stack of old Playboys from the 1960s in the big recycling bin at my local landfill, and carted them home with me. In their pages I found many historical curiosities: some B. Kliban cartoons I’d never seen before; a letter from Stanley Kubrick complimenting the magazine’s art director on his reproduction of the lighting of the War Room in a photographic parody of Dr. Strangelove; a woman’s ass dressed up as Hitler (difficult to describe). But what struck me most were the faces of the husbands walking in on their wives with other men in all the cartoons. The reader is supposed to identify with the uninhibited, fun-loving adulterers, of course; the butt of the joke is meant to be that old fuddy-duddy, the betrayed husband, puffed-up and sputtering with passé outrage in the doorway, like an embodiment of the tightassed Fifties looking down with square disapproval on the free-spirited youngsters of the Sixties unashamedly screwing. And yet it was with this poor laughingstock that I always identified--perhaps because I figured I was likelier to find myself in his position than in that of the blow-dried, sideburned stud in bed with the bimbo. I imagined making an enormous collage composed of the faces of all of these husbands, every single one from every single husband-walking-in-on-his-wife-with-another-man cartoon ever printed in Playboy, hundreds of thousands of them. The cumulative effect of them all would belie the facile fun-and-games tone of the cartoons and bring out the underlying sadness in them–all the wounded pride, the jealousy and rage and pain and humiliation. It would be devastating, unbearable. Cuckold! I kind of thought it was inspired, the sort of conceptual art project that gets people noticed. I drew this panel at my mother’s house, where I was visiting for a couple of days last week. When I sheepishly explained the concept behind it to her, she asked me: “How did you ever come up with such a stupid idea?”

The project depicted in panel 2 has been in my mind for years. You used to be able to get these things at photo supply shops—packets of little stickers in the shapes of word balloons with messages like “I’M WITH STUPID” and “AWESOME!!!” written on them in a goofy cartoon font. I’m not even sure whether they exist anymore now that most people take digital photos. Anyway, I can’t remember exactly when the deranged idea of sticking them on famous photographs of disasters and atrocities entered my head. To me, it just seemed obvious, inevitable. (Longtime readers may recall the infamous “This is The Worst” series from one of my minicomics years ago. It consisted of ghastly engravings appropriated from the book Drama of the Martyrs, which had a considerable effect on me as a child--Christians being decapitated and flayed, King Herod devoured by worms and lice, Antippas roasted alive in a copper steer, children picking their mother’s tongue screw out of her ashes as a kind of hideous souvenir--all embellished with the same strategically placed word balloon: “This is the worst.”) I even bought a big LIFE Magazine book of the 20th Century's most famous photos to use for this unwholesome purpose, but I never got aroound to finding any word balloon stickers. Now with Photoshop the whole sticker thing is rendered moot. Difficult to say whether this panel is tasteless and offensive or hilarious and brilliant. The line is so fine.

I believe that one day my pornographic stained glass windows will earn me millions and be placed in the homes of wealthy connoisseurs with a taste for the decadent all over the world. The item featured here is one of my more ambitious creations. Tasteful rose windows depicting women masturbating sell for as little as $6000. Discerning collectors may inquire at for complete catalogue and pricing.

The domain name is already owned by my friend Mike, with whom I thought it up, so do not even try it. Neither of us will ever need a real job again once is up and running and starts bringing in the advertiser dollars. We all know what celebrities look like, and thanks to magazine interviews we all know all kinds of “in-depth,” “up-close and personal” intimate information about their pasts and personal lives. But these interviews are placed by agents and publicists and meticulously scripted. Celebrities have whole entourages of personal trainers and hairdressers and makeup artists and voice coaches to make sure they look and sound and present themselves exactly the way they want to. What people really want to know about celebrities is something real, something human, something involuntary and unrehearsed. This is why they love stories of celebrities showing up drunk for interviews, getting arrested, having brawls, passing out in public. Tabloids pay paparazzi thousands of dollars for photos of actors looking sloppy and puffy and cranky, like ordinary people. Millions of people want to see telephoto shots of their stubble and cellulite, their yearbook photos and mug shots. We want to know more, something even more personal and intimate: how do they smell? We---Mike and I--want to hear from people who have gotten close enough to celebrities to smell them. What does Patrick Stewart smell like? Oprah? Henry Kissinger? Winona Ryder? Find out soon at

When I’d finished this cartoon and looked at it all, panel by panel, I announced: “I am an idiot. I don’t deserve to live.”


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