Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 10/24/07

Artist's Statement

Despair drove me to draw this cartoon. It had gotten to be three or four on Sunday afternoon, and I had no cartoon ideas. It was one of those depressions that enervate you utterly. I had reluctantly begun to draw something so substandard I will not speak of it here, partly out of shame and also in case I still need to use it. I actually sent an email to my editor asking how much notice he’d need if I were to retire. Finally I went for a walk to go get a few groceries. I had walked less than a block in the unseasonably warm October sun when I came up with the idea for this cartoon, and nodded to myself, knowing that despite all the pain-in-the-ass drawing it would it entail it would be fun enough to sustain my interest. My old dance instructor used to say that he never trusted sedentary thoughts—only the ideas that came to him while walking had value.

All these idiotic ideas are the fruit of my late-night conversations with evil genius Boyd. He has been urging me to draw all of these cartoons for years. Every time a deadline approaches and I come up dry, he’ll say, “Well, you know my advice. I’ve been telling you to draw ‘The Alcoholic Iron Man’!” So he alone, at least, should be pleased with this week’s effort.

Boyd and I actually outlined a whole story for the Alcoholic Iron Man. Black Widow does indeed call Steve Rogers, who, when wakened by the phone, sits up in bed screaming “Bucky! NO!!!” underneath a framed portrait of Ronald Reagan. He comes over and reads the Bible with Tony and it’s clear that Black Widow is really in love with him. Later, in an epilogue, we see Tony pouring himself a morning drink, thinking, “Ah, just a little pick-me-up.”

A surprising number of my friends turn out not to recognize the name Gethsemane. All I’ll say is, Look it up. Although church was an unrelenting bore I am glad at least that I now recognize some of the more obvious references and symbols that were, until a few decades ago, the common vocabulary of Western civilization. (I also learned recently, on the occasion of the re-release of Blade Runner, that it had never occurred to a lot of my friends--literate, well-educated people, all--that Roy Batty’s hand snapping out to save Rick Deckard with a nail driven through the palm was a rather heavy-handed allusion to Christ.) Most of this stuff I learned from our illustrated children’s Bible and from Arch books, a series of little paperback children’s picture books that retold all the cool Bible stories, like The Fiery Furnace or The Rich Fool--most of which, in the actual Bible, turn out to be one or two lines long, buried in dreary columns of genealogy or tribal law.

Boyd and I had envisioned a whole Universal monster-movie cycle starring The Black Man: Revenge of the Black Man, Curse of the Black Man, House of the Black Man, Son of the Black Man, The Black Man Walks Among Us, etc.

About Mike Kirby, Sex Detective, the less said the better.

Not pictured: the unspeakable “Meanwhile, Back at Neverland.” All I will divulge about this comics atrocity is the word balloon: “I do believe in fairies! I DO believe in fairies!”

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