Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?

Updated 01/07/08


Artist's Statement

Our traditional New Year's cartoon. A particularly lame entry in the "I Really Do Think Things Are About to Turn Around for You and Me," series, especially compared to last year's vision of Boyd's disembodied, bottled head sitting nexxt to me on the bar. Sorry about this, but ever since I made the mistake of announcing my imminent retirement the part of my brain that thinks up cartoons has brazenly quit even showing up at the office.

My friend Boyd and I have a dynamic going whereby, anytime one of us is in a trough in the cycle of depression/slightly less depression, the other is usually on secure enough emotional footing to be able to haul him up out of it. One of us wallows in The Pit while the other plays the obligatory role of optimist--says, "Aw, c'mon, things ain't so bad," whaps him in the head, and takes him out for a crappy superhero movie and some nachos and beer until he at least pretends to feel better. But lately, through some unfortunate cosmic misalignment, he and I are both in what are euphemistically called "transitional phases," meaning periods of unrelieved shittiness. So now when Boyd says histrionic things like, "I don't know, I'm serious, man, I'm thinkin' I might die soon," instead of proposing my usual solutions to all our problems--either becoming costumed heroes or the long-postponed Great Eastern European Fuck Tour--I just say, "Yeah, maybe you and me oughtta do a suicide pact."*

I'm currently reading the Henriad, the cycle of Shakespeare plays including Richard II, Henry IV, parts I & II, Henry V, and Richard III. These are the plays, as you may know, in which (among other things) the dissolute young Prince Hal has to disown his old drinking buddy, that irrepressible old rogue Sir John Falstaff, in order to assume the mantle of King. As Henry V, he goes on to glorious deeds and everlasting fame, but it also seems like everything best and happiest and most hilarious and human in those plays goes out the door with Falstaff. As if there were no room in the world for both patriotic valour and dirty, disrespectable fun. It's been feeling sort of like that lately. I certainly don't miss passing out sitting up or forgetting everything that happened the night before or being horribly hung over all the time, and yet it must be admitted that life seems about 4% as fun as it was back when I could freely devote hundreds of hours to hanging out drinking four thousand beers and saying hilarious things with old friends. Like there may still be great accomplishments ahead, but the good times are mostly behind us. Like Falstaff is dead.

*Do not write concerned letters. No one is killing themelves.


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