The fourth and cruelest month of our Current Year has brought a precious dividend; Bands I Useta Like IV!
Against all odds, our planet has been graced with another issue of this magnificent birdcage liner. With your own copy, you can pretend that you walked into a family-owned grocery store, and bought it right off of the newsstand, like CRAZY or National Lampoon. Imagine; you were bored shopping with your mom, and you discovered something on a rack of periodicals that changed your life and perceptions forever. Not only that, but your mom let you have it, because she was smart, and she knew that nothing printed on a page can possibly hurt you.
This comic book was created by me. I deliberately vary my drawing style to give you the impression that you are reading the product of a bullpen of lunatics. Not so much like MAD; like the lesser-known mags that MAD tried to keep up with, over the ’60s and ’70s. Trump (it was a magazine, look it up). Arcade. Zap (wait ’til you see issue 5 of BIUL).
Like the eponymous comic strip, BIUL is typically produced when I am angry, depressed, and unwell. #4 was forged during a period when I almost literally starved to death. Hence, the running food gags. I am a Cartoonist; your Cartoonist. I don’t turn into a house painter when times turn tough. 20 years ago, I sidelined my cartoon work for other jobs that I assumed were more lucrative. You can actually see the point where I began to focus solely on my art; that’s why my style takes a quantum leap around 1998. Four years later, I went “sink or swim”.
Now, in 2017, on the third day of the fourth month, I’m releasing my fourth book of the year.
30 years ago, I created Mike the Pod. I was first published in a newspaper 26 years ago. I have worked at my current newspaper job for 19 years. Bands I Useta Like has been in print for 15. All those people who told you “print is dead” are dead or jobless. Some corporation paid them to lie to you, to scare you. Scared people spend money. Remember that truth. That’s how you sell people things they don’t need. Fear.
15 years ago, I was sending out “portfolio packets” to varying periodicals, with the goal of a paying gig. Not long after that, much of the “alternative press” folded up, because it had thrown in with one political party/agenda or another, and become that cause’s crier. The Village Voice was once a place you could find a wealth of alternative comic strips. Now it’s something you read in public if you want others to know you’re gay, and prideful. Because there are so few ways to make that clear, nowadays.
In the 1990s, my frustration with the publishing world led me to create “zines“. Nowadays people just set up a website. This way, you type out your ideas and thoughts into text, where they can be indexed by spiders and bots. If you express a “bad thought”, an authority can step in and admonish you, using your typed words as evidence, and rally for you to be removed and suppressed. Isn’t that great? Much less dangerous than printing out your work, binding it with your own hands, and mailing it to god-knows-who. How would the FBI track something like that, anyway?
Print isn’t dying. The Mainstream Media is.
Before a book or magazine sees publication, dozens of people unrelated to the work have to see a paycheck. No major motion picture hits a screen until over a thousand people are paid for their contribution. That’s the only reason anything mainstream exists; to prop up the dubious careers of a legion of obsequious individuals, who want the fame but don’t have the talent. The average yokel doesn’t care how small a part you played in the production of a movie. All that matters is that you were involved. Pretty soon, that and the money feel enough like “integrity” to keep you going.
That’s why everything sucks right now. Top to bottom. Nothing in entertainment isn’t co-opted. Nothing represents the common man. If you want a laugh, you better be prepared to pay in advance. Music and movies are created by the people with the most money, who paid handsomely to get ahead. You wanted safer cartoons, so they set up a whole network; there’s no need to go anywhere else for cartoons. Why would you? What are they not providing for you?
Real ideas. Independent thought. That’s what.
I’ve been killing myself for years to keep them alive. For you. To prove to you, those are the only things that bring fulfillment. Not superheroes, or Netflix, or anything on a screen. I live and produce in poverty because no entity will ever advance me a check for squat. No corporation wants to put monetary power into one individual. It’s too risky. Individuals do things like build studios and media empires. They spend money on stuff like fine homes for their offspring and loved ones. They do stupid shit like create lasting connections with regular people.
Individuals die, leaving scads of untalented hangers-on without career options or insurance.
Better to create easily-recognizable icons, that can be used as profitable trade marks. They live forever. They can’t starve, change, or turn on you. If they’re easy to draw, impressionable kids will ruin their art skills trying to render them properly. Skill was once inherent in the rendering of a popular cartoon character. Since the downsizing boom of the 1980s (combined with the contamination of “anime”), cartoons look like advertising for breakfast cereals. Kids that seek to emulate the artist will pick up the kind of bad habits that make you quit in frustrated confusion.
Everything you love was created by individuals. That’s why you don’t like anything new. It’s all focus-grouped to mush. You pay to mentally tame a toothless, declawed tiger. There’s no “flipping channels”; you pick from what is provided. Every TV show and movie is the Dunning-Kruger effect; the worst person for the job, pushed to the head of the class as an example of the best. It’s all televised suicide, 24 hours a day. Overt, celebrated slavery.
I am your Cartoonist. I am your red pill.
Once I am gone, you will see how much I accomplished with nothing. You’ll understand how much I taught you, with mere lines in the sand. You’ll realize how many lessons that you carry through life came direct from me. You’ll see how I did it secretly, in pain, under fire, crippled by trauma, starving, hated, for you. For our future. For our minds. Against the philistines and the ignorant. They always lose. We always win.
That’s why I do what I do. Money and fame won’t buy back the things I’ve lost. They won’t keep me or anyone else from death. Immortality only comes when you live on in the minds of others. Our bodies aren’t built for it. We’re made for laughing and fornicating.
That’s why you should buy a copy of BIUL IV now, before it’s too late. While you are still your own individual.