The 200th Post

Next month marks the second anniversary of the BANDS I USETA LIKE website, and here we are; the 200th post. I’m sure you couldn’t care less, but you helped make this possible, and in the 13 years I ran Mike The Pod online, I maybe cracked a hundred actual articles.

So let’s mark the occasion with a peek at the cover of BANDS I USETA LIKE III, yes?

That’s the magazine that will complete your summer, heading your way around the time you start buying fireworks in bulk. So buy this too. It would be a crime if you didn’t.

Transforming BIUL into a grass-roots franchise has been relatively fun and rewarding. This is partly due to allowing no comments on this blog. Sixty years ago, I’d be running BIUL off of a giant printing press, and I’d have no earthly idea of your opinions on my work unless you sought me out in person and told me. If you did, and I didn’t like the cut of your jib, I could assault you, and later deny doing so. Or I could beat you up again, and continue to lie about it, for years. Pre-Internet, it would be my word against yours.

So yeah, I ignore comments. I just cut my annual web-hosting check this week. That money comes from cartoons I draw. I run an informal yet necessary business, which is why I don’t have a comments box that any jerk-off can defile with turds. It’s simply not an effective use of time.

Here’s another thing about BIUL you might have overlooked; I dragged it from one century to the next. It ain’t gonna go on forever, I grant you, but that was no small feat. It’s difficult enough to continue a property for over a decade, thanks to the ever-changing tastes of the audience. This is why I do things… a bit differently.

When you see a contemporary comic book, in particular one from a major publisher, what you are seeing is a team effort of delegated tasks, under contract. The publisher pays the editor and the in-house personnel a salary, and everyone else is either freelance or punches a clock. The money comes from advertising sales. The rights to the intellectual property are tightly held by the parent company, so there’s no possibility that any team member could break off and use their skills to make their own version.

This method forces you to treat a creative pursuit like a “job”. There’s no reason to think about your work outside of billable hours. You’re paid to draw superheroes, not to daydream about their adventures. It’s a job. See the stuff the guy before you did? Try to do it like that. That’s “what the people want”.

I wake up in the fucking morning and make coffee and ask myself, what project will I advance today? I go to bed concentrating on whatever I spent the day on, so I can dream about it and keep working. That’s why I’m able to consistently offer you work at the quality I can. It’s not a job; it’s the reason I fucking exist.

You probably don’t notice the difference because I strive to be a “21st century entertainer”, which means competing with whatever entertains audiences, all the time. Entertainment is as nebulous and unfocused now as it was in the 1970s, thanks to the diaspora of Internet users frustrated by its current modus. Cartoonists are akin to stand-up comedians; working-class folk who achieve a higher social status, using their skills to make laughter. The sky’s the limit as far as who you can rub elbows with.

Not for me, I mean, I’m a cliché-slinging bag of jizz.

Still, this bag of jizz will continue to attempt to fill your life with laughter, at least until 2018, when the strip itself will be 20. There’s a 50/50 chance that’ll be the wrap-up. The site and the magazine have better chances.

It’s not as though I’ve got anything better to do.


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