The Body

Thinking a bit about how I draw people’s bodies.  This is in part due to Hugh Hefner’s recent passing and the discussion of Joss Whedon’s infidelities I’ve been reconsidering how much of a cultural influence there is in the way we view body ideals.  There’s are numerous articles about Hefner’s contributions to our culture, probably both positive and negative.  The point about Hefner is that you cannot deny the influence.

In a similar way to how I’ve been reconsidering human relationship ideals, I’ve reevaluated how much of my view of body image is shaped by a cultural expectation.  In relationships, we are conditioned towards a heterosexual pairing as being the ideal, which makes it much harder to do real critical thought about them.  We also normalize a number of toxic habits that do considerably more harm than good.  There’s a quote I read from the comic Sex Criminals issue #20 the other day.  It goes, “Wanting is sexy.  Wanting is sex.  I like being wanted.  Needing is… needy and gross and sad.  Needy is never about someone else.”  I like that quote if only because my feeling is that it fits the point I’ve tried to make about the self-destructive tendencies of normalizing toxic habits.

Same thing with body image.  How much have we normalized toxic and damaging trends with our bodies?  Personally, I do think we get very self-destructive in trying to meet the conditioned standards.  While I don’t necessarily have a grandiose plan for drawing people in Order of the Dragon–Nosferatu and the other characters so far have been fairly typical to this point–I have tried to draw a variety of body types going forward.  And faces.  The idea of being happy with who you are is vital, but health should be emphasized as well.  I admit I admire the discipline and dedication to health and conditioning.  Someone who doesn’t work out isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker for me, but it is damn close.  And that might be conditioning in itself.

The letter that Joss Whedon’s ex-wife wrote reaffirmed a point about trying to address these issues.  As a guy, I tend to be very wary of calling myself a feminist.  I agree with a lot of feminist ideas, but it can be very easy for that to be a situation where people at least perceive you’re taking advantage.  While my stories feature women in leading roles–albeit with fluidity in their gender and sex–I try not to think much of it, if only because it could easily be a distraction.

Accountability

I have tried to generally stick to talking and writing about comics or at least having some loose connection to comics when I started this site, if only so I could stay focused on making comics and the progression of making comics.  Do not want to get bogged down in politics, relationships or whatever else I could end up talking about.  Part of the reason I’m putting off work on Chlorine and Acid.  I will not deny I have swayed a bit in that goal, but the main thing is to be making and posting comics on a somewhat timely basis.  Hold myself accountable to produce results.

Accountability has been a subject and concept I have given a lot of thought to.  In the past couple of years, I written a lot about my experiences in personal and professional settings, usually with at least some criticism of other people involved.  I have questioned the accountability of certain individuals, made suggestions about gaslighting and their honesty.  However–though I might not have stated it outright–I will always acknowledge my own actions and roles in any of those events.  I made plenty of mistakes and I own them.  If I question somebody else’s accountability, I want to be damn sure I’m holding myself accountable.  If you think I’m not, say so.  We can only learn and grow if we put in the effort to truly challenge each other in a productive manner.

That being said… I’ve been seeing quite a bit about the Colin Kaepernick and his kneeling during the national anthem.  I have always felt that if you have the platform to make a statement you feel is worth making, you should not waste the opportunity.  If he believes this is an issue to address, he has a obligation to use his public standing to raise awareness.  I’m a geek/nerd but I’ve always been a sports fan.  Here’s my take Kaepernick as a player.  He’s a damn good quarterback.  The San Francisco 49ers have been losing quality players and coaches for the last few years and haven’t even come close to putting together anything near what they had when they went to the Super Bowl a few years ago.  The 49ers season last year was not anything to do with Kaepernick’s protest.  They just had a lousy team and he’s probably better than a lot of the quarterbacks in the NFL right now.

Our President took a rather blunt approach to the topic the other day, I’m sure people are aware of what was said.  First of all, there is a real issue that Kaepernick has tried to address.  Brown, Gardner, Castille… I’m not going to list off all of the incidents that have unfolded, but how much have these officers been held accountable for their actions and choices?  Have there been major investigations and/or reforms to the way we train our police officers?  Does the President hold himself accountable for the housing discrimination the Department of Justice investigated him for years ago?  Or the hiring practices at his casinos?

As I’ve said, accountability is a big thing to me.  A public servant of any kind–be it police officer or senator or the President–needs to hold themselves accountable.  Set an example.  Own the decisions you make.  You want to make America great again?  Start by demonstrating how to take responsibility and do better.

Anyway, there’s a bit of a rant, just to get this out.  Going to hold myself accountable and work on some comics.