Evolution: The comics presented in these archive pages comprise roughly sixty-percent of my output for Blender Kitty. As things went along, you see the cat and bear appearing less and story-type strips appearing more. I never wanted to do a regular comic strip—let alone one with recurring animal characters. Still, I made the most of a “creative writing” opportunity.
Rejection and Oversensitivity: When I was a teenager, I sent The New Yorker a batch of comics. I received a short handwritten note that simply said: “Too few comics to critique.” I am not sure why I never followed up on that. I have never handled criticism or rejection well, even when it was less critical than I imagined. Early in the production of Blender Kitty, I sent strips to King Features Syndicate. Here too I received—not a handwritten note—but a handwritten letter. The writer was also not discouraging, but told me my strip was “too alternative” for syndication, and suggested I approach alternative newsweeklies.
Alternative Newsweeklies: This had already occurred to me as a better fit, but alternative newsweeklies, such as they existed in the Nineties, were unlikely to appreciate my sense of humor for reasons I have already stated. Moreover they were uniformly unadventurous in their opinions and tastes; and their openmindedness, of which they professed to an immodest degree, was singularly closed-minded. People travel in herds, regardless how much they despair of herds. Here is how I present the subject in my novel-in-progress:
“Lucien had wanted to be a hipster when younger, and was drawn to coffeehouse society chiefly because of this desire. Over time he came to understand that he no more fit into this lifestyle than any other. Whether it was picket fences, suburban SUVs, or cliques dressed in bohemian black, it was different shades of the same herd mentality: one composed of neuro-typical people needing to mingle by tribal affiliation or team colors, and in dress rehearsals for the staid, procreative lives they would eventually embrace.”
Less pointedly, I remember being told by another cartoonist in the Bloomington area that our then alternative newsweekly (which is—like most of the others—now defunct) flatly refused to carry Matt Groening’s Life in Hell, even after the world-renowned cartoonist personally called the editor on the phone. Such was the hubris of these magazines!
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