As CSOTD marks three years and starts a fourth, this Jeff Danziger classic is a good way to open up a post marking the event with some favorite cartoons and a smattering of reflection.
The blog began mostly as a reaction to snarky cyber-bullying blogs that tear down comic strips for the amusement of a depressing number of fans. They say it takes three years to establish a blog and so here we are and, based on comparative numbers, it's pretty clear that snark sells better.
Which should not come as much of a surprise, but, while it's fun to quote Mencken, there isn't a lot of point in dwelling on it.
There is stuff that makes money and there's stuff that you do for yourself, and, while it's glorious when the two meet, part of finding your voice -- as a writer or as an artist -- is truly knowing (not just saying) that there is no real connection between artistic merit and either popularity or obscurity.
You do what you have to do to keep your art, and yourself, alive.
I seem to have assembled a group of people who like what I do, and who like comics, and it's entirely possible that some of them read this and then go off to read yet again another formulaic bashing of Mark Trail, Rex Morgan, Mary Worth and Apartment 3G.
But I suspect quite a few of them don't, and -- what matters more in terms of keeping things rolling here -- enough of them hit the Amazon widget in the margin that, unlike the gang in this Kevin & Kell, I'm not looking under sofa cushions to pay my hosting fees, for which I am honestly very grateful.
This Guindon was on the wall by my desk for years, back when I was trying to be JD Salinger. (I got the obscurity and being left alone parts down perfectly, but somehow the rest never quite happened.)
You'll note that the date is 1980, long before anyone observed anything about dogs and the Internet, but the reminder to try to stay somewhat on topic -- and to write about something that someone other than your dog might actually give a damn about -- remains valid, though I take it as a nudge and not a commandment.
When the blog began, it was basically, "Hey, look at this one!" but I gradually found my voice and began using cartoons as a jumping-off spot.
There have been times I've worried that I was reducing the chosen strip to an illustration, but it's not like I come up with a posting and then seek a strip to illustrate it.
There are some editorial pages that do that, matching up a column with an editorial cartoon on the same trending topic, but it rarely works because they almost never actually match much beyond being either basically "for" or "against," and that's thin conceptual gruel.
When I sit down at 4:45 in the morning and start going through strips, I have no idea what I'm going to write about, and a major operating theory here is that a good comic can, and should, touch off a lot of thought, even discursive thought.
I do occasionally have to hit the delete key when things get too discursive, mind you. This 1975 Doonesbury also hung over my desk in the olden days, as a reminder to wrap it up while I was still coherent:
Incidentally, if you haven't seen it before, I have an obscene rejection slip that I got in 1971 from the real Duke framed on my wall today, and it provided me with a brief spin in the barrel of online viral-ity when it was published at "Letters of Note" and then picked up by others.
The letter came in response, I might add, to a humor piece that had earned me a fellowship to a writer's conference and high praise from Harlan Ellison in 1970, but was so much a product of the moment that the snarkers feasted mightily upon it in 2011. Sic transit Hispanus haesit in apparatu.
And so, having returned to the tiresome topic of Those Who Do Not Get It, let us close our service today with a reading about a much more adorable example of that, from the book of Richard: