Part Three: On (Not) Wanting To Be Seen

Reflections on the Indescribable Horror of (Not) Being Perceived

Or: Hi.

So why do this? I've established the premise, but what's the driving force behind it, what's the little voice in my head that says, "do this."

Well, in the first place, I love really long-running stories. I love getting to see something evolve and change over time while still fundamentally staying exactly the same. Take something like Batman, a 2022 Batman comic is completely different from a 1939 Batman comic -- superhero comic art has totally changed, stories tend to be 4 to 6 parts instead of one-and-done, Batman has a whole supporting cast instead of being a loner, there's a lot more fighting than detective work -- but the core premise is still exactly the same. Batman, just as he was in 1939, is still a rich orphan who's so pissed off at crime he decides to dress up as a bat and punch it.

Doctor Who is still about a weirdo in a box that's larger on the inside going on adventures. Star Trek is still about a captain, on a bridge, with their friends, waiting for a chance to go rogue and do the right damn thing.

So, obviously, I'd like to do one of those myself.

The second thing is, I'm queer and autistic.

And my perspective, people like me, just straight up don't exist in these long-running works.

It's getting better now, inch by inch. Doctor Who introduced its first queer lead in 2005, and has generally been good about this, (though the current showrunner disappoints in that regard), Batman comics have generally had one or two queer characters around since 2006, and the third Robin came out as bi just last year, (though it's not even the Robin everyone wanted to be queer), and Star Trek-- Well, actually, Star Trek: Discovery is like the one show on TV that has a substantial queer supporting cast, including non-binary and trans characters, and an autistic lead whose neurodivergence isn't constantly policed or corrected, Tilly just gets to be Tilly, it kind of kicks ass.

At the same time, in 2022, every little step forward is met with a ridiculous amount of backlash from conservative or even actively reactionary extremist groups. But that backlash sucks and can fuck off. Who cares what shitheads think.

But okay, the fact that these long-running franchises are doing pretty okay now doesn't change what came before. It doesn't change that if I look for myself in these stories, before 2005, all I'll see is, at best, nothing at all, or the occasional metaphor or allegory, and at worst, perverts, freaks, outcasts, deviants, people who exist outside of "normal" society, and that the story, always, is very clear do not deserve a place inside it without fundamentally changing who they are.

To see yourself reflected in stories is to know you're alive. And to not see yourself in those stories at all...

But what if I could change that? What if I could exist alongside this history? What if I could be right there next to these immortal stories?

Now, I don't have a time machine. I don't live in the past. Obviously. (Nor would I want to go back to times where I would've been persecuted for who I am.) But the mind is a powerful time machine just by itself. All you have to do is say something with enough certainty, enough determination, gusto, and you can talk pretty much anyone into believing anything.

And I'm pretty sure I've been active as a cartoonist since 1942.

Appendix, Etcetera ==>