New Style of Iron Man #1 + a free bonus rant

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For about a thousand real-life reasons, I haven’t been able to draw anything new for a long, long time. So long a time, in fact, that it feels like almost all of whatever art mojo I might’ve once had has evaporated clean away, like ectoplasm in arc light. But I did somehow finally manage a doodle earlier today. A really crude fast doodle of the regular type of atavistic nonsense. Anyway, let’s hope my pens and pencils don’t keep going unused for too much longer. Meanwhile, back to prepping for workshops and whatever.

Oh, and I won’t go on and on about it, but yesterday I got my brain and part of my soul broken into a bunch of jagged little pieces by a musical heroine of mine from way, way back. I mean, I do believe in free speech and totally believe everyone has a huge right to say whatever stuff they want to say. But no one can seriously expect that the wrong things they are free to say won’t get challenged. That’s not censorship or political correctness or liberal fascism, that’s just the healthy, busy flow of free speech going in two (or more) directions. Which is to say, despite the fact that I scribbled a bunch of ray guns popping out of Iron Man’s suit (which I always wondered about, physics-wise), I loathe guns and gun culture, and absolutely do not believe that a more armed society is a safer or a “more polite” society. In fact, I know it’s not true, having seen firsthand how that kind of culture works for the last 14 years. Ugh, anyhow, enough. I just learned a big valuable lesson, is all. Which is that I should always remember my favorite singers and writers and artists are basically regular type of flawed humans, just like everyone else. Now maybe at long last I can grow up from being the kind of person who is a wide-eyed and pretty naive fan of stuff to being the kind of person who understands that what looks awesome from a distance nearly always looks extremely mundane up close. And a ton more complicated in both good and (this time, at least) bad ways. That’s a super important thing to learn.

Still, this sudden injury to several decades of affection and respect has given me “a hole in my heart as big as my heart”. I’ll be going “ouch” for days and weeks on end. Keeping in mind the whole time, of course, that the real story of the UCSB shootings isn’t the depressingly nutty reaction of a former idol of mine. That’s, at most, a very minor peripheral issue. The real story, or at least the public-interest story, is the fact that we do not, as a society, seem to give the least damn about trying to do anything ever to prevent gun violence. We’ve let the extremists on the other side hijack the entire debate and turn it into a non-debate. I mean, it’s one thing if it turns out one of my icons thinks a lot of bad thoughts. That’s not even all that unusual; there’s a long list of musicians who have said and done things that ought to make us reconsider how much we like their music and if we really need to give them our money or our time. So it’s not a tragedy to find out a singer in a band I used to listen to endlessly doesn’t have exactly the same opinions as me. I’ll get over it (and still think she has the right to speak her mind, no matter how much I disagree, which is a lot). But when people die every day from gun violence in a country that could do something about it, but blithely chooses not to, that’s horrifying and shameful. Which I guess we’re used to in America, being horrified and ashamed about our own behavior down through history. Or maybe that’s the problem: we’re for some unknown reason not horrified and ashamed enough. Which used to be something the best songs would remind us about, way back when.

Okay, going to go make stuff now, while I still can.

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