Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 04/18/01

Artist's Statement

This is sort of a metacartoon, a parody of a New Yorker-style cartoon in which the cartoon character is aware of being not only in a cartoon but being in a bad, clichéd cartoon and caving in to despair. Most horrible of all is when the guy realizes that his secretary, Miss Jenkens, isn't even there, and maybe never was. I like to think of this as sort of a cross between a New Yorker cartoon and one of Francis Bacon's early paintings with a man in a suit screaming in a dingy room or a glass box.

I think I thought this one up while looking through a big "How to Draw Cartoons" book belonging to the cartoonist Sam Henderson (The Magic Whistle). The book, which Sam used to get out of the library all the time when he was a kid and recently found in a used bookstore, was written by some benevolent old fart and includes a kind of taxonomy of cartoons, dividing the basic gags into seven distinct categories, and even includes a long list of possible premises and captions. It was really very depressing to look at, and not just because so many gags have already been done again and again so like how are we contemporary gag cartoonists ever supposed to come up with anything original--it just made the whole process look so mechanical, stale, and predictable. Like the guy in my cartoon says, does anyone ever need to see another 'boss-on-the-intercom' gag?

I also happened to be in exactly the same mood as this character when I drew the cartoon; like, why even bother? (If that mood lasts long enough they call it "depression.") Happily, these moods are less common for me now than they used to be, but, man, when you're stuck in one, every conceivable goddamn thing you can think of doing seems futile and dull before you can even begin doing it. I also found myself thinking of a certain friend of mine as I drew it, who is no stranger to such moods herself. If you're reading this now--you know who you are--I hope they're less common for you these days, too.