there are certain hazards, i’ve learned, involved in the creation of autobiographical comics. some of them, like managing secrets and otherwise sensitive information about one’s “characters,” are probably common to memoir in any medium; from even just my undedicated dabbling in various forms of ‘bloggery, i’ve become convinced that if i’m not pissing somebody off, or creeping someone out, or revealing something i’d rather folks didn’t know, then i’m probably publishing worthless dishonest crap.
there’s an artistic impulse to approach truth that inevitably finds itself at odds with basic decency. despite the encyclopedic array of justifications available, everyone who’s ever told a story knows that using the details of another’s life for personal benefit is inherently exploitative. don’t let anyone, myself included, tell you it’s not.
○ no matter how a story is told, (in writing, on video, drunkenly in a bar), its subject is bound to have opinions about the way he is portrayed. but comics, as a medium both visual and non-mechanical, add a whole new level of complication to the matter of representation. people, in my experience, are much more gracious when confronted with the peculiarities of their personalities than the peculiarities of their faces. and while a photograph may prompt us to credit or blame ourselves (“look how skinny i was,” or, “why was i making that face?” or “why was that ever my hair?”), responsibility for a drawing, flattering or unflattering, will almost always be placed on the artist.
in this regard, i was really very fortunate; grego’s face, while undoubtedly distinct, is surpassingly pretty. (his butt, on view in “on the beach,” isn’t bad either.) i was at liberty to draw the truth. the challenge was to reduce the details of his countenance to a recognizable, reproducible cartoon without sacrificing or homogenizing his unusual good looks.
as you can see, the success of this endeavor was, at best, modest. fortunately, there will be plenty of opportunity for improvement. grego’ has since moved across the country, leaving me to fend for myself in what he recognized as a sprawling abyss that calls itself a city, but not without a vast reserve of fevered schemes, witty asides, and indefatigable loyalty to exploit.
○ oubliette: the pyramid can be purchased here under the haystack and from a handful of north brooklyn’s finer independent booksellers. its digital incarnation can be read at the five page folded minicomic.