Friday, March 10, 2006

NOBODY TOLD ME HE LEFT

The Cliff Face hotmail inbox has lost it's most unique voice. It's a sad day. Or it was a sad day, but nobody told me, so I had fun. Then I had more fun the next day. Then I got the Dear John letter (he could never remember my name) and I was sad. Then I laughed. I'm such a trooper!

Many months ago, I recieved an email asking me to review this guy's comic should he ever make it. I wished him luck and told him to let me know when he had gotten around to doing it. Not long after, he had the book done and asked to mail it to me. I gave hime the address and said I couldn't promise anything, but I'd read it and be as fair as possible.

I got the book, and it was awful. I really didn't want to write anything. I usually focus on books that really affect me or have an element to them that is worth addressing. I don't write anything substantial about the vast majority of comics I read, and I'm pretty good at reading mostly comics I enjoy. The writeups are intended to serve a couple of functions:

1. The small-press books deserve to have some attention paid to them.
2. It gives me a chance to expand my critical thoughts about comics, something that can then filter into my own work.
3. It gets people to the site.

This book had nothing I wanted to talk about. "It's poorly done" isn't where I want my critical faculties focussed. I'm more interested in why something well-put-together doesn't work and even more interested in why something succeeds.

Then the emails started. First he just wanted to know if I got the book. Then he wanted to know when I was going to write something. Then he insulted someone he didn't know, but I had had the pleasure of meeting.

Suddenly, I didn't feel bad writing a bad review, but I tried to make it as optimisitc as possible.

After posting the review, the emails started coming. He accused me of being a Republican, a Communist, a lesbian, a "faggot," a hater of bosomy women, a disparager of Italians, a anti-Jesuit, a car-trunk t-shirt salesman, an inferior cartoonist, an embarasment to my mother and many other things. I couldn't even discern what all of the insults were, just that many of the words typed were intended to be venomous.

It was all good fun, I enjoy a good insult more than most. I even enjoy a bad one. And I was begining to discover the pleasure of a rabies-induced, frothing-at-the-mouth insult. I have no idea why, but he then started turning his nonsensical venom on Marcos. Possibly to support his claims of my lesbianism (I'm reaching at straws their) or just to indulge his racism. And he indulged that full-throttle (although sometimes I wish I were a lesbian Republican t-shirt salesman). His insults of Marcos were pointless and racist. And they were insults of my friend.

And that's when he took things too far. I had pity for him, and even considered giving him some material to help sharpen his insults, but then he just fell deeper and deeper into madness and stupidity. I never responded to him and the flood of poison letters slowed to a trickle until we went a long time without one.

On Wednessday, March 8, we recieved a final email. He was getting out of the comics game. He was dropping us from his comuniques. He was moving on.

I'll miss him.

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