May 29, 2013
I read/ keep up with several web comics. Actually, a lot of web comics. At least 13, probably closer to 16 or 17. Most (if not all) are slice of life or story comics. I used to keep up with others like XKCD, A Softer World, but over time I’ve come to realize story comics are what hold my attention. I love the characters and development. There are several story arcs that have me in tears by the end of it. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a good plot.
In the past couple of weeks, I broke down and started another web comic (Dumbing of Age). Tore through it in a couple of evenings. This lead to the inevitable wikipedia search on the cartoonist/ author. That lead to reading his other comics (Roomies!, It’s Walky!, Joyce and Walky!). So after a few several days, I moved on to his other comic, Shortpacked! I caught up to the most current comic, and like usual, went back to certain plot points that really stuck with me (Amber and Mike’s relationship if anyone is curious). I’m rereading them, and it dawns on me. Why is this the relationship I’m most interested in? Jesus. This is a train wreck! Why am I not more concerned with any of the other characters? Surely they have more redeeming qualities?
This realization cemented something I’d been tossing around in my head for a while now. That’s how a relationship should work (in my crazy fiction-addled mind). It cannot be simple. You must have yelling matches, crazy antics, and tear filled reconciliations. It can’t be simple, right? It has to be tough, and hard, and a mess at times. Right? I started thinking about one of the other characters. How he’s had to struggle with his homosexuality, how his first real adult relationship seemed to be so great, how he came to realize that the fighting over some really stupid things was not worth it, how he found someone who loved him for who he was, and at his happiest someone tried to take that from him. How is that not more emotionally engaging that two very broken people in a very angry relationship?
(This is the climax of the arc I was mentioning. http://www.shortpacked.com/2013/comic/book-15/01-about-face/conflict/)
This is something I am having to adjust to. Normalcy and love do not equal conflict. Sometimes you can just be happy with someone. There is no need for the arguments and pretentious bull shit. Life and love aren’t some big sitcom plot, some romantic comedy that you can laugh and cry at. You get enough of that from just living. True, you have to work at it. Sometimes you fight; sometimes you have those big dramatic moments, but in the end you usually feel emotionally drained and wishing you could have skipped the whole damn thing. Lack of conflict doesn’t mean anything is wrong. I sometimes have to remind myself of this. I have to sit there are think, “Is it really worth picking a fight over? Can’t you just grow up and stop thinking of life as a plot line in a book? Man up, apologize or whatever, and move on.”
I’m not sure if other people deal with this. I imagine some do. If someone is putting that into writing, I imagine they’ve dealt with it before. I write things like this, as if I were the first person to ever have an epiphany. Ha. Self obsessed twenty something, right?