Raine Dog: Legend of an unfinished comic

Rain Dog: a dog caught in the rain, with its whole trail washed away by the water so it can’t get back home. (Urban Dictionary)

 

So I don’t talk about it that much, these days, but after Ozy and Millie ended, and before I won the Comic Strip Superstar contest and began the process of developing what would become Phoebe and Her Unicorn, there was Raine Dog. The most maligned thing I’ve ever made.

It had its fans, and still does. People still sometimes tell me they miss it, and ask me if I’m ever going to finish it. The sad answer to that is: no, probably not. It was of a moment in my life, one that’s past now. Also, it went over really poorly with a lot of other people.

It’s still dragged out and mocked in certain corners of the web. The creators of Sandra and Woo, who are apparently fans of everything else I’ve done, called it “the biggest disappointment in webcomics history.” More bluntly, I’ve heard it referred to as “that dogf**ker comic.” Which…is not a correct description of it. But I’ll get to that.

The real seed was the comic Newshounds, by my friend Thomas K. Dye. That comic starred an ensemble cast of (highly anthropomorphized) dogs and cats, whose owner, Lorna, employs them as the staff of a TV station. One day, I asked Thomas, “so, does Lorna pay them?” He said “yes, but as their owner, she’s not obligated to.”

The strip had also revealed, in a flashback sequence, that most of the cast had come close to being euthanized by a shelter. That’s grim, man.

All of that got me thinking. About “pets” in that universe, and in cartoon universes generally. Heathcliff. Scooby Doo. Brian from “Family Guy.” It suddenly seemed weird, and dark, that in cartoons we routinely meet characters who are perfectly sentient, who are basically people, who are owned by other characters. And I wondered why that had never seemed weird before. I wondered about what that said, and what it could be made to say.

And then, one night not long after, I was lying in bed late at night. I was feverish, stoned on cold medicine, and sleeping only fitfully. And I had this idea for a story.

Newshounds takes place in an urban area, an analogue of San Francisco. A liberal place. So I wondered, what is life like outside those enclaves? More conservative for sure. And I imagined up a character, a dog from a rural area who has a happy puppyhood, but outgrows the constraints of that life, runs away, and ends up in an animal shelter, only to be adopted by a liberal city-dweller. In the end she winds up unwittingly at the center of an “animal rights” movement, something akin to any real life civil rights struggle: the fight against race discrimination, or sex discrimination, or anti-gay discrimination.

Or transphobia. You really can’t detach that from the whole thing. This was in the middle/late 2000s, and it’s weird to think about it now, but transgender issues weren’t on anybody’s radar, really. At least, nobody in the mainstream. These days, it’s becoming so mainstream that it’s possible to get called a trend follower for transitioning. That’s surreal to me.

I was in the midst of transitioning at the time, and when I had announced that fact, in 2006, a lot of people reacted as if I’d completely lost my mind. When people thought I was just some white guy, I could shoot my mouth off all I wanted. The moment I declared I was something else, the trolls descended. That was an eye-opener. These days, anyone who thinks they’re tolerant understands that they have to be nice to trans people; that was not true then, and I had a shortage of defenders.

For a few years, the Raine Dog project was sort of theoretical. I did some concept art of the characters, even attempted a sample chapter in which the title character unsuccessfully tries to convince a bunch of cows to escape their stockyard. (A metaphor, and not a very subtle one.) But I was doing Ozy and Millie (and my political comic, I Drew This).

But I always had it in my mind that Raine Dog (a title that was a reference to a Tom Waits song) would make a great graphic novel, some day. I sat on the idea until the beginning of 2009, when I made the decision to end both Ozy and Millie and I Drew This. I had been drawing comics online for a decade at that point. My dreams of syndication had gone unfulfilled, and I decided I’d best give up on them for the time being. I began putting together a portfolio, intending to get work as a children’s book illustrator.

But since I had no comic strip deadlines anymore, I decided it was time to do Raine Dog. It seemed like a way of keeping my work and my name in front of people, which seemed important at the time. I knew it wouldn’t be every Ozy and Millie fan’s cup of tea, but I figured some people would get into it, and those who didn’t were free not to read it. Whatever, right?

I had a publisher tentatively lined up, and Keenspot, which ran my other comics at the time, agreed to run this one too. I cracked my knuckles (metaphorically; I’ve never actually been able to do that) and got to work.

My first mistake was thinking I could do this without planning it out first. I didn’t have an outline, I didn’t do any kind of draft, I just started writing and drawing it. That’s how I had always approached comics before; writing a graphic novel is different enough that it required a different approach, but I didn’t know that at the time. As a result, the pacing is slow; frequently having the title character narrate, turning to the camera and just talking, slows the story down. It would have been stronger if I had just gotten to the point.

I think it was a mistake having the protagonist be too obviously a semi-self-portrait, too. All my protagonists tend to be based on me, because they’re my gateway into the story; Phoebe also looks a lot like me (in entirely different ways). Mainly I just gave Raine similar glasses to mine. And made her a first-person narrator. (Also, “Rain” was a name I had a history of using online.) It made the story read as more self-indulgent than I intended.

The part that drew the most criticism and mockery, though, was one I’m not entirely sure was a mistake. I mean, it seems to have been widely misunderstood, so maybe that’s my fault; or maybe the scene was destined to draw that reaction and shouldn’t have been in the story. If you’ve ever read Raine Dog, you know the chapter: as a puppy, Raine crawls into bed with the boy who owns her. In the morning they almost kiss; his parents walk in, freak out, and take her to get spayed. It’s meant to say something about boundaries and taboos, and to reinforce for Raine that there are lines a dog is not allowed to cross, something that, over the rest of the story, will come up over and over.

The page where they kiss has been posted, out of context, so many times; I most recently saw it today, on twitter (which got me started writing this). People have accused me of advocating bestiality, which is pretty far removed from what I was trying to do. I’ve had to explain many, many times that no one is having sex in that chapter, or trying to. It was supposed to be dramatic and attention-grabbing, even a bit unsettling, but I hoped that at least people would take it within the context of the rest of the story. Plenty of people did. Plenty of people didn’t, too, and they were loud about it.

I got letters. One called me “creepy.” Another told me to “rot in hell, furfag.” I didn’t bother responding to the second person, but I encouraged the first to read the whole thing rather than just making assumptions about one page seen out of context. He did, and afterward he apologized to me. (He still said “you must have included that for shock value.” I didn’t know it was THAT shocking. My bad.)

I guess at the very least, I handled that part inartfully. I do wish people wouldn’t act like that one page was the entire comic. I suppose, given that, including that event in the story, on camera, was a mistake. Whatever.

Frankly, I also think some people reacted differently than they would have if I had not been publicly transitioning, at the time. Fans get attached to a pretty specific idea of who you are and what you do, something I should really have known by then. Dropping the news that I was switching genders (which, again, was more shocking then than it is now) and then plunging ahead with a comic that was very, very different, and easy to misunderstand, probably set me up for a certain amount of “dude, WTF” from fans. I read, in numerous places, that I had gone out of my everloving mind.

I was about a third of the way done in the summer of 2009–I had basically finished act 1, at which point Raine, who has been wandering the wilderness, returns to civilization and is captured by animal control. (Act 2: animal shelter, being rescued, arriving in the city; act 3, accidentally starting a movement.) I wasn’t happy with the work I was doing. It felt…overlong. Directionless. Full of tangents. I became aware that I really should have been working from a solid story outline. (Write that down, kids.) I took some time off to plan out the story going forward.

And that was when someone told me about the Comic Strip Superstar contest, the prizes for which included a contract to develop a syndicated comic strip. I entered, and I won, and you kind of know where that wound up. (That is a very happy story.) For a couple years, when people asked me about it, I would tell them I’d return to it and finish, eventually, and I really did mean to, at least at first.

Because I was unhappy with what I’d done so far, I did, at one point, draw four pages of a rebooted version. The art style is different, there’s no narration, and it opens with Raine speaking at a rally, and being shot. The story, in my mind, always included her surviving an assassination attempt–it was originally going to be a kind of dramatic climax, but I figured why not lead with it and then build back to there? This prompted some witty person to dub her “Martin Woofer King,” which I seriously wish I had thought of. (Hey, I thought of another one. Harvey Milkbone.)

It’s sort of a shame the story will probably, at this point, never get finished. I know there are a bunch of people that will disappoint, because I still get asked, all the time, if I’m going to finish it. I still think it’s a good story. But it’s also a story about themes that were relevant to my life at the time (being lost, realizing the role you’ve been cast in doesn’t describe who you are, etc.) but are more peripheral now. And I think anything I have to say about that now, I want to say more directly–I’m writing a memoir graphic novel, now, and I’m applying a lot of what I learned making 1/3 of Raine Dog. It was an educational experience if nothing else.

Like I said, I have no plans to post the original version anywhere. Not all of it. It has too many flaws and has caused me too many headaches. I might repost parts of it; the chapter about Laika the space dog is still something I’m proud of having written. But I think, for the time being, I prefer that it remain lost.

Actually, I kind of like that there’s this lost Dana Simpson project that people wonder about but relatively few people, at this point, have actually read. It makes me feel all mysterious.

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  37 comments for “Raine Dog: Legend of an unfinished comic

  1. ronrab
    March 19, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    I will always miss seeing the end of this story. I thought it was a good and worthy idea, and Raine was a great character.

  2. Averagemoe
    March 19, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    As long as we’re on this topic, there was an Ozy and Millie strip near the beginning of the “Windmills and Washington” story featuring a dog-lady that looked like Raine. Was that an intentional cameo?

    • Dana Simpson
      March 19, 2016 at 10:46 pm

      Yup. Like two years before I published any of the story.

  3. Erik
    March 20, 2016 at 1:33 am

    Count me as one more that was sorry to never see the rest of the story. But it’s just part of webcomics as opposed to print – on the web, you’re pretty much posting the first draft of the story as you write it, and some first drafts inevitably end up as object lessons, requiring more work to get right than they’re worth.

    If you learned what it had to teach, that means the work was worth it – and I am really excited to hear that you may have a memoir piece some day, with Raine’s influence living on in it. If that reaches release, I’ll be (one of the) first in line for a copy.

    • Dana Simpson
      March 20, 2016 at 12:31 pm

      I’m under contract to write it and am currently working on it! If all goes well it should come out in 2017.

  4. March 22, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    I loved what you were doing with the story, and if it was self indulgent, then it was interestingly self indulgent.

    I never thought the kiss was something freaky. A little contrived to get her kicked out, but then it seemed like the metaphor for your experiences. I had forgotten that part. It is really sad to hear it got so much negative attention.

    Ozzie and Millie was one of my favorite webcomics, and I even named a dog based on it 🙂

  5. March 25, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    Saw your compilation books in BJ’s Wholesale Club today — not even a dedicated bookstore! — and it got me thinking about how surreal of an experience it is to know I started reading Ozy and Millie back in 2000 or 2001, wondering if the rest of the world would ever find out about this wonderful strip, and now fast forward a decade-plus and you’re published in newspapers and have books with forewords by Lauren Faust. (Even more so when I realize I can’t say the same about Carson Fire, or Ben Yackley, or R.T. Matheson, or pretty much anyone else whose webcomics I had read that long ago… wait, did Bill Holbrook ever make it into the papers? Or Terrence and Isabel Marks?)

    Attempting to express my thoughts in a Tumblr post led me here, where, fortuitousness of fortuitousnesses, I find this post, suddenly shedding light on a comic whose fate I had always wondered about. I had always hoped we’d someday see more, and it’s good to finally see word straight from the author.

    (Personally, I never thought the kiss scene was that shocking to me as a reader (as opposed to in-story); I thought it was perfectly plausible given what you’d already established about the universe.)

    • Dana Simpson
      March 26, 2016 at 4:40 pm

      It’s been a long journey to this point, hasn’t it? I sometimes tell people I’m a 15-year overnight success. Along the way I moved from traditional media to digital, from foxes and dragons to unicorns little girls (and also still dragons), got married, and…switched teams, so to speak. I honestly think a biography of me would be interesting to read.

      As far as I know, none of the other people you mentioned got into papers, with the exception of Bill Holbrook, who has been in papers since before he even made Kevin and Kell (with two different strips, On the Fastrack and Safe Havens). Kevin and Kell has never been in papers, but it was never really designed to be–Bill does it on the internet because it’s his personal thing and it’s a labor of love for him.

      Terrence and Isabel Marks are still in webcomics (http://nicoleandderek.com/). I’ve honestly lost track of Carson Fire and Richard Matheson…Ben Yackley, though, is a close friend of mine, and got his Ph.D. in computer science a few years ago. He now lives here in Seattle and works at Amazon. He still draws sometimes.

      There are some other webcomics people from those days who have also done well and are still in comics. Shaenon Garrity from ‘Narbonic’ has had an interesting career. Dave Kellett of ‘Sheldon’ fame was syndicated at one point and also co-directed the documentary ‘Stripped.’ (I try not to be bitter that no one interviewed me for that; I was like two years away from being big enough to be asked!)

      I’ve been lucky, and I never really gave up, which I think is a prerequisite for luck.

    • Z
      July 3, 2016 at 5:12 pm

      “Personally, I never thought the kiss scene was that shocking to me as a reader (as opposed to in-story); I thought it was perfectly plausible given what you’d already established about the universe.”

      Because it was an in-bed kiss scene, it was easier to misinterpret. It would’ve been better if it were a “playing around and she kisses him” or something that canot be taken out of context as easily.

      Ultimately, though, I think it was a victim of timing. As she made really clear- the internet wasn’t nearly as progressive as it is nowadays. She was in the process of transitioning, which people responded to even worse than they still do now.

      I imagine if she had the idea to start writing it now, it would’ve been a totally different experience. I think it would do really well right now, actually, with all the political upheaval and such I think the metaphor would’ve worked better.

  6. Logan Smith
    March 27, 2016 at 7:17 am

    As a longtime fan of you and your work, I was puzzled when you discontinued Raine Dog. I had thought your intent in cancelling Ozy and Millie and I Drew This was to focus on telling a story that you ended up not telling at all.

    Thank you for sharing this. It helps clear up a lot of confusion I had.

    I am disappointed in the hate that Raine Dog received; despite its problems, I still feel it was a better story than its reception allowed.

    I look forward to the next time you push boundaries and wish you all the best. (And yes, I would buy your biography!)

  7. VGR
    April 9, 2016 at 10:10 am

    Let’s be completely clear about this: the original Raine Dog story was a brilliant work. One of the finest things I’ve ever read, and I’ve read a lot.

    If you made any mistakes at all, it was your failure to use a pseudonym. But if I’d been in your place, I never would have thought to use one.

    You’ve been the victim of digital torches and pitchforks, plain and simple. It turns my stomach that you can’t post the entire original work, but now you’ve helped me understand why. Too many headaches indeed. I had no idea it was that bad, and my heart grieves for you, as I think it would for any artist whose creative work is suppressed with vitriol and threats.

    I could mention something about how all great artists in history have been the brunt of vicious attacks, but that’s impractical here. To be a martyr would mean sacrificing your current (excellent) work.

    I will always see it as a stirring story of overcoming circumstantial disadvantages and societal prejudice, and the struggle of nonconformism and individual strength.

    What a great example page to post. I remember this one well. It was powerfully evocative and a little gut-wrenching then, as it is now. One more instance of Raine learning her lot in life as a dog.

    I’ll continue to dream that one day you’ll be in a position where, practically speaking, you’re above the need to worry about fanatical criticism, and you’ll repost the whole thing unedited, and give it the continuation it deserves.

    Oh, and about Sandra and Woo? The day I read their vile comments was the day I stopped reading the strip. Haven’t been back since, and I don’t miss it. Artists attacking the work of other artists is disgraceful and unseemly.

    Never forget that you turned out a brilliant work. Perhaps it was ahead of its time.

    • Dana Simpson
      April 14, 2016 at 12:52 pm

      Thanks for that.

      What got me about Sandra and Woo wasn’t their criticism of my work (they’re effusively praised my other projects; they can say what they want) as the fact that they got through an entire, otherwise positive, review of Heavenly Nostrils (as it was then called) without using any gender pronouns at all to refer to me. It’s nice that they knew not to use “him,” but refusing to gender a trans person at all is dehumanizing. They also insisted on referring to me as “D.C. Simpson,” a name I haven’t used professionally in years. The whole thing was How Not To Talk About A Transgender Person 101.

  8. Long Tom
    May 20, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    I confess, and I may get banned for this, that I was the one who wrote the negative review of Raine Dog for the Bad Webcomics Wiki. And for the record, there were plenty of problems with that webcomic besides the kiss scene. Namely why some animals were anthropomorphic and others (such as the rabbit and the cows) were not, why spaying Raine would “ruin” her (the “Mutts” comic strip advocates the neutering of housepets), what the cows would have done even if they knew perfectly well what their fate would be-how would they survive in the wild? Your idea might have worked, but it fell apart. I believe you got that idea yourself, which is why you decided to redo it.

    For the record I wrote a negative review of I Drew This (it basically just parroted liberal political talking points) and a positive review of Ozy And Millie, to prove you really do have talent. Oh, and I referred to Phoebe And Her Unicorn in all reviews, and mentioned it was good. Really, that strip is far better than most other newspaper comic strips, and that is no flattery.

    Here’s vengeance for you though: I also wrote a negative review of Sandra And Woo, which I disliked for a lot of reasons. I didn’t know of what they said about you until I cam here, though. No matter; I judge webcomics on their merits, whether their authors are nice people or jerks. So do the rest of us on the BWW.

    • Dana Simpson
      May 20, 2016 at 6:51 pm

      I honestly pay very little attention to reviews people write. It’s the internet. People say stuff. I’m not obligated to care.

      I only pay attention when it crosses over into personal harassment, which it frequently did for a while. But criticism is inevitable and legit.

      • Long Tom
        May 20, 2016 at 7:30 pm

        Thanks for the reply. Yes, I’ve heard the old saying, “Nobody has ever built a statue to a critic.” Still, one reason to read reviews is to know what a webcomic (or movie or book or anything else) is like, and whether it is something you might like or not. Yes, reviews can be wrong, but you need to have something to go on. Certainly reviews are a necessity; that’s why Consumer Reports magazine and Center For Science For The Public Interest (which reviews food products) exist.

        BTW my reviews did use the gender pronoun for you.

        • Dana Simpson
          May 21, 2016 at 11:55 pm

          Good. I vastly prefer “she sucks” to “he’s cool.”

          And I understand the value of criticism. I actually enjoy reading it. Just not of my own work. Because that’s no fun, and I, as the person being reviewed, am not the target audience.

          • Long Tom
            May 22, 2016 at 6:23 am

            Ironically you should say that. I wrote a review on the BWW of a webcomic which criticized the webcomic’s art (which was admittedly awful) among other things. The author was upset at first, then later admitted I was right, and she scrapped her original webcomic and put up a revised, much improved version. It was actually the BWW’s first success story.

            You did start a “new” Raine Dog webcomic, so I assume you realize there were problems with the original. Less the kiss scene than the way the story was going in general. As for criticism of my work, I do like to know if people like what I’ve created, or not.

  9. Long Tom
    May 28, 2016 at 6:52 am

    For those interested, here’s what I had to say about Sandra And Woo:

    http://badwebcomicswiki.shoutwiki.com/wiki/Sandra_and_Woo

    I was an early fan, but got disillusioned like many others-and since I stopped, I found it got only worse. Not many good jokes, too much soapboxing, uncomfortable adult situations in what looks superficially like a cute family webcomic. But worst of all was the fact that, as I read the story, I found the protagonists doing things that made me not like them. And they’re not antiheroes a la Lobo of DC Comics fame; we’re supposed to root for them and everything they do.

    As for transsexualism, there is the difference between calling yourself a woman and behaving like one, as opposed to getting actual surgery and being one for real-like the difference between impersonating a policeman and actually working for the police department. I trust you are in the latter category.

    • Dana Simpson
      June 3, 2016 at 11:08 am

      I am in fact post-op, but I don’t think surgery is necessary for someone to be a “real” woman (or man). Plenty of people whose gender identities are as valid as my own either can’t afford surgery, or opt not to have it, for reasons that are their business and none of yours (or mine).

      Being a police officer should require credentials. Being yourself absolutely should not.

      We also largely don’t care for “transsexual” these days. The word is “transgender.” And I feel like “ism” suggests it’s some sort of idelological stand. And it is not. It’s just who we are.

  10. Leftwingfox
    June 12, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    Put me in the camp of “Wish I could have read more”. I felt the kiss scene was a direct challenge to the ideas of person-hood, and I was really curious to see how the rest of the series would address issues like power dynamics, taboo, and consent between human and intelligent non-human populations.

  11. Long Tom
    July 21, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    No, I didn’t draw this:

    http://badwebcomicswiki.shoutwiki.com/wiki/File:Raine_Dog_Parody.jpg

    I’m sure you’re reminded of the “Mother Goose And Grimm” newspaper comic.

    • Dana Simpson
      July 31, 2016 at 5:38 pm

      I believe that’s by Agouti Rex, who also drew a pretty funny Ozy and Millie parody.

  12. Averagemoe
    July 22, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    If Raine Dog were a movie, I can imagine Honest Trailers saying “Starring: Blue, from Blue’s Clue’s older sister.”

  13. Long Tom
    September 4, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    I suppose I should mention one more thing. I was reminded of an old “Cathy” cartoon where Andrea plays a department store Santa Claus, and she has a boy on her lap, and he says, “I want a demolition derby race car for Christmas.” Andrea suggests a doll instead. The boy replies, “Yuck. That’s for girls!” But Andrea continues in this vein until the boy and the other kids panic and scream, “Run for your lives! Santa Claus has gone berserk!”

    Ironically this would serve as a great counterargument to anyone who denies that you are a woman.

  14. September 30, 2016 at 2:44 am

    I was and still am a big fan of the Rainedog comic.

    I believe it was ahead of its time as only in the last couple of years have other artists and writers hit on some the topics used in the comic.
    As for the human/canine kiss that upset so many I believe it was taking out of context and to be honest there’s far worse in the fandom these days (After all if your own mind brings you to the conclusion they were doing something dirty then don’t blame the artist, if its too adult for you then you really aren’t old enough to be online).
    In many respects this as well as Ozy and Millie were your two best comics, Phoebe and her Unicorn isn’t a comic I could get into as I found it a little boring, predictable and very plain/ordinary in a sea of other comics that do a far better job grabbing my attention.
    People still ask about Rainedog, Ozy and Millie where I feel Phoebe and her Unicorn will just fade away and be forgotten once you tie it up.

    • Dana Simpson
      October 7, 2016 at 11:17 am

      You’re entitled to see it that way, of course. The marketplace is saying something very different.

      • October 18, 2016 at 5:19 am

        Thanks for replying to my comment.
        I do hope you continue RaineDog one day, although I get the feeling it may be buried for good.

        • Long Tom
          October 24, 2016 at 4:04 pm

          Put it this way: I doubt Woody Allen will be remembered for “Interiors” or “September”.

          • Dana Simpson
            October 24, 2016 at 4:54 pm

            Sure, it’s possible that, in the end, I’ll be remembered for my semi-obscure web comic, or the heavily maligned graphic novel I wrote a third of and then abandoned, rather than my current project that wins awards and cracks bestseller lists. You never know.

            I’d be perfectly fine with Ozy and Millie being the main thing people remember me for. But it seems pretty unlikely.

  15. October 27, 2016 at 6:19 am

    Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

  16. Long Tom
    December 16, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    I wasn’t going to comment again, but I felt it was necessary to say that if the public misinterprets what the artist says, one cannot simply blame the public for being stupid. Sometimes blame must come to the artist for putting out something that can be interpreted the wrong way.

    It happens all the time. Anyone remember the Dire Straits song “Money For Nothing”, where the narrator complains about how major musicians get huge salaries for little real work? The song was meant to be sarcastic, but the public ended up agreeing with the narrator. Charles Barkley was ridiculed for saying he was misquoted in his own autobiography. Never mind that many autobiographies are not directly written by the actual person portrayed, so his complaint was probably not so ridiculous. There is even the story about how a painting (presumably an abstract) was hung upside-down in a museum for years before the artist found out about it and complained.

    As it happened, I was told of an adult webcomic which does have a human marry an anthropomorphic dog, and…well, I need not explain further. The only reason the Bad Webcomics Wiki wouldn’t review it is because we don’t touch webcomics on members-only adult websites. That webcomic got off on a technicality.

    • Dana Simpson
      December 17, 2016 at 3:01 pm

      Which would be an excellent point if I had ever “blamed” the public or called them “stupid,” which of course I have never done. So it really isn’t.

      I’m starting to think your obsession with this says something about you.

    • Dana Simpson
      December 17, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      And anyway, is your argument that art should never be released if it has the slightest ambiguity? You may not understand what art is.

      • Long Tom
        December 18, 2016 at 5:55 am

        It’s not a matter of ambiguity, if that’s what was intended. But that’s why I mentioned the upside-down painting. People can interpret something the way the artist never intended. The kiss scene got heavily pilloried on the internet by different people. I assumed your reaction to that was, “Hey! That wasn’t supposed to happen!”

        • Dana Simpson
          December 18, 2016 at 1:34 pm

          I still don’t get why you care about that eight years after it happened. You care more than I do about any of it.

          And I repeat that I never “blamed the public for being stupid,” and I am not a big fan of straw man arguments.

          • Long Tom
            December 18, 2016 at 3:28 pm

            Well, I merely explained what went wrong was all. I won’t waste time talking about this subject again.

            In any case, let me tell you that I do think you will always be remembered for “Ozy And Millie”. Not only were your drawings nice and expressive without resorting to exaggeration, the kids were believable as kids and the adults were not overgrown idiots a la Homer Simpson or Fred Munster. Phoebe And Her Unicorn is good too-I wish it were in the Chicago Tribune.

          • Dana Simpson
            December 20, 2016 at 9:10 pm

            I wish that too! I get paid more for larger papers. 🙂

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