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A Mission Statement of sorts...
I had someone ask me the other day, “I like the comic but why do you got to swear so much in them? Why can’t you just insinuate the swearing? Like f@#k that!
I thought about it for a moment and said what’s the point? You know that f@#k that is really fuck that anyway. After all, it’s just a word, which prompted why did the characters have to swear at all?
I suppose, that’s how almost everyone I know talks. (I’m sure it will be everyone one day, but my son is only six years old. Give him another half a dozen years…) But as George Carlin said: “No bad words: bad thoughts, bad intentions.”
But this brought me to one of the problems with the comic. What to put in? What to leave out? How far is too far? I been kind of second guessing myself since starting the comic. Thinking on the one hand, I should make this particular strip funnier then the next minute going, well I can’t put that in. It might offend someone.
As a very new web comic, half of my readers I actually know, or know on the fringes . I’m very grateful for those readers, but I often think to myself, “I’d like to put this in” or “I’d like to go in this direction with this character” but often hold back because someone out there might have an issue with that. I can hear it now: Too sexist…not sexy enough…not funny enough…too serious…against my beliefs…you get the point.
It’s to the point where I’ve become afraid to have a character like Tony (who is an asshole) tell Beth in a fit of rage she’s a whore or a cunt for fear of the viewer reprisal saying I shouldn’t use such words. But deep down I’m thinking “But that’s what Tony would say.' I’m not siding with him. He’s a fucking asshole and I’m showing it! And then there might be backlash against Beth for going back to him even thought he’s a jerk --because I’ve know people like Beth who stick with shitty boyfriends because of some deep down insecurities. But as a storyteller, you can’t always show the best sides of people, or the rational sides of their actions. That would be a pretty boring story to tell anyway. And to eventually get a story to point B: Beth has had enough of Tony’s shit, you sometimes have to show point A: Tony’s shit.
Another example was in my younger days I witnessed four friends (all girls) practice giving head on carrots. It was shocking and hilarious. (especially how it ended). Now, if I dare put something like that up on the comic, I can just hear the criticisms that I’m depicting women in a negative light and I’m an all around pig for showing it. But that's what happened!
I would like to eventually have a gay character on the strip as well, but I’m nervous of the reaction I might get if I start doing some dick jokes. I have a few gay friends and let me tell you, they have some hilarious sex stories, but if I tell them here, I might be labeled as gay bashing just from the content or terminology. Never mind they’re the ones I got the story from in the first place.
So what does all this pondering mean for the comic?
The comic is first and foremost about people in their twenties. I don’t know about you, but most of the people I knew in my twenties cursed, drank, wasted time, did dumb shit, dreamed, laughed and fucked. Boy, there was a lot of fucking going on. And if there wasn’t a lot of fucking going on, there sure as hell was a lot of talking about fucking. So if I’m going to ever get this comic just as I’ve envisioned it –if I’m going to be able to enjoy doing it for years and years to come, I need to feel secure enough in my vision. I need to shut out those voices (mostly in my head) and simply let the comic grow creatively. I, of course, want people to read this and enjoy it enough that they keep coming back, but not at the price of censuring it. I’ve already made a conscious decision that there will be no nudity or porn. (Other than an occasional butt or perhaps a boob) That’s really not what the comic is about. But you will hear the characters talk about it or situations that suggest it, because, hell, that’s real life!
So in weeks to come I’m going balls to the wall. Fuck it! Let me do Bohemian Nights the way I want it to be done. The only bad opportunities are the ones we never take. So most stories will be funny, others a little grittier --a little more sobering. There may be times where you may feel uncomfortable, others you’ll laugh out loud (I hope). I’m even experimenting a little with the art.
I guess the main reason I’m laying all this out is really for me. Telling myself it’s okay to be creative and follow my vision. Not everyone is going to come along. --I get that. But those few out there that read this and go, “Oh my god! That’s my life! That was totally me and my friends when life was fun and free!” then this is for you!
…And it’s for me.